College

May 27th, 2010

~ Maybe this is about Afghanistan, maybe it’s more about a higher education.

I am more used to creating my characters out of whole cloth, from bolts of fabric stored away and perhaps never seen before.  It is a “special treat” to be able to borrow a past from someone that someone HAS heard of; Art Linkletter may provide an example.  He’s dead, but as Kurt Vonnegut says, “so it goes”.

But I should really thank Art (for dieing).  His death has given me a cause and a reason for relocating the lost textbooks of time – the yearbooks – of his and my mother’s past.  I’ve had a chance to read and re-read them.  I’ve had a chance to see things more clearly than I ever did before; figure out the dates, the sequence, the overlapping and underlapping of time (Linkletter claimed to be a swimmer).

Yesterday we (meaning “me”) did a bit about Art Linkletter in High School.  No links, just Linkletter and a bit about my Mom (who knew him – but NOT well).  Today the post is more about college; you know, the “college” thing; higher education; degrees and debt and opportunities and maybe the limitations that college brings.

So let’s go back.  Let’s see how it really was; take snapshots of the pages; isn’t that what yearbooks are really for, snapshots?

But first lets start in the beginning (my family and the San Diego State University thing).  The school started on March 13, 1897 was not a university.  The school was not a college.  The school was a “Normal School”, a “college for women”, a place where teachers could and would be trained to teach and train the boys (and girls too) in the finer things in life like Civics and being civil, math and how to count (in numbers, maybe not in life) and how to spell so you didn’t inappropriately link the letters.

My grandmother came out in 1908 from Kansas and the Kansas State Normal School to San Diego to complete her education at SDNS (San Diego Normal School as it was called then).  I have her records; not a male student in sight; the big social event of the year was the Maypole (dance); students holding ribbons, men watching from afar.  That was education then, women were, men generally weren’t (educated).  Hemme Backlund (later Martin) graduated from the college on June 23, 1910.

She received her “lifetime” teacher’s credential.  By 1950 (a short 40 years later) the credential was no good.  The San Diego State College (as it was known by by then) refused to honor its own degree (by backing it with the State of California) and Hemme had to go back to school again at age 64 (this time elsewhere) to get a new degree just to teach.   Times had changed; changed too was her alma mater college.

Sure it’s nice to go to college where “mama” went.  Maybe.  Out of state, away from home might be better.  Lloydine (my mother, Hemme’s daughter) had no choice, no money.  It’s “take the streetcar to school” or don’t go, so she did (go, and take the streetcar daily to each class).  Now a streetcar is not a railroad, but she WAS railroaded a bit; she could have easily gotten in to Berkeley (no money for the University of California that far north); or Stanford (University, more money, just the same) – so “State” it was (and still is).

But “State” had changed since the times of her mother.  They let “boys” in now.  The boys had taken over; which brings us to the Art Linkletter part and a reminder how much can change in just 20 years.

In 1921 the school had become the “San Diego State Teachers College” (nothing Normal about the school anymore).  Lloydine graduated from San Diego High School in June of 1930 and moved on in the fall to the old campus (of SDNS) with several new buildings.  In February of 1931 (six months later) the campus and the college moved to its new present location.  A small college “on the hill” above San Diego – made for “higher education”.

It was a new campus in the middle of nowhere.

View of San Diego college from the air as seen on page 5 of Del Sudoeste – 1932.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The whole college had about as many students then as just the graduating class of San Diego High had – about 500.  88 graduated in 1931 from the school; only 21 were men (then).  The school was new, had “high hopes”; in the graduation class was 1 black (woman), 1 Japanese (American male), and 1 person of indeterminate “color”.   San Diego State College was certainly not the “melting pot” of America.

But there was architecture, and a plan.

Imaginary site of San Diego college described on page 22 of Del Sudoeste – 1931.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The Portals of San Diego college – page 7 of Del Sudoeste – 1931.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The Campanile of San Diego college – page 137 of Del Sudoeste – 1931.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

San Diego prided itself on 400 years of Spanish and Mexican history (circa 1942, based on the September 1542 Cabrillo sighting of the shore).  Yet in 1931 (in the yearbook) there was not a single member of the administration, the faculty, or the student body with a Spanish surname.  But the yearbook was Del Sudoeste (Spanish for Southwest), and the entire new campus was in Spanish architecture.  This was the (hypocritical) world in which Art Linkletter attended college (and Lloydine did too).  The difference is that Art Linkletter went on to be a “comic” and Lloydine went on writing her Master’s Thesis (while still at SDSTC) on George Victor Collot’s trip of 1796 into Spanish Louisiana (before the French stole it with acts of war).

But, Art Linkletter and his buddies were staging their own revolution at San Diego State.  They had a plan.  The “men” would take over, the school, life, everything.  In the five years he was there much had changed.  Of the 111 graduating in 1934, 35 were men (about 30%) – but on the 1934 Student Council there were 14 men, only 5 women.  The finance board was all men.  The rally committee 75% men (an Art Linkletter Committee), the Aztec shops (SDSTC were “the Aztecs) were 75% men. And things were changing into the future – until the class of 1936 the VP was always a woman (and the secretary of course).  In the class of 1937 the only woman of the “big 4” was the secretary.

The Student Council of San Diego college – page 31 of Del Sudoeste – 1934.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

A new powerful organization had been formed.  It was the AMS, the Associated Men Students.  Needless to say there wasn’t an “Associated Women Students” association, club, organization – it had been “reorganized” at this traditionally mostly women’s college.  Guess who led the Men’s club, the charge.  Not funny.  It was Arthur “Art” Linkletter and his main friend Jack Benton.

The Linkletter AMS of San Diego college – page 116 – 117 of Del Sudoeste – 1934.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The secret of course to the men’s takeover of the school was athletics.  Football, baseball, track – all men all the time.  These jocks were America’s new heroes as the world moved towards war.  Art Linkletter was of course a jock – played basketball – not swimming.  It WAS San Diego, the BEACH, the OCEAN, Coronado sound – EVERYONE in San Diego did swimming.  Lloydine did swimming.

Men’s Basketball at San Diego college – page 135 of Del Sudoeste – 1934; there was no Women’s basketball.

This photograph of Art Linkletter basketball is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

Hemme had done the hoops (played basketball) at the Normal School in Kansas in 1903.  She too coached a team in Turlock (California) (circa 1912) that won the County (Championship) – girls team, boys school.  But there was no basketball for girls (women) at the new San Diego State.  No, everything had become a man’s world – increasingly only for men – like the new Linkletter created “men’s lounge” in the new Gymnasium – which unlike the “ladies lounge” was not a bathroom.

Art Linkletter, it seems, practically ran the school.  He held high office early:

The Inter-fraternity council – Art Linkletter at the head – San Diego college – page 194 of Del Sudoeste – 1932.

This picture of Art Linkletter as head of the Inter-fraternity council is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

And what was the result?

“Fun” Linkletter style at San Diego college – page 224 of Del Sudoeste – 1932.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

If you’re not convinced; consider the yearbook graphics themselves:  Exhibit one – the Aztec, (not Maya) sacrificial stone (not a calendar) found in Mexico City in 1790.

