You boys are no more disgusted about union demands than many of us here at home. I have talked to many men in unions who feel the same way about it themselves. Individually, they seem to have no choice if a strike is called. It seems to me a comparatively few men at the top are responsible, and as usual, the far larger, unorganized, white collar or middleman class suffers the consequences. It’s too long a subject for me to discuss here, but I think it’s a crying shame and I am afraid we are mixing ourselves a dose of bitter medicine unless some strong leader steps up and reverses the present trend. As for you
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personally, and the gripping and lowered morale, etc., I know it is awfully easy for the other fellow to sit back and philosophize as long as it doesn’t happen to him, that’s one of the opportunities that come to one when he can join the ranks of the knickers and begin to feel sorry for himself, which, like worry, doesn’t do anyone any good, or he can “turn the cloud inside out to see the silver lining” and refuse to see the gloomy side and try to find out the good things about the situation — so that, for instance, in after years, he will not have to say to himself, “Here I was all set to get the most out of the situation and instead I was so close to the forest I couldn’t see the trees”. Remember Kipling’s poem about “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, etc.”. Just one viewpoint. You say you are getting concerned because the longer the high pointers are delayed in getting home the later you will be. Isn’t it apt to work the other way? There is already a big stink over here about this very thing of the public and radio commentators are getting thoroughly aroused. Even a strike was threatened on stopping work on every ship except those sent to the Pacific and European Theatres to bring boys home, so that they would have to devote them all to that purpose. Now if this tide that is backing up, gets strong enough, when it does burst out it is liable to go to the other extreme and those who wouldn’t otherwise rate a prompt homecoming would be swept in with the flood. Pendulum’s, you know, have a tendency to swing too far, and there is evidence of a strong public sentiment developing. Thanks for the island views, your ideas are so good I hope you will write some more.
Now back to Dan, for something I forgot to mention. You asked me to see what I can do in Washington. Before I can present the matter convincingly, I have to have a much cleaner-cut, concise statement of facts to present than my present knowledge permits, and I would suggest you make this statement in a letter to me which I in turn can turn over to someone in Washington in an effort to get whatever you want, which a civilian in the U.S., writing to the war dept. about a son in France, (status not clear as explained above) would command much attention. I will of course be glad to try with all my energy, if you will supply the ammunition.
Just a few local items before I toddle off to my little trundle bed. Aunt Betty went down to the dentist with Jean last week and had four teeth taken out at one sitting. Next day she was back on the job, washing dishes, etc.
Well at last it happened — after many years of faithful service — more than I know — the old furnace has gone kaput. Last Sunday Lad and I started to drain air out of the radiators — our annual rite — when noticing the pressure was unusually low, we let more water in the system. There was a “pop” and water sprayed out of the back of the furnace. Monday a plumber came to look it over, said it was useless to try to repair it, that he had a used boiler of a modern make (two-years old) which would more than do the job, that new ones were not yet on the market and that he could put it in and connected up with the auto-stoker so I could use the 10 tons of coal in the bids, so I told him to go ahead. Luckily the weather has been mild. They expect to finish tomorrow, so here’s hoping. The bill is yet to come. Here’s hoping twice. Anyhow, you can keep warm when you come home. Here’s hoping three times. And that’s about all the hope I’ve got left tonight.
Tomorrow and Sunday, more Special Pictures. On Monday I’ll begin posting letters written in 1942