A 303 Nogent, 20th June 1945 from Yvone (sic) Bagland
My dear Nancy,
This time your letter took only five days to reach me, so the news it contained was recent news, which I was very happy to get, you may be sure. I should very much like to see you, and once you are here again, our country, France, will open its arms to you, when you come and stay in Nogent.
I saw Suzanne B(erg) recently – she sends her good wishes. She knows she owes you a letter but, as she wants to make it a long one, she can’t find the time to write it and, anyway, she asks me to send you’re her best wishes.
Germaine Petit has been on holiday at her aunt’s for two months. She often comes to the house, and after twenty years we have quite a few old memories to explore. As for the shoes, please do not worry, my poor dear friend. I know that you’ll do whatever you can, because here are really getting dreadful. An artificial silk dress (6-8,000 fr), a leather-look coat (6-8,000 fr), a man’s suit (15,000 fr) and a horrible pair of shoes with wooden soles (1,200 fr). Also, my husband and I still have the same clothes we had in 1940. They’re wearing a little thin, which is no problem in fine weather. They tell us that it’ll be clogs for us to wear this winter – that’s the biggest news. A handbag made of material costs 1,200-1500 fr, or 1,800 fr, and a leather one from 3 to 5,000 fr – believe that if you can !! An umbrella, 1,200 fr. Jeannine (sic) bought me one last week in Paris, where we both went, I went to see a doctor friend of Mr Jules B… – “I am very, very tired and I need rest” – Mrs B… was ill for three weeks after hers…
We celebrated Christian’s communion with a family party – I enclose a photo of him –
It was a very nice day and it gave the children a bit of a lift from the normal atmosphere of the day, not much suited to their little brains.
I am having to leave the Red Cross reception centre at the station. It’s very tiring and, in any case, there are not many returning prisoners now. I have spent hours speaking to political prisoners deported to Dachau, Buchenwald and the rest. It’s impossible to imagine just what they have been through. The Boches will never truly get their just desserts.
Maurice’s cousin, Georges Salo from Revel, was in Dachau and still his wife has no news of him. When I can pluck up the courage, I shall go to Brunelles to see if I can find that poor boy’s grave. We` have had so many martyrs – like your cousin – who have died for our poor country. May they and their heroic deaths help us to see more clearly and desist from those bitter rivalries amongst ourselves, which threaten to destroy us completely.
In France, the only people who really live are those involved in the black market. We are literally ruining ourselves just to survive.
Before I forget, the school had its annual reunion in May. I went with Suzanne and Germaine and we saw Hélene Morennet and Louise Thibault (now married to Poirier, the solicitor) and the teachers – but no-one else. I hope that next year will be better and that you can be there too.
All our best wishes and good heath to your parents, and love and kisses to you from the five of us.
Hervé is not doing too badly at the moment. Germaine is here with me and wants me to send her love!! Could you please get me a rainproof cape – in France, all you can get are dreadful synthetic ones, they’re flimsy and the prices are out of this world??