Raymond A. Bumgarner - Military Memories - WWII

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Pfc. Raymond A. Bumgarner  SN 38 578 538

HQ Co, 2nd BN, 397th Infantry, 100th Division

[1940-Sep 21, 1944 (in U.S.) ]   [Sep 28 1944-Dec 1944]   [1st Half 1945]    [2nd Half 1945]     [1946]


Created by Carol Bumgarner King   email:  kingcarol@msn.com

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Memories Journal, Letters, Comments

Journal of "Military Memories" opened June 16, 1945 at Uhingen, Germany

Letters were written home to his parents and sister.

Photos and Misc.
Jan 1, 1945 Journal – OP at Guising, me, Red, and Maty, in F Co. pillbox.  Heavy shells.  Rockets – heavy shelling.  Relieved by Tex, John, & Tom.    Germans launch New Years offensive, are beaten back.


Operations of the 100th Infantry Division

Oct 1944 to May 1945

Jan 1 - 10, 1945 "The Story of The Century" booklet; "100th Holds the Counter Offensive"------>


Jan 6, 1945

Journal – 2 bn. relieves 3rd on line at Rimling.  Hot spot.  3rd is glad to leave.  Snipers in town, shells falling at random.


The Battle of Bitche

December 11, 1944 to March 15, 1945

Jan 7, 1945 Journal – Quiet day.  Bn takes a few prisoners who say German push is planned.
Jan 8, 1945 Journal – Germans attack at 0430 with tanks & inf, yelling like mad.  Heavy shelling preceded attack.  Mark IV comes down street, followed by inf.  Our boys have bazookas, but can’t locate safety catch in dark.  Tank stops in front of CP, we let go with grenades and rifles, kill 3.  Tank withdraws, later is KO’d by bazooka.  Infantry attack is repulsed.  By daybreak Jerries draw back & start shelling us with all they’ve got.  Snipers are numerous.  Johnson is hit.  AT loses guns and 2 squad leaders, and Corey.
Jan 9, 1945 Journal – Jerries are reported all around us.  “H” Co. stops attack at our flank.  Shelling is heavy.  We send for help, none comes, so we withdraw toward Guising about dark, just as the Jerries swarm over the hill and enter the town.  Our artillery levels Rimling and Jerries in it, with 4,000 rounds.  We hike back to Rhorbach at night during snowstorm.  Very tired.
Jan 17, 1945

Letter to parents and sis: 


Jan. 17, 1945

Dear Mom,


Since I haven't a thing else to do right at the moment, I'll get off a little note to you.  Not much to talk about as usual, but may haps I can fill a couple pages.  You'd think a man in France would have plenty to write about, but military censorship covers everything pretty closely.  You're not supposed to know anything except that I'm safe (comparatively), well, and warm.  Go me a new fur lined field jacket today - boy, is it the nuts!  Warm as toast.  I'm wearing about six layers of clothes, ha - undershirt (wool), my gift sweater, wool shirt, GI wool sweater, a fatigue jumper, fur lined field jacket, then my combat field jacket - egad, that's seven!  It's a little too much for hiking or hard exercise, but I need it every bit when in an observation post or standing guard.  Am wearing three pair of wool socks inside my Arctic shoe paks, and I have a big GI wool scarf, and the gloves you sent.  Am wearing two pair of trousers over my long-handles, too.  I can stand right out in a blizzard and be perfectly warm - except for my nose - ha!  But I can put my scarf up over my face if it gets too severe.


Just got the news that the Russians took Warsaw and are almost to the German border.  More power to 'em!  Maybe Jerry will be sorry he brought so many troops to the western front, after all.  'Spect it won't be long 'till we boys down here are going to make some big news - if Jerry starts running again.  I hope the bad news of late hasn't caused you to worry too much about me.  Jerry hasn't overrun the fighting Century yet!  And he won't.


I still have a few little souvenirs I'd like to send home - don't know if I'll ever get 'em off or not.  I have that Nazi knife I want to send, but don't know whether the censor will pass it or not.  I may give it a try tomorrow.  I don't have me a pistol yet - about half the guys have picked up either a German Luger or a .45 automatic.  They're pretty much in demand.


Note by daughter Carol:  The Nazi knife and a German Luger was in a box of German things that Dad kept in a box at the top of his closet.  We found it after he died in 2000.  Steve, my brother, took these things to a WWII museum.


