Saturday, February 13, 2010

Remembrances of La Jolla, California

This is one of two letters sent by Maj. Gillham to General Delivery for Frances and the girls to pick up on their trip back east.  There is no telling when they actually received the letters, but since we have the letters now it is clear that they did receive them.  This letter was sent to La Jolla, CA, where the Gillhams first lived in California in 1941-42.  The second letter was sent to El Paso, TX, where Maj. Gillham spent summers during his youth with relatives.

6 Dec 1945

Dearest Darling,

So you are in La Jolla!!  Now, isn't that nice, and don't I wish I was with you!  How does it seem to be back there?  I will always remember our two years there as among the best.  I'll bet Emily and Monty are thrilled.  Does it seem like they thought it would?  Does Martha approve?

I can remember every foot of ground around La Jolla and Camp Callan.  I don't think there was a passable path within ten miles that I didn't walk (or climb) over many times.  That is really the way to learn to know and love a piece of country.  My biggest objection to my life here now, besides your absence, is that it is too soft and easy.  I am afraid I will get fat.  I only eat fruit and coffee for breakfast, and I walk to work as often as possible, but that isn't like a good old 15 mile hike up and down the bluffs.

Ask Emily and Monty if they remember that Sunday morning in the spring of 1941 that I took them up on the Scripps grade.  It was the day I took that cute picture of Monty, but it had a stalk of grass across her face.  Do you remember?  I told them that day that they would never see a more beautiful scene or a more perfect day.  I wonder if they remember it or if they were too young.

Be sure and send the Adams and the Mabeys, and Tripps, cards while you are there.

I know you will enjoy your visit in La Jolla.  Give any of our friends that you see my regards.  I hope you have a good trip the rest of the way.  Do be careful; and don't drive on when you get too tired.  That is when accidents happen.  Stop early and then get off early the next day if you must make time.

Remember all the way that I am right beside you in spirit and that I love you very much and am hoping to be beside you in person before too long.

Call at the P.O. again in El Paso.

Bon Voyage,



Camp Callan was a rather short-lived Coast Artillery Corps post that was built in 1940 and dismantled in 1946, at war's end.  It was a replacement training center which processed a total of 15,000 new inductees during the war.  Capt. Gillham was stationed here from 1941-43 after his officer training in Ft. Monroe, VA. 

Capt. Gillham after a march with his troops through the hills,
Camp Callan, 1941.

The picture of Monty with the stalk of grass across her face,
which Maj. Gillham mentions in the letter above

Monty and Emily Gillham in Capt. Gillham's jeep,
Camp Callan, 1941

Maj. Gillham standing proudly in front of his jeep,
Camp Callan, 1941

Emily and Monty at their daddy's office in Camp Callan, 1941

Undated postcard showing anti-aircraft artillery at Camp Callan.

While Capt. Gillham was stationed at Camp Callan, the family lived in La Jolla, first in a house on Torrey Pines Road.  In 1942 they moved to a house on Virginia Way, not far from scenic Scripps Park.

Frances Gillham on the patio at the house on Virginia Way, 1943

Capt. Gillham, in full cowboy outfit, on the patio of the house
on Virginia Way, with rubber tree, 1943.