Homesick General Eisenhower Writes of a WWII Visit to Jerusalem and Levant at Christmas

December 26, 1943

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Homesick General Eisenhower Writes of a WWII Visit to Jerusalem and Levant at Christmas
Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages | SMC 708

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      Background

      Eisenhower had only been the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Forces for two days when he wrote this letter – but he didn’t bother to mention the promotion to his wife, Mamie; what he wanted to say is that he felt like a traveling salesman, all his days were the same, and Christmas had been flat. That, and she was his darling, his sweet, he loved her and hoped that when the war was over, their long partings would be at an end.
       
      He mentions that among his travels throughout the Mediterranean, he visited Jerusalem – for two hours; he had gone there, actually, for pleasure, taking a break from presenting to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, in Cairo, his view of the  military situation in the region.
       
       During the past few weeks I've had the existence of a traveling man. Been to Cairo - (Jerusalem for a 2 hr visit) - Tunis - Italy - Sicily - Oran – etc. Some places I stayed 2 hrs - some a whole week. You can see that I've had little time for routine existence! My latest trip to Italy was completed last night - it lasted a week!... I've had a good case of homesickness lately. Nothing has been exactly right & everybody about me is having a tough time. I try to hang on to some shreds of a good disposition, but it does get tough at times.
       
      Now he is returning to a move into a hotel, which he dreads; complaining that he’ll have to let go of some of the people upon whom he depends. An example, he says, is “the darkies [his valet Sgt. John Moaney] that live in my house with Mikey [Mickey McKeogh] & the steward.”  Eisenhower’s use of a racial epithet was not, for him, unusual. But Sgt. Maoney stayed with Eisenhower throughout the White House years, and he and his wife worked for the Eisenhowers at Gettysburg.


      Autograph Letter Signed (“Ike”), as Supreme Allied Commander, 3 pages, quarto, no place [Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force Headquarters], December 26, [1943]. To his wife, Mamie. With transmittal envelope bearing his full signature “Dwight D. Eisenhower,” as censor.
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      Dec 26

      My darling

      I came down to the office bright & early this morning to write you a special letter. It is now 11:20 & I've my first chance to pick up a pen.

      Your present to me is lovely. It is the nicest thing I've had since I left home and I'm really delighted with it. Thank you so much -
       
      I've been trying to dictate notes to everybody that sent me things - but I'm confused on the two records you sent along. Your memo says they came from Miss Kentner, but a note you sent says they came from Mr. and Mrs. Eakin. In any event, I'm going to leave it to you to thank the right person for me! In all other cases I think I have things straight. You see, I didnt [sic] get back here to base Hq until late last eve. So I was very busy opening packages & making many notes. Anyway I've already written to Ruth - 

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      Janie - Kitty - Edna Eisenhower - Auntie -  Mother & Dad - Mike - Kate Hughes - & May Eben. Also John. I got a mass of very useful articles.

      During the past few weeks I've had the existence of a travelling man. Been to Cairo - (Jersalem (Jerusalem for a 2 hr visit) Tunis - Italy - Sicily - Oran - etc. Some places I stayed 2 hrs - some a whole week. You can see that I've had little time for  routine existence! My latest trip to Italy was completed last night - it lasted a week!

      The reason I wanted the Parker Pen was because Mr. Parker has written to me twice about them. I have lost no pens (except one taken from my desk in Naples) - but I felt I should be able to answer Mr. Parker intelligently when he writes again.

      I think I've had a good case of homesickness lately. Nothing has been 

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      exactly right & everybody about me is having a tough time. I try to hang on to some shreds of a good disposition, but it does get tough at times. Now with a move staring me in the face I don't know what I'm going to do with [text is crossed out] some of the people I've depended upon. For example, the darkies that live in my house with Mickey & the steward. If I have to live in a London hotel a while these boys will be out of a job - yet I'll need them later! Oh well -  Lee will do something about it.

      Well sweet - I love you for trying so hard to make my Xmas a nice one, and you sent me the one thing I really wanted - a good picture of yourself. But Xmas as such feels pretty flat here - all days seem to be the same. I truly hope next year we'll be together; and I hope further that when we get this war won our long partings will be at an end. All my love - always.

      Happy New Year!!!  Your IKE.

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      General Dwight D. Eisenhower


      Censored by:
      DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
      General, U.S. Army

      Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower,
      Wardman Park Hotel
      Apartment 208-H
      Washington, D. C.

      [Rubber stamp]
      Passed by Examiner
      Base 0313 Army

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      ALLIED FORCE HEADQUARTERS
      Office of the Commander-in-Chief