Dear Dick and Dad:- I’m a little late in letting you know we received our fruit OK, it came last Tuesday and is so good, what kind of oranges were they? You can send some of those any time you want to. I got a kick out of the three kumquots from our tree. Somehow I thought they tasted better than the others, or was it my imagination. All the fruit arrived in excellent condition except the kumquots, so as much as I love them I don’t suppose you should try to send any more as about a fourth of them had spoiled.
We had a busy week last week only one night that didn’t involved either one or the other of us in Lodge work or both of us at the same time.
[page 2] That night we went up to see Burch the first we had seen of him since New Years day when we had him down here. He seems to be doing a little better about the drinking but we’re afraid his memory is to far gone. He just doesn’t remember anything and has lost all track of time, he dosen’t know weather its June or December. He received his first check on January 5th and we are trying to help him straight out his affairs but there just isn’t enough money to go around all his obligations. Hes let his affairs get into such a mess that I don’t have much hope of ever getting it all straightened out. We are not going to give him any money but will see to it that he has food and clothing or anything else that is necessary and will try to visit him as least once a week.
[page 3] I’m tryingto stave off a cold as of now Ive got a sore throat and some of the symptoms of the (BUG) so wish me luck. Ive taken asprin all day and eat all the fruit I can hold. We were out to Ruths folks today and I took a nap for about three hours out there.
Well we had our first meeting last Wednesday night and I got by but believe me there is room for improvement about the time our year is over I’ll be about ready to start.
We are suppose to have candidates at our next meeting Feb 10th so on that night about 9 PM say a few extra words for me. We have our school of instruction next Sat. night and after that the inspections start. Ours will be April 28th say a few more words on that night to.
[page 4] Edw. asked if we knew of anybody that were going to visit you next month and we told him as far as we knew there wasn’t anyone, he said he would call you before he came down so he could make arrangement for you to meet him.
How is the Chevy doing? I see your old one almost every day and Jack is real pleased with it. He had his operation and is back to work now. Our work hasn’t been as heavy this winter as usual because we have really
[page 5] had a beautiful winter so far only one or two minor snows. Even have the gareage doors open most of the tome. If we can get by for the next six weeks I think will have it made.
We are going to miss going to Florida this winter but are looking forward to Canada next summer. I think well try to make it early in the season.
Well thats about all from here for now so write us a line when you find the time, and thanks again for the wonderful fruit Love Ruth & H.O.
I am keeping my promise to tell about all the women in my tree by working my way back in time, starting with my great grandmothers. It has been a while since Charlotte Hatch, but here is my second one.
She was known by family and friends as ‘Dick’. What can one say about Dick. Most of what I know about her has either been told to me by her granddaughter, gleaned from looking through all the old family pictures, researched, or heard in one poorly recorded interview from about 1982. The person that I recollect was what you would call a ‘character’. She very short statured, loved cocktails, and wore awesome eyeglasses when she was older.
This is her life, as well as I have been able to piece it together.
Rachel started her life journey September 19, 18881. She was the second child, and second daughter, of Osborn and Eliza (Stackpole) Hays, and had been named in honor of her grandmother, Rachel (George) Hays. Osborn and Eliza would eventually have 10 children together, but from what I recollect hearing, Rachel was always her father’s favorite.
‘Dick’, as she became nicknamed by the family, grew up in Grant Township, Wetzel County, West Virginia. In fact her family lived there their whole lives, farming, and making a living off the land. She was a tomboy, and always had a preference for boys to keep company with. I guess she didn’t have much use for girls. The hills and landscape that she grew up in probably made for great exploration and tomboyish proclivities.
As was typical of children during the time she was growing up, she only went through the 8th grade2 in school*. Which means she was about 14 when she was done with learnin’. As the Hays family had settled in the Pine Grove area of Wetzel County, it would seem likely that Dick attended the Pine Grove School (although we don’t know that for sure). It was known in its early years as Free School.
Of course over time, as is wont, she got older. Then along comes William Atkinson Shepard, a newly minted teacher who recently arrived in Wetzel County, having received his teaching certificate from a Normal School, (although at this time we don’t know which one). Family rumor has it that this is how Dick and he met. It is not likely that they met because he was her teacher, because he would have been about 16 years old or younger in order for that to happen, which is doubtful. So it is possible that they met when she went to pick up some of her younger siblings from school. Maybe the locals took turns having the new teacher to dinner to get to know him, or they met at church or a local festivity. We might not know the exact how of it, but she definitely took a shine to him.
