Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Break is Coming

Dad mentions spring break and we are about to take one and head off to Pendle Hill for the Beyond Diversity 101 intensive. I do not plan to post for the next week and a half. A little down time from computers. In this letter I enjoyed Dad's description of an assistant in the workshop who was 'all I don't want in a man'. I always thought that Dad knew how to get along with everyone and enjoyed everyone, I guess he learned that trait as he worked. In his carpentry business he hired a wide variety of people. When my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary we had people put on their name tags when and where they had met Barney and Dorothy. I was surprised at how many people had worked for Dad at one time or another. He would hire folks out of college who didn't have a job or the sons and daughters of their friends. At his memorial some people mentioned that his remodeling business was as much a social program as a carpentry business. I remember my mother would often complain about the long coffee breaks. Dad was not out to make a lot of money. The business phone was our home phone and the rule was 'if they are in a hurry we're not interested'.

February 28, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elton, Oregon
Feb. 28, 1943

Dear Folks,

Say, here it is the last of Feb. already. It won’t be long till it will be spring back there too. We have had about three weeks of swell spring weather and are expecting winter back any time now. They say that is the way it happens in Oregon.

I got your last letter Fri. and you it was mailed Tue. I got it the 4th day. When is it you get mine? On the 5th or 6th day? I don’t think that I have gotten any of yours in less than the 4th day. Quite often they are mailed on Tues. and I don’t get them till Sat. I think that possibly Air Mail does save one day or maybe two sometimes unless I have been figuring wrong. You see you are out of the way there to get a letter off to a good start and so am I here. So they get a bad start and a poor finish.

The other day I filled out an application for furlough starting May 6 and ending May 26. Well, I can change it. It just stays in the office here. But That will just get me back in camp before the deadline at June first. All men are kept after that for fire fighting and that will last till it rains in the fall. It will be a good thing that I got my application in cause there will be a rush for last minuit furloughs. I can get away after the 6th cause the last 6 days till the 12th which will make it an even 9 months only gave me ½ day and I can’t use that. I suspect that I’ll have to change that till the 7th of may, I don’t know tho which end it will come off of. The way I made out my application I wound be getting 21 days. Well, 20 days is what I have. That won’t leave me home for long will it but that is all there is. There have been guys trying to get extension on furlough since this mess started and about the best thing that has been done is a few days of emergency furough in cases of severe sickness in the family. There was one guy at Coshocton that overstayed his furlough 3 days. And they had to report him AWOL. Acording to the regulations the third time that happens he is liable for reclassification in L-A. I guess he didn’t believe that and wanted to find out.

I told you about the fellow that was helping me that could out-gaget me, well I have a guy helping me know that is really a headache. Kit Carson (the gagetier) is now Assistant Director wile the regular Assistant director is at assistant director school. They gave me a reall nice man for a while then he got a chance to go near his home to do timber crusing and I lost him. Well, then I got this guy and he is all that I don’t want in a man. He didn’t want to cme here to start with. All he wanted was not to fight. He has a bad hip and couldn’t plant trees so they put him in here cause he wanted some work with less walking. He’s very unparticular and don’t care anyway. He’s terribly dumb and can’t do anything right the first time. And to top it off he grypes all the time about everything. I have got so I just tell him that there isn’t anybody guarding the gate and all he has to do is walk out. That shuts him up. I’m beginning to understand what Dad was up against in hiring men. He and one other are all the really discusting fellows we have. The rest have a pretty good attitude towards CPS.

I’ll get someone to see about train arrangements for me soon and let you know.

We got the drafting tables all done except a little winding up yet and are now making stools for the fellows to sit on while they use our tables. We will finish that this week and after that I’m not sure what will happen to me. The original plan was for me to work for the camp but their overhead quota is full now. I think that they will manage to keep me in the shop tho as there is so much to be done. I will be making stuff for the camp then like buliten boards and cabinets for the kitchen and stuff like that.

We are making a Chaple out of one end of an extra dorm and I have been working on a bench. We plan to make ten benches 12 feet long and I am making one to get them started. I have to do that in the evenings so I haven’t been doing much letterwriting. I’ll tell you about the benches next letter.

