Monday, September 20, 2010

International day of peace and corn

Dad is still in the wilderness in his letter and thinking about the folks at home threshing and the yield. He's writing in August and we are in september. Tim sang yesterday in the international day of peace interfaith chorus celebration. It was a nice gathering. Lots of variety of music and some discussions before hand. I went to one on 'what is peace?" It was interesting. At one point someone said how we had this culture of war and militarism in our country and I wanted to counter that there is a long history of peaceful people as well such as my ancestors and others who came here looking to lead peaceful lives and they did. They do not get a lot of press. Few people know about CPS camps or the people who have worked for peace and opposed war for years. I got a letter today from the IRS, they are not happy when I withhold money because it goes to pay for war. As my grandmother Edwards said, "Peace is a lifetime job".
We enjoyed a dinner of local corn and locally grown chicken tonight. I feel very rich.

August 24, 1943

Vida, Oregon

Dear Folks,
Well we are out on the civilized end of the trail. We finished our work back in the hills today and moved back here too. A big day. I’m tired and not in a letter writing mood. There are 4 days left this week and we have one day’s work on surveying and a day breaking camp and getting back to Elton. We have gotten on the good side of our boss and he is going to let us leave here Fri. noon with the truck and stop over in Eugene Fri. nite and get back to Elkton Sat. evening. Not bad? He’s been pretty good to us since we got to know each other. We have tomorrow off cause we worked on Sunday while we were up in the mountains. Maybe I’ll feel like adding something tomorrow before they take the mail into Vida. We are about 3 miles from Vida, it’s a 1 store and post office town.
That’s quite a thing to find out I have relations out here. But I won’t have any chance to see if I can find them. You see the first time we came up and found our road closed it was from the Sweet Home side but this time we came up from the south side by trail. Our camp up in the hills here was about 30 miles from Sweet Home. (south east of it) We don’t go near Sweet Home on the way back, cause there is a row of mountains between Sweet Home and our camp and road. We go back through Eugene and that is the only way to get thro from here, through Eugene. So as I say I’ll probably never see Sweet Home again. I suspect that if I had had a chance I would have tried to look up those folks. Well, I’m going to bed.
Good night
Love Bernard.

Now it’s Wed. morning! It’s a bright sunshiny morning and I’m not so sleepy as I was last night.
Al and I and the cook (Jim Ricks) are the only ones left in the camp today. We get (Al and I) today off. While the rest work then we will work tomorrow while the others lay off. All we have to do is set some corners and that is only a 2 or 3 man job and they only have 2 compasses and 3 crews of 2 or 3 each so Al and I wait till tomorrow to do ours.
We three are going in to town (Vida) this morning to get a few groceries and the mail. One doesn’t appreciate daily mail till you are out of reach of it.
I don’t know what I’ll be doing at Elkton yet. Probably carpenter work. I have a sort of carpenter reputation now and I like it pretty well. I really like the shop work best but I don’t think there is much of that anymore.
I get the idea from you letters that threshing has been sort of a long drawn out job this year. Maybe that has kept you from working too hard at it. I also get the idea that the yield isn’t so hot this year. And the corn getting blown over isn’t good. I hope it stands up good enough so you can get a picker through some of it.
Well, we’re going to town pretty soon [I] guess. I’ll sign off
Yours Bernard

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wilderness and Women's retreats

In Dad's letter he is off in the wilderness. I just spent the weekend at Claire Leonard's near Reserve at a New Mexico Women's retreat weekend. Reserve is on the northwest side of the Gila Mountains in Catron county. Claire's place included a yurt and her house and some beautiful land. We had women sleeping in the yurt and on the deck and in cars and in tents.
We did a wonderful hike up a mesa on Saturday, did some worship sharing and other sharing on both days. It was an enjoyable time, without mules or mosquitoes. We've been doing the retreats for 32 or 33 years, twice a year. It's a wonderful format, we pick a theme at the end of one retreat and a date and who will be in charge for the next one. We keep the cost as low as possible and alternate between the inexpensive places and the more expensive places which helps. There is a wonderful feeling of gathering at the retreats, sometimes I do not notice the change and the renewing aspect of it until I return and realize that I have relaxed and centered myself.

