Oct 15, 2017

My mother, far left, with fellow Allison Hall residents as a senior at Southwestern College, Fall 1947.

Oct 8, 2017

Wed, Oct 8, 1947: buy them alive

"I'm so sleepy that my mind has slipped into a rut. The AmHist test is now prepared. Only constitution faces me. Making them out is fun; but I don't think that grading them will offe r much pleasure. How would you like to be my chief assistant paper-grader?  If we work together, maybe the time will go faster--and more pleasantly.
"The folks say that they can let us have some meet when butchering time comes; so perhaps I won't buy the half beef after all... It would be a lot more convenient for you to have some meet handy at all times. Even chicken is difficult to find here. Perhaps we could buy them alive."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Wednesday, October 8, 1947, evening.  Three typos in this typewritten letter per original.

Oct 5, 2017

Sun, Oct 5, 1947: a weekend guest

"It's one of the hottest days of the past month in Protection--Climate is powder-dry and the sand and dust infiltrate into tightly-closed houses.  You may have a job of housekeeping for this small apartment. When I'm here alone, I let it go.  Mrs. Sanders takes care of the dust film on Fridays....
"News item from yesterday's Protection Post: 'Miss Ruth Murray of Winfield was a weekend guest of Genevieve Jones, and visited with also friends, also.' [sic] I believe that the quote is correct in detail. So you didn't come to see me after all."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Sunday, October 5, 1947, evening.

Sep 29, 2017

Mon, Sep 29, 1947: so lonley

"The apt. doesn't seem so lonely--now that I have the memory of you in it--before the kitchen stove--apron-clad, at ease on the big living room divan, & across the table at meals. I'll always love you.
"DeVere."
--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, September 29, 1947.

Sep 24, 2017

Wed, Sep 24, 1947: Dr. Chen

"Dr. Chen is the prize though.  I thought I would miss Saturday classes until I got your letter. So I approached him timidly and explained I would like to visit my fianceĆ© who is teaching in Western Kansas (that's you, sweetheart). He stammered in his usual manner. 'Yes, you can do some make-up-ah-later' And (leaning forward & lowering his tone) have a good time!' But now I'm going to be there. Shall I wait & see if he notices the difference?"

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Wednesday, September 24, 1947.

Sep 23, 2017

Tue, Sep 23, 1947: Sunday School poll

"Your Sunday School poll was quite interesting. The results fitted the expected pattern for a church group--with an exception or two. Only 4 out of 43 felt that dancing is wrong. I daresay that a similar poll given thirty years ago would have brought very different answers. A change has occured in our relative morals. I'm pleased with the unanimous opinion on the one entitled: 'Marriage is as much a Christian vocation for a girl as any one directly engaged in humanitarian service."
--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Tuesday, September 23, 1947.

Sep 22, 2017

Mon, Sep 22, 1947: phonograph loudspeaker

"Your originality is refreshing! The letter today was the nicest that I have received from my fiancee in the last five months. There was only one drawback: When you talked to me through the phonograph loudspeaker I had the desire to say some things right back.  It was certainly good to hear your voice again."
--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, September 22, 1947.

Sep 19, 2017

Fri, Sep 19, 1947: dark secrets

"And now I think it's really time I enlighten you.  When those men want to tell you all the dark secrets, you can just say you already know all about it, because here they are: Women with put-up hair aren't so attractive--but you've already seen me that way.  As Uncle Bill says, you may get leftovers on washday--but I'll try not to offend too greatly.  I've already explained that I'm not slender & graceful like the pictures of Petty girls. And you've seen me in my less sweet moods already.  So there's no more to worry about.  As for me, I can hardly wait.  Even reading a philosophy text reminds me of you!  And it was so much more fun to read it & pick out things to talk to you about."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Friday, September 19, 1947.

Sep 17, 2017

Wed, Sep 17, 1947: the band

"By a moment of indecision I got myself into a job tomorrow. I think that I'll like the job, except for one factor, the necessity for being at the schoolhouse at 4;30 a.m.  I plan to hit the bed immediately after supper, hence the letter now.  Here's hoping I won't suffer from temporary insomnia.  This afternoon King approached to say, "You want to go to Hutchinson with the band tomorrow, don't you?'. I replied I might like to.  Thinking it over, it occured to me that I could make better use of the day by sleeping late and taking up Ben Hicks on his offer of a trip to Ashland to get some fresh meat.  By that time, however, they had fixed me up as a sponsor of the bus.  Nearly all of the women teachers are going.  In this particular bus, however, are grouped most of the tough boys of the school.  Helman wants a man to handle them; otherwise he would have to redistribute them among th3e various buses.  Since it would entail a change in his plans I told him that I would do it.  It should be fun--but 4:30 comes very early in the morning."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Wednesday, September 17, 1947. Typos per original typewritten letter.

