Kabul, Afghanistan: May 16, 1960

May 16th, 1960


________________________________________________________________________

AIR LETTER

Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 No. Forest Street
Gilroy, California

[Stamps removed:  Typed message underneath: Please send this letter on.  Important.]

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
FRED W. CLAYTON
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #10

________________________________________________________________________

Kabul, Afghanistan
May 16, 1960

Dear Family,

If you want letters, this time you are going to have to have some carbons, or I shall never catch up on my writing again for a while.  Everyone here is well, including three humans, two ducks, one cat, and three dogs of assorted sizes; and, I suppose, I should add three bacchas {Pharsi for “boys”*}, but, by doing that I imply they are not in the human class and that would be an error.  Well, anyway, this is remarkable mostly because the first three mentioned items were missing for eight days.

Before last week there was a hint from my husband that he might go to Herat by road to check it for equipment transport even though he was sure the acting mission director might highly disapprove.   Thus he started off by Dodge Personnel Carrier (this is just like a jeep almost, but 3/4 ton instead of 1/2 ton – it is quite the bright yellow vehicle – capable of a considerable number of wonders, like traveling under water, etc.) for Kandahar leaving me with secret instructions to get consular permission for me and Donald to go to Herat if it became possible, but not to let the secret slip to ICA {International Cooperation Administration*}.  The consul has to notify the foreign office of RGA {Royal Government of Afghanistan}, and Fred did not even have permission and this upset the consul a great deal.  On the 7th I finally flew to Kandahar with Donald after several radio exchanges in a form of code with father* to verify the fact that I could come.   All of this produced enough tension for me to make a whodunit – plus some other information I had acquired in my little hollow head that was very critical.  It took 2/3 of the way to Kandahar on a bumpy flight before my cares started to roll away.  When father* met us at the airport, I felt better.  The new Ariana DC-6 had come in that same day from Europe with Amanullah‘s body.  In Kabul we saw the other five of Ariana’s planes, so it was quite a day.  The airport {in Kandahar} is longer than Mingaladon*, although not quite as wide strips.

For two days Donald and I just loafed around in the summer climate while father* finished unexpected business.  It was very relaxing.  On Tuesday {at 3:00 A.M.} we three started out for Herat in company with another vehicle the same.  We did the full 400 miles that day, in some cases going up and down as mich as we went horizontally.  A little over 15 hours got us there, beat but unbowed.  Father* was happy because the road would support the heaviest equipment, and he could move Herat ahead.  {the} (air project)  We gulped choi and fell into bed and I never knew the beds in Herat could be so easily slept in, big full pillows, saggy springs and all.  The next morning we were up early and toured the bazaars looking for motor oil, and by ten had oil, had checked the airport and were on our way back to Lash Kar Gah {Lashkar Gah}.  This time we did not have to wait and check up on our companion car and we had no fuel pump troubles and it was about fifty miles shorter so we didn’t take quite twelve hours for the trip.  If I had had time to take pictures, make notes, etc. I could have had a nice article for the {National} geographic about our motor trip across the southern part of the least known country in south Asia.  The plains are terrific, the mountains are magnificent and one looks like it is made of solid white marble.  One village only had date palms and looked like an oasis.  Farah is in a very rich valley.  I suppose one might find that about 10 cars a day use the road on an average.  If I ever get caught up on 9 days of diary, that will be the closest I come to writing the article.  This was one of father’s* quicker trips.

We stayed overnight at the welcome staff house in Lash Kar Gah; the next morning father* did business in Girish {now: Gereshkmap}, and Changiers {now: Char e Anjirs}, running around with Donald, but letting me rest.  In the afternoon we went to Kandahar through the two mile wide swarm of big yellow locusts which is beginning to worry a lot of people.  There are some other groups too.  By dinner time we were there, but not ready for the planned Friday departure because we had a broken shock absorber and a few other minor troubles.  Friday, even father* rested a considerable portion of the day and began to relax.  He did have to get out of bed in the afternoon to receive a radio call from Mr. Hyde.  Hyde wanted to report that the equipment father* had ordered moved from Kandahar to Kabul had finally arrived in Kabul.  The orders had been given in defiance of the impossible “let’s wait a while” attitude that Washington and the mission have been delaying father’s* projects with.  We have to DO SOMETHING in this country.  The procession of clean, bright yellow equipment with USA and Afghan flags ahead of it reached on Jody Ma Wand {Road: also: Jad-i-Maiwand Avenue} from the Chaman {River, in Kart-i-Char, Kabul} and clear back to the Ariana offices before our usual turn {See Parade: below}.  The rock crushers were huge and so were the graders and 10 ton trucks and other things I can’t name.  Seldom has such a wonderful sensation been created in Kabul.  It took days to get steel to reinforce the Logar River bridge, but it was safe and the crossing made and the whole enterprise seems to have been worth while.  The rest of Friday father* really relaxed.  We had a barbecue with Goos and went to bed relaxed.

Saturday morning we really did not get up early compared to the three A.M. of Tuesday, but we were on our way at seven as planned to drive to Kabul.  We had finished our 315 miles by 7:30 that night, including time out for our flat tire.  Fortunately every where we traveled we had good weather and especially dry roads.  The trip from Kandahar to Kabul was beautiful as our very wet spring has made everything particularly green and the road goes through lots of nice valleys.  The south was hot, but not to hot.  We kept our car windows down and the air and dust whisked through my hair until I looked and felt like a witch when I got here, but most of the damage has been repaired now and I can go ahead with the routines.

In this country there are no routines.  Today Wollmar returned from his call to Washington and we all want to know why he was called there anyway – the bets are he is to be replaced.  In a few days the Ambassador returns from his consultation there.  Today the new Transportation Officer got to Bangkok and gets here at an indefinite time in the future, but is on his way.  It still is not clear whether he will take over the transportation projects or if father’s* position continues as is.  Anyway, a cable says the Assignment Board is considering father’s* request for a reassignment based on the assumption the Division is to be reorganized into two as Washington has suggested.  When the new FWC gets here, we have to give him a big party anyway.  So, I say there is no routine to this place.

I had better sit down and write the nine missing days of diary so I can add the rest of the story.  It is better than a novel and none of us looks the worse for wear.  Father and I are both at good weight levels, looking young and sassy, and Donald is suddenly becoming a lot huskier.

Lots of love to everyone.

Lloydine & Fred & Donald

________________________________________________________________________
Notes of explanation or clarification:

Father*  is Fred W. Clayton, Lloydine’s husband and father of Donald (in Afghanistan), Kenneth (in Reno, Nevada) and “Freddie” (Frederick Martin Clayton in Redlands, California).  Lloydine has adopted the use of father to avoid referencing Fred in letters that may be intercepted by parties unknown.

boys  (Persian: bacchas) refers to the “household help” (the “servants”).  In our case there were three: Gulam, the cook; Abdul, the houseboy and Agbar, the gardener.  They slept in unattached quarters near the back door of the house.

Mingaladon*  is the airport that Fred W. Clayton “built” in Rangoon, Burma circa 1951 and 1952.  During six very intense and critical months of construction he was the Chief Engineer, leaving Burma just after the first passenger jet service by BOAC Comet reached Asia.  The Mingaladon (aerodrome) concrete runway was the longest in Asia at the time of completion in 1951. 

Parade:  Fred Clayton always liked parades.  He was always impressed by what could be learned from them, how they captured people’s imagination, how they often got everyone on the same page.  The only parades at that time in Kabul were the annual military parade and the occasional motorcade parades that attended a visiting foreign dignitary, usually a head of state.  There were no marathons.

There were very few pieces of heavy construction equipment in the country.  Most roadwork had always been done by hand in Afghanistan, little changed in method from the days of Rome and the building of the Appian Way.  The Americans did things differently.  The secret was in the construction equipment, most of which nobody in Afghanistan had ever seen.  Fred wanted the average person in the street, on the streets of Kabul the capital, to see it.

The history of foreign aid to Afghanistan was that the Russians provided aid in the cities, where it was easily seen.  In Kabul they gave Afghanistan municipal buses.  They built a large and impressive grain silo and attendant bakery, “the Russian Bakery” where the wheat that America gave during a famine naturally went – there was no other place to put it.  The Russians were credited with feeding the people.  The Russians always “won” the peace in Afghanistan.  The Americans spent (gave Afghanistan) far more money; but it was spent on building “dams in the desert”, canals in the back country, seemingly unnecessary “roads to nowhere, through nowhere” and then there was the occasional airport (too) that just served to remind most Afghans that only the rich and the rulers could ever afford to fly.

