Trumbull, Conn., September 3, 1944
Dear “Offspring of a Small Explosion”:
Well, why not? That’s the definition of “pop”, isn’t it, and anyway there is justification in the term due to the fact that I have just been sneezing away at accelerated tempo by reason of the fact I have been wandering through fields and brush for the last hour on a child hunt. Sometime late this morning Skipper and Susan disappeared and not having shown up by 2 PM, their mother scoured the immediate vicinity by car and “mother calls”, which proving ineffectual, the neighbors gradually joined in the search, still to no avail. Finally Kit decided to call the police, and being just a big Boy Scout at heart, I decided to brave the naughty pollen and put in my little two cents worth of searching. I chose for my particular territory Reynolds sandpit and thence both sides of the stream and neighboring woodland from there down as far as Levy’s. After an hour the pollen definitely won and here I am jabbing downwards between teardrops with an occasional sneeze for punctuation. However it was a vicarious sacrifice on my part for I learned after returning home that a few minutes after I had left, the two children came nonchalantly strolling in, having been spending the time in a study of animal life watching the horse in Reynold’s barn. If Sue grows up to be a second Rosa Bonheur I shall feel reconciled to the price.
You will be cussing me, I suppose for a bothersome hair shirt, but here goes for another whack at the desirability of knowing where you want to go so that you can set an intelligent course for your goal – – this time it is an editorial from the Bridgeport Post: “It is characteristic of youth to live for the moment, grabbing the fleeting hours with little thought of the morrow. But the theory that life is brief at best and that it is up to the liver to have the best time he can while he may, is not a fancy confined to youth. Among the world’s most dismal failures are those whose schooling, skill, mental power and discipline of will were all invested for a short life and a gay one (My friend, Roger comes to mind). Therefore, one of the best tests of maturity is the capacity of looking far ahead and of realizing that “the road passes on through the long afternoon and stretches away in the night”. Paradoxically, shortsighted people discover that life is not short, but long, much too long. For the day’s work they have insufficient training, capital or experience. For the fullest enjoyment of the sunset of the years they have insufficient health and nerve – force. So, in life planning, as in other issues, the longest way ‘round is often the shortest way home.”
Personally, I think this view is a bit too austere, but I do sincerely believe that while we can and should snatch enjoyment from life as we go along, there is nothing to prevent us at the same time knowing where we are headed for and having our fun while traveling this particular road. Dan, for instance, seems to have the capacity of getting a great kick out of whatever he is doing, as witnessed the last V-mail letter which has just arrived from “somewhere in France”. And by the way, note his new address. Co. A. 660th Engr. Topo. Bn., Hq. Communications Zone (Forward European Theatre of Operations) APO 887 C/o PM, New York, N. Y. He writes: “Observe our new address! Terse, eh? Mail service is abominable these days, but the war makes up for it. I am finding less and less leisure time as you no doubt are well aware. I am constantly exposed to what I consider to be the greatest enjoyment of life, i.e., the observance of (and participation in) exotic customs, habits, sites and languages. However heretic it might seem, I am almost disappointed to realize that the war is nearly over! It is amazing how quickly one can lose contact with the past. I have no idea what goes on in the U.S. — the latest songs — movies, politics, business trends — even London seems distant now. The other day I was talking to a couple of WACS. I was shocked and disappointed in the way they talked. After becoming accustomed to the English girls the American girls seem vulgar – loud. I realize those WACS were average Americans but I cannot help feeling that those of us who have been in Europe for a year or so will find America a bit difficult at first — and wonderful, too.”
(Query – am I to give thought to the possibility of having an English, or possibly French, daughter-in-law?)
Carl was over here just before dinner time and he read Dan’s letter. His experience with the English girls is at variance with Dan’s. His months leave is up tomorrow and he now goes down for another assignment – – where or on what kind of ship is of course unknown. He told me of meeting a Capt. John Trunk in Cartagena, Colombia, S.A., which he thought Ced might be interested in hearing about. It seems the captain is associated with a branch of Socony-Vacuum known as the Andean National Corporation and is a flying instructor. Carl went out with him to the airport and looked over their 12-seater seaplane.
Both sides of the APG branch have been heard from, and when you realize that Marion wrote en route, from Kansas, and Lad from a place where he says “perspiration is running off me as I write worse than it did in South America, and that is H O T”, it really means they made a big effort to keep us posted, and by the same token it is very much appreciated. Lad’s trip was attended by a hot box on his train, causing a couple of hours delay until they could transfer to another car. They were en route from Monday to Thursday. After diligent search, Lad finally located a place in Jackson which is about 19 miles south of his camp at Flora. Lad hopes his stay will not last more than five or six weeks as the combination of humidity and hot sun makes it extremely uncomfortable. He also speaks of receiving an absentee ballot from Helen Plumb, which I asked be done in the case of each of you (except infant Dave). He’ll love that infant part. Naturally, I haven’t heard from him, and incidentally Marian, if you had been able to stop at his camp you would not have found him as he was out on a hike.
Marian says the trip as far is Wakeeny, Kansas, from which she wrote, was accomplished without more than the necessity at the start of having to have a couple of small part replacements. There is someone with her because she says “we”, but I don’t know whether one or two are along beside herself. “We have been through some beautiful country. The Salt Lake desert was very hot and dry but the past two days have been cool and comfortable. In fact this morning we were downright cold. We were going through the Rockies and at one time were at an elevation of 11,315 feet.
Your insurance, Ced and Lad, is due this month and I shall, of course, take care of the premium as usual.
And that’s about all, except that Aunt Betty and Jean send their best, being wafted on to you on a couple of sneezes from
Incidentally, according to the radio, today is the 1000 day of the war.
For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a four-page letter from Grandpa to his sons and daughter-in-law, as they deal with the vagaries of the war effort.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting Special Pictures.