Jan 26, 2015

Fri, Jan 26, 1945: keep right in the “buggy”

"Your letter to Stanley came O.K. and sounds as though you had plenty to do, keep right in the "Buggy" and you'll come out all right....
"If my memory serves me right you have a birthday coming up on Monday, you will be twenty, think you will find the years between 20 and 51 will pass in a hurry, so make the best off your young years because from now on you won't know where they went too….
"Mothers school is about as usual with the added attraction that last Saturday some kids put the stink part of a skunk down the register and of course things have been pretty well scented up around there, she just found up who did it today."
-- Letter from my grandfather, Leonard Reeves Brown, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Sidney DeVere Brown, Boulder, Colo., Friday, January 26, 1945. 

Jan 17, 2015

Wed, Jan 17, 1945: carrying on

"We are getting along nicely. We miss you men very much.  The girls are doing a great job, however, in carrying on until you return."
-- Letter from Rob Roy MacGregor, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, January 17, 1945.  MacGregor was one of my father's college professors. My mother, Ruth Murray, was one of the “girls” at Southwestern, having arrived there in 1944. 

Jan 14, 2015

Sun, Jan 14, 1945: the pup

"P.S. We just took six weeks tests last weeks
"The pup is getting onerier every day.
"We just butchered two calves they were not very big. Yesterday we made some lard. I helped cut it up.
"Out here it seems more like spring than winter.  There isn't any ice on the creek and no snow on the ground."

-- Letter from my uncle, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Sunday, January 14, 1945.

Sun, Jan 14, 1945: a little hike

"Yesterday we took a little hike into the mountains.  This time Jim, Everett Bostrom (a boy in my section) and I explored the 'Flatirons', west of town.  Our excursion took us slightly farther than we had intended to go, so our arrival back in the city was rather late.  That meant that all of my studying has to be done today.  We had a good time, though; and nothing less than an airplane could give us as good a view of Boulder."
-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Sunday, January 14, 1945.  Two days earlier, on January 12, the Soviets had launched an offensive against German forces that would lead to the liberation of Warsaw and Krakow in a matter of weeks.
Undated photograph of my father, likely hiking near Boulder, Colorado, sometime 1944 to 1946.

Jan 5, 2015

Fri, Jan 5, 1945: stumped

"The Language school will fold up in September according to the navy.  It's being whittled down right now.  All but 8 of the 30 Japanese instructors have received notice of dismissal in March.  That's right after our class of 22 goes out (half the school.)  Some of the teachers are giving up their jobs with regrets.  $3000 to $3500 per year seems to be an average salary.  It'll be a blow to go back to running grocery stores, being chauffeurs, or underpaid college instructors as some were before the war....
"My ex-roommate Jim Allen who transferred out in September has a high sounding job now.  He's head of the department of welfare and labor in Jinazu Province of Okinawa.  (Knowing Jim as I do and his immature attitude toward life I'm just a little worried about the laboring class over in Jinazu Prefecture).  He says the chances to use Japanese are limitless.  The second day the island commander used him as an interpreter - with 'horrifying results'.  Things like 'When did the pump break down' and "Do you have a lock for the jail' stumped him."

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Friday, January 5, 1945.

Jan 1, 2015

Wed, Jan 3, 1945: two honks

"We saw the New Year come in at Bert's Place, the only eating house or business establishment of any kind open at that time in Geneseo.  The people of Geneseo weren't in a very festive mood that night; for the only resemblance to a celebration there was two honks on some one's car horn at the stroke of twelve.
"New Year's Night our conversation instructor, K. Sato, invited us down to his house.  The strange assortment of food on his table was very tasty. Among the Japanese delicacies served were bamboo sprouts and rice cakes wrapped in seaweed.  To make the meal more amusing we were given chopsticks instead of the customary knife, fork, and spoon."
-- Letter from my father, Sidney DeVere Brown, Boulder, Colo., age 19, to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, January 3, 1945.  This letter is about my father's trip back from Christmas furlough with his family to the naval language school in Boulder, Colo.  Geneseo is a small town in central Kansas, 100 miles northwest of Wichita.  By January 1, Allied forces had turned back the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge and continued advancing into Germany.