A quote from Dick’s son William:
My father, William, had received “higher education” beyond the customary 8th grade and attended normal school which prepared him to become a teacher. He taught in several places, and I think his last was in Jacksonburg, where he taught several of my aunts and uncles (Hays). He met and married Rachel Ann here.
–William A. Shepard, Dick’s son
They were married by the Rev. Reid of the M. E. Church in New Martinsville, Wetzel County, on March 9, 1907.
Their first child, Herman Osborn Shepard, was born November 28, 1907 (pretty much 9 months later). That was fast work.
The birth was a hard one for Dick, as Herman was quite a large infant when he was born and Rachel was a small woman. Her injuries were such that Herman was raised by Dick’s parents in his early years, so that Rachel could recover her health. The doctor’s also told the couple that she shouldn’t have any more children, as the next one could kill her. This news must have put much stress on their early years of marriage. Decent birth control was not readily available to folks then like it is now.
Her husband was working in the steel mill in the town of Parkersburg by 1910, and possibly sooner. I imagine a school teacher’s wages were not all that great to raise a growing family on, so he decided to try for better wages. However, by 1912 they had moved to Ohio and were living in Columbus, where William started working as a clerk for the US Post Office with the rail road. He continued in this line of work until he retired in the 1950s as a supervisor. This job, no doubt, helped the family get through the depression with less damage than those around them.
Rachel was a typical woman of her time. She stayed at home, raised her child and kept the home. For other income they bought properties and made money renting the lots, or homes. It didn’t make them rich, but they were able to buy a home in Florida to retire in, and land in Canada to make their summer vacation spot. (A spot that is mentioned many times in family letters.)
1919 might have been an especially tense and worrying year for Dick and Dad, because Dick found out she was pregnant again. She was due in late December to early January. And on January 4, 1920 she delivered a healthy baby boy, William Atkinson Shepard, jr. Dick did okay too. There was no long hospital stay to recover from the delivery, so she was able to give junior her undivided attention, and she had her 13 year old son to help. This would be the last child that they would have though, possibly the second pregnancy caused problems we are unaware of–and Dick didn’t share that part of her life with her children, or grandchildren.
The Shepard family moved over the years in and around Ohio. In 1920 they were in Pickaway County, in 1930 it was Franklin County, in 1940 Delaware County. But no matter where they moved, Dad was always working for the US Postal Service for the railroad, in fact he told his sons that when they were older to get jobs working for the government, because they were the most steady and secure. One of them heeded his advice.
Over the years they visited with family and friends (Dick was remembered by others as a very gracious and hospitable person), built their own cottage, from scratch, on Thessalon Lake in Canada, (and went there often to fish and barbecue), then they retired to a cute little house in Safety Harbor. The cottage in Canada they sold in the 1960s, and Dick gave the money from the sale to her sons.
She was quite a pill, was Dick. I, no doubt, don’t even know a single percent of the shenanigans she could get up to. The only story I vaguely remember hearing happened shortly after her eldest Herman, started dating his future wife, Ruth Kring. Apparently Dick, (no doubt with malevolent glee), decided that Ruth needed taking down a peg or two, because she somehow made sure that they conveniently ran into an old girlfriend of Herman’s. I guess that’s how she kept herself busy while Dad was at work.
When Dick and Dad moved to Florida to officially retire, Dick kept busy with the Woman’s Civil Club and her Order of the Eastern Star Safety Harbor Chapter (No. 173).
MOVIES AT WOMAN’S CIVIL CLUB HALL NOV. 7TH On Monday, November 7, at 8 P. M., a program of free movies at the Woman’s Civic Club Hall will present the Rich Plan __ Frozen Foods. Attendance will give the Commercial Award credits. Light refreshments will be served gratis. Movies of the Cape Coral Development, near Ft. Myers will also be shown by Mr. Jerry Flynn… The new members received at the meeting of October 14 are: Mrs. William Shepard…Members please add these names to your Blue Books. Several former members expect to attend the Club meetings this year.
SAFETY HARBOR CHAPTER 173, ORDER OF EASTERN STAR, INSTALLS Mrs. William A. Shepard was installed as Worthy Matron of Safety Harbor Chapter 173, Order of the Eastern Star…in ceremonies recently held at the Masonic Temple here… Mrs. Shepard stood under an arbor made of fresh red roses while Thomas Peasley, Past Grand Patron of the State of Maine, sang, “How Great Thou Art.” Mr. and Mrs. Herman Sheppard, son and daughter-in-law of Mrs. Shepard, came from Worthington, Ohio, to be present for the ceremony and Shepard presented his mother the gavel she will use throughout her term of office.
