Friday, April 23, 2010

Maj. Gillham spends the day trading with Shinto priests

Before we get started today, I want to mention that my mother (Monty) has sent me some photos of the Japanese brass objects she got from her father.  My parents are in the process of moving, so a lot of the brass is packed, but she was able to take a few pictures of items she still has out.  Before you get too involved in today's letter, you may wish to click on the April 19 post in the left column to see the new pictures.  After you're done there, simply click on the April 23 link and you will be returned to this page.  And many thanks to my mother for taking the time and effort to get me these photographs!

Today we hear about Maj. Gillham's day of rest in Nikko and we find out why he's a little tipsy writing this letter.  Frances doesn't write another letter until February 9, so we will be hearing from Maj. Gillham for a few more consecutive days.

Nikko, Japan
2 Feb 1946

My Dear Sweet Darling,

It was just about this time of night a year ago that I got a telephone call telling me Martha had arrived and that you were O.K. Gee, that was a welcome message. She was only eight months old when I left and now she is a year! That makes a big difference in a baby that age. I would certainly like to see her now.

I just went to see a picture show, "Winged Victory," an Air Corps story, but it carried me back to my own training camp days. I guess they have become a part of me now more that I realized. One of the men in the story got the news that he was a daddy while he was overseas. I am glad that I was able to see Martha in, and know her as well as I did before I had to leave. I am now looking forward to my return with great anticipation.

I had hoped to catch up on correspondence while here, but there is so much to do I am not making much headway.

My roommate was a very nice fellow, with a much better than average appreciation of Japanese culture, but there is no bar here and when he ran out of liquor today he went back to Tokyo. Personally, I am enjoying the company of these young fellows. Also, there is a full colonel here that is about my age that is a good egg. He is from West Point.

Today I spent most of the time visiting in the homes of some of the Shinto priests, drinking sake, and trading. I always work on such projects alone, but some of my most interesting experiences are encountered then. I acquired a pretty piece of brocade and an interesting book on the shrines. I also got a set of lacquer sake cups that are used in the marriage ceremony.

Somehow I can't spell at all tonight.

Tomorrow I plan to try skiing once more. I will have to back Monday. The principle thing that I look forward to is that there will probably be some letters from you there on my return.

You were a mighty brave, sweet girl this time last year. You have borne all our children well and been an excellent mother after they arrived. I am very proud of them all, and you, too, my sweet.

Lots of love,



Winged Victory was a 1944 service drama directed by George Cuckor, based on the play by Moss Hart (who was married to Kitty Carlisle). It was a joint effort of Twentieth Century Fox and the U.S. Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force). It had an all-star cast, including Jeanne Craine, Edmond O'Brien, Judy Holliday, Lee J. Cobb, Red Buttons and George Reeves (later TV's Superman).

Maj. Gillham admits to having bad luck spelling this time out, and he is right. I corrected the spelling, as I said I would throughout this blog, but in the course of this letter he misspelled lacquer, marriage, ceremony, principle and borne. He did manage to get brocade right, however. He always said that when he drank, his Japanese was much better, but apparently all that sake he had on this day didn't help his spelling much. To be fair, this is the most misspellings I have encountered in a single letter of his so far.

1 comment:

Martha Waskey said...

I sempathyse with his mispeling.