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Chapter Three (Part 1): 1946 Clash of Cultures
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List of story characters
Sophie: P. Frank’s Girlfriend/Bride/Wife
Phillipe: Sophie’s father
Antoinette: Sophie’s mother
Ralph Peasant: P. Frank’s Parisian Lawyer
Robert Nason: Friend of P. Frank
Beulah: P. Frank’s sister
Madame Victoire: P. Frank’s co-worker at Stars and Stripes.
The beginning of 1946 found P. Frank still stationed in Marseille, but anxious to return to Paris. He loved France and particularly Paris. Paris was so alive, it was one of the great cities of the world. There was so much to do there, and of course Sophie lived there. In early January Sophie inked the following letter:
My Darling Little Frank,
After spending the night and day thinking and thinking about your letter of the 8th, I will give you an answer which will bring you great joy. Yes Franky I accept being your wife before you go back to America for I really think that once back in the States, it will not be easy for you to come back without being married now. Although I shall have to wait for your return. But after all I will be sure to see you again. What you have to let me know is the date you think it may take place because my parents have a lot to look after for I wish to get married in white and we have all sorts of formalities to go through. What papers do I have to provide you with? Now my darling I will ask you something. Will it be possible for us to live in France for you know what sorrow I shall have to leave my family immediately. Surely one day we shall have to go to your own country but I should not like to go just now. For once in the States, will it be possible for me to come and see my parents? Let me know all about that Franky.
I hope you’ll get a few days off for our wedding and if so, we may have my cousin’s apartment where we need to fetch some coal. My cousin is now in Biarritz and mother will ask her to send the keys. I hope she’ll agree- for otherwise I don’t know where we could go. Have you an idea?
I will write to Mademoiselle Adrienne and give her the good news and hope knowing that he will let her get married too. See Franky I am happy at the idea that I shall soon be married with the man I love. My parents made no objections to my wish and know all my confidence is in you—Franky for I know I shall be happy with you. I will now end for this evening my little Frank. It’s very late. I kiss you tenderly with all my love.
Your little Sophie
18 January 1946 Paris
How are you my beloved? What did you do today?Yesterday I received 2 big packages from you. I am already in possession of 4 of your packages and I have put them aside.
Do you think you’ll be in Paris next Sunday, because I got a letter this morning from Mademoiselle Adrienne inviting me to come spend the day of February 24th with her. Of course, if you’re here you’ll come as well. So I’d like to know in order to tell her.
Yesterday morning Maman and I went to buy the material for my dress. We found something very pretty and very fine. We will let you see it when you come next time. Have you had word on our marriage application? Do you know if the blood test has been accepted?
Day before yesterday, I received 2 letters from your sisters, Patricia and Beulah. Beulah sent me a photo of herself. She is very pretty and I’m sure that if I knew her I would get along well with her. Beulah tells me that she is 22 years old. I don’t know if the photo sent is recent or out-of-date but your sister has a very young look. Patricia was not able to send me a photo, she didn’t have any at the moment but I think that she should have some made.
My little Frank, I have thought a lot about you today, much more than other days. Are you maybe going to ask me why? A friend who just got engaged about a week ago was complaining that she wasn’t spending as much time with her fiancé as he she wanted to, and me, I asked her “What would you say if your fiancé was at one end of France and you at the other end of France and if you only got to see him every 3 or 4 months?” And so today I was thinking this thought: I would be so happy to be like this girl, seeing my fiancé every day like I wanted only, alas, you are so far from me and I am only able to communicate my thoughts to you on paper. However, one hope lights up my heart; it’s your next leave.
Write me quickly my little Frank. While waiting to read something from you or to see you, I leave you, and embrace you greatly and with all my heart.
Your little Sophie
With a letter dated January 20th, 1946, Sophie’s parents gave P. Frank permission to marry their daughter. Certificate
We, Phillipe and Antoinette living at Avenue Phillippe August, Paris certify that we formulate no opposition to the wedding of our daughter Sophie with Frank .
Done in Paris January 20th 1946
21 January 1946 Paris
In your letter from the 14th of January, you asked me to send you a proof of agreement so that you can complete the documents you constitute for our union. It is very gladly I tell you of my desire to contract marriage with you. I assure you, my dear Frank of all of my affection. - Sophie
25 January, 1946 Paris
My Dear Franky
I hope to have a few minutes this evening so as to be able to send you a few lines.
First of all I will speak of what impresses both and especially you - What we need to know is about papers. Having got your express letter at 12 pm - in which you mentioned the papers. I don’t understand why you are asking us to send immediately the parent’s consent to your wedding Frank you have already that consent in your possession. It is joined to the papers I sent you back- where there was a medical certificate given by our doctor. Our consent required by both of us - and a letter from Sophie giving you consent to marry you. That consent was written on letter papers like the one I am writing now.
