Sunday, April 25, 2010

Water, trains and skype

It's the end of the semester and I have missed a whole week. We went up to Albuq. to visit a friend who fell and broke her knee cap. Dad's letter has a neat story about getting water to run through a pipe. I was always impressed with his problem solving abilities. I am also impressed that he could get a train all the way from Oregon to Jefferson and travel it in two or three days. I like these letters, since we get a glimpse into his world 60 some years ago. Last night we had dinner with some friends and got in on skyping to their daughter who is at a volcano in northern NM without a land line phone in an area where cell phones do not work. so we got to look at the computer and see and talk with her. It is fun to do, I hope a few people keep on writing letters.

March 14, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elton, Oregon
Mar. 14, 1943

Dear folks,

Here’s the latest developments in my CPS carier. I wrote to the passenger agent at Portland and here’s what he told me as to the cost of a round trip coach fare. The round trip fare from Drain to Jefferson would be 71.52 if I went through Portland both ways and if I made a circuit and returned through Calif it would be $68.07. In addition there is a federal tax of 10%. My schedule would be:
Lv. Drain -1:24 a.m. –Sun. for example
Ar. Portland -7:55 a.m. – “
Lv. “ -9:00 a.m. – “
Ar. Jefferson -10:05 P.m. Tue.
I think that I will go and come by different routes as long as it seems to cost less and he didn’t say about it taking any longer and I asked him about the time involved. Also some of the fellows that came here from Iowa came through Calif. and made it in three days. So my ticket would cost $74.99 including the tax. Then it will take something for eats. Eating on a train costs like the dickens. I think I’ll start out with a loaf of bread in my suitcase. If I eat some on the dinning car and myabe I can get off someplace and get something to make sandwitches of it won’t take so much. You had better put in an extra 5 of something like. It might be better to bring some money home than run out maybe you better make that 10 extra. I guess that about finishes the Money talk. All I want is $84.88. That sure is a lot of money but I tell myself that I may not be able to come home a year from now fro several reasons.

I’m not exactly sure when I’ll come home but I still intend to come. We get a paper here in camp that is put our by the NSBRO so what’s in it is straight stuff. Well, it said that there was a deal to get 200 men do do the surveying work for the Coast and Geodetic Survey. It seems that they survey the whole US. and make all of the maps. They wanted to send from 50 to 100 men to Alaska for a short time. All that hasn’t come to a head yet but will soon. If it is going, to get started this summer. If I wait for the 200 man deal I don’t think it will interfier with my furlough. But we shall have to wait and see. I figured my furlough with one of the fellows in the office and then I figured it again myself and get something different each time. The latest is that if I leave on the 10th of May and come back on the 31st. I will have 22 days. The wouldn’t be so bad. I look for the Alaska surveying to get underway in June so I would come out about right. We shall see. What do you think about the whole situation?

Thanks for the films I havn’t used any of them yet but will soon I can’t think of much else to say right now.

Did I ever tell you about out water suply? We get it out of a stream about a mile and half up in the hills. The pipe line hadn’t been working right and so I got in on fixing it. There had been two extiditions at different times that had failed to fix it I think that is why I got in on it this time. It is sort of out of my department but there was only one other man in this camp now that so many are in spike camps, that knew enough to figure out what was wrong. Well this other smart guy and I and a couple of dumb guys started out to fix the water supply. We found out what was the trouble and it was so simple that I have only told one of the fellows cause it is so silly. You see the pipe runs up and down over each one of thoes little humps while it is coming down. Well, each one of those little humps had a lot of air in the pipe and the water couldn’t get through very fast. It took us almost a whole day to discover what the trouble was but we finally decided to open the pipe at the top of each hump and let out the air. As near as we could figure that air had been there since the pipe was laid. The pipe runs a full stream of water now and it was only running about the size of your thumb in a 2 ½ in pipe. I had to brag a little since I didn’t have anything else to write about.

I’m back in the notion of getting hill billy shoes now cause one of the new fellows said that just before he came he got some Engineers Boots and they told him that there wasn’t going to be any more high cut shoes made. I think they will continue to make the hill billy style cause the lumberjacks and anyone that works in the hills just about has to have them.


PS I imagine that the sooner I buy my train tickets the better. The guy I wrote to at Portland said he would suggest that I secure my transportation well in advance of when I plan to leave.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nominating committees

Dad mentions getting put on the worship committee in this letter as he is trying to negotiate when to get home for a furlough. I had just gotten off of the phone as part of the yearly meeting nominating committee. We meet once a month by conference call, including the silence. In unprogrammed Friends Meetings there is no clergy and all positions are held by Members of the meeting. Some say that Quakers did not get rid of the clergy but of the laity (not sure on the spelling). I am in awe of this process in friends meetings and how 'way does open' for people to fill positions. Sometimes it seems as if there is no one, in our case for months and then finally a thought occurs which is followed up. I think it is also unique among Friends that we do not hold positions long, there is a hope to avoid rank. The practice of appointing someone to a committee when they are absent is not usually done, though their name may be suggested.

