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

Life in Alaska – Dear Ced – Rusty Huerlin writes from Nome, Alaska – April 15, 1944

The year is 1944. All of Grandpa’s sons are scattered around the world. Lad is married and training mechanics for the Army in California. Dan is in London and making frequent trips to France. I don’t know exactly what he is doing but he is a Surveyor and Civil Engineer and D-Day is coming soon. Did he have a part in planning the invasion? I don’t know. Ced is in Alaska working to retrieve and repair airplanes for the Army in the Anchorage area. Dick is an MP (Military Police) in Brazil, I believe acting as a liaison between the Army and the locals. Dave, the youngest, had left school when he turned 18 and joined the Army. He is currently going through Basic Training at Camp Crowder, Missouri Grandpa is in Trumbull with Dick’s wife, Jean, and doing his best to keep everyone in the family informed about what is going on in the lives of their siblings.

 Rusty is in Nome, Alaska, with no heat, and his hands are very cold. He writes with a business proposition for Ced.

Nome, Alaska

April 15, 1944

Dear Ced,

Your most welcomed letter received yet the news was sorrowful about poor Grandma Peabody’s passing. But it is over for her and now – all the unhappiness she had to bear in losing the ones she loved. But it was wonderful that all her children stayed by her and that must have been consoling to her. I think they expressed in a most civilized action in waiving all customs of the actual departure, aside of the feeling that manufactured words of the preacher gives one – soft spoken and well meant as they may be. No one can intercede for any almighty power – tell one what to do – what to expect – how to go on living, especially when one lives and vibrations have always been on different wavelengths. She understood the silence of brothers and sisters speak finer words in final parting if no interception enters to break the bond. My deepest feelings go out to Dorothy, Helen, Anne, Lawrence, Kemper and Burton for they were her dearest left, as she was theirs.

I am half in furs and half in sleeping bag. It is 15 below outside. Ran out of oil tonight so no heat tomorrow unless I take down the front door and put it in the coal stove.

You wouldn’t like Nome at all – not enough water for you to wash out burnt pans and it takes plenty of water to do that. But I have discovered a trick. Just turn the pan upside down – let all the burnt beans fall out then put same pan back on the stove. Gradually the burnt will all flake off – every bit of it, and it will need no washing for the next batch – we live and learn do we not?

Saw Betty Davis for the first time tonight – picture – “The Little Foxes” ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033836/ ) at the Dream theater. It should have been named “The Wolf Pack” or “The Great Big Wolves”, anyway she is a truly great actress.

You all did right by my baggage left behind even though I have lost the jib sail bag. Confidentially now – I do not wish it known that the Brown boys took anything of mine from Anchorage to Nome. So if you will kindly contact Lieut. Brooks at Army Transportation and tell him since I was informed by him there would be no plane from Anchorage to Nome for a month or probably two months – his words – that I had changed my plans and had, unbeknownst to you and George, made other arrangements to get all my stuff here. Next month I can write to him but don’t want anything to go down in writing to him as yet and this is confidential between you and me. Why I do not want to wait until then –  it is because some effort should be made to locate the bag before many more days have passed. It says jib sail on the bag and I sure would like to get the clothes that are in it to say nothing of the handy old article. After getting your letter I went right over to the base but evidently it never reached here.

It is too long a story why I do not want to write Sgt. Brooks at this time – another thing, I had a tag on the bag – C HEURLIN – NOME.

Hands are about stiff but will warm them up – can hardly see the writing for the storm. Going to be a late break up but I cannot say the exact minute.

Sent Maury some ivory as a starter to see how he makes out on it. If it gets to him this time take a look at it and see what you think. Two of the pieces were damaged in PAA crackup so I got the package back. If you like the seals I can get some for you to sell. Sure you could turn them over at a profit if you stay around long enough. If interested how about you and I going into business? I owe you some money now but hope you will forget it for a time. But here is my idea. Send me what money you can spare – what you can put out and forget and I will put every cent of it into good ivory.Then sell every bit of it at what ever profit you can get and send that money on to buy more. This should build up into a big thing in a very short while, then someday we can or you can take on a store of your own. What do you think will be a fair commission for me, well, should not a 50-50 proposition above cost be agreeable all around? It takes time to locate good stuff and you take time to dispose of it. It is all a matter of making a small sum of money grow – personally I hate business, however, money gained under this set up is an economic necessity today. And we can be dealing in good workmanship. I have come to learn a lot about ivory but have always known good workmanship. I can now buy two large ivory bookends for $38.50 and the Major says they sell in Juneau for $85 perhaps $100 in Anchorage.

Ivory is shipped from here to Seattle and sold to companies in Juneau, then resold to brokerage – bought and sold outside again. A fine set up is this! We can cut out all those middlemen – not be too high priced but keep things moving by selling at fairly good price to the last purchaser. And  your dollars would build up fast. I saw several hundred dollars of it sent to Seattle last week which could have made a nice profit for anyone here with connections in Anchorage to dispose of it there. I have been asked by many people – owners of stores – in Anchorage to write or wire for money when I see something good but why should I take time of my own to help them profit while I lose.

So they didn’t get you in the Army – best of luck to you with your studies. And when you get flying don’t dare nature to ground you. A fine view is stretched out in the rolling plains in back – eight and a  half miles in back of this city. Freddie Mueller, who had walked out of several wrecks said to a few of us a few nights before that no one would be so tough to get him. He, like all the rest, died instantly. Freddie was about 60 years old.

Love to all when you write again, including themselves.

Rusty

For the rest of the week, I’ll post a letter from Grandpa, another from Rusty, a note from Marian and another letter from Grandpa. 

Judy Guion