Sunday, July 12, 2020
May 27, 1944: Sunflower Plant Plans
Letter from Opa to Grandmother, May 27, 1944.
May 27, 1944
I guess this will be my last letter to you, at least before you get to Lawrence; for this reason, I shall make it reasonably comprehensive.
To begin with, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the honor of having my name dedicated to those lovely creature of the pig house. You don't know how much I appreciate that. By the way, are you sure they were al of the proper sex? I don't believe that a lady would appreciate the handle "Thomas IV." (You might change it to "Thomasine.")
If I ever was so inspired it was last night. Missing the 7:10 mail in Aggieville by about a half a block, I, after the proper amount of god-bless-you's, went downtown. Ruthy had my bike, so I had to walk. And whom did I meet but our beloved friend Mrs. Paustian. We walked and she talked all the way to town, where she went in order to buy some beds at some auction (to have 100% single beds.) She was just as friendly as during the first days of last year's summer school, asked all about you and me and why and how. Downtown, I stopped to talk to a bible-school student for a while and then, when I decided it is more than time to go home, I met Bob Seaton. We went to a drug store and argued till eleven o'clock, got thrown out, and kept arguing outside till after midnight. The topics were extremely interesting and of major importance: first we argued about whether a person's IQ depends solely on his hereditary quality, or whether environment can influence it. After this problem was solved (?), we somehow or other switched to Einstein and discussed the question whether or not the Doppler Effect is in contradiction to Einstein's theory of relativity and the Lorentz transformation. Just what is your opinion on the matter?
Among other things, I made a very unpleasant discovery today: I shall have to work ten more hours in the library after Monday. Somehow, I had miscounted my time.
No word from either RCA nor Kansas City yet, but I didn't really expect any yet anyhow. I might decide to take a job at the Sunflower Plant in Topeka until I hear something definite from Kansas City. That won't be much farther from Lawrence than K.C., would it? Sunflower Plant offers good wages on an hourly basis, that means I could quit any time I got the job in K.C. or in the East.
Most of today, besides taking my yearly scrub, was spent packing. All my books are stored away in boxes, and so are the major part of my clothes. If you now some Boy Scout who hunts old paper and magazine, tell him there is a gold pit on Moro St. I never knew I had that much junk ready for the incinerator.
Jim Logan went to Leavenworth, doing his darnedest to get into the Navy; he is color-blind though and will have to go to the army. Too, too bad.
Today I'll make that 7:10 mailman, by cracky!!
P.S. I bought a special Parker-51 ink for my fountain pen; it's just marvelous; dries instantly and is almost readable.
First things first: in the pen collecting world: the Parker-51 maintains its legacy (both the pen and the ink) as one of the most popular pens/ink made. Opa wasn't the only one impressed.
Moving along to Opa's letter. I love Opa, I really do, but my goodness he's a little smug. I know he's trying to be funny and I'm sure Grandmother took it as such. However, I rolled my eyes at his monologue about all the intellectual arguments he got into with his friend Bob, and then the ending when he asks Grandmother what her opinion is on the Einstein discussion. Obviously she doesn't know (nor does she care), and he's sort of teasing her about that.
At the same time, how much more "American College experience" can you get? This is the time and space for hours long discussions on theories and whatever else floats your boat. There is nothing wrong with that (I think it is good!). Just maybe don't flaunt your knowledge to someone who isn't in your major. We all have our spheres.
Opa is making plans (or trying) and packing for a move that he does not yet know the destination. He's hoping to hear from one of the major corporations who have expressed interest in him despite his German-ness. In the meantime he has a lead with the Sunflower Plant.
Here's what it looked like in 2015. In 1941, when it was built, it was the largest smokeless powder plant. Opa says the plant paid decently and hourly, so it was a great back-up plan for him until he heard from the other companies. It's a good plan.
Opa has gotten use to making it work and flying by the seat of his pants. Only now he has Grandmother as a nice companion for the ride.
We'll see how it goes!