Friends – Dear Ced – Walrus Hunting With Rusty – September 2, 1944

This is another letter from Rusty to Ced,  mailed in Barrow while Rusty was staying there.

Rusty - envelope to Ced - 3 letters

Sept. 2, 1944

Dear Ced,

Winter came yesterday with strong N.W. wind and snow. Ice, which had left, formed up to shore again. USN freighter Spica with part of ship’s company at oil base is at PT Lay. Skdaddled  in time to duck crushing ice. First freighter of season which everyone is waiting for left Nome two weeks after we did. It comes from Seattle with years supply of grub and fuel (1400 tons) for Barrow. Got as far as Wainwright and had to go back to PT Lay. Most unusual summer here since  Charly Barrow ever remember.

Last Sat boys got three walrus and one 12 foot polar bear. By Sunday they went out and got seven more walruses. Sorry I missed both hunts. If ice drifts north they will go out soon for whale. Have been promised two hunts and to fire whale gun. Natives will have plenty to eat, if whale is brought in, for the winter.

Sending you some ivory buttons for woman’s coat – one knife and mukluks and blanket. Paid sick boy at Nome $15 to carve latter for me. It is not very good work. Got it to help poor kid out. He was in bad way and don’t think he will pull through.

Morry Danford said he was not much of a salesman. Sent him a few things to sell as a tryout. Said he would turn them over to you if he could not dispose of them. Bought them when they were salable through Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was this work of natives I was going to get for you, however, when you sent money I went back only to find they had shut down on selling them – all went to Juneau after that for prices to be upped down there. Get them from Morry first chance you have and keep them for yourself or do what you wish with them. The two seals should be kept together, old man that made them would not sell them unless they were kept together ________ ________________.

Am picking up a basket or two for you soon – whalebone baskets, only place where they are made is here.

How did bracelet turnout or have you not received it yet? Asked to have walrus head joining piece made solid without head out away from ivory as Alec Melik has been making. Let’s hear when you receive it.

Did you also receive your pictures – Kodachrome? Your letter in mail first chance I get.

Bye now or cheerio!

As the “Rawshian” men of the mighty Soviet Union have taken Romanian airfields there is no necessity for drive through Dardanelles – hence turning point of war has already come, however, not as I expected. Should have figured on Russian ability to get there first, for not doing so I lose the bet.

Yours till Moscow falls, and best to everyone.

Rusty

Here’s a different link to learn more about Rusty Heurlin, a family friend for all of his adult years.

http://www.alaskannature.com/Rusty_Heurlin.htm

Here’s another link to see some of his work.

http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/search/collection/cdmg3/searchterm/Rusty/field/all/mode/any/conn/and/cosuppress/

Tomorrow and Friday, two letters from Marian to the family in Trumbull letting them know what is going on with the Lad Guions.

Judy Guion 

Friends – Dear Ced – No Food For Barrow – September 6th, 7th or 8th – 1944

Rusty Huerlin in Alaska

Barrow, Alaska

Sept. 6th 7th or 8th

Dear Ced,

Tomorrow is Sunday – nobody works or hunts – most all go to church but I.  Everybody here in sad mood but don’t show it.  Captains of freighters could have come here in past 3 days.  Turned about at Wainwright for Seattle with wire “Cannot make Barrow this year – Sorry”.  Whole village will feel the food shortage – Second time it has happened in history of Barrow.  This is only food ship to Barrow with food for season – a years supply for everybody.  Hospital has food to last for 2 weeks.  Medical supplies also on board this freighter the  WIPPIO. (https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/sh-civil/civsh-w/w-elcajn.htm )

All joined sending telegrams to Governor Gruening (Ernest Gruening, 7th Governor of the Alaskan Territory) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Gruening ) yesterday to bring what pressure he can for boats return to Barrow.  It is now en route the Seattle having arrived at PT Hope.  Last year it unloaded here on Sept. 15th.  Because of the old fraidy-cats impatience to wait a week, 500 people will go very hungry for one year.  Food may be flown in but not enough.  A chance still that Captain may be forced to return – if not news of his incompetence and thoughtlessness will be flashed all over America.  He had one month to unload here, all the while he loitered at Kotzebue.  This will be felt from here to Damnation Point but what the hell does Steamship Company or Captain care.  I am just too mad to think.  Minister said Damn! yesterday which gave me opening to call Captain a selfish Son of a Bitch.

