Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weather and Losing Pounds

This letter mentions both weather and Grandma Aldrich (the person dad calls mom) trying to lose weight. He says 'I've heard that song before'. Our Grandma Aldrich was one of those beautiful round traditional Grandmothers. She loved to bake and can and eat. At some point perhaps in her 60's or 70's she decided to as she put it, 'die fat and happy'. She died at age 96. I remember my Aunt and Uncle arguing on her behalf when she was in the nursing home to let her have her hot chocolate. I suspect the winter weather Dad is speaking of was lots of snow if it was going to be helpful. We on the other hand are in our third or fourth day of over 100 degrees, but then it is the end of June. Everything is dry and fireworks are barely permitted, perhaps in the middle of the road standing over or in a bucket of water.
On losing weight, we are actually doing a vegan diet to reverse diabetes. When in the hospital, Tim was tested and came back just into the diabetic category. So we counted calories and watched carbs for a couple of weeks and then the doctor suggested that we do this vegan diet. This is our second week. No eggs, fish or dairy is harder than no meat. Also trying to do low fat is a challenge and not having my summer frozen mint carob rice dream or tofutti cutties. We did enjoy going out tonight to a Vietnamese restaurant, it was yummy and we did not ask if they used sugar or oil in their dishes but we did stay vegan.

January 29, 1944


Dear family,
First off, I’m thanking you for the check. I reckon that was on the good big hog check you got. $1883.33 sounds like a nice little pile but I suspect that you can see the end of it already. Now take me. I still have two bucks left and I don’t know what I’ll spend them for. I have a little money coming for some work I did this week in Eugene for those people that are so nice to us. I went on the supply trip Wed. to Cottage Grove to the dentist and all he could find to do was clean my teeth. That cost me $2. So your check came in handy. I think it is the first time that I ever went to a dentist and never had a cavity to be filled. Well I got out of the dentists in time to hitch-hike the remaining 21 miles into Eugene by 12:00. I fooled around town and did a little shopping and wnet out to Etter’s (that’s those nice people) the middle of the afternoon and didn’t feel like working, sort of lazy, so I took a snooz of a couple of hours. I hadn’t been getting enough sleep for a few days cause a bunch of the fellows are putting on a play and they have been in the shop late every night fixing up lights and stuff for the play. I didn’t have to help them but I sort of like that kind of tinkering and I was learning a little too. Well, the next day I worked real hard and got the carpenter job done that I had started for the Etters way last fall. Then I came back to camp yesterday morning on a bus the gets to Elkton at 7:00 I had to get up at 4:15 to catch it.
Say! what a paragraph! I just couldn’t seem to get it stoped. Well, I told you what I had been doing.
That weather youn’s are having sure beats the dutch don’t it. It sure will help out the spring plowing. That’s an awful lot of spring plowing.
No Mom I cn’t hit all the right keys without looking mostly cause I don’t have to. When I’m writing letters I look at them and I don’t do much copying.
Want to know what I said to myself when I read that you were trying to loose pounds, Mom? “It seems to me I heard that song before.” I really think that you can do it tho if you keep at it long enough.
Glad you are reading Abundant Living. I’m on the 30th week and it gets better all the time.

Yours with love.

Monday, June 20, 2011

washing pigs

This weeks letter does not say alot about the world of the CPS camp. It ends with Dad's friend Warren taking care of and washing a sow. It seemed like an interesting image, and also that it seemed natural for the camps to be raising some of their own food. Here in 2011, we have to fight political battles to have chickens in the city, I wonder about pigs. Here in the west it is becoming a major fire summer. There has been a drought all spring and now there are forest fires in just about every mountain range. Some of the fires are small and gone soon, others like the Wallow fire in Arizona burn for weeks sending smoke across a number of states.
As our temperatures are in the 90's and 100's we are told to limit use of swamp coolers when the smoke level is high as it pulls the smoke into the house. Yesterdays level was very high. This morning looks clear.
In the continual story of our journey with Tim's brain, last week he began to have these incidents that the doctors are calling seizures. It was a bit strange because they kept happening at 10am in different doctors offices. They had another CT-scan done and that scared the person interpreting it who told the GP, who asked us to go to the emergency room to meet the neuro-surgeon who said it's not so bad and sent us home. After dealing with this system for 6 weeks now, I am finally realizing that we need to keep track of all of these tests and records. Some things are sent electronically but others are not. I also notice how each doctor has a different part of the picture (unfortunately a bit like the blind men looking at the elephant). The doctors rely on us (the stressed out/freaked out support people and the calm patient) to convey the information to them. They also get some reports and summaries from hospitals and each other. I have thought about setting up a health wiki for Tim, it would require that they would look at it, but then I could just bring along my computer and show it to them. Not sure if any of this relates to washing pigs.

