Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A treatise on inflation and its effect on increasing the size of the Gillham family

Today's letter includes a long expository section on the evils of inflation, using the current Japanese situation as an example.  By Martha's "playmate," Maj. Gillham is referring to a possible new child in the household, something he would love but cautions about given the uncertain financial situation.

18 Jan 1946

Two letters from you today -- 8 + 10 Jan.  Mail is coming about as quickly from Atlanta as it did from Calif.  I guess the time from Robles to S.F. about equals the air time from Atlanta to S.F.  I am always so glad to hear from you that I feel like I should sit right down and write you a letter.  Your letters mean more to me here than they ever did before.  I live from one letter to the next.

I think I remember the Tech librarian about whom you sent me the clipping.  She was just one of the hired hands when I was there.  I noticed that Fred Turner was on the board that selected her.  He used to be Gen'l Com'l Mgr. of SBT&T and is now a V.P. and director.

I am glad Monty got off to a good start at school.  I think she and Emily like it there.

I can appreciate your trip to Little Five Points with all the children.  I will never forget my trip to New River with Monty and Margaret.

I am anxious to read Bryant's book.  What is it about?  Tell her that it had better be good, for my editorial work is making me very critical.

I still put a few entries in my diary, but I find that I generally want to say about the same thing that I have written to you.  It is boring to write it all down again, so if you will save the letters it will help to keep a record of this interlude.  I write more freely and with less care in the letters.  The diary is becoming largely a log.

As for a playmate for Martha, I was serious enough.  The only two considerations as far as I am concerned are your health and our finances.  If we are going to be too poor I hate to handicap the other children.  Frankly, I am afraid of a bad inflation in the U.S. before long.  Inflation is a device that governments have repeatedly used throughtout history in order to wipe out a public debt which is too large to handle.  We are in the economic group that will be hardest hit by an inflation.  I can see it all taking place here in Japan now.  The farmer is fairly well off, for he can provide for himself and he gets increasing prices for his produce.  The merchant can keep trading and marking up prices as fast as they rise and he is able to stay a couple of jumps ahead of the dog catcher.  The black market operator gets paper-money rich.  But the formerly well-off salaried worker with nothing but his fixed income is in a bad fix.  All his savings are wiped out in a short time and he is hard put to get enough to eat from day to day.  Formerly, a person here that made from Y75 to Y200 per month was well off.  Those wooden clogs that I sent the children cost Y50 and that is what the Japs have to pay for them, too, yet their salaried workers still have about the same income.  I hope that the U.S. can avoid inflation, but until the danger is over I hesitate to take on more obligations.  Of course, all of our best moves have been taken in the face of apparent disaster and we generally come through.  Anyhow, be thinking it over.  I prefer to do the job personally and not have to send you a test tube, so a final decision will have to wait a while.

Enclosed are a few documents of interest.  Two of them illustrate the great language difficulty.  It is equally hard for us to put a thought into good Japanese.

Glad you finally got the $50.  Think I will use money orders in the future.  You are smart to save so much money.  I want you to get yourself a nice layout in the spring.  If you see a nice loud necktie, get it and save it for me.

I imagine that the holidays slowed the Office of Dependency Benefits down on getting their checks out.  Also, they are having so many discharges now, which makes extra work as they have to be careful to stop them promptly.  I am glad the changed amount is coming through without a hitch.

I think I have the nicest family of anyone I know.  I love you all very much and yet each in a slightly different way.  My family's bosom is the nicest place that I like to be in the middle of which.  Now the Japs have got me doing it.  I had better go to bed.

Lots of love.