Saturday, April 17, 2010

Frances wrangles with several household issues

I apologize for the delay in posting.  I was at a Braves game last night that went until midnight and then caught some stomach upset this morning, so I'm just getting around to the letters now.

In this letter Frances lays the groundwork for the letter that the two had planned in order to convince the Army to let Maj. Gillham talk to Frances on the phone.  The idea was for Frances to come up with a crisis (or two) at home that couldn't possibly be solved without immediately advice from her husband and then to put same in a letter.  The crisis she has picked seems to be a real one, dealing with the harridan that bought the house they were using in Robles del Rio.

Jan. 29, 1946

Dearest, My Angel,

It is so nice to receive letters from you when you are on top of the hump.  They are delightful and full of encouragement.  I like all of your letters, but especially the last ones I received.

Aren't you an angel -- I just adore the kimono and now the stockings.  Really, it is more fun to received so many nice, interesting packages.  It is Christmas, birthdays, bank holidays all spread out thru the weeks and you know I just love every one of the things you send.

Martha's box was most interesting.  We call the little tiger Black Sambo's Tiger.  What was the little girl's name where you visited -- the little 5 yr old?  We'll name the doll after her.  The cap fits nicely and the box itself is interesting.

I have shown the laundry notice and other papers to several people.  They all enjoy them very much, but somehow I feel that they can't really appreciate them thoroughly until they have really studied Japanese.

I called Mr. Bolen, editor of the telephone news, and told him that you had a change of address.  He said that he had just received yours in the mail but was glad to verify it.  He said that he'd just received a letter from Lt. Col. Jacobs.  How about sending him a copy of the laundry notice for the magazine?

Mr. Weisiger called and said that Dr. Willis Sutton was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo Feb 13.  Look him up, for he is most interesting -- but then you already know him.

The lady who bought Donald's house sent me a nasty letter -- registered -- and demanded that I pay her about forty dollars for lack of notice, cleaning, garbage and water bills.  She threatened to send the letter to your C.O. if I didn't pay.  I went out to Ft. McPherson to see the Judge Advocate about it.  The garbage was three boxes of old clothes and stuff that I couldn't burn or bury.  I forgot to ask Carol to attend to it for me, so the woman had to.  She wanted me to pay a $15 cleaning charge, a $3.90 water bill and a month's extra rent.  I agreed to pay nine days additional rent to make up the two weeks notice, the garbage and water.  I wrote her and told her that if she'd send me a statement agreeing to that, I'd send her a check in receipt of statement.

In my next letter I will tell you all about this and ask you what in the world to do.  I am trying to think up some more things, too, because I think it would be wonderful to talk to you, my angel.

Monty received her letter and handkerchief.  She was delighted with it.  She will write to you soon.

Tonight I made out the tax bill, sent checks for it and checks to Ruth, Elizabeth and Cousin Herbert for their share of the cotton money.  The bank finally sent me check blanks yesterday.  That is why I am just doing it.  My commission was $60.85.  I sent it to Charlottesville.

On the trip over, I had to draw out about two hundred dollars there to pay Father, Grandmother's rent and travelers checks to go to Memphis.  I still have the checks.  I thought I'd just keep them and take the trip as soon as I can.  I have paid it back now and am some ahead.

I still have some in Monterey.  As soon as I get a statement, I will draw it out and put it in Charlottesville.

I know I make many mistakes, but I certainly am trying to learn fast so it won't cost you too much money!

Today I received a government bill of lading from the Presidio stating that my stuff was shipped from there Jan. 23.

There is only one condition that I shall most definitely insist upon if Martha has a playmate and that is that I must derive some pleasure from it myself!  This test tube business!  It's not worth the trouble if I can't have some fun, too!

Emily was asking me about an arithmetic problem tonight.  She said, "If 6 people could eat a pound loaf of bread in one day and a half --" but before she could finish her question, Monty chirped up and said, "But Daddy could eat it all by himself in one day!"

All my love,


P.S. I sent two rolls of film and another lock today.


The tiger reference is from an 1899 children's book called "Little Black Sambo" written by the Scottish author Helen Bannerman.  The book is based on an old Madras, India, tale of a small boy who is confronted by tigers who threated to eat him unless he gives them his fancy clothes and belongings.  However, the boy wins his clothes back as the jealous tigers chase each other around the tree until they are reduced to a puddle of melted butter.  The book was later banned because the name Sambo had become a pejorative term for black Americans and the original illustrations were perceived as racially insensitive.  However, there have appeared several race-neutral versions of the tale recently, and, interestingly, the story is extremely popular in Japan.

Frontispiece from an early U.S. version of the book