“The College” frontispiece graphic of San Diego college – page 25 of Del Sudoeste – 1932.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

“The Aztec Sport World” graphic for the section on San Diego college athletics – page 129 of Del Sudoeste – 1932.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

Finally, in case you’ve missed everything we have two more illustrations of Art Linkletters world – his image of women (on the left) and of men (on the right).

All this I guess seems so “contemporary” now; familiar places, familiar scenes?  Seems a bit weird to me – extreme – “over the top” and not subtle.  Wait for a world war?  Strong men?  Then (and perhaps now) it’s all coming up???  Or maybe the place was just one weird school.

So as we bid adieu to the old – then new – San Diego establishment of learning I leave you with this final thought.  We have lots of pictures of the “funny man” Art Linkletter – High School, College.  Not once is he ever smiling; no trademark grin.  He’s always serious, solemn; like if his parents had beat him.  Maybe they did.  And that brings us back to Linkletters unusual way of treating children.  Watch the tapes.  Not funny, not funny at all.

Post Script:  One more picture, of Art Linkletter and Lloydine Martin; this time on the same page.  What a change from High School.  All those activities for Lloydine; now gone.  That happy smile is gone now too.  But look at Art; his list of “accomplishments” – puts everyone else to shame.  No wonder it was Hollywood next – why not the world?

1934 Graduating Seniors – San Diego State College – page 45 of Del Sudoeste – 1934

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Del Sudoeste is the yearbook of the San Diego State Teachers CollegeSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

[First posted:  2010.05.27 / Thursday  College]

You were a swell guy Art.

May 26th, 2010

This is Post #47 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

Arthur Gordon Linkletter died today.  He was 97 years old.  He starred in the People are funny TV series; he endorsed The Game of Life (which was a board game, not just Art Linkletter’s attitude).

I have very mixed feelings about the death of this man.  There are a few things you don’t know about him, things that his publicity agents left out or ignored.  Maybe (just maybe) none of that is important now – he’s dead.  But these things were important to my mother at the time, very important.  They were the things one remembers, never forgets; like an old wound, an old sore spot, a grating that grates when one turns on the TV at the wrong time, or sees the “game” that the Lynchs bought to learn a bit about life.

You see my mother Lloydine Clayton went to school (and more school) with Art.  She was in his classes; or he was in hers – especially bad in High School, not so bad (but not good) in college.

If you’ve been reading this blog you probably know a lot more about Lloydine by now than you do about Art Linkletter (who?).  It wasn’t always that way.  Art was once a star.  He made people laugh by pointing out the bad things, the weak spots, of other people.  He called it “funny”.  He thought it was funny to point and criticize and laugh out loud (sometimes in their faces).  He prided himself as having a superior wit, a wink, a nod and control of the microphone.

He was a child of the “talkies”.

Advertisement on page 176 of The Gray Castle – 1929.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

My mother was of course used to arrogant and pushy boys by the time she reached high school.  The playing field was never equal for girls; sure she beat the boys at their own games (like marbles) when she was young, at academics her whole life, Fred in the realm of writing.  But in the “ABC’s” of things there was no escaping Arthur Gordon Linkletter (it was the “L”) and Lloydine Della Martin followed close behind with the inevitable “M”.

Arthur was a year ahead in school (on paper).  But Lloydine was ahead of her class so that often put Arthur in her classes, or her in Arthurs.  He didn’t like this.  He thought boys were always smarter, that he was smarter; he soon became the pain.

Art Linkletter ridiculed my mother, teased her, taunted her, tormented her almost every chance he got.  He made much of her time at school, in school a living hell.  He thought it was all so funny.  “People are funny, Lloydine he said”, like you – “you’re funny”.

So nobody is supposed to like High School.  That is the plan.  The jerks torment the good guys (and gals) to build themselves up by tearing the others down.  What’s new?  I did the high school thing,  I know – no reason for a reunion, so few good memories if I go back.  Who were those guys?  I have no yearbook to look back on or in – too painful, too much the disappointment.  I might change my mind (someday).

For my mother it was different.  She loved history, she savored every memory both good and bad.  She bought a yearbook each year (although she had very little money).  The softcover versions were cheaper; until she was a Senior that’s all she had.

So from the softcover we have this:

Art Linkletter yearbook picture, page 50 – circa 1929.

This Art Linkletter photograph is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The “Take trip around the world” was his goal, his “joke”, his rudeness showing.  I read an article today lamenting his alleged college disappointments.  The last line is supposed to be where you state your aims for college.  No plans for Art; sex was on HIS mind (and rudeness) – around the world of course was code for getting laid.  People ARE funny.  Laugh NOW (the blinking sign is up like it was for the canned laughter on his TV show).

In fairness, Art’s base humor might have come from the bases, the Naval Base in San Diego, or the air bases there too.  There was Lindberg Field, home of American aviation – the place where Lindberg left from for Paris before he left again from Long Island (Garden City) in New York.

The 1929 yearbook, like Linkletter and Lindberg were “air minded”.

Art Linkletter yearbook frontice cover – circa 1929.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

Art Linkletter yearbook Forward – circa 1929.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

The yearbook had pages and pages of prophecies for the class and its members; but I think this one is best – (Memories are) “Like a silver plane high over the downs at dawn, with the sun flashing on its wings – a flickering and then the end.”

I don’t know which person remembered San Diego High School more fondly.  It may have been my mother (despite Arthur Gordon).  She did get the coveted California Scholarship Federation Pin, Art Linkletter did not.  She helped the men at the Naval Base hospital, Art Linkletter did not.  She did a hundred things in High School that Art Linkletter only dreamed of.  But the guy DID debate.

Art Linkletter yearbook – debate picture, page 124 – circa 1929.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

As you see Art Linkletter was always “Civic” minded.  He won his debate.  The topic was “Resolved: The influence of instalment buying is detrimental to society.”  Art was on the negative (his choice in debating then) – he spoke out and up for debt and credit (a really modern guy in 1929); but this was June or before; October 1929 had not yet happened.

I’m not saying Art Linkletter was always on the wrong side of everything in life (laughter please).  He did go to San Diego High School – a very fine place indeed.

Art Linkletter yearbook picture, page 11 – circa 1929.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

SDHS was a very fine place in 1929 and 1930.  The building in the middle is the “Gray Castle” as you can see.  The other buildings are newer.  The stadium is much newer.  You wouldn’t know the place today.

But time does move on; Lloydine’s Senior year at SDHS was free from Arthur Gordon Linkletter.  It was a much nicer year, a nicer yearbook.

Lloydine Della Martin’s yearbook – (aka: “Lloydine Clayton”) – circa 1930.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

And she got her picture in this yearbook too:

Lloydine Della Martin’s yearbook picture – (aka: “Lloydine Clayton”) – circa 1930.

This image is in the Public Domain.  The Gray Castle is the yearbook of the San Diego High SchoolSan Diego, California.  Please credit QalaBist.com if you copy rather than link this image.

Lloydine graduated 11th out of a graduating class of about 450.  She was happy; happy to graduate and move on to “State College” which meant San Diego State College (they had dropped the “teacher” part by then).  Her mother had attended the same school in 1908; it was familiar ground if not the same old buildings.

One problem of course.  Art Linkletter never made it “around the world”.  He ended up at the “teacher’s college” too.  He stayed there for five years – just to taunt and torment Lloydine (who graduated on schedule in four, almost with her Master’s – in history of course.

