Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back in the shop, Samaritans and Bahai

In this letter Dad is back in the shop at Elkton. He has some interesting visitors, there is a guy who relates the story of the good Samaritan saying "what's mine is mine and I'm going to share it" Dad says that's pretty sound religion to him. Then when a woman of the Bahai faith visits, he says he's not for it because the person who started it felt he had the 'one pipeline to God' and Dad is for everyone having their own pipeline. These two ideas are very basic to Quakers sharing the wealth and resources and everyone having God within or direct access to God.
Here in 2010 we just finished with Thanksgiving and got to skype with Jenny and Chris for almost an hour. Definitely and interesting way to communicate. We are also near the end of the semester so I have been grading today. Tomorrow Mary Burton Risely will be here on her way back from Iran, she was traveling with FOR and it will be interesting to hear her stories.

October 3, 1943

Sun 10/3/43

Dear home folks,
Got your letter Fri. afternoon. I had begun to suspect that you were waiting for one from me. I was interested to hear all the farm news and the baby news. Warren usually hears that stuff right away but he hadn’t mentioned any of those babies yet.
We havn’t had a fire for a week. I was sort of glad to say in camp that long. I have been working on another of those prefabricated buildings. They had the roof and floor already built and a couple of the other guys and I made some sides for a small building for the foreman at one of the sidecamps to live in. I have been working on that most of the week. I suspect that I will have to engineer putting it up this week. I think after that I’ll be in the woodshop here. There is plenty of work to do around the camp and the shop hasn’t had anyone in it for some time and all the tools are dull and it is a mess in general. I hope they can manage to let me stay in that sot of work all winter.
Quite a while ago I put in an application for a job on the Coast and Geodetic Survey. We hear that they will be asking for those men soon. So if I don’t have a good job here where I think I can do some good for the camp I’m going to be surveying. I don’t know what will happen yet, but I usually find out when the time comes. The Coast & geodetic work will be detached but I like gaget making and fixing too. And I think I might do more good for CPS if I can stay in it.
There is a remarkable little man visiting camp the last few days. He is the father of one of the fellows. He lives in Portland and is a wholesale florist. He just appeared one morning for breakfast and since then a lot of the fellows have gotten aquainted with him and some of them already new him as we are all welcome in their home if we are in Portland.
Well he and several of us got to talking after the Silent worship meeting this morning. We really had a great little session. He told us a lot about the Japenese relocation situation. The Gov’t is pushing all of them out in about a month expect the ones that they think they can’t trust and they will have hearings. He says that the American Legion in Minn. And Wisconson have been very helpful and a lot of them are going there. While the American Legion on the coast has been one of the big agitatirs against them. He knows about them because in his flower business he met a lot of Japenese growers. He says he has signed a lot of affidavits for Japenese he has known so they can get relocated.
Then we got to talking about the average person being afraid of anything labeled religion. He told of some business mens convention they had in Portland that was on for acouple of afternoons and in the closing up speech a real bigshot finished his talkby saying “Remember the story of the ‘good Samaritan’. The thief came along and said, “What’s yours is mine and I’m going to take it.” The priest came along and said, “What’s mine is mine and I’m going to keep it.” The Samariatian came along and said “What’s mine is mine and I’m going to share it.” Well, for my money that’s pretty solid religion. We may be in a war now but I can’t help but think the work may be getting a little better.
We have had another quite interesting visitor in camp this past week. She is a member of a new religion. I’d say that her religion claims to be the successor to Christianity and every other religion in the world. Buddahism, Mohamahism and all the others. I didn’t go for it but I think it has a lot of good points. The story of it is this: Some where around 1850 ( don’t remember the exact date) There was a remarkable guy born in Pursia. I don’t remember all the particulars but some way this guy was very wise at an early age and never had to go to school. I guess they sent him but the teachers sent back and said they didn’t know enough to teach him anything. Well he wrote a volume of books interperiting all the different religion’s Bibles. He claimed to be the one prophet sent from God and to be the second coming of Christ and any other religion’s prophet that promised to come back. This guy’s name was Bah’al’U’lah. And the religion is called the Bahia Faith. This guy was in prison till he was 75 years old then he died. He wrote his book in prison and his three kids were in prison too for a long time. The oldest boy got out fianaly and came to the US in 1912 and spread the doctrine here. The unique part is that this son translated the book into a lot of different languages and it is not published to the public at all but kept by what they call their Guardian who is supposed to know a lot of stuff that is going to happen and he sends a cable-gram every 19 days to people over here telling a little of what is in the book. They get a little prophesy too out of it. They are for world peace and all the draft age boys are I-ACs. They base their belief on don’t do any one any harm. That’s pretty sound. It has a lot of thing about it that people will like better than they like Christianity. I wouldn’t be supprised if they will get quite a following in the future. The thing that I can’t swallow is that this guy that wrote the book is supposed to have the only pipeline to God. I think I can get along without that sort of guy, I want my one pipeline and I think God is willing to let all of us have one. There may be some that understand things a lot better than I do but I don’t say I have the only truth and I don’t think they should either. Well, that’s enough about that. It was very interesting, but I don’t know of anybody that really took it seriously except the fellow that got this woman to come down her from Seattle. I don’t know how much he thinks of it, I think he’s just interested. Most of the fellows around here are too deep thinkers to go for that sort of thing.
This is about as long a letter as I have written to you for a long time I guess.
Here’s a good quotation that I heard. “ Its not what the other fellow thinks of you but what you think of the other fellow that makes you happy or unhappy.”


