R-117 Trumbull, Conn., Feb. 22, 1941
To the several members
Trumbull Expeditionary Force
Today, as you will observe, is Birthington’s Washday. It is Saturday and my office has taken a holiday to show the right “I am an American” spirit. The habitues that still frequent the old haunts erstwhile yclept “Babbling Brook”, have been busy all day engaged in such menial tasks as dusting, cleaning silver, washing floors, sweeping, etc., in order to get the house in proper condition for the expected visit tomorrow of some old friends named the Burnham’s in the person of father Rufus, mother Louise and sons David and Bradford, who plan to partake of a Guion Sunday dinner. After dinner the two old cronies will get together for a heart-to-heart business talk in which Guion will attempt to inform Burnham what the possibilities are for the latter to start a letter shop business in Florida. This schedule, as you can readily appreciate, will completely warp the standard Sunday afternoon schedule, which, come flood or high water, is invariably devoted to foreign correspondence, hence, looking forward to such a contingency I am taking time by the “fetlock” and writing Saturday evening instead. So much by way of explanation.
Ced gets the Legion of Honor medal this week. His letter score is 200%. My old Danny boy also came across, but Lad missed the bus entirely. Ced’s letter started on January 31st, completed on the 3rd and post marked the 5th, received here the 17th, starts with a spirited defense against my occasional flings at delay in receipt of letters from you boys. I am forced to the conclusion that a large part of the trouble is attributable to the poor mail service particularly on the Alaska end. As you know, even when laid up in bed as has happened on a couple of instances in the past, I religiously make it a point to write to you Sunday afternoon. These letters are just as certainly mailed Monday morning and if you don’t get your weekly letter regularly, it means either that I am completely non-compus mentis or the mail service is on the bum. It is because I cannot count on such exact regularity that I am not always sure the mail is at fault when more than a week passes without word from you. I do hope the airmail service will soon be improved because it ought not to take more than two weeks en route for an airmail letter.
And that brings me to the matter of the news regarding the car purchase. In Ced’s letter of February 7th (received here 2/20) he mentions receiving a letter from Arnold mentioning trying out a Buick. That is the Buick I bought. I closed the deal the day following the trial run referred to Jan. 29th, and the Sunday following, Feb. 2nd, I wrote you a full account of the transaction. Either Arnold wrote within a day of the time we tried out the car or my letter to you was delayed in transit. However I hope you now know the worst. I was quite pleased to get Ced’s letter a couple of weeks ago after I had bought the Buick saying he would place first on the list a 1937 Buick. Ced speaks about a canvas cover. I went to Sears Roebuck and looked up samples of the various weight of canvas on the many different types they list, and finally decided on one that seems to be a good deal tougher than the cheap ones but not so heavy as the most expensive ones. I finally picked one that will set you back about $20 delivered. I also bought at Bridgeport Chain Factory a set of their best grade heavy-duty de luxe tire chains, getting the employees price of $4.20 for the pair. Of course Carl will grease the car thoroughly before Dick starts but I doubt if that will do much good in protecting the car on board the boat as it will have run over 3000 miles in the meantime. I will tell Dick to be sure to have it greased in Seattle before he delivers it the Berger pier. Dick has already sold the Packard to Arlton Monsanto and doubts that he can now come back at him and remove some of the parts. Your new Buick already has a factory installed heater switch. Arnold, according to Carl, took a week’s vacation after leaving his old job and before going to the new, and has gone to Maine. Carl says Arnold has definitely decided not to come to Alaska now. Being away, Dick has not been able to talk to Arnold about a Briggs clarifier, but I will have Carl put it in.
By the way, Mr. Whitney, Don and Myron’s father, is quite seriously ill with an ulcer of the stomach. He had a severe hemorrhage the other day at home and lost a lot of blood. He is flat on his back now and when he recovers his strength sufficiently will have an x-ray taken to see if an operation is necessary.
Ced’s second letter, received this week, brings up the question of registration and suggests wiring information to Rose Walsh. I did not do so because I figured that if you had not already gotten my report on the purchase of the Buick giving you all the needed information for license purposes, and had already obtained the forwarded plates, it would be too late to count on getting them here before Dick starts. March 3rd, the scheduled starting day, is now so close that I am a bit concerned as to whether the Alaskan plates will arrive in time. He has to get renewal plates by March 1st and I am waiting until the last day to see what the mail brings in the way of plates from Alaska. With your’s and Dan’s last remittance of $50 each for the car, there will be some excess after paying for chains, cover, Prestone, etc., but not enough to count much as far as Arnold’s needs are concerned. Anyway, as related above, Carl says he is not intending to go.
And by the way, when you boys have money orders drawn, will you please make them payable to me at Bridgeport and not in Trumbull, as I have to wait three and four days for Eleanor Kurtz to accumulate the necessary funds before she can cash the money orders. This has happened on several occasions. When drawn on Bridgeport I don’t even need to go to the post office to get the cash but can deposit them like a check in my bank. Thanks Ced for the $25 which I assume is your regular payment home in addition to the $50 for the car. If I am wrong in this please let me know.
I enjoyed reading the clippings in yours and Dan’s letters and would like to see a photo of you with the beard! My God, you must be a sight.
The new airmail service will be good but how many years do you think it will be before the million dollars appropriated to establish fueling stations at Regina, Edmonton, Grand Prairie and Whitehorse, will result in actual starting off airmail service?
Aunt Elsie writes they are having serious financial difficulties and may have to go into some sort of receivership and perhaps bankruptcy. Will know more later.
I’ll finish out the week with a rather long letter, first a note to Lad and then one to Dan and Ced, all written on March 2, 1941.
In honor of Christmas, there will not be a post tomorrow, From my family to yours, may this holiday season bring you joy, peace and happiness.