Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jeannette Rankin and WWII

Along with this letter of Dec 11th 1942, Dad included a copy of the Congressional Record with Congress woman Jeannette Rankin's speach on Dec. 8th 1942. She spoke on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and as a congress person who voted against US entry into WWII. Her remarks are very interesting and ask questions about wether the US and Britain worked to provoke the Japanese into attacking the US, so that the US population would accept the idea of declaring war and help the British Empire out in the pacific. It is interesting that part of her argument is the use of 'economic sanctions' as a prelude to war with a nation. She quotes one source as saying " Japan has no choice but to go to war or to submit to economic slavery for the rest of her existence." She also includes a quote of Congressman Sumners of Texas on April 4, 1942 "We have been a very foolish people, which has made it possible for ___ politicians to get away with murder. This blaming the Peal Harbor tragedy on the Japs is like the fellow who had been tickling the hind leg of a mule trying to explain his bunged-up condition by blaming the mule for having violated his confidence." It reminds me of the phrase "Chickens coming home to roost" after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, used by a professor at the University of Colorado, who was highly criticized for his statements. We seem to be less open to critics of our foreign policy than we were in 1942.
Congresswoman Rankins speech is 3 pages and rather interesting to read.

December 11, 1942

C. P. S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Dec. 11, 1942

Dear Folkes,

I don’t have time to write much, but I’ll make it good. Things have really been happening around here. The camp is to be cut down to 35 men very soon, there is to be a bunch of 39 men to leave here the last of next week for a camp in Oregon. They hope to get enough volentiers, but most of us are pretty happy here. We knew that this was coming sometime but hoped that some of our men in Washington could avoid it. The reason seems to be professional jealiousy and a polititions promise to have us moved out of here before election. He didn’t get in done that soon but we have been getting better work done here than was done when it was run by Gov’t men and CCC boys. Nobody knows the exact reason but that is the most popular guess.

I’m going to be one of the 35 if possible. If I have to go west I hope to get in a camp quite similar to this one at San Deimis Calif. I don’t want to go to Oregon very bad, however if it cam to drawing names out of a hat I would go if I was drawn.

If I have to go west this winter would you like to have me take my furlough before I go or wait till next spring? I think I would be about twice as far from home as I am now either place in the west. Maybe I could help with the corn if you don’t have it done by now. I have about 8 days now and next spring I will have about 20. If I come now I will have to get back here before Christmas as all of the Christmas furloughs are taken. Personaly I’d just as soon wait till spring then I’d have more time to be home and wouldn’t waste as much traveling. I think I’ll know pretty well whether I’m staying here or not by the first of next week I’ll write a card if anything of importance happens. Paul Furness is coming Mon. and he should know how things stand. Some think that they will move this camp completely but we don’t know.

I’m rather sorry to hear that Harry is quitting school. What I wonder is if he is going to be a CO? If he is I would think he might have time enough to get another semester while they fool around making him appeal. He needn’t worry about getting a V*E. There are some pretty wild guys here that got by, of course they didn’t have our board. Harry has a lot more reason to be in a CO camp than 75% of the fellows here. There is one guy that got out of the navy a couple years ago and another that was working in a defense plant when he was classified.

Well keep your chins up and write me a few cards if you can’t get time for a letter. I’d like to know how the corn situation is as soon as possible.

The cookies sure taste good and I am to thank you for all the guys in the dorm. There are about 5 or 6 of us that get cookies and stuff about the same amount too so we have plenty to eat at our bedtime snack parties. That chocolate sure is welcome it will last for a long time, what did Dad do buy out some store’s supply? The thing I’m afraid of is that our little bunch will be broken up. There are nice people every where.


P. S. I’m still surveying, it is sort of cold sometimes and we don’t get out much.

Attached: Congressinal Record, Proceedings and Debate of the 77th Congress, Second Session and “Strange Things Happen” a Christian flyer)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grandma's Cookies

Reading this postcard of Dad's about the cookies and planing a trip up to Colorado reminds me of Grandma Aldrich's cookies. When we were children our Aldrich Grandparents would come out from Iowa twice a year usually in June and November. They would drive from Iowa and bring cookies and eggs, a whole crate of eggs and between Aunt Eileens family and ours we would eat them up. I now use the egg crate to hold magazines and some of the hoard of catalogs we get. But I was thinking about cookies. Grandma made wonderful cookies and I think I liked them better than anyone else. My favorite were the banana chocolate chip ones she would bring from Iowa. She often put them in a bag and they would be a bit crumbly and mushed together after the two day trip. I was so happy once I got the recipe and made them myself but they didn't taste quite right to me so I put them in the cookie jar. A couple days later when they had stuck together and crumpled a bit they were just right.

Dec 7 1942

Mon. Morn.
I got the package Sat. afternoon. Everything in pretty good condition. We just had some very cold weather last week but it has warmed up since I got the blankets. The cookies as far as I can tell are in extra good shape. Boy was I glad to see the Cocoa! The other guys were too. Our supply was getting low. There were a couple of boxes of Cocoa leaking a little, the top of one box had cut the next one, lost about a spoonful, it was on the blankets. I hardly expected so much Cocoa it is so hard to get around here. No matter about the rags, we could use some & I thot they might help in packing. Say! You’ve spent a lot on postage for me. Thanks a lot for everything.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Eileen is Dad's youngest sister and was 14 years younger than him so she was around 9 or 10 when theses letters began. He sometimes calls her toots in the letters also. This was one of the few letters we have written directly to one of his brothers or sisters, I assume that all of those ended up in their possession.
I failed twice at trying to get a table into the blog. Not sure what happened but maybe you can figure out the game he is talking about even though the columns went back under each other.
C. P. S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Nov. 29 1942

Dear Eileen,

How’s my baby sister? I’ll bet you don’t like to be called the baby of the family, do you.

You and Charles sure having a tough time. I sure am sorry for you, being sick isn’t so bad fro a few days but it gets ole.

I’m going to tell how to play a crazy game that we play here once in a while. It is a word guessing game and it sure is a lot of fun and a suppose it is good for one too.