Played Battleship with Minister tonight.  Have been beating him at game since he started.  He laughed and giggled all over when I missed.  When I got close, too close, he got deathly quiet and rigid as iceberg.  Would start peppering around spot when he got in such a state and sink his boats and have 7 shots left.  Then he wondered why to which I told him I had a system.  I let 2 men watching our game in on it and they have been keeping it mum and have enjoyed watching him squirm when salvos got close.  But then he developed a system – a real good system – stayed awake last night thinking it out.  It was not bad and I watched him play one game against his wife tonight when he beat her with it.  He laid out his first shots in this pattern.

But next game he had was with me and by the time he worked inside of his triangle of shots he was cut down in ships and I had still 7 shots left when he had one shot left.  Knowing he would work same system on me I laid out my ships this way.  He triangled each ship and only got one hit.  After rushing over to see where in hell I had them laid out his ___ ____ ____ _____ and I then received the first complement a minister ever gave me.  He said, “You are as slippery as an eel in slime”.  But it was fair, said his wife, then to him, “Old smarty, you crowed to quick that time.”

People are really swell here Ced – happiest village I have ever lived in.  Took natives out today for third time to sight in ATG  rifles.  They are getting along fine but need lots of practice with rifle unfamiliar to them.

Be sure to examine the container I am sending you.  It has ivory inside it so do not throw it out the window.  That may be your first impulse after receiving it – a unique little container, apparently of no intrinsic value.  Allow me the few opportunities I have these days to play a prank now and then.  So, as I delve in skulduggery at long range be on the lookout for said surprise package from out here.  Be of good cheer my lad and go with God as it comes with or to you with the devil may care. — Rusty

Tomorrow I will post the third letter to Ced from Rusty. On Thursday and Friday, two short nots from Marian to the Trumbull Crew.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Ced – Rusty and the PBY – August ??, 1944

This envelope contained three letters, the first written in August, 1944, and the second on September 2nd and the third on September 6th, 7th or 8th.  This is the first letter. 

 

Rusty - Letter to Ced - PBY adventure - Aug, 1944

 

Close-up of sketch at the top of the letter

Barrow, Alaska

August   ?

Dear Ced,

How is the old junk dealer. Sure thought about you yesterday and you would have been in your 7th heaven had you been in my gang yesterday.

Barrow as you know is some 12 miles from sand spit known as Pt. Barrow. The point is low, about 2 feet above water and runs out to a shape like  (drawing in the middle of the letter)  so man’s feet can stand in marks as described, but then the sand is running into the water.

A visual and the history of the PBY – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMJw8845P1o

About 2 miles east of said point a narrow spit ends and a lagoon begins. It was in this lagoon where PBY flyers anchored said plane at western edge and went for a walk to oil drilling quarters (tents) between Pt. B and Barrow. Next day they returned to find plane wrecked by storm and on eastern tip of spit inside lagoon. It was wrecked beyond repair, $25,000 shot to hell.

With permission to get some wire from it for picture hangings a bunch of boys found me offering transportation to the plane. We took with us wrecking bars, hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches (Stilson etc.) two axes and three hacksaws. It was a fine day for pirating and the sea smooth as glass. It was close to shore on way to point. We shot at ______ sitting on bow of boat – seals and ducks. Going eastward around the point we soon could see our prize beached about in center of spit. On landing each man took tool from boat he was best trained at using. I got a heavy but badly nicked axe and a hacksaw, jumped to shore with 10 Eskimos and the schoolteacher (tried to get minister to join us at Barrow but he gracefully backed out of mission). We attacked plane from all sides, then within, and then the fun began. I cut several holes in sides of fuselage to throw our booty out of. Two small boys were delighted to stay outside and pile up the stuff as it came out of these compartment holes. After working diligently for eight hours which was a constant banging and squeaking of hammers, axes and wrecking bars, well the old PBY looked as if it had several bombs go off inside of it or that it had come down after going through much concentrated flack. We removed chairs, sinker boards, magnetos, batteries, 50 unknown gadgets, some 35 coils of wire, nuts, bolts, very light bombs, floating bombs, aluninum this and that and two boys hack-sawed the two halves of pear-shaped shutters to machine gun nests out of which they will make a kayak. The pontoons will soon be turned into kayaks also. The wing had all kinds of gadgets. I got my wire and the _______________.  We returned loaded to the gunwales, as nice a picnic as you ever went on. You sure would have liked the pickings knowing this booty,

