Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A letter from brother-in-law Dan Holsenbeck

Martha Gillham Waskey (who was a year-old baby when her father wrote these letters) recently found a letter that Frances' brother, Dan Holsenbeck, had written to Maj. Gillham in Japan.  It was written in December of 1945 and seems to have arrived before the end of the year.  Maj. Gillham makes mention of it in his letter of Decemeber 31:

Dan seems very pleased with his prospects (both family and job).  I am glad they are not wasting any time getting a family started.

Indeed, in this letter Dan talks about his new job, new wife and expected baby, who turned out to be Penn Holsenbeck.  Dan mentions the baby is expected in early May, but Penn wasn't born until June 11.  We also get to hear a little bit more about the family's cross-country trip and the Christmas gathering awaiting them at 992 Washita.  Here is the entire letter:

December 15, 1945
Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Bill,

My three months here will be up in about 4 more days. It certainly has gone fast and I really don’t know how much I have learned but I do think it has been beneficial.  I have never run across a group of men that were more likeable than the men here.

The other night I wrote Frances and told her that I was delighted to hear that you had gone to the Orient.  I can honestly say that I wouldn’t give anything for my Navy experience and I know you must feel the same way about your trip to Japan.  You are doing something that you will always remember and to me it is just like an adventure.  However I realize fully that sometimes you will get a little bit fed up with it (as we all do) but on the other hand after it is all over you will never regret it.

Frances wrote me about her plans in regards to coming to Atlanta and today I believe is the day that they will leave California, or is today the day that Father leaves Atlanta ?

My plans are to leave here on the 19th of the month and to go to Kingsport where I will stay until the 26th.  After that Nancy & I are going to Atlanta where we will stay until around the 1st of January.  I am supposed to start back to work on Jan. 2nd. If Frances has not told you my work will consist of doing sales service work for the company.  I don’t know exactly what the details of my first few weeks work will consist of but I am sure that it will be necessary to go through some re-orientation program.

Speaking of being in Atlanta, we surely wished that both you and Carl could be there.  All three of the Holsenbeck children will be there but I will be the only one to bring an in-law.  Mother has said that she could make arrangements for all of us and the children.  In regards to that I only recently wrote Frances and told her that Mother was better at figuring beds than I was.

Has Frances written you in regards to the expected addition to the family along about the first of May?  Well of course that is the big event in my life at present.  Nancy fortunately is doing fine now after a couple of bad weeks at the beginning.

In Boston we have already had three heavy snows this winter.  I don’t have a map handy but believe you are just about the same latitude.  Have you had any heavy weather or is it rather mild in Tokyo?

Before closing I want to tell you about our Labor class here.  We take it with 15 Labor Union men who have been sent here to take a special labor course.  These labor unions are getting smart and I don’t think that things are too bad on a long range view point if the unions start sending their men here because it at least will make them more responsible and they will have an idea what they are really working for.  You can imagine what sparks must sometimes fly through in class, however the labor group as a whole are not a bad bunch of fellows.

Best of luck to you,