August 15, 1943 - The Wilderness

The Wilderness

Dear Folks,

Well here we are, only 6 miles by trail from civilization. But what a 6 miles. Our boss said it was the worst trail he had ever packed over. It is terribly steep. We are about 3,000 ft. here and I imagine we climbed about 2,000 of that in the middle 2 miles of our trip and that is a lot to climb with pack mules. We are going to work on Sundays to get out of here as quick as possible so we worked today. This was our first day’s work here. We went down 1300 feet in the first 1/8 mile and up 11,00 in the last half of our mile today. It was kind of bushy too. Then we had to walk an hour before we were back at camp. It has been pretty hot up here and the mosquitoes are small but many. We sleep with our head covered and eat with towels over our heads. I’m going to take a picture of the gang eating sometime. We started up here yesterday morning (Sat.) and arrived at our spring at 3:00. We lost a couple of hours when one of the mules got sick and decided to lay down on the trail, pack and all. This happened in a narrow place close to a small steam. We got the pack off and then he tried to roll and slid off the trail and down next to a big log and then he couldn’t get up. We really had a time. We finally got some ropes on his feet and turned him over and got him up. We left him there and went on. You see the boss was going back after another load, which he brought today. The mules are just fresh off the pasture and they are pretty soft and fat so it was rather hard on them. We have a camp at the civilized end of the trail and the truck driver is staying there and he will ride a saddle horse in every day or two and bring us the mail and fresh bread and stuff.
This page is tomorrow from the other page or that page is yesterday from this. It will be a long time before you get this cause the fellow with the horse isn’t coming up till Wed. I may add some more if anything if anything of note happens (This sure is lousy paper I hope you can I hope you can read it.)
Thanks a lot for the “slug” of “bucks” Dad. I can’t do much with money out here in the tall timbers, but I’ll get out before long. Thanks for the gas stamps. The too will be put to good use.
I had heard that Ab was going to Conn. to the farm project but didn’t know about Opal’s going. That will be great. They will be happier that way.
You can keep the CPS magazine. As they have ones at Elkton.
Well, So Long for a while.
Tue—Nothing has happened in particular to-day. It is a little cooler and the mosquitoes a little fewer and less ambition.
Love Bernard.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dentists and end of summer

I sure got busy since I was able to post last. As school starts up I have less time. I am taking a couple of courses on online teaching, which are interesting. In this post, Dad goes to the dentist for $4. I went this week for a crown which will cost me $300. Our family does not have great teeth. Both our parents lost or had all their teeth pulled at some point. It was then that Mom said she felt really old. I enjoyed the idealism of the guys in the camp with Dad and wonder, what happened to the guys with the boat and if they were able to use it to help people out.

August 5, 1943


Dear family,

That was a nice amount of news you had in this week’s letter. Every time I write I think you will be threshed by the time you get it. Maybe this time you will be done with it by now.
So Evelyn is causing a lot of competition! I’ll bet things were kind of interesting around there when Hunter and Lathane (?) were both there. I had a good chuckle over that. Everett can’t be very patriotic to use so much gas running clear over from where he lives. I’ll bet he’s a C.O.
I don’t know whether this letter is going to be worth reading or not. I can’t think of much to write. We are still in the same old camp. Last Sunday we all (but 3) spent in Eugene. The boss wanted someone to go up to Sweet Home to find out about the road so we worked in a Eugene trip too. We found out that our [missing word?] isn’t ever going to do us any good. The logging company isn’t going to do any more than make a ford and they get cars stuck and have to pull them through with a “Cat.” Also the road isn’t long enough to get in where we want to go. So we are going to go up from the other side and use the pack mules. We will have to pack about 4 miles that isn’t bad.
Another thing we got a notice that the Public Survey appropriation of money was almost gone and we would probably have to quit the last of August. Our plans now are to stay in this camp till about the 15th and then go to the Sweet Home place and end our summer surveying there.
I might mention we saw a couple of good shows in Eugene. “My Friend Flika” and “It comes Up Love.” The last one has Gloria Jean in it, you’d all like them.
I went to the dentist Tuesday. Only had 2 cavities and they weren’t very deep. My bill is $4.00. If Dad will send me $5 I’ll check it off my book. Speaking of money, thanks a lot for the “buck” in this week’s letter.
Here are a few things about Al Howe, the Buick driver. He’s 6 ft 2 or 3 in. tall with red kinky hair. Wears glasses and a mustache. He smokes a pipe. Is from Massachusetts more than any other place, tho he has lived in Ohio and just before the draft caught him he was in Calif. where is invalid mother now lives. She is partly paralyzed. His father has been dead for 3 or 4 years, but was a college proff. when he was living. Al is a college graduate majoring in Math. He owns a 4th interest in a 120 foot fishing boat in which he and the 3 other partners plan to cross the ocean after the war and do freighting along the coast of Europe. They hope to help out some of the starving Europeans if they can in this way. The other three owners of the boat are his younger brother (Al is 25) and a sailor friend who has dependants and is now hiring out the boat to keep it in shape to a fellow who is navigating the Pan-American in the Navy. Maybe this will give you something of an idea of the sort of person Al is. He doesn’t belong to any church, is somewhat disgusted with organized religion. He knows quite a lot about the Bible and religion and says he just doesn’t know. You might call him an Atheist, but I wouldn’t. An agnostic is a better name for his position. Al is a hard worker and a top-notch fellow.
This seems to be about the end of this letter. This has been a swell summer so far and has gone very fast. God is still being very good to me.