O.E.S. RUMMAGE SALE MAY 4TH The O.E.S. will hold a rummage sale Saturday, May 4, in the lot next to Clark’s 5&10 store. Anyone having clothing or other items they don’t use bring them to Mrs. Rachel Shepard, 305 7th Ave. N., or the day of the sale.
Ashley Chapter 147 members heard comments by Mrs. Bess Evans, past matron, on her attendance at a meeting of a Florida chapter of Order of the Eastern Star. Mrs. Evens’ sits, Mrs. Rachel Shepard, is active in that Florida chapter, Safety Harbor No. 173.
1975-04-16 Marion Star, Marion, Ohio, p26
I don’t know what Dad did, when he retired. Maybe he walked to the ocean and fished everyday. He was the quiet type, at least when we were around, so one never knew what he got up to.
Dick lost her husband on April 19, 1973. They had been married for just over 66 years. (Unfortunately, our family was overseas and unable to attend the funeral.) She was a widow for 13 years before she died April 27, 1986. I heard tell that she spent many a Friday evening at the local bar flirting with all the old widowers after Dad died. As I mentioned before, she did enjoy cocktails.
I have an audio recording (be sure to download it) that I have had digitized of Dick talking to her niece Evelyn Conning (1980sish). It is about 30 minutes long, and is of very poor quality. The interviewer definitely wasn’t a professional, and there were no questions asked that I would have asked. But it beats having nothing. Too bad we don’t have one of Dad, apparently he told great stories.
I am very glad that I was able to meet my great grandmother, and I was at an age that I can remember her these many years later, even if only vaguely. I definitely remember her voice, and hearing it on the audio recording helps to bring back those fond memories of my visits to their house in Safety Harbor, Florida. (You can read my post on their house here.)
*Here is a great web page that gives an excellent synopsis of rural schools in the latter part of the 1800s: http://www.heritageall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Americas-One-Room-Schools-of-the-1890s.pdf. ————————— SOURCES: 1. Rachel Hays birth entry, 19 Sep 1888, General index and register of births, Wetzel County, West Virginia, page 74a. Parents O. Hays and Eliza Hays. 2. 1940 US Federal Census, Genoa Township, Delaware County, Ohio details; SD 17, ED 21-17, Sheet 3A, Enumerated April 4, 1940; household 48, home owned [by parents], not a farm, lines 33-34 . What is the highest grade finished is one of the questions on census. 3. W. A. Shepard and Rachel Hays marriage, 1907; Marriage Record, book no. 13, page 180; West Virginia, Wetzel County, Clerk of the County Commission.
August 27th 1959 Dear Egghead:- From the shores of Lake Erie and the banks of the Scioto:- now how’s that for a fancy take off? Here I am back at the Salt Mine. I left Ruth up at the cottage and will go back myself Sat. afternoon. today was my first day back to work, and was it ever hot, the temperature here and at the lake has been in the 90s for over a week now. Although it did cool of at night up at the Harbor. I am forwarding you a few letters that I picked up at the Post Office after I got home yesterday. I received you letter of the 20th and also one from the Dept of Lands and Forest. Thanks for
[page 2] your trouble. I’m going to write the dept. and inquire if that lot could be zoned for commercial or resort purposes if so what steps would be necessary. I’m going to check these items before I send any money. I suppose you know all the details about the purchase as you arranged it for me so I’ll not go into those details. Dick Rodenfels just came back from up there, said they had a good time camping out etc..but the fishing wasn’t so good He was telling me about all the camping areas that have been made-since I was up there. Sounds like
[page 3] they’re making it too easy for these campers that like to rough it. Ruth and I had a good time up at the lake, caught a lot of fish-blue gills and perch, have several in the freezer so we’ll have a mess or two when you come home. We also found a new spot to fish for blue gills out in the lake it just west of Lakeside along the shore will have to tell you more about it later when you come home.
I went out to check on Ruths mother last night and she recovered from her attack what every it was but is still having the pain in the stomach and back, she’ll probably
[page 4] go up to Dr. Jenning office for an examination and xrays next week. I didn’t get to talk to Unk and Elise yet but from the sound of your letter you must of had some trip to Reception Lake.
