Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

So today is Christmas here and I am 6 months off from when Dad's letters are written, he is in June and just turned 26. Here we had a good week, took the Railrunner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, we went to the museums on Wed (free day for NM seniors - I now qualify). I was interested in seeing the photography exhibit of contemplative photos of New Mexico, some were from Christ in the Desert. Along with them were pages from the St.Johns Illustrated bible, these were also interesting though I liked the black and white pictures of NM better. Then we went to the Art museum and looked at some pictures that Tim had remembered from childhood and also some woodblock prints. In Albuquerque we visited with friends and celebrated Hanukkah. Today we went to Meeting and sang and worshiped and feasted on treats that people brought. In the afternoon we skyped with Jenny and Chris in Houston and called and spoke with Carol. For our big meal we made curry and an onion dish and sweetpotatoes, a regular vegan feast. Quite a wonderful day all around. I enjoyed dad's advice too.

June 10, 1944

6/10/44 Dear folks, Your letter came yesterday. Thanks for the birthday greetings and the birthday ‘bucks’. The darndest thing! I never thought about Wed. being my birthday at all. Thur. I was talking to one of the guys about the age of fellows and he asked me how old I was and It soaked in that I must be 26 now. Some time I’ll forget my age. Farming must really be discouraging now. I reckon that if it hasn’t rained more you have a lot more of in cornered by now. In a way I feel sorrier for the boys than I do for Father causes he stews around so when things get behind. You stew around and burn up a lot of good energy, W.L. . It seems to me that the smart way to live is to be observant and draw conclusions as to which things you can do something about and which that you cant. And then the things that interfere that you can’t do anything about should be dismissed from your mind to make room for those that you can do something about. I reckon that the conflict comes in deciding which you can do something about. I’ts none of my business but it seems to me that the boys aren’t taking too much when they only take 2 nites a week in a busy time. Of course they are a little slower the next day. Say, Dad, why don’t you take a night off once in a while. I know you don’t work every night but you think every night. Your mind is a mussel just like your arm in a way. If you don’t ever rest it it gets tired. When you think about your farming all your waking hours and then even as you go to bed too it is just like trying to hold a big wiehgt over your head for 24 hours a day. You get tired and stale. Go to those Lions Club suppers. You’ll forget your troubles for one evening. You’ll be a lot fresher and think clearer the next day. One thing I make myself do is when I go to bed I don’t let myself think about anything, not anything. I have found that I sleep a lot better if I just make up my mind that I’m not thinking about work or play or anything at all. I sleep very good and seldom wake up till 5:30 and I nearly always hit it within a few min. I came across some rules for mental hygien the other day and I coppied then down. They were in a little paper put out by one of the CPS Mental Hospital Units. 1. Neither run away from Emotions, nor yet fight them. 2. Be efficient in what you do. 3. Have an objective attitude, learn to analyze your own conduct. 4. Do not accept hurry as a necessary part of modern life. 5. Build up and maintain a confidential relationship with some other person. 6. Keep work, play, rest, and exercise in their proper relitive proportions. 7. Don’t postpone or repress unpleasant questions---make some terms with every problem as it arrives. It is better to make a mistake then to refuse to come to a decision. Everyone who does anything makes mistakes. 8. Do not regret what is over and done with. 9. Do not worry over what other people think of or about anything you cannot help. 10. Recognize that your problems are fundimentaly the same as everyone else’s. I think tat I can profit some by these suggestions and I thought I’d pass them on. I suspect that by now Mom’s eye Dr. has found time to see her. I hope it is better. I notice you typed my letter. I don’t suppose that bothered you any, did it? It is time to go to breakfast now and I am out of anything much to write anyway. So Long. Yours Bernard

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writing to people, retiring and more IRS fun

so I am finally writing again. I took a couple of weeks off. Dad seems to miss getting letters from his brothers and sister. My sisters and I now correspond by e-mail, except we did send out some Christmas or seasonal cards. Tim made a nice linoleum block print that we sent to people. So I am now retired, mostly official on Jan 1st. I will go tomorrow to clean out the office. I think I will be aware of it in January when school starts up and I do not go in. I will need to find some work but am not sure exactly what. I have had some more conversations with the IRS. In speaking with a lady who is looking into systemic problems it came out that if one files and does not pay it is not frivolous but if you file and do not pay and enclose a letter explaining your religious, moral or ethical reasons behind your not paying then this action is considered frivolous. What a strange world we are in. If I am simply greedy or do not have money to pay that is okay but if I am a thinking person who is acting based on reasoning and take the time to write this reasoning out and send it along with my form which has been filled out correctly then my actions can warrant a penalty. Seems a little backwards to me. So in two weeks time the last US troops will be out of Iraq. It is kind of interesting to me as I reflect on my last 7 and a half years of full time work that it corresponded with the Iraq conflict, that I am now retiring at the same time as the troops finally leave and we can quit adding names to the Iraq Peace Crane Memorial. What a busy time this has been, working, protesting, parents dying and Jenny leaving home. People ask me what I will do and I basically want to spend some time as Dad would say 'thinking about it' before I decide what to take on or to let go of. I like the open door and the open road before me.

June 3, 1944

6/3/44 Dear family, Say! My family must be all home but me now! I’ll bet that sort of fills the place up. Do they make lots of noise? I remember what a din used to reign when we were all small and use to scrap and run from one end of the house to the other. Do you suppose you will ever get back into the old groove Dad, of listening to Fred Allen then writing to me while the hour of Charm is on? Tell Henry I hooked Our radio up and all I got was a howl. I shall get on of the radio guys to pry into it soon. You hope I enjoyed me stay. You bet your boots I did !! I guess I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t think of saying much about it. I though it was about the right length too. I reckon that youn’s are in the fields by now or nearly. It looks like it should quit raining sme time. I was in good shape when I got back to camp. I reached here about 5 that afternoon. Sat. Just 27 days furlo. My pal out here in the office that was trying to get reservations said he got turned down on some others and figured that they had gone to giving the streemliner to Military men before the date to open it to the public and then there wasn’t much room left. I suspect there are quite a few officers moving west. I suspect that some of the western armu camps have been cleaned out and sent across. I know that the camp up here by Salem has been emptied. I wish they would say what they are doing so a guy could make plans accordingly. He got turned down on one guy that he ordered for on the first day they were open. So there must be a colored gentleman around some where. Oh well, I didn’t do bad. It only took me about 16 hours more on the road. I would have started at 11 at night instead of 5 in the morning. That darn train ran late till we were nearly here then it made up time till we were only 15 min. late. I’m sending a box of books home that I have aqumulated. I’m getting tired of storing them and somebody there may like to read some of them. One of them is Living Prayerfully by Kirby Page. I thought it was good and you may want to use it for a devotional book. That is what it was written for but it reads well too. I fooled around about my voting business and never did anything about it. In some states an out of state voter has to vote in the primary to qualify to vote in the fall election. Dad, who should I write to to find out what the score in in Iowa on such things. I don’t know, maybe you could find out more by asking one of those guys over there. Of course they would want to know what I was doing out here. And if I wrote them they would just assume I was working out here which I am, but under the orders of Selective Service. What’s your advice? I’m not particular whether I vote in the june primary. I don’t know who is running for stuff. I havn’t followed it as much as a good citizen should, but I am doing better than I used to. I want to vote to get in the habit I guess. I really think I should too. What can you do to help me? Harry don’t need to think that because he is happily in love he don’t need to write to me at all. Maybe not so often but I’d like one once in a while. All of Warrens brothers write to him I think. At least more of them that mine do. Evelyn is almost as bad as Charles. I think it is good for people to write to people. Besides that isn’t a bad way to learn to type. I’m using a new system in my letter writing. I’m getting up at 5:30 and writing a letter before breakfast. It is quite and I make good time. Love and stuff to all Bernard

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It's fun to post these two cards from Dad's spring furlough at the end of the week that we did our Thanksgiving trip. This is a rare break in his weekly writing and then of course we don't get to hear anything about his trip back home. So it is about a 3 to 4 week break. Later at the end of 1945 he keeps a small journal, having both the letters and the journal at that time helps to fill in some of the blanks. So Dad does these train trips across the country, and one thing I noticed he said was that there were only two meals offered on the train, so he stopped and got some bread. We traveled overnight from El Paso to Houston on the Amtrak train, leaving on Monday and getting into Houston about 4 hours late around 9 am I think. We had a sleeper, called a roomette, very small, but they do make up the beds so we can lay down and there is a bathroom on the same level as we are sleeping on. We found out the week before that we could order special vegan meals ahead of time, so we did. When we got on we asked about them and the kitchen crew said they didn't have them, then by dinner time they had found the meals. One was pasta and one was a bean chili, both had been frozen. Coming back I just did the regular meals since I could have a vegie burger for lunch, Tim got a kind of mystery meal, trusting that it was indeed vegan. Most folks on the train, they do community seating at meals, were friendly about our eating vegan. At one meal everyone at the table had vegie burgers, the times they are a changing. I really enjoy the train rides, and find I am quite content to sit and stare out the window as long as we are moving along. Stopping and waiting for freight trains gets a bit old. I'm off to bed and one more full week of working.