Well, my camera and my correspondence course are still in my duffle bag, wherever that is!  Back in a warehouse at division hdgs, I suppose.  I wonder if we'll ever get into those bags again?  A lot of guys have cameras and so forth in them.  I wish I could be taking a few snaps now and then, but I'd probably lose the camera sooner or later if i tried to carry it around with me.  And the correspondence course is impossible to carry  I guess I should write the institute to forget about me 'till the war's over, ha.  Unless I stop something and wind up in a hospital.  Then I can have it sent to me, and perhaps catch up a little.  I'm only behind one lesson, tho, as it is.


Well, Mom, I hope those cans of venison are on their way soon.  I'm really looking forward to some good meat.  They feed us very well,  - chicken, gravy, pudding, tea, today - but I like something substantial to eat for a mid-day snack.  Haven't been doing so bad, tho - one of the drivers with us made a couple of apple pies.  And today we got a couple of pounds of beef from an undisclosable source and fired it.  It was tough, but good.


I'm afraid the cut under my eye is going to leave a small scar.  It's still puffed up a little - seems to be some hard flesh formed under the skin.  So I guess I've got a worse bag than ever under me peeper.  It was bad enough as it was.


I wrote to Russell Gray yesterday.  I haven't any idea what part of France he's in, but I'm pretty sure he's not in this sector any place.


Well, the boys want to move the table out and go to bed, so guess I'll have to quit.  Ink's running out, too.

Bye noe.  Write lots, and often.

Your affectionate veteran of too many wars.


Photos in Raymond's things:  Dates Unknown; Raymond in 1st 4....


Names unknown in following pix......


Jan 20, 1945 Journal – Moved to Petit Rederching.  Relieve bn of 63rd Div.  Light shelling and patrol clashes.
Jan 21, 1945 Journal – Moved to Frohmuhl, fwd CP.  Much snow.  No action.  Quiet for several weeks.  Set up OP in pillbox near Hottviller, behind our lines  No action.  Occasional shelling.

Feb 19, 1945

Letter to parents and sis: 

Somewhere in France

Feb 19, 1945

Dear Mom,


Tho' there's not much to write today, I suppose I can rattle off a page or two.  It's Sunday again - time seems to be passing more swiftly of late.  Guess I'm beginning to get accustomed to things over here.   Your V-mail of Feb. 2 came in yesterday.  I certainly hope the mail situation over your way clears up.  I hate to think of you not hearing from me, just when the vaunted German New Year's offensive has been in all the home papers so big and scary.  I fear it has caused you a lot of undue anxiety, my last letter being written on the fateful day.


Hope you got the copy of the Stars and Stripes I sent (in an air mail envelope)?  If so, you know which Army I'm a part of - if you read it carefully.  I've been fortunate, I guess, in being sent to a sector that has been relatively quiet so far.  It has had its action, of course, but nothing like the Ardennes mess.  The Ardennes mess is responsible for your not getting my January letters.  Shipping was too crowded - so the mails had to wait.  You should be getting a pile of letters soon, if you haven't already.


I wrote you some time ago that I had a few souvenirs to send you.  Well, all I've got now is the knife - lost the little trinkets - no good anyway.  I don't think the knife can be mailed.  One of the fellows had one just like it and it was taken out of his package before it got home.  Maybe I'd just best hang on to it.  I'm gonna get me a Luger pistol some one of these days, if I fine one on a prisoner.  (I don't expect to go prisoner hunting - but our section often gets to search those that are brought back to the CP.)


Get me private room all fixed up nice and cosy - because I'm gonna come home and sleep for about a month when the war's over.  I'll sleep in there at night and on the couch a la Dagwood in the daytime!


Fae, my busy little co-ed, your brudder is desirous of an acknowledgement of yer love for him.  "Vergtehen zie?" (Understand?)  Here's my love for you - now let's have yours.  Finis.


Your disconsolate, distant doughboy,


Feb 26, 1945 Journal – Paris!  Leave on chow truck, to sv. co., arrive Paris 4 P.M. on the 27th.  Three days of sightseeing, shows, loafing.


Feb 31, 1945

(hmmmm by Carol, Feb 31????)