As Ruth said I should have listened to you about that bump on my cheek bone, you and her both are giving me the devil, the thing swelled up about the size of a banty egg and sure made me look lop sided, but the doctor wouldn’t lance it for me while it was infected, he gave me penacillen shots for the infection and I have to go back later to have the source of the trouble removed. The swelling is all gone now and I suppose I’ll be going back to him some time next week.
[page 5] It not serous as he says its an enlarged skin (pour?) that became clogged and couldn’t drain just filled up and became infected.
We’ve had other troubles also I’ll list a few. Cost me $57.00 for parts to get our car fixed. The garbage disposer almost fell out of the sink (you know it was leaking) the durn thing rusted out and I couldn’t get a part for it in the city of Columbus, had to order it from California and it hasn’t come in yet, that’s been 2 weeks ago I ordered the part and thats going to cost about $15.00 I got my new teeth and had to have some of my lowers
[page 6] ones filled that was $90.00 and the thing I grip about the most here is the real estate tax, I just got that paid for the last half year and that was $175.85, bought 4 new tires for the car and so on. You’ll get a kick out of this one, when I came home yesterday Ruth had taken my door key off my key ring and I didn’t know it until I tried to unlock the door, so I had to cut the screen out of the guest bedroom window and climb in that way. Boy I’ll bet Ruths ears were burning about that time as I was hot to trot. You know what I mean.
[page 7] I’m also enclosing a letter we received from Iva and Roy Buchanan its self explanatory. I haven’t seen Burch or talked to him yet as he wasn’t at work today and when I checked his time card he hadnt only been to work 2 day since I started my vacation on August 13th. I don’t know what his trouble is and unless he comes into the shop I wont have a chance to check on him until Sat afternoon after work as I’m going to be busy tomorrow night on De Molay work etc.
[page 8] well its after 11:PM so think I’ll fix myself a good stiff drink and go to bed. I’ll be thinking about you when I drink it. As you notice my pen went on the blink also. Love to all Herm
22 July 58 Dear Dick and Dad I was happy to hear from you. And to know that everything was alright. Be sure that neither one of you do any lifting or hard work. I wish I were with you to enjoy the quiet and to fish. It is anything but quiet in Europe these days.
Yes, I have an apartment, or rather, I will have one soon. It is being built and is near completion. Lois and the children will probably leave Worthington between September 10th and Oct 10th.
I hope Kenny can have time to visit before Lois leaves. We cant be sure about anything for a few weeks. Then Lois should hear something definite.
[page 2] My work is keeping be busy, but I have seen some of the country. It is much like Ontario. Pine forests and streams. The towns are small. It has been cold most of the time. About 50 degrees today. And it rains most everyday.
I had to buy a car here so that I could get around. And when Lois comes, our Chevrolet will be a month behind her. As long as we live in town (Kaiserslautern) she will need the car anyhow I bought an old 50 Desoto. It may be 2 years younger than your Chevy, but it is old.
I haven’t heard much from Kenny, but he is like me when it comes to writing
[page 3] Germany is as nice as everyone described it. the people work hard, yet they seem happy. The houses are nearly all built of concrete block. As soon as Lois brings over the camera, Ill send home some pictures. they go in a lot for heavy food. Potatoes every meal I had sauerkraut and smoked tenderloin tonight. It was good, only they boil the sauerkraut until it is tasteless.
Well, its about time for the bed. Ill have to get up early to fly tomorrow. Take care of yourselves – you are the only parents I have Your Son Bill
This is the “Old Professor” writing tonight, I’ve been so busy with this school work and (lodge going) that I’m way behind. Besides having my regular night class, I gave a Career Day speech at Eastwood High School today, and have another one comming up next Friday at Grove City. After this week, I have 3 more night sessions at Central, then I’ll be through, “I hope” I don’t know yet if they intent to carry on any further classes in “Auto Mechanics” or not. I like the extra money, but, with my long hours at work, and my Lodge commitments, it really doesn’t leave me much time for myself. If I go on with the School work, I’ll have to drop some of the Lodge functions. Well, thats enough griping about my time.
We had our Father-Son Banquet last Sat. night and Lee Miller was the guest speaker. We have again as many to attend as we expected. I was chairman of the committee for Blue Lodge and Ruth was chief cook and bottle washer for he Stars. She about worked her self to death, went up to the temple about 12 PM and didn’t get away
[page 2] till 11 P.M. She and I locked the joint up. Counting all the kitchen help and the members, they prepared about 250 meals.