May 27, 1944

Eugene, Ore. Sat. 1:30 P.M. Dear Home folks, I got as far as Eugene as you can see by [the] address. I am at the apt. of one Tom Jones and wife. He is a camper at Elkton and I happened to discover him about the middle of yesterday (Fri.) forenoon. We had several chats and then we got on the train at Portland and came right down to Eugene together. We got in at Port. at 7:45 and the train for Eugene left at 8:00 only it was 8:15 before we got away. I figure to hitchhike to camp. I should make it in good time. I planned on taking the bus from Port to Drain but it didn’t go for a couple of hours and I wouldn’t have made it to Drain till 5:00 P. M. and I figured I’d do better this way as I had to hitchhike to from Drain anyway. About Tom Jones. He went to Philladilphia a couple of weeks ago to attend an executive committee meeting of the A.F.S.C. They let representatives for the camps go to some of the meetings on Gov’t time. They are carried on the records as Detached Service. There is a meeting every month and we can send a man to any of them that we feel is important enough if we don’t get too extravagant I guess. I didn’t know Tom had gone or have any idea that I would see anyone I know when I went up to the next car to get a drink. It was quite a supprise to see the back of a head that looked familiar. He was just as supprised as I was. We first got into Eugene a few minutes ago and I cleaned up a bit then I’m going to take a city bus out to the edge of town and get my thumb out. I can’t think of much to say so don’t look for another communakay from me till next week. I might write when I get back to camp if the spirit moves me but I doubt it. Love, Bernard

May 26, 1944

Somewhere in Idaho 10:30 Fri. Morning Dear folks, Had no trouble at all finding a seat. I went clear to the last car and it was a pretty good one. I havn’t been in the dinner yet. There is only one for a long train and they only serve 2 meals. My lunch is about gone so I’ll get off at Pocatello Idaho and get some bread and not go near the dinner. I got aquainted with a nice soldier who is going home on furlough he lives about 80 miles S. of Portland. We’ll get in Port tomorrow (Sat.) at 7:30? The train has been about an hour and half late for a long train. I’ll get back to camp by Sat nite. Bernard

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trains and ThanksGiving and Retirement

I have been busy with teaching, committees and life and have not gotten a chance to write for awhile. In these two short letters Dad is getting ready to go home for a break in the spring of 1944. Here in 2011 it is our Thanksgiving break, we will be taking the train tomorrow morning for Houston, TX and will be spending Thanks Giving with Jenny and Chris. This Friday I survived the surprise retirement party at the Community College, it was quite touching to be with some colleagues I have worked with for 24 years, been to weddings, showers, quinceaneras, funerals of parents and other faculty members together. It is a blessing to have known and grown with these friends and in this job. I have gone through different moods in terms of retiring, I see it as a change of focus not an end to working, at times I am nervous and at times excited and sometimes nostalgic. Meanwhile in our lives some friends are dying, and other friends are dealing with extreme illnesses of loved ones. Tim is occupied with occupy and I have heard some possible good news on the IRS frivolous filing issue. I have a new person to contact and will see how it goes. I have not heard from them for awhile. I enjoy the contrast between Dad's journey half way across the country for about $80 and our trip which will cost $800 round trip for a much shorter journey, along the length of the Rio Grande.

April 21, 1944

S. #59 etc. 4/21 Dear home folks, Practically nothing to say. It is so close to the time that I ‘ll be leaving for home that I guess I don’t have anything that can’t wait. I don’t suppose I’ll write again before I get there. I was interested in the clipping. I knew from Warren when Gene and Dorothy got married but Warren hasn’t been in camp here for about three weeks. So I don’t get all the news so soon. I’d kind of like to see Bob Judd. I wonder if he has changed much. So you’ve got the papering done. That’ll be something different not doing any papering in the spring. I don’t remember I guess I didn’t do any last year. Nine calves now, that’s a nice bunch, I suspect there are more by now. It’ll be good to see some calves again, I hardly ever see anything but sheep out here. I guess I just don’t get where they are, they do raise calves. I don’t mind the work being behind. In fact I sort of like to work hard. If there is a good reason for it. This is a lousy letter. I might mention a darn good speaker we had here a few days this week. His name was William Orvil Mendenhal. He had been Pres. Of Whittier College but when the army moved in he moved out. He visited around camp and then on Wed. night he gave a talk. He sort of told his philosophy of life and it was really something. He said he was a Math thecher and liked formulas for things so he went to looking through the Bible to find out what the greatest Christian that ever lived used to live by. He came across the place where some guy asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. You know what Jesus told him. “Love the Lord thy God with all they heart all thy mind and all thy soul. And there is another like unto this, Love thy neighbor as thy neighbor as thy self. On these two hang all the law and the Prophets.” He said he thought these things over and dicided that he would do the best he could to do them. But he wasn’t quite sure about the first one cause he couldn’t find an awfully lot about God and he was a little inclined to think that men had created him in their own image. He noticed that there was a time when all men wore beards that God seemed to be a definite person with a beard and sitting on a throne then in later years God has come to mean something different than that to many people. So he wasn’t sure what he was loving with all his heart. But he thought that he could really work on that second commandment. So he got to putting himself in other people’s palce and trying to understand them and why they did what they did and he’s sixty years or so old now and still doing it. He was one of the most remarkable men of his age I ever met. He was egar to hear new ideas and he kept saying that he didn’t know all the answers in fact very few of them. He would just test a new a new idea or though against his formula and see how it came out. Very interesting. Yours Bernard P.S. You can look for me in Boon at 6:33 A. M. May 3rd.

April 15, 1944

4/15/44 Dear Folkses, This aint going to be much of a letter. I have been busier than the dickens this week and this is the first letter I have writ since last Fri. I do have a lot to say but it wouldn’t pay to try to tell it in a letter. It would take to long and I can tell it much better when I get home. I did get a round trip ticket but I can’t make my reservation till 30 days before I want to travel so I won’t be able to make the one for the return trip till the first of May and It would be just as well to wait and apply for it from that end. They got the ticket for me the other day and I think that it cost something like $80.96. They may have made me pay for a ticket all the way to Chicago. I don’t know. The guy that got it has bought gobs of tickets for the fellows so I know he did the best for me. I do get off at Boon that is only 15 miles further, just a little more tractor gas. And it sure will beat riding those lousy slow jobs that I did the other time. Our weather hasn’t been quite so good as it was a sort of spring rain season for a couple of weeks it has been raining some almost every day. Well, I want to dash off a couple of lines of bull for Harry and get this out in the afternoon mail or it will be stuck till Mon. Yours, Bernard P.S. I got the Draft. I think I included it in the one I wrote Mar. 31. B.A.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A typewriter of her own

In this letter Dad mentions Grandma getting a 'typewriter' of her own. Our grandmother was a very creative person. She expressed this creativity in music and cooking and craft work - tatting and quilting and in writing. She wrote poetry, some were poems that rhymed for special occasions and some were just descriptive. I have a collection of her poems. I know there is one about the drive they would take from Iowa and the rocky mountains coming in to view. Dad also talks about Grandpa joining the Lions club, I never think of something like that starting up, it just seemed to be something that Grandpa had always been apart of. As for us here. We with a lot of help put up the Peace Crane Memorial this week, did a jail visitation and a nonviolent training session for the local Occupy Las Cruces group. It is interesting, they have set up down by the library in a small park there. there are about 8 tents set up. Not sure how many people. Tim took them some apples today. Other than helping with the Memorial I have been fairly lazy this weekend and happily have fewer meetings this coming week than last week. Jenny and Chris are now in Houston and Bonnie is back in Tennessee. Our weather has turned cooler.

April 6, 1944

4/6/44 Dear folks, Well, another week has slid around and I’m still well and happy. I’m enjoying life so much that I don’t know what I’ll do when the war is over. In fact several of us are talking quite seriously about what we will do and I want to do a lot of talking about that with youn’s when I get home. There isn’t anything in particular to say. I might tell you about the April fool joke the cooks played on the rest of the camp. The served all the food that noon artificially colored. The cabage salad was dark blue and the butter was an ugly green and the bread was pink, the milk green and they had an awful looking purple soup. They had a cheese and macaroni dish that was a light blue but it still tasted like macroni. We all had a big laugh about it and all enjoyed it. It sounds like you parents of mine are really going in for organizations and clubs. That Lions club looks good to me, it looks like it should help people to get better aquainted with each other and then they would stand a better chance of getting along they might do something worthwhile too. I’ll bet Mom is happy now that she has a typewriter of her own. Is it a big one or a portable. I’m not such an expert that I can tell by the writing. 50 buck isn’t bad at all if it is any good. I’ll bet you’ll really turn out the stories now. That makes me think of that show where the woman wrote only because a typewriter had been accidently delivered to their house. Only 50 bucks ain’t not accident. Well, I’m about writ out. I think I’ll dash off a couple of lines for Harry. Does it look silly for me to seal my letters to him and send them in the same envelope? Well, it isn’t as silly as spending an extra stamp, I figure. So long--------- With love Bernard

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Washing clothes, traveling and Occupying Everywhere

So in Dad's short letter he mentions washing machines. There seem to me to be a number of stories around washing clothes or washing machines. While Dad was hanging out at CPS our mother was hanging clothes in Chicago and our uncle Bruce her brother ended up serving time in prison as a conscientious objector. Evidently when he applied for CO status, someone was sent around to check up on the Edwards family and one of the stories mom told us was that one of the neighbors mentioned that the Edwardses did their laundry on Sunday. I think this was a sign that they were not religious. Mom said that they did wash once on Sunday but it was usually an all day job on Monday. When Tim and I and Jenny lived off the grid in Hillsboro for 6 years laundry was a major challenge. In fact Jenny and I brought along our electric washing machine which we could not plug in and it set on our porch for a couple of months, then one day Ben and Dorene who had moved down from Canada and bought the General Store Cafe mentioned they needed a washing machine, this was while we were eating at their cafe. Tim said we have one and that we could trade it for food, I think I was in a state of shock, in this new culture where you could trade a washing machine for food. I think it took us about half a year to eat through that trade. When we moved there Tim had a gas powered machine and it was started by pulling on a cord the way you start a gas powered lawn mower. My problem as an economically sized person was that what was an easy start for Tim was a challenge for me, I tried standing on a crate and pulling it but i was too slow. finally I ordered a James washer, which i and the local children (other than Jenny) enjoyed using. Of course it was a challenge for Tim as it was well sized for those around 4 ft or 5 ft tall, not 6 ft. Now we have passed on both of those machines to people who can use them and we have a low use washing machine and Tim has managed a system for recycling the grey water. Dad is starting to plan a spring trip home and as I write Jenny and Chris and their two cats Yogurt and Granola are traveling south from upstate New York to Houston, Tx. Due to arrive tomorrow. It is interesting to think of travels and big moves. Our folks meet in Chicago and left there in 1946 or 47 and moved to Colorado where we all grew up. My sister Bonnie went off to college in Minnesota and then moved to Tennessee where she is now living. I went to college and then moved down here to New Mexico after I graduated 35.years ago. This week our sister Carol and her husband Phil are off in Hawaii celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. It is exciting to have Jenny and Chris closer to us. The last topic is to mention the news of the month is the surge of 99% ers and the Occupy wall street movement. It was enjoyable to see people out on the streets of Las Cruces. As we passed them and honked I told Tim it's great and it isn't us out there. Our friend Mary Burton came over from Tucson and said she had participated and found it refreshing and frustrating as any new movement might be. i was just thinking that this Idea of the 99% will be fun to use when I'm teaching percents in a few weeks.