Sep 16, 2017

Tue, Sep 16, 1947: an unenlightened bride

"Tonight I am reading 'Mourning Becomes Electra,' on Mil's recommendation. It is a very interesting play, and very long--a trilogy.  I'm beginning to see some characteristics of his work now--such as violent emotions, unusual situations, and people utterly lacking in moral fibre.  I don't think it necessary to discuss on the stage the sexual adjustment of the characters, however--for that is the basis on which the woman murders her husband.  She must have been an unenlightened bride."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Tuesday, September 16, 1947.

Sep 12, 2017

Fri, Sep 12, 1947: married couples

"Tonight was the Building of the Mound.  I was thrilled as usual, at the torchlight procession, with songs and yells.  We few bedraggled-looking Seniors led the procession, but the freshman class covered nearly a block.... Tonight all I can see at the Moundbuilding was married couples, which didn't help at all.... I think I'm the only engaged girl without a man on the spot."
----Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Friday, September 12, 1947. Southwestern College had a tradition of student bringing stones and placing them together to build a mound. The school mascot is the Moundbuilders.

Sep 9, 2017

Tue, Sep 9, 1947: a thrill

"I got fairly well moved in today, worked and had a counselor's meeting. We had a meeting and the President, Monypeny & Skinner talked, Howard West led singing. We sang one verse of the Alma Mater, the first time this year & Howard said a nice introduction to it. It was a thrill-- as a Senior among a whole roomful of freshmen who probably thought we were as high & mighty as I felt about Seniors 3 years ago."
--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Tuesday, September 9, 1947.

Sep 2, 2017

Tue, Sep 2, 1947: Japanesy gentleman

"So Sid, if you should see a Japanesy gentleman, suspiciously carrying a camera, call on you, he's no spy, just me."

-- Letter from Yoshiaki “Sharkey” Fujitani, Honolulu, Hawai'i, to my father, Protection, Kans., Tuesday, September 2, 1947.  Fujitani was U.S. Army translator, who had worked with my father in Washington, D.C., when my father was a Navy translator.

Tue, Sep 2, 1947: identification test

"To the World History and Constitution classes I gave an identification test on American & World leaders. I used forty magazine cover sized pictures and showed them with no name attached.  Many students recognized only three or four.  The highest score, 24, was made by Benny Zane, son of the school secretary.  I considered that very good.  40 out of 41 in the two classes recognized Pres. Truman and Bing Crosby, 39 recognized FDR, the only non-living man in the group.  Others among the tabulation--Dewey, 28, Stalin 21, Eisenhower, 28, Gov. Carlson 1, Henry A. Wallace 3, Senators Vandenburg & Conally 0, Warren Austin 0, Benny Goodman 11.  Several mistook Wallace for former Gov. Schoeppel....
"I met your friend, Dr. Glenn, today.  A southwestern man, Class of '34, he has a lot of vim and vigor... Also, the doctor said that he used to date Thelma Snyder when they were in college.  Then he mentioned the fact that your father later went with Thelma. 'I guess that he didn't marry her on account of the children.' he added."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Tuesday, September 2, 1947.

Aug 27, 2017

Wed, Aug 27, 1947: a woman's help

"Since 4 P.M this afternoon I've been living in our new home. Dad and I completed the job of moving in about that time.  How I could use a woman's help and advice in arranging the apartment!
"Of course, it was meticulously clean and neat; but many problems have arisen.  Where shall I put all of my books and records?  Needless to say bookshelf facilities are meager....
"What would you do if I were to welcome you into the apartment in January by presenting the wardrobe--all dirty for laundering?  That's not a fair question. It's purely hypothetical--the circumstance."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Wednesday, August 27, 1947. Protection is in southwestern Kansas, about 150 miles west of Winfield, in south central Kansas, where my father and mother went to college. He had a job teaching high school year for the 1947-1948 school year.  My mother finished up her bachelor's degree at Southwestern College that fall and joined my father in Protection after they married in January 1948.