I could not read the last bit of this letter, written in tiny letters all around the edge of the page. Rusty’s handwriting is difficult to read. For more information on Rusty, check out these links:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin     and see some of his art work at    https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=A211US679&p=Rusty+Heurlin 

Tomorrow, another letter from Rusty to Ced.  On Wednesday, the third letter to Ced from Rusty, O Thursday and Friday, two short notes from Marian to Grandpa.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Dear Sons Of Sneezy (3) – Extract Of Ced (2) – August 27, 1944

Ced @ 1945

Cedric Duryee Guion

Page 2 Ced extract

This year, Woodley rode into the Bay business full speed ahead – – an Electra, a Boeing and a Stinson, with the Travelair also available, if needed. The only handicap was that we had no float ship to get the man up to the Army base (this being the only airfield suitable for large ships in the whole Bristol Bay region). This, however, wasn’t too bad a handicap, as the Army barge brings the man from Naknek to the base on their regular scheduled trips twice a day. Things looked pretty good for a banner year. On one of the first trips of the Stinson, however, the left engine “blew up”, and pilot Booth had to land at Kenai. Art (Woodley) went down in the Boeing and brought in the passengers and Booth, and that afternoon, Frank, Roland and I went to Kenai with our tools and another engine and installed it, getting back to Anchorage in the Stinson the following evening. That was two weeks ago tomorrow night. We went home and ate our suppers, went back and worked till 5 AM Tuesday morning, getting the final adjustments corrected and giving the other two engines a routine check. Since that time, work has been nigh on to a nightmare. We never know whether it will be day or night work – – and so it goes. We do get our sleep pretty well, but quite often take two sessions at once trying to catch up. There have been no other failures but little things keep popping up along with the necessary routine servicing and maintenance, and the ball never seems to stop bouncing and is always a half a jump ahead of us. However, we are doing a bigger percentage of the business than ever, and if we can just limp along until the work down there is finished, it will be a job well done. We hope it will be over by this time next week, but the way it looks, I don’t want to plan on it. (Editor’s note: As far as I can figure it, this letter was written August 2nd or 3rd). Some days we send the three big ships down several times each and the Travelair twice, but then again, the fisherman get a couple of drinks or something and fail to board the barge for the Army Base and our planes and pilots sit at the Base and twiddle their thumbs. Today was typical. We mechanics worked till 11:30 last night getting everything ready for today. The Boeing, with Art and a new copilot, and the Stinson with Booth, both took off at 6 AM this morning for the Bay. The Travelair took off around 9:30 just as I arrived at the field after a short sleep. It was on the “Milk Run” to Kenai, Ninilchik, Kasilof and Homer. This run is steady, twice a week, hence the name. The Electra took off at 9:45 for the Bay. The Boeing returned to Anchorage around 11 and was serviced for another trip. When that was completed, the Travelair came in from the “Milk Run” and was ready for another trip just about the time the Stinson arrived from Naknek. We serviced the Stinson and by that time the Electra had arrived and they brought word that there were 18 men due in tonight at the Naknek base. As all ships weren’t needed for 18 men it was hoped that all could stay in Anchorage overnight, but Art said, “No”, and so all four took off for the Bay again and we went home to grab some rest so that we could service them around eight or 9 o’clock this evening when they started straggling in again. But – – it seems that the barge arrived at the Bay empty, and so the whole works remained overnight and we got to sleep a normal shift again. Tomorrow they may all have to make a couple of trips each and then one of them will have to be on hand Tuesday for the regular Juneau run.