You take half a page of paper and mark it off in something like squares like this only biger.
Birds Animals Countries Names of people Names of cars
W Wren Water bufflo
4 0 William
2 0
O Oreol
3 Otter
5 0 Opal
5 Oveiland(?)
R Red bird
5 Rat
1 Russia
4 Roy
4 Rolls Royce
K Kite
4 0 0 Katherine
2 0
S Swallow
5 Skunk
1 Sweden
5 Sam
3 0
18 11 9 16 8 62

Then you put the names of groups of thing at the top like I have here. Then down the side you put any five letter word. The idea is to put in the squares any thing that begins with the letter on the lefthand side and comes under the head of that column. I’ll fill out some of them to give you an idea. Now the numbers you see are the way you figure the score. Supposing there were five or more playing, it can be played just as well with tow or three tho. If two people get the same thing in a square they both get a score of 4, if three, they get 3, if four they get 2, if five they get 1, if more than five they get 1 you can’t get less than 1. If no one else gets the same thing in a certain square they all get 5. You see, where I have swallow written there weren’t any other swallows so I got 5, while where I had William there were three others besides me which made four so I got a score of 2. Then you add them all up and the highest score wins. We usually set a time limit on the game, 5 or 6 minuits. You might like it longer. When you start a new game you can change the top heading or the five letter word or both. Some headings are easier for some people than others so we usually let each one playing think up a heading that they like. The name of the game is “Googenhime”. I hope you and Charles are feeling better, maybe you can have some fun playing this silly game. You’d laugh to see us guys playing that game. One time there were guys playing that used to be a lawyer, a teacher, and artist, a law student, and me.

We have some snow here now. It was snowing this morning when we woke up and then it changed to rain and now it has stopped.

Your brother,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peace work and Prizes

This week Dad talks about detached service, which CO's started doing in WWII and what all CO's did during the vietnam war. Detached service meant that you were not supervised in a camp but worked in a hospital or a mental hospital. CO's were credited with improvements in some mental hospitals during the war.
This week I listened to and watched the video of President Obama's Nobel peace lecture it can be found at the nobelprize site below. I recommend that people listen to the entire speech or read it completely. There is a lot more there than 2 - minutes of pro-war sound bites that the media has put out. The complete lecture is 36 minutes long and worth listening to.

November 22, 1942

C. P. S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Nov. 22

Dear folks,

I’m still alive and seem to be keeping ahead of the cold. My winter underwear feel pretty good some of these mornings. We have been having some warmer wether for the last days till today.

It is Sunday night now, about 9:00. We had one of the few local preachers in tonite that aren’t against us. We had one last Sun. nite too and it was really good to hear a real sermon again tho they just talked to us it was different than what we had been hearing from various campers.

This camp is about to be reduced through the winter to about 100 men. We have about 158 now. Now that the election is over the detached service projects are opening up rather supprisingly. There was a couple of Drs. from a Mental hospital at Cleveland today and they will take 20 men and would like a lot more if the NSBRO thought it wise to concentrate so many men in one hospital right at the first. So I guess there will be 20 fellows leave here next week fro the Cleveland Hospital. I imagine there will be a lot of this sort of work in the future. I think I shall stick to this camp till I figure I have exhausted its possibilities which seem to be amazing. I’m getting to like this country more and find that there is some better farm land not so far from here but this land around camp here is not fit to farm.

Thanks for the Dollar, a little money has to go a long way here and I sure appreciate it. Thanks for the cookies too. Say, isn’t postage quite an item? I see a lot of stamps on the stuff you send. I really can’t say as any kind of cookies havn’t been as good as the others but the ones that stand the trip best are the chewy type. Perhaps you can’t always tell whether they will end up chewy or not. This last batch was in good shape except one kind and they were pretty well pulverized. They sure must handle that stuff rough. The other fellows always rave about the Iowa cookies and they only last through about one tea party. I have few left to piece on when there aren’t too many around. There was one kind that some of the thot were very good, they said they had heard them called Tollhouse cookies, they had little chunks of chocolate but they were the ones that crumbled the worst. I imagine that the more cookies you can get into the box the better they will travel, it seems to me that it is the rattleing around that crumbles them. Also we need some rags to wash the printing press with and maybe you can pack some around the cookies next time. Don’t make cookies too often for me I’m sure tha the rest of the family needs some attention too.

I think that by the time my blankets get here I will want them. So you had better send them now. The temperature doesn’t go so low but it certainly cools off at night and sheets feel pretty cool when you turn over. I suppose you know what blankets I’m talking about. Those two sheet blankets that I bot. when I was at school. Not the heavy ones. We have four or five wool army blankets each, depending on the distance from the stove and personal taste. I am the third bed from the stove and the third from the door which puts me in the temperate zone.

I’m giving you that list of stuff I’d like for you to include with the blankets if you can locate it. My Discipline, those pamphlets on “What Should a Christian Do?” by E. Stanely Jones, the belt to my raincoat, and you might pick up a few “Young People’s Weeklies”. I miss the good short stories that they have. Say do suppose that you could send the Y.P. Weekly to me? May you could put a couple of them together in one packages and stick as stamp on them. I think that if all you put on them is my address they will go as second class mail which is cheeper.

Now about that Chocolate business. One of our tea party guys’ mother sent him some Chocolate in a box, it looks like cocoa but it had some of the things that make it good just mixed with hot water. Well if you happen to see anything along that line I could use it. You’d never know me, I sit up way late and drink tea even and eat cookies and talk over stuff and things. I really enjoy it I have ever had such a variety of people to get aquainted with.

I’m still praying fro all of you, don’t work too hard, you only live once so you may as well enjoy it.

Some of us unsilent people here are starting a sort of mid-week meeting. This morning there was a discussion on the Sunday School lesson and they are going to continue that too. I sort of missed those things.


Thanks for all the trouble I am to you I guess you love(?) it tho.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cocoa with Milk in it

Reading this last post I feel so spoiled as we forget there were days before cocoa with milk in it. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester I have missed posting for a couple of days. I'm excited today as a few of us met to plan teaching a class on peace and activism at one of our charter high schools. One of the reasons I have been doing the blog is that I believe we need to educate ourselves about the nonviolent history and stories of our country.

November 15, 1942

Sun. nit, 11/15/42
How are you all? I’m still well and happy. Before long I’ll be sending up a smoke signal for you to send me my bed blankets, sheets will be getting cold. There are a few things that I wish you’d hunt up so you can send them to me with my blankets. The belt for my raincoat, my Disipline, and if there are any pamplets “What Should a Christian Do?” I don’t know where I left any of this stuff that is why I am telling you in time to find it. Also I could use some chocolate, the kind that you mix with hot water, one guy had some named Nestles it had dried milk in it and was very good. If you happen to see any get some for me. We could use some old rags to wash the printing press maybe you could pack some with some cookies. Cookies should be packed as tight as possible some of the last ones were pulverized.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Learning and Knowing

Listening to Pete Seegar as I write. Not sure if I spelled his name right. I missed posting on Wed. Our daughter Jenny was here for Thanksgiving with her boyfriend and I gave over the computer room which is also the art room and the guest room. Now I am busy grading exams and averaging grades as the semester is at an end.
I was thinking about the statement in this letter about Dad and another guy knowing how to use the printing press. Growing up I just thought that all men my father's age knew how to do everything. In reading these letters I've come to see how he was a quick and interested learner, at age 24 he already had a lot of knowledge from the farm life but he learned quickly in all the areas that he worked in. He passed on this interest in learning to us.