March 31 1944

3/31/44 Dear folks I got your letter yesterday with the Bank Draft in it and gave it to the office to keep for me till I get ready to pay for the ticket. I’m going to have them a reservation tomorrow for the 1st of May. I can’t reserve more than 30 days in advance so I’ll have to make my reservation to come back when I get there. Did I tell you that I found out that they would sell me a ticket to Boon and I wouldn’t have to buy one clear to Chicago. But I will have to ride clear to Boon as they don’t stop at Jeff. Glad to hear that you guys are feeling a little better. I reckon that you’ll be able to get the crops in. Good spring weather does a lot to help you feel better. I got mixed up with a little washing maching trouble too. Most of out laundry is done with a big machine run by a steam engine but they still have an old wreck of an electric washer that they wash overalls and sox in. Well it broke down and I seemed to be the only on that know enough to tear it up. It is still torn up waiting for parts. We have had pretty good luck getting parts from Portland. They figured it would pay to fix the thing up as it takes them about two hours longer on washdays without it. I got a mild toothache last week that last week and so I made an appointment with the dentist for Wed. Well, my tooth quit hurting before Wed. but I went anyway. The dentist poked around and said that I had had some food lodged under the gum and he dug some stuff off the side of my tooth and jabbed around a little and let me go. I was one of my wisdom teeth so I had figured that I was going to have to have my first tooth pulled, say! but I was relieved. Well, then I hitch-hiked on up to Eugene and hunted up Tek Autenrieth’s folks. I had never met them but I was sure they would be swell folks and they were. I just got a letter from Tek on Tuesday telling me their address. I can’t think of much else to say. It sure is a swell day today. Yours Bernard

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Being a good citizen

In Dad's letter he talks about growing up to be a good citizen. they are getting interested in voting and are also concerned about a bill in congress that would have required a year of service for all men after high school. It must not have gotten far as I never recall hearing anything about it. As for me the IRS garnished my paycheck again and now has more than what they said they would take out. I had a moment of panic and thought I now had an irs vampire stuck to my money vein and that they would take money out until I retired or died. I e-mailed payroll who of course said, they (being the irs) do this all the time and that then they would send me a check for the amount that they took which was over what was owed. So I relaxed a bit and assume that I will receive a full paycheck next month. Now the iRs has all the money that the frivolous filing penalty was related to. We will see what will happen next. I am warn out from grading papers, midterm is approaching so I will stop here. Vickie

March 25, 1944

3/25/44 Dear Fambily, I have till three o’clock to get this in the mail or it will cost me 8 cents postage. It is 2:00 now. We probably get better service with the higher rate on Air Mail cause so many people won’t use it. I think that is what they figure anyway. I’ll bet that when I get you letters mailed on Monday on Sat. that they come most of the way by train. But I think that in the long run it saves time and we couldn’t get one back in a week if we didn’t use Air Mail. Thanks for the check, I can always find something to do with money. Sometimes I feel a little extravagant but it doesn’t bother me any. I wasn’t really worried about the gas. I was sort of kidding the boys. Maybe they aren’t any more patriotic than I am, If they were you’d think they’d try to save gas for Uncle Sam. That’s sort of what the project Supt. told the boys at one of the side camps when he made them cut down on the length of time they ran the generator for their electric lights. He said they would have to help save gas and do their part cause everyone else was. They didn’t appreciate his line of aguument. Looks like you are still taking in plenty of Money, Dad. Do you ever feel like you were profiting a little on there being a war on? Or do you think that you’ll pay for it in the first ten years after the war is over. I don’t know a lot about it but I think I sort of hold that view. Some of the boys around here are getting heped up about voting and I have sort of caught it too. I guess the way to do it is to get an Absentee Ballet. There is some controversy as to whether and how a person has to register. I voted a couple of times and As I remember it I registered then but I don’t know whether you have to register personally or if you can do it by mail and how much ahead of time it must be done. I understand the States differ a lot in their voting laws on some of these things and some of them you have to register in person and if you miss voting two years you have to register again in person. We have found out that we can’t vote out here and the only way we can do it is by Absentee Ballot. Would some or youn’s inquire for me some time when you are in the county seat as to what the rules are for me and I’ll have to brush up on my information as to who is running for what. Who knows maybe I’ll grow up to be a good citizen yet. One thing that practically the whole camp is heped up about is this May Bill. In fact everybody in Cps is against it. You have probably been following it too. We certainly don’t want to have a conscription law that makes all kids out of highschool take a year of service. It don’t look to me like that would help keep from having World War III. Well, I’d better chop this off and get it in the mail. I don’t think that I’ll need the money to come home on till a few days before I leave. I’ll send up a smoke signal when the time comes. I hope you guys get in better shape before I get home or I’ll be the only ablebodied man in the place. I gues youn’s don’t’ live right. You eat too much and run around at night too much. I’d sure do the same if I could tho. Yours with love and stuff Bernard

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Bigger God and goodbye wages

In this letter of Dad's there is a major change in his religious views. He says, " some of the Athiests were better Christians than I was. So I got busy and tried to figure it out and I can’t see as much in religion as I used to. When I finally made up my mind that I didn’t believe religion as I had been taught it" . One of my interests in posting the letters is to track this change in belief. When he entered he was a very Christian centered Quaker, who believed in answering calls for salvation. Over the 4 years he got what he calls a 'liberal education'. He now believes in a bigger God and he also seems to have a firm view about what he believes and that this will not be changing back to his old beliefs. It is interesting that his change seems to be shared by others in CPS. As for me here in 2011, I have been busy and have not been blogging and I am now having to catch up with the new blog format. Last weekend we had our Quaker women's retreat at Claires in Reserve. It was enjoyable. On the IRS side, they finally got some money, it came from my paycheck. they and the bank had said that money would be levied from my bank account for the taxes owed for 2008 and 2009. Then a week before payday I got an e-mail saying the wages would be garnished and I could submit some numbers for dependents so that they would take less. I did not do this and they took most of the paycheck. I believe they will do the same this week and that should complete the garnishing of the wages, for the taxes owed for those years. This week was the Whole Enchilada Fiesta and we set up the Peace Crane Memorial again. It is interesting, since where ever we have set it up it has meaning for some people, not huge crowds but some who are deeply touched. It is interesting work. I know during the last few weeks I have thought at times of what I wanted to write here, but now can not remember it. I'm glad I figured out how to get back into it with the new set up.

March 17, 1944

C.P.S #59 Elkton, Oregon Mar. 17, 1944 Dear Family, So youn’s had a blizzard! We have been having spring this week and it sure is hard to work inside. We had a lot of carrots that hadn’t been dug yet and we had to get them out cause the farmer wanted to plow the ground so several of us went down one afternoon and dug a bunch of them. Working in the sun sure made me wish I was putting in crops again. I don’t know whether I’m a farmer or not. I guess I’ve had too much of it to ever forget it in the spring. I found out what it would cost to come home and it’s $77.50 or something like that, I’m not sure of the exact cents. That isn’t bad is it. That was a good letter you wrote Dad. I havn’t had that much out of you for a long time. I’ve been wondering why for a long time and I don’t suppose that I’ll ever be satisfied that I know the right answer. I think that you and I are thinking somewhat along the same lines only you have been following some lines of it longer than I have. We’ll have to have a good talk when I get home. I’ve really had a liberal education in CPS. And I’ve had a chance to think and to read some and talk to a lot of people from different parts of the country and with different backgrounds. It would amaze you the number of men in camp that have very little use for organized religion as we know it. A lot of them think that the Service Committee is a good thing and they aren’t all Quakers either. When I first came to camp I looked them all over and said to myself, there is sure a lot of them that are missing the boat. But when I got better aquainted with then I found that what a man though of church had very little to do with how easy he was to live with and after all isn’t that a pretty good thing to judge people by, how they get along with there fellow men. When natiins can’t get along with each other we got to war but when we look around we see why nations can’t get along. When we aren’t fighting a war we are fighting among ourselves. There is a lot of graft and competition going on right now and people that are supposed to be patriotic are trying to avoid paying income tax and buying war bonds. Well, I found out that to cite the extreme, some of the Athiests were better Christians than I was. So I got busy and tried to figure it out and I can’t see as much in religion as I used to. When I finally made up my mind that I didn’t believe religion as I had been taught it was the answer I was supprised for find the I felt much better about the whole thing and tho I don’t know where this is going to lead me I do know that I’m on the right track. I know what I believe in but I’m now saying that I’ll not change my mind. I think that I believe most of all in people and that given a chance they will do what is right. All of Jesus teachings are sound. Love your neighbor and do good to those that dispitefuly use you He believed in something bigger than himself. He called it his father, People call it God. As I have said before God is a lot bigger to me than it used to be. I no longer think of God as He or being a being at all. To me God is the force of Good and right and truth in the world. I can’t exactly worship that tho and as I think back I wonder if I ever really did worship. I used to go to sleep. I wouldn’t say that preaching was exactly worship anyway. I have talked to a lot of the fellows about this sort of thing and I don’t find as many of them that agree with me about the worship business as about being discusted with the churches. There is a lot that I don’t know and I find more every day. I do know that it is going to be hard for me to go back to church again and I don’t know whether I will ever work at it like I did. We’ll talk about this when I get home. Lew has been in here a while this afternoon making a slat rig to put under the baby’s mattress in the cradle. The cradle has a solid bottom and it didn’t ventalate very well. We were just talking about some of these things and he said he didn’t think that he would ever go back to preaching again. He preached three years before CPS. He said he might if he could find the right church that was interested in working out the same things that he was but he wasn’t going to have any bunch of people tell him what to preach. I guess he would rather do more work and less preaching. The last letter I sent to Harry came back, I guess he never left any forwarding address. I’m putting it in with this as I said some things that I want him to get. Yours, Bernard

