Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maj. Gillham makes his last ski run in Nikko

In today's letter Maj. Gillham makes his last ski run before he heads home to Tokyo the next day.  He claims this will be his final ski run ever, and I am not sure if that became a reality or not.  For the rest of his life he lived in only Atlanta and New Orleans, two cities not especially known for snow skiing.  The only skiing I ever remember him being involved in was water skiing at Lake Lanier, but he was always driving the boat for the rest of us.

Nikko, Japan
3 Feb 1946

Today I wound up my skiing career.  I don't know when I will ever be able to do that again.  On my last run, I came in with flying colors, making a nice long run under good control and with no mishaps.  I thereupon slid over to the lodge, kicked off my skis as though it were an everyday performance and retired from the sport.

Every time I have been up, the conditions have been different.  Today, the snow was deep and dry.  The ridges and open hills had been swept by a wind and were very fast, but there were many treacherous soft, deep drifts that would throw you if you didn't watch out.  Both my ski trooper friend and a professional Japanese ski instructor were working on me today.  Since I could speak some Japanese, the Jap instructor was greatly relieved to work on me, and I picked up some good points.  The area was beautiful, with the fresh, deep drifts.  When we returned to the hotel, there was a whole bevy of news reporters here that took our pictures and got our names and home towns.  I don't know what will come of it, but I gave Atlanta as my home town this time.

There is an ice carnival in a few minutes, then a moving picture, followed by a dance.  I don't know if I can make it all or not.  Tomorrow I return to Tokyo and am looking forward to getting a little rest -- to recover from this "rest camp."  Really, I feel just fine.  Getting physically tired out was the thing that I needed most.

Tell Emily and Monty that I passed a little Japanese school way back up in the mountains where all the children came to school on skis.  It is the only way they can get there.  Isikawa told me that all through school, Japanese children spend at least half of their school hours just learning to read and write.  I can well believe it.

My darling, I think of you at every turn.  I could enjoy this much more if I had you to share it with me.  It seems like we have already been separated a very long time.  I hope it won't seem like too much longer until we can get together again.

I love you, my sweet.  You are the focal point of everything I live for.

Much love,


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