November 8, 1942

Thanks for the buck.

C. P. S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Nov. 8 1942

Dear fambly,

Here it is Sun night and I havn’t written to youns yet. I’ve been sort of busy this week. We got our printing press to going and had a couple of big jobs and there are only two of us that know very much about it. After some of the others learn more about printing I wont have to work so much. The jobs were the cover of Seed and some programs for a play that some of the fellows gave here last night. Wait till you see the Seed cover, its a two color job done with linolium blocks. The cover of the play program is made with the same process, they just carve the picture in some linolium and mount it on a block of wood and print it on the perss. The play was “Brother Orchid” and our artist drew a picture of an orchid and carved out a block.

There has been a wave of practical jokes going through camp since Hallowe’en. They have been fixing a dummy in the bed of some unsuspecting fellow that is coming back from furlough and the telling him that a visitor came in and they have him this fellows bed not thinking he’d get back so soon. So far the fellow they have pulled it on will always hunt up an empty bed and sleep in it the first night then they try to get him to wake up the dummy. Sometimes it lasts till noon before the victum gets wise. The last guy that got sucked in said he was convinced that anything could happen in CPS.

My work has been extra interesting this last week. I have been riding around the country a lot, we are checking the streem gauging stations. The last issue of Seed that you got had a short article about stream gauging and a picture of a gauging station. I guess I’ll have to draw a picture of what I was doing. There were three of us in the crew we spent most of uor time riding around. I’ll draw the picture on the back.

The elevation here is between ten and eleven hundred feet. There is a lookout tower that is on a high spot at 1250 ft. That is probably the reason that it is so chilly, also I have one of the coldest jobs, but I like it. I have had a slight cold since I have been on surveying but I am over it now and enjoy good health. I do well if I get over 7 hours of sleep and seem to get by with it. Letter writing and reading and Printing keep me pretty busy.

It does seem like you’ve been having bum luck, but I think there are lots of people in the same boat. I’ll try and console you a little by saying that if you don’t get everything done you’ll never know it a hundred years from now.

[illustration of stream gauge with a well house, outside gauge , intake pipe and a bridge for gaging when water is deep and a note:]

Called a Wier. It is a dam with a notch that is measured so that they know how much water flows through at a given depth. The notch enables them to accurately measure the depth. The intake pipe that goes into the well house keeps the water within at the same level and it is measured all the time with a recording gauge that runs with a clock. That outside gauge is a check on the other one. What we surveyor do is check the gauges to see if they line up and regulate(?) right. We do this with a level (that one with a telescope on it) The dam and water level readings establish the width and height and the gaging which take place during a storm establishes the velocity which corresponds to the third dimension (?) and enables thus to figure the volume of water that leaves this part of the country. The velocity changes with the change of height of water so we have to get velocity reading at several different heights. That picture in the Oct. issue of Seed is of a cable car that they use if the water gets too deep for the bridge. They really have some good floods here they say when it gets raining. Wish we’d get some good rains, I’d like to try out my new raincoat.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Uncles

In this post card Dad refers to his two brothers and the possibility that they might be drafted. I believe that Charles had a farm deferment and Harry was deferred because of an eye that did not look straight ahead.
On our mothers side her brother Bruce was a conscientious objector and spent part of the war in prison before accepting a position in charge of taking cattle to Europe on a boat. It was kind of a family joke that Dad, who had the farm experience worked in Chicago at the end of the war, and Bruce who was from Chicago helped out with the cows.

October 30, 1942

Fri. nite 10/30/42
Dear Folks,
Received the cookies today, in fair shape but the crumbs are good too. I havn’t eaten many yet. I got the order you sent yesterday and the only thing I failed to get was the sweatshirt. The raincoat is a dinger. Really looks like a good rubber and smells like it too. As far as I can see it is worth the money. Thanks a lot for sending it, I mean the order. It seems that I’m always bothering you for something or other. If this dumb war lasts long enough to get all three of us in camp you will have an awful time. I pray that never will happen. I hope you (meaning Mom) don’t work too hard making stuff to send me, but I know you do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Work without pay

In this letter Dad mentions some men who join the army in order to get a pay check. In the book "Peace was in Their Hearts" by Richard C. Anderson on p. 29 I found the following words " In short, the churches provided a home for the men so they would be available to work without pay on government projects." The churches here are the historic peace churches The Brethren, the Mennonites, and the Religious Society of Friends(Quakers). It was a strange arrangement but an improvement over the CO (conscientious objector) arrangement of WWI, which basically required all men to be drafted and allowed for CO's to do noncombatant work, which was not always carried out. Some CO's refused to wear uniforms or participate in the military and were put into prisons or the stockade, many were mistreated and some died. The "Peace" churches wishing to avoid this situation offered to help run the camps and agreed to the "work of national importance" which was difficult to define. Another point of progress was the The selective training and service act of 1940 section 5g, now allowed as CO's anyone who "by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form" . This was an expansion to people beyond the three Churches named in WWI. The CO had the choice of noncombatant service or work in the CPS camps.

October 26, 1942

C. P. S #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Oct 26, 1942

Dear family,

Here’s hoping that Charles is better and Eileen has conquered her case of Pembleitus.

I was sure glad to hear that the corn is going to be picked by hand and that you have two good pickers to do it. What kind of loads are they getting? Can they fill up our big boxes? It is nice that they are bringing their own dinners too.

I guess I havn’t told you about my new job, helping survey. Do you know what a “Watershed” is? Well it’s a piece of ground that drains down through one particular gully. There are 30 watersheds that are fixed up so that they can measure the amount of water that comes off them. The main thing the survey crew is doing now is taking the elevation on these watersheds. To do that we take a transit and measure off the ground into 20 ft. squares. Then we use a thing they call a level, which is simply a level with a telescope on it, and go from a known elevation that has been established some time ago, all over the watershed at each on of these 20ft marks we staked off. When we get done we know just how high every spot on that ground is and the draw a map of it. They tell us that next year the same thing will be done over again and they can see if any soil has been lost and where and thus know how better to stop it. These watersheds run from less than one acre to over six. The six acre on had a difference of over 100 feet in it and then we only went about half way to the deepest part of the gully, cause they didn’t farm that. They have a way of catching the dirt that washes off of some of the watersheds and some of the boys were telling me about one of them that was only about 4 acres and they got 9 tons of silt off in after one strom. I guess they got bussy and planted some sod in the little gullys that had started and got most of the erosion stoped. I like this job pretty well, the only thing is that it is pretty cold in the mornings. I wore two sweatshirts and my sheeplined coat today, I guess it was a little below freezing. I hope I get used to it before it really does get cold. I have been wearing my boots the last few days and they sure feel good.

