Monday, May 25, 2009

Joe: December 25, 1942


The eastern skies are a golden ocean that stretches from purple mountain to purple mountain. Over this glowing ocean, a halo of pale yellow reaches up until it is transmuted into the deepest blue. The shores of the golden sea are white sand, of course, but as they recede from the molten surf they become darker and grayer until a dull green color predominates. The cactus and yucca-studded beach stretches all the way to the brown mountains of the west which are roofed by the western sky trying to show that the Occident too is a colorful panorama. The blue-gray western clouds are blushing a genteel pink. Is it because they have seen the sun still beneath the eastern horizon or are they showing their anticipation of the home-coming moon--in all its white fullness sailing slowly serenely towards its western moorings?

The description is not so hot, but it is an attempt to show that despite the radio and the jukebox, a white Christmas is not the only kind. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the first Christmas was more like our New Mexico one than the wintry Christmases of Queens Village and points north. All right, the fact that I’m writing letters on Christmas shows which kind I prefer. I think that all twelve of us who came down from Camp Upton feel quite lonely and homesick today.

I myself can’t conceive of being 2800 miles away from you and the Koches. Next door the bugler is practicing, outside cactus is growing, and if I look out the window I can see the desert all around and yet I still think that all I have to do is catch that next bus at Parsons Blvd and have you help me play with the various games and toys of the Nolan younger trio until Frank says, “Whose Christmas presents do you think these are anyway?”

Beautiful. He's a poet. And letters like this one are treasures -- I hope you preserve them.

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