Feb 24, 2015

Sat, Feb 24, 1945: housing situation

"The school may possibly move to some point on the west coast.  Commander Heinmarsh, who is in charge, and tours the country picking up students, stopped here this week and among other things they discussed prospective sites for the school if moved.  This was at a meeting of all teachers.  For one thing the housing situation is bad here.  Boulder property owners won't rent to 'Japs.'  So instead of building houses for the instructors the Navy plans to pull up stakes and leave- from all indications. My roommate is all enthusiastic about rumors that we may go to California; since he once attended UCLA; but I prefer it in Boulder - 13 hrs. from home instead of 2 days.  And as yet I haven't had the opportunity to explore the nearby mountains....
"Every evening after supper, I go down to the room of my dictation instructor, Mr. Toyota, for 40 or 45 minutes of speaking Japanese.  He's a very enthusiastic teacher and invited me down without a request for help or anything. In class, he has a time, because his English is so bad that he can't get anything across to us in the line of explanations.  Even if he does know the proper word, his pronunciation is so bad that none of us recognize it.  Yesterday the boys got tickled at him, while going through some long winded explanation, and I think the old fellow got slightly angered...The old fellow really does have a brighter side.  Sergt. Beatty discovered how to get on the good side of him the other day when referred to him as "O sensei sama."  Sensei means teacher, and we usually call him that; but the O makes it more polite, and the sama does the same.  So, together - it was about like calling him a god.  The old fellow beamed anyhow.  A comment on the beauty of the Japanese characters which he has drawn will also bring a broad smile."
-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, February 24, 1945. 

Feb 18, 2015

Sun, Feb 18, 1945: health

"Aunt Frances has had a second letter from Joyce.  He still didn't say much except that he was O.K.  Aunt Edith heard from Max and he had crossed the equator and was where it was very hot but she does not know exactly his whereabouts  However she thinks he was headed for the Phillipines....
"Your work seems to be getting harder isn't it?  Don't (as you say) ruin your health by studying too hard.  It isn't worth that much.  Besides if you just can't make it there is always something else you can do.  I think you have done very well considering the fact that you had no previous training at all.  It is no wonder some of them seem to get along so well when they have had thirteen years to study etc."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Sunday, February 18, 1945

Feb 15, 2015

Thu, Feb 15, 1945: censor

"The only exam I have is that sometimes the variety of subjects we have to write about over here gets in a well worn rut and it darn hard to get out because the censor sometimes cut out that which is written about the military side and as over here there is very little outside the military it is hard job sometimes to guess just how close you can get into the military without having your letter thrown back at you or cut to pieces like a paper in the hands of a crazy woman with a pair of scissors which is all that keeps from giveing you  a real story. One that if it were in the movie would make most people say sounds like a lot of B.S. to me."

-- Letter from Joyce Sooter to my father (his cousin), Boulder, Colo., Thursday, February 15, 1945.  Joyce, a private in the army, was in a hospital in Leyte, Philippines, suffering from amoebic dysentery and schistosomiasis. His letter makes no reference to any of that, presumably due to concerns about censors.  He had participated in the U.S. assault on New Guinea and then of the Philippines.

Feb 11, 2015

Sun, Feb 11, 1945: pen pal

"Dearest DeVere:- We certainly appreciated your letter last week.  In fact we let several people read it.  Daddy gave it to Ruby and Homer to read, then Barbara took it to school and let some of the kids and faculty read it.  Among the faculty members were Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Hayes who said as he began reading 'My favorite reading material.'...
"We received this card from your Belgian pen pal yesterday.  Evidently he has gotten your name mixed with Stanley's or something.  I suppose you can send him only a post card also.  Don't you suppose you could write to the boy in Holland now that most of Germans are out of there?"

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Sunday, February 11, 1945.  This was the first my father had heard from his Belgian pen pal, since the war had started.  He had a second European pen pal in Holland, from whom he hadn't heard.

Feb 5, 2015

Mon, Feb 5, 1945: four good tires

"Yesterday afternoon Mother, Stanley & I, while Barbara studied, went down to Grandpa & Grandma's and today I took Grandpa to El Dorado to see about his A.A.A. sign up and I got the lights fixed on the car, they went out on Mother & Barbara coming home from church last night.  I don't know wheither I ever told you or not, but I got two more new tires a short time back so that makes four good tires on the car now."
-- Letter from my grandfather, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Monday, February 5, 1945. 

Feb 2, 2015

My mother, Ruth Murray, center left, with fellow residents of Allison Hall in a yearbook photograph from her freshman year at Southwestern College, 1944-1945.