Aug 25, 2017

Mon, Aug 25, 1947: wrinkled faces

"attended Phil Higdon's public sale with Dad...Farmers are interesting people.  While they milled about or followed the auctioneer around the barnyard, I stood by as an observer of the old, weather-beaten wrinkled faces.  Brush moustaches were not uncommon.  Straw hats or battered felt coverings, heavy clod-hoppers on their feet, new overalls (their best, no doubt) with a sprinkling of sport shirts & pants & even white shirts - no style consciousness here. The New York & Paris fashion designers who have women in such a dither this fall haven't made any inroads with this group in 50 years.  They smoke their corn-cob pipes & slobber their chawin' tobacco blissfully oblivious of the wonders to be found inside the tailor's or haberdasher's shop."

-- Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Monday, August 25, 1947.

Aug 17, 2017

Sun, Aug 17, 1947: our first home

"In about a week and a half I will be moving into the apartment that will eventually become our first home.  From time to time I may need to buy equipment for it--e.g. kitchen ware.  Your advice will be sought before I make any purchases...
"[William Allen White] says 'These movers were from western Kansas--...which holds a charter from the state to officiate as the very worst, most desolate, God-forsaken, man-deserted spot on the sad old earth,' That's where we'll live, honey.  Still want to marry me?"

--Letter from my father, Leon, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Sunday, August 17, 1947.  My father was getting ready to move to Protection, Kans., to teach high school.  My mother planed to join him there after she finished college in the fall of 1947 and after they were married in January 1948.

Aug 14, 2017

Thu, Aug 14, 1947: the city by subway

"Overconfidence as to my ability to travel the city by subway caused me to end up in the middle of Harlem--some eight blocks from my destination.  I had climbed board the 7th Avenue local which entered the Harlem branch of the tunnel some blocks from 18th St where I started.  A white among thousands of bustling, hurrying blacks-- as well as leisurely, relaxed Negroes-- I know how it feels to be 'different.'...
"If you can cook sukiyaki to go along with the chopsticks I own -- you'll make a dandy wife.  Chopped up meat fried in grease - to which is added soy sauce, onions, bean sprouts, sugar, salt, soy bean cakes, etc. - there you have the recipe."
 --Letter from my father, Decatur, Ill., to my mother, Estes Park, Colo., Thursday, August 14, 1947 (writing about his recent stay in New York).

Aug 11, 2017

Mon, Aug 11, 1947: bad habit of daydreaming

"Patsy has caught me smiling broadly several times while I wrote this letter, and keeps asking me what's funny. I am developing a bad habit of daydreaming, too. a d I som times get lost  n my musings and she br ngs me back again by asking what's so funny."

--Letter from my mother, Estes Park, Colo., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Monday, August 11, 1947.  This typewritten letters has several typos.

Aug 6, 2017

Wed, Aug 6, 1947: something of a dream

"I'm happy to hear that your father is engaged.  A man in his position is quite handicapped without a wife.  Perhaps she can slow him down sufficiently to prevent recurrence of those periods of nervousness. You describe her as a very nice lady, and I'll be anxious to meet her....
"You asked my opinion on a girl who would like to kiss me this minute.  She's something of a dream since we are 2000 miles apart, but I love such a dreamer and I'm one myself.  I'd like to kiss you my honey.  X.
"All my love,
DeVere."
--Letter from my father, off Rhode Island, to my mother, Estes Park, Colo., Wednesday, August 6, 1947. 

Aug 3, 2017

Sun, Aug 3, 1947: the married state

"Uncle Bill has been telling me all about how to treat you in the married state.  He says it's particularly important to have good meals on wash-day and ironing day.  It seems Aunt Clara doesn't always do that."

--Letter from my mother, Colby, Kans., to my father, aboard McCard, Sunday, August 3, 1947.

Aug 1, 2017

Fri, Aug 1, 1947: think about you


"I have decided maybe it's just as well I don't have a big picture of you, because when I stop & look at the ones I have, I really begin to think about you and wish you were here."

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kansas,, to my father, aboard USS McCard, off Rhode Island, Friday, August 1, 1947.

