This is the next portion of a 5-page letter from Grandpa to his 4 sons away from home. Lad has been discharged from the Army and is home in Trumbull with Marian.
And from Ced, bless his heart, comes the following under date of August 23rd. “Last week I wrote up the missing link of the Farwell trip, included with this letter. Next week I’ll try to get off a new chapter in the adventures of the three invincible, or should I say, “three men on a cat”. Since you have been so patient in waiting I shall try to finish the balance soon. Now, the last letter you sent mentioned a great many planes down in Georgia and I have mailed the R. F. C. a request for information on these ships. In the meantime, I learned that the new planes will be out very soon and so I am looking into that angle also. I have made tentative arrangements to go on a 50-50 basis in buying the plane with Leonard and Marion Hopkins. They’re the people who have the clothing and sporting goods store in Anchorage at which I got those clothes just before going home two years ago. They are both ski club members and I think you have pictures of them in that ski club rally set of pictures. Marion was the head of the membership committee who stood behind the desk. They have given me absolutely free rein in getting the plane but I think they rather favor a new one. The new Aeronca will sell for approximately $1800 f.o.b. Ohio. They will be available around the first of Sept., and just how soon after that I could get my name on the waiting list is problematical. The Aeronca is the most likely choice at present. The Hopkins are extremely generous people, and I have no qualms about going in with them on this deal. Fact is, Leonard really bends over a little backwards on this deal, although I suppose he figures that a mechanic is a good one to tie in with, just for the purpose of maintenance. At any time either of us want, we can either buy or sell to the other, whichever is most agreeable. The upkeep will be jointly carried with my biggest share of being in the labor while his will be capital. Felis, the radio operator at Woodley’s, is co-dealer with another local man for the Anchorage Aeronca Agency, and he could probably get me some extra considerations. I am still waiting to hear from the R. F. C. before taking any definite action. In any case, I hope to get out fairly soon to pick something up and fly it back to Alaska. Don’t be surprised if I dropped in on you at the office one of these days.
Enjoyed the dual blow-by-blow account of the Guion nuptials and hope I can soon meet both the major parties. I have now three wedding gifts to present after the family’s return to a home somewhere. Incidentally, I am looking forward to seeing Marian again – – our meeting was so brief and under such turbulent circumstances, with she and Al about to take off for California when the clutch was repaired on the Buick and I hastily grabbed the proverbial last rail on the observation car as I beat a hasty retreat from Texarkana in my whirlwind scamper across thecountry.
Think what all this war will mean in experiences as we look back. All the hardships and headaches and for much too many, heartaches. I feel especially privileged in looking back and realizing that to the best of my knowledge, there have been no members of our immediate family, relatives or close friends who have had to undergo the real hardship which has been the misfortune of so many. We are indeed a lucky family as we not only came out virtually unscathed but acquired two fine additions to the family (and Jean) in the persons of Marian and Paulette.
On top of that I get a half reduction in my January rent due to the bet with Chuck Morgan, and that I took the side that the war with Japan would be over by the first of the year. It certainly is wonderful to realize that the war is apparently finished, if only we can avoid anymore. I presume the celebrations were as hilarious back there as here, perhaps more so, as we only celebrated the cessation of hostilities, while for you poor ration plagued individuals, it speeded the unshackling of so many of the restrictions with which you have been forced to put up. Well it looks as if it’s all over now and I look for a lot happier and more prosperous period for a while at least. In Anchorage, the horns, sirens, whistles and bells all sounded out the glad tidings and, the streets were alive with people it brought to mind Dan’s description of the celebration in Holland, even to the rain which pattered down steadily all night long which, just as in the case of Dan’s invention, failed to dampen in the slightest the glowing spirits which prevailed.
The report is that there were 10,000 gallons of liquor consumed on that first night on 4th Ave. in Anchorage! What headaches there must have been the next morning. The police were out, as were the M.P.’s, but the order was to apprehend no one unless the violations were severe. Of course there were lots of arrests – – a bunch of soldiers and civilians stormed the South Seas Club and walked out with half the furniture from the place, damages running to about of thousand dollars over the days gross receipts. There were many fights but most of it was just good friendly fun. Servicemen appeared in bright neckties, suit jackets, army pants, sailor hats or any other outlandish mixture which came their way. One M.P. accosted Bob Barnett while he was en route to the house here and said: “Hey soldier, unbutton your collar.” That was typical of the type of feeling which prevailed. Officers insignia were a dime a dozen and there must’ve been lots of fraternizing between enlisted men and their officers, judging from the number of privates who blossomed out major and Col. clusters. There was a two day holiday to go along with the celebration, although it, of course, didn’t affect me. We worked right along just as we would any other day.
For Dan’s benefit, Harold Rheard, with whom he used to work and ride to work and who is now Anchorage’s City Engineer, ran in to me at one of the bars (no, I wasn’t there to drink) and yanked a handkerchief out of my jacket pocket and threw it to a soldier and shouted, “Here, soldier, here’s a civilian handkerchief for you.” The handkerchief was one of those nice ones which Aunt Elsie gave me when I was leaving to come back up here a year ago last February, but under the circumstances I willingly let it go.
One of the more bawdy incidents of which I only heard was the case where a girl in an upper window of the Anchorage Hotel did a striptease, throwing her clothes out of the window one at a time while she stood in full view and the crowd cheered her on. I questioned the fellow telling the story as to how far she got and he said, “All the way”.
Woodley’s is in an extreme state of flux again, the shop men are fighting among themselves, all telling their troubles to me. There is a new man who is going to take over the operations, leaving Art free to run the Washington D. C. end of the business, and to make new financial contacts – – I think he has tied up with Mr. Boeing of Boeing Aircraft and United Airlines in some way or other – – and other executive duties. The Anchorage-Seattle run is still not out of the frying pan but rumor has it that we are going to get two new DC-3’s (C – 47 Army designation) in 4 to 6 weeks anyway. We started the Kodiak run last week and it looks as though it would be a good one. I am still flying when I can – – put in an hour and a half today. Love to Marian and Aunt Betty. CED
I share the doubt that is evidently in the back of your mind as to the advisability of joint ownership. There are so many unforeseen circumstances that might occur, conditions change, people apparently change and what looks favorable today may tomorrow become a headache. I don’t mean to be pessimistic and in your case, everything may work out, but my observation and experience teach me that a situation of this sort has potentialities for unpleasant development. So, if you can swing it, is better to be all on your own. One thing about this plane business to my mind is of paramount importance and that is no economy should be practiced at the expense of safety. Guard against “familiarity breeding contempt” lest your knowledge of airplane mechanics lure you into taking a chance that a less confident person would avoid. “There speaks the cautious father”, I hear you say. All right, I’ll admit it but who has a better right. After all, I’ve only one Ced, and you’re it.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting the final sections of this very long letter with a note from Doug Chandler and other local news.
On Saturday and Sunday, more of the life of Mary E Wilson, an English girl who arrived in 1925 as a young teenager. She is in her early 20’s and experiencing life.