Fred’s idea was that one parade might help change it, meaning the image of America that the Afghans had.  The Ambassador was away, the Mission Director was away and Fred and his family were enroute from Kandahar when Fred’s parade happened; although it had been carefully planned.

It was a hit of course.  It helped take people’s minds off the U-2 incident and the American prisoner of war Francis Gary Powers held in Russia.  The U-2 had been downed on the 1st.  The “NASA denial” was on the 5th.  On the 7th Khrushchev revealed that he had the plane, the cameras, the pilot.  Fred’s parade of American construction equipment through the center of Kabul was on the 14th.  The immediate crisis then passed.

The Chaman River passes through Kart-i-Char Kabul about a mile west and southwest of where the Mariwand Road begins near the Kabul River.  The road from Kandahar (then) came in near the southern end of Daruleman Avenue, the equipment may have gone north on Alibad Road (now: Pul-e-Surkh Road) until it reached Sher Shar Mina Avenue that runs east-west toward the center of Kabul to the east.  The equipment may have just gone straight down Duruleman (meaning north) to the gates of the prison before it turned east.  I don’t know.  I wasn’t there that day until after the parade was over.

What I do know is that it was a mile long stream (perhaps more) of some of the best construction equipment of the time painted in a very bright yellow, the Morrison Knudsen colors of the time.

2013.05.02. – 23.55.

Kabul, Afghanistan: April 19, 1960

April 19th, 1960


________________________________________________________________________

AIR LETTER

Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 No. Forest Street
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
FRED W. CLAYTON
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #9

________________________________________________________________________

Kabul, Afghanistan
April 19, 1960

Dear Family, – Kenneth, Freddie, Grandma,

Maybe someday you will get a letter from us and we shall get one from you if this interminable rain ever stops.  It has been raining here for so long that we have been thinking in terms of Noah and how to build an ark.  Actually we have our ark pretty well ready, but I will get to that later.  The facts seem to be that it has been raining for seven days and the clouds are very low this morning.  However, we think this might be a thick, rising fog as there is no rain falling.  A while back I wrote that they were allowing the use of Bagram airport with its paved runways for commercial flights now during the wet weather and during construction of the Kabul airport.  However, paving does not help if one cannot see the mountain tops around about as flying here is strictly on a visual basis.  Result is that there have been no planes coming or going for days.

Last Saturday father*, Hyde, and Sanger finally got off to Kandahar on his second try.  On Monday Bert Hyde got a plane back into Kabul, the only one that has flown since the 9th.  Father* was supposed to return on Thursday as we had a small, special dinner planned for them.   That morning the Delhi plane took off, but returned after an hour of flying because it could not get through the Ghazni pass.  Since the 11th people have been accumulating in Kandahar, Kabul, Amritsar and other places waiting to go someplace else.  I am glad it did not develop this way last year or we would still be sitting in Amritsar waiting for our “April 12” arrival in Kabul.  There have been a lot of parties in Kabul either given without the guest of honor (in transit) or cancelled because he did not arrive.  I went to one, and of course our dinner on Thursday went on without father*.  I heard a few days ago that there were over fifty people accumulated in Kabul.  Then there is the mail and shipping, etc.  It will take Ariana a long time to get out from under this.  One of the sad things is that two or three of the planes are grounded at Bagram where there are no mechanical facilities or storage sheds.  Otherwise the time could have been in to do some much needed mechanical work.  One wonders how Ariana can survive even with subsidies, yet we need it so desperately.

Father* could not wait in Kandahar forever so on Thursday afternoon at one he took a “Dodge Personnel Carrier” – magnified jeep made for the navy so it can even go on lake bottoms, four wheel drive, extra gears, big wheels etc., brand new for one of the projects – and started to Kabul with a couple of other people.  86 miles out of Kandahar they picked up an Austrian trying to do it in a little Russian car taxi.  He had a three hour head start on them already.  So in about thirteen hours of travel time they got to Kabul.  They managed to average about 25 miles per hour, starting with 28 per hr. on the first stretch that was in relatively good condition.  This vehicle is our “ark”, and one could figure it would get through almost any place.

Sunday we took this vehicle down the gorge road a ways to see the busy river crashing its way through.  There is such a high silt content that the water does not exactly churn like clear water, but splinters into small droplets everywhere it meets obstacles.  It was busily chewing away at the road some places and we are sure that by now in some of the places where it was already working behind the retaining walls the road must be gone.  The Lataband Pass {map} was working for a while although rumors have it that it was closed by slides.  There were some bad ones in the gorge too.  So, if mail is slow, you see why.

We are all well although father* got very tired on his long drive in the rain and dark.  He has been busy documenting all of his problems for Mr. Cawlthorn who is supposedly due in Washington on the 18th of April.  I have been semi-retired working on patching the family clothes – and this is a big job since it has not been touched for the last year.  I enjoy it in the rain.  Half of my time is taken up with cleaning up after the dogs, but they are still cute.  Sheelah is supposed to be a long hair I have learned.

Boys, you will get a big kick out of this.  Kidston railroaded a commissary meeting into voting that this one should affiliate with the Karachi one.  Eve was not even told much about it and said the action was really crudely done.  Now the latest scope is that Karachi refuses to have us, saying it would take $60,000.00 to put into the order they want us in.  Also, the Embassy has taken the warehouse space so they have to operate out of ICA warehouses on this side of town.  Oh joy!

{Page #2}

Mother, I hope you got your desert trip.

To go back to the old questions.  I did not bother to pay Copenhavers again as it was done by then.  I had paid American express on Sept. 5, air mail.  I have never used your address on anything on any of the forms we have had except for the Carson City post office.  Anything you have forwarded to us we have changed to this address – this particularly would apply to American Express.  The one exception is the Grollier Society books.  I explained to you and to them carefully, that last year we received one book “Book of Knowledge Annual” before we left Carson and I sent them a check for that.  I never received any other and the billing you eventually forwarded showed the Harrison St. address, so I presume that is where the book went and it was probably returned by the P.O. to them.  There should be two books each spring, and they are very interesting to read them and save.  My letter to them was very clear after you finally sent me the report on it all.

I am glad to notice that my letters seem to be coming to you better now that I have complained to your post office and started putting my “guilty conscience” notes under the stamps.  Someone sure made a haul last fall on the stamps.

No gardens here yet, everything is drowned out.  Lots of the mud walls are down and much trouble for the people.

Much Love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

________________________________________________________________________
Notes of explanation or clarification:

Father* is Fred W. Clayton, Lloydine’s husband and father of Donald (in Afghanistan), Kenneth (in Reno, Nevada) and “Freddie” (Frederick Martin Clayton in Redlands, California).    The letter to Hemme (her mother; “Grandma”) is the original, Kenneth and Freddie receive carbon copies of Page #1 of the same letter.  Lloydine has adopted the use of father to avoid referencing Fred in letters that may be intercepted by parties unknown.  Ghazni Pass is also known as Batai Pass.

2013.04.30 – 17:30.

Kabul, Afghanistan: April 9, 1960

April 9th, 1960


________________________________________________________________________

AIR LETTER

Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 N. Forest St.
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
FRED W. CLAYTON
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #8

________________________________________________________________________

April 9, 1960

Dear Mother,

This is to be a short letter, but just to say everyone is well.

The two puppies keep us busy but we really enjoy them.  They are such personalities.

Fred is off to Kandahar today after trying to get there yesterday.  The winds made landing visibility too little so they had to return after being more than half way there.

Spring is peaking around the corner here.  Thanks for the news on the dresses, etc.  I am glad you got your dress done.  I finally finished a wool housecoat I have been working on for about two weeks.  It is late, but I was determined to get it sewed even if I couldn’t wear it.  Mostly I have to sew things into different sizes and lengths, and now it is too late to rework my winter things.  I don’t need new things.  However, we all like to hear word about new styles.

Maybe you are in the desert now.  Bet it is hot.

Gilroy must be going arty now.  We shall bring back two originals from here, one is our  sketch (educated scribbling), the other an oil by Mme Choukour of Afghan mountains, a gift.

