Monday, October 8, 2012

September 5, 1952 The Short Vacation, Anxiously Awaiting School, The Old Tux, A Bushel of Peaches and "The Caine Mutiny"

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"Our vacation is just about over and it has been too short.  It always is.  B has spent a lot of time cleaning the basement and the old hot water tank down there sprang a leak so now we'll have another mess when they take that out.  They will just hook up our heater and it won't take long, but is just another thing extra to do.

Bobby is anxiously waiting for Monday to come so he can start to school.  Ann seems to think he's going to Sunday School and says she is going too.  I may have a fight on my hands.  We took Bob for his check-up and he's fine.  He is going to Well's to play this afternoon.  He and Buttons have played together a lot since we came back.

It is about time for me to call Dr. Ball again.  I have felt pretty good since the shot and haven't had one of those tired days yet.  My complexion is better too.  The cream he gave me really heals the places in a hurry.  He wants to know how the shot worked and if it helps he'll give me another even if I haven't finished with the tests.

I'll try again on this letter.  I stopped and walked to the store with Toni.  I wanted to get some thread.  B has an old tuxedo that he had when we were at Yale and now it is too small.  For three years I've looked at it and put it away again thinking I couldn't get a skirt out of one pair of pants.  It has beautiful material so I decided I'd rip it up and see what I could do.  The skirt looks pretty good and if it looks all right when it is all done I'll see if I can make a jacket to go with it either out of the tux coat or some new material.

It looked like the peaches were all gone for they were sold out last Sat. when I went after some.  There were more today though and I got a bushel for 2.59.  They are real nice--on top at least.

How is your new refrigerator?  I've watched the ads but haven't found a picture of one like it.

Just save the radio magazine for us.  If we decide we want it I'll write for it.  We thought the cabinet sounded like a real bargain and we'll be anxious to see what Daddy finds out.

We have one fish left.  The big one died first and then the black one.  Our bowl just wasn't big enough, I guess.

I'm half way through The Caine Mutiny and never want to stop reading when I have to quit.  Have you read it?

I hope you are both fine."

                 Lots of love,


See below a favorable review of The Caine Mutiny, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1952.  In 1954, it was made into an Oscar-nominated film.

 The Caine Mutiny: A Novel (Paperback)
This is perhaps not the greatest novel ever written about World War Two, but it may be the most readable. This is an engrossing, ingenious, and well-written story of ordinary men at sea, placed in an uncommon predicament. Their predicament is simple: their captain is a spectacularly bad leader. This leads to consequences that Wouk develops brilliantly. Wouk's own experience in the US Navy gives this book a gritty authentic feel. The reader really gets a flavor of what it must have been like to be a junior US Naval officer aboard a destroyer-minesweeper. The discussions of officer efficiency reports, the codebreaking duty, casual discipline, and more, all ring true.The real story is the maturation of Willie Keith. At the beginning of the novel he is a spoiled, overprivileged lad living an aimless life. His time in the service, and the unusual predicament in which he finds himself, hardens him into a true fighting-man in a way that has happened to countless thousands of servicemen. Wouk tells this story exceedingly well, in a manner that most readers will be able to easily relate to. I found this novel to be an unusually good read primarily for this reason. Wouk's writing is first-rate, and it is easy to see why this novel appealed to readers of the early 1950s, many of them with fresh memories of World War Two. The flavor of that war lingers in the novel even today, and gives the twenty-first century reader a notion of what those times were like.
This is altogether a remarkably good novel, deserving of every one of its five stars. (Source:  J. Buffington, an Amazon review)

NOTES:  A visit to Richland in the summer would not have been complete without stopping at the fish hatchery on the way out of town.  There we would walk the edges of large ponds, watching the fish.  A man would walk along with a small net, scoop into the water and pull up a couple of tiny fish and put them into plastic bags half full of water.  If we were lucky, our fish would survive the trip home.  While Bob often inserted a soda straw through the rubber-banded top of his bag to occasionally aerate the water, I was content to watch mine swim.

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