April 11, 1943
Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight)
AND, of course, Jean:
Spring draws on apace, I suppose, but from the temperature here __________ during the week, one would never suspect It. You lucky ones in Southern California and sunny Florida have escaped one week of the blustery, raw March weather, bad enough to keep the furnace going full tilt, bringing the oil stove downstairs to bolster up heat in the kitchen. Aunt Betty has been taking her hot-water bag to bed with her every night. Today when I came down, although the sun was out bright, the thermometer registered below freezing, as I timidly peaked out the kitchen window (remember where you hung it, Ced?)
However, I had foreordained that this should be Start-The-Garbage-Clean-Up Day, and to that end, had brought up from the office yesterday, 8 or 10 cartons of paper and pasteboard scrap that has been accumulating for six months and which I have vainly endeavored, time after time with dealers and Salvation Army alike, to take off my hands. As Dave had to go down to the office to turn out a rush multi-graph job he did not have time to do yesterday, I soloed on the garbage. First I got out the A. P. Guion blower patent with a few adaptations by A. Sr., and started in.
The wind blew gustily and strong, but unfortunately in the wrong direction, so that all smoke, dust, sparks, etc., came right back” in de fuhrer’s face”. I cried impartially from nose and eyes, but manfully stuck to the job. “I am the task force”, says I to myself. I can’t let my boys down on the fighting front, so amid imaginary shot and shell, I went doggedly on and to position after position, “according to plan”.
Mess Call intervened, and clad in my fatigue uniform, I sat down for a few moments relaxation. In the midst of it all, Paul came bursting in to inform me that evidently some enemy sparks had penetrated the front lines and were making a blitz on flank and rear, so armed with brooms, rakes, etc., Red (Sirene), Paul (Warden, the tenant in the apartment), Charlie Hall and myself went to it, subdued every enemy outpost in short order and restored the lines.
Alas, however, all my stores of fuel, piled on the lawn in what seemed a safe distance from the fire, had all caught fire. A shovel, which I had laid across the top of one box to keep the papers from blowing around the yard, had its entire handle consumed, a bowl of water which I had thoughtfully set by for emergencies, between two of the cartons, was broken by the heat and the wires to operate the blower had been completely burned in half. However, the engineer contingent went to work and repaired the wires and then, bravely tossing masses of flaming paper on the fire with a pitchfork, we succeeded in finishing the day successfully, if bloodshot eyes, a headache and lame muscles merit that term.
Tomorrow, I’ll continue with the rest of this letter,including a request from Grandma Peabody. During the rest of the week, a post a letter from Lad, one from Grandpa and another from Lad.