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.