News of the Sly visit was all new.

Did you get my letter asking for a complete itemization of all things paid by you for us?  The records are mixed up and I must have this list.  I have sent letters that were poorly numbered, but in general they are as follows:  February 12, Feb. 27, Feb. 29, Mar 16, Mar. 29, Apr. 9.

My diary is a mixture of the frivolous and serious.  I’ll try to get it out with me if I ever have to leave in a hurry.  It is purposely written in a manner that is hard to seperate.  You’ll perish trying to read it.

Groceries are just terribly high by the time they get to this inland part of the world.  Commodity losses are almost 30% enroute, due to rain and other damages.

I have been doing tax report and owing them as usual.  Have been sewing and have neglected my other projects for almost a month.

Almost time to think about going home again, especially when it comes to selling things, and doing your own packing etc.

Will close to catch the mail now.  Much love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

________________________________________________________________________
Notes of explanation or clarification:

2013.04.30 – 04:32.

Carson City, Nevada: November 12, 1958

November 12th, 1958

________________________________________________________________________

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c (with a four engine prop plane pictured)

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Senders name and address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.
________________________________________________________________________

November 12, 1958

Dearest Fred,

Your assignments are a challenge and I particularly like the one on ski lifts, so this letter is devoted to that subject.  I contacted Warren Hart for the information.  He is at Reno Ski Bowl now.  He sends his best regards and greetings to you; says he hasn’t seen you for a long time.  Van Evers is in S.F.

A jeep should offer adequate power for a rope tow, something about a rear end lock.  Maximum length would be about 1000’ of tow – twice that much rope.  In manila rope of 1” diameter you would have about 10% stretch, so remember that in placing the lower end of the lift.  1” diameter is best for a lift used by adults, altho he has ½” on a 200’ tow used for the beginners, kids.  The newest and best is polyethylene rope, although expensive – no moisture pick-up, no glove wear, no sudden grip effect, lighter weight, longer wear etc. etc.

Slope is determined by those using it and their ability to stand up with the pull.

I talked with him yesterday and this morning and drove up and took quite a few pictures, which I will send tomorrow if they come out.

Your power should be at the top, although it can be at the bottom if you have a way to take up the slack that would build up behind the skier.  He uses rubber lined wheels with 3 grooves on the drive and 2 grooves on the idler.  18” – 20” diameter is all right, although nothing against a larger size.  One suggestion is a large truck tire of 3’ diameter with the tire, cut a groove in the ply if it is thick enough and presto a rubber lined wheel.

For the overhead return wheels wheelbarrow wheels are dandy.

On the short lift he has the lower end standing free, but on a longer one it has a steel cable fastened to a pole to take in the slack with.  The lower wheel is inside the frame which rides free so it can slide on the snow, and can be lifted up to the snow surface at each successive fall, the framework protects hands if someone inadvertently grabs the wrong rope and gets dragged towards the wheel.

The power source is on a wooden platform, high enough for anticipated snow, or almost, it seems.

The return support poles are not in a straight line, but 5’ out in a 200’ and 11’ out in his longer lift.  This is a safety measure to assure people not falling into them.  The return wheels have a little horizontal bar to keep the rope from jumping out of the groove.  These poles are steel with climbers on them, well above snow line and 2’ in concrete.  Small support ropes on pulleys hook under the lower rope to hold it out of the snow when the tow is not in use, or even higher in the off season.  Cash cost of the smaller tow with all new materials and hired labor would be about $600, but self help saves a lot.

I was going to draw a picture, but think my words suffice for the time being.

I wasn’t so successful on the drug store.  McDonald says he is too old and settled and evidently his son couldn’t go it alone.  Ike Cochran is working for Shrine top in 3 years and won’t make a move until after that in any circumstances.  Lonnie Truell was most interested, but I did not encourage him as he is not an experienced business man, just a pharmacist with Ike.  I’m going to talk with Homer on Friday.

Did you get to stop at Mingaladon?  You have never said.

I notice moist places on the hills above the Kabul river in your pictures – not exploited yet!

I want a snow leopard for a pet.

Did I tell you at Board of Trustees meeting I asked for a street light for an old lady at a dead end street and got it, and two more were volunteered for other places too.  I am getting Harbin opened for the Lynchs.  I end up with the zoning map because I volunteered to color it.  More fun!  I wish I could run for Trustee.

Confidentially!  Little Valley will probably go to Wittle (sale) for a very exclusive country club.  Curtis Wright is trying to buy large acreage there also (nearby) to get more watershed protection.

I love you so dearly.  Sweet dreams, beloved.  Lloydine

________________________________________________________________________
Notes of explanation or clarification:

2010.04.26

Don gets free show tickets

November 10th, 1958

This is Post #41 in the Series “Going to Afghanistan”

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c (with NEW four engine jet pictured – stylized Boeing 707)

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 No. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

(the letter begins with typing at the top of the page)

Random Notes;
Please be careful on film mailing to place stamps exactly as indicated, then we can salvage them in tact.  Those from Hong Kong were lost because of being away from back of the return address.

Quote from Elsa’s note of appreciation for the breakfast.  “We think your home is very attractive now.  Think you have all done a wonderful job with an old house.“

Nov. 10, 1958

My Darling Husband,

Your splendid long letter  came today and was very satisfying to read.  We enjoyed all the information except the financial.  I set wheels rolling for all the information you asked about.  More on this later as the financial is most on my mind now.  In the first place, unless they are holding back on your pay, you were shorted on the first check.  It states “To pay from 8/18/58 effective date of appointment to 10/4/58 including 3 days post differential.”  I figure 8/18 to 8/23 earned $107.14, each full two weeks after that (3 periods) earned $500, plus $12.50 for the 3 days differential, totaled $1619.64.  Less deductions this still comes to about $1160, not the $963.19 we received.

When this arrived we had $45.12 left to go on so I took out 50 and deposited 913.19, giving me 959.  Learner’s coats 71.38; cleaning rugs 28; cash 25; and house payments and loan retirement 439; Wash. Gas 4; Wash. Telephone 3; Sierra Pacific 2; Copenhaver 50; Hemme 50; cash (battery etc. clothes for boys in Reno 50; cash 25; Denez (baggage and rug cleaning) 6.50;Ernie 5; Republicans 10; — balance when new deposit arrived $39.42.  New deposit $415.95 with a letter from Fred saying he had written $333 beyond Kabul #1.

Obligations:  Std. Oil 28.07; Bell Tel. 7.80; Boston Whse 3.20; Copenhaver 8.91; Power 9.44; Home Lumber 13.06; Albers 9.18; Carson Nu-Gas 75.80; City Bank 41; Carson house 140.  Plus wishful thinking on a trip to Phoenix.  Water 5.95; Meyers 17.

Somehow saying you had sent over $1300 home in this month, made good reading, but not so easy in practice, as you can see.  We are living very simply except for our Sunday dinners, mostly at Hunter’s Lodge.  I sometimes get pie up town for noon as I weigh only 128 now; when I was terribly busy or the rugs were wet we got Awful Awful’s a few times.  Don gets free show tickets for patrol work.  I give him $2.00 a week and Ken $5.00 for school lunches and a bit extra – for Ken this includes hair cuts too.  My only extravagance has been getting my hair done once about every ten days for $3.25, and it keeps my morale up.  Our cash usage has been quite slight except for food, but you can see the $900 we have had has been used up.  Who got the travel money, or where is it?  You got $433 of the alleged $1300, so we did not get it to use.

I’ll keep trying, but I’ll admit your letter was a shock just as I was feeling good about getting some reinforcements for the dwindling account.  I had forgotten about that commissary deposit requirement.  It will all work out somehow.  By the time you can answer it it is too late anyhow.

I talked to McDonald and he says he is too old to want change or adventure,  but is going to talk to his newly graduated son (pharmacy school).  I talked with Caton and was referred to a couple of companies I will write.  I hurried a letter off to Harrington.  I have a call in for Warren Hart, who has been out all day.  I am enjoying my assignments.

I’m already thinking of ways to find a good candidate for Mayor next 6 mos.  I talked to Ike Cochran about it today, and we are thinking.

I sympathize with your problems and wish I were there so you could talk them out with me.  Good luck in getting things going right.  We enjoyed hearing about the people.  Waiting is going to be hard; especially the week-ends.