Jul 31, 2017

Thu, Jul 31, 1947: very nice together

"Well, let's get the big news off first.  This family is increasing by leaps and bounds.  One more and it will have doubled in the last few months.  Daddy and Marjorie Carey are engaged!  However, since I had been expecting it ever since she got here, I'm not greatly surprised....
"Yesterday she drove out with him to get me at Camp Carlisle....On the way home, they talked like people do who are pretty interested in each other.  In fact, I felt like a fifth wheel very often, so pretended to go to sleep in the back seat. They look very nice together. She's old enough not to look like a giddy girl, and yet nice-looking enough not to look middle-aged.  (Which she is, I guess)  She's forty today--life begins at forty, they say. He said he stayed long enough last night to wish her a Happy Birthday, and today he sent her a dozen roses and gave her a big handsome picture (ah-hem!) and took her to Wichita for dinner."

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., to my father, U.S.S. McCard, Thursday, July 31, 1947. My grandmother, Wilma Dorth Murray, had died in 1943.

Jul 30, 2017

Wed, Jul 30, 1947: miss you

"One week of our time apart has already passed.  The longer that we are separated the more I think about you--and miss you.  At first I was so busy that thoughts of you were crowded out of my mind by affairs of the moment. Now, however, when in my bunk or alone all sorts of pleasant conversations and activities together keep coming back.  I believe that August 23 will be among the happiest days of my life....
"At times I get amused at the spectacle of grown men chasing around the Atlantic for no particular reason. Their days are quite similar to days spent by small boys with rafts on the river or sailboats on a lake -- only the equipment is larger and more expensive.  Yet they're all so dead serious about it. Of course, preparedness for war is a grim business. But if we should blunder into some senseless international conflict, I can't help wondering if this destroyer won't be obsolete in the face of the atomic bomb--the Bikini tests to the contrary."

--Letter from my father, U.S.S. McCard, off Rhode Isand, to my mother, Estes Park, Colo., Wednesday, July 30, 1947.

Jul 27, 2017

Sun, Jul 27, 1947: landlubber

"So the landlubber goes to sea.  In Oct. 1944 I was commissioned a deck officer.  They told me I was reasonably well-prepared for duty afloat.  Now that I've come aboard in July 1947 nearly all the vital facts about seamanship crammed into me during four hectic months at Notre Dame have escaped my memory."

--Letter from my father, aboard U.S.S. McCard, at Providence, R.I.., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Sunday, July 27, 1947. My father was on a naval voyage as a Navy reservist.

Jul 24, 2017

Thu, Jul 24, 1947: looking better

“WE HAVE BEEN ENGAGED THREE MONTHS-- (also a rainy Thursday night- remember?)
"The days are looking better-- explanation: 184 looks better than 185, 185 than 186, etc."

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., to my father, aboard U.S.S McCard, off Rhode Island, Thursday, July 24, 1947. My parents were keeping track of the numbers of days until their wedding.

Jul 21, 2017

Mon, Jul 21, 1947: dull & obscure playwright

"Probably my master's thesis will be on the influence of dull & obscure playwright x_________ on the dull & obscure playwright z__________.  The most shocking think I learnt recently on taking my PhD is that French, German & Latin will all be required."

--Letter from Jim Allen, Berkeley, Calif., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., July 21, 1947. Jim was a friend from the Navy language program and was planning to get a Ph.D. in English.

Jul 19, 2017

Sat, Jul 19, 1947: rubbed it in

"Uncle Sam really let me down today.  No letter from you.... Daddy rubbed it in because he got a special delivery from his girlfriend."

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, July 19, 1947.

Jul 17, 2017

Thu, Jul 17, 1947: the feel of your arm

"From a carefree college student [10 1/2 months ago], sorry that she was already-half through and cherishing her independence gained from a summer of travel, to a girl trying to emerge into grown womanhood & eager to finish and marry the finest man she can find and depend on him the rest of her life. Independence has its point, but I like the feel of your arm around me and the thought that we'll do things together, darling."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Thursday, July 17, 1947.

Jul 14, 2017

Mon, Jul 14, 1947: casualty of the automobile age

"Haverhill is a lively town during harvest season. Every summer for a few weeks it regains the flow of trade which its founders must have envisioned. Haverhill, like many settlements, of its size, is a casualty of the automobile age. The once bustling community even lost its depot agent a few years ago. Only the grocery store retains a thriving business. Most people go to Augusta, that metropolis of South Butler county, for trade, but for groceries they stop here."

-- Letter from my father, Haverhill, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, July 14, 1947.