Keep your chins up. God’s in His heaven and the sun is shinning in Oregon. (now)

P. S. I intended to tell you about our movie here in camp last night. It was The Grapes of Wrath. I saw it once before but was glad to see it again. You remember that it is about the sharecroppers going to Calif. to find work and then getting a dirty deal there too. Well, There are several Calif. guys here and they said that it is all true and the fruit pickers are still getting a dirty deal.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A sunny day and detached service

A lot is mentioned in this letter, from Methodists and the sunny day to shoes and detached service. I teach math and all the info on shoes and cost made me see potential math problems involving the cost of the shoes in 1943 and the cost of shoes now. $8 was quite a bit of money then.
I just wanted to mention a bit about 'detached service'. This was service work done by conscience objectors away from a camp. Some did work in mental hospitals or for other relief organizations. Dad gets interested a couple of times in different opportunities but doesn't leave the camp for detached service until 1945. He does get to take a turn at fighting fires.

February 22, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elton, Oregon
Feb. 22, 1943

Dear folks at home,

All’s well on the western front. It hasn’t rained for over a week and the sun shines 90% of the time. When the weather is good here it is awful good. This sure is a pretty country when the sun is shining. They tell us that it may start in and rain for a month straight now. Spring starts here early in Feb. The farmers get out and go to plowing and they have their oars or wheat in, I don’t know which it is. We have a chunk of ground for a garden. There is about a half acre that is down by the river and has never been cleared. We get that and that much again if we clear it. The farm land here would make you laugh. The valley is very narrow here. Probably about a mile from the foot of the hills on our side to that foot on the other side. Then there isn’t much farm land in that. There are a few fields 20 rds. wide and 40 long. They raise a lot of hay and pasture sheep in the hills ( I call them hills after seeing some real mountains)

I suppose that you all read the letter I wrote to Harry. Well, I’ve gone to church for the last three Sunday nights in a row. I’m getting back in the habit again. I’m afraid that those two kids that play the guitars are the main attraction. You’d sure like them Mom. They play that foot-tapping sort of gospel song that the Stamp boys sing. There aren’t very many that go there but they all seem to enjoy it so much that you know that it is real and that is what I think religion should be. I went the the Methodist in the morning and they were so dead that I wanted to cover them up. This Assembly of God is getting more popular with the campers and I don’t think that any of them had ever gone to a church like that before. The fellows that have been going there for a while say that the people in town are coming better since more and more of the camp boys are going there.

Thanks for the ‘buck’, Dad. That is one kind of ‘passing the buck’ that I don’t mind a bit. That’s a good idea about getting some shoes but I have hardly worne the new pair that I got before going to camp. Besides that’s not the kind of shoes to wear out here if you are going to get out of camp. Did you notice the shoes on the guy on the cover of the camp report? Well, if you can tell anything about them from that, that is the kind we need here. I have been wearing the old ones that I had when I left home, while I’m in the shop they are all right. But they tell me that in the summer when it gets dry everyone goes out to fight forest fires. And I am told that a light shoe won’t last two weeks in fire-fighting. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in the wood-shop, as far as I can see now there is no immediate end to it but you never know with the CPS. You can get shoes like I want fro from 6.50 to 25 bucks. Some of the guys have gotten some from Monkey Ward for 7.50 or 8.00. They looked pretty good to me. They are called Loggers. The western catalogues are all that have them so you cant look them up. I was supprised to see the difference in the catalogues. They have a lot of stuff like that that is not sold in the middlewest. I think that that kind of shoe would be useful wading around feedlots if this war should stop before I got them woren out. Also I imagine that the rest of my CPS carier will be spent in the west as we never hear of a camp being opened in the east any more. The only thing is I might take a notion to get into some sort of detached service some time. As yet I’m very happy in CPS tho. I believe I shall send for some shoes like those on the cover of the paper. I suspect that it is wise to keep my shoe ration cupons used up even if I don’t need them yet. Thanks for the offer to get me some.