Good-night, darling.  It is late.  I was just at open house at high school and nothing but good words about our Kenneth.  Donald’s school tomorrow night.

All my love and sweet dreams and happy wishes.
Lloydine

Notes:  Budgets are always boring; except when one can’t keep them.  This time it is the feds that can’t do basic math; isn’t it always the feds?  Don’t you wish that we had Lloydine to add up the figures, keep the books and balances straight, Bernanke or Obama might learn a thing or two – like one and one IS two, not $1.75 or $18 and 56 cents.

Fred takes the money and the promises at “face value”, he has airports to build and feed, not families.  In Lloydine’s life everything is a bit about money, a penny or two here, a dollar or two there; almost a hundred for the “big stuff”.  What about these prices, the bills?  Two bucks for a phone bill, “shut up”!  That‘s the point, there was less talking then (in 1958), more face time, more place time as in real places, not hyper spaces.  Which brings us to Don (me) and the movies.

We called them “shows” then, as in, “Let’s go to a show.”  My friends didn’t.  I did.  I worked for a living in 1958, a life in a virtual reality, a home away from home in the movie house, movie theater – the big air-conditioned auditorium with seats and a neon rimmed clock and Flicks candy at the refreshment stand (if you forgot the soda – Flicks were the better buy).

After paying for my school lunch, a box or two of Flicks, once or twice a week was my “discretionary spending”.  My “patrol passes” got me into the movies for free, the flicks cost 7 cents, later one dime a box – chocolate drops of gold at maybe ½ cents a piece.  I counted each box of Flicks like my mother counted pennies – the pennies from Afghanistan which the feds called “pay”.

My virtual world was different if not always better.  Marilyn Monroe liked it hot, the World could be rounded in 80 Days, there were piles of bodies in Germany piled up after the bombers bombed the cities; some called them Germans, some called them Jews.  All this left quite an impression.  There were Hitchcock films and forties films and sometimes silent films too – cartoons by the hundreds, news reels and that endless series “Victory at Sea”.  Afghanistan was landlocked, I knew the sea would not bring victory there.

Jets screamed through the air as I watched every war film about Korea.  Gladiators fought with swords, soldier blues fought the Indians; Marines kept landing at Omaha, Bataan, Corregidor, Sicily, Normandy, North Africa, Nova Scotia or San Francisco for a beer.  I learned a lot about war and wars; a steady diet of movies can do that – John Wayne (the draft dodger) making up for his real world lost time.

There were musicals, romances like The King and I, South Pacific, the Song of the South.  There were movies with little more than swimming, no fish, just swimming (in bathing suits) some beauties, all wet with water and synchronized strokes enough to make one wish that their own mother could do nothing more than swim, glow in the sun, smile the day away.  My mother was not like that.  The family hadn’t been swimming for at least a year; maybe like almost never.

Do they have swimming pools in Afghanistan?  Was that why we were there?  Does Afghanistan have a swim team, high dives followed by high fives, and those cool goggles that all the mermaid girls wear?  Wasn’t that the real Western World, swimming and swimmers and pools with glass bottoms big enough to shoot movies through?  Why wasn’t my father building swimming pools in Afghanistan; things that the people really needed, since they didn’t even have a beach (no ocean, no sea)?

I guess movies (as media) can get you all confused; get your life in dis-order; twist your sense of priorities and direction all around.  But it was either that or home, home without a father, home without much money, home without close life-long friends (no more chickens or dog) – (me) just waiting for Afghanistan.  Maybe Afghanistan would be different; but the wait was like one long endless war.

2010.04.26

Carson City, Nevada: November 7, 1958

November 7th, 1958

________________________________________________________________________

AIR LETTER

Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 N. Forest St.
Gilroy, California

Return Address:
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada

Typed letter:

________________________________________________________________________

November 7, 1958

Dear Mother,

Your special delivery letter came this morning.  Good service!  Considering neither of us is in a major city.

I’ll go to the last part of your letter first.  You keep seeming to feel you know nothing of the Afghanistan plans, but I am sure you got a long letter last August, as did everyone, telling all about the prospect and how the family planned to go after school was out.  It came just before Elsa’s visit with you.  Reread it and I think you’ll find most items bothering you are covered there.  Yes, I plan to go just as soon as school is out and Kenneth and Donald will go with me.  The climate is almost exactly like Nevada, adequately inland as not to give Kenneth any trouble.  It will mean he will be late in starting college, but the education will be worth it.  Details about college have not been decided yet.

Fred’s mail all goes diplomatic pouch, as indicated in the address I enclosed in the letter written in August.  That means no one in Afghanistan has access to it and he can say what he wants.  As far as he has written I don’t think the matter of comment on the government has come to mind yet.  He feels the place is very well policed for an Asiatic country and there are less bars on ground floor and shop windows than most parts of Europe, much less Asia.

I sold your little oil heating stove last week and enclosed is the check.  I knew nothing much about prices, but it was getting no newer sitting, and wasn’t new to begin with.  I figures about ¼ of a replacement from the catalogue was good enough.

We paid $10.98 for a battery from Sears, which was a 100 amp. one, better than the 78 amp. ones.

Now to get on with the question of the check.  I told you in August the check was going to be transferred directly to you.  I had explained earlier than that that we had an arrangement with Martin to help because we were too short to do it ourselves.  He wants to repay us for what we spent on Harvard and we don’t want it, but since we have found he spends his money foolishly if he has it, since he can’t seem to arrive at any compelling goal for the future, we are accepting the money.  This way by means of bookkeeping we are saving his money for him and gradually transferring our obligation for considerable money to you, to an obligation to him.  When he needs it, we hope then to be able to come forward with what he needs for school from what will really be his savings.  It is mainly a bookkeeping transaction aimed at helping the one who needs the help most right now – you.

He had been sending the check for quite a while, but when I came to making all of the change of address arrangements from Washington, and knowing there would be more next spring, it seemed more satisfactory to have it sent directly to you.  The request went through his ship’s office in August – and was effective in November.  The wheels turn exceedingly slowly.  Any further change will probably be as slow.

The only other approach I can see is for it to be sent for deposit to our bank account, and I don’t know if that can be done with a government check.  When we get organized, we hope maybe we can help you more than we have been.  Of course less rent for one person would help too, and we’ll keep hoping something can be done to bring that in line.  Your budget times the 4 of us comes to $800 and it is necessary now to earn $1100 even to see 800 in a check, so times don’t get better, especially with the extra needs of growing children.  Oh well, it will all work out as it always has.  I marvel that twenty years can have passed and things are still going along just the way they always have, when I thought at times we would never pull through.

I don’t know when we’ll know about our situation and how much it takes Fred to get along.  Checks come from Kabul through Fred, but some travel reimbursement should come from Washington and Washington also is supposed to take deductions monthly for the $3,000 we had to borrow to get prepared for the trip and to survive the time before we got a paycheck.  The first check finally came through but was two weeks short and by that time I had bank notes due and lots of other things so it evaporated, and still no deductions for the payments had been taken, and so it will all have to come out in the wash.  It takes about three weeks for me to get an answer from Fred when I find something wrong, or have a question, and if he has to ask Washington, it takes infinitely longer than that.  About the time it gets settled I suppose will be the time to get everything disorganized again.

However, I still have a good bank rating and if you get to a real problem, ask and I can do something about it, quickly.

Any money we are sending is repayment on a loan.  I don’t know what the significance of that is.  You find out the answers as you want them and we’ll work along with it.  We don’t know much about Martin’s plans, but it seems self-evident that in a year or two we shall have two sons in college at the same time.  However, we figure we can always sell the house to handle considerable of that if necessary.  Of course, its age will always be against it in finding a buyer who can finance it so we can pay our obligations and clear it up.

Maybe this is clear as mud, but I think mud is muddled, and that seems to be the situation all around; so if I’ve made the muddle more muddy, I have succeeded in sharing my knowledge with you.

Lots of love from all of us.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald

I finally lost my headache and am busy trying to catch up on things now.  Ironing in the freezer yet, clothes in the basket, both clean and dirty, etc. etc.

________________________________________________________________________
Notes of explanation or clarification:

2010.04.22

Nevada Day!

