Sunday, January 22, 2012


In this weeks letter Dad talks about happiness and what he would want out of life. It interesting to read something like this after his death and see that it is close to how he lived. Not poor and not rich, he use to say 'there's always enough' and there was. He wanted to live somewhere beautiful and Colorado sure fit that bill. He wanted to help people think and he often encouraged thinking before acting. Thinking things all the way through. He worked creatively and he found a wonderful wife. Here in 2012 I have completed one of my retirement goals which was to get on Facebook. It's kind of fun to connect with people I have not been as connected with. I am getting a bit more motivated to get some work done around the house and also in the yard, maybe spend less time socializing.

June 30, 1944

Fri. 6: 10 A. M. Dear Folks, Well, another week has rolled around. Time sure does get along. I reckon that by now some of that 2 inch corn is catching up with the knee high. There is always something happening around here, I don’t always know what you’d be interested in. I’ll just dash off some of the major events. About a week ago Anna James, a woman about your age mom, from Berkley Calif. came to stay awhile to act as hostess. You see we don’t have a woman in camp at all. Three gals from Salem have been visiting camp this week too and the wolves are really howling. It is good for us to have women around as we brush up on our table manners and talk better. Anna James have been doing mending for us. This week I have been working for CPS on equipment for this year’s canning, they have had a furlo and they wanted to get the stuff ready so that they could start canning on some cherries Monday. Some more work has come along for me to do so I suspect I will be here for a while. I don’t know whether I’m glad or not. The main camp has some advantages but I could use a change. I know that I won’t find any other work that I like better than building map filing cabinets for the office but I’d like a change for a while. I got into another responsible job for the summer. Fire crew foreman. I walk up and down the line and see that every guy is doing the job right. It’s a thankless job, when the guys are tired they don’t want to be told to do something different. We elected tow men to head up the firefighting organization. One we called the crew leader the other crew foreman. The Leader is responsible for everything that happens from the time that we leave camp till we get back, getting the equipment loaded and the men on and out of camp in record time. Then when we get there he is responsible for the men very much as the camp director is here in camp. We put Bob Cook in for that. Another Iowa guy. I feel rather honored at getting this job but I realize that I will either make or break me. It will sure be good experience in handeling men. The co-op hasn’t developed much lately. Several of the fellows have been on furlo. I have been doing a bit of thinking about what I want out of life and what I want to give and how I want to do it. I sure liked your discussion on this stuff Dad. I want to hear more of your ideas on the subject. There was a time when I though there were some lines of work that a man could make a easy living in but I don’t know now. It seems to me that a person might exist but I wonder if he would really be living. I joted down a sketchy outline one day when I was thinking about this. I figured to write up what I think about this and I’ll send youns a copy What do I want out of life. A. Happiness, How to get it? 1. Helping others a. helping others start thinking b. “ “ get along with people c. “ “ make an easier living. 2. A wife pretty blank here. 3. Satisfying activity a. creative work b. Reasonable amount of luxury c. Stimulating people d. Pleasing surroundings I’m not interested in poverty because there are a lot of poor people, neither am I interested in getting rich. I don’t know about this rainy day business. I’d be interested in any thoughts from any of you guys. Yours Bernard P.S. That Senator Coffee sure points(?) it out, don’t he. Attached: The Reporter, June 1, 1944, Vol. II No. 23

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Salt and Light and the IRS

I just returned from what FWCC has named a 'salt and light' event in Silver City. For me it seemed to be a weekend that focused on discernment and leadings. This is very timely for me as I am looking at options in life. This is the week that I would have gone back to work, back to teaching at the college. Classes will begin on Thursday. I have not even wanted to think about goals, yet for this week my goal is to write a letter to send to my senators about my IRS situation. I have been writing this letter in my head for a couple of weeks, so I think it is time to put it onto paper. Tim and I have been exercising but my urge is to lay around and eat and read. I picked up a new mystery book and also a bio of Bayard Rustin at the library. Then at the salt and light event I picked up an old paperback book $1.95 was the original price on the story of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, written in 1972. It is interesting and begins in the 1930's. Dad's letter seems to focus on giving advice to his Dad, something I tried not to do. I do remember when we three girls got Dad to switch from wearing suspenders to wearing a belt, I'm glad he did not switch for long. He had his own mind and style and as he says in this letter he enjoyed life. I do too. It was enjoyable to walk the labyrinth at St. Mary's Spiritual Center this weekend. It was interesting to see that I had changed and could see more clearly the route of the maze on Sunday morning than I did Friday afternoon.

