This week, Grandpa’s creative juices were working overtime, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors, and he equates his sons, in their various locales, as Flowerbeds. He does put a lot of thought into his weekly missives, at least most weeks.
Trumbull Conn. September 26, 1943
To the Guion Horticultural Experiment Stations in various parts of the world:
I have four flowerbeds labeled respectively Brazil, England, Alaska and Los Angeles, and each Sunday I plant a mental seed in each of these plots with the expectation and hope that they will in time sprout and bear abundant fruit. Then I sit back for six days and hum to myself that old hymn “What Will the Harvest Be?”
Some of these seeds seem to fall on barren ground and seldom even sprout. The soil of Brazil seems to be especially unfertile. England has lately been producing a bit better although the sprouts are usually very short and hardly get their heads above ground. Los Angeles ground seems to be pretty reliable, occasionally developing a good strong plant while Alaska, though slow bearing, usually delivers a bumper crop spasmodically.
This week the harvest was quite satisfactory, although not 100% — the good neighbor policy as far as Brazil is concerned not being in the running except by reflected
glory, so to speak. The English package, bah Jove, mentions the hope of Dan that he may be able to go to Oxford for a week of general courses offered to service men of all nations. When he returns, don’t be surprised to see him wearing a monocle and expressing his thoughts in the purest English. (An aside to Dan: the shoes got off to you marked “Christmas gift package”. The only difficulty here is that it is rumored that packages so marked are held up by the Army and not delivered until Christmas. Someone also said that packages sent from home are opened and repacked at New York. If so, I hope the re-packer will not overlook the 35mm Kodachrome film which I obtained with great difficulty and packed into the shoes along with sundry packages of chewing gum, shoe paste, etc. And while we’re on the subject, please, in your next reply, let me know what you would like to have me include in your real Christmas package. Dan concludes by saying “Everything continues to go well. I don’t find nearly enough time to do everything I want to, which is better than too much time!”
Southern California had a good crop this trip. On his return trip, Lad, at Chicago, worked a spell for Col. Harvey, washing innumerable dishes as 4th cook, Tuesday AM to Thursday PM, “I don’t think I ever worked so hard”. However he got good meals and an upper to sleep in as compensation. (Aside to Lad: thanks for the rationing board coupons, which will come in very handy. Alas, however, the gasoline coupons were flatly turned down by the service station who referred me to the local rationing board and also by the rationing board, who said they had discontinued honoring these coupons. Don’t worry. I think I can get by with my own coupons until the next period, And even if I can’t, I won’t regret a single drop you used because of one sentence in your letter which is one of the nicest things anyone has told me for a long while, viz: “As I look back, those five days at home were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent, but they went far too fast”. This makes me feel a lot better because I did have the feeling that all the inconvenience and tiresomeness of the journey both ways did not compensate for the very little we were able to do to make your homecoming pleasant even though we did enjoy so much seeing you once again.)
Lad, says the weather since he got back has been uncomfortably hot, so much so that desks and chairs are hot to touch. Temperature 116° and is due to continue until the middle of October. Aunt Betty says she wishes you could send some of that excess heat back here, as the last two days have been quite autumnal in character. This means tapering off of hay fever but also brings the perennial furnace problem, ashes, woodcutting, etc. Mr. Schalich filled up the oil barrels yesterday. Between Paul and myself we have 250 gallons of kerosene to start the season off with, but in spite of the fact that I have had my order for coal in since July, I have been unable to get a single ton.
Tomorrow, the second half of this letter from Grandpa to his sons, scattered around the world. On Friday, a letter from Lad with exciting news regarding his future.