Journal – Leave Paris 10 A.M.  All day on trucks, to div. rear.
Mar 1, 1945 Journal – Return to unit, still in Frohmuhl.
Mar 4, 1945 Journal – Went on night recon patrol in front of lines.  Ran into squad of Jerries and two M6 nests.  Crawled 300 yds in mud, no casualties.  Received 6 or 8 rds of 50 mm.
Mar 14, 1945 Journal – Moved to Hottwiller.  Light shelling, big air show.
Mar 15, 1945 "The Story of the Century" booklet; "36 Hours to Change History"----->


Mar 15, 1945 Journal – Jerries threw heavy rockets.
Mar 16, 1945 Journal – Bn attacked 0200, thru Schorbach, to high hill NE of Bitche.  Bitche surrendered to 398 without fight.  Slept in Jerry trench with Harner, Max, and an E Co. man.  Light shelling, air show, snipers.  That was my last night in a hole in the ground in the ETO



March 17, 1945 "Stars and Stripes" newspaper with article:  "7th Army Takes Bitche"  -----> Click to open-> "Stars and Stripes" newspaper


Mar 17, 1945 Journal – Hiked to Breidenbach and on to Waldhousen, near border.  We slept in a cellar beneath a wrecked house.  No action, but the town was a wreck.  Regimental CP was there ahead of us.
Mar 18, 1945 Journal – Took it easy.  Wrote letters.
Mar 20, 1945 Journal – Truck ride to Schwan across German border.  Stayed in a former German CP with straw bunks.  Non-fraternization policy was broken first night in Germany!

 Date unknown

Mar 22, 1945 Journal – Boarded trucks to form task force, with a platoon of tanks and TD’s.  Took off for the Rhine!  Drove without opposition thru the Hardt Mtns to Primasens.  Spent night in a German training camp barracks.
Mar 23, 1945 Journal – Continued our drive east, to village just east of Nuestadt.  Tom found a motorcycle and played around with it.
Mar 24, 1945 Journal – Moved around in trucks all day, finally wound up in Oggersheim, near Ludwigshafen.  Had CP in a big two story house.  In Corps Reserve, at last!  Close order drill and curfew was thrown at us.  Began learning to play accordion.  Henderson leaves for Corps, Max becomes S-2, John takes over section.  Saw 3 movies here.  Had practice march.
Mar 29, 1945 Journal – Truck ride to Ludwigshafen, across the Rhine on ponton bridge, then Mannheim, down autobahn to Eppleheim.  Tex was evacuated with yellow jaundice next day.
Mar 31, 1945 Journal – Hiked out from Eppelheim along super highway to Wiesbach.  We were fired on by SP guns, took cover in factory.  Saw Jerry jet plane.  Moved into town, set up CP in large house.  Several prisoners came in.
Apr 1, 1945 Journal – Easter Sunday.  Marched out of Wiesbach to Sinsheim.  Again fired at by SP guns (time fire) and mortars.  Tom went to div. rest.
Apr 3, 1945 Journal – Pushed on to little village of Turfeld by truck.  Arrived in midnight rain, chased people out on 15 min. notice.  Set up CP in parsonage.
Apr 4, 1945 Journal – Boarded trucks for Heilbronn.  On way got mortar fire.  Arrived Heilbronn amid battle and shelling.  Set up CP in house.  Slept in cellar.  Several close shells during night.  Rocket barrage.


