Sunday, November 27, 2011


It's fun to post these two cards from Dad's spring furlough at the end of the week that we did our Thanksgiving trip. This is a rare break in his weekly writing and then of course we don't get to hear anything about his trip back home. So it is about a 3 to 4 week break. Later at the end of 1945 he keeps a small journal, having both the letters and the journal at that time helps to fill in some of the blanks. So Dad does these train trips across the country, and one thing I noticed he said was that there were only two meals offered on the train, so he stopped and got some bread. We traveled overnight from El Paso to Houston on the Amtrak train, leaving on Monday and getting into Houston about 4 hours late around 9 am I think. We had a sleeper, called a roomette, very small, but they do make up the beds so we can lay down and there is a bathroom on the same level as we are sleeping on. We found out the week before that we could order special vegan meals ahead of time, so we did. When we got on we asked about them and the kitchen crew said they didn't have them, then by dinner time they had found the meals. One was pasta and one was a bean chili, both had been frozen. Coming back I just did the regular meals since I could have a vegie burger for lunch, Tim got a kind of mystery meal, trusting that it was indeed vegan. Most folks on the train, they do community seating at meals, were friendly about our eating vegan. At one meal everyone at the table had vegie burgers, the times they are a changing. I really enjoy the train rides, and find I am quite content to sit and stare out the window as long as we are moving along. Stopping and waiting for freight trains gets a bit old. I'm off to bed and one more full week of working.

May 27, 1944

Eugene, Ore. Sat. 1:30 P.M. Dear Home folks, I got as far as Eugene as you can see by [the] address. I am at the apt. of one Tom Jones and wife. He is a camper at Elkton and I happened to discover him about the middle of yesterday (Fri.) forenoon. We had several chats and then we got on the train at Portland and came right down to Eugene together. We got in at Port. at 7:45 and the train for Eugene left at 8:00 only it was 8:15 before we got away. I figure to hitchhike to camp. I should make it in good time. I planned on taking the bus from Port to Drain but it didn’t go for a couple of hours and I wouldn’t have made it to Drain till 5:00 P. M. and I figured I’d do better this way as I had to hitchhike to from Drain anyway. About Tom Jones. He went to Philladilphia a couple of weeks ago to attend an executive committee meeting of the A.F.S.C. They let representatives for the camps go to some of the meetings on Gov’t time. They are carried on the records as Detached Service. There is a meeting every month and we can send a man to any of them that we feel is important enough if we don’t get too extravagant I guess. I didn’t know Tom had gone or have any idea that I would see anyone I know when I went up to the next car to get a drink. It was quite a supprise to see the back of a head that looked familiar. He was just as supprised as I was. We first got into Eugene a few minutes ago and I cleaned up a bit then I’m going to take a city bus out to the edge of town and get my thumb out. I can’t think of much to say so don’t look for another communakay from me till next week. I might write when I get back to camp if the spirit moves me but I doubt it. Love, Bernard

May 26, 1944

Somewhere in Idaho 10:30 Fri. Morning Dear folks, Had no trouble at all finding a seat. I went clear to the last car and it was a pretty good one. I havn’t been in the dinner yet. There is only one for a long train and they only serve 2 meals. My lunch is about gone so I’ll get off at Pocatello Idaho and get some bread and not go near the dinner. I got aquainted with a nice soldier who is going home on furlough he lives about 80 miles S. of Portland. We’ll get in Port tomorrow (Sat.) at 7:30? The train has been about an hour and half late for a long train. I’ll get back to camp by Sat nite. Bernard

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trains and ThanksGiving and Retirement

I have been busy with teaching, committees and life and have not gotten a chance to write for awhile. In these two short letters Dad is getting ready to go home for a break in the spring of 1944. Here in 2011 it is our Thanksgiving break, we will be taking the train tomorrow morning for Houston, TX and will be spending Thanks Giving with Jenny and Chris. This Friday I survived the surprise retirement party at the Community College, it was quite touching to be with some colleagues I have worked with for 24 years, been to weddings, showers, quinceaneras, funerals of parents and other faculty members together. It is a blessing to have known and grown with these friends and in this job. I have gone through different moods in terms of retiring, I see it as a change of focus not an end to working, at times I am nervous and at times excited and sometimes nostalgic. Meanwhile in our lives some friends are dying, and other friends are dealing with extreme illnesses of loved ones. Tim is occupied with occupy and I have heard some possible good news on the IRS frivolous filing issue. I have a new person to contact and will see how it goes. I have not heard from them for awhile. I enjoy the contrast between Dad's journey half way across the country for about $80 and our trip which will cost $800 round trip for a much shorter journey, along the length of the Rio Grande.

