Date: Unclear - the 14th of...something 1954 (based on the postmark)
Update: Translation Received! And fascinating notes as well, thank you so much to my lovely new French friend (who is not on Tumblr or I would direct you all to follow her.) A note before you proceed - I think you will notice based on this that, in reality, I have done very little research to find out the "truth" about Richard, his position, and all that. Part of that is entirely intentional because (a) I wanted to let the story play out and (b) I hoped that others, as here, who knew more would submit and tell us all more interesting facts and that it could be something of a group undertaking. [Perhaps that is lazy...and I am certain that my history professors in college would disapprove...but I also find it an interesting exercise in modern social media and the power of blogs. So there's that.]
Orléans, the 14th (no month mentioned)
I'm sorry for not writting back sooner, I had found work.
Now, I'll answer your question, I'm starting to get fed up with you always asking me the same thing. I'm not the one who made the first move, are you a man or am I misunderstanding something? So it's better if we do not see each other again as in 5 months, you'll be leaving Orléans to go back to your country. If we see each other again & make it last, when will come the time for you to leave, it would be much too painful and hurtful for me. I would do nothing but think of you and you, when you'll be there, you'll find yourself a nice girl*, not a married woman with a child, who would sometimes make you smile/give you a smile**.
I'm waiting for a last letter, and my photo that cannot really interest you. I'm leaving you wishing you to find the girl of your dreams.
Adieu (the most definite form of farewall)
* The French expression used is "jeune fille" which is a generally respecful term used to described a girl/young woman (roughly 15-25 yo) so I chose "nice girl" as a translation to express this nuance.
**The original here is full of grammatical mistakes which make translation difficult. It is aslo unclear to whom this proposition refers: the nice girl, the married woman or the child.
_I think we can definitively say with letter comes after the previous one! Power to you Gigi!
_Again the letter was rather disjointed and filled with spelling and grammar errors. I stand by my previous analysis!
_With this letter, and futher research, it appears Dick was based in Orléans and not Maisons-Alfort like I proposed in the first letter translation. There actually was a big Americain presence in Orléans in the 50's and 60's and one of the camps was named "Maison Fort" like in the first letter.
_I'm going to have to disagree that Dick (and friends) were in Europe for reconstruction as part of the Marshall plan. First the ERP (European Recovery Program, the official name) ended in 1951. Second the ERP was, with very few exceptions, exclusively a financial aid in the form of grants and loans. Almost no personnel was send to help reconstruction as part of the Marshall plan, and certainly not military personnel.
_Research indicates that American troups based in Orléans between 1950 and 1967 were part of NATO. In 1950, the Communication Zone (or COM Z) was created to link the main NATO bases in the West of France (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, St Nazaire, ports for direct exchange with the UK & US) to their foremost positions in Western Germany. Orléans was on COM Z and historically a garrison city therefore it became the base of Command, a major communication node, and was in charge of logistics and supply. NATO personnel would typically serve for 2-3 years there and was rather autarkic, especially in the military camps, with their own stores, schools, radio station, newspaper.... Over 600 new habitations were build to accomodate this influx of people, often on the American model. In 1960, an estimated 12000 to 13000 Americans lived in Orléans and its surroundings.
ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM TRANSLATOR:
I found this site in English about the Com Z
About the Orleans Headquarters:
The postmark on this letter is a bit illegible because of the stamp in the way, other then the year, which is definitely 1954. But what we learned from Gigi's last letter was that the postmark was not all that informative anyway, so I'm honestly not sure if this letter comes before or after Gigi's last letter. I have done everything I can to make this legible (which is why each page looks a bit different.) Hopefully my phenomenal translator (or anyone else who wishes to) will write in again and translate this letter for us as well. Is it BEFORE he didn't write back? Is it AFTER? Is she just writing again to find out why he hasn't been writing??? Or as I like to call it, pulling a Yvonne?
We'll have to wait and see. But don't worry, we're going back to English soon!