Epilogue:  I thought you should know a little more about my mother; her past; about the woman writing all the letters in these posts about Afghanistan.  Small world?  Not really.  Everybody has an “Art Linkletter” in their life.  We get used to them; we move on; and we get to write the history now – so art – “Get a Life”, it’s not a game (now that’s FUNNY).

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  You were a swell guy Art]

On the border

May 13th, 2010

~ This is another “double post”; posted here so the bots can find it back in time and so that you can find it now.

This post is entitled “On the Border” because there are now so many border issues that we’re all on.  The document presented (in this post via a link) is historical, but could not be more relevant then than it is today.  Click on “exact copy” now, or read the post here first and then click on “the President” at the end.

This is an exact copy of the original UPI Teletype text of President Kennedy’s Speech of October 22, 1962 to the world and the nation.  It is presented here in “16 takes” which represent the 16 pages of the scan of the original teletype roll that is one continuous sheet more than fourteen (14) feet long.

The date on this teletype is October 23 (1962) because about 1:00 A.M. in the morning of Tuesday the 23rd of October it was the 23rd in Korea and still only just after 12:00 noon in Washington D.C. where it was still the 22nd (of October).

Kennedy had not given his “speech to the nation” yet, but it had been written and starting about 12 noon on October 22nd (Washington time) the news started going out across the world about what he was to say.  The world was on the precipice of war, probably nuclear, possibly breaking out on a hundred fronts.

I was in Korea at the time; in Seoul – living on an army base.  I was fourteen (14) at the time.  I had a few good friends who worked for AFKN (Armed Forces Korea Network) in the news; television and radio and things like that.  They worked high upon a hill near where the broadcast towers were and where the teletype machines were housed.  That’s how news came in in those days; the bulletins, the “breaking news”, the news that was known before it was ever broadcasted, disseminated, spread around.  First it came in on the teletypes, later it went on the air.

Everyone “knew” the President’s Speech was coming.  They knew there was a crisis, a crisis in or over Cuba; what they did not know was how big, how bad, and “when”.  Finally word got out that the President would address the nation at seven (on Monday); but the military command in Korea and elsewhere had to know beforehand what the President would say; so they could call up the troops and tell them in case the war started before the President had a chance to speak.

I had been going up to the AFKN studios nightly (before curfew) to keep on top of the situation.  On the night of the 22nd (still morning in Washington) things were different.  No one cared about the curfew assuming that maybe one was soon to die; “we’ll be in Pyongyang by Wednesday” was what everyone said – that, “or we’ll be dead”.

The American Colonels, Majors, Generals had their own teletypes at SAC Command (Seoul Area Command).  They knew about the same moment that I knew what the President was to say.  I read each word with bated breath as it came in over the wires; peace or war, like Roosevelt and Truman a democratic president in the White House giving national addresses almost always was a call to war.  That’s how people thought then, it was seldom “give peace a chance“.  “Tanks roll in an hour.”  “We’ll launch our nukes (in Korea) and then we’ll take the ground.”  All the soldiers on the ground knew it; it looked clearly like a time to live or die, confined to barracks – waiting for the order to “move out” and take the ground with a radioactive cloud overhead – our nukes not theirs making up the cloud.

I took home this piece of history, “let the kid have it” – “fourteen is too young to die”.  “See ya tomorrow Don”, is what they really said, still hoping – hoping that tomorrow and the next day (in peace) might come.  There are no patriots when confronting a nuclear war, the uniforms make no difference, it’s just, “where have all the flowers gone” and Gypsy Rover and a few other familiar tunes.  America the Beautiful was not the song that night as I walked home after curfew, in the dark, knowing what the President would say on the morrow; not knowing what the response might be.

You know my feelings about war; now you’ve walked another twenty feet in my shoes.  I’ve saved this tightly wound roll of paper so that I would never forget; never forget that evening, that night, never forget the way I and others were made to feel in a world with the bomb; in a middle east with at least 500 nuclear bombs armed and ready and ready to go.

Read these words and remember.  Remember the way that it was.  Remember Dorothy and Oz and the emerald slippers and Kansas (or Nevada) and a place one might call “home”.  Then contemplate the winter, October late, a nuclear winter maybe coming and all that could be lost.  Is it worth it over a few houses; built or empty does it really matter; the eastern world (even the western) does not have to explode.

I give you the President:

[First posted  2010.05.13 / Thursday  On the Border]

November 25, 1959

November 25th, 1959

Gordon Bartley Strong – Reception Invitation – Kabul, Afghanistan

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Bartley Strong invite Mr. and Mrs. Frederick W. Clayton to a reception to be held in – Kabul, Afghanistan – November 25, 1959.

Gordon Bartley Strong wrote his thesis for his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago on Adam Smith in 1932.

Henry W. Spielman is identified here.

Clayton Family Document from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

[First posted:  2011.08.03 – 00:50 / Wednesday]

December 14, 1958

December 14th, 1958

Handel’s Messiah concert program – University of Nevada Gymnasium – Reno, Nevada – December 14, 1958.

Clayton Family Document from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

This program by the University-Community Symphonic Choir and Orchestra and the University Singers reflects a community life that no longer exists in America; a local concert with local talent that people enthusiastically attended rather than watching television or paying “big bucks” for “big name” entertainment.  The venue was the University of Nevada gymnasium, the largest venue in the State of Nevada at the time.

[First posted  2010.06.16 / Wednesday ]

That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead

November 16th, 1958

This is Post #47 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

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

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.

November 16, 1958
Sunday noon.

(1)
My Darling, Fred,

I love you so much and miss you.  Well, it finally happened – winter came!  Our world is white and blue with snow in the trees and icicles bedecking the bushes on the south.  It is a distinct change from as recently as Wednesday when I went up to Slide Mountain on a road that had only a few icy patches.  Yesterday chains were required to get out of Carson City every direction in the morning.  Now the restrictions are lifted, but things remain icy.  I am surely glad we had our ice and snow tires on and going.  Tonight’s prediction is from -10 to +8.  Night before last it was +7 in Reno.  I think we had more snow than Reno; they claim two inches.  Ours must have been 3-4.  I wish we had our storm covers for the windows.  Incidentally, do you want me to bring plastic storm covers for the windows there?  This will end the Indian summer that we have been enjoying for so long.

This morning there was talk of reconditioning skis, and they were even brought in for an inspection.  Now they are out again.

I have a chameleon on my arm right now trying to turn yellow, but not really succeeding.  The tough season has come as we can’t find any critters for her to eat.  Finally bought some fish worms, but she doesn’t care for those serpents; seems scared.  She has a small fish bowl home with some plants.

It was a hard decision to make but I finally decided not to go to Phoenix.  There was nothing I wanted to do more, but I think this is best.  It seems that not only are Bob Allen and Chet Newell going but both of their wives.  Noel and I talked about it and agreed that Mrs. Allen could make mountains out of mole hills much too easily and it might not do you, me or Noel any good for me to be there alone.  This particularly applies do to the political situation now and Noel does want to stay on the Commission, while Bob could quite likely make a change.  I had written Tanner and he said I would be welcome.  The social program would be very nice, but Noel thought the technical program a bit blah.

