Mar 31, 2015

Sat, Mar 31, 1945: in the sun

"With this new avalanche of work I’ve been forced to revise my bedtime upwards from 10 to 11 P.M.  But Fred Tremayne and I still spend out afternoons studying in the sun, and it seems to pep me up to the extent that I never get sleepy.  Join the Navy and Sunbathe in Vacationland Colorado….
“Say Dad - do you have the dog population of Bloomington Township tabulated yet?"

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, March 31, 1945.  My father seems to be ribbing his dad about his assessing work.  Based on assessment records I’ve looked at elsewhere, my grandfather was likely counting and assessing the value of horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, cars, bicycles, furniture, pianos, jewelry, farm equipment and buildings, etc., but probably not counting dogs.

Mar 19, 2015

Mon, Mar 19, 1945: pass

"Dear De Vere Sir,
"The Sgt wishes to write!  So if you will be at ease, I'll carry on, from here....
"In the morning I'm going on pass to Liege, Begium.  The boys say they had a lot of fun there.  So expect I will too.  The platoon Sgt. just told me I'm not going on pass but to a rest camp for 3 days.  I'm going to have a big time now.
"Wayne is about 30 miles from here, our paths might cross again!  I hope so."

-- Letter from Dale Sooter, Germany, to my father, Boulder, Colo., Monday, March 19, 1945.  Wayne was a cousin of both Dale and my father.  

Mar 13, 2015

Tue, Mar 13, 1945: “them days”

"Here I am sitting around a table in Smith Hall kitchen with a lot of Sigma mates writing letters to former Delphians and whose name should appear on the list but yours!  Everyone looked over the list and said, 'What's this guy like?  Hey is this guy married?  Is this sailor good looking?' So I said 'Well I'm going to write to this guy because I know he's tops!'… [switch from Norma Harrold writing to Mary Nakahiro writing]
"Norma told me you are studying Japanese at Boulder! Tough I'll bet!!! I know, because I've tried to study that ‘chicken scratch’ once upon a time way back in 'them days' in Pasadena, California (plug!) -- and I have several friends (Nisei) who are studying at Ft. Snelling, Minn."
-- Letter from several women at Southwestern College, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, March 13, 1945.  Although I know nothing specifically about Mary Nakahiro, it seems very likely from her letter that she was a Japanese American who living in Pasadena, California, and was incarcerated along with all other West Coast Japanese Americans in early 1942.  Many of these prisoners were allowed to leave the so-called relocation camps in order to attend college or work jobs outside of the West Coast exclusion zone.  By the end of 1944, about one third of the incarcerated Japanese Americans had been allowed to leave the camps under clearance programs. Many Japanese American men, and some women, were already serving in the military when the war began and many more were drafted or  joined while they were incarcerated in relocation camps.  Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, hosted the Military Intelligence Service Language School from 1944 to 1945, where Nisei were trained in Japanese language for intelligence work.
            Many churches, including the Methodist Church, organized programs to help Japanese American student out of the camps by giving them opportunities to attend college. The Japanese American Student Relocation Committee of the Methodist Church decided in December 1942 to focus its aid on Japanese American Methodists seeking to attend Methodist schools (such as Southwestern College, where my father attended.).  They gave second priority to Methodist students wanting to attend non-Methodist schools.  They gave the lowest priority to helping Buddhist students.

Sources: James C. McNaughton, Nisei Linguists p. 300; Allan W. Austin, From Concentration Camp to Campus: Japanese American Students and World War II (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 44.

Mar 7, 2015

Wed, Mar 7, 1945: old gent

"Last Saturday we finally made our bike ride up Boulder Canyon....The high point of the trip was visit with an old timer in Christman.  When we passed his house the old gent was combing cockleburrs out of his dogs tail.  Seeming to be so leisurely we went back and asked him a few questions in regard to points of interest in the vicinity. This was enough to light the fuse to an apparently endless collection of anecdotes and facts about Four Mill Creek.
"First he told us the complete history of the old Bolder Valley narrow gauge railway, which ran up to the gold mining towns of Wall Street and Gold Hill, until washed out in 1923.... There is nothing like talking to a native who knows every foot of ground within a ten mile radius and every person or event within the last fifty years for learning the history of a place….
"A page or so ago I took time out to go to Denver with some of the boys. After taking care of the shopping we dropped won to the Ichiyo Cafe for supper. And this Cafe in the Japanese district put out a meal, the like of which I've never seen before - for 90¢.  We really got our chance to read Japanese; for the menu was written in characters and many of the juke box numbers were labelled only with kanji. However, the waitress, a nisei (2nd generation) knew less Japanese than we - so our conversational knowledge of the language didn't get a workout.  She confided in us that a number of boys from our school had appeared there in recent weeks and tried to engage her in conversation.  However, since it was incomprehensible to her, she usually bluffed her through by laughing at the remarks -- but she had decided not to pull her bluff on us."
-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., March 7, 1945.  

Mar 3, 2015

My father in his Navy ensign uniform, as a student at the Naval language school, Boulder, Colo., 1944-1946.