NOVEMBER 16, 1943
Rosie is puttering around here cleaning out her cupboard. Never still a minute, so maybe I can write a bit. She had her long day today. She went bowling, got caught in the rain-her hair is just a frizz. She had a permanent yesterday. I received your letter last week, which was quite a treat as I very seldom hear from you. Sure came in quick time for some reason or other. Mailed October 31st, and I received it November 13th. Had one from June the same day and mailed later.
Am very glad you are having nice warm weather now. We are getting the damp cold. These houses are grand in summer, but oh so cold in winter. No heat whatsoever. I am sitting here with my woollen bathrobe on, and sure a'scrachin. Wool was never spun for me. Had dysentery a couple of weeks ago. The first day I was so sick. Fortunately had my p.m. so came home, heated some water for my hot water bottle, put on flannelette pyjamas and extra blankets, and crawled into bed. Had temperature 102º, and such runs! We are not allowed to be sick in quarters, and I was determined not to be admitted. Doctored myself so that I was able to go on duty in the morning. Luckily for me, the bathroom was right near my ward so I could run often. Lasted about a week. I think the devilish flies are the cause of it. The Arabs squat around anywhere, and of course the flies gather.
Boy oh man, are the Xmas packages arriving here. I have mine already. Gladys' I've had for three weeks or more. Guess they are making a special effort to get them here. One package I did open as I knew what it was, and was just a'dying to see. Zella sent your pictures through as Xmas gifts, which was very clever. They are lovely, and I am very proud of them. Wish I looked like that in my uniform! Thanks so much for them. Won't they stick those up at home! I'm sure I can't figure out what is in some of these parcels. I gave them a shake or two, and gave a few guesses, and then put them away out of sight. Rosie and Caroline are just hounding me to open them, but not me. They have opened theirs. They give me the excuse there might be food in them. Well, it's just too bad if there is. Clarkie sent me one, Johnny Tremblay, Dudge's Mary, and others. Well, the gang has come in. Soup and tea are on. The mess always happens in my room and so here goes this epistle. It's hard enough to get down to writing anyway.
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Well I guess it's over. Had a piece of Caroline's fruit cake [?]. We have the loveliest pointsettias on the table. Rosie bought them down the street. They are great big ones, and the leaves are so large too. That was the best bargain I have seen. Six large bunches of them for one dollar. Flowers grow so beautifully here. Such gorgeous roses. Tangerines and oranges are in now. They taste so good. Have a bowl of tangerines before me on the table.
I saw Miss Van Stone a week or so ago, but did not get to speaking to her. She was in visiting a patient we had-their chief of surgery. Great speculation around here as to our moving: when and where. I say there is no sense of even taxing one's brain with such things, as we will go some day, and wherever we are sent. Seems as though it might be soon, though.
Eighteen of us, doctors and nurses, went on an excursion (via truck) last Sunday. Went to a town near here, where is held every Sunday a big Arab market called the souk. You never saw such sights, and such mangy stuff for sale. Quite a sight though. They slaughtered animals there then sold the meat. They were squatted everywhere on the ground, selling herbs, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, and making doughnuts there on the spot. They grab a piece of dough-and in that case the hand is sure quicker than the eye, as watch as closely as we might we couldn't see him make the hole. A trick it was. The medicine man was there to cure all their ills. Saw him bleeding a man for headache. The poor guy looked as though he had a worse one when he got through. Women are there to patch and mend clothes, and by the way they had Singer hand machines, and American thread. They mend old kettles, and fashion new ones. Each one is there plying his trade. Then there is the old fellow who goes from group to group, and gathers alms for Allah. A squalid mess, but interesting nevertheless. Went to the beach for a while, too. It was lovely and warm that day.
November 11th we had an Allied Armistice parade, and yours truly was in it. Forty of us were selected to be in it. Certainly was a skeleton force on duty. I was thrilled to the marrow, had goose pimples all over. Did our section (the nurses) get a hand! Bravo, bravo, they called. It was mostly French. After the humans came tanks, guns, etc. The Arabian horses were gorgeous, and the riders in their best regalia. I really would like to have looking on, as when one is in it they know not what is going on behind. When we left the parade, we got in trucks and went to the Allied Military Cemetery. Had a service there for our American dead. Laid a wreath at the foot of the monument and flag. Quite impressive. They played My Buddy, sounded a three gun salute, and taps. To muffled drums, we marched from the cemetery. Didn't seem quite right to me though to be celebrating that Armistice. I kept wishing it were the Armistice Day of this war.
I was glad to hear Everett was going with Julia. She will make him a good wife. No news from elsewhere. I cut this clipping from a Boston Post: is he your [?]?
Now, my dears (for this is really for both of you), I must get this picky bathrobe off and duck into my bed. Don't need any mosquito netting now, which is a relief. Take care, and don't you get malaria.
Love as ever, Frank