I am enjoying the fireplace finally.  It may break me up buying presto logs but they give such nice steady heat with so little watching.  The kitchen becomes very cozy nights and mornings.  Right now I have a small 4 x 6 rug in front of the fireplace, the cabinet moved back, and the yellow chair here to sit in.  I have the card table to write on, placed as close as I want it.  I think I may leave things this way quite a while.  They got this way on account of the living room rug.  I am very disgusted.  We had it cleaned so nicely, then when I asked the men to clean the 4×6 pink one they did it on top of the gray and the machine ran over the edges, this left brownish irregular areas.  Friday they came to reclean the living room rug and scrubbed for about 4 hours on it and now the whole center of it is a great big brownish area.  Apparently getting it wet causes some reaction from the back to come up and this is the result.  Keeping off it when it was wet was what put us into the kitchen.  I don’t intend to let them scrub on the rug any more for a while.  I’ll give them a piece and they can figure out what to do before applying any more brushes to the main rug.

I enjoyed your pictures so much.  It was nice to find the one with you in it, in your blue shirt and jeans.  You look like quite a powerful man, and with the Afghani friends it was nice.  I do hope you will make every effort to lose considerable pounds.  I am enjoying my 130 lb. Self so much, both for looks and for the vim and vigor which I feel, along with the lithesome feeling making me want to exercise and dance – no draggy feeling.  I find the best way is to eat moderately, nibble on non-fattening things and continue to feel so much pride in my appearance that I get more pleasure from that time than from eating more.  You have an extra problem with the parties and the alcohol, but please try.  I love you so much and am so proud of you, but with the svelte way I feel, I couldn’t help but feel some annoyance if you look fat around the chin.  We could make such a beautiful couple together if you were better consolidated too, and I do love people to admire us as a couple.  People still comment on our picture on the front hall.  It is nice!  Anyway, I did enjoy seeing you in your Afghan habitat.  Now I want to see that new hat in use.  I should say I loved seeing you in the picture – it made you seem closer.  Sometimes I need you so badly to recharge my battery.  I miss the chance to get dressed up and go out with a purpose.  You have too much social life; I not enough.  Things have their ups and downs, but not much flavor or savor anywhere.  I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.

(2)
I think you have something in using this part of the paper.  I had forgotten it could be done.

Tuesday noon I go to Sparks for a lunch with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) wives who are getting together to plan for the 1960 national convention to be held in Reno.  I can no doubt bolster their scared hearts and have some fun doing it.  Rose Meredith called me.

Going back to pictures.  I got the ones of your vacation.  We have some very interesting ones of Blackwater Falls , including one of me that I will send you.  Our flower close-ups did not come out too well in focus.  You surely got a load of airplanes while left in Washington with the camera.  As subject matter they always seem so dull to me.  We got a vague indication on the breakfast picture, but not complete.  I got some quite nice shots of Indians in the Admission Day parade.  This was gratifying because it was getting very dark and I had all the light I could get, not a shadow is visible – that dark.

(3)
Your pictures of Kabul from the hill are very clear.  I don’t know why but hardly any of your trees look green.  In one sequence I can tell this is because the pictures were taken in the late afternoon by the shadows – the results are a general yellow glow of sameness over everything.  Indoors in the pottery place came out clear, but indoors in the mill was a little too dark, but can see something.  The staff house looks nice and the musical group is interesting.  Maybe a little too many pictures of them.  Is that a cement kiln?  Your pictures of the river are delightful, so very clear.  The nomad camps are nice – what no dogs charging you!  That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead.  Your pictures are very nice.  I’ll get Newells over after they return from Phoenix and see them projected, then keep the projector and study them for my own satisfaction.

All my love, darling.  Keep up the good work.  I appreciate the little letters as well as the big ones.  We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.

Sweet dreams and happy wishes.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald.

Notes:  We’ll start from the last.  “We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.”  A promise made more than 50 years ago and a promise I intend to keep.  My mother’s not around anymore to do it; nor my brother Ken, too.  That leaves me, and that’s why I’m posting.  But there are my mother’s words of illustration too, “I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.” – a call to prayer for peace.

Sometimes it’s hard to read these letters; most of them I haven’t read for years.  They’re so truthful, so direct; Lloydine (my mother) just picks up the pen and goes – typewriter for her, keyboard for me – I come by this stuff honestly; you can hear it in her words.   Like in her description of the rug, “when it was wet was what”; even I can’t go on with five words like that, strung together in poetry and meaning.

But I too learn things from these letters; like my chameleon was not really dead!  I thought it died at the Lynchs (it almost died).  Now I remember that it did recover; over the pale and returned; like Kandahar coming back from the dead; like peace in Qala Bist; an end to war on war because war has ended.  The chameleon was last left working so hard to change colors; the flies were dead, wouldn’t eat the serpents.  I don’t make any of this stuff up.  (I will however change my posts to reflect the new reality – the chameleon lives!)

So Fred is a bit like Gordo (recent post).  But there’s a lot too to be said for fat; Michael Oher, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Buddha maybe.  But do those guys drink, eat at all the parties, fly to Kandahar instead of walking there like the Afghans and Pakistanis and all of their friends do?  How are the coalition forces getting to Kandahar; inquiring minds want to know.

My mother WAS always on Fred about his weight.  Is this perfect?  No.  Is she wrong?  I’m not so sure.  Sure she sounds at one point like an ad for Metrical (also recently linked within a post), but Metrical WAS all the rage then, “diets do this, diets do that – drink this and you will be thinner, slimmer”, get exercise, eat right, join REI or the Marines; let’s get America walking!  Maybe the gulf oil (spill) will get America walking, or riding bicycles like the Afghans; would make Lloydine happy – slim down, spend less.

Presto logs too are back; forget the great oak stakes, sawdust is what makes it; maybe it was the Dick Tracy thing, the comic strip within a strip, the power of subliminal suggestion in the ’50’s.  “Wrist watch radio”, by any other name a cell phone (at hand and in your ear).  The future is not invented; it just jumps off every page.

I was going to do a whole post on Fred and his Nikon camera; Kodachrome were his colors.  Beat Paul Simon by maybe 20 years.  If you saw the link to the Paul Simon song you saw many things were missing.  The old slide projectors maybe number one; the old slide boxes number two.  The third thing missing in the video were the hand-held slide viewers; the ones like Lloydine had to use.

The projectors (slide projectors) were expensive, had unreliable bulbs.  The bulbs were hard to buy (except maybe in New York City) and hard to replace once you found one.  A fan could keep them cool, but every fan made a lot of noise, “want to see Fred’s slides?”; “maybe; but I think I hear my job calling; Phoenix calling, gotta run.”  “Gee Lloydine, that was great; too bad about the projector; too bad about the fan; it would have been nice to hear what you had to say.”

So why not wait 50 years?  The future has now “flown off the page”.  It’s all so quiet now; so still – so easy to listen to this woman’s words now and not to have to listen over the sound of vacuums and vacuuming and dish water boiling over and the men with their machine destroying the rug.  But in the silence the sounds still come through.  Like Lloydine would have wanted.

You may have noticed her imitation, a paraphrase, of Fred’s description of HIS room.  Lloydine will never miss a beat; she’s perceptive and competitive – compares his pictures with hers; holds no punches; tears Fred apart sometimes, but loves him (dearly) just the same.  It was probably easier to be Lloydine’s son than her wife; but the son part was no easy walk to freedom.  Freedom is a hard road and a high road.  It takes no prisoners.  One better be absolutely right or should go home.