Jul 10, 2017

Thu, Jul 10, 1947: your little brother

"What really made this day the brightest was your little brother.  As you may know, he wrote to me and I was tickled pink. I believe one more Brown has accepted me and I have certainly fallen for him, as you may know. I suspected a change in his attitude last Sunday afternoon -- maybe he didn't realize I was a normal human until I rode a horse and played Monopoly, or something. I certainly intend to answer him, but please let it be a surprise."
--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Thursday, July 10, 1947.

Jul 7, 2017

Mon, Jul 7, 1947: Woodrow

"Woodrow came out to spend the night with us; so after supper he brought his slide projector into the frontroom to display some color pictures to the family. He had some dandies. Of course, a large share were of Phillip and Carol playing in swings, on the slippery slide, etc. A number were taken at our house--the cutest were those taken at a birthday party Mother had when Phillip was five.  It wasn't difficult to see where his chief interest in life was. Yet he has taken the loss remarkably well.  After that we had a long talk -- mainly about photography. Now it's bedtime."

-- Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, July 7, 1947. Woodrow’s children, Phillip, 9, and Carol, 7, had been struck and killed by an automobile while crossing the street in Wichita four days earlier on July 3. The two children had stayed at my grandparents’ house for extended periods, during times when their parents, Woodrow and Maryjane, were separated. After the couple’s second and final divorce, Woodrow was awarded custody of the children.  They were killed while on a visit with their mother. 

Mon, Jul 7, 1947: riding horseback

"Darling DeVere,
“It seemed that I kept thinking about you, so I thought it would be psychologically sound to write to you to clear you out of my mind so I could write on my theme. Also, I found my outline in this pad, so that proves I was right.... I just got back from a walk, which I justified because I was stiff from riding horseback and needed to work it out.  (I didn't tell you yesterday that I was getting very sore & don't you tell Stanley!  I'm not at all hurt by it.)...
"Well, my dearest, I'm certainly ready and willing to join your family and form here on out I'm going to act that way.  I do feel a part of it now.  I certainly want you & your immediate family to know how much I enjoy and appreciate them.  I had the best time yet this weekend and especially my attempts at education into farm procedure.  I hope we can be a family as good and family-like as yours.  I think everyone of you is tops.  It's mighty good of you to take care of me for such a long time.
"I'm quite positive there's no one as good and good for me in the world as you and fortunately, in just 201 days, I won't have to get along without you any more."
--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans. to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Monday, July 7, 1947.  This is the first time that my mother called my father DeVere in a letter.  His name was Sidney DeVere Brown.  Most of his family called him DeVere, while his college friends and Navy friends called him Sid.

Jul 4, 2017

Fri, Jul 4, 1947: North End Tragedy

“Truck Kills Two Wichita Children: Small Sister and Brother Struck Down: Carol and Philip Berger, 7 and 9, are victims in North End Tragedy; Police Probe Speeding: Wichita suffered its second fatal traffic accident Thursday afternoon when two young children, sister and brother, were struck down and fatally injured by a truck as they were crossing the street a block from their home, 2202 North Minneapolis, to buy some firecrackers.”

-- Wichita Eagle, Friday, July 4, 1947.  Carol and Philip were the children of Woodrow Berger, my great-uncle. Carol was born October 31, 1939, and Philip Eugene, May 27, 1938.  The children often stayed with my grandparents, during times when Woodrow and his wife Maryjane were separated. The couple eventually divorced. 

Jul 1, 2017

Tue, Jul 1, 1947: 'chawin' tobacco

"Bales of alfalfa from the field to the hay rack to the barn loft in an endless procession -- this sums up my day.  Mechanical gadgets handle nearly all heavy work on the farm; but none is inexpensive enough to be practicable for this work. Hence I spent another day lifting alfalfa hay -- green gold to the farmer of 1947.  Warren drove the team and old Mr. Dickson with his snaggle-teeth a product of long years of ‘chawin’ tobacco, helped most of the day.  For a man of 65 he gets around surprisingly well.  His predilection to talkativeness has run out -- and the old man was almost reticent today.  Dad characterizes him as a 'hill billy.'"

-- Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Tuesday, July 1, 1947.

Jun 25, 2017

Wed, Jun 25, 1947: two boys & two girls

"Someone on the radio said the American home is the foundation & strongest thing in the world.  So many are not, however-- but we are going to make one more and we have confidence & hope that ours will be strong and an influence to the good for our two boys & two girls--Fortunately we can't see what is ahead of us, but we are going to go step by step doing what seems best & I at least am going to leave off wondering about paths we can't explore, for we can only take one at a time & must choose one at each crossroads--I suppose the crossroads will be many."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, June 25, 1947. My parents did, indeed, end up with two boys and two girls.

