Apr 22, 2015

Sun, Apr 22, 1945: freak day

"Grandma and Grandpa are intending to move to Douglass as soon as they can get a house.  So far they haven't found anything they liked very well and are still living on the place.  It rained really hard the evening before their sale and there wasn't a very large crowd.  However everything went very well but did not bring as much as papa would have liked to have them bring. He really hated to have to give up his sorrel horses. Uncle Everett bought the farm.  He intends to rent it out if he can....
"The Seniors had their freak day last Tues.  On Monday, the rivers were up so badly they couldn't get to school but the most of the freaks got there Tues.  They were all supposed to be Dog Patchers.  Bill Kennedy was Little Abner and Lotus Noll was Daisy Mae.  All the girls carried cob pipes and I guess they were a mess.  Barbara had on a dress made out of various colored rags and had freckles painted on.  She went bare-footed all day in the school house.  After school they had a picnic in the park and in the evening a party.  They were really tired when it was all over."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Sunday, April 22, 1945.

Apr 21, 2015

Sat, Apr 21, 1945: chattering

"This afternoon we plan to bike ride down to Eldorado Springs -- 9 miles south....It'll be good relaxation to get away from the Navy Japanese Language School, ‘which sets men to chattering Japanese in three months,’ even for a few days.  The above quotation if from a quote posted on the bulletin board by some jokester.  Apparently it was clipped from a magazine.  Anyhow it ran like this ‘It used to be thought that Japanese couldn't be learned in 4 years of intensive study; but the Navy Language School at Boulder, Colo., sets you to chattering it in 3 months.’  Well -- I haven't noticed myself chattering it yet."
-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo.,  to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, April 21, 1945.

Apr 19, 2015

Thu, Apr 19, 1945: the hell knocked out of it

[language warning] “Well Son, I finally made it. I am now in ‘Der Fatherland.’ I knew I should have taken more interest in that year of College German we took....
“We arrived in Le Havre France not too long ago and from there went to a camp called 'Lucky Strik'  We then came through Belgium and now here in Germany.  We came through Aachen and brother they really knocked the living hell out of that time for that matter about every town over here has had the hell knocked out of it.  We have been in action here in Germany, have been fixing the guns at the Krauts.”

--Letter from Everett “Sammy” Samuelson, Germany, to my father, Boulder, Colo., April 19, 1945.  “Lucky Strike” was one of the “cigarette camps” established by allied forces near Le Havre in northwestern France, across the channel from England.  Aachen is a German town near Belgium and the Netherlands.   Samuelson was my father’s classmate and a member of his pep club and singing quartet at Southwestern College.  He was an army corporal, leading a mobile gun team in the field artillery. 

Apr 15, 2015

Sun, Apr 15, 1945: new President

"we finally got through combining kaffir finished the last job last Monday, have'nt got much farming done yet, sowed about forty acres of Oats I am not quite through assessing yet, have about a dozen to see yet and one a them is in Wichita one in El Dorado & one in Douglass  I have gotten along pretty well with the job.  The biggest holler is the roads everybody wants their roads fixed, and nobody wants that kind of a job.
"Seems like we have a new President of the United States.  Certainly was surprised at Pres. Roosevelt death, his late pictures have shown that he didn't look to good.”

-- Letter from my grandfather, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., April 15, 1945.   In his memoir, my father noted, “Although Leonard was a Republican, and did not agree with many of FDR's policies, he conceded that the jaunty, confident political leader had ‘a good radio voice.'" Leonard did participate in New Deal programs like the Agricultural Adjustment Act, saying “If they’re going to do this, then we ought to get in there and run it.”

Apr 14, 2015

Sat, Apr 14, 1945: President Roosevelt's death

"Dear Folks:
"The shock of President Roosevelt's death has certainly left it's mark on the routine of our school.
"Although classes and tests have continued as usual, a much soberer note has been lent to the dormitory. Everyday seems like Sunday afternoon with radios broadcasting only organ music.  And even the blatant jazz of the chow room loud speaker has been replaced by music of a more stately nature.
"Last Friday in accordance with the 'Rocks and Shoals', all men put on 3" black mourning crepe bands.  However by noon an AlNav (rule applying the entire Navy) had come through abolishing this provision of the Articles for Govt. of the U.S. Navy.  Otherwise we would have worn them for 29 days.
"A number of services have been held in his memory.  Yesterday the entire University gathered in Macky Auditorium to hear Pres. Gustafson speak and tomorrow evening at 8 P.M. a more formal memorial service will be held.
"Pres. Truman doesn't appear to be a spectacular man, but apparently he's honest and determined.  There seems to be a tendency to ridicule the man here; and, true he didn't have a statesmanlike appearance in Life's recent Picture of the Week which showed him playing a piano upon which Lauren Bacall was roosted.
"But I think we should give the man a chance to show what he's made of before writing him off as another Johnson."

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, April 14, 1945.  Franklin D. Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Ga., on April 12, 1945, at age 63, less than three months after having been sworn in for his fourth term as president.  He died of a massive stroke, after months of declining health. Harry S. Truman was sworn in as president at the White House within three hours of Roosevelt’s death.

Apr 10, 2015

Tue, Apr 10, 1945: sale bill

"I was really surprised as we were returning from the track meet to see a sale bill in a restaurant at Douglass with papa's name signed to it.  The sale is to be to-morrow and they are to sell the place as well as other farm equipment. I am trying to work it some way so that I may attend the sale.  Betty Jones has said she will teach for me but I haven't got to see the school board yet."

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to  my father, Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, April 10, 1945.  Papa refers to her father, Charles Sumner Berger. Soviet forces would capture Vienna, three days later on April 13.

Apr 6, 2015

My mother, Ruth Murray, far right, at work in the Southwestern College business office, as a college freshman, Winfield, Kans., 1944-1945.

Apr 2, 2015

Mon, Apr 2, 1945: alive yet

"Sunday morning we went to Sunday School and on leaving learned it was our time to entertain 'Joe.'  As it happened I had gone to a little extra for dinner because of Easter and we had fried chicken, sliced tomatoes, ice cream, etc.  But the house wasn't exactly clean.  However Joe still seemed to be alive yet when church was over so I guess he survived."
-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., April 2, 1945.  Joe was the preacher at the Methodist church.