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spring Steamliners and talking with Iris

Dad starts planning a spring trip home on the Streamliners, I found a site on pbs; that has info about these trains. We saw this show, rented it from the library. It's about the Zephyrs the ones that my grandparents would take to visit us each July, not my Dad's folks but my mothers from Chicago and they took us girls back for the summer too. Bonnie and Carol went together one year and I went when I was 11. We stayed in sleepers and ate in the dinning car. Sometime I should ask Carol and Bonnie what they remember of that trip. The timeline on the website is kind of interesting too, seeing the history of the trains and other transportation.
So for me here almost into fall. It is still warm but cooling off at night and into the morning. I called the Irs which I thought I might refer to as Iris, I spoke with a woman who was very nice. I keep finding that few people really know very much about 'frivolous filing'. It would be interesting if a reporter really investigated 'frivolous filing penalties'. So the woman I spoke with had not dealt with this type of issue and kept saying that the penalty was related to my not paying the tax, which is actually not the case. I sometimes make this mistake as well. The penalty has to do with the filing not the paying of taxes. She did clarify for me that if I do not have any state refund coming then the letter saying that Iris will levy the state refund does not really apply to me. She also went over the words that I had read on the penalty which says that in order to appeal the penalty one has to pay it first. I also began to realize that the rules around this penalty are different than the rules around the payment of taxes. So at this point I am looking into finding a lawyer to help understand this and possibly talk with Iris. One thing I felt very good about was that I kept stating clearly to the woman on the phone that 'I am not willing to write the check to pay the taxes that go to wage war' as she wound up the conversation she said 'so you are not willing to write the check for the taxes from 2010'. I said yes, thank you for hearing what I said. We then talked a little about learning to listen to people and I felt that we had made a human connection. I think that at times our institutions are like the transformer toys and we need to turn and twist and search to find the human being who is inside the machine. One of my goals as I am on this journey with Iris is to listen and speak nonviolently and compassionately with the people I connect with. I believe that through our daily contacts and actions we can build a nonviolent world.

March 11, 1944


Dear Folks,

Yesterday was your aniversry! Imagine me remembering it!

I didn’t do anything about it tho.

I spent so much time writing to Harry that I don’t have much time left. I don’t have much to say anyway.

I figured out my furlough and think that this will probably be my schedule. I’ll take the steamliner from Portland and I’ll have to buy a ticket to Chicago and get off at Boone. It isn’t an extra fare train so the only extra expense would be from Desmoines to Chicago, I had to buy to Des Moines last time. It would save a lot of time.
Lv. Portland 4:30 Pm. May 1
Ar. Boone 6:33 Am. May3
Lv. Boone 11:35 Pm. May 28
Ar. Portland 9:45 Am. May 30

I can make pretty good bus connections both times at Portland.

I reckon that your snow is gone by now. That’s a funny time for it to snow or is it. It has been so long since I wintered in Iowa that I have forgotten what it can do.
I hope the boys leave a little gass for me when I get home. I expect to mork most of the time but now all of it.
I can come home earlier if it would make any difference. I have 30 days even on the 18th of May so I could have my 30 day furlough and start it on the 18th of April. That train only runs certain days buy it wouldn’t make much more than a day difference. I’ll check on the exact cost of tickets. I have to make a reservation for the steamliner and you can’t make them for more than 30 days a head of time.

I’m sending Harry’s letter in a separate envelope, the rest of you probably wouldn’t be much interested anyway and it is more or less confidential.

With love and stuff

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The problem is the moneyed man

Wow, just read this letter from March '44. It is full of babies getting born, the problems of Negro units in England and Dad and others at CPS thinking about what they will do when the war ends. He comes to the conclusion that the problem is 'the moneyed man', our emphasis on materialism. I am very much at the same point. I am still dialoging with the Irs and other war tax resisters, some of whom say that the only way is to not earn money to send in to feed the military industrial complex.
I went to the beginning of the semester convocation and stopped to pick up a certified letter from Iris (IRS) and was reading it in the scooter parking area when a fellow instructor came up and I filled him in on my most recent adventures. He asked me as we walked into the building 'was it worth it?'. So that question has been with me. Soon after that we were joined by another instructor who is from one of the countries attacked in the last 7 years by the US. He had finally managed to return for a week, he said it seemed as if the country was 200 years behind where it had been before. I think in terms of my protest and my penalty I am helped by knowing people from countries in the middle east and also teaching and working with students who have been sent to fight in these countries or are about to be sent. One young man kept wearing his wool hat he got in Afghanistan all through our 100 degree summer session. Another one greeted me on the first day of class with 'I lost my mind in Iraq 4 years ago'. When I think of 5,000 dollars and I think I have not lost a home to a drone plane or my mind to the war machine, it becomes quite small in comparison. The worth it question does linger with me, as I do believe one has a choice, but I do not think that my choice is made in terms of the consequences and weighing those. Yet, perhaps it is, I am not inclined to go to jail, even if it was for a night with Thoreau, so I did consider consequences when I withheld money. So is the question, 'is it worth it to have a conscience, or to follow your conscience?'I think there the answer is 'yes' since it does give me peace of mind and this process is one of growth and clarity.

March 2, 1944

Dear home folks,
The sun is shinning like the dickens here, I guess spring is here in Oregon. We have been having pretty good weather. A little rain now nad then but not too much.
Did I tell you that the “Camp baby” arrives last week? Well, he did. The director and his wife claim him but the whole camp was a little excited about it. We havn’t seen him yet but expect them to come ‘home’ mext week sometime. She went to the hospitle in Eugene and stayed a few days before it happened and then when they figured the last minute had arrived they called Lew (that’s the director, everyone calls him that) and he tore off for Eugene on the first bus that came along. When he came back a couple of days later he was really walking on air. He said when he walked down the street he had a hard time to keep from stopping strangers and telling them “I’ve got a new BOY.”

We found out about them wanting to draft more farmers. I don’t read the papers much but somebody told me about it. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad you send the clippings I probably wouldn’t have read it at all if you hadn’t. I think that it is kind of a joke about them having a shortage of men in the army. There was an Englishman her for a few days that had just reciently returned from England. He had been over here working for the British Broadcasting company or something. He said there was an awful lot of US army men around and they weren’t doing anything at all. He said they were something of a nuscience. They get paid in American money or on the same rate anyway and it is a lot more than the British soldiers get and that ain’t good. They don’t have much to do so they run around a lot and they use the Gov’t cars and jeeps a lot and that makes the English boys more dissatisfied too. There are some companies of Negro soldiers over there and in England there isn’t any race problem but the American soldiers don’t like to have the negros treated as well as they are and there are some amusing incidents. Maybe they will learn something.
Well, it looks like you will get a 4 row planter maybe. That sure will be a help. I kind hate to see you join the F. Bureau. I don’t know why exactly, there are some very good people in it. I guess the reason I don’t like it is cause they never seem to get to the real bottom of the problems but just show people how to get along. I have been doing a lot of thinking in the last few months about things in general. Every once in a while I’ll think of something and remember that’s something that Dad used to talk about. There are several of us here that have been doing a lot of thinking about what we are going to do after the war is over and how and where we are gong to do it. We have discussions on Sunday nights and quite a few of the fellows come and we get some good things stired up. A good many of us more or less agree that a lot of trouble can be traced back to the moneyed man, but we aren’t communists. It isn’t the rich man’s fault he’s rich, in fact I rather admire him. We kind of agree that, to be idealistic, the whole emphasis of life must be changed from material things and competition to---perhaps something less strenuous and wasteful and more satisfying. I don’t know a suitable word for it. Do you think we are getting anywhere? We don’t have an answer but at least we are thinking. I think the answer is something each person will have to work out for himself. Don’t you?
With love

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do hickeys, shellac and appealing to the IRS

I am now on break for one week. Last week was very busy. I finished up my work for the graduate certificate in online teaching and learning, it's been a full year doing the classes and I have learned a lot. On Monday I spoke with the person at the tax advocacy office and then decided to go ahead and write an appeal for the frivolous filing penalty I received. Some Quakers in New York gave me some suggestions on wording which were helpful. Then on Friday I got a new notice saying that the IRS was levying the money from the account this notice included the bank info so I think this is happening this month. They will levy the money from 2008 and 2009. I keep getting clearer on my position, maybe not as clear as shellac, which dad is talking about in his letter. I see what I am doing as the difference between someone coming to my door and asking for money to kill someone and I say yeah, sure here it is I'll help you out and instead me saying no I do not want to help you and later they come back and break into the house and take my money. I do support a system of taxation but I do not support wars and do not feel that I can participate willingly in funding them. I recognize that the government is in a bully type of position and I can not stop them from accessing my money especially since I do enjoy working and teaching in the public education system. So I created the 'war tax' account and the money is there.
I think there are two main issues here: money and power. I read a good article which said that the US could stop the violence and drug traffic in Mexico if they stopped the flow of money through our banks. Interesting. I think the money was a huge factor in stopping apartheid in South Africa, once people began to divest, changes began to happen. I do not think we will turn around from out military path until enough people say no to funding it. These people may end up being the Chinese people instead of those in the US. The issue of power is connected to our materialism, which it interests me to see that many nonviolent leaders came to see from Woolman to King. Power is needed to maintain a high standard of living and then racism comes in when the high standard is for one group over another. So this is getting longer than Dad's letter. I'll save some thoughts for next time.