I could write all night about just this one letter (this “post”).  I could point out things like Lloydine still thought Afghans (people) were Afghanis (money).  I could write about the fact that that confusion still seems to exist.  But I won’t.  There will be more letters, more time; other days to make my points.  Life is so circular (not linear); we keep returning to where we’ve been before; sometimes a little higher – but it’s the same plan as the floor below, same living room, same presto logs in the fireplace to keep one warm.

I know you want to see more pictures.  I know you want more (the Series) posts.  But I will leave you with just this one thought – from John Fowles and the Magus – “you will return there like the first time, like in the first moment that there ever was.”  And if you remember; in that first moment of Afghanistan EVERYTHING was ahead.

What does not lie ahead for Lloydine is the Public Service Commissions conclave in Phoenix.  Maybe Arizona too is not for you.  Her excuse (reason) was her reputation, Fred’s reputation, the reputation of others.  It’s so fifties to worry about “reputations”.  People now get slammed and slandered all the time; America has become “the land of the rude”, the “in your face”, the “he said, she said thing totally out of control”.  Mountains out of mole hills?  You would think Arizona was the home of Mount Everest, K-2, and the Big Island of Hawaii all rolled into one.  Mrs. Allen was maybe not wrong; just way ahead of her time.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead]

November 16, 1958

November 16th, 1958

This letter corresponds to the That Reservoir reminds me of Lake Meade post #47 in the Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

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

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.

November 16, 1958
Sunday noon.

(1)
My Darling, Fred,

I love you so much and miss you.  Well, it finally happened – winter came!  Our world is white and blue with snow in the trees and icicles bedecking the bushes on the south.  It is a distinct change from as recently as Wednesday when I went up to Slide Mountain on a road that had only a few icy patches.  Yesterday chains were required to get out of Carson City every direction in the morning.  Now the restrictions are lifted, but things remain icy.  I am surely glad we had our ice and snow tires on and going.  Tonight’s prediction is from -10 to +8.  Night before last it was +7 in Reno.  I think we had more snow than Reno; they claim two inches.  Ours must have been 3-4.  I wish we had our storm covers for the windows.  Incidentally, do you want me to bring plastic storm covers for the windows there?  This will end the Indian summer that we have been enjoying for so long.

This morning there was talk of reconditioning skis, and they were even brought in for an inspection.  Now they are out again.

I have a chameleon on my arm right now trying to turn yellow, but not really succeeding.  The tough season has come as we can’t find any critters for her to eat.  Finally bought some fish worms, but she doesn’t care for those serpents; seems scared.  She has a small fish bowl home with some plants.

It was a hard decision to make but I finally decided not to go to Phoenix.  There was nothing I wanted to do more, but I think this is best.  It seems that not only are Bob Allen and Chet Newell going but both of their wives.  Noel and I talked about it and agreed that Mrs. Allen could make mountains out of mole hills much too easily and it might not do you, me or Noel any good for me to be there alone.  This particularly applies do to the political situation now and Noel does want to stay on the Commission, while Bob could quite likely make a change.  I had written Tanner and he said I would be welcome.  The social program would be very nice, but Noel thought the technical program a bit blah.

I am enjoying the fireplace finally.  It may break me up buying presto logs but they give such nice steady heat with so little watching.  The kitchen becomes very cozy nights and mornings.  Right now I have a small 4 x 6 rug in front of the fireplace, the cabinet moved back, and the yellow chair here to sit in.  I have the card table to write on, placed as close as I want it.  I think I may leave things this way quite a while.  They got this way on account of the living room rug.  I am very disgusted.  We had it cleaned so nicely, then when I asked the men to clean the 4×6 pink one they did it on top of the gray and the machine ran over the edges, this left brownish irregular areas.  Friday they came to reclean the living room rug and scrubbed for about 4 hours on it and now the whole center of it is a great big brownish area.  Apparently getting it wet causes some reaction from the back to come up and this is the result.  Keeping off it when it was wet was what put us into the kitchen.  I don’t intend to let them scrub on the rug any more for a while.  I’ll give them a piece and they can figure out what to do before applying any more brushes to the main rug.

I enjoyed your pictures so much.  It was nice to find the one with you in it, in your blue shirt and jeans.  You look like quite a powerful man, and with the Afghani friends it was nice.  I do hope you will make every effort to lose considerable pounds.  I am enjoying my 130 lb. Self so much, both for looks and for the vim and vigor which I feel, along with the lithesome feeling making me want to exercise and dance – no draggy feeling.  I find the best way is to eat moderately, nibble on non-fattening things and continue to feel so much pride in my appearance that I get more pleasure from that time than from eating more.  You have an extra problem with the parties and the alcohol, but please try.  I love you so much and am so proud of you, but with the svelte way I feel, I couldn’t help but feel some annoyance if you look fat around the chin.  We could make such a beautiful couple together if you were better consolidated too, and I do love people to admire us as a couple.  People still comment on our picture on the front hall.  It is nice!  Anyway, I did enjoy seeing you in your Afghan habitat.  Now I want to see that new hat in use.  I should say I loved seeing you in the picture – it made you seem closer.  Sometimes I need you so badly to recharge my battery.  I miss the chance to get dressed up and go out with a purpose.  You have too much social life; I not enough.  Things have their ups and downs, but not much flavor or savor anywhere.  I pray for strength to complete this most difficult of all assignments.

(2)
I think you have something in using this part of the paper.  I had forgotten it could be done.

Tuesday noon I go to Sparks for a lunch with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) wives who are getting together to plan for the 1960 national convention to be held in Reno.  I can no doubt bolster their scared hearts and have some fun doing it.  Rose Meredith called me.

Going back to pictures.  I got the ones of your vacation.  We have some very interesting ones of Blackwater Falls , including one of me that I will send you.  Our flower close-ups did not come out too well in focus.  You surely got a load of airplanes while left in Washington with the camera.  As subject matter they always seem so dull to me.  We got a vague indication on the breakfast picture, but not complete.  I got some quite nice shots of Indians in the Admission Day parade.  This was gratifying because it was getting very dark and I had all the light I could get, not a shadow is visible – that dark.

(3)
Your pictures of Kabul from the hill are very clear.  I don’t know why but hardly any of your trees look green.  In one sequence I can tell this is because the pictures were taken in the late afternoon by the shadows – the results are a general yellow glow of sameness over everything.  Indoors in the pottery place came out clear, but indoors in the mill was a little too dark, but can see something.  The staff house looks nice and the musical group is interesting.  Maybe a little too many pictures of them.  Is that a cement kiln?  Your pictures of the river are delightful, so very clear.  The nomad camps are nice – what no dogs charging you!  That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead.  Your pictures are very nice.  I’ll get Newells over after they return from Phoenix and see them projected, then keep the projector and study them for my own satisfaction.

All my love, darling.  Keep up the good work.  I appreciate the little letters as well as the big ones.  We’ll do our best for Afghanistan.

Sweet dreams and happy wishes.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   That reservoir reminds me of Lake Mead]

The reservoirs

November 16th, 1958

In her letter of November 16, 1958 Lloydine Clayton referred to the impression that the reservoir at Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan reminded her of the reservoir at Hoover Dam on the Nevada / Arizona border (that created Lake Mead).

