This is the fourteenth of 87 letters exchanged during World War II between Nicholas Salvatore and Elizabeth Galloway.
For more see Nicholas and Elizabeth.

The war meets the old world

The end of days, 1943


Dear Elizabeth,

Behind every mountain there’s another mountain. I think it’s all this country consists of. It looks as though we’re not going much of anywhere anytime soon. You know, as a boy I never imagined going camping and yet here I am. I also never imagined being in a war or wearing a uniform or constantly fearing for my life along with the lives of thousands of strangers. Most boys dreamed of battle glory, I believe, but they never would’ve used real blood. No, it took logical, rational, well-educated adults to come up with that and all too many ways to destroy flesh. There are endless ways to take a life and so few ways to create one.

I hope everything is okay out there. Have I been complaining too much? I know we all suffer, no matter if we’re in a war zone or in a small town in Texas. We have this marvelous way of convincing ourselves there’s something else we need that keeps us from being happy and leads us to suffer. We don’t have to speak of these things if you don’t want, but as I continue to get no response from you I don’t know what else to talk about. We can talk about whatever you want – how when I fall asleep I see your soft eyes, how the sun graciously rises in the distance, a new pair of shoes you looked at in a store window, what Jack Benny said about Fred Allen last night – anything. Tell me about the daises. Let’s keep talking.

If I don’t hear from you, don’t worry, I’ll stop. You’re under no obligation, I know that, it’s only that writing letters like this is one thing that I did daydream about when I was a boy. How silly is that? If you decide not to, I understand and know that I have no hard feelings. Maybe we’ll meet again by chance.

Since we won’t talk before it, have a very Merry Christmas and ring in 1944 with a drink for me.


Next letter – January 2, 1944