Sunday, January 31, 2010

December 24, 1942

Boy oh Boy! have things ever been happening the last couple of weeks. Today is Thurs. the day before Christmas and a week ago yesterday I was about 3,000 miles from here with snow all around and now I’m in Oregon and there isn’t a bit of snow and it rains nearly all the time. Since I arrived here last Mon. morning I don’t believe it has stopped raining for over 4 or 5 hours at one time.

Right now I’m sitting on my bed beating out this sort of report on what has happened since I left Coshocton. The place we are is called Camp Elkton. Named for a small town about a half mile straight across the river from Camp, and a mile and a half around the road. The town has about 100 people in it and three churches.

Maybe I’d better go back a little and tell something of the swell trip we had getting out here. We spent the first nigh in a cold, old, dirty day coach between Columbus O. and Chicago. We had to lay over there till 11:00 at Chicago to get a sleeper, so we did, with pleasure. Most of the fellows went sightseeing or to visit friends or relatives. There were two of the fellows that didn’t get back in time to go with us, I guess they misunderstood about the time that we were going to leave. They were lucky enough to be finaially able and fortunate enough to catch a plane to Minniapollis where they caught us about 9:30 the next morning. Well we were able to hang on to our Pullman till we got here Mon. morning.

There’s no use me trying to tell about traveling through the mountains, they are beyond description. We didn’t go through any very high mountains, only 6,000 feet or over at the highest but they were plenty impressive any way. I thought I would catch up on my sleep on the train, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the window till it got so dark I couldn’t see anything. In fact a couple of nights we had a good moon and I looked out of the window till about 11:00 when I got so sleepy that I couldn’t see.

I didn’t get this thing finished last night so it is now Christmas day. I feel that the Lord has been very good to me this year with so many people not having a very happy Christmas. I have a place to work and a place to sleep and lots of good friends that write me swell letters. What more could one want?

We had a simple Christmas program last nite. It was swell. Mostly carol singing and everyone seemed to enjoy it emensly; the high spot was Dicken’s Christmas Carol read by George New, and he’s really good.

I wanted to tell you about the tunnels, we went through 9 I believe in the train. Our last stop on the train was a little town named Drain, that was where the railroad ended. Well I guess it was about 18 miles from Drain to Elkton and we went through a nice long tunnel on the highway. Well, so much for tunnels.

The camp here is sure fixed up pretty. The grass is green and I guess there are some roses in bloom too. They have young evergreen trees planted all arround the walks and almost everywhere. The timber around camp isn’t all so pretty, some of it has been burnt several years ago, but there are quite a few big trees that we can look at instead of the old burned snags. Our work so far has been getting a spike-camp ready to open. This camp is about 22 miles from the main camp and will have about 35 men in it when they get it all fixed up. We get to ride clear out there every morning and back every night, of course. The work the fellows do from the sopke-camp will be building a road through some timber that has never had a road before. The main purpose of the road is to get men and equipment in to fight fire. But of course anyone can use the road so probably there will be a lot of timber halled over t is raod that will be used to make ships or help in the war effort in some way. But I really think that making a road to help save our timber is much more important than soil conservation. However road building isn’t nearly so interesting as the work we were doing at Coschocton. I guess that isn’t the thing to think about tho.

There were 30 men here when we arrived and about half of them are new men that have come direct from home. While the rest of them came here from some other camp to open this camp. Most of the fellows from Coshocton have been in camp a while. I think we should have a very good camp here when we get settled. The camp has only been open for a little over a month so things are still in a sort of mess. The director is a young fellow that the Service Committee managed to get reclassified to 2-A so that he could be a director. He is a very fine fellow and I think he will be a very good director. Also he has a very pretty blond wife which helps too.

One of the drawbacks that I havn’t said much about yet is that it rains nearly all the time. We don’t stop working for rain either. The CCC left some raincoats and rubber boots and some 4 buckle overshoes and so there has been enough to go around so far. There are only 69 men here now and I guess they expect to more than double it as soon as possible. They make suits out here of heavy duck that will shed water and I think I shall get one of those. They call them “tin suits” cause they bend about like tin they are so stif.

This being Christmas day I fell like I should say Merry Christmas but I know you won’t get this till probably after New Years day even. But you get the idea don’t you.

So from a place where there is no snow and Holly and Mistletoe and Christmas trees grow wild I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Even if it doesn’t reach you in time. Maybe you can apply it on next year.

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