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