January 22, 1944

Dear folks,

Your letter must have traveled slow cause I never got it till to day (Sat.). So I’ll dash you off a little this afternoon before the mail goes (I hope) and maybe you’ll get it in good time.

It is kind of nice to know that you have some realatives on this side of the world even if you can’t get to see them. I could get a two day leave and go up and see them but it would take a little money and I seem to have a lot to do anyway. If I get real restless sometime I may do it but I doubt it. I get pretty well rooted in a place after I have been there for a while.

Imagine burning cornstalks in Jan. That is better than Oregon weather. We are still having good weather here.

I heard from Harry yesterday and he told me too that he had learned a lot and he is pretty well out of the notion of even getting married after the war. He says probably not till he is through Doc school. Maybe it is a sour grape situation. Maybe it is good sense coming through. Probably a little of both. Norma still writes to me once in a while but can’t think of much to say with out talking about Harry and she don’t want to talk about him to me. Soooo---, she don’t say much.

What does Evelyn do, she never writes to me. Bawl her out for me will you. I’ll bet she runs around a lot. That’s good tho, I’d rather do that than write letters.

Guess that’s about all. Warren takes care of the hogs and the old sow that is going to have pigs he named Gwendolyn. I’ve been kidding him about her, he gave her a bath the other day. I’ll bet he’s about the best guy we could have on the Job.

So long


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Double spacing

Dad has a short letter, mostly about something called a squirrel cage that is used in calculating lumber sales or cuts. He ends with saying if it was double spaced he would have more of a letter. I just finished the beginning of a paper for a class I am taking. I am writing it single spaced, so that when I have to finish it it will seem longer when I switch to double spacing. I once attended an orientation for being on a search committee (one that helps to hire new faculty), I was so struck by the leader of the orientation telling us that "perception is more important than reality". That seems to be the world we live in. The perception that the letter or my paper looks long, not the reality of the number of words. In dealing with Tim's bleeding on the brain, we got to a point where reality was far more important than perception. I also think that this is the discipline of nonviolence, 'satyagraha' the search for and force of truth. That if we can come to a point when we actually recognize the truth of a situation of a relationship then we are all transformed, moved up through a worm hole to a new galaxy. The example I think of for this was the lunch counter sit-ins in the south, I think in Memphis when there was an empass and change needed to happen, the high school editor of the high school newspaper asked the Mayor directly 'what do you think?' He responded, 'I think we should integrate'. That opened the door and the business men agreed and the change happened. That simple direct 'I statement' allowed others to see the truth.

January 14, 1944


Dear folks,

There isn’t much to tell in this letter it is so close to the last one, but I like to answer them as they come or I find it hard to do it.

I’ll be sorry that I didn’t double space this one. I forgot to change the typewriter. Do you remember my telling you about a guy from Iowa that used to work with me in the shop? Well, he went to Portland to take a timbercurising job while I was on furlough last May. He has been down here working in the shop yesterday and today on a gaget that he has designed to help compute the price of timber after they get certain figures from the crusing. They had some gagets something like this only they weren’t as handy as the one he has planned. They want four and we are making 2 and then I’ll make the last after he is gone. The gaget is nicknamed “the squirrel cage” it looks something like a long squirl cage. It has a cylinder that has a lot of figures on it and you turn it around till something or other lines up and there is your answer. That’s all I know about it.