March 9, 1943

C. P. S. #59
Elkton, Oregon
Mar. 9, 1943

Dear folks,

This isn’t going to be much of a letter. It seems that the longer I’m in CPS the busier I get. Up till this month I have managed to keep out of the camp Gov’t. But this month they put me on the worship committee when I wasn’t at camp-meeting. I’ll have to go after this in self-defence. I’m really not a shirker but I have put a lot of extra time in in the wood-shop so that the fellows can have the opportunity to work here when they want to and that leaves me little time to do anything else. Well we just got through with a worship committee meeting and that’s part of the reason this letter will be short.

I havn’t sent for my shoes yet but will soon. We gave our ration books to the ration board so that we could get new ones and they havn’t given the old ones back yet. I think they will get them when they go to Drain, that’s where the board is. I have been thinking more about the shoe problem and decided that I should get something pretty good as they may have to last quite a while.

Another thing I want to explain is that there is a pretty good possibility of a surveying job opening up. I have notion to get into it if I can and I think I can. We don’t know much yet but the General Land Office wants 24 surveyers and the rumor is that they are trying to get it through Selective Service as a detached service unit. They expect it to start about the first day of May which causes me some concern. I was figuring on going home in May. And you know that opportunities don’t wait on you to get back. So I may take a notion to come home about the middle of April if the surveying looks like it is going to be what I want and is going to really start in May. The surveying will have to look about right of I won’t bother it. The possibilities of furlough on this surveying will have to be considered too. Maybe I could come home later in the summer. We shall see. I have to come to the place that I don’t worry about a decision till I get to it. I have a lot o faith in God to guide me and I usually know what to do when the time comes. What do you think about the whole thing? I believe I have put everything of importance in. I imagine that I could help you any time and if I could wait later I would have more time. I found that I could use the furlough time that I earned while away which would alow me to leave here the 7th and get back the 29th giving me 23 days if I went in May. If I go sooner It will cut off 2 days and I’ll be back where I thought I was. A couple of more things about surveying and the work here. The surveying is reported to be over several states so would be interesting from that side.

While I like my work here very well I don’t know what the future will be. There is work to do for the camp but it seems that we have our quota of overhead men now and 4 men over. So my chances of doing work for the camp are very slim no matter how much it is needed. Our supt. likes to have all the men on the project that he can cause they look good on the books and he isn’t so much concerned with keeping the fellows happy. I have a very nice job now. I am to make two large filing cabinets for filing big maps and plats for the Portland Office. I’ll enjoy that and it will last a little while. We are going to build a couple of prefabricated buildings to be used a fire camps. That will take a while and after tht I don’t know. The work we have turned out has made a good impression on the big boss at the Portland Office but I don’t suppose they can keep my busy for the duration. I’d kind of like to change some time and this looks like a good chance. What would you say.
Send me ten bucks to buy shoes with. I’m in the mood to buy some good engineer’s boots now but don’t know what I will settle on.

Thanks for the Bible Society Stamps. They look a little militaristic but I guess that is the kind of advertising that people understand.

If some of you are down in Oskaloosa again will you go to May’s Cut Rate Drug Store and get me a 1# jar of Molle’ shaving cream? I still have some left but it won’t last another year. I’ll get it when I come home. So don’t send it out. Harry will know the store if you don’t remember it.

I got Grandpa Aldrich’s check and cashed it the same time that I did the one Dad sent for the tin clothes. I sent them to Eugene with the boys on the supply truck. We don’t have any trouble with checks. When the stores find out that we are religious objectors they are glad to do business. Some of them have been gypped by the CCC and were a little wary of the green trucks till they found out about the change.

Somebody sent me a Penn Cronicle and I see that Evelyn in in the Gossip column. Something about the Aldrich Holmes romance not lasting I think.

Hearing about you talking to all those nice people I know at Penn makes me wish that I could go back and see them. I wonder what if I ever will get to see them all again probably not. I got letter from Dick Newby to-day.

Yes, the family group picture got here ok.

I heard from Ab the other day, he wrote mostly about the daughter.

This turned out to be quite a letter after all. I’m getting sleepy better quit. So Long.

Yours with all the trimmings

P.S. Propaganda enclosed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back from riding trains

The post from Dad is a short postcard. We got back from riding the trains to Philadelphia, with a stop in Pittsburgh and Mill Run to see Falling Water. It would have been interesting to have known Dad's reactions to this. I think my interest in buildings came from traveling with them and his comments as we would visit park headquarters at national parks or visit friends houses. He would comment on the building. For me Falling water was a unique experience combining building, nature, art all in one with the added sense of time travel back to the 30's and 40's.
In Dad's post card he speaks of Angelfood cake coming in the mail. How many of us would send a cake across country thinking it would get there and be fresh?

March 5, 1943

Fri. nite 3/5/43

Dear Mom,
Sorry I neglected to let you know sooner that I received a nice Chocolate Angelfood cake. It came about 4 days ago and Kit Carson and I just about finished it tonight. I have been nibbling on it and giving some to several of the fellows every day and now it is all gone. Gone where good Angle Foods go. Thanks a lot, it tasted good. It stood the trip quite well and didn’t seem a bit stale even to the last crumb. The only defect was the frosting was slightly gooy which didn’t hurt the taste a bit, only stuck to the paper. All that got any appreciated it. That way of packing is a success
Your son,