Wednesday, January 13, 2010

December 17, 1942-Afternoon

Dec 17, 3:40
Union Station

Dear folks,
Well I’m still here. A couple of the other fellows and I went downtown for a little while. We walked so we didn’t get very far. We took in 8 floors and the basement of “Marshal Fields”, I guess its one of the largest department stores in the world. I had my first escalator ride, not bad.
Several of the boys had friends or relatives here so the day was probably enjoyed by all. The only difficulty is that we may run short on meal tickets. We had enough for 1 extra day and we have used up some of them already and aren’t across the Mississippi yet. I’m a little low on money but I think I’ll make it if need too I can borrow some from some of the fellows.
They have an electric organ here in the waiting room and there has been a guy playing Christmas music nearly all the time, its really swell.
You’d probably like to know more about why my sudden decision to go to Oregon. Well here’s the story. Our project Supt. is doing his best to keep the camp there. The strategy they tried to use was this: We sent in a bit (?) of the 39 men that would go to Oregon Sun. afternoon. Well I came darn near going then but they got though(?) so I wrote and told you that I wasn’t going.
I suppose you got that card yesterday. (Sentence crossed out) Wait, I left out something. Mon. morning our project Sup. wires to his betters in Wash. that they were letting a lot of good men get away he named 15 of them. About ½ of these men were really important and the rest of them were first bluff. Then things strung along till about the tue noon and both the Project and Technical Supervisors got a telegram telling them not to sign a release for those 15 men. So then the camp had to find some men to substitute for them. That’s when I came in. We had had some pretty favorable information about the Oregon Project and it looked like our camp was doomed cause S.C.S. seemed to think we only needed 50 men and that was the least that A.F.S.C. would ever consider keeping a camp open for. As I said on my card most of the good men were leaving either to Oregon or on detached service. If the camp is kept after it will mostly consist of fellows that are interested in the research part and a few that work on camp maintenance. I could have qualified I guess, but I wasn’t crazy about being stuck there with so few men. I had first started on a new job tue morning which would have put me in the research department. I was taking frost samples (meaning ---- frost and the depth of snow), not a bad job. But I lost interest when I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t much future there.
You see our project Sup. figured that one of the main reasons was that the rest of S.C.S. was jealous of him cause he had been turning out better work then they had and they were out to squeltch him. That may be partly conceit, but that with the fact that a certain Congressman McGigber(?) had promised to have us out by election day adds up to no camp Coshocton. So I am Oregon bound and glad of it. Except that I’ll be about twice as far from home. The way I feel about it now I’ll be looking for a detached service project of some kind next spring or summer. I still hope to get home next spring if it isn’t too expensive.
One thing I sure hated to do was go off and leave that printing press we had back there. I really enjoyed fooling around with it and I still think I could have done C.P.S. some good with it but maybe there is something more important in Oregon for me to do.
I left some very fine friends too. You get to know fellows pretty well that you live with for four months. I hated to leave Ab too but it is better for him to be closer to home if possible. I think he would have liked to go if it wasn’t for him being an expectant father.
There is another Iowa man going—Clarence Morrison. A good guy too. He’s from Ames. I told you about him a long time ago.
The project out there is a forestry(?) service project. I really think that it is more important than Soil Conservation. There are now 22 men out there now and so we will be practically the same camp. The capacity of the camp is 200 so some of the new fellows may get sent thro to maybe Warren.(?)
We couldn’t have picked a worse time to travel in the last 10 years. The last we hear there weren’t any more Pullmans. So I --- we will have that stinky old coach all the way. It is terribly old and dirty. If they would give us a good one it wouldn’t be as bad but I suppose the army get all the good stuff. This whole thing has only t been on foot for about 9 or 10 days so it is a little wonder that our arrangements for cars and railroad connections aren’t working out. O, well, we are having a grand time and we get along well together so I guess we can put up with a little inconvenience like sleeping on the cushions. We have plenty of room so that we can take the back of the seats and stretch out across two of them it isn’t too bad.
We go out through Minn. N. D. to Seattle and then Portland. Elkton, I understand is about 30 mi. from the ocean with an elevation of 100 ft.
Well, keep your chins up, God’s with us.

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