Tuesday, January 1, 2013

October 1, 1944


Dear home folks,

   My letter is a little late this week due to several rather injoyable happenings and interesting ones too. To begin with. last Wed. they needed some more men to pick prunes that they could find without taking someone off a regular job so they asked me if I had any scrupples against picking on project time and the money going to the Gov’t. I couldn’t think of any so I went prune picking. I would have rather worked in the shop but some one had to pick the prunes. I enjoyed thi work for a change. I don’t get as much exercise as I like in here anyway. Well, that is just the beginning. About a half hour before quitting time a fellow from the camp came over to the farm weree we were working and told us that we had a fire call from Calif. and that they were sending a bus down from Eugene to take us. We didn’t mind leaving the prunes. That was Wed. Well, off we went to the fire in a Greyhound bus. We rode from about 7:00 pm to 2:00 am. The place where the fire was about 20 miles or so across the Calif line. About 12 miles from the coast. It is in the Syskiyou National forest, so it was a federal deal. That is they paid for the food and the trip.

   Better start a new paragraph on general principals. When we got there we found 48 men from a CPS camp about 150 miles north of here that had arrived a few minites before us. We all went out to where the fire was an went to bed in sleeping bags that they furnished us. The country was so rough and bushy that we had to literally push the brush aside to find a place to sleep. We got about 4 hours of sleep that night and went out the next morning to build fire trail around the fire. We later found out that it was a 1500 acre fire and that there were 100 other men on the other end of it beside over 100 CPS men on our end. There were 28 of us and about 8:00 am Thur. another bus load of CPS men arrived from another CPS camp about 250 miles from us. They didn’t care about the expense, they were going to get that fire out and fast. The reason they called so many men was that it had started Tue. Afternoon and on Wed it had increases abiut 1000 acres and they didn’t know what it would do next. But luckly the winds changed Wed. might and slowed it down to a walk and the humidity went up a lot so it was a very nice fire to fight. By thurs. night we had all the fire surrounded but ½ mile and it looked so good that they sent us back on Fri. The country was quite steep and there weren’t many roads so all the trail around tha fire had to be made by hand were on other fires they have been about to get a buldosier in to help speed things up a lot. Another thing was that we had to hike 2 miles before we got to were we started work.

   Well, we came back Fri. and as an added attraction the bus we had had a breakdown in Roseburg, about 50 miles from camp and we had to fool around there till they got another bus for us. That made it take us a full day to get back. We got Sat. off to catch up on our sleep and general recuperation. Another guy and I took a notion to hitch hike up to Eugene Sat. afternoon to sort of forget camp for a while and on the way thought of droping in on the Austenrieth family as they had insisted on us doing so at any opertunity. So we did. This fellow, you may have heard me mention him, Bud Beede went to school with Tek and Emily at Barnesville so he knew them and had been wanting to renew his aquaintance. We had a very enjoyable time. Came back by the air ways this afternoon and got into camp in time to eat supper. I feel much more at home with then than with any other of the nice people we have met out here. I guess it is because they are farm people and so genuine.

   Well, I have to pick prunes tomorrow and probably will all week as they need more men. I think this week will finish it up tho.

   I hope that everyone is feeling well and happy. How is toots? She getting her zip back?

   This would be a good letter to wish Dad a happy birthday in. Happy birthday Dad!

               With love