Dec 15, 2015

Sat, Dec 15, 1945: Yamashita trial

"Speaking of the Yamashita trial--our alumunus as of July 28th -- Major Harry Pratt has been getting some more publicity.  He is shown standing beside General Yamashita in the AP photo of the General hearing the death sentence pronouncement.  As head interpreter Pratt was supposed to be merely a supervisor.  However, the nisei boys assigned to the actual questioning were so bad on English that the major had to take over the job personally.  (He wrote this in a letter to Mr. Ozamoto one of our instructors.)  It seems that Yamashita told Pratt that he couldn't understand his Japanese -- or, at least made some complaint about it.  Pratt mentioned the incident in his letter and added 'That's all right, I couldn't understand his either.' "
-- Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo.,  to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, December 15, 1945.  General Yamashita was executed on February 23, 1946. 

Dec 11, 2015

Tue, Dec 11, 1945: still in a bit of a fog

"I didn't make a mistake in applying for a transfer, though for quite awhile it seemed certain I had.  I'm now thick in the midst of military government for this district of Jiniya in Okinawa, occupying the post of military head of the departments of Welfare and Labor.  As I just arrived I'm still in a bit of a fog as to what I do.  In general, the function of MG seems to supervise and prod the natives on a little....
"Contrary to opinion prevelant [sic], Okinawans, with the exception of a few ancients, speak good Japanese. I wish I did.  The second day I was here the officer-in-chg. of the dist (only one MG co for the whole island) used me as an interpretor - with horrifying results.  Things like 'How long since the pump broke down?' and Do you have a lock for the jail' floored me completely.  Ah me."
-- Letter from Jim Allen, Okinawa, Japan, to my father, Boulder, Colo.  Tuesday, December 11, 1945.

Dec 8, 2015

Sat, Dec 8, 1945: the heartiest of handshakes

"Did I tell you abour our latest distinguished student?  He's Mike Forrestal, son of the Secretary of the Navy.  Mike is here to study Russian -- probably just a jump ahead of the draft.  He's a civilian and barely 18.  The kid has a lot of energy.  And he should do as well as his dad in politics.  When I was introduced to him he gave me the heartiest of handshakes -- as if he were never so glad to meet anyone in his life as me -- when somehow I had the feeling he didn't care whether my name was Brown, Jones or Smith.  I shouldn't have said that.  Mike really seems to be trying to make friends."

--Letter from my father, Boulder, Colo.,  to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Saturday, December 8, 1945.  My father was right about Mike Forrestal.  He went on to be a key advisor to McGeorge Bundy, John F. Kennedy's national security advisor.

Dec 4, 2015

Tue, Dec 4, 1945: spondulix

"Daddy took some calves to Wichita to-day.  Two of them were yours so I expect you'll be having a little extra spondulix.  They brought $12.00 a hundred but Daddy didn't stay to see how much they weighed."

--Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, December 4, 1945.  “Spondulix” means money.