100th Division  - The Battle for Heilbronn

April, 1945

Apr 5, 1945 Journal – Companies prepared to cross in assault boats, one at a time.  Succeeded, not a shot fired.
Apr 6-8, 1945 Journal – Waited around CP, sweating out crossing.  Houck gets jaundice, goes back.  Intermittent shelling.
Apr 9, 1945 Journal – Cross river with CP Group to factory.  Take 95 prisoners back across by ferry.
Apr 10, 1945 Journal – Cross river again with CP group – go up to E Co positions, then back.  Mod. shelling, some close.
Apr 11, 1945 Journal – Cross river for good, to set up CP in factory district.  Large house with good strong cellar is picked.  Missed ferry with section on it, crossed alone later.  Quiet day.
Apr 12, 1945 Journal – Heavy shelling and rockets.  Counter attack expected.
Apr 13, 1945 Journal – Linked with 1st bn, received tank support.  More shells.
Apr 14, 1945 Journal – Went forward to G Co with colonel.  Snipers encountered.  Took PWS to rear CP and across river.
Apr 15, 1945 Journal – Went up with CP group to OP.  Rifle companies assaulted hill.  Took 100 refugees across river.
Apr 16, 1945 Journal – Heilbronn ours.  Push out to Ober Heinriet.  Ran into resistence in town – direct fire from hills.  CP in farmhouse.  PW cage in barn.  Had to guard PWS all night, almost.  Close shells, burp guns during night.
Apr 17, 1945 Journal – Germans all around us.  Jerries attack with infantry and SP guns at 2 PM, repulsed by our tank fire and mortars.  Rations low.  Tanks out of ammo.
Apr 18, 1945 Journal – Jerries quieter.  Intermittent shelling.  B Co. comes to aid with ammo and rations.  Small arms skirmishes around town in hills.  Many prisoners.
Apr 19, 1945 Journal – Shoved off in AM.  Ran into mg & snipers, and rocket barrage.  Waited in large hole for letup.  Moved into Unter Heinriet, drew direct fire from hills.  Moved out into woods, drew mortar fire.  Meckel hit.  Moved thru light resistance into burning Etylenswenden.  Took many prisoners, including major and staff.  Tom found Luger, Red found .25.  Baker found P-38.

   Don't know when these were taken, but it looks like GI's are sporting German stuff...  maybe taken from prisoners?  (Raymond is only in top 2 pics.


Apr 21, 1945 Journal – Companies fan out to adjoining towns.  Weasel comes up with rations.  Some suspected civilians rounded up.  Go forward in eve. to C Co. to help with wounded.  Return with one casualty.
Apr 22, 1945 Journal – Go up to bring back PWs – bring back three civilians reported to be sniping in Billensbach.
Apr 23, 1945 Journal – Lead CP group up to Kaisersbach and Billensbach, cleared by F Co.  Tanks draw direct 75 fire, rockets.  Discover loaded Nedelwerfer aimed at our CP in Etylenswenden!  CP in gasthaus.
Apr 24, 1945 Journal – Took message up to E co. at Maad.  CP moved up to Maad.  Colonel went forward thru snipers.  Lt. Heitmann hit by sniper.  Took PWs back to rear CP at Etylenswenden.  Forman gets notice of commission, goes back.  Bn moves to gasthaus in small village, every one gets happy on wine and cognac.  Move on in evening to another small village.   CP in schoolhouse.
Apr 24, 1945

Letter to parents and sis: 


April 24, 1945

Dear Mom,


Ah, how time flies by!  Here is is almost the end of April, and I haven't gotten this war over with yet!  Well, I've always said it would take us 'till July to clean things up, and it looks like my prophecy might turn out to be pretty near right.  I hope it ends much sooner, tho.


......  I wish they'd get a hustle on with that package of mine.  I could do with some eats right now, although am far from going hungry.  They've been giving us two hot meals a day - breakfast and supper - and K rations for lunch.  And a guy like me who loves food so well likes to have more than a K ration for lunch!  heh - we really did okay some time ago - we stayed a few nights in a town where there was a German army warehouse full of canned fruit, eggs, canned meat, and a lot of "junk".  I really developed an appetite for eggs - fried, boiled, every way!  Irequest that you send me about a pound of cookies, a pound of candy, a few small cans of Vienna sausage or similar meat, a small jar of peanut butter, and a pound of crackers, preferably graham.  That should make a pretty decent lunch or two for me and the boys, don't you think?


And for the sleeping end of things.  These houses all have nice bedrooms with matched furniture usually.  They're quite modern - I'd say more so on the average than the bedrooms of American homes, all considered.  The typical German bedroom contains matched walnut twin beds, sofa, walnut closet, fancy dresser, a few chairs to match, and bedside table with electric radio.  (These houses are all wired for current, even in the woods - in one town not long ago we caught the jerries asleep and they didn't get to cut the wires - so we had electric lights and music!)  Well, the beds are all equipped with good mattresses and feather-filled quilts, and do they feel good!  One can really sleep on 'em, when it's not too crowded!  Heh - we usually get one bedroom for the section, which means six guys all after the beds.  We usually draw cards and the unfortunate sleep on the floor on whatever they can drag out of the cellar or attic.  Last night I slept in some sort of a child's bed, about a foot too short - but I slept.