We are going to have movies here in camp now if we can keep them paid for. It takes 50c a man from 100 men each month. If we want to keep it up the rent we pay for the machine will go in payment for it and after a certain time it will belong to the camp. We can get some of the better pictures that have been made in the last few years also some comodies and weaterns which are cheeper. They are figuring on one show a week. We have had a couple of Gov’t pictures put on by Soil Conservation. They were very good fro us. We learned about the importance of what we are doing.

I found out that 25% of the topsoil in now gone off the corn-belt now. Most of it is in the gulf of Mexico. The dam at Keokuck in now 30% covered up and it was only built in 1913. So guess soil conservation is pretty important after all. I guess we don’t realize what soil erosion is.

The candy got here Fri. evening in good shape. Some of it had to be cut again but it is sweet and that is the main thing. The fellows liked it. Some one gets something to eat almost every day. Today a fellow got some good chocolates., also some coffee, which he is going to give to the kitchen. We havn’t had much coffee for about a month now, they just couldn’t get it. That doesn’t bother me much tho. The camp got about 90 pullets the other day and we have had two eggs so far but hope for more. I wish somebody would give us some cows.

Did I tell you about the two fellows that had to leave camp and go to the army cause they had dependants to support and tho it didn’t cost them anything to come here they needed the income. I think it is a crime that there isn’t some arrangement made for cases like that.

I had a good time in Cleveland last Sun. I saw a crowd of about 400 at a morning evangelistic service. The preacher was pretty good tho he was the ‘hand shaking’ type. He didn’t agree with us on the war but otherwise he preached the Gospel.

Don’t you guys work too hard now. As far as I know now I hope to get home next spring to help put in the crop.

You must have some ratty neighbors. I hope they don’t do any more damage than that. People are sure silly aren’t they.

I finally heard from Evelyn, a very nice letter about all the romances at school. Quite interesting. I havn’t heard from Harry yet tho.

I got card from Miriam Byerly today saying that her folks were going close to Paton next Sun and Dorothy and her sister might stop, I imagine, to see a couple of Wilson boys.

The letters I get from home and from my friends help a lot to make my life worth while.


PS. My foot quit hurting so I don’t need the pads. I hope I get all that stuff I ordered.

Thanks for that green back. I find that stamps are quite an item so you’ll get some of it back stuck on letters.

Attached: a flyer for “Worship Service: Camp Coshocton” with note:
Thing (?) printed the ------on our printing press. The picture is made with a linoleum block carved out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Money and shopping

This post has some numbers in it as Dad sends his folks an order from the Montgomery Wards catalog. I heard that the catalogs begining had a similar effect in small towns as Wallmart does today, that they put the local store that sold everything out of business. It is fun to look at the numbers and compare with todays costs. I like the 72 cents tax.


October 19, 1942

C. P. S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Oct. 19 1942

Dear Family,

Well, how’s everybody now? Grandma and Lena told me that the sick kids were better. I supposed you have been bussy as usual and havn’t found time to write your wandering kids except on Sundays. I do kind of like to hear from you but if you don’t write I don’t have to answer you so often.

The reason I’m writing now is to get you to send an order to Monkey Wards for some stuff. Some of it I’m going to need when it gets cold and some of it I think I’d better get while getting is good and I still have some money in my name. You can just make it out to be mailed to me here at camp and send the order to Chicago as it is closer that Minnapolis

436 A-29090 3 Short slieve undershirts 36 1.59 4.68 3 12
B-29091 3 Ankle length drawers 32 1.59 4.68
490 42C5168 1 Whipcord Breeches (dark forest green)
32 waist 27 inseams 3.49 2
496D 35C7765 6pr Tow thumb Husking Mittens 1.24 1 5
507 42C5452 1 Fireman’s Coat (rain coat) 40 7.49 5 12
451 30C541 2 All Wool 20-in. Socks Red tops 1.25 6
457 60C5807 1 Solid Scarlet Sweat Shirt Medium 1.15 1 6

23.98 14 9oz
Postage .59
Tax .72

Say, that turned out to be quite an order. When I started all I was going to get was underwear. Don’t you think I’d better get that stuff before my money is gone and it gets too hard to get? The weather is terrible damp here and they tell me it doesn’t stay very cold for more than a few days at a time but it does get down below zero. It is chilly enough right now, this morning I wore two sweatshirts and a jacket to work and kept them on till noon. I’m on the surveying crew now and there isn’t a lot of activity but there is considerable exercise. It is almost always foggy when we get up which is what makes it seem so cold, we havn’t had any frost for a long time either.

As for the rain coat. The one I have is a good windbreaker yet but that is all. We have about one rainy day a week and they tell me that sometimes it rains twice as often. One day I walked about 80 rods in a nice gentle rain and my raincoat was wet through on the sholders. I understand that according to the records they usually have a lot of rain in the fall sometimes that really floods things so I suspect I’d better get a good raincoat if it is possible. I really don’t expect much tho, they will probably be out. I don’t know whether a coat made of reclaimed rubber will be worth that much or not. If Pop should think he can do better for me on a raincoat he can try, but I don’t think much of a cloth coat. There might be a rubber one around somewhere. If he is too bussy, which he is, forget it.

I had a good time in Cleveland yesterday, tell you about it in the next letter. Time to go to bed now.


P.S. Ohio Sales tax is 3 %. For you information I put down the page in the Catalog. Thank for your trouble. Those cookies were better than anybody elses.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Peace, Veterans Day and Contientious Objectors

I have been failing at my attempts to upload a picture taken last year at veterans day in Deming, NM. Tim and I were asked to take the Iraq Peace Crane Memorial to the Veterans Day celebration in Deming. This memorial has a white paper peace crane to represent each US military death in Iraq, the origami peace cranes are mounted on black foamboard panels. There are over 4,000 of them. At that Veterans day ceremony I was struck by a young Iraq War Veteran who spoke and said that this day, 'veterans day' was not a day to glorify war but to honor and support the people who had served. I think that those of us who work for peace without war, need to reclaim both veterans day and memorial day as days to work for peace. As I've read the letters from my dad and learned more about CPS and CO's, they served for years and have received little recognition. I have managed to add a picture which is of the Iraq Peace Crane Memorial in Washington, DC with our friend Mary Burton.

