Page 2 2/4/1945
But to get back to you personally. Of course I would have liked to have had your departure delayed as long as possible for obvious reasons, and then I would have preferred to have you sent to the European area where the fighting seems to be nearer over than in the Far East, but on the other hand, I can, without much effort, think of some very favorable aspects of the present situation without calling too much on the Rusty imagination formula. In the first place, if it is true you go to Seattle as an embarkation point, you probably thrilled to the novelty of a trip across the broad expanse of the U. S. In a troop train with glimpses during daylight hours of our continent in wintertime – – something which the average tourist seldom witnesses. Perhaps on arrival at Seattle you recalled this as the end of the journey under Guion ownership of the little old Willys, of the starting point for Alaska of Ced, Dan and Dick. This also was the same city that Rusty told about were a girl in a restaurant referred to bixits instead of biscuits. Then you have to look forward to what none of your other widely traveled brothers have ever experienced – – a trip across the Pacific with possibly a stop off in Hawaii. If so, you might have time to look up Arnold who, the last I heard, was working there for the government, possibly in Perl Harbor. Seeing the world at Uncle Sam’s expense will be something literally “to write home about”, which I hope you will, copiously. All my lifelong I have wanted to visit the Orient, and now I can do so by proxy, which is better than not at all. You are young enough and alert minded enough to get both a big kick and some very interesting impressions of this entirely different world then we in the West only know from hearsay and I know you will get out of it enough interesting memories to last a lifetime. I imagine too that your morale has been stepped up. The long uncertainty is past. You are definitely on your way. No more threat in the background that perhaps you would be switched to the infantry as I read in the papers recently some 50,000 boys had been, from the aviation and other branches. Of course, it’s too early yet to say whether you will still be operating with your old gang at Crowder which you like so much, but even here, I will venture to say that this is not an unrelieved evil. These men you know and like so much and they you, will always be pleasant memories and continuing friends, while if I know you, you will, among your new buddies, find congenial souls with whom you will strike up just as warm friendships as among the old. So you will be but widening your circle of friends, and this, from where I sit on the long flight of years, is a mighty good thing. Bernie, in his letter, mentioned the fact that you did a good job of taking care of yourself. I noticed that from two or three little incidents when you were home on your Christmas furlough. You seemed alert, quick reacting and competent, so I’m not going to worry too much about you, although I will be grateful of frequent letters, as you well know. I, on my part, will pledge a continuation of my weekly letter writing, so even if you do not get letters regularly, you will know at least that they are on the way. Meantime, I’m keeping not only the home fires but also the office fires burning until the time you can take over the stoking, and I’ll do my best to keep things running so that you can come back to take over something worthwhile, even though I have to do a solo job like I am at present. We’re managing to get by without disappointing any customers so far, particularly as I find most people are willing to make allowances under present circumstances. Every so often a new customer pops in without of course any solicitation on my part, other than the ads in the phone directory, which leads me to wonder just how far we could go if someone with a friendly approach like yourself devoted only a few hours a week to actively going out after new customers. Financially, we are in the most healthy condition we have been for several years and considerably better than when you were here a year ago. (Maybe you better stay away, eh?) The increase in trade paper service, the low rent, the lack of wage payroll, in view of the fact that I am my own machine operator with occasional night help from George, are responsible for this. To be sure I am still paying myself a ridiculously small salary compared to what a person of my experience and ability, ahem, ought to be getting, but we’re getting by at home, even with the big income tax, due in part to the rent of the cottage, the apartment and the board contributions by the girls and Aunt Betty, although it is true that the house, both interior and exterior, is fast approaching the point where a couple of major operations are indicated. With labor and materials the way they are at present, however, there is little prospect of much being possible, even if funds were available.
Tomorrow, I’ll post the conclusion of this letter with bits and pieces of local and family news. Thursday and Friday will be devoted to another letter from Grandpa, to his correspondents. Saturday and Sunday I’ll post more Special Pictures.