Sunday, January 31, 2010

Still more reaction to hometown news and gossip

Apologies again for sending a late post, this time after a two day break.  My parents are visiting, which is great fun, just very hectic.  My mother and I have been going over the Japan memorabilia given to me by her sister Emily on Wednesday.

A quick aside:  My mother's college roommate at FSU (and soon-to-be follower of this blog) has a son exactly my age, Ed, who has had a life-long fascination with all things Japanese.  When I visited them yesterday, Ed lent me a pile of books, most of which dealt with the Japanese language.  So now I am teaching myself a bit about Japanese, with the main goal of figuring out how it works rather than becoming fluent.

This next letter is the second one written after the deluge of letters from the homefront, so again the topics are mainly personal and newsy. 

27 Nov 1945

Dearest Darling,

I love you!  How is that for getting down to the point?  It is the most important thing in my life and I am always conscious of it.  You are my guiding light and the source of hope for me.

Your letter containing one from cousin Ruth and Lev and mailed 19 Nov was received today.  That is the quickest one has come to me.  The news about mother depressed me as it always does.  It can't go on forever, but the thing that is so depressing is that it seems to go on and on and there is no hope for improvement -- only the end.  If this problem doesn't solve itself by the time I get out of the army, I don't know what to do.  It will be hard enough for us to adjust ourselves to a reduced income, without additional problems.  In spite of every effort we might make, she is getting nothing out of life now.

It has rained all day here today.  I am on duty at the office tonight until 9PM.  However, I expect to get an extra day off this week to make up for missing it the first week I was here.  The officers in this section, including the two RA full colonels in charge, seem to be very considerate and high class men.  I only wish I fit into the work better.  However, this is not my career and my time will be up soon regardless of what I do or don't do.  I am thankful that I have a good billet (much better than most here) and a pleasant place to work.

Did my V-Mail letters ever reach you?  I mailed two to the children on the ship and two or three since then.  Some officers in my shipment are having trouble with their mail both ways, but at least the majority of ours seems to be going through fine.  One officer's wife assigns a serial number to all her letters and in that way he can tell if he has missed one.  If you just keep the back account straight, I won't ask you to do that.  I find that these typewriter second sheets make fine air mail stationery.  I can buy the stamped envelopes at APO 500, which is located on the first floor of this building.  I believe that APO 500 is a good address because much of the high brass in this theater recieve their own mail through it and they see to it that it clicks.

When I enclose a request for a package, it doesn't mean I want the items mentioned in the request, unless I so state in the body of my letter.  I just send the request so you will have it in case you want to send something.  Last time I mentioned books because they are heavy.  Speaking of books, last night I made a good haul.  I was in the lobby when they brought in a load of "pocket books," magazines, funny books, etc.  They were free for the taking.  I got an Omnibook, Pitcairn's Island, a Webster's dictionary, and several periodicals.

We have a PX in the hotel which sells crackers, cookies, candy bars, chewing gum, peanuts, fruit juice, Newsweek, Time, N.Y. Times, News Review, toothpaste, soap and Kotex.  The only thing I need that I haven't been able to get is Barbasol.  I think they will have some before long.

I don't know what the score will be on bringing families over, but imagine it will be for RA and those who sign up for a certain period, with preference given to those who have been away from the US longest.  The problem of housing may retard such a plan in this area.  However, if it can be worked, I am certainly all for it.  I have wished for you many times.

Martha is certainly getting to be a big eater.  In the picture you sent I was interested in the way she was all dressed in her Sunday best with her hair brushed, etc.

I am glad you live where you know so many nice people.  I hope you enjoyed the trip to Santa Cruz.  Is Downs Atwood still planning to go to La Jolla?  Are you going to drive by there?  I hate to think of you making that long trip with no help.  Can't you get someone to go with you?  I know you have a car full as it is.

So you are running around the circle at 1 AM singing to the moon!  I though we got rid of that element when the summer crowd left!

I don't know where to say to get the projector repaired.  Keep the pieces!  It is a mechanical job that any good machinist should be able to fix, but I don't know a place in Monterey.  Be sure to take some pictures from time to time so I will have a record of what you did while I was away.

If you hear of anyone that we know that is over here, send me their mailing address -- I may be able to get in touch with them.

My darling, don't you get downhearted!  The best way to prevent it for you is not to get too tired.  So take it easy.  I hope you have a nice trip and pleasant family reunion at Christmas.  When will Dan finish at Harvard?

Lots of love,



Here are some photos of the family in Robles del Rio, CA:

Monty in front of the Gillham's home in Robles del Rio, CA, 1945
In the driveway is the blue 1940 Ford they drove east in.

Emily holding baby Martha in the yard at Robles del Rio, CA, 1945.

Frances and baby Martha, Robles del Rio, CA, 1945

The acronym RA stands for Regular Army which was a general designation for those that volunteered for service and made the military their career.  This is in contrast to draftees, most of whom were on their way home at this point.  Maj. Gillham, who had a career already at Southern Bell, joined before the general draft but was not making the army his career.