For Esmé with Love and Squalor

Justrecently,byairmail,IreceivedaninvitationtoaweddingthatwilltakeplaceinEnglandonApril18th.IthappenstobeaweddingI’dgivealottobeabletogetto,andwhentheinvitationfirstarrived,Ithoughtitmightjustbepossibleformetomakethetripabroad,byplane,expensesbehanged.However,I’vesincediscussedthematterratherextensivelywithmywife,abreathtakinglylevelheadedgirl,andwe’vedecidedagainstitforonething,I’dcompletelyforgottenthatmymother-in-lawislookingforwardtospendingthelasttwoweeksinAprilwithus.Ireallydon’tgettoseeMotherGrencherterriblyoften,andshe’snotgettinganyyounger.She’sfifty-eight.(Asshe’dbethefirsttoadmit.)

Allthesame,though,whereverIhappentobeIdon’tthinkI’mthetypethatdoesn’tevenliftafingertopreventaweddingfromflatting.Accordingly,I’vegoneaheadandjotteddownafewrevealingnotesonthebrideasIknewheralmostsixyearsago.Ifmynotesshouldcausethegroom,whomIhaven’tmet,anuneasymomentortwo,somuchthebetter.Nobody’saimingtoplease,here.More,really,toedify,toinstruct.

InAprilof1944,IwasamongsomesixtyAmericanenlistedmenwhotookaratherspecializedpre-Invasiontrainingcourse,directedbyBritishIntelligence,inDevon,England.AndasIlookback,itseemstomethatwewerefairlyunique,thesixtyofus,inthattherewasn’tonegoodmixerinthebunch.

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