October 16, 1942

Fri. Nite 10/16

Hello Folks,
The cookies arrived yesterday evening in pretty good shape, there were a few crumbs on top but even crumbs are good. Home cookies sure tasted good and the guys in my dorm braged on the Iowa cookies.
I’m working on the surveying crew now. I think I’ll like it fine. I get see the country around here on a job like that.
Glad to hear Charles is better. I’m expecting a letter from you‘uns.
I’m going to Clevland C. Sun. with the same guy we went to Dayton with. There is an Evangelist there and I want to see some of the country before they ration gas.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


One thing that has fascinated me about these letters was watching the change in my father's religious beliefs. His grandfather Albert Ozborn was a Quaker minister in a Friend's Church in Iowa. Dad attended the Friends church as a child and also went to tent revival type gatherings, he also considered becoming a minister himself. In this letter he mentions evangelism and the difference between his beliefs and others in the camp. His beliefs change in the next few years.

After the war he and our mother Dorothy help to found the Mountain View Friends Meeting in Denver, Colorado. This is an unprogrammed (spell checker does not recognize that word) Meeting as is Las Cruces Friends Meeting which I belong to. The Friends Churches have ministers or a planned program, while those of us who are un-programmed worship in silence, which is broken by ministry from any of those worshiping.

October 9, 1942

C.P.S. #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Oct. 9, 1942

Dear home folks,

Your last letter had a lot of good news in it. I guess things come out pretty well if we wait long enough. I’m sure glad that the sick people are better also that the corn is going to be picked. From what Opal say about the corn, it will be pretty good picking. The first time for several years that I havn’t picked corn.

You will find my sugar book in the letter. It seems that they don’t need them to get sugar for the camp. So if you can manage to get sugar with it, you might use some of it to make me some candy or cookies. You could send it in those tin film boxes that we got at the fair I think there are three upstairs that I bot. Nearly all of the fellows get stuff from home and from people that feel sorry for them I guess. Well, they are very generous and pass stuff around, so I’m sort of in the hole. I’ve even gotten in the habit of eating before going to bed. There are a bunch of guys in my end of the dorm that have an electric coffie pot and every once in a while they have tea party and sometimes they have hot chocolate and always bread and jam. They bring the jam from home when they come back from furlough, we get the bread from the kitchen. They insisted so that I finally consented to eat with them and now I’m a regular tea party man. I even drank some tea the other day, it had a lemon in it and didn’t taste like tea. Well, that’s the eating story.

Ab and Opal and I took a week-end trip last Sat. and Sun. Stayed all night in Dayton O. The town was full of defense workers and soldiers. We went with a guy that wanted to see a friend of his in a small town near Dayton, but his friend wasn’t home so we went on to Dayton and saw the big defense city, the third largest defense city in the US. I went to church with the fellow that took us he is a Baptist named Francis Clark. We went to a big Baptist church, the biggest that I have ever been in. It was world-wide Communion Sunday and so I comunioned with them. I still think it is a lot of hooey. However it was a very solem service. That was sure a swanky church tho, they had a bunch of ushers that wore long tailed coats and standup colars and only seated late comers between songs and stuff. This guy I was with thinks a lot like we do about the Bible and believes in evangelism and that people must be saved, which is a little odd around here. Some of the fellows here don’t even think there is a heaven.

As for my work, I like it better than the kitchen, tho I havn’t been on any set job yet. I guess I’m sort of an odd job man for the Hydrolic Engineer. I have been working on what they call an experimental water-shed. There are five flumes on each of the two water-sheds that I have been working on. They are similar to the pictures on the Sept. issue of Seed, expect one is quite abit larger and the rest are smaller than the one on the picture. The article on flumes in that paper sort of explains what they are for. Today I installed a rainguage. It looks something like a ten gallon cream can with a hole in the top for the rain to run in. Then in the side about two thirds to the bottom is a door with a glass window. Inside is a lot of works to weigh the rain as it falls and record it on a chart that will tell the time it starts and the rise in rainfall and when it stops. All I had to do was stake down a wonden base and fasten it on with lag screws. It had to be level which took a little time.

The county has been exceptionally Pretty this week, we have so many pretty trees here and they all have a different color now. We had our frost a couple weeks ago and few days of cold weather.

The new issue of Seed has just come out tonight and will probably be mailed tue. The fellow that drew the Cover page sleeps across from me and we were kidding him about the pitchfork he drew. You will notice it the first thing. He says that the dunb sack you see is alright cause what looks like the bottom is just a shadow. You won’t know what this is about till you see Seed. The Seed costs me 2 ½ cents per copy and you can save me that. You will find a subscription blank in the copy I’m sending you. But you may not want to subscribe, I might find a detached service project that I like before the year is up. So far I don’t like anything we have had a chance at.

The clothing you found are mine but I don’t need them here. I may want my bed blankets later on tho, I’l tell you when. I left a pair of those long metatarsel pads around somewhere, I didn’t think I’d need them but I wish you’d send them if you can find them. My left foot has been hurting a little when a I do a lot of walking the last couple of days.

Keep praying for better days, I’ll have to quit now.

I’m going to write to Eileen someday yet.


P.S. [illegible]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This letter refers to something happening to Eileen and Charles, Barney's sister and brother. I'm not sure which illness this is, but I was struck throughout the letters by the amount of illnesses the family on the farm had. This is something I might ask my Aunt Eileen or Aunt Betty about, Betty was Charles' wife. I think Eileen and Charles may have had rheumatic fever. It is curious to read these letters and hear only one side of a conversation. Another item mentioned in this post is "detasseling" corn, if any reader can let me know what this is about I would appreciate it.

