Sunday, January 30, 2011

From $10/a day to $10 an hour

Dad's got some numbers in this letter. He talks of buying meals for 80 cents and men making 10 dollars for a days work being high wages. I remember in my 20's when I lived in Japan and I made 10 dollars an hour teaching English and it seemed unbelievable that I was making that much. That was 1972, 10 dollars an hour is still fairly good pay. He also talks about processing, butchering a pig. All the skills he knew how to do are impressive. We did a worship sharing today at Friends Meeting on diversity and we spoke about the different areas such as race, religion, and economics. Later I thought about work and how growing up there was more diversity in our Friends Meetings, both people who did physical labor and those who had white collar jobs. I miss that. I was realizing that it is something that I enjoy in our work place at the community college most of us come from working class backgrounds. We can easily relate to our students. I have an 8 am class and I'm starting to fade out here. I hope life is calming down a bit so I can start posting on Wednesdays as well.

November 5, 1943


Hello, Family,
I got your letter today so I’ll grind out one tonight before something comes along and tempts me to put it off.
Harry buying a diamond was about the biggest news that you have had to write me in a long time. Tell him that if he tries hard he will be good enough for her.
Glad to hear that Eileen is doing fine I suspect that by the time you get this she will be back in school. The beans all done sounds like good news too. Sounds like you are taking in a nice amount of money. I reckon that it goes pretty fast tho I know that things are sort of high out here. The thing that made me realize that prices are up was this summer once in a while I would have occasion to buy a meal in Eugene and it takes 75 or 80 cents to get what we used to get for 45 or 50. But people get big wages here too. Some of the boys made 10 bucks a day on furlough time in Portland.
It looks to me like your corn picking is moving along pretty well. If the weather isn’t too bad you’ll have a lot of it in the crib by the last of the month.
I mentioned the work committee. Well, I’mm the chairman and it has kept me busy this week. The business of the committee is the placing of the right men in the right jobs. When there is a new job any place like a timber cruising job some where or a vacancy in the drafting room or anything connected with the work it is the business of the work committee. Where it caught me was Monday there were supposed to be 30 men leave for a tree planting about 120 miles from here.. Well we found out last Sunday that the camp wasn’t ready for people to live in yet and it would take till Wed. to get it ready so I had to things lined up for about 15 men to do. Then before they got away the names of 18 men came through that they had been accepted for detached service. Well, that called for another shuffle and it kept me busy getting things lined up. It has kind of cooled off now that the tree planters are gone. But they want to start another tree planting camp soon and there aren’t enough men available to get the number they want. I don’t know what they will do about it. It isn’t my wory. The Supt. tells us were to get the men and all we do is select the ones that can and will do the job. Any time there is a big job to pick a man for the committee has to decide on it but for little changes for a day or so the chairman does the work and that’s what has been keeping me busy.
I gutted my first hog last Tue. Another guy stuck it but he’s gone so I suppose I’ll have to stick the next one. We kill one every Tue. We have had three and have 7 big ones left and then we will have to wait for some more to grow up. The first ones we killed figured out that the dressed meat cost us 14 cents a pound. So we got 19 little pigs. It’s a good business. Meat tastes good too.
Well, guess that’s all.
Love Bernard
P.S. Thanks for the $1. I almost forgot to thank you for it. Tisk [cutoff]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New years and almost Alamogordo

I have missed almost a month. I thought I might write a lot on the blog over the holidays but the opposite happened. First we got together with my sisters and some of their kids between Christmas and New Years in Truth or Consequences at the hot tubs. We got to reminisce about the time we had met in Santa Fe at the hot tub place called 10,000 waves. Carol, Bonnie and I all were in one vehicle and got lost, we get to talking and do not pay attention to signs. The husbands and my nephew Shawn had helped the elders Barney and Dorothy into the tubs and we got there later to find them doing well. After getting in the pool we had rented we noticed that Dad was kind of floating up, not able to keep his feet down. We helped him out and he cooled down and recovered use of his limbs. This gathering in the pools in T or C allowed us to visit with nephews, nieces and great nephews and nieces as well as each other.
So while we are entering 2011, Dad is still in 1943. I keep thinking that I will get the dates synchronized. But it has not happened. In this letter he talks about almost taking a job of surveying which would have brought him to the area where I live now in Alamogordo (about 70 miles east of Las Cruces) New Mexico. He decides he is enjoying himself too much in the shop at Elkton.

October 29, 1943

Sat. Morn, 10/29/43

Dear Folks,
I’m getting the best of this deal, I’m answering two letters at once. I was glad to get the report on Eileen. Maybe this will clear up some of the weariness that we have been blaming on to Malta Fever, I hope so. How’s Charles doing this fall, does he notice any hangover? I’ve been going to ask how he is standing with the draft board, is he still a I-A on a six months deferment?
I thought about writing Eileen a letter but then I figured she would probably be home before she got it. I have been awfully busy this week. We got out open house over last night and I’m going to take it easy next week and not do any overtime work. Every department in camp thought they should have something fixed up or built before the open house and I’ was the guy to do it, that’s the reason I was so busy. They had a good program last night and there was a nice little croud from Elkton and the surrounding country. About 20 I’d guess from Elkton and a car load from Eugene. We thought it was a success.
How’s the corn picking doing? I suspect that Dale had come up in his bushels by now. Just give him time this is his first real corn picking job and I can remember that I wasn’t very speed or ambitious the first year I was on a wagon alone. I’ll bet that when he begins to find out that by moving a little faster he gets a bigger load he’ll do better.
You know I wrote that I had canceled my application for the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Well I guess that was too much red tape to go through so quick cuse we got word a few days ago that I ahd three others were to report to Almagordo New Mexico imediatley. Well we didn’t I’m still not going so we sent a night-letter to the Phillidelphia office reminding them that I had canceled and asking their advice. The big sticker was the the transportation requests were made out to me and three others and it looked like I would either have to go or they would have to wait for new tickets. The Philly office wired back that we should try and buy the tickets anyway and then they would send mine back and get refund. So we did that and went to drain Thursday to get them. We were to have pulman from Grants Pass Oregon to New Mexico so all has been done is order the Pullman reservations. It will be a nice trip and sometimes I wish I was going. But I like this work much better and about all I’d get out of surveying would be seeing new country. I wouldn’t be doing anybody much good in particular and we wouldn’t have the same address for very long. While if I stay here I can do the camp some good as well as work at something I like very well. When I applied for that I didn’t know that I could get back in the shop. I really have a nicer setup now than I did before. I do mostly CPS work and am pretty much my own boss. I like that.
Say! What a paragraph. I cant think of anything else so I’ll sign off with. Don’t work too hard.