November 2nd, 1958

This is Post #34 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

Air Letter of October 1958 addressed to Afghanistan

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c (with NEW four engine jet pictured – stylized Boeing 707)

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 No. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

[A note about this letter:  There are five (5) “greetings” and a “BOX SCORE” written on this New form air letter.  It is Nevada Day and friends want to write while in Carson City for the parade; Lloydine will oblige.  She writes the words “Nevada Say – 1958 – Carson City” across the top; others write the rest.  When it is finally over a box score regarding the election (on Tuesday) is written in.  Let’s listen (or read):]

Dear Fred:
We are missing you but you are missing more.  Lloydine is doing a great job – I am writing with a “Vote for Malone” pencil.
Best wishes –
Alice

Dear Fred –
Greetings and a hearty good wish for your success!  We are proud of your endeavors, you may be sure.  Hope we get a message of description of your surroundings.
Kindest regards,
Ethel Parker

Dear Fred.
We have enjoyed a wonderful buffet which Lloydine prepared.  I also congratulate you on your position.
Best regards
Ella Gottschalak

Dear Fred –
We have just eaten a wonderful lunch.  Everyone was dressed up in old-fashioned clothes – real neat.  I bet you’re having a  terrific time.  Mom has been reading about Afghanistan – we’re being educated you see.  We missed you today.
Lots of love,
Al & Cecilia

Dear Fred:
Had a wonderful time and parade was best I’ve ever seen.  Lunch and party at Lloydine’s were just right.  I left early and Lloydine mailed this to me in Reno.  This is election day and everything is in doubt except Rex Bell and Baring.  I’m going to hold 1 more day and give you the Box Score.
Regards Paul

BOX SCORE
CANNON OVER MALONE
GRANT SAWYER OVER RUSSELL
BARING OVER BOB HORTON
REX BELL OVER PHIL CUMMINGS
BILL DIAL STATE SENATOR FROM CARSON
PETE ECHEVERRIA OVER FOREST LOVELOCK

WASHOE ASSEMBLY IN ORDER
McKISSICK (R)
BAILEY (R)
HUMPHREY(R)
SWANSON (R)
MONAGHAN (D)
SHOUWEILER (R)
BISSETT (D)

Notes:  “Alice” is Alice Addenbrook; the person most responsible for saving Fort Churchill (now a State Park in Nevada) and also very instrumental in saving Bowers Mansion (Nevada).  She, Ethel Parker (Parker’s Western Wear of 1950’s Reno), and Ella Gottschalak were on the original Bowers Mansion Restoration Committee circa 1950.  Alice wrote two short books; the first about Bowers Mansion, the second was the first book ever written about Fort Churchill.  She worked in Washington D.C. for United States Senator from Nevada – Molly Malone.  Molly lost the election and Alice was out of a job, giving her time to eventually write about Fort Churchill.

“Al & Cecilia” are Albert “Al” Clayton and his daughter.  “Mom” is Fred and Al’s mother “Caddie” (Clara May Boomhower Clayton), Al and Cecilia lived in Reno.

“Paul” is Paul Garwood, President of the Bell Telephone Company of Nevada.  His box score tells of a generally disastrous election for the Republicans “statewide”.  Nevada had only one member in the house due to its small population – Walter Baring (very conservative Democrat won).  The other notable event in this election was the triumph of Rex Bell, Hollywood actor.  Democrats pointed out (or claimed) that he was not even a “real” Nevadan, but just a Hollywood actor from California who had bought a ranch near Vegas.  Rex proved that the world was changing and that Hollywood actors could win political office.  Ronald Reagan, star of the Nevada-California Death Valley Days TV show, would follow Rex Bell’s lead.

Sadie Hawkins in Nevada Day Parade 1958 - Photo by Lloydine Clayton

Sadie Hawkins, a Nevada legend at the time, appears in her traditional “Comstock” attire for her annual dance down Carson Street in the Nevada Day Parade.

The Senator Cafe directly across from the Capitol Building (the silver dome in the picture) is in the background next to a traditional Standard Oil Service (not just gas) Station.  Photograph was taken by Lloydine Clayton on October 31, 1958.

[First posted: 2010.04.13 / Tuesday – Nevada Day!]

On the home front

October 25th, 1958

This is Post #30 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME
VIA AIR MAIL – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c Air Mail letter and envelope.

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Message must appear on inner side only  No tape or sticker may be attached
If anything is enclosed, this letter will be sent by ordinary mail
First Fold  Second fold

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

(Note:  The letter begins with the following hand-written notes.)

Hong Kong is good
Puffy clouds over river show nicely
Rainbows show well in a couple of pictures
Panels -?- well exposed and focused
Chained bullocks excellent
Gold topped minarets nice (lots of them)
Arch framed temple lovely
Garden in Amritsar rose bush ? A bit dark
Shrine under tree – clear and cute

October 25, 1958
Saturday evening.

My Darling,

Above are some notes made as I looked through your second box of slides.  We surely enjoyed them.
I notice that a church and garden in the third box is also very dark.  Apparently you are not getting enough light on the gardens you are trying for.  Read your meter closer to the ground, ignoring the sky, or something like that.  Your Kabul River canyon pictures are very nice.  The Bushkizi pictures are nice too.  We surely enjoy these pictures.  However, we are waiting for some of the ordinary town pictures of Kabul.  We are also waiting to find out what kind of “must” parties you went to in the first place.  We also want to know a little about the work you are busy with.  We know nothing about how many Afghans came to any other party so don’t know how much is “more”.  All in all we feel your information is very sketchy, except for the things you have done with Ralph Krause.  We do read it all avidly.

I love you so much and sometimes miss you most poignantly., but I must not sit around for those moods.  Especially do I miss you when driving to Reno, through the lovely valleys.

I guess I’ll do best working backwards with my news as I can remember best that way.  Today I went into Reno, well-heeled with cash and checks for a change.  I had just been about to be desperate when the money arrived.  I went to get Kenneth a battery so he can get the Black Chevrolet  going; which he has decided is fastest for the moment, and will be helpful.  He is out now putting some of the finishing touches on it, tires and brake fluid, etc.  I think we will have a trial tomorrow as to whether it will go at all or not, after its hibernation.  We just finished two games of bridge at Donald’s request – our first here.

I also went to get myself a coat.  Somehow mine has completely disappeared since Monday.  I’ve checked everywhere and am concluding it may have been removed from the car, if not taken at the Nugget last Monday.  I mean the cloth one of course.  So I got myself a coat, another with a zip-in lining, which I consider very desirable.  The boys like it.  The tone is about the same as the previous one, but material and styling differ, but still basic.  I got Kenneth several shirts and Donald several trousers, all needed.  What I did not need dazzled the boys; Kenneth wants to take a colored picture and send it to you.  It is an evening wrap of black velvet lined in white furry stuff, a full swinging type coat with a big hood that makes a bulky high-standing collar.  It is water repellant and covers a dress very completely.  I am sure it will be necessary for my night life someplace in the future and I did not resist it very hard, even at $39.98.

Today was very lovely, seeming nice and warm at 68.  I checked in at Headquarters this morning but did not do so much as I was busy at home, what with two or three blocks of gutter full of bitumuls from a big spill up at the water place.  Rabes had the worst of it.  L. Furlong finally flushed it away quite satisfactorily, but was surely ready to swear out a warrant for the guy who let it drip to such an abundance.

Last night I went to Yerington with T. (Tom) Houston and Walt (Walt Wilson) and Dorcas Wilson and Donald.  We finally won 32-7.  It was a pleasant change.

I’ll continue on another one.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME
VIA AIR MAIL – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c Air Mail letter and envelope.

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Message must appear on inner side only  No tape or sticker may be attached
If anything is enclosed, this letter will be sent by ordinary mail
First Fold  Second fold

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada

2

Friday during the day I did some helping with getting campaign material addressed by delivering it to others and watered grass and rested a little.  I was just dopey.  However, I had a good visit with Col. Elston who asked about you.  Had a fine visit with Mrs. E. Branson who asked about you in detail.  Earl sends regards too.  Daughter Betty had just received a tape from hubby in Tokyo telling all about his arrival there.  Mrs. B. gave me dishes, kettles and some discarded linen, all of which will be very handy.