Ruth and I were up to see Lydia last Saturday evening. We took up the rest of the Bed Room furniture that she bought from us. She is giving up her job of cooking and looking after her neighbor lady. She has lost about 14 lbs and I don’t believe she has that much to spare. We are going to have her down here for a few days to give her a rest. Another woman is supposed to take over for her the last of this week.
You have been writing in your letters that you folks were comming north and going on to Canada this summer. I am quite concerned about Dad making the trip, you know he said he was going to “stay put” for a year, also Doc. Wettercues[?] said he was not in favor of Dad even making the trip down to Florida. So Im just wondering, has Dad’s condition improved enough for him to make such a trip, or is he just bound and determined to go- regardless! If the latter is the case, I think it would be using poor judgement to take such a chance. Please write and let
[page 3] me know what ever the case may be. We love both of you and don’t want you to do the wrong thing so please give this a good “think” before you make the trip. If it’s us you want to see we might make a trip down for a few days after my school work is over. That’s not a promise but a thought.
Have you been enjoying and going to your “Star meetings”? I’m so glad you got to join the group because you are the type who will work out very good, they will be good for you and you for them. I’d like to hear about your initiation and especially about your neighbor Esther Smith. Ruth wants to know if your “Chapter” recesses in the summer.
Has the grass, trees and flowers started to green up yet? We are still having cold weather here and some snow every day or two. I hope Bill, Lois and the kids get to pay you a visit over Easter. It would be a good chance for them to see Florida. Bill said he would like to buy property down there. I think it would be a good investment for them. I hope they like your locality. over—
[page 4] Our business has slowed down a little. Columb is not as bad as other places-like Detroit, Cleveland etc. I look for a pickup when the weather gets warmer. I believe a lot of people will fix their cars up instead of trading for new ones, as the case has been for the past ten years. I’ve about run out of anything to write, so will sign off for now. With Love, Ruth & H.O.
P.S. Ruth is ironing, misses her ironing lady. Ha.Ha.
P.S.S. We have 6 grape fruit left-you keep up the grape fruit fund and we’ll take care of your flower fund.
Dear Dick and Dad; Such excitement around the Shepard household as we haven’t had in a long time. I was going to write you and send this small clip- ing from last Saturday’s morning paper but now I shall wait and in- clude what comes out in the paper tonight. Yesterday morning- right after Kenny and Sue left for school, he received a telegram that he is one of 40 winners in the Westinghouse Science Search and will get a trip to Washington D. C. from the 27th of Feb. to March 3rd. There he will be interviewed and has a chance to be one of the top 5 in the Nation for awards from $3000 to $7500. The 35 other winners will divide $8700 between them. We are so proud we could bust. He will be on the 6 o’clock news tonight on television, They took his picture at school this morning for the paper, he has been asked to speak at the Civic Club here in town. Needless to say he is still in the clouds and I might add, his mother was all day yesterday. This is from that report he did while you were here before Xmas. It is the first time Alabama has had a winner in the 17 years of the Science Search. Last year Westerville had a winner. It took a Northerner to bring the honor to Alabama. Florida is the only other Southern State to have a winner
We are all fine. Sue and Alan received their birthday cards and money all right. We’ve had enough chocolate cake this month to last the rest of the year. In fact there is still a piece of Sue’s cake left so you know something is wrong. We gave her a blouse and some money so she bought a book on Art with some of the money. Alan wants to go over to the shopping center tonight and spend some of his birth- day money. He got Cowboy boots and hat from us.
[page 2] This week I am going to the base hospital every morning for Physical Therapy for my bursitis,. They give me hot packs and then Ultra-sonic treatment. I think it is helping some. The Dr. says my back has a slipped disk that now is almost completely shattered and that in about two years time should be replaced by scar tissue and so join the vert- abrae and then won’t give me any more trouble. Sure hope he’s right about not giving me more trouble. Alan is to start his eye exercises in about six weeks – they were full up and couldn’t take him any sooner.
Hope Dad is getting along all right. Suppose you are busy but let us hear from you.