April 21, 1944

S. #59 etc. 4/21 Dear home folks, Practically nothing to say. It is so close to the time that I ‘ll be leaving for home that I guess I don’t have anything that can’t wait. I don’t suppose I’ll write again before I get there. I was interested in the clipping. I knew from Warren when Gene and Dorothy got married but Warren hasn’t been in camp here for about three weeks. So I don’t get all the news so soon. I’d kind of like to see Bob Judd. I wonder if he has changed much. So you’ve got the papering done. That’ll be something different not doing any papering in the spring. I don’t remember I guess I didn’t do any last year. Nine calves now, that’s a nice bunch, I suspect there are more by now. It’ll be good to see some calves again, I hardly ever see anything but sheep out here. I guess I just don’t get where they are, they do raise calves. I don’t mind the work being behind. In fact I sort of like to work hard. If there is a good reason for it. This is a lousy letter. I might mention a darn good speaker we had here a few days this week. His name was William Orvil Mendenhal. He had been Pres. Of Whittier College but when the army moved in he moved out. He visited around camp and then on Wed. night he gave a talk. He sort of told his philosophy of life and it was really something. He said he was a Math thecher and liked formulas for things so he went to looking through the Bible to find out what the greatest Christian that ever lived used to live by. He came across the place where some guy asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. You know what Jesus told him. “Love the Lord thy God with all they heart all thy mind and all thy soul. And there is another like unto this, Love thy neighbor as thy neighbor as thy self. On these two hang all the law and the Prophets.” He said he thought these things over and dicided that he would do the best he could to do them. But he wasn’t quite sure about the first one cause he couldn’t find an awfully lot about God and he was a little inclined to think that men had created him in their own image. He noticed that there was a time when all men wore beards that God seemed to be a definite person with a beard and sitting on a throne then in later years God has come to mean something different than that to many people. So he wasn’t sure what he was loving with all his heart. But he thought that he could really work on that second commandment. So he got to putting himself in other people’s palce and trying to understand them and why they did what they did and he’s sixty years or so old now and still doing it. He was one of the most remarkable men of his age I ever met. He was egar to hear new ideas and he kept saying that he didn’t know all the answers in fact very few of them. He would just test a new a new idea or though against his formula and see how it came out. Very interesting. Yours Bernard P.S. You can look for me in Boon at 6:33 A. M. May 3rd.

April 15, 1944

4/15/44 Dear Folkses, This aint going to be much of a letter. I have been busier than the dickens this week and this is the first letter I have writ since last Fri. I do have a lot to say but it wouldn’t pay to try to tell it in a letter. It would take to long and I can tell it much better when I get home. I did get a round trip ticket but I can’t make my reservation till 30 days before I want to travel so I won’t be able to make the one for the return trip till the first of May and It would be just as well to wait and apply for it from that end. They got the ticket for me the other day and I think that it cost something like $80.96. They may have made me pay for a ticket all the way to Chicago. I don’t know. The guy that got it has bought gobs of tickets for the fellows so I know he did the best for me. I do get off at Boon that is only 15 miles further, just a little more tractor gas. And it sure will beat riding those lousy slow jobs that I did the other time. Our weather hasn’t been quite so good as it was a sort of spring rain season for a couple of weeks it has been raining some almost every day. Well, I want to dash off a couple of lines of bull for Harry and get this out in the afternoon mail or it will be stuck till Mon. Yours, Bernard P.S. I got the Draft. I think I included it in the one I wrote Mar. 31. B.A.