There are a few things you mentioned in this last letter that I’m glad to hear, I’ll put them all in this paragraph. That Harry got a job and place to stay and seems to be going to get a better one. A better job I mean or was that what it meant when you said he was going to be transferred to the sausage dept. Also that you got to go down to see Grandma on her 71st birthday. I didn’t realize that she was that old. Also glad that youns are having June Hasley over for a weekend. June is a good kid. We used to write pretty regularly but since she has been teaching I guess she has been to busy, I don’t hear from her as much as I did. There, I guess that takes care of that.

Thanks for the bucks, I bet I use them.

We are still having good weather here, that is it doesn’t rain all the time. The weather is the last thing.

So long

P. S. If I’d doublespaced this you’d have though you were getting a lot more.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In and Out of the worm hole

Dad's post begins 1944 with a lot of work and sharpening of saws. In our time Tim just went through surgery to remove the blood that was pressing on his brain. We had been watching it and thought that he was getting better. Once we got to the hospital we realized that our process had been to make up a story line 'like the blood pool is shrinking' and then to fit his experiences and my observations to the story. This worked until he began to loose function in his right leg and not know that he could not move his right leg. So our friend Don and I got him into the car and to the emergency room. Of course we went to the wrong hospital (I thought it would be the one near the doctors office but it was the other one)This was on a Friday a week ago, they operated that afternoon and he is now doing better and after 5-days is home.
this thought about creating a story line of what you believe and then fitting facts into it made me understand fundamentalist Christians who believe in creationism better. I think often we do this in life, decide what we believe and then see the world in these terms. One needs a kind of crisis to break through the old thinking to a new approach. I wonder if as climate disasters increase if we will begin to change our beliefs and the way we have been living. I feel with our hospital experience that we went through a worm-hole to another galaxy and back. I am looking at life a little differently now, checking out my assumptions and the stories I am making up.

January 10, 1944

Dear family,
This letter is a little behind schedule. I got too busy again. You see I had been taking a little time off in the afternoons to write letters and read a little and then I would come over to the shop in the evening and work if there weren’t too many guys around want to make things. Some one had to watch the shop so I do it. Well, they are starting a new tree planting camp up near Portland ( about 40 miles) and it is 160 miles from here and there are no buildings there. They will have to live in tents. Last summer they made 2 or 3 prefabricated messhalls and they didn’t use one of them but they swiped half of the floor and half of the roof to make a house for the foreman at one of the spike camps so when they wanted this kitchen and messhall they didn’t have enough to make one. Well, Wed. morning they told me they wanted the sections made to complete the building in time to load it Sat. They gave me three green men out the drafting room and the sawfiler to help and so I worked like everything to get it done. We got it done in good shape by Fri. night and I had to spend Sat. morning helping them load it. They caught me with only a couple of sharp hand saws which we dulled making the section for the building so I had to sharpen up some for them to take along with them. They will have to build a shower room and floors for the tents. I seem to be the only guy in camp that can sharpen carpentersaws. The guy that sharpens the big cross cuts is just learning and I’m going to teach him to file had saws too so I won’t have to do it all.
So that’s the reason that I didn’t get your letter answered.
I wonder how Harry si doing? I think it will be the best thing he could do. He will be lonesome at first then he will get aquainted and the effort it will take will take his mind off his troubles a little. He will learn a lot too. I suspect that Charles will enjoy himself if he has to work alone and more steady than when he had to work with Harry and then sit around.

I may write a letter to Harry and stick it in with this to be mailed from there as I don’t know his address. He will appreciate a letter more at first that he will after he gets aquainted.
I have been seeing quite a few shows. We have one in camp every other week. The last one was “The Young In Heart” . Real good I thought. Then they have shows twice a week down town in Elkton now. The last good one I saw there was “Holy Matrimony” I sure liked it. It was funny but not like Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. It was much more refined.

I am just getting over my flu cough now. I never had such a bad one but it would bother me a little in the mornings and I noticed this morning that I didn’t cough nearly as much as usual. I have been trying to get more sleep for the last few weeks to get rid of it and I believe I am. I coughed some when I had the flu but not seriously it hasn’t been bad since but just annoying. I’d advise Mom to get more sleep. That 12:45 doesn’t sound good.
Does Phinney commit himself about pacifism? I have wondered.
It is good that you got the beens raked, they are a mess to plow under.

With love,