The Lavigne Letters
Chapter 7

So far I have not run across any letters from my father dated in September.   The first letter after his August 31 VMAIL was dated Oct. 4, 1944.   So I’ll turn to Lt. Col. C.T. McEniry to fill in the gaps,  he writes: 

“Then came the Move to Paris!  A Battery was first into the city. At least that battery, on 2 September, moved from Dreux to world-famous Le Bourget Field, where it established an AA defense. B Battery moved to Le Bourget the next day, and Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery established a C.P. in the Cuban House of the University of Paris.
     Paris was, of course, out of this world!   Newly-liberated and excitingly beautiful, it afforded members of the battalion a wonderful respite from hardships of the previous months. Organized tours enabled the men to see the famous sights of the city, and there was a great deal of souvenir-buying -- especially of perfume.
      During the remaining first half of September the outfit continued a series of moves in the vicinity of Liege.  Air activity was light, and personnel had an opportunity to make many warm acquaintances among the friendly Belgian people. “

On 29 September, by reason of various redispositions, the battalion achieved the unique distinction bf having elements operating in three different countries -- Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. Weather conditions were bad and excessive mud made field conditions most uncomfortable for gun crews. Battalion personnel had their first opportunity to observe V-1 buzz bombs during this period. Their were no casualties.

AA action stepped up a little during October, and the number of buzz bombs increased likewise. Elements of the battalion,
particularly Battery D in the vicinity or Aachen, received considerable enemy shellfire.


October 4, 1944

Dear Claudia,
Well here I am again to say hello and how are you,  as for me I am feeling fine.
I am writing with ink today for a change,  I borrowed the pen from one of the boys,  it writes pretty good but not like the pen Ralph bought me,  not at all.  I’m on guard duty right now,  pretty chilly so I build myself a little fire to keep warm.

At one place where we were there was a big church close by,  so one afternoon after guard duty I went to confession and so for the next four mornings in a row I got up early and went to the seven thirty mass and received holy communion every morning.  One afternoon I decided to go talk with the priest,  he told me the Germans had him prisoner for six months,  he said he hid a French soldier once in his house and the soldier turned out to be a German spy.  This priest gave me cigars and more cigars.  The next day I visited him again and he gave me a sacred image as a souvenir and signed his autograph on the back of it,  he was real nice to me.  

Here’s another list of articles I would like to have,  first a pipe and some smoking tobacco, some cigars, please try to get me a new billfold,  I still got my old one and its shot to hell, another jar of noxzema skin cream, some more soap, and a pair of woolen gloves.  
I see Dad had some crabs on hand for a Saturday night snack,  my but I bet they tasted good,  hope you ate one on me.  

I’ve drank the famous French drink,  that is Champagne,  boy is it good,  I love it,  it taste first like lemon,  it isn’t strong at all,  we paid six dollars and a half for a quart bottle,  that’s a lot of money.   I never ate so much fruit in all my life, these Frenchmen bring to us pears, plums, peaches, grapes, carrots, cabbage, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, string beans, everything you can imagine.  And the girls are sure pretty,  those French girls are really nice, and I know how good they can kiss because I found that out myself, what a smack they give you.  Wow.   Ha Ha.  When we pass through some towns or villages they all throw flowers at you.
In my letters from now on I am going to make it a habit of sending you some foreign coins,  I have quite a lot to send you,  they make darn good souvenirs.
Well here’s hoping its not raining back home today and that you are not working too hard at the store.  So long,  may God bless you,  wishing you the best of luck.  


October 5, 1944

Dear Claudia,
Here I am again to say hello and how are you, as for me I am feeling fine.
We got one cigar apiece yesterday,  but most of the boys gave me theirs,  so I had quite a lot of stogies to smoke.  I might as well tell you what brand they were,  some were Dexters and some El-Roi-Tan,  pretty good cigars.

In this letter I am enclosing another French souvenir,  it’s the Lorraine Cross and the ribbon tied to it represents the French flags, you can wear it on your coat or blouse, it was given to me by a French girl and boy, she was lovely.  She gave me a good kiss to go with it too,  that kiss sure tasted good.

Once in awhile I think back of the days when I first came in the army,  I remember well the day I took my physical examination in Portland, and when we got to Camp Devens, and the long train ride to Texas, a six day train ride.  I sure was lonely during the first weekday in Texas,  but soon got over it.  

