Oct 27, 2015

Sat, Oct 27, 1945: trailer house camp

"From the sound of all those soldier parties a lot of the boys from home are stepping back into 'civvies.'  I wouldn't mind doing it myself - or at least known how long I'll be kept in if I finish this course....
"The Augusta Gazette brings word that Buel Robinson plans to go to school here next term.  I hope he can find a house -- Perhaps he can get in on the trailer house camp being set up for married veterans.  Vacant houses in Boulder are just about non-existant.  A lot of married language students are even finding it necessary to ship their wives and kids home; because so many veterans are coming back to claim their houses."

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, October 27, 1945.

Oct 24, 2015

Wed, Oct 24, 1945: do some good

"You might also tell the folks to send out a mouse trap or poison cheese.  To add to my sleeping troubles, last night a mouse started gnawing on something about 10 minutes after I crawled into bed.... Each time I made some racket he stopped; but I still haven't located the culprit....
"You mentioned being surprised when Norma told you about my plans for being a minister or possibly a missionary.  Your surprise is justified. I've done little so far to indicate that I was headed in that direction.  But recently a big change has come over me.  I would like to do some good while on this earth; and feel that I might be able to in that field.
"As a lawyer, I'd probably be a failure - for a reason Norma mentioned.  I'm too honest."

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his sister, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, October 24, 1945.

Oct 13, 2015

Sat, Oct 13, 1945: a "memorizing machine"

"I think you're right about getting out of this work, Dad. I'm going to stick it out.  The next nine weeks will be the worst, and then we hit the 'gravy train.'  I was a little bit disgusted last week with being a 'memorizing machine' for the Navy with no objective in view.  But although I went somewhere almost everynight, including a football game Friday before the big test, I didn't make a mark below 95 in four tests Saturday morning.  The thing that really worried me was that I felt so tired -almost too tired to think - and decided I needed a change.  The medical officer agreed that a lot of men would be better of physically elsewhere but didn't seem to think anything is wrong that won't correct itself when they graduate me from this 'prison.'"

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, October 13, 1945.  My father had been considering switching of the language program; but my grandfather had discouraged him from doing that in a previous letter.

Sat, Oct 13, 1945: climbed into a bed

"I was sent to Leyte with about 40 others assigned to a new unit.  Well while there I runs over to the 118th Gen Hosp to check on what had happened to all the fellows who were the with Schisto when I was there.  Found that there were orders from Washington stating that all treated schisto's will be sent back to the states - so I darn near climbed into a bed then and there."

-- Letter from Joyce Sooter, Moore General Hospital, Swannanoa, N.C., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Saturday, October 13, 1945.

Oct 10, 2015

Wed, Oct 10, 1945: quite an American now

"Everything is growing better here and we perceive each day that the whole of the world is prepared to help us.  Food rations have increased from 400 to 2300 calories a week.  I am quite an American now for I wear shirts and shoes handed out by the American Army.  When I had to dive I lost namely nearly all my clothes.  Only cigarettes are still very scarce here and as you will know a Dutchman is no real Dutchman without a cigaret.  We get only 20 a week.  Some people get cigarettes from relations abroad.  Therefore I would ask you to do me the pleasure to see if you can send me some cigarettes, say 300 to 400. I will repay them to you, of course, as soon as I know what I owe you."

-- Letter from Jacobus Lieshout, Hoorn, Netherlands, to my father, Boulder, Colorado, October 10, 1945. Jacobus was my father's penpal during high school.

Oct 6, 2015

Sat, Oct 6, 1945: College life

"I like the way you're taking hold of College life. From the looks of the Collegian you're a busy girl.  Say that pose of you and Norma on the front page is a honey.
"Sis you'll have to teach me something about women. I'm afraid things aren't going too well between [Norma and me] -- not that we aren't still friends -- but things aren't moving in the right direction. I'm crazy about her -- but she seems to be losing interest and there's nothing I can do about it out here."

-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo., to his sister, Winfield, Kans., October 6, 1945.

Oct 1, 2015

Fall 1945: enrolled in debate

“I had enjoyed debate in high school; where my coach was Ward Henderson, a forensics star at Southwestern in 1936.  Accordingly, I enrolled in debate at Southwestern in the fall of 1945.  Dr. Allen the debate coach, was the father of my best friend from grade school days.  I had often visited his home, but whenever I took classes from him at Southwestern, he always addressed me formally, as was the custom in those far-off times.  It was always ‘Miss Murray.’  Another student was Bob Hill, whom I had known in grade school.  His intellectual abilities were entirely inadequate to the demands of discussion and debate, or for that matter, the demands of college work at all.  But it kept him out of mischief, and I assume that his father paid the tuition.
“Our first discussion assignment was to be on the possible future of atomic energy (this was just after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan).  Dr. Allen insisted that we allow Bob to participate in the discussion.  There were to be no snickers, and no unkind remarks directed at Bob.  It became an intellectual challenge for us to say anything sensible in response to what Bob said.  It was a lesson to all of us to respect others regardless of their limitations.
“During that year, our participation in debates depended on Dr. Allen’s being able to get gas for his car.  We took as many as his car would hold to tournaments at McPherson and Bethany Colleges in Kansas.  We also took longer trips to Nebraska, to the Great Plains Tournament at Kearney; and to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Theresa Knapp always sat in the front seat because she was subject to carsickness.  The rest of us crowded together in the back seat.  Highlights of the trips was a stop in Oxford Kansas for Dr. Allen’s favorite pies.”

--Excerpt from brief memoir by my mother, Ruth Murray Brown, written about 2001, about her participation in debate in college.