I am now classified 2-B and deferred until February 2nd, 1945. Once again, I’ve taken stick in hand and have gone into the ozone, bird fashion. I flew with an instructor Thursday and Saturday of last week and today for a while and then soloed out for one landing. I did fairly well but am still pretty rusty. I had to ask for a duplicate license as I never found the old one.

Dick’s theory on why one should not write too often is a lulu and for a better suggestion, I pass, bowing in defeat first crack off the bat. To him goes the ring-nosed Amazon.

Tomorrow, Marian tells us about part of her trip from Pomona, California. to Jackson, Mississippi.

On Friday I’ll post a letter Marian wrote to Grandpa after she had been in Jackson for about a week.

On Saturday and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave about his World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons Of Sneezy (2) – Extract Of Ced (1) – August 27, 1944

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

EXTRACT of Ced

Rx  One daily before retiring.

Toward the end of July and the first part of August in the region known as Bristol Bay in Alaska, there comes each year the close of the fishing season. There are perhaps some thousand persons at that time who are desirous of obtaining transportation immediately to Anchorage and thence to Seattle. In former years, prior to the war, there were many boats which took a good share of these people from the fishing grounds to the states, and the rest paid their own way, for the most part, in any one of perhaps a half dozen airline’s planes, one of the big three being Woodley Airways. Naturally, with the war so close to the fishing grounds, the boat transportation was discontinued, and the bulk of the fishermen transportation business fell on the airlines. Competition was always keen in the Bay region and the short period over which it is possible to benefit by this “prize of the year” business, puts an airline to the supreme test. Management, pilots, personnel at hangar and equipment must cooperate to the fullest extent if full benefits are to be realized. It has always been a source of some pride to Woodley Airways that ours has always been a choice slice – – but only by expending a great deal of out–of–the–ordinary effort. This return business, along with the moving of the same men the other way at the beginning of the season – – around June 1st – – is far and away the biggest single source of profit over the entire year. Now, with that introduction and with you perhaps already forming opinions as to what I’m leading up to, I’ll give you a brief discourse on what happened and still is happening at the Woodley Airways. But first, a little on the humorous or tragic, however you choose to accept it, of the life of a fisherman. He is usually Scandinavian, more often than not, Norwegian. He leaves Seattle and has his way paid to the fishing grounds via boat and plane (Union intervention forced this last). He boards the boat at Seattle after a winter of slim pickings at any job he may choose and at which he is probably not too good or conscientious, preferring a good drink and a saloon any day of the week that he can afford it. He is, of course, well fertilized with good spirits for the trip and has probably had a bang up farewell party and is poured onto the ship. At Anchorage, his company has arranged transportation by plane (Woodley has the majority of these contracts) and, while waiting for the plane to take him to the Bay, he usually has from a day to two weeks, during which time he quickly exhausts any remaining finances which he may have been fortunate enough to retain that long, and when boarding the plane he usually clutches what is left of a last bottle in a grimy hand. When the ship returns to it’s base, after letting the men off at Naknek, his seat is in terrible shape, he having been affected by air nausea encouraged by that bottle. There is a cup handy for such emergencies, but how can a stewed, sick drunk know that? Then there is that pungent odor of men’s clothing not too often washed, hanging in the cabin of the plane. While at the fishing grounds, he works almost constantly, grabbing sleep when he can and living on the boat from which he fishes. He has no money, nor time to drink, and is so busy he wouldn’t think of it anyway. Then comes the final run, final tally and the prize check (for a good man it might run to three or four thousand for two months work). By borrowing against the check (no way to cash it until he gets to a bank) he is able to get some more of the good old “comforter” again and he then is told to board the plane for Anchorage. Again the dirty seat, the odor of clothes, and then a “short one” at Anchorage at which time he may lose all of his two months earnings by being “rolled” by bartenders or sharks or just from plain gambling. On his return to Seattle he will go on an extended drunk until he either loses or spends what his wife doesn’t get of the balance, and again goes to work for wages, thinking always of the next season and how much more he will do with the opportunity.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the second part of this “Extract”.