I wonder if you found everything? Sophie and I both went this afternoon to the the Maferhic Hotel Avenue Kleher and there we got all inquires for what is necessary to get married to an American Soldier. We asked the Special Services for weddings what Sophie had to do for her blood test. They answered us that it was not at all necessary to have it taken by an American doctor. But for security we went to an American dispensary Avenue Mar-Ma hon
The American nurse to whom I showed Madame Victoire’s (P. Frank’s co-worker with the Stars and Stripes) letter told me that since three months everything had changed and that blood test could be taken by a French doctor. Then tomorrow being Saturday we shall go to our doctor and ask him to do what is necessary so you’ll get it very quickly for I’ll immediately take it to the laboratory. Unless Sophie would not to be able to go tomorrow if too tired. We should then only go next week. I think that I’ve said all that was needed about that.
Another question I wish you to answer me. It’s on the religious side. You know that I wish Sophie to get married at the Catholic Church and I think that on your side you wish to get married as well at the Protestant Church for it’s possible to do so and to keep it secret on our part. I will not tell the Catholic Church that she is getting married as well at the Protestant Church and you will have to do the same on your side.
In Paris, the young girl who gets married has to be married in her parish - but we don’t go to that church. We go to the one you took us once to the services. Therefore in that case you have to give a certain amount of money to your parish to be allowed to marry in another church. So what you heard there in Paris there are 2 American churches where American priest can bless a wedding. It’s La Madeleine and St. Pierre de Chaillot. La Madeleine is the church you know-and who looks like the House of Parliament. It’s the church where I got married. Maybe you would be happy to be married by an American priest. Sophie would get the permission to get married there. Give me your answer and let me know when you think of getting married for it needs 3 weeks to publish the laws. I have to ask for authorization from the Bishop for not being of the same religion. He needs a dispense on your side. I hope you are doing all what’s necessary for the marriage to be legal in America. You see all we have to go through. Sophie will let you know if there’s something else today. wedding dresses for women
Frank I must tell you this I don’t realize all I am doing now for Sophie when I think of it - I can’t help crying. I feel so bad to think my little Sophie will go far away from me. I must tell you that I hesitate to give you my consent, not because it’s you, but because my little Sophie would be taken away from me. To take her so far away I know that you promise me to make her happy and I will see her from time to time and I will have faith in your promise, but you little know how things will get along in the time to come.
The house will be empty without her. I won’t hear her playing the piano. You can understand Frank all I suffer - and maybe you’ll think I’m not ready to speak thus - but one day you’ll understand why I am feeling you all that Sophie will tell you herself when she’ll speak English fluently. For me understand both so well and the little ones you’ll have and that I won’t know. That’s terrible for me. Frank you have to promise me to make Sophie very happy. I believe you-and feel sure you’ll do all what is possible to do so - I shall never forget your promise. You must have a very nice mother and I hope she will look after my little girl as her own one, for she will be far from her family and she’ll surely need advices. You must think that your mammy is writing you a funny letter. I will close now my paper to be to bed. So I don’t think of anything for tonight Frank. Love from all
30 January 1946
This morning I got your letter of the 27th. If you knew, Frank, how worried I am. Sometimes, I wonder if we will ever be married and if you will not be forced to leave before it can happen. I don’t understand very well what you are trying to say about this marriage being recognized by the Army. If you want to get married under French laws, there are certainly other formalities and if we must resort to that, it will certainly be necessary that you furnish us with some papers that you surely must have sent to you from America and also I think that in order to simplify the situation, tomorrow we will perhaps go to the Hotel Majestie in order to have better information. If from your side, you know something please let me know.
One thing, Franky, that I would really like to know and to which you haven’t responded, obviously it isn’t maybe very easy for you, but for us it would allow us to get things organized. That is the approximate wedding date. It’s of no importance that our marriage may not be recognized by the Army provided that in the US it will still be valid for my American citizenship. Is this the same thing?
I think that your hotel at the Gare de Lyon (name of one of the local train stations) is closed as of today. I heard it from the person I know that works there. You asked me Franky, if your blanket would work for me. Of course, my little Frank, and I thank you for it immensely. I am going to have a coat made for myself with it because I really need one. Of course I will have it dyed brown. I really wanted to be able to bring more clothes to America than I have but here everything is so expensive and there is nothing attractive. Then coupons are necessary and as we don’t have any or very few, you have to buy them and that is terribly expensive.
Too bad, I’ll leave with what I have and I’ll buy what I need in America. While I’m on the subject of clothes, if I didn’t think I’d bother you, I’d ask you if in America it wouldn’t be possible to find for a little white garment in wool or angora or something else somewhat warm to put over my wedding dress because right now it’s not very warm and if we get married this month the temperature will still be rather cold. It’s very difficult to find anything white here. Maman has tried to find some from her friends that work with wool but there are only colored garments at present. Have you told your parents about our wedding?
’m going to end my little journal for this evening. I embrace you with all my heart and very hard and I love you with all my soul.
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