To add a little interest I’ll make a little rough sketch of the drafting tables we have been making.

One more thing, I can’t buy films for my camera but one of the photographers in camp said he thought that I could get a film that was slightly larger and cut it down. The only difficulty would be that I have only one set of spools. Would youns look around and send me any Univex OO films that happen to be lying around the house exposed or unexposed. I doubt if you can get any in Jeff but you might try if you think of it. If I can get several spools I can re wind myself enough film to take a few pictures. I don’t want to spend much more money on it or I’d think about getting a new camera. I want to learn to develop pictures while I’m here as there is a nice dark-room and they have a co-op arrangement to pay for the stuff you use so it isn’t as expensive as sending pictures away. See if you can scrape up any Univex film will you? They quit making that size cause there seems to be shortage.


(Illustration of front and side of drafting table.)

When we get done we will have 5 like this besides one smaller one of different design and one with glass top and a light under it that they use for tracing maps(?).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Preaching to Harry

This is a letter to Dad's brother Harry. I think it is the only one in the collection. Much of it it is about people i have not heard of. Near the end he talks a bit about going to church and 'meditation'. I'm not sure if this was meditation the way we see Buddhist meditation now, or if he meant silent Quaker meeting for worship. This letter is interesting to me since he mentions both going to an evangelical type church and also doing meditation. Though he says he is going to the church for the music, not the preacher. I am interested in how he moved from the church to the unprogrammed Friends Meeting. I like the line about 'not going to seed'.

February 19, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elton, Oregon
Feb. 19, 1943

Dear Harry,

Today is the 19th, I seem to remember something about you seeing Norma on the week-end of the 19th. Well, I hope you had a good time. I suppose that you found our again that “parting is such sweet sorrow”.

The score here is up to 99 now if I’m not mistaken. We just got 6 men in the last three days. One guy was from Des Moines, I havn’t talked to him much yet but I think that I’m going to like him. His name is John Aldon. The day before he arrived there were two letters addressed to him in the mailbox and the return address on them was Emily Newlin. He’s 30 years old and has some white-colar job in Des Moines. There must be something between him and Emily or she wouldn’t have written two letters to him before he got out here. I guess I’m just a gossip at heart. I tel myself that I’m really interested in people.

Old Tek wrote me a letter and I got it today. It had only been about a month since I wrote to him, that’s pretty good for him. I recon that you have seen him by now tho, but he said that he was waiting for his 101 questionnaire. That’s the one about what camp you’d like to go to. He said that he liked the sound of this camp and thought that he’d like to get into San Dimis and then his second choice would be this camp. I’d sure like to have him out here. I used to get a big bang out of talking to him.

This place seem sort of deserted now, 35 men went to a spike camp to plant trees till the season is over which I guess is about May first. So all that is left here are the men on camp overhead and Technical Service overhead and the new men and about three men that have been sick since they got here. Also there are about 8 drafters that are using some of the tables that I have been making. Did I tell you that we are making drafting tables in the shop now. Well, we are. The top of each on is 5 ft. by 43 in. Some fun. When we get them done there will be 6 drafting tables and one tracing table with a hunk of plate glass in it 2 ft. by 3 ft. The tracing table is all done and in use but the last 4 drafting tables aren’t finished yet.

Did I ever tell you about the church that I have been going to for the last two Sun. nights. The name of it is the Assembly of God. I guess it is of the penticostal variety. But that doesn’t bother me much. What I go for is to hear a couple of cute little girls sing and play guitar. These kids are about 16 and 14 so do not get excited. They sing the good old gospel songs and the swing them about right. The preacher is an old logger and can’t and don’t say much. They run their meetings about like a revival meeting which I guess is a habit of that church.