Thursday evening we had our Republican Rally, which finally went off very nicely, much to my relief.  There was some earlier trouble with too many people out-ranking me who were being awfully lackadaisical and could not be pushed or organized.  At one stage I got very discouraged.  Judget Guild did a very nice job as M.C., in spite of my apprehension.  He and the Gov. and everyone was glad he did it.  His folks the Wheatleys were very close friends of the Bucklands so I have fixed you up fine – your grandparents and Marge R’s grandparents were bosom buddies in Genoa.  Sam Francovich sends regards.  Graunke was cordial.  Loads of people keep telling me how they regret they could not make the open house.  Noel came to the rally.  Calif. Convention will be in S.F. at the Fairmont (Hotel).

The big stink here is a report on the Elko School, released without proper circulation ahead of time citing bad sex deviation and everything else – much of it grossly twisted – then Sawyer decides the Children’s home is the same.  People are very incensed.  I think it is helping the Republicans.  Ballots are out.  Lester Smith died and had a big funeral Friday.  Politics are getting hot and heavy.  Smith‘s death probably means Bob Ingersoll has it as Assessor.  We’ll have open house at Headquarters the night of the 4th.  I am to arrange it.

Monday I am going to get these carpets at home cleaned.  Did a note I found mean you already bought “Woolite”, or was it just a suggestion?  I was thinking about it.

Monday and Tuesday I worked on parking strip lawn as well as on the Rally plans.

Wednesday evening I went to a big UN (United Nations) 13th anniversary celebration at high school with Homer Angelo as master of ceremonies.  It was a nice well-attended program.  Again I saw people I had not yet seen and they send greetings to you as well as saying it is nice to see me back in town.  I wore my fur coat that night, and I think I saw a few eyes pop out.

On your slip with your pay check things are not exactly clear.  I gather the thing says from 8/18 to 10/4, which would be seven weeks.  However, pay is given only for five weeks.  Did they mean to hold back two weeks or did someone make an error?  Also, no allowance is made for the Credit Union payment.  This should be taken care of.  Your base pay figures to $500 per pay period, and we got only $1,250 of that.  Please look into it.  I made all bank payments quickly, and will get at handling other delinquent items.  Then I count that in two weeks we will have some more.  I have loads of food in the freezer, so expenses are not running high yet – until heatings begins in real earnest.  Copenhaver’s bill is big.

Donald went to a show birthday  party today.  He has another one for tomorrow.  Not bad.

It is getting closer to Admission Day.  I will work tomorrow and the next few days at cleaning house.  I have actually done nothing since we got in, except yard.  It really is very filthy by now in spots.

We haven’t had any rain since the day I arrived in Carson City.  I do hope it does not hold off for Admission Day.  I think I said the Bowers ladies might have a float, and I invited them here to dress or what they needed to do for preparations.

Did you get a tire pump for the car?  What kind is your camera?  I have to answer when they ask and I have forgotten.  Even your camels were not too dusty to see.

Who should check about your travel money?  I have heard nothing.  Keep up your vitamins.  That is what keeps me going.  “Bazaar”  “Scissors”

The garage is leaning eastward, no doubt started by the weight of the shelf as I anticipated.  It is now several inches out of plumb and the side door is getting almost impossible to latch.  What steps should we take?  Should we attempt to straighten it before diagonal bracing?  Heavy winds don’t help either.

Time to stop and say I love you and miss you as I always do.  Oodles of love.
Lloydine

Notes:  Yesterday I began the posting of the slides.  The first picture up is a sacred cow in Amritsar, beautiful photograph and fitting.  Lloydine refers to it as a “bullock”, which of course it is.  My mother was almost always right, which meant that at times the rest of us were wrong; like later in the post about the storage loft Fred added in the back (east end) of the garage in 1953.  The loft was fine.  It was “loading” it that caused the problem – loading it with stuff.  An engineer should have anticipated the long term results, not just the immediate usage and design.  Lloydine was right (in 1953) and five years later she had to live with the result of the maybe minor miscalculation.  There is a lesson here.  She goes back to the maker of the problem to fix it.

More pictures (slides) will follow.  Fred’s camera was a Nikon, an expensive one, second or third model sold in the US.  The Kodak that he took to Burma stayed with Lloydine in Carson City.  She used it to sometimes take better slides than Fred, a friendly competition where Lloydine had the advantage of being right-handed in a world where cameras were made for right-handed persons, not like “Fred the southpaw”, but keep your attention to the ground and not the sky, “light-meter talk” or is it more about Afghanistan from Lloydine?

Your first look at the Carson house (and me) is from 1955 via my Davy Crockett post.  Click here, read or just scroll down.  This is the way the posts will work; text then pictures.  This way you can “get a better picture” of the way things were, re-read or revisit the posts of the past – each day things will get a little clearer, more information, zeroing in on what needs to be zeroed in on, like revisiting Afghanistan or at least the recent pages.  Be patient, things take time, and like with the letters there’s a time-lag between the news from Afghanistan and here.

So at the same time and without knowing it both Fred and Lloydine start writing double-barreled letters.  Today’s letter from Lloydine is sent by air in two parts, Fred’s was the stationery at hand stuffed into a larger envelope with the many stamps necessary to make it fly.  Fred has parties, Lloydine buys the coat; points are made by paying attention to each nuance regarding what is going on.

The Rabes lived in the new house across the street from our house in Carson City.  They had a television while we didn’t.  Fred designed the KOLO tower on top of Slide Mountain that brought the signal in, but not to us.  It was on the Rabes set that I watched “Walt Disney Presents” on Sunday night, my one night per week, one program, of television.

The point here and in my mother’s letter is that life is so much fuller in a life without TV.  We played Bridge, Lloydine talked to people live (not on cell phones at work), she visited in visits with the nuances of “face to face” and not chat rooms centered in Denver or Dubai.  There was a UN presentation, live, with speakers that talked for free and did not have to compete with TV – two channels of communication are not real competition.  Everyone could meet the candidates, talk to them, ask them questions, visit their houses maybe and see how they lived.  Open houses were everywhere – and open cars – which is why the coat was maybe stolen from the almost always unlocked car.  Or maybe the coat disappeared (to a tourist) at the Nugget (Carson City Nugget) where we ate Awful – Awfuls in the restaurant and where I would have a “Shrimp Boat” sometimes and that is where Fred’s hard-earned money from Afghanistan would go when Washington in their good graces would see fit to send it.

It is a complex picture, Lloydine’s fur coat was not mink.  It was not raccoon either, not a Davy Crockett cape, not cat fur or caracal; maybe it was Otter – they killed otters then just for the fur; the social demands created by great expectations.  The otter coat (if it were otter) did not go to Afghanistan.  The Afghans had coats of sheepskin to wear, much warmer coats, bought for the winter’s cold and not for the style.

But all this talk of coats does bring up Pat Nixon.  She too was from Nevada once.  “Dick” (Dick, Richard Nixon) made much to do about poor Pat’s (poor Richard) good cloth coat; Kennedy (meaning Jacqueline and Jack) wore fur coats, mink coats (not otter), plural not singular.  It was a Republican that cast the first bone (or stone) about class warfare – the “feed the poor and eat the rich” mantra of the sixties – Donner Party revisited or is it more about the animals and keeping them alive to do with them and for them what is best?

But wearing a fur coat to a UN Day observance; what was my mother thinking?  Maybe she was telling us something that we need to know, something about the UN, something about Homer Angelo and that first meeting in San Francisco and the Rockefeller (center) that funded everything in New York and why it is so often UN troops that are first to the fight and sometimes disturbing stuff that does not always make sense, but then one is left with only intuition.  You decide.  The Wheat shafts on each side of the globe, like on the crest of the Soviet Union, things one noticed in Afghanistan when each day one passed the Russian embassy – C.C.C.P.; do you have any other questions?

2010.04.06 – 22:30.

A close friend of Milton Eisenhower

October 20th, 1958

This is Post #27 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME
VIA AIR MAIL – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c Air Mail letter and envelope.

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Message must appear on inner side only  No tape or sticker may be attached
If anything is enclosed, this letter will be sent by ordinary mail
First Fold  Second fold

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada
U.S.A.

October 20, 1958

My Darling,

Yesterday was the 19th and you would think I would slow down enough to write you more often as I keep promising both of us.  However, if I slow down, I start to think and that makes me very lonesome, so I am much better dynamically busy.