February 25, 1944


Dear family,

Here we are again, it is Fri. afternoon and I have been very busy all week but have things sort of cleaned up now and I hope to slow down a bit and write more letters in the future and read a little too.

The camp baker and I made a ‘proof box’ for the kitchen this week. Maybe Mom knows what a proof box is. The way I understand it is so that you can control the temperature of the dough after it is made out into loaves. They put it in this box that is heated with hot water running though it in an open trough. They can control the temperature by turning off the water and the moisture is supposed to help to make a nice thin crust. We just got it done this afternoon and he hasn’t tried it out yet. I turned it on for a little while and the temp. went from 76 to 86 in about a half hour. So I think it will work. That was one thing that was keeping me so busy. The other thing is that I have been making a gadget for the Portland office for about three weeks. I haven’t been working very hard on it and they wanted it done by next week so I got busy the first of this week and finished them. They are three do-hickys the help compute the timber yield. They start out with the size of the load and there is a chart on a cylinder that they turn around till they come to the size of the log they are figuring than they run across till they come to the grade of timber it is and there is the answer. They used to have these charts in books and it was terribly slow to thumb through a book.

I won’t know the old church when I get back will I! I hope that the Shellac finish turns out good. I have been learning a lot about finishes since working in the woodshop here. I don’t have much use for varnish any more. And Shellac isn’t too hot either. You see there isn’t any pure Shellacs any more, it has to be imported from India. So probably any shellac you get will be substitute stuff. We have used some substitute shellacs here in the shop and it isn’t so bad but it don’t seem to have quite as hard a finish as pure stuff. The last I got was Montgomery Ward stuff and it looks better. I don’t know how it would last on a floor. The best finish we have fould for the trinkets and bowls the fellows turn out on the lathe is Linolium Lacquer. We get it whole sale by the gal. from the General Paint Corporation. The have a store in Eugene. It costs us $3.82 and retails for $5.00. I don’t know how come they let us have it wholesale but we don’t complain. Lacquer makes very nice finish cause it is more transparent than Shellac or Varnish and doesn’t crack or mar like Varnish. Pure Shellac doesn’t change the color of the wood much but this imitation stuff from what I have tried so far darkens it some. I’m very much sold on lacquer for a slick finish. Another thing about lacquer, you don’t have to do much sanding if any between coats ‘cause the second coat seems to partially dissolve the one before it thus making a perfect bond between the two. It dries fast and don’t catch much dust. You’d think I was selling something.
Those Gladolias are from a good friend of mine that is in camp here. He has a Gladolia nursery in Minn. I think he sent Warren’s folks some too. He was at one of the spike camps all summer and raised a bunch of bulbs and gave a lot of them away.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chickens and Conscience

So Dad is talking about chickens and babies and also has this nice bit "I’m more than ever sure that at least for me war is wrong and I’m sure that it si wrong for the world as a way to settle differences. I can’t see anything in a religion that lets people kill other people and in some cases strengthens them." I am wondering about conscience and it's role in society. I heard from the folks at the tax advocacy place, who said the Secretary has found "Frivolous submissions include situations in which the taxpayer declines ' pay taxes if the taxpayer disagrees with the government's use of tax revenue, ...'". this is a new definition put out in 2010. So I fall squarely into this definition because I am not willingly paying the taxes which go to the current wars being waged by the US government. I do not argue with this. The question I have is the use of the frivolous filing penalty to squash or control people of conscience. I want to raise the question is a society better off if it discourages and tries to stamp out conscience completely or will it be better off if it allows for people of conscience to speak up? I reread Thoreau's essay on Civil Disobedience, he asks about the Government, "why does it not cherish its wise minority?" and "A very few,,,serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it." As I read these wonderful men's words I felt both encouraged and discouraged. All the things I am concerned about go back centuries. I reread some of John Woolman also, he and others wrote about refusing to pay taxes for wars before the revolutionary war. In all cases, all were concerned about what King labels "the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism". His full quote is: "When machines and computers, profits and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
So I am thinking about conscience and today's society and what I will do next with the good people at the Internal Revenue Service. I will call the man at the tax advocacy place tomorrow and see who I can contact in terms of an appeal. I have a little mantra I have chanted about this situation: it isn't about me, I did not ask for this situation, way will open.

February 18, 1944


Dear family,

Still isn’t much to say. The pigs are doing alright and the chickens are still laying aigs (eggs).

Did I ever tell youn’s that the director’s wife is going to have a baby? Well, she is. Some of the boys made a cradle for the kid and the director (with my help) made a swell table with a little cupboard underneath to bathe the baby on. They don’t have much furnature or place to put any. They have an apartment partitioned off in one of these CCC buildings about 30 feet long and the building are about are about 20 feet wide. The baby is scheduled for the week from next tue.

Those were some clippings that you sent me. When I read some of that stuff I wonder if there is ever any hope for the world. I reckon there is tho, but I probably will never see it. I’m more than ever sure that at least for me war is wrong and I’m sure that it si wrong for the world as a way to settle differences. I can’t see anything in a religion that lets people kill other people and in some cases streghtens them. I’m not going back on my religion but I sure think that Christ has been one of the most misunderstood and missinteripted men that ever lived.

I used to think some about being a preacher but I don’t think that I want to take the responsibility to interprit Christianity to people when I think about how little I understand about how to live with my fellow man. That leads me to wondering about Christianizing other nations. I wouldn’t bw supprised if the Japanese people know about as much about God and The Americans. To judge from the way we do thijgs in the name of God and kill people with love in our hearts, I can’t see that we have any business to show any nation the way to worship.

I guess you really had some winter for a while. We havn’t had even a frost for some time. We have been having a little more rain tho in the last week or two.

I hope you get that tractor planter. I may come home a little before the first of may but now much, We’ll see what happens. There hasn’t been a furlough bann since that one last April except around Christmas. Then it was out of from 15% to 10% and the 24 and 25 there were to be none of us traveling. So I’m not so worried about that. But our position with secelective service and the public in general isn’t too secure. The friends are batting for us in Washington but we don’t have any leverage over Seclective Service except our nusence value. Maybe the fact that we are working for nothing has a little to do with it too. But it is a pretty big load.

I think that I’ll try to get a reservation on a fast train but I’ll have to buy a ticket to Chicago but It will be worth it to spend lett time on the train and get home sooner.

So long


Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby pigs, corn pickers and frivolous filing

Now it seems to be my turn to be a conscientious objector. Back in '44 Dad is watching baby pigs and discussing with Grandpa the Farm Bureau and the value of picking corn by hand or by machine. There does not seem to be much happening at the CPS camp. Back here in 2011 I got a note from the IRS saying I have received a 'frivolous' filing penalty related to my 2010 tax return. Since the US invaded Iraq and I went back to a full time pay check I have withheld part of my tax, the part that goes toward current wars. I put it in an account at the bank labeled 'war taxes'. After the first few years the IRS did a levy and collected. They sent me a notice last fall that they would levy again, but never did. Then a week ago I got a penalty of $5000 with only 10 days to reply. I have contacted the advocacy people and hope to hear from them. So far I am just asking for clarity on why this particular form is considered 'frivolous'.
I was thinking about how with a volunteer army and much of the war work hired out by the military, tax resistance is one of the few ways we can actually resist or connect with the war machine. It amazes me to think of the cost to so many people of the violence of war.

February 12, 1944

Dear folks,

You are going to get a short one this time. About the only news there is is that the camp sow had pigs this morning before 5:00 Warren was on the job.

I got the box of cookies the same day I got you letter. Thur. Durn good too, everybody likes them. Thanks a lot. Thanks for the big check too.

Your good weather has let you get a lot of good out of the corn stalks this winter. I think I’m still for hand corn picking. I sort of hate to see you get a picker. I suspect that I don’t need to worry for a while at the rate that you are getting things from that board. I reckon you are right when you say that there are a lot of funny things done by the farm bureau guys. I don’t know as I blame them. It is just natural for people to favor their friends and not to notice the people that they don’t know so well. You get good deals from the friends you make among the storekeepers and Harry Ruth gives you good deals and you have had good car deals. The thing is that you don’t believe in the Farm bureau and so you can’t be quite as good friends with the fellows that do as you could if you did agree with them. I don’t agree with them either. I imagine that there are people that belong to the Bureau just because the ration board and the farm program is run by them. We won’t do things like that and we only have a peace of mind as a reward. We will get our reward some time. So I don’t think you want machinery if you have to get it by getting on the good side of people for that reason only when you don’t believe in their organization.