Dear Dick and Dad:– Looks like we had your trip planned just right. The weather here has been “stinkin” ever since we got home. Thursday night was a “dilley”. I went to the Foremans Club dinner meeting as the Fair Grounds and when I started for home we had about 5 inches of snow on the ground and winds up to 20-25 M.P.H. I don’t think they got the snow plows out till after midnight. I’m glad it stopped snowing because it wasn’t as bad as I expected the next morning.
page 2 Everything wasn’t bad that night, I won a gift certificate good for a 20 lbs turkey at Big Bear Stores for Christmas. Looks like we will have enough turkey for the gang. Also Lester at Quality Bakery gave me a case of assorted pies, and Rodenfels paid me my regular wages while I was off. Now what do you think about that? I’ll be sending you a refund one of these days.
I’m glad everything worked out for the good and we enjoyed the trip Sure hated to leave that nice weather. I put the fruit out in the garage but had to bring it in to keep it from freezing as the temperature
page 3 dropped down to 3 degrees above zero for two nights. I’ll be giving some of the fruit away because it will not keep in the basement. We took a basket out to Krings and they can divide it among the kids. I gave Lucile some of the kum quats although she wasn’t home to receive them. She ws into the hospital with her mother, Ralph says she can’t last much longer.
That’s about all the news for now, except we had Kernal Sander Chicken and Livers for supper last night couldn’t hilp but think of you.
Here it is, Friday night in Trinidad. Ill write the letter here and post it tomorrow. We flew down early this morning, leaving Boringquen at 08:15. It was my first over-water hop. Only 700 miles but something new. I flew down with Capt. Corcoran. there are sure a lot of things to take care of beofre a flight. I dont suppose that I have told you a lot of thngs we have to do.
First after the need for a flight has been ascertained it has to be passed by the A-3 or the operations division of the wing (here)[?]. Then the pilot must get all the crew & passengers to accomplish a physical inspection certificate (if flying out of zone). Then a customs clearance is necessary if flight into other than US possessions is contemplated. Then the pilot fills out a form 23. (clearance of aircraft). He has to give information as to the people going (their ranks serial nos) the route to be traveled, air speed, altitude, destination and fifty other things. Then he has to go to the weather office, which prepares a chart showing just what weather he will encounter. After that is he ready to go? No. He has to inspect the airplane and crew & passengers to see if they know bail out & ditching (landing on water) procedures. After everyone is aboard are we ready to go? No! some jerk always comes running out on the line as one is getting ready to pull out. We have to pick him up and change the clearance (1 customs, 2 medical, 3 flight) via radio. Then are we ready to go? I think so so we taxi out to the runway, run up the engines and call the tower for take off clearance. Do we get it? No. The radio went bust! So we taxi back and change planes, clearance, cargo, temper[?] and stuff. Well it give you an idea anyhow of why I get $125 a month extra!
[page 2] Im off the subject.
I figured the course out before take off and we flew 4 hours, over water, when we hit land we were about 20 miles off but that suited me. It was a clear day and we could see clear [over?] the top of Triniday. We had Maj. Brown the base chaplain for a passenger.
Trinidad surprised me. It is very mountainous near the north coast and through the middle it is flat & level Very much jungle country. It was sultry hot when we landed. My boys (telephone) has removed some equipment from the exchange at Waller and we loaded it in the C-97. Ready to take off when Capt Corcoran called & said he had to meet a naval officer in Port-of Spain. So we are R.O.N. Get used to the term. It means. Remain Over Night. when we are expected back & dont get to go, we send a radio message, if possible, to one base informing them we are RON.
Be happy we are not here at Waller. It has its points, but Borinquen has more of them. It is undoubtedly more social & friendly but. It is really hot here. And I have never seen it rain so hard. Believe me it has never rained that hard in Ohio! And it keeps up.
The base is spread out over 19,000 acres! One needs not a car, but an airplane to commute with.
When we were to RON. I went to the base telephone office and met all the enlisted men. We then examined
[page 3] the plant. They have a pretty fair system, better than Boringquen’s. Boringquen isnt my worry, bu the way, any more than Waller, Jamaica, Gunia or any of the others. We are responsible for the telephone plant in all of them. The Boringquen exchange is under Capt. Vaden. “Dave”. I have charge of construction & maintenance in the whole area. I do get a lot of experience this way although it keeps me hustling.
As we were looking over the system, one of the spliciers tells me that they captured a boa-constrictor 19 ft long at the very spot we were! We left there; and then he told me of all the hunting. Deer, boar, duck. Well now I think I will have to make frequent trips down to Waller to coordinate communication activities.