We finally received a bit more news from you in your letter of the 8th – 10th .  We enjoyed all about the big celebration game of Bushkuzi.  The boys decided that must be rough.

However, we are still waiting for a first impression report of the country, the culture, the people, the work, etc. – some of the first things you wrote from Burma.

We will wait for the report on October 1st , how you could get there and still at one stage have written a letter that you were on your way back to Amritsar – there must have been a lot of shuttling that day.

Homer Angelo was delighted that you had met Ralph Krause, “a splendid man” and very high in his organization, and a close friend of Milton Eisenhower.  Homer has an appointment to talk with him when he comes back here, around the first part of December, on some other subjects.  Then Homer hopes to get it fixed so I can meet Ralph someplace here.  He sends his warmest greetings back, if Ralph is still there.

Weather here got down to the mid-twenties last night.  Saturday night, and especially Sunday morning it blew violently.  Sunday Kenneth and I were out trying to level the parking strip a bit after having it plowed up somewhat to ease the job.  We surely got the dust moving.

Sunday afternoon we took a trip I had been planning for a week, up to Tahoe to visit and eat chicken dinner for $1.00.  We saw the Belchers and they are fine, Dick (Dick Belcher) is still doing some surveying at 70 yrs.  He was fixing roof that wind had removed.  They now have nine grandchildren, and 1 great expected in the winter.

Bonnie (Bonnie Barnett) was fine and fixing her building.  She sold the lake front strip for $70,000.00 this year.  Our house is still owned by the same people, but rented year around.

The Callerys are trying staying one school semester – except Mr. Callery – who commutes.  They remember your trips to the lake and back and how hard it was.  Mary is not sure she can make it, but hopes.  She will teach nursery school; Dennis has a job at Crystal Bay Club as a bus boy.

Everyone was amazed how Donald had grown.  They all send greetings to you.  The new road was very nice.

Last week I got two mud and snow tires for the rear of the Ford and two new tires for Kenneth to put on the Chevrolet when he gets it running.  They were on a good sale.  All charged at Sears for now.  Got the wheels all balanced and the car handles very nicely as it passes 80,000 miles.

I am beginning to be very interested in when you get a pay day.  I am going to sell the level pretty soon, if I don’t get some money in.  I am seriously considering selling both the level and the transit.  I have a lead on a man on the new NIC Building (just west of Sade’s remodeled house).  Incidentally he has a friend who is an accountant for M&K (Morrison and Knudsen), who makes several trips a year to Afghanistan out of San Francisco, a man who formerly was with Christiani Nielson.

Grass is coming up and requires considerable watering, but weather is still sunny.  I have pretty well got Republican headquarters started running.  Must work to finish organizing the rally for the 23rd .  Have a big sign to work on – 20 ft. long.  Dr. Homer will do most of it.

Time to say I love you dearly and think of you often.  Sweet dreams.  Oodles of love from all of us.
Lloydine, Kenneth – Donald

Notes:  The Burma letters and the Burma slides became somewhat legendary.  The letters would be passed around to various friends and sometimes relatives; Lloydine would re-type them and make carbon copies so that business associates could keep up with Fred’s adventures and what he was doing in Burma.  The web is so much easier and more efficient.  The Burma Slides were shown for years to those interested in Burma; they went to Vancouver BC for a presentation, were shown in Berkeley (California), shown in Los Angeles, in Washington D.C., in Seoul, Korea, Carson City and Reno, Nevada.  Most of all they were shown at Tahoe, in presentations in Tahoe City and at Kings Beach (California) for the benefit of the few school children and  neighbors who “wintered over” at Tahoe at the time.

Homer Angelo was a judge on the World Court (International Court of Justice) in The Hague (the Netherlands).  The Hague Tribunal was established in 1899 for the peaceful settlement of international disputes.  He lived in Genoa (pronounced Jin – o – a not Jen -oh – wa in Nevada) Nevada when not in The Hague with sessions of the court.  He was a close family friend and on occasion legal adviser.

I have provided a link for Milton Eisenhower.  Most people know, but some might not know it – Dwight D. Eisenhower was the US President then (in 1958).  Kennedy (John F.) beat Nixon (Eisenhower’s V.P.) in 1960.  Martin Clayton, Fred and Lloydine’s first son, now in the Navy (in 1958) met both Eisenhower and Nixon at Boy’s Nation in 1956 in Washington D.C., and Eisenhower again in San Francisco at the Republican Convention in San Francisco.

Bonnie Barnet ran a small lodge and cabins in Kings Beach on the lake side of the highway just south of where the Kings Beach Bakery used to be.  She was a kind, shrewd, and firm woman with an excellent business sense.  Her Tahoe versions of the Adirondack chairs were copied often, but Bonnie always painted them better and brighter colors than anyone else – the same bright colors that she used on her cabins.

I rode most of the 80,000 miles shown on the Ford station wagon odometer.  The car was a 1952 Ford woody – later the perfect surfing car.  It went to Tahoe, from Tahoe all over California, up to Canada and back, out to Kansas, over the Sierras at least 60 times, down to Las Vegas, throughout northern California and northern Nevada, up to Yellowstone and on to Jackson Hole and back to Nevada.  Kenneth drove it to school his Junior year of High School when in Carson City (at age 16) and had it again in college at the University of Nevada in Reno for four years (but that was when the car had maybe 96,000 miles).  The car stayed in Reno and did not go to Afghanistan.

It is a real threat to tell a real engineer you might sell his transit.  Fred was a licensed surveyor in three states – Oregon, Nevada, California – nothing now, but a big deal then.  He used the transit in question to survey the original Badger Pass ski area in Yosemite, part of Heavenly Valley, a good portion of Slide Mountain (later Reno Ski Bowl) and a number of other early ski places, now resorts.  He surveyed dams and dam sites, water systems, ranches, roads, airports and countless other things; he had access to Morrison and Knudsen transits while in Afghanistan.

“Sade (Sadie) was Sadie Hawkins, real name, not the Lil’ Abner namesake day of the same era.  She was Carson City’s almost oldest and certainly most beloved character.  She was from an old Comstock Lode family and every year she “danced” her way down Carson Street in the Nevada Day parade on October 31st, wearing a gay ’90s dress with full bloomers lifted and showing.

Morrison Knudsen was the primary US contractor in Afghanistan.  The company was under the overall supervision of Fred in all that they did in Afghanistan while Fred was in Afghanistan.  M & K built the Kandahar International Airport, paved the road between Kandahar and Kabul, did extensive work in the Helmand Valley.  There were lesser jobs too.

Dr. Homer is not Homer Angelo; Dr. Homer was a Carson City doctor and a Republican.  Republican headquarters was then where part of the Carson City Nugget is now.  The site was a mortuary in 1958, the mortuary moved out and the Republicans moved in (temporarily).  People made their comments.  It was not Lloydine’s decision to take this space; good doctor making signs or not.  Anyway, as you will soon find out the Republicans in Nevada lost the election – the lesson here is probably obvious.

2010.03.30 – 22:33.

Don’t want to lose the tops of the Mosques

October 13th, 1958

This is Post #23 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

AIR LETTER – AEROGRAMME
VIA AIR MAIL – PAR AVION
Pre-stamped U.S. Postage 10c Air Mail letter and envelope.

Addressed to:
Mr. Fred W. Clayton
American Embassy – USOM Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.

Message must appear on inner side only  No tape or sticker may be attached
If anything is enclosed, this letter will be sent by ordinary mail
First Fold  Second fold

Return Address:
Lloydine Clayton
405 N. Roop St.
Carson City, Nevada

October 13, 6:50 A.M.

My Darling,

I am sorry I am not getting the letters off more often.  I will improve.  Right now I must be brief as the mail leaves at 7:30 and Kenneth needs some trousers ironed before that.

We got two from Kabul.  The second written on the 4th, left Washington at 11:00 P.M. the 8th and reached here the delivery of the 9th.  The 1st came the same time.  I thought that was real good.

We are all fine.  I have whittled two inches off my hips with the weeds.  All weeds are out now that I am bothering with, and that is almost all except a very few in the far yard under the old car and the lumber pile.  My clover is sprouting.  Today I do the parking strip and clean up the burning piles and then water the strip so it can be leveled and some cheap grass seed scattered on it and then I am done!  Noon is my deadline as I have a hair appointment later today.  Clouds seem to be gathering seriously this time.  I can’t describe the uninterrupted spell of wonderful weather that has cooperated with me.  We have had some freezing and been grateful for our heat.

