“You Mustn’t Let It Bother You Too Much”


. . . The weather was bad today so I dashed off a mural in the bar. A raunchy little pilot in his sack dreaming of a boy and a girl whipping down the Great White Way pleasurebent. It’s a subject that is somehow very familiar to me, and the girl though blond looks surprisingly like Betty Lou—purely subconscious....

I love ya!Rarey


February 22, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

. . . I’ve made a momentous decision—I’m going to take a bath tonight! I have some clean sheets and pajamas, the laundry having just been returned, and I can’t bear to dirty ‘em up with my old sloppy body. This bathing is quite a ritual and takes place once a week—like the Sabbath. We have a big washroom with long concrete sinks in it. The English name for a washroom is the Ablution (weird these cousins of ours). Flavin and I have devised the following method of bathing: The place is provided with small iron tubs like footbaths—well, you stand in one of them, being careful not to lose your balance—and placing the other one in the sink, you sort of soap up, then douse tub after tub over your head to remove the soap—after which you emerge clean as the driven snow and just about as cold. It’s really wonderful. Oh, for a long white sparkling tub, a tall Scotch, and Betty Lou to scrub my back. Such is the stuff that dreams are made of. Good night, my darling.

All my love,Rarey

February 25, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou, . . . You are even more in my thoughts than usual—is it time for the expectant father to get panicky? I haven’t been checked out in this business. Maybe I’m premature but, pal, I get weak as hell when I think of the time approaching. I’m there with you, darling, every minute. It’s probably a good thing I’m not there in person because I’d be an awful bother. I want to be so worthy of this whole business, and there seems so damn little I can do....


March 5, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

. . . We were released from operations for the day, so I spent it painting insignias on airplanes. It went well and sort of gives personality to an otherwise pretty cold collection of machinery. I think it means quite a bit to the pilots, and the crews that keep the planes in shape get a kick out of them, too. And I enjoy doing it, a good thing all around.

We had fried chicken tonight and it was pretty special—nothing like the miracle that your mother can bring about with a bird and some odds and ends but above par for the Army—sort of seemed like Sunday all day....

Your old roommate,Rarey

March 9, 1944

Darling Betty Lou,

. . . I still don’t know who is sending those New Yorkers but I certainly enjoy them. I like to race through “Goings on About Town” and imagine what we’d do if we were going out on the town. Now during the week of January 29, 1944, we would have started early some evening and had cocktails at any one of a dozen quiet little pubs we know of—maybe dinner at Bonet’s or maybe the Waldorf. We could see “The Scoundrel” at the Little Carnegie—or we could see a play—then some fat hot dogs at Nedick’s and maybe revival shopping down 42nd Street where with luck we could see Jean Gabin in one of those moody and violent French things. Or we could say to hell with it and surrounding ourselves with cigarettes, choice morsels from the nearby deli, and a jug, make love until the sun came up—and then make more love....



March 13, 1944

Dear Betty Lou,

. . .The flight set-up has been changed a bit. In the States there were four flights but here they are only three. Each flight has two sections of four. In our flight, which is D, Ray is the flight commander, and I am his assistant and leader of the second section. I like the arrangement very much. Fuchs is a prince—his wide experience and ability make ours easily the strongest flight in the outfit, and I am learning things from him that normally I would have to pick up through experience and trial and error. This has a very real advantage because errors in this business can be costly. It also divides the responsibility, and you know why the Lord gave us agility. All in all, a fine set-up. Bill has A flight and Doc has C flight.

The stuff we’ve done would probably make pretty dull reading in “Battle Aces” or “True Adventures” but taking these slow joes in and out through come what may is a good job for the money. You only have to see one of those big beauties go down, and you’re a confirmed escort pilot from then out....


March 16, 1944

Dearest Betty Lou,

. . . So now your time is your own. That’s fine, Betty Lou. I know that you will miss the gals you worked with at Lend-Lease, the lunches, the good chats —that’s all fine, and you must keep in touch with them. As you say, after the baby arrives, you will be quite busy—until then just take it easy, catch up on that morning sleep.

Let’s not have any more nonsense about this finance thing—you shouldn’t thank me for anything. I have nothing that isn’t completely yours. You’re the secretary and treasurer of the firm of Rarey, Rarey & Rarey, a job that you have performed splendidly—I salute you!...

Until soon,Rarey

March 22, 1944

Darling Betty Lou,