Talk about parts for the cornplanter. It seems to me like Ella B’s planter need something, I believe I had a hard time keeping it in gear, maybe the clutch was worn. If we had to use it it might go bad before we got done, if she hasn’t had if fixed.

Say! if Mom keeps on I won’t know her by may. She’ll be a mere shadow!

I saw a HENRY ALDRICH show the other day. The boys kidded me about going to see my brother in the movies. It was good. That guy can get in some awful messes.

They should have a Thin Woman program on the radio for you, Mom.

With love and a Mouth full of cookies,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rain again

I checked last year at the beginning of July and I wrote about rain. Dad's letter is back in February of 1944 and speak of the need of the war machine for people and a fear of them trying to recruit CO's. This didn't happen. We are in interesting times, where money and the challenges of extreme weather may actually help to move us away from wars. At the present we are still immersed in multiple wars, which I am coming to see as a big game which benefits the banks and keeps the war machine going at the expense of the people. Here near Mexico we are very close to the impact of the drug wars and how they destroy communities but do nothing to stop drug use. I do believe that as human beings we will move beyond this stage of greed and addiction to create sustainable communities that are in harmony with the earth.
Now to the rain. We have had a drought here I think it is at the supersize level. I think they are labled, severe, extreme and extremely severe. That's us. I had used up the water in our water barrels for the garden except the last tank in the front. Then finally the rain came on Friday night pouring down and more on Saturday. The rain brought back memories of rain in the Colorado mountains when we were kids and we would go hiking with Dad while Mom sat alone back at the campground and read. Coming back sometimes we would get caught in those afternoon showers and take shelter under a rock until it passed. In Colorado it can rain anytime of the year it seems. Here you really come to appreciate the rain. We often have a little in the spring, but not like the downpours we get in July and August. We have all been in fear of the fireworks since today is the 4th and the city had not canceled all fireworks, but the rains help. There is still a lot of dead wood from the winter freeze which killed things like our pomegranate tree. But the once dead grass and weeds are now perking up as are the eggplants and tomatoes in the garden patch.

February 4, 1944


Dear folks,
Here I am again. My letters don’t get off to such a good start as they used to. They have quit going down with the mail in the afternoon and so the only trip is in the morning about 9:30 and I get your letters then and answer them in the afternoon and they don’t go out till the next day. I used to get them out in the afternoon mail. They quit the afternoon mail trip on account of the gass siruation. The guys above our boss have been trying to get us to use less but hadn’t made much impression and then the rationing department or something or other cut the O & C’s gas in half for Jan. Well the project supt. got all excited about it and is trying to cut down. But they try mostly on things that benefit us COs. The big shot from Portland still drives down and they drive all around to the side camps in his car and don’t worry about gas. That’s the Gov’t men for you. We aren’t worrying about it. We figure that they have us to get work out of and if it takes gas they will get the gas when they find out they can’t bluff us into cutting down any more. That’s enough gass.
I got a letter from Harry today. He seems to be feeling better about loosing Norma since he has been running around a bit with some other girls. He has probably told you about it.
I’d like to see Mom with her stylish glasses and wine colored chai covers.
I’m figuring on coming home next May again. I will have 30 days by then. I scared stiff that they will shut off furloughs about that time like they did last April. That’s one bad thing about saving up so much furlough. If CPS should collapse and they might take a notion to let us all work in the ship yards or something that I wouldn’t want to do. They are getting a little hard up for men now. If somebody would happen to notice all of us nice ablebodied guys just fooling around doing work of national importance they might get somebody to revise the meaning of national importance. Don’t worry about that, I don’t.
Is you weather more like it should be by now? We are having a little Oregon weather this week but it isn’t too steady tho.
Dad sure wrote me a farm letter last time. All the pigs and what he is feeding them. I had forgotten how much they could eat. I think that ‘Nedra’s Calf” having a calf is good news, I thought that there never were going to be any cows out of that deal. Now maybe you will get some milk production in the heard. A little milk wouldn’t hurt. That’s a heck of a note about the baled straw. But save it then you can combine the oats and have some good bedding left from this year.
When does Harry have to come home and go to work? I wonder if he will want to.
Well, so long for another week,


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weather and Losing Pounds

This letter mentions both weather and Grandma Aldrich (the person dad calls mom) trying to lose weight. He says 'I've heard that song before'. Our Grandma Aldrich was one of those beautiful round traditional Grandmothers. She loved to bake and can and eat. At some point perhaps in her 60's or 70's she decided to as she put it, 'die fat and happy'. She died at age 96. I remember my Aunt and Uncle arguing on her behalf when she was in the nursing home to let her have her hot chocolate. I suspect the winter weather Dad is speaking of was lots of snow if it was going to be helpful. We on the other hand are in our third or fourth day of over 100 degrees, but then it is the end of June. Everything is dry and fireworks are barely permitted, perhaps in the middle of the road standing over or in a bucket of water.
On losing weight, we are actually doing a vegan diet to reverse diabetes. When in the hospital, Tim was tested and came back just into the diabetic category. So we counted calories and watched carbs for a couple of weeks and then the doctor suggested that we do this vegan diet. This is our second week. No eggs, fish or dairy is harder than no meat. Also trying to do low fat is a challenge and not having my summer frozen mint carob rice dream or tofutti cutties. We did enjoy going out tonight to a Vietnamese restaurant, it was yummy and we did not ask if they used sugar or oil in their dishes but we did stay vegan.

January 29, 1944


Dear family,
First off, I’m thanking you for the check. I reckon that was on the good big hog check you got. $1883.33 sounds like a nice little pile but I suspect that you can see the end of it already. Now take me. I still have two bucks left and I don’t know what I’ll spend them for. I have a little money coming for some work I did this week in Eugene for those people that are so nice to us. I went on the supply trip Wed. to Cottage Grove to the dentist and all he could find to do was clean my teeth. That cost me $2. So your check came in handy. I think it is the first time that I ever went to a dentist and never had a cavity to be filled. Well I got out of the dentists in time to hitch-hike the remaining 21 miles into Eugene by 12:00. I fooled around town and did a little shopping and wnet out to Etter’s (that’s those nice people) the middle of the afternoon and didn’t feel like working, sort of lazy, so I took a snooz of a couple of hours. I hadn’t been getting enough sleep for a few days cause a bunch of the fellows are putting on a play and they have been in the shop late every night fixing up lights and stuff for the play. I didn’t have to help them but I sort of like that kind of tinkering and I was learning a little too. Well, the next day I worked real hard and got the carpenter job done that I had started for the Etters way last fall. Then I came back to camp yesterday morning on a bus the gets to Elkton at 7:00 I had to get up at 4:15 to catch it.
Say! what a paragraph! I just couldn’t seem to get it stoped. Well, I told you what I had been doing.
That weather youn’s are having sure beats the dutch don’t it. It sure will help out the spring plowing. That’s an awful lot of spring plowing.
No Mom I cn’t hit all the right keys without looking mostly cause I don’t have to. When I’m writing letters I look at them and I don’t do much copying.
Want to know what I said to myself when I read that you were trying to loose pounds, Mom? “It seems to me I heard that song before.” I really think that you can do it tho if you keep at it long enough.
Glad you are reading Abundant Living. I’m on the 30th week and it gets better all the time.

Yours with love.

Monday, June 20, 2011

washing pigs

This weeks letter does not say alot about the world of the CPS camp. It ends with Dad's friend Warren taking care of and washing a sow. It seemed like an interesting image, and also that it seemed natural for the camps to be raising some of their own food. Here in 2011, we have to fight political battles to have chickens in the city, I wonder about pigs. Here in the west it is becoming a major fire summer. There has been a drought all spring and now there are forest fires in just about every mountain range. Some of the fires are small and gone soon, others like the Wallow fire in Arizona burn for weeks sending smoke across a number of states.
As our temperatures are in the 90's and 100's we are told to limit use of swamp coolers when the smoke level is high as it pulls the smoke into the house. Yesterdays level was very high. This morning looks clear.
In the continual story of our journey with Tim's brain, last week he began to have these incidents that the doctors are calling seizures. It was a bit strange because they kept happening at 10am in different doctors offices. They had another CT-scan done and that scared the person interpreting it who told the GP, who asked us to go to the emergency room to meet the neuro-surgeon who said it's not so bad and sent us home. After dealing with this system for 6 weeks now, I am finally realizing that we need to keep track of all of these tests and records. Some things are sent electronically but others are not. I also notice how each doctor has a different part of the picture (unfortunately a bit like the blind men looking at the elephant). The doctors rely on us (the stressed out/freaked out support people and the calm patient) to convey the information to them. They also get some reports and summaries from hospitals and each other. I have thought about setting up a health wiki for Tim, it would require that they would look at it, but then I could just bring along my computer and show it to them. Not sure if any of this relates to washing pigs.

January 22, 1944

Dear folks,

Your letter must have traveled slow cause I never got it till to day (Sat.). So I’ll dash you off a little this afternoon before the mail goes (I hope) and maybe you’ll get it in good time.

It is kind of nice to know that you have some realatives on this side of the world even if you can’t get to see them. I could get a two day leave and go up and see them but it would take a little money and I seem to have a lot to do anyway. If I get real restless sometime I may do it but I doubt it. I get pretty well rooted in a place after I have been there for a while.

Imagine burning cornstalks in Jan. That is better than Oregon weather. We are still having good weather here.

I heard from Harry yesterday and he told me too that he had learned a lot and he is pretty well out of the notion of even getting married after the war. He says probably not till he is through Doc school. Maybe it is a sour grape situation. Maybe it is good sense coming through. Probably a little of both. Norma still writes to me once in a while but can’t think of much to say with out talking about Harry and she don’t want to talk about him to me. Soooo---, she don’t say much.