On Thursday and Friday I’m posting two letters from Marian to Grandpa. The first was written while she was on her way to Jackson, Miss. from Pomona, Calif. The second was written after she had been in Jackson for about a week.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (3) – More News From Ced And Some Answers – June 24, 1945

Judy_0003

Cedric Duryee Guion

Page 3       6/24/45

Skiing is done. Summer hikes are coming up but I put in very little time on them. I am singing regularly in the choir when I’m not working Sunday (average once a month). Flying. There we have a little surprise for you. I am the proud possessor of one private pilot’s license with authority to fly any plane from 0 to 80 HP., as of last Wednesday. The inspector told me I did a good flight test. Now I’m anxious to put in more time and get a commercial, but oh, the cost.

Dan’s coming nuptials are considered much as you in Trumbull view them. Does Dan need to make a request for a package to be sent him, and if so, can you get me one from him as I’d like to mail something to him. Paulette is certainly a knockout on looks, isn’t she? I certainly enjoy hearing from Lad and Dave via you and am pleased that Dave is so happy with the whole thing. Sounds as though he’s being a good sport. I don’t intentionally cut out Dan and Dick but lately your quotes haven’t included much from either of them. (Wait to get last week’s eight pager, Ced, about Dan’s experience). I enjoy all the quotes – – particularly enjoyed Lad’s description of the plane trip. Let’s have more descriptions of European experiences – – this for Lad and Dan’s benefit. I finally heard from Rusty. His latest flame is Ann Berg. He has been corresponding with her and trying to get her to come up to Barrow to become his spouse. Rusty is still crazy about Barrow and its inhabitants. Has just returned from a whale hunt and says he has material for two years painting. Love to all the gals. Ced

Now to answer some of your questions. Whether or not a request is needed before sending packages to boys overseas seems to depend on the local postmaster. I know it is required sometimes in Bridgeport but not in Trumbull. Suggest you inquire of your own post office. Above I have quoted a letter from Dave asking for serviceable, not fancy, moccasins. Perhaps that will do. In back letters you will also find quotations from Dan asking for this or that. Perhaps that will be sufficient. I still think I’d like to give you a ring rather than the other items you mentioned. How would a smaller ring for your “pinkey” go? If that, what size would this be? At last I have a picture of you in uniform but I didn’t see any stars on the collar. CONGRATULATIONS in big letters on the pilot’s license. I’m glad for you but I’m just old-fashioned enough, particularly after getting the news in the letter telling of narrow escapes and planes, to wish it were something the insurance companies would consider less of a hazardous occupation. However, the compensating thought is that your mechanic experience must have impressed on you the wisdom of taking no chances with imperfect workmanship, carelessness, etc. I have no fear as to your good judgment or quickness in emergencies. In fact I would feel the same way about you that you do about Ernie and Bill.

Next week maybe I’ll have a letter from Lad to quote but the Censor hasn’t taken the lid off as in Dan’s and Dave’s case. Until then, good night and good luck to you all, until we meet again.

DAD.

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to all his boys in the service.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Foreigners (2) – Ced Writes Of Dramatic Events – June 24, 1945

Ced @ 1945

Page 2     6/24/45

Now for Ced’s quarterly statement. After the expected apology and the discovery that he can forecast the weather in Connecticut by telling us two weeks before we get it what is happening in Anchorage, quite overlooking the fact that if he writes only once in two or three months the information will be a bit late when received here. However, we’ll let that pass. They have had trouble securing competent help (as who hasn’t) leaving him with much work to do alone. Just as they thought they had things in hand, trouble started.

First the Travelair landing gear, then pilot and copilot of the Boeing took off for Juneau one morning. “10 minutes later the radio operator, Chuck, and I were eating breakfast over at the airport café when someone behind us said “Surprise”. It was the pilot himself and a ghost wouldn’t have been more disconcerting. It seems he had just gotten headed for Juneau when both engines stalled simultaneously. By switching gas tanks and manipulating throttles he was able to get the engines going again. There were some 5 gallons of water in the tank when we drained it. Water had apparently leaked under the gasket in a new funnel and we had used a hose which had lain idle for over a month, which had apparently been a full of water. No harm was done other than a scare and lost time. That was Friday.