So you havn’t been going to church, tisk tisk. I think that I can see how you feel. I got out of the habit of going while at Coshocton and found that I got much more out of silent meditation but I can see where some people wouldn’t get a thing out of Meditation. In fact most of the men here in camp now don’t care for meditation at all and go to church in town very regularly. I find that I have to do some sort worship or I will go to seed. I’ve done a lot of thinking on Church since I’ve been in CPS and it seems to me that the church as failed, but we are stuck with it and till something better comes along we will have to be string along and do as much as we can. I think that one thing that we are apt to lose sight of is that by going and taking part in church we may help some one else so we shouldn’t think always of what we get out of a thing but judge it somewhat be what we can give to it. I guess I’ve let myself get to preaching to you again. Go ahead and do what you feel like, don’t let me influence you.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Japanese and a fat guy

It is enjoyable to time travel and see how things were seen differently. Dad talks about the way that the Japanese were viewed and mentions a 'fat guy' who weighs over 250 pounds. The pictures we have of Dad from this time, show him as fairly thin. Which I think was the norm. Quakers on the west coast did get involved with helping out the Japanese-Americans as they were sent to internment camps and then also helping those in the camps, especially the young people get to college. I have heard that one of the unintended outcomes of the internment camps was to move Japanese-Americans from farmers on the coast to professionals through-out the country. One Quaker, Gordon Hirabayashi, who was a nisei (2nd generation Japanese-American) challenged the internment and the case went all the way to the supreme court. These stories are told in 'The Western Quaker Reader'.

February 16, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elkton, Oregon
Feb. 16, 1943

Dear folks,

I got your letter yesterday, our letters are sliding back a little. But I guess that it doesn’t make any difference as long as I answer one as soon at I get it and you do the best you can.

We had a visitor here in camp over the week-end that had been teaching in a Japanese Relocation center. She was a woman some where over forty, (that’s the way I classify women) She had been fired from her job there because she refused to carry out some order. She has been a pacifist for years and told us a lot about the Japanese people. I guess she had been a missionary in Japan for quite a while. She says that Japan didn’t want to fight at all but was sort of shoved into it. Also that what we hear about the japanese people being brought up to believe in war and to hate and that sort of stuff, is pure propaganda. That seems very logical to me.

Well, this woman seemed to want to enlighten us about the Japanese which she did. Also she urged us to do all we could to help get the Japanese relocated. It seems that the Gov’t isn’t so crazy to have them scattered all over the middle west but wants to break up the families and sort of keep them in gangs and work them on jobs like the sugar ranches and things that take more brawn than brains. The Japanese people in America have done a lot of that sort of work when they first came over here but now the younger ones are rising above that. Many of them are trained in all sorts of professions. To keep them doing manual labor would only push them down and make them hate this country when they are really very loyal cicizens. All the 120,000 Japanese in relocation centers are Citizens and tho they aren’t pacifists she says they are not so far from it. If it wasn’t for the super patriots in our community you might be able to relocate some Japanese and solve your labor problems. However, knowing people around there as I do it might make matters very bad. I would probably be foolhardy enough to do it anyway tho.

I’m glad to hear that Harry got a II-C. I don’t know exactly what that means. I get the idea that he gets to stay on the farm.

I’ve fooled around with this letter and havn’t said much and now it is about time to go to bed and I’m sure sleepy. So I guess I’ll quit. We got 4 new men to day, one of them is a big fat guy, I’ll bet he weighs over 250. I noticed a couple of letters in the ‘A’ mailbox addressed to a guy that none of us have heard of and they were postmarked Oskoloosa Iowa. So I recon that we’ll have an Iowa man in this bunch. There are supposed to be 8 men coming in to-day and we have 4 already, that is a pretty good average. We never get all that are scheduled to come, I guess some of them get deffered or go to jail or something.

I got a valentine which I appreciated and also a dollar bill. Thanks a lot. I imagine you have received our camp paper by now. I got more coppies than usual and enlarged my list a little cause this paper told about the camp and project.

Well, So Long.


P.S. Don’t worry about me and Gov’t camp. I don’t think that there was a nickel’s worth of talk about it. I guess we are pretty well satisfied here. We have a pretty good bunch so far. The men that came here with me from Coshocton are tops(?) and we have been bringing up the new men up in the right way. There are a few that aren’t happy but they are very few. You know what I mean by “happy.” We have found(?) like the gospel Paul “what-so-ever state we are in to be content.”