What does Evelyn do, she never writes to me. Bawl her out for me will you. I’ll bet she runs around a lot. That’s good tho, I’d rather do that than write letters.

Guess that’s about all. Warren takes care of the hogs and the old sow that is going to have pigs he named Gwendolyn. I’ve been kidding him about her, he gave her a bath the other day. I’ll bet he’s about the best guy we could have on the Job.

So long


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Double spacing

Dad has a short letter, mostly about something called a squirrel cage that is used in calculating lumber sales or cuts. He ends with saying if it was double spaced he would have more of a letter. I just finished the beginning of a paper for a class I am taking. I am writing it single spaced, so that when I have to finish it it will seem longer when I switch to double spacing. I once attended an orientation for being on a search committee (one that helps to hire new faculty), I was so struck by the leader of the orientation telling us that "perception is more important than reality". That seems to be the world we live in. The perception that the letter or my paper looks long, not the reality of the number of words. In dealing with Tim's bleeding on the brain, we got to a point where reality was far more important than perception. I also think that this is the discipline of nonviolence, 'satyagraha' the search for and force of truth. That if we can come to a point when we actually recognize the truth of a situation of a relationship then we are all transformed, moved up through a worm hole to a new galaxy. The example I think of for this was the lunch counter sit-ins in the south, I think in Memphis when there was an empass and change needed to happen, the high school editor of the high school newspaper asked the Mayor directly 'what do you think?' He responded, 'I think we should integrate'. That opened the door and the business men agreed and the change happened. That simple direct 'I statement' allowed others to see the truth.

January 14, 1944


Dear folks,

There isn’t much to tell in this letter it is so close to the last one, but I like to answer them as they come or I find it hard to do it.

I’ll be sorry that I didn’t double space this one. I forgot to change the typewriter. Do you remember my telling you about a guy from Iowa that used to work with me in the shop? Well, he went to Portland to take a timbercurising job while I was on furlough last May. He has been down here working in the shop yesterday and today on a gaget that he has designed to help compute the price of timber after they get certain figures from the crusing. They had some gagets something like this only they weren’t as handy as the one he has planned. They want four and we are making 2 and then I’ll make the last after he is gone. The gaget is nicknamed “the squirrel cage” it looks something like a long squirl cage. It has a cylinder that has a lot of figures on it and you turn it around till something or other lines up and there is your answer. That’s all I know about it.

There are a few things you mentioned in this last letter that I’m glad to hear, I’ll put them all in this paragraph. That Harry got a job and place to stay and seems to be going to get a better one. A better job I mean or was that what it meant when you said he was going to be transferred to the sausage dept. Also that you got to go down to see Grandma on her 71st birthday. I didn’t realize that she was that old. Also glad that youns are having June Hasley over for a weekend. June is a good kid. We used to write pretty regularly but since she has been teaching I guess she has been to busy, I don’t hear from her as much as I did. There, I guess that takes care of that.

Thanks for the bucks, I bet I use them.

We are still having good weather here, that is it doesn’t rain all the time. The weather is the last thing.

So long

P. S. If I’d doublespaced this you’d have though you were getting a lot more.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In and Out of the worm hole

Dad's post begins 1944 with a lot of work and sharpening of saws. In our time Tim just went through surgery to remove the blood that was pressing on his brain. We had been watching it and thought that he was getting better. Once we got to the hospital we realized that our process had been to make up a story line 'like the blood pool is shrinking' and then to fit his experiences and my observations to the story. This worked until he began to loose function in his right leg and not know that he could not move his right leg. So our friend Don and I got him into the car and to the emergency room. Of course we went to the wrong hospital (I thought it would be the one near the doctors office but it was the other one)This was on a Friday a week ago, they operated that afternoon and he is now doing better and after 5-days is home.
this thought about creating a story line of what you believe and then fitting facts into it made me understand fundamentalist Christians who believe in creationism better. I think often we do this in life, decide what we believe and then see the world in these terms. One needs a kind of crisis to break through the old thinking to a new approach. I wonder if as climate disasters increase if we will begin to change our beliefs and the way we have been living. I feel with our hospital experience that we went through a worm-hole to another galaxy and back. I am looking at life a little differently now, checking out my assumptions and the stories I am making up.

January 10, 1944

Dear family,
This letter is a little behind schedule. I got too busy again. You see I had been taking a little time off in the afternoons to write letters and read a little and then I would come over to the shop in the evening and work if there weren’t too many guys around want to make things. Some one had to watch the shop so I do it. Well, they are starting a new tree planting camp up near Portland ( about 40 miles) and it is 160 miles from here and there are no buildings there. They will have to live in tents. Last summer they made 2 or 3 prefabricated messhalls and they didn’t use one of them but they swiped half of the floor and half of the roof to make a house for the foreman at one of the spike camps so when they wanted this kitchen and messhall they didn’t have enough to make one. Well, Wed. morning they told me they wanted the sections made to complete the building in time to load it Sat. They gave me three green men out the drafting room and the sawfiler to help and so I worked like everything to get it done. We got it done in good shape by Fri. night and I had to spend Sat. morning helping them load it. They caught me with only a couple of sharp hand saws which we dulled making the section for the building so I had to sharpen up some for them to take along with them. They will have to build a shower room and floors for the tents. I seem to be the only guy in camp that can sharpen carpentersaws. The guy that sharpens the big cross cuts is just learning and I’m going to teach him to file had saws too so I won’t have to do it all.
So that’s the reason that I didn’t get your letter answered.
I wonder how Harry si doing? I think it will be the best thing he could do. He will be lonesome at first then he will get aquainted and the effort it will take will take his mind off his troubles a little. He will learn a lot too. I suspect that Charles will enjoy himself if he has to work alone and more steady than when he had to work with Harry and then sit around.

I may write a letter to Harry and stick it in with this to be mailed from there as I don’t know his address. He will appreciate a letter more at first that he will after he gets aquainted.
I have been seeing quite a few shows. We have one in camp every other week. The last one was “The Young In Heart” . Real good I thought. Then they have shows twice a week down town in Elkton now. The last good one I saw there was “Holy Matrimony” I sure liked it. It was funny but not like Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. It was much more refined.

I am just getting over my flu cough now. I never had such a bad one but it would bother me a little in the mornings and I noticed this morning that I didn’t cough nearly as much as usual. I have been trying to get more sleep for the last few weeks to get rid of it and I believe I am. I coughed some when I had the flu but not seriously it hasn’t been bad since but just annoying. I’d advise Mom to get more sleep. That 12:45 doesn’t sound good.
Does Phinney commit himself about pacifism? I have wondered.
It is good that you got the beens raked, they are a mess to plow under.

With love,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The end of 1943

This is the last of Dad's letters from 1943. He had a total of 57. There are 51 from 1944 and fewer in 1945. It seems that he went through a number of changes and got fairly comfortable with life at camp Elkton. A quote I liked from this one is about God's laws:
"I read somewhere that we don’t break the laws but break ourselves against the laws." It may have once been a common saying but it makes sense to me and has less of a punishment sense and more of a natural consequences aspect to it.
Back here in 2011, we spent time at the imaging place waiting for Tim to get a CT scan. as I wrote a friend, I took a stress vitamin and a mystery this time. Dealing with our health care system is always interesting. Tim had a positive nod from the doctor and will stay off of blood thinners and take it easy for the next month, then go in for another CT scan. They could not give us any info or expectations on having the blood absorbed. He is now having some minor headaches but not the kind of pain he had.
I have been thinking of writing about nonviolence again and how when people talk about the fight or flight syndrome we could add in a third possibility; the sit down option. I think when Pema Chodrin speaks of this she talks about staying with your feelings or burning wood. I think that when we fight or flee we run away from the moment the present experience and the feelings that are created or triggered by it. I think that one aspect of violence is this attempt to destroy our own inner conflict which we project onto someone outside of ourselves. We go to war to create peace. In practicing nonviolence one does deal with conflicts and finding ways to move on, to accept where we are. I need to work on sorting out these thoughts.

December 30, 1943


Dear folks,

Got your letter today so I’m dashing you off a note. I’m glad you thought of my insurance this year, Dad. Thanks a lot. I don’t know how long I’m going to have to depend on you to pay that. I hope I’m in a position next year to have an income. But you can’t tell.

That is nifty stationery that Mom has isn’t it. Good for big airmail letter too, and nice and thin.

I got a nice book the other day. I havn’t read it yet but I read the first page and it started good. I think I’ll like it. I have been reading a book by Loyd Douglas, “The Robe”. It is pretty good I think. I have it just about finished then I’ll read the one you sent me. I have been having a little more time to myself since the Christmas rush is over.

It looks like the straw bailing is a good idea. Are you thinking about combining you oats next year. I’ll bet Harry is.

If Harry goes to Des Moines send me his address will you or he can do it. I’m glad to hear he is in better spirits. I don’t think my letter had an awful lot to do with it. I think he had begun to figure things out himself. I’m afraid that little reverses in our lives are just one of the laws that we live by if we don’t do certain things, bingo! we run into the stone wall of the law.

I mean God’s laws. Maybe there are a lot of God’s laws that aren’t as plain as the Ten Commandments. I read somewhere that we don’t break the laws but break ourselves against the laws.

Warren and I have a great time with the hometown gossip. He usually beats me but I scooped him today. He didn’t know that Myrt was engaged.
The weather here is cloudy and damp. Not much rain tho.

I have one more day on the work-committee. I have had two one month terms and am ready to let some one else do it a while it isn’t good for one guy to have that jobs too long and I have plenty to do without it.