Spring is kinda funny here - like the other day - it had been warm and sunny for several days, then all of a sudden it clouds up and starts to sleet!  Covered the ground about two inches.  The fruit trees were all in blossom, so I guess it killed it.  I hope that's the last of that sort of thing.  I nearly froze, even tho it wasn't so cold.


So you decided to keep the tractor, eh Pop?  Couldn't find a buyer who'd pay enough for it?  I guess you're right about tractors going to be scarce after the war.  They say industry is going to start making them soon as possible, but there'll be a lot of veterans going back to the farms that are going to want a lot of new equipment.  With the money Uncle Sam is giving them they'll be buying a lot of cars, trucks, tractors, etc., first crack out of the box.


No, Mom, I never did play that harmonica solo for the sarge - we pulled out that day.  I still have my ole hapr, and blow a tune once in a while.  One fellow in the company, (a mechanic who rides all the time) has a fiddle, and I've sawed on it a little a couple of times lately.  I'm pretty rusty at it, and the fellows almost chased me out of the house - ha!


Oh, yes - I nearly forgot - I got myself a pistol the other day, off a "Volksturm" - civilian soldier.  It won't interest you, Mom - but for Pop's interests, it's a Mauser .32 automatic, with a shoulder holster.  I'm a real "gangster" now, hah!  The Jerries'll never catch me unarmed now!  I intend to bring it home with me.


Well, chow is here, so I must run!

Here's love and a prayer, from your loving,


Apr 25, 1945 Journal – Moved out on foot – took long march to small village.  CP in old PW prison.  Got on trucks about midnite, rode all morning.


100th Division - Finale

Apr 26, 1945 Journal – Arrived Murrhardt about sunrise.  Walked to Oppelsbohm without opposiion.
Apr 27, 1945 Journal – Boarded trucks.  Rode through driving rain to small village, dismounted, walked on to Aichsckeiss.  Surprised bn of krauts.  Got Mauser .32.  Bn took 360 PWs.  Jerry major shoots self.  John finds Kraut with rifle, takes him pris.  First town with electricity.  Tom collects seven pistols.
Apr 29, 1945 Journal – Trucks to Deizisau.  Have nice house to sleep in.  No opposition.
Apr 30, 1945 Journal – Forman returns with bars.  Hoover goes back for commission.

Apr 31, 1945

(hmmm by Carol Apr 31?)

Journal – Move to Stuttgart.  Patrol city for utilities, chase Ghoums out of civilian’s homes.
May 3, 1945 Journal – Leave by truck, go to Holyheim.  Snow, rain.
May 3, 1945

Letter to parents and sis: 


May 3, 1945

Dearest Family,


Again I sit me down to send across the saves a recording of my thoughts and doings.  Not much I can say about my doings, but perhaps I can convey to you the idea that everything is "hunky-dory", as Mom says and I'll not try to dig up any gripes or complaints, other than the one that I ain't at home where I want to be.


I got your letter of April 15th t'other day, Mom, after I'd already answered the one of the 20th.  Kinda crossed up!  The last one was a very sweet and motherly letter, and I wanted to hug you when I'd read it.  Mothers are wonderful things to have.


I was glad to hear that my cash account has been of help to you - glad you're using it, I mean.  Any time you need some of it don't hesitate to take it.  I don't know of any better investment.  By the way - just how much have you deposited for me, to date?  I hope all my assortment of checks has been reaching you okay.  The last one was $54+.  That's in addition to the $40 per mo. allotment.


Rest of letter missing.

May 5, 1945 Journal – KP, of all things!
May 7, 1945 Journal – Practice march in morn.  Softball, movies in eve.
May 8, 1945 Journal – VE Day.  Loafed all day.
May 10, 1945 Journal – Bn moved to Weissenhorn as occupation force.  CP in large gasthouse.  Had gym, theater, swimming pool, ball fields, nice barracks.  Went on occasional patrol.  Picked up suspicious civilians.  Started sign painting.  Nice set-up.  Tex returns.
Jun 3, 1945 Journal – Pleasure trip to Lake Constance.  Took pictures, walked around with Tex and Busch.

Jun 11, 1945 Journal – Bronze Star.