Sunday, November 14, 2010

More Fires and the election of 2010

So we are still alive after the 2010 midterm election. I had said I would write an article about being hopeful and instead I've been sick this weekend. I am hopeful for many reasons, women give me hope - we now no longer question women running for office and here we had the choice of two women for governor. I also get hope from this, the internet. I do not think that we realize the powerful effect it is having in the world and in our lives. The Tea Party also gives me reason to hope, I have long belonged to third parties and they have had to struggle on the sidelines. I do not like the platform of the Tea Party but they have managed to back people and have them in office, even if they do not have a separate party. Now more people are talking about third parties in a positive way. I also am now aware that people are talking about cutting the defense budget, there is no way to do cuts without cutting down on defense and examining our use of the military. Which takes me back to Dad in 1943 in the mountains of Oregon fighting forest fires instead of wars. He writes about that and how he likes them and the different shades of blue of Kalamath Lake. Oregon is amazing, we went through there by train a few years ago, so many trees, I bought a tree book so we could identify them on the way back. We kept having to wait for freight trains.

September 27, 1943


Dear folks,

Can you beat that. I just finished writing that little letter to youn’s last Thur. and fiddled around a while and then we got another fire call. I like fires pretty well, good food and new country and excitement. I got to see the oacen on this last fire. It wasn’t so much. On the way home we saw some sand dunes. Small mountains of sand as high as a 2 story house. I’m sending you a copy of a sort of fire report. I made it today to include in my letters to save time. I have been getting a little behind going to fires.

I’m sort of behind in my letters to you folks. You have written a lot of news in the last couple of letters. I get the idea that things are running pretty smoothly. That is good I recon that Dad’s only worry is the corn now. But life would be dul if there were no problems wouldn’t it.

So Mom is a writer now. I’ll bet there in no holding her down now. I hope she hasn’t forgotten how to cook. I think I’d know what to do with some of those good old cookies now that I’m back in Elkton. This summer we had Jam and plenty of sugar so I didn’t particularly get hungery for that sort of thing. We have pretty good food here now but it is limited by rationing and money. We have a little different setup now in the kitchen. The fellow that used to be the head cook and dietition now only does the buying and sends food to the spike camps and doesn’t have much to do with the actual cooking. And there is another guy that is a much better cook that is the head cook now. So that helps our eats out some.

Say could you’ns use my shoe ration stamp? I don’t need it. I’ll try and get ahold of it and send it to you. The ration board in Drain has all of our books so it may take a little red tape work. I don’t know when the dead line is, but it can’t be far off.

I did get a few chuckles out of Mom’s poem.

I’m glad to hear that some of you are reading “Abundant Living”. I found it to be better as I got farther into it. Where I’m reading now it is working on fear. I didn’t realize what all we did because of fear. Most of it isn’t good either. Well you will get to it soon. I hope Dad can manage to read it. I know that he isn’t used to that sort of stuff but It seems to me to be pretty easy to read and the older I get the more I realize that he has done some thinking along those lines some time.

I reckon I’d better sign off.
With love

[Attached: a carbon copy of a fire report reading:]

If you can stand a carbon copy letter here’s another one. The purpose of this one is to tell you about the interesting experiences that I have had in the last three weeks fighting forest fires. I have been on three fires in the last three weeks. They have all been south of here, the furthest on south was about 240 miles.

The fire that was 240 miles away was about 14 miles north of Klamath Falls Oregon. I think it was the most interesting of the three. It was the longest, it lasted a ful week from the time we left till we got back in camp. We got the call about 4:30 in the afternoon and got down there the next morning about daylight after a 10 hour ride in the truck. We fooled around getting up a camp and waiting for the forestry men to figure out where we were going to work. There were 40 men from Elkton that is two truck loads that went down when I did. Then they called for another load the next day so that made 60 cps men on the fire. They also had a few highschool kids and some men they had picked up in town. There were a dozen or so forestry men and some local woodsmen that were our formen. Most of the formen were swell guys but there was one that insisted on giving demands and none of the fellows like him.

The Klamath fire covered about 2000 acres. The land there wasn’t much good tho. It had been pretty good timber once but had been logged about 15 years ago. The elevation was about 5000 ft. at the highest point we were on. Then it droped about 1100 or 1200 feet to a nice flat valley. The fire was about 6 or 7 miles long and ½ mile wide along this mountain side. One of our lines was along the top of the mountain and the other was along the bottom. They made those with the “cat” (tractor and bulldozer) Then we had to make a hand trail up the steep sides of the mountain where the cat couldn’t go. Then after we had the fire completely surrounded by trail we had to patrol it till the fire had burned itself out. The country around there was of volcanic rock and fine red soil that really makes nice dust. The dust got 6 inches deep on those fire trails before we got done. I was on night patrol for the last 4 nights of the fire and it got sort of tiresome towards the last. The first couple of nights it was great fun. Moonlight and stars, you know. But it get cold towards morning and we had to sleep in the daytime and the flys and ants crawl around over us. I could sleep pretty well till noon but it would get pretty warm and the ants would get warmed up and pester me in the afternoons.

The scenery around there was certainly grand. We could look over the Klamath Lake, 35 miles long, to two snowcapped peaks, Mt. Shasta and Mt. Pit. I really did enjoy the scenery there. That lake was beautiful. I was in a position one day to watch from early morning till sundown and you’d never guess how many different shades of blue it went though.

Now for the third fire. It wasn’t so long or so big. It was down along the coast by a town named Charleston. I got to see the oacen on the way down and while we were on the fire we could see it from some of the highest spots. The fire was only about 1 or 2 miles from it. I still like fire fighting.