Jun 23, 2017

Mon, Jun 23, 1947: 'if a chicken drowns'

"After you left for Winfield last night I sat in grandpa's living room while the relatives gabbed. One can learn interesting facts by listening to such conversations, e.g., 'if a chicken drowns, give it to your neighbor.' That appears in the Bible--so Uncle Everett told his wife when she reprimanded him for giving a drowned chicken to a half-wit neighbor.  Since Uncle Everett is not an erudite man--quite definitely not the type to be a Bible reader, she took it with a grain of salt--until her Bible study class under the direction of Maude Haver took up a study of Deuteronomy the following evening.  Among the first verses read was the one containing in terse King James English the command which Uncle Everett had adhered to--3000 years after Moses had made it."
--Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, June 23, 1947.

Jun 19, 2017

Thu, Jun 19, 1947: worn out at 55

"Finally, Joe Naden, himself -- his head skinny and bald entered the barn to discuss the practical aspects of the unwanted rain. A victim of heart disease -- rather heavy -- worn out at 55 -- his only son a military casualty -- he seems a pitiable person to me.  He has one big interest in life yet -- His eyes fairly light up when he talks about the bumper oat crops. ‘I think it'll make 60 bushels to the acre,’ he predicts with a tone of voice alive, and different from the usual whiny voice."
--Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Thursday, June 19, 1947.

Jun 16, 2017

Mon, Jun 16, 1947: Farmall tractor

"The tractor driver does nothing but sit--so it appears to the outsider. Pulling a lister through tough Kansas gumbo soil entails a lot of work that doesn't appear on the surface, however.  After four hours aboard our Farmall tractor I felt as if I had done a day's work.  The job is wearing on the nerves--and eardrums--more than on the sinews and muscles. The illusion of pastoral peacefulness--which I had built up over the weekend here- has left me amidst the cacophony of a growling, roaring tractor, and a squeaking, hard-pulling lister. The noise still rings in my ears two hours later."
--Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, June 16, 1947.

Jun 9, 2017

Mon, Jun 9, 1947: a stupid dream

"I wasn't satisfied with that leave-taking last night, so this is to say I love you because I didn't get to then.  Also, because after a whole week, I miss you even more.  As if I wasn't bad enough off, I had a stupid dream last night in which Southwestern faculty, railroad workers, high school friends & I were all involved. At the end, I was going to marry Dr. Mac Gregor!"
--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Monday, June 9, 1947.

Jun 1, 2017

Sun, Jun 1, 1947: cooked first meal

“church at Grace – cooked first meal – meat loaf, roasting ears, shoestr potatoes, tomato salad, peaches – bike riding –“

--Entry in my mother’s diary about dating my father, Sunday,  June 1, 1947, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas.

May 29, 2017

Thu, May 29, 1947: that horse

"Your letter was much appreciated and enjoyed.  I want to see that horse before I know if I should be honored that you thought of naming it for me."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Bloomington, Kans., Thursday, May 29, 1947.

May 27, 2017

Tue, May 27, 1947: greenness of spring

"I wish that you could be out here in the country with me before the greenness of spring gives way to the parched brown of summer.  Except for tiny purple blossoms at the top our alfalfa was a sea of knee-deep greenness.  As a backdrop could be seen the green hedgerow.  To the far left as the team--Bess & Sorrel--with me trailing on the mower behind made way to the South, the grass of the meadow gave the illusion of being a smooth, green carpet.  The abundance of rainfall this spring has done it."
--Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., May 27, 1947.

May 26, 2017

Mon, May 26, 1947: burned to the ground

"The Winzer house--inhabited by a family of ten--burned to the ground early this morning.  No one was injured--but the fire consumed all of the family's possessions--except the car; so it was nothing short of catastrophic to them.
"The activity of neighbors since then has illustrated to me the difference in attitudes of rural and urban communities.  As soon as Dad got word he & Mom started searching the house for items which might be useful to the unfortunate family.  Before the morning had passed I believe that every family in the community had begun to contribute materials or labor to the cause....
"After a late dinner [lunch] we made preparations to cut alfalfa in the field south of the house... At long last Stan & I got the mowing equipment into action--his mower behind the tractor--and mine behind a team of horses--Ol' Daisy & Sorrel. (I was all set to change the name of the latter in your honor--until I discovered that a girl's name wouldn't fit him very well.)"