Jun 12, 1945 Journal – Relieved at Weissenbarn by 71st Div.  Move by trucks to Uhingen, near Goppingen.
Jun 13, 1945 Journal – KP again.
Jun 16, 1945

Journal – Built volley ball court.  Movie “Flame of Barbary Coast” in P.M.


( The following was on  inside cover page of Memories Journal.  Journal was opened on Jun 16, 1945.  Double strike through means he X’d out those numbers.)

To Pacific – 97 – 86 – 95 – 104 / 2 – 5 – 44 – 87 – 13A / 4 – 8 – 5 


Occupation – 36 – 82 – 29 – 30 – 65 – 1 – 1A – 4A – 9 – 42 – 3

Deactivated – 63


In Pacific – 96 – 7 – 77 – 37 – 6M – 11AB – 1 Cav. – 6 – 24 – 25 – 27 – 33 – Amrcl – 41 – 43


To Embark in ’45 for States –

Aug. – 85 – 28 – 30 – 20A

Sept. – 14A – 5A – 6A – 7A – 17AB – 88 – 91 – 35 – 45 – 103

Oct – 9A – 92 – 26 – 79 – 99

Nov – 10A – 10Mtn – 13AB – 83 – 63 – 106

Dec – 2A – 11A – 34 – 90 – 80 - 76

To Remain thru ’45 – 3A – 8A – 12A – 16A – 101AB – 42 – 65 – 66 – 69 – 70 – 71 – 75 – 78 – 89 – 94 – 100 – 102

Jun 17, 1945 Journal – Church.  Loafed all eve.
Jun 19, 1945 Journal – Began wearing fatigues.  Visited swimming pool, got nice sunburn.  Horseshoes.
Jun 20-30, 1945 Journal – Real old garrison life, goofing off in mornings, loafing, swimming, badminton, ping pong in afternoon.  Occasional movie.

Jun  29, 1945

Letter to parents and sis: 

Uhingen, Germany

June 29 1945

Dearest Ones,


Hold your hats - here comes another helping of my chatter and gossip, from the latest dope to his family.  (Joke)  Just got back from a USO show over in Halzheim, near Goppingen.  It was one of the best I've seen yet.  Was a lot more original and different from most of them.  There were 4 girls and 4 men in it, and they knew what the GI's like.


The enclosed photos are my "Lake Constance" products, and some that were made in Weissenhorn before we moved.  I'm quite proud of the scene of the trees with the reflections - one of the best I ever took.  The close-up of me didn't turn out as well as I wanted, but it's me.


------General family chatter here-----


Now here's the latest rumor - and it's from a good, reliable source - we are coming home next March!  That's what the present plan is supposed to be - but it could be changed.  I've heard that one before, and if it's true it means that we'll be in the States quite a while when we do get there, and may not have to go to Japan at all!  Good rumor, and I like to believe it.  Little things here and there are adding up, and I think we'll be here for some time - at least 3 or 4 months.


So you can send me some eats, Mom, "tout suite".  I request the following - 1 pound of candy, pound of cookies, dry soup mix.  Well, it becomes late, so I must close.  Have to go stand an hour of guard at midnight.  Write lots, and send those pkgs.  (I'm getting fed better lately, but I'm still hungry.)


Love from yours to mine,


Mid 1945 (guess)

Letter from Raymond's Dad to Raymond - no date or envelope

Dear Son,


Guess I had better add my two cents worth once more.  Ma and Fay do most of the writing.  They have more time and energy than I do.  Since my hired hand got knocked out I am sure having to hit the ball - seven days a week and part of the nights.  You had better get out of the Army and help me hold down this farm.


We sure are anxious to find out about what they are going to do with you.  Of course we are hoping you don't have to go to the Pacific.  Looks like they would let you fellows know a few things.


We were right proud of the citation and medal you received.  Of course we will kinda brag about it in a round about way to our neighbors.  Will have to show it to "Boober" Bell to really get it advertised.


Sure would like to go fishing once more.  When you get home, we will go up and see if that big one that got away from you is still there.  Maybe he will be there and you will catch him, and then you will be glad he got away before. 


Had the car overhauled.  Sure runs better.  Have been out over $200 on it and it needs some more yet.  Was just about a wreck.  Want to have it painted some time this summer.  Fay is trying to learn to drive but I am afraid she will never make it. 


Guess I'll close and go to bed.


As ever, your dad,


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