On Sunday the same two started for Naknek, got to Kenai when the right engine went sour. They returned to Anchorage on the left engine. Trouble – cracked cylinder head.

On Tuesday the same two, returning from the regular run to Juneau, when about 10 minutes out from here and about 6000 feet up, they noticed a smell. A radio operator was watching their approach and listening to their request on the radio for clearance to land. They saw what appeared to be the landing light turned on for a few seconds. A minute later the pilot reported he was in serious trouble and to stand by for an emergency landing. Suddenly the right engine burst into furious flame and while the copilot turned on the fire extinguisher, Ernie prepared for a crash landing at Turnagin Arm. He dove from 6000 to 2000 feet in the time it took the fire to go out (thank the Lord). In the meantime, he had opened the passenger door and told all passengers to fasten on their safety belts. He was afraid they would either panic and start jumping out the door or come forward and try to get into the pilot’s compartment. However, they behaved beautifully, the fire was out and at 2000 feet the pilot was set for a dunking in the Arm with all on board, right engine inoperative, when he suddenly realized the ship might limp into the field. He leveled off and started to strain the left engine to pull into the field. Landing was made without further mishap to the relief of all concerned. Incidentally, I would fly anywhere with these two. They show excellent presence of mind and judgment. The fire burning less than a minute nevertheless did terrific damage under the cowling. The main gas line, due to defective installation at L.A., had broken and had spewed high test aviation gas directly out of the pressure pump into the open engine nacelle at the probable rate of more than 2 gallons per minute, some of which had undoubtedly run out under the bottom of the wint. (A nacelle, in case you haven’t a dictionary handy, is the covered seat for the pilot of a plane).

I’ll continue Ced’s letter later today. On Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his five sons.

Judy Guion

Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (2) – August 14, 1944

This is the second half of a letter written by Rusty Huerlin, a family friend, to Ced. Both Rusty and Ced are living in Alaska and they have become good friends.

As most of our freight was for Wainwright, we were able to take on passengers there – storm bound Eskimos unable to return to Barrow in their boats heavily loaded with coal. So we left there towing five whale boats and had 25 Eskimos to sweeten the forecastle and share with us the four bunks when the next storm came up. We had then run into ice – icebergs 20 feet high, and got forced outside of them and land. Most of this was fields of bergs and we wound around it for a day in getting in close to land. This ice ran nearly down to Wainwright but once getting inside of it the water was smooth. 60 miles of this going was the best of our trip and I will never forget the fun. The kids had gotten over their seasickness and there was no more rushing from below with puke pots. They were happy and glad to be going home. One woman had six children. She and all of them had been sick in my bunk. But that was nothing. I had, after one storm, laid down in more filth than could be found in a garbage can and never felt more clean in my life. To sleep alongside of those shipmates after trying to take what they did uncomplainingly, was the finest expression I have yet experienced. I had made four friends I shall never forget – –Eibrulik Rock, Richard Scott, Daniel Attungniak and Andrew Franksen.

First chance I get now Ced, I will attend to the many things I was unable to do in Nome. One – a letter to Beryl, is she still in Anchorage? The painting for McDonald’s: what size would you like? Was it you that wanted it as a present for them or was it a picture they wished to order? And what type of subject would they like? I’m painting Arctic life now exclusively so my subjects will be Eskimos. This is the greatest field of all and a wonder to me why no artist has pioneered it before.

Charles Brown had me over for dinner day after we landed. Most interesting. old-timer in the whole territory. First painting will be of him and that one I will keep for myself. Then will have to get down to making bread and butter – money – or go on all Eskimo diet.

Eskimos on the way said I was the only white man they had ever seen take to all their food and like it. Ate walrus blubber by the pounds, meat dipped in seal oil – dried fish and seal oil – mucktuk and even walrus flippers. This latter dish is a raw one but was bound to try it to see if my stomach could digest it. Eibrulik, who had been seasick in the storm, had expected for a long time to see me seasick. Told me I would get seasick if we left one night following a hunk of said walrus flippers. This dainty dish is very apt to knot up any white man’s stomach if not poison him. If soured by the sunshine it poisons the Eskimo. But they did not keep me out of their gathering in a tent full of friends at Wainwright when the flippers were boiling. I sat around and ate like the rest but excuse from now on for not “taking it” again will be that my false teeth cannot get through it.