September 26, 1942

C. P. S. #23
Sept. 26, 1942

Dear folks,

Well, how’s everybody by now? I’m afraid I don’t write home very often do I. I’ve been sort of busy lately and a lot has happened since I wrote last. First, I caught a heck of a head cold last Sun. night, most of which is gone now. Then the educational director here at camp got ahold of an old and quite small printing press. The type is sort of mixed up and we havn’t got it all unpacked yet, there will have to be a lot of work done on the outfit before it will do any printing. Then I have been getting sort of fed up on dishwashing and this was my last week, well, I got a chance to work on a farm for a couple of days. So I took 2 days furlough and did that, I’m sure glad I did it was pretty good to get my feet back on some ground that would grow something again, this farm was down in the valley and the ground is quite rich I guess. That was Thur. and Fri. Well, I got a little vacation from camp and $6 out of it. Wages aren’t quite as high here and some of their farming methods are pretty ancient. I had a good time and saw some new country and met some nice people too. My only regret is that I had to use up 2 days furlough time. I think I’ll try and save up the rest of my furlough till next spring and come home and help put in some of the crops. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about that later. I had though of coming back at corn-detasling time, but I wonder if the community might miss-understand and think I was getting away with something. There was a story about some guy that went home to Kansas and some people in his home town telegraphed Washington D. C. and wanted to know how come the let C.O.s run around loose like that. Just how is the situation at the present there along that line?

I hope Charles and Elieen are doing alright, it was somewhat of a shock to me, I never thought of such a thing. But I wouldn’t be supprised if it will turn out for the best some way tho we many not know it or see it.

That “buck” I found in the last letter will find a good place and I appreciate it. There are week-end trips to Colombus every other weekend. The pacifists there have sort of a party for some of the C.P.S. boys, Ab went a couple of weeks ago and said he had a swell time. I think I’ll take in one of those sometime, so that’s probably where that $1 will go, for transportation.

I start a new job next Mon. I don’t know what it will be tho. I’ve been trying to get some sort of carpenter work or shop work, they have a carpenter shop at the station and one at the camp too.

I hope to get this in the mail today so I’d better quit. I’m praying for you, keep your chins up. Don’t work too hard.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dad's education

I actually missed this wednesday's post as we had friends visiting and I didn't get to it. It has been a busy week. Today is Dia de Los Muertos and we have put up the Iraq Peace Crane Memorial in the plaza in Mesilla and will go soon to take it down. The memorial has a paper peace crane for each US military death in Iraq posted on black foam board panels, with the info on the individual beneath the peace crane.
Back to Dad's letters, I wanted to say a little about his education, he attended a one room school in Iowa for the elementary grades and graduated from high school and then before the draft came he did one semester of college at William Penn College in Iowa. From his letters it seems he also had quite a bit of bible study and a lot of knowledge from the farm. I use to think that all people of his generation knew how to do everything, but I see he just learned it all, remembered and was always interested in learning more.

September 14, 1942

Sept. 14, 1942

Dear people,

I received a nice fat letter to-day from youns. Mighty glad to get it too. Tho I don’t write you too often I still like to hear from you. I got the overshoes last fri. They work very nice and I can save my good ones too. I just about had to wear something in the wash room as the greasy water was hard on my shoes and one of my old ones leeked a lot too.

I’ll finish this tomorrow cause there’s a bunch of guys around and I can’t think and besides I like to talk too.

9:25 Tue. Morning----
We had pretty much good luck with the dishes this morning and got the breakfast bach done by 8:45. Sometimes we work till nearly 10:00.

I’m really sorry to hear that some of you are not feeling the best. I hope the sick ones are better now. If time hangs heavy on Charles’es hands he might see if he could write me a letter. It might be good practice, he may want to write a letter to Myrt or some other girl that he lives closer.

That’s certainly bad a bout Waddel. Doctors are getting scarce too. I imagine that Duane is about ready to come home by now and I certainly hope he is getting along alright. In my opinion Lena has had her share of bad luck. But I guess she can take it. When a person trusts in God that helps a lot.

The other night I got my first camp hair-cut. A fellow from New Jersey did it. His name is Ted Flanigan, and his father is an Episcapalian minister. They have a different barber on duty each night except Sat and Sun. In payment for their work they get Sat. morning off when the rest have to work till noon. WE pay a nickel toward a pair of electric clippers, now we are using a borrowed pair that belong to a fellow’s father-in-law. He and Ted are the only ones that use them and the rest of the barber have to use hand clippers.

The Educational program isn’t organized in classes like school, tho there are several classes that sort of meet under the direction of one man. We have one man that is known as the educational director and that is all he does. The library has a lot of books that can be used to learn about anything you want to know and he takes care of that too. Some of the classes that I can think of now are: Choir directing, Non Violent action, Postwar reconstruction, First Aid, Co-operatives, Accounting. There are two Bible classes, Old and New Testament, The Old Testament is taught by a Jewish refugee. That is the only class I have gone to, I don’t think I’ll get in to too much and do good what I do do. Also there is a Chorus, They sing nearly every Sun. in the preaching service.
I am getting better acquainted with more people and I find that there are a few here that don’t believe in the Bible like we do and some that think Christ was just a good man. I think in general the Methodists are more like me in their beliefs than the eastern Friends. I met one fellow that new Errol Elliott and we agree on a lot of things, he works in the kitchen too and likes to sing some of the old revival songs which many of the fellows think and childish or foolish. It is hard to find out just what the fellows believe cause so few of us agree and those that have been here a while are tired of trying to find someone that agrees with them. We have some good discussions tho. We set up quite late sometimes.

They have a nice little carpenter shop here at the camp and I fool around there a lot when I’m not working. If I quit dishwashing that is what I would like to do, get in the shop over at the station if I could. But I like dishwashing pretty well because my spare time comes when there aren’t so many people around and I can read or write letters. How did you like the Camp Paper? Some of the guys think it should have more camp news.

Ab and I got an engouraging letter from Whitely and Opal wrote to me the other day, I kidded Ab about that. She told me about taking Myrtle down to school and the changes in the Faculty there.

Now, don’t you work too hard, any of you. If you don’t get everything done that you want remember that no one will know it a hundred years from now and you will feel a lot better now if you take care of your-selves. Keep Praying, There are a lot of people that need it.

I trust you understand about the 35 dollars. I got paid when the rest of the fellows did and got $1.67. next time I get 2.50, 80 a day. But I’m getting a lot more than that.


Attached: Two photos

This is the camp. That tree is in the NE corner. The Dorms run east and west, but are twisted a little to the Nw and Se. I am in the west end of the second one from the right hand side, known as Dorm 3 west.

This is of the three of the Station buildings there are two or three more that aren’t in the picture. This shows the landscape in the background and the haze that is always in the distance and sometimes is a for right close. This makes picture taking difficult.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How the letters got from the box to the blog

It is interesting to me how these letters have traveled in the last few months. For 60 some years they have sat in boxes at my grandparents house or at my parents and then lastly at my sister's house in Tennessee. I brought them home in May and started copying them and reading them, not quite sure what to do with them. Then a friend of ours Becky Richman decided to take a change of direction in her life and came back to Las Cruces for the summer as she was figuring out which way to go. Having time and better keyboarding skills than I do we made an agreement on her typing up the letters, so many each week. I was glad that she finished the project before she moved on.
Next I thought that maybe I could do an article for Friends Journal, using parts of the letters and I tried it but the letters seemed to want to stick together, so now I have started the blog, which seems to be working well. My goal is to post twice a week. So below is the third letter from Coshocton which includes an interesting discription of an evening of entertainment at the camp.


