But to get back to your letter: “Now I shall take you for a tour to a few spots in Manila. I’ll start with St. Augustine’s Church. It is probably the best preserved structure of any in all of Intramuras. Almost every other building is without any sort of roof – – just the walls. It stood through five earthquakes. All of the other churches in Intramuras were destroyed by one of the five. It also survived the English invasion of Luzon in 1762. Either way, the structure was started in 1599 and completed in 1606. I talked to a Spanish woman in front of the church one night and she said they lived inside the church for six days. When the Americans approached, the Japs lined up the women and children in the court in front of the church, the Japs standing behind them. This was supposed to have protected them from Jap (American?) bullets. She showed me where she was standing. She said they didn’t dare move for fear the Japs would shoot them. They stood for three hours, she beside a dead body which she said smelled badly. When we tell the people here we were in Okinawa, they seem to be very interested because the fight was so rough up there, but I didn’t see one-eighth of what these people did of war and suffering. Almost all of the families have lost at least one member – – some, three out of five. Today I went down to the seawall south of the city. Some beautiful homes along the shore, some burned but most still in fairly good condition. Passed the Manila Hotel. Saw a schooner out in the bay. Got a big kick out of the surf and salt air.
Now coming to Dave’s letter received this week (dated Oct. 8th) from Manila, he mentions how slow they seem to be in sending boys home, even one with as high as 81 points. He asks if things at the office have improved any. Can you get help? Are orders increasing? What of the chances of getting new machinery?
Now, of course I could take up the rest of the evening and my available supply of paper answering in detail all of these questions but then I would not have a chance to tell you the interesting news about Dan, and the disappointment that goes along with it. However, will try to hit a few of the high spots on the business angle.
No, things at the office are just about the same as they have been for the past few years – – enough to keep me busy going all day with usually jobs left over for the following day. When I have more than I can handle myself or that the young fellow named George, who comes in two or three nights a week can handle, I farm it out, some to New York, some to Miss Platt, some to my printer. I do this rather than turn down the customer, sending him elsewhere, and while there is little profit in this farmed-out business, it forms a backlog for the future when we can take care of it ourselves.
Just one example. Wheeler Wire, yesterday sent in an order for 20,000 carton labels. These we used to turn out on the multi-graph and number them, keeping all the profit in the office. Now I turn them over to the printer and instead of making a good portion of the $5 per 1000 charged, we have to be satisfied with $1 per 1000. When an order for several thousand addressograph plates to be cut comes in, at a cost of $4.95 per 100, I send the list to the Mailers Service in New York who embossed the plates only, returning to us where we put them into frames, make out the card insert plates in frames, etc., and thus retain about half the profit that we would otherwise make, but, keep the customer. Of course every now and then we lose a customer, they install their own machines, change type of business, go out of business, change personnel, etc., but we seem to get enough new customers so that there is still all one man can do to run things alone without getting swamped and worried and harassed and on the other hand, not too little so that he always has something that needs to be done.
Tomorrow, another section of this letter. By Friday, I will have posted the entire letter.