Monday, August 23, 2010

Thinking and school starting up

Dad has this way of talking about people. In this one he talks about the youngest guy on the survey crew and mentions that 'he hasn’t done very much thinking'. As the college classes start up, faculty stand around and talk. Thinking is one of the things that many of us feel has changed over time. How much thinking do young people do? I know that Dad was a thinker and I spent a lot of time thinking (in school accused of daydreaming). Are people thinking as well as texting today. Are they thinking in different ways than we did in the 60's and 70's or than folks did in the 30's and 40's? I believe that as the environment and economy have been impacting our lives people are becoming more philosophical and asking new questions about how they are living and how we are structuring our lives.

July 29, 1943


Dear Folks,

I drew you a map of our township and the surrounding town. I thought it might give you an idea of what I was doing. I marked with heavier lines when we have been but that doesn’t mean we are done in that part. You see, we are supposed to locate the old corners and on lots of the lines we couldn’t find anything at all. So all we can do is keep going till we do find an old corner and then make new corners where the come in relation to the old ones we find. That isn’t very clear but maybe you will get the idea. It is called proportioning the corners in.
I might tell you some about the boys here in camp with me. I’ll take La Verne Kiethly this time. He is from Los Angeles Calif. and the youngest member of the party 20 a couple weeks ago. He doesn’t belong to any church and doesn’t take churches very seriously. He says he went to Sunday School a little when he was small.
He just didn’t see any sense in fighting and made up his mind that he wouldn’t. Says he didn’t know anything about CPS all he knew was he wasn’t going to fight. His father is a plumber. Everybody likes him very well, he is one of the three that don’t smoke. Verne is about 6 feet tall and quite slender. I don’t suppose he weighs as much as I do. He will work hard and is one of the easiest fellows in the bunch to get along with. You can tell that he is younger then the rest of us by various things one can’t put his finger on. One thing I notice is that he hasn’t done very much thinking.
We don’t know anything more about our Sweet Home trip yet.
I hope you aren’t working too hard at threshing. I still seem to enjoy the farm news and the courting and romance news from Mom.
Love Bernard.

Attached: a map of township with note:

After returning from the nest Sweet Home trip we expect to make our camp at the end of the Brush Creek Road [arrow pointing to map]. Which will let us into the west half of the township. As there are no roads in the west half we will have to use pack mules and go out from the main camp a week at a time to get to the south west part. There are trails all over the country here. They follow the ridges and some of them aren’t bad walking. The Forestry service keeps them open this time of year in case of fire. The trails I put in my map are the ones we have --- over or surveyed across. Sections 14, 22, 23, 26, and 35 caused us a lot of walking. Those trails are much crookeder then I could show them. One day we walked 3 ½ miles to work in the morning and 2 ½ miles back at night. That is a lot of walking besides surveying a mile besides. We always do a mile a day and when it is done we come in. Sometimes it is early like today we were in at 4:00 then once in a while it is 5:30 or 6:00. A few times it has been convenient to do a mile and a half one day to quit closer to the road then we’d only do a ½ mile next day and get off shortly after noon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August heat and harvests

Dad's post mentions thrashing oats. I wasn't aware that they had grown oats on the farm in Iowa. We are dealing with heat here, still in the high 90's or l00. We have grown squash this summer, patty pan and crook neck and a small patch of corn in the front yard. We took out the lawn but have not replaced it with much besides dirt and the weeds. Two summers ago we had a good crop of beans in the front, then last year we put in a solar closet. Really Tim put it in, so during the construction we didn't plant anything. Now we are begining to think in longer terms of what we want where in the yard. I think we are not avid gardeners, but are learning it bit by bit and book by book.
Dad also mentions Kingsly in this letter. Kingsly is his cousin and was in the army I think in North Africa and Italy. When he says "the fighting is over there" I think given the date he means that the fighting was happening then.
The college is about to start up this week and I will meet students, as usual I will have some veterans from the current US wars and also spouses and children of those in the military. I hope for them the fighting is over.

July 25, 1943


Dear Folkses,

Right off the bat I want to thank Dad for the gas stamps and the Buck. It will come in handy. I spend more money since we go to shows every once in a while. Sometimes I feel very extravagant about it but “you can’t take it with you,” you know. So as long as I have a little money and the opportunity for a little diversion I suspect I’ll continue to spend it. The whole camp was glad so see the gas coupons. They will get us to several shows.
We just found out today that when we leave this camp to go to Sweet Home to finish up that job (do you remember? I told you about it a couple of weeks ago) that we will pull up stakes here till next fall sometime. So my address will be Sweet Home for a while then I don’t know what. But we will continue to get mail cause the boss has a wife in Portland and they have only been married 2 or 3 years so he will want to get mail once in a while. Also there are official letters going and coming so it will be gotten some way. We have a forwarding address when we move so don’t worry about that.
I got a letter from Kingsley. I imagine Grandma A. has told you about him. The fighting is over there. He is a sergeant now from his address.
I’m glad to hear that you are going to get the old threshing machine out. I’d bet Harry wasn’t tho while he was shocking oats. I hope you’ns don’t work to hard tho. You will probably be well underway with the thrashing by the time you get this.
I’ve fooled around trying to write this and it is time to go to bed now. We have had too many discussions this evening for me to write a good letter. I’ll try to do better next time.
We have a new cook now and tho he hasn’t much experience he is clean and will work so we get along fine.
I am going to the dentist some of these days, I told the office (C.P.S.) to make an appointment for me and the boss said I could take one of the trucks so that is it. I’ll find out what the bill will be and have you send me a check.
So Long,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Logging and Movies

