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

Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

October 24, 1944

From my hospital bed

Dear Elizabeth,

Forgive me. I don’t want to be out of your life. I don’t want anything of the sort. I hate this place. I hate being here and being useless. They’re fighting and dying and I’m doing what? I don’t know. They’ve let me start helping out around here – menial tasks for the most part but the other night they were overwhelmed and I was able to help with some of the wounded. I can still help save them.

Laying here, staring at the ceiling – I’ve never felt more terrible. And yet I couldn’t get myself to do anything, to give a damn about anything. I didn’t want to look at your picture or read your letters. I didn’t want anything. I don’t know what happened to change it but the other day I woke up early – long before sunrise – and stared around this wretched place. The others in their beds, some fast asleep, some moaning in pain, the nurse going about her duties, shells in the far distance. I got up and asked her what I could do to help. It was as if I was watching myself do it. She told me to get back in bed. I complied but sat, writing stories in my head – something I haven’t done for a long time. Stories of you and me. What we’d do in Chicago – all the places I could take you. You talk about beauty that’s everywhere. That’s where we’ll be.

We never discussed religion but I was raised Roman Catholic. Wait, what am I saying? Of course we talked about it on our walk. We talked of lots of things. Guilt is a terrible thing, especially when it’s not your fault but you can’t help from feeling it. Ah, anyway, I should stop writing and start doing. I love you Elizabeth, and always will.


PS – I just heard the Cubs finished in fourth – 30 games back. I’m sure Pop is right – next year for sure. Of course, he’s said that every year since I was born, but he’s gotta be right eventually.

Next letter – October 24, 1944