Its crazier than hell, the way they drive. British you know! On the left hand side, and it worries one to death. The population here is not only dark. They are downright black Some of the most shapely black wenches I have ever seen and no kidding. They arent coarse but fine featured. not negroes as we know them [SORRY just typing what he wrote]. The VD rate is high!
The driver of the jeep I rode in was black and he carried his pet bird, Tony, with him all the time. He had made a cage that was beautiful out of jungle wood. It was a masterpiece of artistry! The bird was smaller than a canary and I was told that It changed colors with age.
It may be in the cards for us to move to Waller in a year
[page 4] or so. In that case we will undoubtedly enjoy it. But lets enjoy Boringquen. As soon as you car arrives we will travel all over Puerto Rico and take a lot of pictures. It, like all the Caribbean has much to offer to the sight-seirs. It is very rich in history (only) when I get back to Borinquen Sat I will have a full week end ahead of me. I will get all the issued material, furniture & the bike checked out to us & installed in the quarters. The all I will need is a family to fill it up. We may not have a fortune in money but we do have a family in every respect.
I am going to continue writing until I receive definate word as to when you are coming down. Remember, I can receive telegrams quickly, but to send one, I must go to Augudila and it takes about 2-3 days to get to you. Coming down they are sent via army radio so I get them immediately!
Well Im tiring out. This is a good example of a long letter, buy the way. Ouch. Get it? well dont feel so bad, its just lately that I have written anything but a one pager!
In case this is before Xmas I want you all to know that I love you. That isnt worth money, just what you want it to mean.
From South America your latin friend: Willamo Sheparado
Dearest: Had a bad day today. Now we dont dare have any. The cadet standards are up to pre-war levels and we havent a snow-balls chance in hell now. Only 50% remain out of the group now. I expect that I may go too as I know my flying isnt the best, while not the worst. I fly to conservative my instructor says. Well perhaps I am a bit settle down. I cant get excited over it. I just enjoy it and plod along. If flying can be called plodding.
I just want you to be prepared if they do pull up my number. If they do Ill probably go to a reassignment center and then God knows what. One thing I’m sure of. If I do get transferred out of this I want you, If it looks as if I might go over, to spend a few weeks with me. Leave the children at my folks. The thing is to be mentally prepared if something should happen.
Dont let all this scare you. I am going to give them a run for their money. Dammit all, I may not be 18 years old, but Im not hoary and grey yet.
[page 2] I enjoy flying and can fly and well too. I know it. My acrobatics are good. Where I get into trouble is trying to do things my way instead of the armys. for instance in a spin today I held the rudder a bit longer than usuall because the spin seemed faster. The instructor didnt like it at all. Oh well Ill try to straighten out.
How are things going in Dayton? Loe[?] is a working girl. Are you taking over her household duties? OK by me except I draw a line after 8:00 P.M. in the evenings. Dont try to slip in an early one (as if you would). I was only foolin Dear. I start to write something down to kid you and it seems to be off-color when its in writing. Guess Im am off-color character. Im strictly in a mean mood tonight so Id better close. I might eat you up. Not a bad idea Hmmm. Nice dish anyhow.
I love you always. Can you love a nitwit? If you can we’ll get along.
Your Bill P.S. Love to KW & Susie. (her dress is still undone as yet.)
Lois has probably kept you advised of all the news- so Ill confine my letter to our plans for this summer. -Our plans are subject to your wishes so let us know if anything conflicts with your schedule.
We will leave here July 5th and drive directly to Thessalon, taking ten to twelve days and stopping at Couer d’Lane, Idaho- Yellowstone Nat Park, Grand Teton Nat Park, Mt. Rushmore Nat Park and across Wisconsin, to the straits and to Thessalon. We will spend the last two weeks in July with you in Canada & then visit with Lois folks in Westerville for several weeks, then go to Montgomery.
I have written Herman & Ruth. I suggested that they try to be in Canada
[page 2] with us if they could. it would be nice to have the family together again. There will be no shortage of sleeping space. we are bringing six sleeping bags and air matress!
We bought a camping outfit-tent-stove & the works. We plan to camp all the way aross the U.S. We will carry it in the boat with Bonnie and the motor.
The way you can tell when we get there is by the green boat coming across the bay with six dirty characters in it. We may stop to wash up before we get there! We plan to arrive in Canada 15 to 17 July.
Please let us know if this is OK. We look forward to seeing all of you.