June 23, 1944

6/23/44 Dear family, Got your letter yesterday and am dashing off an answer the next morning which is fri. So dad sort of figures that he got ruped on his hogs. It would be interssting to know whether he did or not, I wouldn’t be supprised if he did. Of course we will never know. I wonder what sort of thought process goes on in a guys mind when he takes advantage of a person when he has a chance. I suppose people get sort of callosed and pass it off and call it good business. I doubt if it is really good in the long run tho. Say Mom, did you ever hear of Ruth Sukow? She is a novelist I don’t remember reading anything by her. She has been visiting some of the western camps. She offered to chriticise any literary efforts of the CPS men. She is a pacifist. Her husband teaches at Cedar Falls. She gave two talks here one about poems writen during this war. She read several good poems written by soldiers and COs. Then last night she gave a talk on words and people. I don’t know as I was awfully impressed by what she had to say. I had a feeling that she really had something on the ball, so to speak, but that talking wasn’t her medium. I imagine she gets her points across much better when she can say it through a story. How’s farming by now? I certainly hope it has slowed up raining a little. The weather sure has done you wrong this year. So you think you stuck your neck out. I hadn’t thought of it like that al all. I figured that you could handle it on an average year. Everyone is working longer and harder now and they expect farmers to too. I don’t know as I like the idea but If you didn’t have so much to farm there would be a much greater chance of one of the boys getting caught in the draft. Incidently I think CPS would be good for both of them. Sure you took a chance, but you thought the stakes were worth it. You’ll still come out ahead. You may decide that it was a bad gamble but that comes under the head of worrying about what is over and done with. You are right, it is good not to get yourself into situations that it may be hard to get out of. I always admired the way Evelyn Lindquist handled things like that when people were always asking her to play or do something or come visit with them she was very careful not to take on more than she had time for, yet she was one of the busiest people I have known and the best like. I still think the stakes were worth it on your farming deal. Say, this has been an awfully serious letter. But I’m an awfully serious guy. Sometimes I wonder if that is good. I seem to enjoy life like everything so I guess my seriousness isn’t bothering me too much. What do you think? I could use a letter from some of the kids. I’m expecting to hear from Harry and Evelyn and It wouldn’t hurt Charles to grind me out one. I’d like it. I intend to write Eileen some of these days. She wrote one to me that I havn’t answered yet. I’ll be durned!! Myrt is really going to get married. I think that is good. I’ll bet they will be happier than the dickens. Warren hasn’t said anything about it yet maybe I can spring a little gossip on him that he hasn’t heard. O boy! Yours with love and stuff Bernard

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012. Another year. Dad's beginning to plan for the end of the war and his co-op ideas at the camp were interesting: "we decided that it would be good for each one to figure out as nearly as possible exactly what he wanted to get out of life and what he wanted to do to get it. Then to figure out what he thought he could do and get by pretty well. We are trying to be practical. I suspect that we are inclined to be a little idealistic. We thought that there was a difference between what a guy wanted to do and what he would be willing to do and what he could be happy doing. We thought if we could discover this we would have a pretty sound bassis to work from to plan the character of out co-op. What do you think?" I think that they hit the nail right on the head. Our local occupy group has been struggling and I wonder if they have had these discussions. The advantage that those in CPS had was that they were forced to work and live together on a daily basis and so built up a level of trust and ability to communicate, which is different from the Occupy group where people can choose to show up or not. I have had a good week, not too eventful. We did some cleaning and also went to the exercise place and I gave Tim a week off of cooking and cleaning and I am glad that is over. My hat is off to all homemakers who never get a break. We went up to the hot pools in T or C which was nice and the lunch out at the vegetarian restaurant was enjoyable as well. As this year begins I am aware of being retired and not thinking in terms of the school year but of the calendar year, I also am thinking of truly having a sabbath day, where I do not grade papers or plan classes on Sunday afternoons.

June 17, 1944

6/17/44 Dear Folks, How’s tricks? Is it still wet in Iowa? I’ll bet it is discouraging to try to farm with that kind of weather. I don’t blame him. Of course there is nothing he or anyone can do about it. How’s your eye Mom? I’m glad that the girls are reading to you some. I don’t know what I would do if I was in your shoes. My feet would probably hurt too. (lousy joke isn’t it) More people are getting married! More people are having kids! Makes me feel a little old. You too, huh, parents. Not much cooking that is especially interesting. I’m keeping very bussy these days as usual. I don’t know whether I’ll be in the wood-shop all summer or not. I have only about 2 or 3 weeks of work lined up now but some more will probably turn up. I’d about as soon have it peter out as it looks awful nice out in the sunshine. I’d sort of like to go to a side-camp for a few months. I’m thinking some about transferring to Treton N. D. next fall some time. I don’t know that I will I know about 6 guys that are there from Penn and one of the very good guys is transferring there from here next week. It would be a little closer to home too. I’d like to hang around here for a while till out Coop pland are more mature. Also I’m still learning a lot that I think will prove useful. I might brag a little. I have been clerk of the camp meeting this month. I’m a little proud fo so responsible a position. We appoint one man each Month to be recording clerk and then the next month he is clerk. Well I was recording clerk the month before I went home so they grabbed me this time. I have sort of enjoyed it. Another honor that I received was to be elected to the personel committee. There were three chosen by the main camp out of about 35. What we do is help fill out and get responsible people to fill out personel evaluation sheets for each man in camp so that when they apply for Detached Service or jobs in camp these records can be referred to to see what kind of person a guy is in the estimation of 5 or 6 of his fellow campers. These sheets pretty nearly put a persons personality on paper. They are much better than any system they have had so far. It is just a little bit cloudy so far here. Maybe it will rain. We don’t mind, it keeps the fire season away farther. Nearly all of the fellows that are thinking searously about some sort of Co-op. adventure got together last Sat. night and we decided that it would be good for each one to figure out as nearly as possible exactly what he wanted to get out of life and what he wanted to do to get it. Then to figure out what he thought he could do and get by pretty well. We are trying to be practical. I suspect that we are inclined to be a little idealistic. We thought that there was a difference between what a guy wanted to do and what he would be willing to do and what he could be happy doing. We thought if we could discover this we would have a pretty sound bassis to work from to plan the character of out co-op. What do you think? I guess I’ll sign off and eat breakfast. Yours Bernard Hey Harry! What was that you said about me making you a little case to carry your skates in? If you want me to I’ll make you and estimate if you’ll send me the dimensions. The materials won’t cost much but it will cost something to send it to you. I’ll probably have some stuff that I want to send home tho so it will come in handy. What do you say? How’s the ‘loving’ brother? B. A. Attached: American Friends Service Committee- Personnel Evaluation Form with note: This is one of the ----- sheets we give out.