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.