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


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Changes, Ted Church and 1943

We are getting to the end of the 1943 letters. I got the word a couple of days ago that Ted Church died on Friday April 15th. When I first came to New Mexico, to apply for a job at an alternative school in Albuquerque we stayed with Ted and Liz. We being my parents and I in the spring of 1975, 36 years ago. I moved to Albuquerque and in my 20's I often saw Ted in my young judgmental way, I felt I knew so much and that many men were sexist and domineering, which they probably were. Now I feel a deep sadness at Ted's passing. Over the years I became quite fond of him and deeply appreciate the work he did for Friends and for our yearly meeting.
So I am thinking of 1943 and of these men who would meet in 1970, my father and Ted. Dad is out at CPS camp and where is Ted? In February of 1943, Ted was in the last graduating class of the Los Alamos Ranch School, as it closed to be taken over by the US Government and the name of the school became the name of a city and synonymous with a weapon. Down the road from Los Alamos in Santa Fe that February my future companion helpmate and ally was being born. Reading this date prompted me to ask me, 'you never knew New Mexico before Los Alamos, did you?' He said no. This state changed that year, much of the world changed in those few years of that war. As I read fathers writings and those of Peggy Pond Church, Ted's mother, I realize that they walked in a world and saw a world that we have never known.
A lot was lost in that war. Somehow that is on my mind. All the choices that people made, scientists, soldiers, civilians. Each day we recreate the world by the choices we make, without thinking in a blink of an eye, a mesa becomes a city, a weapon is created. Imagine what would the world look like today, if rather than the US creating the bomb, Germany had and yet we had won, the bomb would have been labeled 'evil' and no cold war? who would we all be then?
What futures are we creating today? as we type in these words? as we all communicate quickly with one another? what is it we do not see, that others will see in the future?
I feel lucky a great richness to have known both my father and Ted Church. What different paths they took out of the mountains they were both living in in 1943.

December 9, 1943


Dear folks,

I’ll try to do a little better this time on the letter. One thing I did was neglect to thank you for the Check for two bucks. that was in last weeks letter. I got the letter before I left with the supply trip for that spike camp I was telling you about. I stuck the letter in my pocket and read it on the way down and forgot about the money when I answered the letter with that measly little note Mon. Well thanks a lot for the dough.

Would you believe it, the sun is shining now. We havn’t had much rain for some time. We get some now and then and it is usually very foggy or clear and frosty in the mornings.

It is good to hear that your corn is down so you can see the end of it. I hope you make it by Christmas. So Rudy and Art got a hundred together. That’s not bad for kids their age is it. Corn is pretty good money now. That sure sounds like a lot 1.00 a bu. I guess you can pay that high price for picking. You are going to have a pretty good yield too. From out here it looks like a pretty good year in Iowa.

I see Mom is getting wise and double spacing her letters. that’s the way to make them look like there is a lot there. I guess they don’t make any new typewriters now. One of the guys in camp got a good second hand one for about 55 or something like that. The way to do is find some College guy that is through college or about to go to the army and wants some money to spend. So Eileen is getting “A” s maybe I should have had my apendics out when I was in High School. Tell Harry that might work for him if he want s to go back to College.

A little while ago I helped drive a hog up to slaughter tomorrow. We have an old barn rented about 80 rods from camp and we drive the victims up the day before and put in a little pen then in the morning we will make pork out of him. We kill about one a week. I skinned the last one and liked it a lot better. It is quite a bit quicker that way.

Well, Guess I’ll sign off for a while.


December 6, 1943

Mon. Dec. 6

Dear folks,

Just a note to tell youns that I’m still alive and kicking. I have been bussier than usual and didn’t get around to answer your last letter. It cam Fri. I went with the supply trip to one of the spike camps about 100 miles south on Fri and didn’t get back till Sat afternoon. I had never been to that camp and it was very interesting. Got to see some of my old friends that had been down there since they came out here. So that’s why youre getting a short note late.

I can’t think of much to say so it is a good thing that I’m just writing a note.

It is about time for the mail to go.

So Long

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toys and the Japanese

This is the last of Dad's November posts, it's taken four months for me to get him out of November. Hopefully I can do better from now on. He writes about how they made toys for the Japanese American kids who were in the Japanese Relocation Camps. Now we have Mexican American kids in relocation camps waiting to be deported. And we are making paper cranes for the Japanese as they recover from an earthquake. At meeting we were discussing the violence of our society today and as I read Dad's letter I think that it has been a very violent country for a long time and a long side of the violence are people working to make a better nonviolent world. I actually believe there are more of us working and acting nonviolently than violently. More who are not selfish than those who are very greedy. I remember how depressed my parents got in the 1960's at the state of the world but they kept on working to make it a better place and kept with the values they had. Tim went to a New Food Not Bombs event and met people working for change whom we did not know. young people, that's the way of nonviolence. I remember my grandmother telling me that they had protested WWII in Chicago during the war. My mother did not remember it, but Grandma did. I know at times we feel devastated by the way our nation has been going but I can not imagine the way people felt at the end of WWII when the bomb was dropped on Japan. How horrifying. I have been reading about compassion and I think that for the most part that it is the compassion we can give to people each day of our lives that makes a difference.

November 27, 1943

Sat. Nov. 27

Dear Family,

Your letter never came till this morning so I’m dashing you off a note this afternoon.

The sun is shining here right now and we have been having pretty good weather lately. It is foggy in the mornings and rains a little now and then but it hasn’t been really bad for a week or two.

We had a good thanksgiving dinner. The fellows cooked up a deal with the boss to let us work overtime so we could have a late dinner and have the rest of the day off. It seemed more like thanksgiving to some of them if they didn’t have to work all day. I didn’t care much either way but I didn’t like to work after dinner tho. it seemed sort of nice to take a little time out a visit. I have worked so much overtime that I quit keeping track of it. I’ll take a Sat. some of these days and go up to Eugene and finish my job up there. I have been sort of tied up here on Sats. of late by the work-committee work.

Did I tell you about some of the fellows making toys for the Japanese-American Kids in relocation centers? Well I havn’t really been making any of them but I get mixed up in everybody’s toys. One fellow who is a very good mechanic made a small steam engine that runs off electricity. Then one guy’s wife is visiting in camp and she is a disigner. Her specialty is toys. She has been working on the toy business for the Japanese and has disigned a new set of blocks while she is out here.

So Eileen is back in the groove again. That’s good. Bringing kids home with her is good too.

Glad to hear that you all seem to like the preacher pretty well.

How are youn’s coming with “Abundant Living”/ ? I’m up to the 23rd week. I really like it.