Your pictures came and are generally nice, although very dark – the weather, I presume.  You seem to cut the top off of things.  One was a building in Japan, another was a flagpole.  Both had plenty of foreground.  Maybe you could deliberately try some building, to check your viewer, just getting the top in and make a special note to me to look that one over.  Then we could tell if there was something irregular in the height you apparently get in the viewer, vs. the height you get in the film.  Don’t want to lose the tops of the mosques or the mountains.

Kenneth worked on the car for the week-end.

Tonight I have Republican Women board meeting; tomorrow is DeMolay installation and our Jr. Chancellor goes in.  Washington interrupted his climb or he would make Master before he left Carson.  Wednesday is slimnastics (Tuesday also).  Friday is a game here with Elko.  The week seems pretty well taken care of already.

Last Friday they journeyed to Winnemucca to get licked 41 – 0.  Winnemucca has not had a single score against them this season, and one game they made 66 points, and over 30 in all others.  Some team!

Just made a run around the house to chase quail off the lawn seed area.

I can send you almost anything you need badly except Afghanistan stamps.  I see I’d have to go to London for those.

Time to get the trousers ironed and the boys off, etc. etc.

We love you so very much.  I keep busy to keep my mind occupied.  If I just sit, I think.

Lloydine Kenneth Donald

Moisten flap well and apply pressure to seal  No other envelope should be used

Notes:  The Aerogramme instructions have been included with this post; moisten, seal, fold the flap – perhaps not in that order.  Enclosures are a no-no, so is tape and “stickers” which may include Easter Seals but more often means just stamps.  The threat here is “ordinary mail”; as in trucks and boats and things that maybe crawl, but do not fly.  America is becoming “air minded” and the Post Office is doing its part, raising consciousness, pointing out the bad about trains and buses and “ordinary” ways to get somewhere.  Letters flying off to Afghanistan; how could someone expect out of travel any less than what a letter might receive – wings, wings; like Peter Pan and Wendy, “I can fly”.

The latest letter did fly; five days was perhaps a record, hard to match even now.  It took longer for a letter to go to Gilroy (California) than half way around the world.  Maybe Afghanistan was getting more important, who knows?

If one looks very carefully at the Afghan stamps one will notice writing below the “Postes Afghanistan” words meant to be read.  The words are very small – Waterlow & Sons Limited, London.  This is the name of the printers of the stamps.  The Afghan stamps like the currency were printed in London, British operation, British firm, and as Lloydine points out it is the Brits that control the postage, by implication the mails – almost as if there were a “third” Afghan War.  The point is that one must look carefully at things, even stamps; there are messages written everywhere.

Ken Clayton was in DeMolay, good boys club then (people thought); had nothing to do with the Masons particularly, or the Knights Templar, or Skulls and Bones (or Coffin and Keys); well maybe not – mostly people just did not know, were not sure, preferred to believe in and hope for the best.  There was no disclosure statement, no open truth, no warnings; just an invitation, join some friends; make new friends, everything so friendly.

I attended the installation then, my brother in DeMolay, following in the footsteps of his father.  Fred could not come, he was in Afghanistan of course, but my mother went instead.  People faced east, faced west, talked of the sun rising, of loyalty and worthiness and things I only half remember.  The folding metal seats were hard; one did not recognize the V&T Train Station (Depot) that was being used; it seemed more like the Sahara than the Sierras; old, dry, and a waste.  I may have been wrong.  I may have missed something, like the point, like the message at the bottom of the stamp, something mostly hidden.  I wondered at the time if Ken knew, but he was older, he must have known.

I wrote a post recently about Fess Parker, Davy Crockett, MLK.  Part of the post revolved around the thematic of the “Mountaintop”, the dome, the invention of the Muslims and their mathematicians who created wondrous domes (mostly for Mosques) while most of Europe was still using posts and lintels as a poor excuse for architecture.  At the top of these symbolic Moslem mountains is a crescent moon, not full, not waning or waxing gibbous.  With the moon there is a star, Venus perhaps, but Venus is a planet, but let’s just think “star”.

The Moslem religion is oriented to the night, the end of day, the evening and the time of rest it may seem, but in Mecca the day starts with night; so like with Francois Truffaut “day for night”.  Nothing here is simple, nor should it be.  It is like all mystery religions, rooted in mysteries, rooted like in DeMolay or with the Masons or with the Templars where in Moslem Jerusalem it all began; before even Jacques de Molay.

In Mohammadism there is a riddle about Mohammad and the Mountain and who or which shall move.  Inside a mosque one is within the mountain; outside it is the sky that moves, the moon, the stars.  Only on the mountaintops is this crystal clear unless one can discern all movement by way of math.

At this point Fred has taken no pictures of Afghan mountaintops; he has not once mentioned mosques.

Note on the notes:  Officially in Afghanistan in 1958 the word Moslem, not Muslim was used.  Muslim is an Arab word, Moslem is Persian; Afghans are Persian, not Arabs; the language Pharsi is a Persian variant.  No disrespect is meant by the use of the traditional and culturally accurate word Moslem.  There are many dimensions to the religion of Islam that are not reflected in the rather shallow Internet articles on the subject.  Just as there is a deeper side to the followers of Jesus than apparent at a first blush response to many Christian Fundementalists there are many deeper aspects of Islam and its followers.  These beliefs and perspectives are often encoded in the tiles, rugs, and architecture created in the past 1,000 years.

In Afghanistan in 1958 it was still a fundamental belief held by most Afghans that any depiction of that made by God was a sacrilege.   The Afghans considered the Persian and especially Egyptian “Moslems / Muslims” as somewhat fallen or careless in their faith as they tolerated and even created pictures and art of birds, animals, women, men, and mountains – to say nothing of trees, even palm trees.

ALL of the Afghan rugs, needlework, etchings and inlays were pure geometrics, based on a very ancient, precise, and often complicated mathematics generally passed down through the wisest of religious adherants.  Every knot and line, virtually every number was symbolic.  The type of perfection manifested by anything made by machines was also evidence of a religious failing; only God was perfect, could make perfect things.  Every item made by a believer had a deliberately built in flaw in a heartfelt religious deference to God.

The religion has now (obviously) been greatly modernized.  The builders of Qala Bist and Ghazni and Mazari-Shariff would not recognize todays “Muslims” and their western ways.  This is not to say that religion should not change and evolve; the point lying in the question, “Is the faith getting better, stronger, not just getting easier”.

There is both an intellectual and a street version of Islam; substance on one side, form on the other.  The most sincere religionists I observed or knew in Afghanistan were almost always among the poorest Afghans, though just being poor did not make one religious.  The richer one became the greater the temptations and the more casual the regard to the always demanding religious ethic.  Many richer Afghan Islamists would indulge the occassional drink, the poorer Afghans never did.

The rich supported their women being in more western clothes, opposed the Chadri.  The poor, even poor women, supported purdah and wore the Chadri as an act of religious devotion, putting their religion first and their own worldly needs or wants behind that.   It is very difficult for a secular, self-centered, and materialistic society to understand a society based solidly, if not entirely, on religion and a daily and vibrant, almost exclusively, continually ongoing religious experience.

All this is to ignor the fact that Afghanistan was by no means just a Moslem country.  It was not an “Islamic Republic”.  The Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion just as the UN Charter expected it to do.  There were Jews in Afghanistan, Christians, worshipers of the gods and idols of ancient Greece.  Buddhism was THE religion of Afghanistan for much of history, Genghis Khan left his mark; then too there was the Roma (the Coochies) probably not related to the real Roma at all, but with their own religions and religious perspectives that could easily change with each new country or community they might be in.

Finally, there is a reason why the Brits made the stamps.  The reason was the King.  His face appeared on some of the stamps (used mostly for overseas, stamp collectors, revenue).  No Moslem in Afghanistan would have made these stamps for a hundred reasons – the image, the perfect printing; but the Brits (non-believers)  would and did.  There were other stamps, domestic ones for the real people, crudely made and printed, Koranic scriptures, God is Great, that kind of stuff, cheap and available and Afghan made; but of little interest to investors.

[Post written:  2010.03.22 / Don’t want to lose the tops of the Mosques]

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