August 29, 1942

C.P.S #23
Coshocton, Ohio
Aug. 29, 1942

Dear folkses,

It hasn’t been long since I wrote to you but I thought of a lot I forgot. Some things I wanted you to send me. I’ll bet I keep you sending me stuff for the duration. You’ll run out of things I forgot tho. Well, you see, I’m working in the kitchen washing stuff and we scrub the floor every day and the little room where we wash the pans and dishes we wash down after each meal so my shoes are wet all the time. I though if you could send me my old zipper overshoes I could get a lot of good out of them and save my shoes too. So if you can find a box and send them as soon as you can I’ll appreciate it a lot.

The other things I forgot is about the money it costs me. I guess it is supposed to go through Ella B. so Papa can just give her a check each month and have her send it in my name and then the cirtificate can be made out to me. I understand it is to be given just like any other contribution to C.P.S. I sent Ella the 35 that I brought with me and maybe she told you all about it.

Say father, that was sure a nice long letter you wrote me I let Ab read some of that about Chick and Claud. He got a big kick out of it. You asked about the examination. We had one allright but it wasn’t quite as good as the Jeff Drs. gave and that isn’t much. We were examined the next afternoon after we got here and got our typhoid shots and small pox vaccination which I didn’t need. The first typhoid shot made me real sick for a couple of hours but the rest just made me a little tired and gave me a stiff arm. Some of the fellows said that they had very good examinations before they left home. A couple of them were “X”-rayed several times in hopes that the bord wouldn’t have to send them.

I’m learning. I washed out my wash pants and that light jacket and pressed my pants myself. One of the fellows that work in the laundry pressed the jacket, we get one shirt each week ironed for us and I had worn a “T” shirt that didn’t need to be ironed so the owed me an ironing. The washing machine is sort of hard on good things so they say that’s why I washed them out by hand.

I will probably have several P.s.s so I’ll leave this letter open till Mon. when I send it.

They changed the address to Coshocton cause they have to go there every day any way for something or to buy groceries, so we are going to get our mail there now. All Fresno mall goes through Coshocton anyway so they will probably stop all C.P.S. mail anyway even if it is addressed Fresno.


P.S. Sun, 4:00 P.M.

I’d like to tell you a little about the recreational program they had last night. They always have something on Sat. night. They had a indoor track meet, that’s what they called it. All games to represent different events in the track meet, on was the “furlong race” We had 8 teams and each team entered 2 people. Then they measured the combined length of the two contestants hair, get it? No one know what it was till they started to measure and the team that won had entered two girls that happened by be visiting their boyfriends or husdbands. On weekends there are always a half a dozen or so girls visiting. There were about 100 people in on the games most of them boys of course, can you imagine 80 or 90 boys ranging in age from 22 to over 30 really enjoying playing games like that? The big feature of the evening was the auction. There had been a lot of clothes accumulating at the laundery that had no mark on them so they auctioned them off. Most of them sold from 10 to 40 cents, and some of them good too. There were a couple of pairs of girl’s slacks and a pair of silk stockings, no one knew how they got there. Then we went to the dinning room and had grahm crackers and milk and all-day suckers too. After that some of the fellows got to singing and about 50, I’d say, stayed till 11:30 I sure enjoyed the singing even tho I didn’t know a lot of the songs. That many boys singing is something. There was something wonderful about the way they sang together last night, men that had been educated to teach in colleges and men who had only a high school education who were simple farmers, from as far west as Kansas and as far east as New York City and New Jersey. They sang and were happy, it must be because thy believed in God.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What is CPS?

I thought as I publish the second letter, I would write a bit about CPS camps. I grew up hearing about CPS and whenever we traveled there seemed to be one of Dad's CPS buddies in every town. However a lot of people do not know anything about CPS (Civilian Public Service) camps. As World War II began the selective service act of 1940 allowed for Conscientious objectors to war but only 'Religious objectors' . The Conscientious Objectors had some choices, they could serve as noncombatants in the military, or serve time in CPS camps doing 'work of national importance' or for some both of these seemed like too much cooperation with the war and they did time in prison. Others such as my Uncle on my Mom's side of the family did not qualify as a religious objector and was sent to prison.
The CPS camps were under the US government but the 3 traditional peace churches, Friends, Brethern and Mennonite were given financial and administrative responsibility. During World War II there were 52,000 government classified CO's. Close to 12,000 of these served in 151 CPS camps.
My father's background was as a member of a Friends (Quaker) Church in Iowa. He applied for and received CO status after appealing the first decision of the draft board. As he entered CPS and as this letter shows, he was a bible based Christian.
Others mentioned in this letter are his brothers Charles and Harry and his sisters Eileen(Toots) and Evelyn. Dad was the oldest of the five and was 24 in 1942.


August 25, 1942

Dear home folks,

First off, a weather report for father. It rained most of yesterday---no that was Sunday---The sun is shinning very brightly today and as one of the fellows said, we are having a day of October’s bright blue weather in Aug. It has been quite cool at night and we had a fire in the dorm last night and this morning too. Some of the sleepier guys complained about getting up in the cold. But me---I loved it. I arose at 5:30 and went out to meditate there were only 4 out this morning tho, it seemed that the weather affects peoples religion here the same as any where.

Paul J. Furness was in camp from fri. over the weekend. He is a very opptomistic man and he thought that C.P.S. men had nothing to worry about at the present, even tho the Am. Legion is trying to stir up a stink. He says Gen. Hershey doesn’t want to turn the camp over to the Gov’t. And if that was to happen there would be about two thirds of the fellows go to jail. Also there is still a good chance for detached service and there will be a lot more states open up after the election. Paul Furness is the head of all the Friend’s camps.

Col. Kosh was here too last Fri. he is the fellow that Hershey put in charge of all C.P.S. camps. He looks almost like the pictures of German army officers you see in the comic magazines, short hair-cut and everything. I guess he didn’t say much here tho, but Paul Furness told us that Kosh had bawled out some of the camps quite severly but they didn’t pay much attention. The way Furness put is Kosh was learning a lot about C.O.s and Quakers.