Dad has an interesting time not getting anywhere in this story. We went to see a new movie called Inception about dreams within dreams. I got to thinking how reading Dad's letters, writing about growing up in the 50's and 60's while currently living in 2010 reminded me of the layers in the movie Inception. Each of our stories has roots or a basis in another story before it. My mother did a video tape of her spiritual journey and in it she says 'the bags were packed by those who came before', meaning that she came from a family without a lot of problems. She recognized that she had a good start on life. In Inception at one part in a dream a van goes off a bridge which impacts the people who are in it dreaming at the next level they are floating around they do not have solid ground, no gravity. I think that what my mother was saying was that her basis was strong was solid because of her family and I think that some people who come from an unstable life or background are like the people in the movie, floating around unable to find ground to stabilize themselves. It also made me aware that there is always a part that history plays in any situation, we do not operate on an empty stage. Reading these letters for me was like reading the act that took place before I came on stage.
That's my musing on the movie. It has stuck with me, so I thought I would try to share my thoughts by writing them here. It might not make sense unless you have seen the movie.

July 16, 1943

Fri. nite, 7/16/43

Dear Folks,

Well, I’m still in the same place I was last week when I wrote youns. It’s quite a story about our trip up beyond Eugene to the place that we were to finish surveying. We went up Sat. nite after work and spent the week-end in Eugene. That is: 4 of us did. One of the fellows went on to Salem to see a girl and 3 stayed here at camp, two of them to bring the trucks loaded with our equipment and the 3rd to stay here and watch what was left of this camp. Do you follow me? I was in the bunch that went to Eugene. Sat. night we slept in a hay field outside of town it was warm and clear and it was swell sleeping out. We slept till about 10:00. Al drove the Buick that is how we go there. Then when we got in motion Sunday we went back to Eugene to a fellow’s apartment that we all know. He is a CO that is working with a timber causier (?) in Eugene. He and his wife have an apartment. We ate breakfast with them about 11:00. They had already eaten tho. We went to a show in the afternoon. It was a good one too. “Random Harvest.” It didn’t looked so good Sunday night so 2 of us slept at the fellow’s apartment and another guy and I went to a couple’s home that had been down to Elkton to visit and invited anyone to come anytime. The camp boys drop in there all the time so they didn’t mind.
That is just the first half of the story. Mon. morning we started for Sweet Home which is where we were supposed to meet the boys with the supplies and equipment that stayed in camp. Al figured his gas up and thought we had enough to get up there and back to Eugene again. But the gauge was regulating wrong and we didn’t know it. Well, we got about half way there and ran out of gas. There we were out of gas and out of coupons too. We were sort of stumped for a while but decided to walk up the road and see what we could stir up. We walked about ½ mile and came to a sawmill. There was a log truck driver working on his truck there and we asked him if knew any way we could get gas. All we told him was that our gas gauge had gone bad and fooled us and we didn’t have enough to get where we were going. He thought a while then asked if we had a can. We didn’t have any so he walked over and picked up one and went back behind the mill and filled it up, 5 gal. and told us it was loan and if we ever came by again we could bring him some he wouldn’t sell it. Boy! did that stuff smell good!
Well, we got to Sweet Home. The place we were to camp was about 30 miles from there we got 10 of it and found a bridge out. It had been out since last winter. We were pretty well stopped till our boss was talking to the foreman of a big logging camp and he told him that the forest service had been after them to open the road we wanted to go up. The logging foreman said that they would send out a bulldozer and make a place for us [to] ford the river the next morning. They did that and we loaded up our camp the next morning and (tues) started out across the river. The ford they had made was soft and we got the first truck stuck in the middle of the river. The water was about 20” deep there. Well, the bulldozer was up the road a way cleaning out a place where a landslide had blocked the road. So the boss walked up to see when he would be done so he could pull us out of the river. While he was gone we all went swimming in the river, good too. He came back and told us that the bulldozer had broken down and we were really stuck. We got ahold of a cable and pulled the truck out with the other truck and came back to this township till they get that road fixed right. We got back to camp here around 7:30 tue night. Boy! did we have a trip! The engineer at the logging camp will write to us when the road is ready and we’ll go back there and finish that township. When we do our address will be: Gov’t. Survey Party, Sweet Home. I will tell you when to change. They will forward anything sent here anyway.
Oh yes, Al’s car is parked up at the logging camp 10 miles from Sweet Home. Since we will be back there we can get it when we do. I reckon that that gas stamp will be welcome that you mentioned sending.
I was glad to hear all about what is going on at home on the farm. It sound like Dad is working pretty hard tho, watch him. Life is too short, you know.
I hope you get a good preacher. I sort of hate to see John go but it will probably be better for him and the church too. Vergie (?) getting married was a surprise. I didn’t think we was that crazy about that guy. I think it was sort of a dumb thing to do tho and I’ll bet her folks do too. But it’s alright if it is love and if might be for all we know.
Well, it’s bed time.
P.S. Thanks for the Drivers License.