Leon’s letter to Elly on October 4, 1940 is water-damaged, although it’s mostly legible. (I’ve indicated the parts that can’t be read with […].) It’s also the first to hint that Leon is wooing his future wife not just romantically, but politically.
Sweets, I know that I should feel flattered by your approach to the question of our “intellectual intercourse” — you to watch the trivia and matters of vital import to be handled by yours truly. Now that as you say, you know what’s going on in the “main tent”, I venture to predict it will not be long before we meet on absolutely equal terms in all phases. Of course I do not mean that I’ll know as much about Lit. — especially the Bard of Avon and a whole number of other […] wordily trying to say is now and forever (I hope!) there must be no question of superiority — we will each recognize the excellences of the other in order to learn from one another and thus develop as many facets as possible. Agreed? (This last is rhetorical — shut up, dear!)
He goes on to insist that she not let writing him interfere with her schoolwork or her job, then asks her to visit his mom.
Please try to see Mom more or less regularly. She undoubtedly feels more lonely now than ever before what with Bea and me both gone. Fred, you know, is never home much anyway. And she is so tremendously fond of you. That’s probably the main reason I like you a little. And, might I […] remark, she might become our mom so you might as well practice.
[…] If Rudy doesn’t write by Wed. of next week we’re through forever, yes forever, d’ya hear? Say hello to Wm in the patronizing tone I always use. Now I am going to ask you to stay home at about midnight […] p.m. and I will call you by long dist. phone as I am dying to hear your voice. Nice? And now my left arm circles you, your cheek is cupped in my right hand, we kiss, I look into those blue, blue eyes and we murmur, “G’nite, Sweet.”
Your very own —
Sadly, I don’t have any of the letters Leon wrote over the next two weeks. The box in which they were stored obviously got wet at some point — many of the letters had discolored areas where mold had grown and then dried out again or splotches where ink had smeared. October 1940 seemed to have taken the worst hit, as several letters from that month were in such bad shape that the ink had run off the paper entirely, and others had dried to stiff, illegible lumps. The next letter I was able to decipher is postmarked October 20.