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.