--Letter from my father, Bloomington, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Monday, May 26, 1947.

May 22, 2017

Thu, May 22, 1947: show

“came back at noon – nite – show – Best Years of Our Lives”
--Entry in my mother’s diary about dating my father, Thursday, May 22, 1947, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas.

May 3, 2017

Sat, May 3, 1947: Bloomington picnic

“went to Bloomington picnic – got acquainted with family over Rook”

--Entry in my mother’s diary about dating my father, Saturday, May 3, 1947, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas.  Bloomington was the small farming community my father grew up in.

May 1, 2017

Apr 24, 2017

Thu, Apr 24, 1947: an engagement

“Date #98 – a big long talk in North Hall Room 47 resulting in an engagement”

-- Entry in my mother’s diary, Thursday, April 24, 1947, about her engagement to my father.

Apr 15, 2017

Tue, Apr 15, 1947: back together

“called him over in pouring rain to go back together after a miserable day for both of us –”

-- Entry from my mother’s diary about getting back together with my father after a brief break-up, Tuesday, April 15, 1947.

Apr 8, 2017

Tue, Apr 8, 1947: cherry blossoms

"The cherry blossoms are just now coming into their own, and the most beautiful season of the year is upon us.  We went out to Atami yesterday to see the cherries and the most popular sea resort in Japan.  One wonderful thing about the bombings is that they have left completely intact such places as this and Kamakura.  The more you read up on Japan and actually see these places, the better it gets."

--Letter from John Howes, Japan, to my father, Winfield, Kans., Tuesday, April 8, 1947.  He was a fellow graduate of the Navy language program in Japanese.

Apr 2, 2017

Wed, Apr 2, 1947: cut potatoes

"When we got your laundry I thought it was a package for Dad so I opened it and it kind of surprised me.... Last Saturday morning I cut potatoes and spent part of the afternoon planting them."
--Letter from my uncle, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Winfield, Kans., Wednesday, April 2, 1947.

Mar 27, 2017

Thu, Mar 27, 1947: jerkwater town

"Yesterday at a jerkwater town named Leoti we ran into our first serious difficulty.  A strait-laced school superintendent attempted to stop the show mid way through the Boone-Basore part.  He disapproves of popular music and the girls duo provided plenty of it while the Chordbuilders put out some numbers which were rather flippant."

--Letter from my father, Larned, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Thursday, March 27, 1947.

Mar 21, 2017

Fri, Mar 21, 1947: knowledge about jazz

"Yesterday afternoon in Music Lit., we got started on a general discussion of music in general, having nothing better to do, and Mr. Blackburn asked what the only real music indigenous to American culture.  Little Ruthie really shone, and I discovered that I had picked up quite a lot of knowledge about jazz from you."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Hoisington, Kans., Friday, March 21, 1947.  My father was on a trip with the choir.

Mar 14, 2017

Fri, Mar 14, 1947: housing situation

"Your mention of plans to attend Madison have my heart approval--love that school.  The housing situation is very acute there, with many students living in barracks, and some commuting daily from a former ordnance plant site 35 miles away."
--Letter from Rollie Paulson, Iowa City, Iowa, to my father, Winfield, Kans., Friday, March 14, 1947.

Mar 4, 2017

Tue, Mar 4, 1947: both pretty nice

"The folks seemed to think Ruth and Elbert were both pretty nice.  I was so glad you got to come even if you did have to hurry off."

--Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Winfield, Kans., Tuesday, March 4, 1947.  Ruth (my mother) was my father's girlfriend.  Elbert was his sister's boyfriend.

Mar 2, 2017

Sun, Mar 2, 1947: Devotions

“supper at East Hall – church & Fellowships with Devotions by Sid on ‘Word’s Power’”

--Entry in my mother’s diary, Sunday, March 2, 1947, about dating my father.

Feb 23, 2017

Sun, Feb 23, 1947: marry that boy!!

“Mrs. Berger’s birthday party at Douglass – church, MYF – decided to marry that boy!!”

-- Entry in my mother’s diary, Sunday, February 23, 1947, about dating my father.  My great-grandmother (my father’s mother’s mother) turned 77 that day.

