AUGUST 2, 1945; BOLOGNA
Am sitting down here in a nice mess, and scratching off this dribble. Before me on the floor, half-packed, is my bedding roll and other things strung around. This is my last day with the 6th General Hospital, and very sad it is. In fact, for two days now I have belonged to the 70th General and was to have left this morning for the same, however there was some hitch in the orders, so had a day extra and leave tomorrow a.m. We are all being sent on to the units in different ways. The 6th is going home on paper, but not with personnel. We don't understand the way they are doing, and doings change every day so we give up. There are about thirty leaving tomorrow, and in a few days about the same number to another hospital, which is made up of many hospitals and called 'Strategic Reserve'. They aren't working, but waiting at a port to go home, and may be called from there to other units to go to the Pacific.
The one I am going to, and none of my pals are with me, is still working, and as I said we know not why to that particular one. It seems to be those of higher points sent there who were supposed to go home. The hospital, though, is one of the later ones to come over, so you see how we stand. One never knows though, so there is no use trying to figure out this army. All I am certain of is I leave in the a.m. That hospital has been divided lately into two small ones, each in a different place. I don't know which one they will stop the truck at for me. I hope it's the one near Florence. Not anticipating the long truck ride. C'est la guerre. The address is the same, but I'll write you from there anyway.
I received your letter last week. Glad you had such a nice trip. I thought all along Stewart went with you. I had a letter from Eva. Also one from Frances yesterday. The Moss family, all except their old man, is with you now. Think of me when you are stuffing the 'bologna' into you, also the herring.
I did get a wonderful trip in last week, and the minute I got back was told I was being transferred. Was thankful to have had the trip. Rough riding but worth it. Seven nurses and four officers went via truck away up in Northern Italy to a place called Stresa, and on Lake Maggiore. What a beautiful spot, this large lake set down in the Alps. We stayed at a famous hotel five miles up the mountain with the most beautiful view of the lake, but oh, such a rocky bumpy road up. Too much of a jaunt up and down in the truck, so we didn't go down so much to the lake. We did take two lovely trips from there. One day all the nurses went into the mountains and reached the Swiss border. They wouldn't let us over, only a few yards, but we did set foot in Switzerland. Took a couple of pictures, made a snowball and returned. The scenery is magnificent, and allow me to tell you the way steep, narrow and dangerous. Everyone says we had a nerve to risk it in a two and a half ton truck. Make it we did. Stopped at a quaint village called Formossa for lunch. An Italian waiter told us about the place. Had the best bite there since coming overseas. Had brook trout, french fried potatoes, sliced tomatoes and lovely crisp lettuce with dressing. For dessert we had plums, peaches and grapes. The taverna was very plain but clean and the food was superb. The cook had cooked in New York for a number of years.
The next day we came down off the mountain in the morning and stayed down. Had lunch at an army hotel at the lake, and looked around the shops a bit. Then in the afternoon took a boat ride around the lake. The ride was a fizzle as it was overcrowded, and the passengers mostly all drunk. We thought the ride would extend the length of the lake into Switzerland but no, just catered to the drunks and meandered in the vicinity of Stresa.
Ah, but the next day (being Sunday the first day of the week), five of us nurses and the four officers again took the truck and on another trip. Not so far, but so pretty, and in another direction. At the end of the truck ride, we ate a lunch we had and then took a cable car over the mountains to another valley. Man, oh man there were moments. Up over mountains; over valleys, gorges with rocks and waterfalls. I looked out going up, but not so much coming back. It was wonderful. There were nine of us in the cage, running on one cable and no motorman. All controlled at either end at the base. Quite a breeze up high, and we shook a little. The car was riddled with bullet holes where the Germans shot at a carload of partisans. Two were killed. The next peak beyond where the car stopped was Switzerland. Major Kelley and two of the girls went up the mountain a ways, and slid on some snow and brought back snowballs. A great difference in the air up there. The valley was so cute with its black stone houses and mossy roofs. Church in the centre. Some many brooks running through too. All agreed they could spend two weeks there easily. We stopped in Milan going and coming back. Had lunch there. Went to the famous Milan Cathedral, and to the church where Leonardo da Vinci's painting of The Last Supper is. I was thrilled to see that. The church was badly damaged and all around the painting, but the painting itself was not harmed. It's so old it's getting a little faint. I bought a picture which I will send you. It was all five days well spent. Took a whole day both ways to arrive at Stresa, so we really just had three days there.
Have just had lunch and read the bulletin board. See where my luggage has to be downstairs at 3:00 p.m., so I gotta get busy. Have fun, you and the Mosses. Will write Gladys next.