I have located the Nevada picture in question so that you can decide; or so that you can appreciate the similarities of the memories in her mind.  The photograph on the left is in Afghanistan, the photograph on the right is in Nevada.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Hoover (Boulder) Dam, Nevada / Arizona U.S.A.

Both Photographs taken by Fred W. Clayton – These photographic images are copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Dedication stone in English and Pharsee – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 31:065 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kandahar Province –
ArghandabArghandab ReservoirArghandab Dam 

This photograph was taken on (or about) October 27 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the persons pictured is unknown.  If you have any information regarding either of these people or their families please E-Mail this website.

Hoover Dam – Nevada / Arizona U.S.A. – 1953.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

This photograph was taken on May 31, 1953 at Hoover Dam on the Nevada Spillway side of the dam.  Pictured is the U.S.B.R. (United States Bridge Rescue) life preserver and sufficient rope to pull one from the waters of Lake Mead (below).  Also pictured is Ken Clayton (Kenneth E.); Donald Clayton; and Martin Clayton (Frederick M.).

This trip was ocassioned by the possibility of a job for Fred in Las Vegas (Nevada) as Assistant City Manager.  He did not get the job; accepting instead an appointment by Governor Charles Russell on the three member board of the Nevada PSC (Public Service Commission).

All was not lost however as the interviews left time to see the Hoover Dam, built in part by the Morrison Knudsen company that also (later) built much of the Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan.  Since Fred was an engineer and fairly well known he (we) got the “royal treatment” and the royal tour through all the elevators, penstocks, tunnels, and generator rooms that made up this (then) greatest of all dams.

Maybe you shouldn’t go there now; “Boycott Arizona”, half the dam and half of Lake Mead are IN Arizona.  Half the water and power goes to Arizona; the other half to California; some water and some power goes to Nevada.  I jest of course – I think (about the “going there” I mean).  But in case you don’t understand the complexity of Arizona’s borders and the issues and the issues surrounding dams I have added a few pictures, maps, and documents for your perusal – the kind only an engineer would save.  But since Fred saved them, I will share them and then you can decide about both the water and the boycott and maybe who should get the power.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   The reservoirs]

Smith (deceased) has more votes than Ingersoll

November 4th, 1958

This is Post #37 in the new 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.

Nov. 4, 1958

Dear Fred,

This is my election letter.  I am sitting at Gleasen School noting who votes.  Mrs. Nashburn (Dem.) is my opposite Jean Clay’s mother.  We are not starting out very busy, but the day is beautiful & the contest is quite intense so we shall probably pick up.

We enjoyed your big letter about your room very much.  Now please tell about what you think of the job and how it seems in comparison with what you anticipated, and what you are doing.  Then tell about the social events and what they are and how.  After that maybe I’ll begin to get the feel of sharing things with you.  So far we feel very uninformed and left out.  Also please note in the social events the clothes used so I can figure if I have what is right because I want to plan ahead.

Do you think it would be well if we started the treatment 30 days ahead for prevention of diarrhea?

Kenneth is so glad football is over.  Now he is busy working on the car in his spare time.  It runs, but not so he dares take it out yet.

Do you know Jim Church formerly of Carson City with C.A.A. in Afg.?  Mrs. Robb (formerly Lebanon) was just in and asked.  They go to Cambodia at end of school.  He spends 3 mo. In French at D.C. Dec. – Feb.

[The preceding words were written in longhand – the rest of the letter is typed.]

Nov. 5, evening

I’ll go on again.  Today I have had a very miserable headache or I would have had this off to you sooner.  Maybe you have heard enough to know the elections went very badly for us.  Yesterday afternoon I helped around Headquarters in various activities.  In the evening I took charge of refreshment serving, and of putting numbers on the board as returns came in.  It was 4 x 8.  I had lettered 40 names on it the day before, together with the squares for returns.  I had to run up and down the stool to reach the top.  We had quite a few watching during the late evening hours, but as returns became conclusive they crept off before midnight, and so did I.  The country basically went democratic, except Arizona.  Oregon has a Rep. Governor as does New York.  Russell went down by at least 10,000 votes, Malone is out, Merialdo is out.  Of course Batjer lost and McCarthy stayed in.  Forest Lovelock lost, Marvin was third in Washoe totals, so is in.  Locally Bill dial made a good showing and is in, Pat Williams lost 5-1, sad to say.  Hoffman is Sheriff.  Smith (deceased) had more votes than Ingersoll and we don’t know just what happens now.  Galen Custer did not make it as Co. Com.  A bright spot is that in Ormsby Co. the State Republicans came out ahead, but this hardly offsets Clark Co.  Headquarters may not have been all in vain.  I surely was beat last night when I went to bed as my headache had already set in.  I feel better now, but am weak.  Tomorrow I’ll be all right.

I miss you so very much.  Sweet dreams and happy wishes, my love.
I love you so.
Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald

Supra beat Schumacher.
Kenneth has a hint Russell may go to Washington now.

Notes:  So this was politics in Nevada and in the nation in 1958.  Lloydine was working hard for the party and at the polls.  It didn’t really matter which party, what the platforms, what issues were coming in or coming up or being turned down.  The point is that there is not one woman as a candidate in sight.  The 40 names Lloydine wrote on the board were those of men.  Maybe not each and every one, there might have been a woman running for County Clerk; but not for Sheriff, not for Governor, not for Senator or CongressMAN of course.   Politics is like that.  It’s a dead-end game.  Elections may help, even open ones; but in the end it’s what the people in power do – not what they say, not who they are, not whether they wear britches or chadries; suits or blue jeans.

I too was at the polls and at headquarters, or Headquarters with a capital “H”.  I first campaigned when I was six, (6), six years old for the good old GOP.  I passed out things door to door for Republicans who I can’t even remember their names now.  I had adults who said at their front door, “you’re too young to vote, children and politics don’t mix, you think Ike is doing such a bank-up job?”  “You probably don’t even know the name of the President do you?”

I did.  I liked Ike.  He was bald and everyone bald should vote for Ike, I told the man this (he was bald too).  “Ike’s not running in this election (1954)”, he said.  By 1958 I had grown politically much wiser.  Don’t give the vote to those who are six, but 10 might work.  I sorted out flyers for Rex Bell, Bill Dial, Molly Malone, Governor Russell.  I knew more candidates names than most of the people actually voting.  I wore pins, I passed pins out, I gave reasons why one candidate was better than another.  The question is, was it me or my mother talking?  Was my mother campaigning for herself, or was it as she said (re-read the earlier post) “for you Fred”.  We know the answer, it’s not a question.

The real lesson of this letter is that even dead men can win votes; can win enough votes to even win an election.  On this date in 1958 this reality was real, not a metaphor, the question was “what to do”.  Today it is far easier to see Mr. Smith as metaphor, the metaphor for “dead men in office”.  The political system (I contend) is not working; fifty (50 years) really 52 years and nothing is much better, much is much worse.  The Roop Street house was left unlocked on Admission Day, don’t think to try that now.

It is the little things that make one free.  It is the little things in life that make for equality and opportunity.  Anyone with half a soul can see when life is not right, citizen or politician; it’s not so much the words as it is that YOU KNOW.  It did not really matter to my mother that Bill Dial won or Charles Russell lost, what did matter was the feeling of being “left out” like Lloydine so clearly stated at the beginning of this letter.  Inclusion is what really matters; not a game all about someone else, some other party, some other place or bank or banker or power off in Washington or Cambodia or someplace else.