It’s pretty chilly out here today,  sure hope the weather is a bit better back home.  Here’s another list of articles I would like to have, a pipe and some smoking tobacco, a pair of gloves, some more soap,  any kind will do, and for tobacco I prefer Edgeworth or Prince Albert, some more blades, and another jar of Noxzema skin cream,  that’s all Sis.

Well today is Thursday I suppose they have a cowboy picture at the Pastime Theater today, maybe Roy Rogers or Charles Starrett eh?
Bet any money Yolande will go and see it.
Received a letter from Calvin yesterday says he weighs 184 now, gosh I wish I weighed that much.  When I get though writing this letter,  I think I’ll drop him a few lines,  seems like he’s getting along fine.  We’re both going to miss the World’s Series which is going to be played between the St. Louis Brauns and the Cardinals,  it should be a good series this year.  
Well, Sis, thats all I can think of for today,  good bye and good luck, and may God bless all of you.

October,  undated

Dear Claudia,
Here I am again to say hello and how are you,  as for me I’m feeling fine.  Today I received from you two packages and three Brunswick Records,  and about four letters,  a good day’s haul.  Thanks for the little first aid kit,  it’s really handy and also thanks very much for the cigars,  both packs were intact.
I am now somewhere in Belgium,  it’s just as pretty as France.  Boy those French girls are really cute,  I think I’ll put one in my barracks bag and bring her home with me.   One girl gave me a prayer,  she said to me to keep it on me at all times.  She said with it on me I shouldn’t fear anything.   It’s a prayer by St. Theresa.  Later on I’ll copy it down and send it home to you.  And boy that gal was pretty too,  she’s a telephone operator in Paris.
I figure the European war will be over in about a month,  lets hope so,  so that we all can return home.
I see that Henry has returned back to his Naval Base.  Yolande must have hated to see him leave.  Oh yes,  I received a letter from Woody yesterday,  it was type written too.  Says he went on the water a bit and was sea sick.  He says he knows what sea sickness is now.   You said in your letter that if I needed anything don’t be afraid to ask for it.  There’s lots of things I’d like to have.  Well here goes the list,  first some more cigars, then a pipe and tobacco,  envelopes,  fountain pen, handkerchiefs, Noxzema cream, a mirror, Vicks vapor rub, plenty of soap, a jackknife, writing paper, after shaving powder, a little coffee especially Chase and Sanborn, and last but not least my own bed and blankets.  Ha Ha.  
I bet Dad really enjoyed listening to the all star football game.  I’m willing to bet any money that he smoked at least a pack and a half of cigarettes throughout the game.   
Well guess that will be all for today,  until tomorrow.  The best of luck, keep your fingers crossed.

October 7, 1944

Dear Claudia,
Here I am again to say hello and how are you,  fine I am sure.
Received a letter from you yesterday and also one from the Wellington girl, one from Yolande and believe it or not, one from a girl who lives not far from Paris.  I already have two pictures of her,  she’s twenty one years old.  I got a great kick out of reading her mushy letters.  Ha Ha.
Incidentally this is German paper I am writing on,  I can’t use ink on it because it will go right through much as I hate to write in pencil,  I have to be satisfied in writing in pencil.  
Well,  I see that the World Series has started and the St. Louis Browns lead the series two games to one.  I guess this is not much interest to you,  but I guess it is for Ralph.
So the cat has his regular chair eh, is he still as skinny as ever?
Well did you go to the movies last night,  seeing that today is Saturday, Oct. the 7,  may I ask what the show was at the Pastime Theater?  And the serial, Captain America, is that still on the screen?
In this letter I am sending you another souvenir from Belgium, and its been blessed and I want you to wear it on your coat or blouse,  the colors red, yellow and black represent the Belgium flag.  
I am making it a habit to send you a list of articles that I want every day,  here goes today’s list.  First I would like and automatic pencil,  remember how I smashed the one that Ralph bought me,  I broke it when I tried to get a pin out of a machine gun,  next in line is a pipe and some smoking tobacco,  some writing paper and plenty of envelopes,  a couple cans of crabmeat, no kidding,  and a few cigars.  I wonder if it is possible for you to get me a cigarette lighter,  I know they’re scarce in the states,  but you never can tell, may find one you know.  And don’t forget to send me plenty of cough drops because it is getting pretty chilly out most of these days.  
Well I guess that is all for today,  goodbye, good luck and may God shed all his blessing on you.  So long till tomorrow.   

PS.  Tell me if you received the medal.   

The next letters are dated in November,  so I will close this chapter,   Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming up,  not such a wonderful time for those living so far from home.