Monday, August 31, 2020
June 23 & 24, 1944: Waiting to Work
Letter from Opa to Grandmother, June 23, 1944.
Something was the matter with the phone last night; I could hardly understand you, but it was nice to hear you anyway.
I left Dallas Wednesday night at 9:30, got to Wichita Thursday at eleven, bought myself some working pants and a hat (!), and took the 1:00 bus to McPherson. They did not seem very surprised to see me here, even though they didn't think I would come till today.
It's nice seeing Hubert again; Lula's sister Nora seems to be a nice girl, too; very young. Hubert seems to be especially glad to have her here, and from all appearances, she treats him very nicely; fully disregards his handicap as far as possible.
Probably, I'll go to Spohns' on Sunday. I called them last night, but it was practically impossible to understand; I don't know what's the matter with this phone. Anyhow, send letters to Spohns from now on; I shall stay there till Friday, when it will be time to go out to Oklahoma or wherever the may send us.
Well, I had better go to to shuck some oats. What isn't ready to cut yet, probably won't be till about Monday or Tuesday.
Bye , honey; write soon!
Letter from Opa to Grandmother, June 24, 1944.
My dearest little Monkeytail,
I didn't get around to writing to you last night, was awfully tired. What did you try to call for, honey? This rural phone is just impossible.
Thanks for forwarding all the mail; I certainly got a bunch of it today. Winton sends you his best regards; he thinks he may have to take basic all over again; still he does not know what he's supposed to be doing there.
I wished I could see you before leaving; there may be a chance of my going via Topeka because of the permit; in that case, could you come there on Thursday afternoon? If you can take Friday morning off, we may have that time, too. Don't plan anything definite yet, though, because I don't know where I am to go. Also, I may not have enough dough to make the detour over Topeka, for I'll have to pay my ticket and have to keep enough money for living expenses till the 15th of July, first payday. I shall let you know as soon as I hear.
The last two days I have been shucking oats here at Shelleys; today it was just awfully hot; makes a guy know he has been working. The reason I sat here is because Charlie's harvest won't start till Wednesday or so; so I work here. I'll spend tomorrow (Sunday) out at Spohn's, though. I wished you could have come down to go with me and meet them!
Shelleys send you their regards; Hubert even his love, but I won't let him. I am just terribly lonesome for you!
Lots of love,
Do you still want to go to Texas with me? If you do, pack your suitcase and let's go!!!
Opa is buying time, working at the farms of friends from his McPherson days, until he reports for work. I'm not sure why he didn't start right away when the folks who hired him wanted him to start. Did he want a little time with friends (and maybe Grandmother) before he left? Maybe he promised the families he would help with the harvest.
I assume Grandmother is at home during this time. I'm not sure what her flexibility is for traveling, but it seems she can't easily go off and see him. She's working, so maybe she's still at Kansas State.
It occurred to me that Grandmother doesn't know everyone from the McPherson days. She likely met the folks who transferred to Kansas State, and whoever visited.
Opa mentions Hubert's disability, and I'm not sure I've mentioned it here yet. Hubert had cerebral palsy, and for the time period, I'm quite pleasantly surprised that he was able to accomplish so much (go to college, etc). People with cerebral palsy have brain damage that affects their motor abilities to various extents. I don't know very much about this condition, but I do know that the people I know with this condition are very capable mentally.
Opa barely has enough money to make an extra stop on his bus/train trip. I hope these families are paying him for his labor!