For Lloydine life at this point was somewhat like a chadrie; she could look out, but no one was looking in.  She had her own world “underneath her tent”, but it was the bigger, better outside world that would not open up, not let her show her face, not include her on a fair and equal footing and accept her for being “just who you are” (and appreciate what one might really offer).

[First posted: 2010.04.19 / Monday – Smith (deceased) has more votes than Ingersoll]

Perfect Attendance

November 4th, 1958

This is Post #35 in the new 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.

Dear Family Overseas,

[A note about this letter:  Lloydine often kept the family current by making carbon copies of one letter.  In this case the majority of the letter is to both Fred Clayton in Kabul with a literal C.C. (Carbon Copy) going to Martin Clayton “somewhere in the Atlantic” on the United States aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Randolph.]

If I don’t make this a joint effort, I’ll never get the territory covered.  I do miss you both so much, but this week has fairly flown by.  Now I count two months of the nine gone.

I can’t remember where I left off with either one of you, but for Fred I will go back to last Saturday, which I may have covered before.  Each time I write I am going to note it in my diary for reference, but am always to busy to do so.  Come to think of it I did write after Saturday because that is the day I went to Reno and bought a new coat to replace the one I misplaced, or could it have been the Saturday before?  Anyway on Sunday I scrubbed the living room from the top down and washed all the curtains and did the same with the dining room.  In between Vic gave us a half yard of concrete and Kenneth and I quickly made room for it to replace our drive ramp into the big garage.  Our unformed driveway came out very nicely after it set up.  Sunday was busy all the way and we finally ate at the Silver Spur, not feeling like dressing up very much.  On Monday I waited considerably for the carpet man, whom I expected early.  Eventually he came at 4:30 P.M. to scrub the rugs.  I always do an 11 – 1 shift at headquarters and a 4 – 5:15 shift.  These I fitted in and in between I cleaned the hall in the morning and the bathroom from top to bottom in the afternoon.  It had all sorts of icky goo dirt various places – more than seemed at first glance – and required lots of hard scrubbing.  It seems so much better now.  The carpet cleaning came out beautifully.  However it meant that Monday eve we could not be in the rooms at all and the furniture was all in the kitchen.  I had a Homemakers meeting and Kenneth and Donald went out also.  Tuesday I worked on the hall and bedrooms, especially doing windows.  Wednesday I could start putting furniture back in the main rooms and doing the kitchen.  That evening I ironed curtains until I was ready to drop.  All this time I am busy with the Republicans too, and keeping the yard watered.  Then Donald had a last minute call for a new Halloween costume, which we did not find, and I had two dozen cookies to make for Thursday morning delivery.  It all got done, but Admission day was getting closer and closer and I was hoping so much to have everything looking nice for any guests that might show up, and I wanted food on hand, etc etc. as usual.  Someplace along the way was the oobleck.  Or was that last week?  The day the truck dribbled bitumals up by Albachs and it ran down here and had to be washed up by the fire truck, which took a good long time.  It is still splashed on the car some.  Oh yes, oobleck was Saturday.

Thursday morning Turner Houston came over to ask my advice as someone removed from city hall about a miserable situation which had arisen over the granting of a temporary bar license “for Indians”.  It was badly reported and got mixed up in segregation feelings and was set to ruin the whole parade and everything as feelings were so high among the Indian supervisors.  He had been very much abused over it and so were Van Sooey and Smith too it turned out later.  We talked a long time until things got a little better in his mind and we determined on a course of action that I thought was good, and it turned out quite well, although not too much could really be done about the whole thing directly.  I was flattered that he wanted my judgement on the situation.  Finally I got out to shop and spent $50.00 up and down main street for everything from ham to scotch and bourbon, to film to all kinds of other foods, and a couple of clothes items on sale, including one Christmas present for my mother of a gown.  Then I made a big and a little sign for the Republicans advertising their open house for candidates on Admission Day.  There was quite a bit of lettering on each one to be done.  Then I got word I was to ride with the Bowers Mansion group on an old streetcar and Ruth Russell had already rounded up a terrific coat (it should cover a bustle) for me to wear, all plush and seal trim.  From Elona I found a skirt and blouse, mits, a purse, and a bonnet.  I also asked for a job at the 1864 ball for Saturday night and was told I could help by selling drink tickets, so I started planning for that.  Eventually I even made my 4 – 5:30 shift at Headquarters.  I also managed to clean the other half of the kitchen – no, I guess that was Wednesday after I finished the cookies.  Thursday evening I I finally found time to cook.  I made lime jello and carrots and pineapple in a mold, cherry jello and fruit cocktail in a mold, applesauce cake, two kinds of cheese dip, canned beans in a casserole doctored up with ham hock meat, biscuit mix for finishing on the morrow and layed out olives, pickles, jams, honey, celery, polished all the silver, polished the brass light plates which look gorgeous, found the front door bell plate is a lovely copper color, set the table and generally got all ready for Friday, Admission Day.  I must say Thursday was full.

Letter Number two – Page 2 of the letter:

Before I quit the kitchen was in good order too because I knew the day would begin early on the 31st.  Of course we had trick or treaters in the evening now and then too, but not many.  Thursday evening Kenneth pitched in too and cleaned the rear bathroom and the back porch very nicely.  The needed it dreadfully.  He also put away finishing items from around the yard and off the front porch.  By Friday morning we really looked nice.

Friday morning we were up around seven and I put on the ham and mixed the biscuits and we finished up details like unfolding the salads.  Francis Beaupert arrived to get into her costume and I got into mine and helped pin her up.  We were hardly finished when a car honked in front.  It was Alice Addenbrook, Mrs. Davidson, Ella Gotschalk, and Ethel Parker all dressed for the parade to take us with them to the streetcar in plenty of time to have Dondero take our picture and it was the one that made the front page of the Gazette that evening to lead off on the Admission Day story.  Some possible unpleasant weather was predicted for the day and it was cloudy during the later part.  I don’t know if it kept some away, but they said they had about 35,000  in town anyway, the biggest yet.  Next day was beautiful again.  Riding in the parade was fun.  I returned to watch the balance of it as we were in division 2 of 9 or 10.  My pictures may be underexposed due to the clouds.  It was an excellent parade and all the Indians were there – thank goodness!  Francis could not stay but the other four  misunderstood and went directly to the house.  Paul Garwood and Paul D. came also.  When I finally wandered in, they had most of the food out and were looking for the coffee pot.  I was soon forgiven as I offered drinks and hastened to finish putting the food out.  All said the table looked lovely with its big arrangement of (free) chrysanthemums in my copper bowl and the colorful food.  The ham exceeded my expectations for deliciousness.  Cecilia came and Al eventually arrived after waiting for her on a corner for a long time.  The group was small but we had loads of fun and ate all we wanted.  Five of us in costume added atmosphere.  All the ladies raved over the house and especially the kitchen – but everything, Fred.

Al and Cecilia insisted on doing the dishes when I dashed off for the football game (already late) still in costume.  Kenneth had long since gone, not supposed to eat after 11:00.  Soon I returned to get the movie camera and other.  During the second half I tried for some pictures as it was the last game.  I was quite conspicuous in my costume up there.  Cason 19 – Fallon 13  Whoopee!