Feb 17, 2017

Mon, Feb 17, 1947: hard-looking women

"Friday night the Bloomington Church had a pie supper at the Schoolhouse to get the means to buy a furnace.  The proceeds amounted to about $117.  You should be proud of your mother as I won a large angel food cake as the best looking married lady there.  I hesitate a little about spreading that news as people might think this is a community of hard-looking women."

--Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans. to my father, Winfield, Kans., Monday, February 17, 1947.  My grandmother was just shy of her fiftieth birthday.

Feb 14, 2017

My mother and father at Valentine Dance, Southwestern College, 1947.

Fri, Feb 14, 1947: be my Valentine

“These sweets for thee, my sweet Ruth Murray.
Though you are always in a hurry,
Please try to find the time
Just to be my Valentine
       “Love,
            “Sid”

--Valentine’s card from my father to my mother, around February 14, 1947.

Feb 9, 2017

Sun, Feb 9, 1947: 'going steady now'

“church, Elijah, supper, church, Fellowship – so tired again. We’re ‘going steady now’”

--Entry in my mother’s diary about dating my father, Sunday, February 9, 1947.  Elijah refers to a performance or rehearsal of Felix Mendelssohn’s 1846 oratorio.

Jan 26, 2017

Sun, Jan 26, 1947: Daddy on radio

“listened to Daddy on radio – Elijah practice afternoon – supper, church & fellowship – talked about beliefs”

--Entry in my mother’s diary, Sunday, January 26, 1947, about day with my father.  My grandfather, Alvin Murray, was minister at the Methodist Church in Hutchinson, 100 miles northwest of Winfield, and apparently his sermons were broadcast on the radio.

Jan 21, 2017

Tue, Jan 21, 1947: 'so glad'

“came back with a rush – basketball – Kappa Rho vs. Delphi – ‘so glad’”

--Entry in my mother’s diary, Tuesday, January 21, 1947, about a date with my father.

Jan 15, 2017

Group at work on Southwestern College yearbook, 1946-47, left to right, Weber,my father, my mother, my aunt Barbara, Henry, Beatty, Abel.

Jan 14, 2017

Tue, Jan 14, 1947: Tokyo

"ATIS is a big office employing about 1,000 folks including GIs, civilians, and Japanese nationals.  The equipment is not as good as Washington's in that we don't have swivel chairs, fluorescent lights, or the fine reference material that made life so comparatively good....
"The physical surroundings in which we live here in Tokyo are really quite wonderful.  I am in the Continental Hotel which is the old Aji no Moto building remodeled into a hotel for occupation forces of the CAF 1-6.  It is eight stories high, has a fine restaurant in the basement, good lounge and bar on the first, and rooms on the other floors with a room garden and little shrine to fertility on top. (From the number of kids seen running around the streets, the latter is unnecessary)....
"There is no end of stateside amusement here; there are at least six theatres, the Nippon Philharmonic Orchestra which presents concerts every Sunday afternoon, sight-seeing tours, the college courses mentioned before, and trips to other parts of Japan.  In fact, there is so large a community here of Americans that they have called off limits everything which is truly Japanese and force you into this American entertainment which can be better had in Wichita."

--Letter from John Howes, Tokyo, to my father, Winfield, Kans., January 14, 1947. John was a Navy language officer in Japan and a former Navy school classmate of my father.  He was encouraging my father to apply for jobs in Japan. ATIS was the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

Jan 12, 2017

Sun, Jan 12, 1947: hitch-hiked

"We are taking it for granted that you got to your destination the day you hitch-hiked to Winfield.  However we'd feel just a little bit better, if we could have words to that effect from you...
"School is going along about as usual with some of the larger boys thinking up more mischief all the time and poorer preparation of their lessons.  But I guess I shouldn't worry, it's their life that is being damaged not mine.  Then on the other hand some are doing such surprisingly good work."

--Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Winfield, Kans., Sunday, January 12, 1947.

Jan 2, 2017

Thu, Jan 2, 1947: 'for the fun of it'

“3 meals – game with U. of Mexico – drug – sleepy at game – will keep this on ‘for the fun of it’”

--Entry in my mother’s diary, about a day with my father.  “drug” refers to going to the drugstore.

Thu, Jan 2, 1947: "for the fun of it"

“3 meals – game with U. of Mexico – drug – sleepy at game – will keep this on ‘for the fun of it’”

--Entry in my mother’s diary, about a day with my father, Thursday, January 2, 1947, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas.  “drug” refers to going to the drugstore.