The stench from this boiling tough stuff and fat is the most repulsive I have ever experienced. It has not a sour smell alone for it smells of rottenness but I used my imagination in “taking it” like one should use when first eating Limburger cheese. So the imagination used was that my nose was rotting away and that I was starving for food – that a rather spoiled pig’s foot would give some strength to me. A girl cut me off a big hunk of it dripping with rotten fat and handed it to me. I put it in my mouth and started the imagination and began chewing it. “That’s enough for him” said Eibrulik, in Eskimo to her and he stared at me with the rest watching for the effect. But I ate one piece after another. Did not get seasick the next day when we cast off, nor did I get seasick on the whole trip. Don’t know what that is and will never know but back to this flipper dish – anything fished from a sewer of smelly tidbits could never come up to it. Eibrulik has named me now and by muckluk telegraph it has gone a long way – “artist, first white man to eat flippers”.  If I do it again I’ll be the last. Seal guts with crap in them taste like sausage meat in comparison. One day on the trip I lived on raw caribou meat dipped in seal oil – looks like pretty days ahead – my three months grubstake, which was all I was able to afford, is going to last me a year now.

Sending you an ivory knife – soon hope to send all of $50 worth. Tell Morry I am writing him. Have given up rum and all forms of liquor. Sure amazed at any power of the will – Rusty

Here’s a link to some information about Rusty and another to some of his paintings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin

https://www.google.com/search?q=Rusty+Heurlin&safe=active&biw=1463&bih=771&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JnN2VOaPGoqqgwTynIPQDA&ved=0CDIQsAQ

For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa and one from Lad. 

Judy Guion

Life In Alaska – Rusty’s Harrowing Adventure (1) – August 14, 1944

This is the first half of a letter from a family friend, Rusty Heurlin, famous Alaskan Painter and a roommate for a while, to Ced,  in Anchorage. It tells quite a story, but then, Rusty was always “bigger than life.” By clicking on my Blog “Category”, “Rusty Heurlin”, you can read other posts about Rusty.

Barrow, Alaska

Aug. 14, 1944

Dear Ced,

Here we are and perhaps by thumbing our noses at the devil, were we ever able to make it. The usual run from Nome to Barrow in a 44-foot boat with a 71 hp engine is from 7 to 10 days. We left on 23 July (Nome), sailed into Barrow yesterday. It was a trip we’ll never forget – hair still red but black before I took a bath. The five of us, Louis Riech – part Eskimo and all captain of “Ada”, his Eskimo crew –Eibrulik Rock, Richard Scott, Daniel Attungniak – to Point Hope and Andrew Franksen from there to Barrow, well, all of us have exclaimed time and again that we are the luckiest bums alive today.