On the way back Donald and I stopped to watch the Indian dances at the old high school field.  I bought some bead jewelry at a little booth there.  Kenneth took the car which he thought we had left for him, but Walt and Dorcas Wilson found us walking home and gave us a lift.  I stayed home that evening slowly picking up the pieces.  Kenneth went out with the boys and ended up at the teenage dance, but fell asleep on the sidelines so came home.  Donald did a little more trick or treating, but returned with Tommy to count their loot quite soon.  I was in bed before nine.

Saturday started with a headache but I finally got going, did some errands, did a stint at headquarters, got a beautiful hair-do from 2 – 4, and planned for the Ball.  Alice let me have her 1861 gown that will go into the Bowers collection eventually.  I patched the lace part of the day.  I got a real bustle from Margaret Folsom and really was a character.  I wore both dress and coat to the auditorium.  There was a good crowd in attendance.  I had some trouble picking up a partner for the grand march, but succeeded in getting the editor of the Gardnerville paper, Abe Prentiss (?) and the march finished with a waltz.  After that I sold bar drink tickets downstairs from a little table in the corner.  It really was fun, but I left about 11:30 too tired to hold up longer.  Saturday morning Donald had gone to a children’s activity meeting with races of various kinds – about 300 kids came, they say.

Today we moved fairly slowly.  I put on my leotards, under slim black flannel slacks I have, a white blouse with French cuffs and my black cardigan sweater, with turquoise mukluks and turquoise jewelry, so looked very modern.  We went to drag races at the airport in the nice warm afternoon sun.  Afterwards Ken worked on his car some.  Late we went to eat at Hunter’s Lodge.  Now this unit of work is over, but already today I have been planning for the activities at headquarters on election night.  It will be busy with returns being reported etc. etc.  Tuesday morning I will work as a poll checker on those who vote.

Letter Number three – Page 3 of the letter:

After three we start offering rides or baby sitting to those that have not yet voted.  There seems to be no way of predicting the outcome yet, although the Republicans feel quite confident of results in the top level jobs.  At headquarters a certain amount of exasperating confusion exists as to what is going on and who is doing it – every man a king!  I am not looking for any glory so it does not matter to me so much.

Needless to say we all miss you so in this mad confusion – SNAFU.  Many people along the way ask about one or both of you.  I report the best I can.  If I calm down too much from this dizzy pace, I might sit and think too much.  However, the chances are slim for a while.  Already our thoughts are turning to Christmas, stimulated by letters from the relatives mentioning it.  Kenneth started our discussion stating that he did not feel like staying at home this year so we have about decided to invite ourselves down to Grandma Martin’s and do San Francisco in the deal.  Kenneth wants to see “Search for Paradise” and Donald claims to have never seen Chinatown or Fisherman’s Wharf, and to have ridden a cable car only once.  We have plenty of days so could choose our weather somewhat and most likely wheedle the Ford over the hill.  It seems to be running very fine.

Prior to Christmas I have presents for both of you to get off early, and I want to send the letters early to astound everyone real soon.  With Thanksgiving and no plans there yet this should fill in the time until the first of the year fairly well.  There will be storm covers to put over the windows, brick cleaning, table refinishing, brocade skirt sewing, and I can name a thousand things to keep me out of mischief.  I need it all to keep my spirits up too, sometimes.

This ends my report on a busy week and my prognosis for the future.

Fred Darling, I do miss you so.  There are lots of unanswered questions too.  How did the suit from Hong Kong turn out?  How did you get to Kabul on the 1st?  Where are the pictures taken of the Taxi Stand and the railroad station?  And that group.  Check other letters for other questions.

I never got report card grades reported.

Kenneth  English B, Trigonometry A-, Chemistry A, Civics A-, P.E. A.  Donald   Conduct A, Arithmetic A, Spelling A, Science A, Geography B, History B, Grammar B, Art B, Music B, Reading B, Writing B, Perfect Attendance  Honor Roll – only boy in his class.

I have my own informals now from Copenhavers.  These will be very useful.

Weather has continued fair with about three days of clouds when storms have passed by elsewhere.  Coldest night was 19, but the last few have been warmer that that.  Days go up into 60’s generally now.

Good-night my love.  It is very ate now so I must off to bed.  I’ll be thinking of you.  You are so wonderful and I love you so much.

Love from your sons too.  We are looking forward to joining you.

Lloydine, Kenneth, Donald

Notes:  My first inclination was to NOT POST this letter; it’s too long, too boring, too many details about things that do not matter.  But then I gave all that a second thought.  This is life in the “fabulous fifties”, it is the real life, the real life of a woman then, maybe of an exceptional woman; or maybe of a woman not so exceptional at all.  Lloydine’s life and chores and what was expected, and what she expected of herself  were all too typical – all too “every day” – all too boring and repetitious and on-going it could (and should) make you scream.

The wonderous part is that Lloydine not only lived it – she wrote about it.  She wrote down every detail.  You can feel the pathos and the pain.  So, Ken helped with the back bath (3’ by 4’ in size) and the porch (add another 40 square feet of simple cleaning).  Cecilia and Al helped with the dishes; what Lloydine did not point out is that we did have a dishwasher then, that help was almost small.  I was not much better; I emptied waste-baskets, put away my own toys, helped set the table (but often did not help clear it).

Fred was doing exotic things off in Afghanistan; cocktail parties catered and served by the Afghan help, walking up hills into history, flying off to Kandahar in the front seat with the pilot of the plane.  Life at home may seem so hum drum, so ordinary, so pedistrian.  It might make you cry.

That is the point of America in the 1950’s.  A woman’s work was never done and she didn’t even get paid for it.  She carried on, in politics, at home, for the schools, for education, for the good of the community and for her husband and children too.  All she got for it was a new coat and mukluck slippers and a chance to sell tickets for the Governor’s Ball’s drinks.

The Bowers Women were different.  They worked hard, had a sense of history.  They knew that it was not just “Sandy” (Sandy Bowers) but also Eilly (his wife) that was a part of the Bowers story – perhaps even the bigger part some would say.  The same might be said for Fort Churchill.  It was Mrs. Addenbrook (Alice) not just “Sam” (Sam Buckland) that was so much a part of the history of the fort – without Alice Fort Churchill would be like Qala Bist; just mostly desolate and forgotten ruins – lost to history almost.

So they got all dressed up in old-time fashion (fashions); brought history back alive; rode on a motorized streetcar down main street (Carson Street USA) and waved to all the crowds.  They made (Lloydine made) peace with the Indians, covered up for white men and their many mistakes – the emphasis is on “MEN” then, Lloydine did not know her place – she would never know her RIGHTFUL place.  The men just were not ready; the women were, but not the men.

So read this letter and weep.  Or, read this letter and be grateful that so much has changed.  Or, read this letter and try to change a little more every day; whether you are American or Afghan, live in Hong Kong or Siam – the world should be changing – there’s a “Bowers lady” in your life – or your life would be richer and wiser if there were one.  Take my word on it.  I know.

Bowers Mansion “float” in the 1958 Nevada Day Parade - Carson City

[First posted: 2010.04.16 / Friday – Perfect Attendance]

« Previous Entries