Well, so long----


Sunday, May 8, 2011

One week in May 2011

There's a lot in Dad's letter, this one to his youngest brother Harry. I think this is the only copy of a letter to one of his brothers. His language is a bit different. I like some of his lines: "Thinking is one of the most important things we can do but that isn’t enough, we stop thinking sometimes when we run up against something that requires us to admit we have been wrong." and at the end; "Things built on deceit won’t last. I think the whole truth is important." All just plain good advice.
This week in 2011 began last Sunday evening with the US raid on O.B.Ladin's complex in Pakistan. I was rather ashamed of the extreme celebrations at killing someone. I do believe there are better ways than killing. This concept of 'justice' that involves killing people because 'they' killed people is beyond me. I do believe that nonviolence needs to be the path as well as the destination. I truly believe that hurting one another is not necessary for human survival. So that was Sunday evening and Monday. Then on Tuesday Tim and I went to the doctor, who sent him to get a CT scan for his headaches, which revealed bleeding on the brain, we then went to a neurosurgeon and looked at the CT scan. Tim decided to go off of the coumadin to see if the bleeding would stop. the belief is that his motorscooter accident combined with the coumadin caused the bleeding to start even though he did not hit his head. So we both kind of went into shock. He has gotten some pain meds and is taking it easy and feeling better. I have kept on finishing up the semester work.
On Saturday, Jenny called to tell us that she has gotten engaged. She and her boyfriend have lived together for a couple of years and we are happy for them. Their moving to Austin, TX also looks more certain for the end of the summer. It will be great to have them closer to us. Also on Friday my nephew Shawn graduated from College in Utah. Kind of a busy week.

December 28, 1943

Dear Harry,
Hello there you happy moron. That letter you wrote me after you saw the light was a relief. It was much more like your usual self. Then this last one, very profound and thoughtful, I liked it too. It is a good to get letters from you. It seems that this thing has brought us closer together. I like it. It makes me fell like I’m needed ever so little. People have to feel that they are needed or the loose the purpose of living.

You have done some thinking, and what is more you have admitted you are wrong. Thinking is one of the most important things we can do but that isn’t enough, we stop thinking sometimes when we run up against something that requires us to admit we have been wrong. That is the danger of stubborness. Stubborness can be a good trait if it is not over done, it must be tempered by thought honesty with oneself. You mentioned Norma being stubborn when opposed, that is one of the easiest things to do. As I anylize it it seems to have something to do with people liking to feel important. To admit makes you feel small and unimportant. This is exactly the opposite of the actual fact. Really the person that can admit being wrong in far superior to the one that won’t admit it. What do you think of that sermon.

Your buying that watch is so like you. and so natural too. I’ll bet Dad thought a thing or two when he found it out. If I were going to get a wrist watch I suspect I’d get one at least that expensive. I’d want one of those dustproof shockproof jobs. The less expensive ones cause more trouble and cost more than they are worth in the long run. One of the guys in camp has one that cost him about 70 bucks, say it’s a dandy. I’ll bet yours is a dinger too.

I’d like to mention that theory that Norma has about there any only one mate. That Adam argument is alright if you are convinced that Adam was anything more than a legend. I’m not convinced of that. The Bible is might good stuff and I still read it a lot but after studying the history of it and the translations it went through and learning that no one knows for sure about the original I’m not going to let something that doesn’t look logical influience me just cause it is in a book that has a lot of truth in it and claims to be the only word of God. In short I’ve become too much of a sceptic to believe every thing in the Bible. I used to think about the same as Norma about mates but I got some different ideas that seem better to me. And Adam don’t cut any ice with me at all. If she gets to knocking around with the kids that go to Drake she may get enlightened a little. Most colleges don’t have much time for Adam any more.

One more thing, Norma sent me a much too nice Christmas present. I don’t know why, she may feel very grateful to me for letting her cry on my sholder. I havn’t written her thanking her yet (single spacing cause I’m running out of paper) I wrote to her the next day after I answered your ‘bad news’ letter and I havn’t heard from her yet. If I don’t hear soon I shall write her a thank you letter and schold her a little for spending too much on me. I’m a little afraid she may be angery with me for telling you what did. I told her that I quoted her letters where I thought it would do some good. We will see what her reaction will be. I thought It best to be frank and honest with her from the first. Things built on deceit won’t last. I think the whole truth in important. Drop a line soon.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

We had a good Christmas

Dad ends this weeks letter with "I thought we had a good Christmas. We would have rather been home but we enjoyed what we had." I often admire that ability in people to accept where they are. Here I am at the end of the semester getting ready to take off to attend the Friends Peace Team meeting in New Jersey. The Friends Peace Teams have initiatives in 3 areas; Africa, Indonesia and Latin America. They work with people who have been impacted by war doing Alternatives to Violence and Trauma healing workshops. I have been on the council for 9 months doing conference calls and this will be our first 'face to face' meeting.
This letter also mentions Grandma Ozbun that is the Quaker side of the family which goes back to the 1600's. sometime I would like to find out more information about how they traveled from the East Coast to Iowa.

December 24, 1943

Dear folks,
The day before Christmas. I have been out here over a year. I didn’t think when I came out here that I’d stay in the same camp that long. I guess I have been comparitely happy here. Probably as happy as I could be anywhere during a war. Life outside isn’t what it used to be with rationing and shortages and propoganda. We do lead a somewhat sheltered life. We all somewhat agree and can say what we think about events.

I received the big box of candy, There is still about half of it left. Everyone likes it. Several of the fellows have received boxes of candy or cakes so it seems like Christmas from that angle. Grandma Aldrich sent me a box of divinity and candy bars. I just about had them eaten when yours came.

Grandma Ozbun sent me a Buck for a present. I havn’t thanked her for it yet. I have been putting off things like that till this afternoon. We get tomorrow off and we worked overtime so that we could lay off this afternoon, this way some of the fellows that live close enough can get an early start on a big week-end leave. So I have a little time to write letters.

I hope this finds all of youn’s in better health. Mom will probably be in better shape and Dad worse. I know just how you feel with this flu. I was in bed three days and it took me about a week to get back to normal and I’m not clear back yet. Several of the fellows have had it and there was one that had it this morning and will have to spend Christmas in bed.

That was a little different approach to a Christmas program. I suspect that most of the kids were glad enough to give it up tho.

I just had another piece of that good candy. It is one of my favorite kinds.

Say! but that was a pile of corn. I don’t believe we ever had that much before.
Well, I guess I’m about written out. We are having a little rain now and then and it seems like it did last year.

Don’t work too hard.

Happy New Year.

P. S. Sun. nite---- I didn’t get this done in time to go out in the afternoon mail Fri. so I’ll write a bit more.
We had a nice Christmas part Fri. night. Quite a few of the fellows were in from the side camps and I got to see some of my old friends that I hadn’t seen for several months. Some of the more musical boys had gotten up a swell musical program that was done very impressively with different colored lights. One of the best Christmas programs I have ever seen. There is a lot of talent in CPS. We had a nice big turkey dinner Sat. and there was enough candy around so that I wasn’t hungry when it came time for supper. In the evening we all went over to the Dirrector’s apartment and one of the fellows read Dicken’s Christmas Carol. I thought we had a good Christmas. We would have rather been home but we enjoyed what we had.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christmas and Easter

In Dad's letters it's Christmas and here today in 2011 it is Easter. Dad had the flu and said that it is easier to send cards and give presents then it is to love your neighbors which is what Jesus taught. I have to agree. We did not grow up with a big celebration on Easter, but at some point we started to have Easter baskets, but we did not have a big dinner or picnics and parties the way southern New Mexico celebrates. We had a picnic with people in the Meeting today, we got blown away as the wind picked up in the afternoon. The wind has been very gusty lately. It is dry and windy throughout the west this spring. In Dad's letter he is talking of lot's of rain in Oregon and here we are very dry. My sister in Colorado says there has not been enough rain for them to buy and run some cows on their land, since there is not enough grass.

December 18, 1943


Dear folks,

What do you suppose happened to me. I got the flu. wed. nite I felt kind of achey and by midnight I was aching like the dickens. I went to the infirmary. The next morning and I’m still there. I went to bed with lots of covers and hot water bottles and sweated all day and that night and on Fri. morning my temp. was below normal. Today is Sat. and I’m well enough to be very grouchy and complain about everything. I’m figuring on eating supper tonight in the dinning room. I sure hate eating in bed.

I have write some letters and read some since being sick so it has been a nice vacation. It kind of hurts my pride tho.

Well Mom, you may turn out to be a write yet inspite of the rest of us. It takes time tho.

I’m glad that Viola is doing alright and I imagine she is nearly well by now. I don’t blame the boys for relaxing a little. I never could help it on the last day either.

Harry didn’t pick such a bad amount of corn for his first year at it. Of course it doesn’t compare with Charles but I never could keep up with him either and I guess he was going better than ever. I wonder what his average was.

I guess one way to get Dad to teach the SS class is for them to take turns. I’ll bet he can do it tho. I wish I could be a mouse in the corner.

The weather report here is the sun shining a little right now and it hasn’t rained for several days but we expect it to start anytime and last a couple of months. We dream of a dry Christmas here.

I’m not sending any Christmas card this year. I was going to make some but couldn’t think of a suitable design that would say everything I wanted to say. I wanted to say that Christmas once a year isn’t enough, I’m not sure that Jesus would go for the way that people celebrate his birth. I suspect that he’d be glad to have us forget his birthday and do what he said for us to do. Love our neighbor as ourselves. But it is easier to give presents and cards. I’m going to be different and not send cards instead I’m going to try and write all my friends and maybe they will think about it a little. I know what happens when I get a Christmas card, I look at it and read the ryme and think that’s a nice pretty card and put it back in the envelope and never look at it again.

Yours with love and wishes for a Merry Christmas