Sunday, November 14, 2010

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.

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