The “Ada”,  overloaded by 5 tons on deck, ran into one storm after another – worst was between Katzebuc and Kivabun when we hit into the sea to try out-running the storm. It is too long a story to attempt describing on paper. Conrad would have made a book out of it. I have seen higher waves off Cape Hatteras and in the North Sea, but never so close to rough weather as what we ran into on the “Ada”. None of us ever expected to see land again and I know now why men pray. Hope becomes our concentration and that is a tremendous thing. Eibrulik and Richard were religious which made their hardships not as great. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped and never taxed my heart as much before as we kept taking in water and more water. Finally the engine quit. Richard then saved the lives of all of us in getting 9 fathoms of anchor line out and holding on to the end of the line – probably two minutes before he could get 2 feet of it to make a turn on the forward bit. None of us could get to him, the sea was so rough. And that was the beginning of  a 24-hour battle with the devil in that deep green sea. It was bad again from Point Hope to Point Joy. Had taken a beating from 12 at noon till 5 AM the next morning, could take it no more and made for a lagoon 7 miles from Point Joy. Breakers were 5 miles long on shoals and some 30 or more rows of them from deep water to shore. Channel was hideous. Eibrulik made fast some things. When it came down from “half one” (6 feet) Louis Riech said – rather yelled it – “Let’s get the hell out of here.” but it was too late. We struck bottom – went over on our starboard side – shipped water to soak me wet from head to foot where I stood on one ear in the cabin. Water poured down into the engine room to kill the engine. All Louis could do was blow foghorn for Eskimos in tents near Armundsen’s cabin to get out with what help they could offer. All this happened so quickly and the next breaker smacked us so hard that we went some 10 feet sideways. Then the miracle of all miracles happened. The “Ada” righted herself. We had been smacked over the bar. Then we rolled, helplessly in the deeper water, were blown into the channel and Louis got the engine started. We motored in behind a sand spit breakwater as if the way we had come was the right way to do it. 15 minutes later a gang of Eskimos came aboard saying we were the luckiest people they had ever seen. We all knew that not one boat in a million could do the same thing again. It took place about a quarter of a mile from shore and it hardly makes sense that we were not shipwrecked, that of all times, on the trip. But the whole thing was laughable or we were greatly excited. It was Davy Jones locker one second then the next, a certainty of fooling him. We made the lagoon more gracefully from Point Hope to Point Joy where we had to lay for five days.

Here is some further information about Rusty:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Colcord_Heurlin

https://www.google.com/search?q=Rusty+Heurlin&safe=active&biw=1463&bih=771&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JnN2VOaPGoqqgwTynIPQDA&ved=0CDIQsAQ

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this very interesting letter. For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting a  letter from Grandpa to his sons and a letter from Lad to his Father.

Judy Guion

Friends – A Letter From Nome, Alaska and A Postcard From Honolulu, Hawaii – July 10 and 11, 1944

 

Rusty Huerlin

Nome, Alaska

July 9, 1944

Dear Ced,

Stormy weather for about one week. Expect “ada” down from Kotzebue any day now, then it will be a mad rush to get everything aboard her and pull stakes for Pt. Barrow where I finally decided to locate, if they’ll have me there.

Many, many thanks for green stuff. They arrived in O.K. condition same day boat brought first greens we’ve had here since fall, three more boats with more greens – then a tanker with whiskey and beer. But I went in for the milk on first boat – drank so much of it (40 cents a paper quart) that I quit when I noticed that my tits were growing.

Who am I to thank for the beautiful scarf? Hardly a chance of wearing such finery until I get back to Anchorage again.

As for the paintings you wrote about, will take care of the matter as soon as I get situated up north. Will write Byrl first chance I get. These are busy days.

Thanks for sending pictures. Swell to look at and letters to read from home. Will return slides to you in care of Fiske when he looks in this way again. If possible for him to handle frames you have and deliver them to Major Marston – Wallace Hotel, Nome, for me, that would be swell. But if it runs into money for this, skip it, as I could not take care of that now. He may not be coming this way again for some time. He has been flying Mackenzie’s ship and with “Mac” back in Anchorage now he may fly his own ship to Nome. I could get “Mac” to fly them through, however, if either of them coming here soon. I could not take them on first trip this way. I had better not have them sent here as I would not care to have them sent up to Pt. Barrow unless I took personal care of them.

Hell of a rush now. Will write you at greater length first chance I get.

Love to all,

As ever,

Rusty

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Gibby - Post card to Ced from Hawaii - front, 1944

“Isle O’ Dreams”, Hawaii

Gibby - Post card to Ced from Hawaii - message - 1944

Honolulu, June 28

FROM

Arnold Gibson

Ship 51 N Y

Pearl Harbor,

 Dear Ced,

Here I am back in Hawaii. Alta (Alta (Pratt) Gibson, his wife and another friend from the old gang in Trumbull) is in Cal. and will follow later.

We saw Lad and Marian in Orinda (where Marian’s parents live) and had a swell day. Wish I had a little Alaska  weather right now.

Aloha, Gib

Tomorrow and Sunday I will be posting a long letter from Dave to his Dad and all concerned.  

Judy Guion