It won’t be long till the kids go back to school. I sort of envy them, but I guess this is my school here, there is plenty to learn too. I’m figuring on starting to go to the Old Testament class. It is taught by a refugee named Mosche’ Calner (Moa shay)

I’m still washing dishes. Not a bad job. We have a new Diettition and her standards of cleanliness are somewhat higher that what the boys were used to, so we have work a littler harder then we used to. You see, we have to scrub the kitchen and sweep the dinning room and that sort of stuff. I guess our official name is the kitchen cleanup crew. Diettician, is that the way you spell it? Well she has much better meals and all the fellows like it so much better that it is worth a little extra work.

Thanks for the addresses. I received the shirts and flashlight today. I still wish that I had that little blue notebook. I looked in my stuff here again and couldn’t find it besides I don’t think I packed it. It must be around there somewhere. The Library table or the bookcase, or some where. But I suppose you looked allover by now. Well, if you happen to find it stick it in an envelope.

E.J. Haines and her folks and two younger brothers were here Sat. and Sun. and I had a very enjoyable chat with her and met the family. They invited Ab and I to come home with Willard some time when he goes home over a weekend. Willard has his car here and his tires are good.

Say Toots, I’ll write you a personal letter some time but don’t look for it too soon, you ain’t much better than the rest of the family.

This is for Harry or Evelyn: If they saved those SS Times’ and stuff that kept coming to me at Penn, will one of you kids please send it to me. Maybe you brought it home or they threw it away. I have time to read them now any how. Thank you.

I’ve read two fiction books and I read the Bible more and my “Living Prayerfully” too. This is great to have time to read.

Work of National Importance? I guess so.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

August 14, 1942

Dear family,
There are just gobs of things to tell you. I’ll probably forget a lot of them and have to write them next time. To begin with this camp is about 9 miles from Coshocton, and 4 miles from Fresno, hence the address. We are in the foothills of some mountains, I don’t know what ones tho. The camp looks much like any CCC camp, long green buildings. The country is very rough and the camp is built on sort of a hillside, so one end of the dorms have been built on stilts or legs.

Now for the project. About 40 rods north I believe (everything is built on a slant here) is the experiment station that we work in connection with. It has about 8 buildings all of brick painted white. This experiment station is the largest of its kind in the world. When the CCC boys were here there were about 28 Gov’t paid men that worked at the station. Now a lot of them are gone now and their work is being done by camp boys. These fellows were highly paid technical research men, so you see what sort of education some of the fellows have that are here in camp. Ferinsence the five men that work in the annylisis department are from the camp and they have had from 7 to 9 years of Math. Harry knows what that means. The Gov’t man that they work under doesn’t know as much as they do. They had it all figured up and there are about 59 here and 40 of them are college graduates. Among them is a musician that was working for the New York Metropolitan Opera co. and the fourth ranking Botinist in the U.S. He lives in our dorm and his job is to make a collection of every plant in Coshocton county and index them, so the station is very fortunate in having him in this camp.

The Idea of this whole project I guess is to collect enough data and evidence and find methods of farming suitable for farming this sort of marginal land. They want to prove to the farmers all over the U.S. that they should use certain methods of farming this poor land.

We have an amazing variety of men here, ages range from 22 to 28, 25 different denominations represented, 52 methodists, 24 friends, 18 none and 11 Jehova witnesses. The rest are in smaller numbers 13 of them are the only one of that denomination here. The farmers lead as an occupational group but there are only 19 of them. Next is Lab. Technitians, 17 of them. Most of the fellows are from Pa. NY. Ill. Ind. Ohio and Kan. And some of them sure talk different. 35 men are married and there are 90 colleges represented. The statistics aren’t quite up to date so we weren’t counted in them.

That first page was mostly about the camp. Tomorrow Ab and I both are going to work for the first time, we will be on a camp maintenance crew. They just work til noon on Sat.s . Mon. I go to work washing dishs fro a 6 week term they sort of rotate the kitchen jobs but you don’t have to do anything you don’t want too tho. If you aren’t happy you just tell the personell director whose job it is to keep everybody happy. He is a camper and a really swell guy. He was elected to that position by the rest of the camp. Ab is going to sweep the dorms for a couple of weeks till a fellow gets back from ferlough.

We have met a lot of very nice fellows and a few that seem to be just Objectors. Ab and I talked to E.J.’s brother for the first time tonight. He works with the farm crew. They have 1300 acres of land that they experiment on some of it belongs to the station and the rest to the co-operating farmers.

I intended to write last night but the typhoid shot got me down and I didn’t feel like it. Today We were interviewed by the personell director and the superintendent of the project who is a very fine man and they say he co-operates very well with the camp.

I don’t believe my small pox vaccination is going to take at all they are supposed to only last 7 yrs and its been 9. But we had the disease. We get two more typhoid shots but they tell me that only one of them will make you sick you never know which one.

I got my cloths marked to day too. A fellow had a bubber stamp printing set that uses laundry ink on and I used it.

I think we are going to be pretty hapy here. Ab misses Opal a lot I guess, but that doesn’t bother me any.

They say this is the best camp, best project and best director. The director is Sumner Mills.

I’m going to bed now, its only 8:10 but I’m sleepy blame it on the shots.


P.s. Send me my crooked flashlight, my shirt, and a little blue spiral vestpocket notebook that should be in that little dresser drawer or the bookcase or the library table, it has my correspondence record so I don’t know who I owe letters without it.
Good night. And thank you.

My Father's Letters

In May of 2009 I went to Tennessee for my nephew’s sons high school graduation. While there my sister, Bonnie and I went through some boxes of stuff she had brought back from Colorado when we cleared out our parent’s house. In one of the boxes we found 184 letters that my father had written home to his parent’s in Iowa between the years of 1942 to 1946. The letters begin in August of 42 when my father first goes to Coshocton CPS (civilian public service) camp in Ohio and end in the fall of 1946 after he has married our mother and they are living in Chicago.
I have thought about sharing these letters with others and have wondered if this would be a story of interest to other Friends. This summer as I thought about this and was reading Dad’s letters, I copied them 20 at a time and read them over the summer, I was also reading the small book by Jean Zaru, “Occupied with Nonviolence”. In it she speaks of the value of telling our story;
Storytelling makes the world stronger because stories revel the complexity of our truth. By telling our stories, we resist the diminishing of the reality of our lives. We resist vague and generalized abstractions and we maintain the urgency and intensity of the concrete.
I thought that a blog might be a way of sharing theses letters and also dialoging with people about the letters. The return address of the letters had "Blessed are the peacemakers..." Mathew 5:9 on each envelope, which I chose for the title of this post.
Below I will post my father's first letter.