Wednesday, April 3, 2013

June 19, 1954 Busy Preparing for the Trip to America (TheLetter Written by B)

June 19, 1954

Dear Mother and Dad,

"Last night and this morning I have written six letters, so I'll try to go on with this one and get all caught up on my correspondence.

All the days seems to be very busy ones now, finishing my school work, beginning to get things together for the trip, and with invitations to last-minute affairs.  Tomorrow night the students of the English Speaking Society are giving a dinner party for Bonnie and me, and Monday evening we are invited to a Japanese professor's home for supper.  The man has been teaching at Columbia University in New York and just came back last week.  I have had his son in my classes and Bonnie knows his wife through the Kobe Women's Club.  My classes will be over on June 30, but I have some appointments in Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto to talk with some people in education work in the next two weeks, too.  Next Saturday, the Fulbright Commission is having a reception for all Fulbright scholars in this area so I will be going to Kyoto for that.

Yesterday all of us went to Kyoto just for sightseeing and taking a few pictures.  We did go to a couple of silk stores while we were there, bu all we bought was a piece of material for a dress for Ann.  Bobby enjoys going to these two silk stores for they have gardens and pools behind them with large goldfish in them.  Some of the goldfish are almost three feet long, and I think Bobby would like to take his fishing pole there but has to be content with feeding them the bugs which the store furnishes to entertain the children.

In Japan, all children, Japanese and foreign alike, are treated like kings.  I guess it's a good thing for there are so many of them here.  The population problem is really something here.  All of Japan is about the size of Montana, but the population is about ninety million.  Only about one-sixth of the land can be cultivated for much of it is so mountainous.

Yesterday we had a letter from the Fulbright office that our sailing date is still mid-July.  I don't remember whether we had decided this before our last letter to you, but we now plan to come from San Francisco by train instead of flying.  That will simplify our baggage problem since we have a lot more going back than we did coming out.

We had a letter from Wattersons earlier this week, and apparently the man who bought our house bought it for income purposes, and we can keep on renting it from him.  That was a relief to us for the housing situation in Normal is not good.  The house sold for auction at $14,500. and Mrs. Jackson insisted that it be sold at auction.  She is probably sorry about it now for she had been offered more than that before the day of sale.

This afternoon both Bobby and I have to go to the barbershop which neither one of us wants to do.  I never did like to waste my time there, but my ears are beginning to itch.  At least we get bargains at the barbershop--for fifty cents (at the fancy place where we go with 17 barbers) we get a shave, haircut, shampoo, and a massage from the waist up.  The first time I took Bobby to this shop, they wanted to know if they should shave his face.  It is the same price for whatever they do, so I guess they thought I might want my money's worth.

I think Bonnie and Ann will go in shopping while we get our haircuts, but that depends on their moods.  Ann may be too busy playing.

Things are getting quiet along missionary row these days.  One family left for Korea yesterday, and another one is going there on Sunday.  In the first week of July, two of the families leave for their annual two month summer vacation at a lake up north of Tokyo.  One of the families left this week to spend the summer in Canada and attend their son's wedding.  Apparently there will only be two of the families left here when we leave.

Souvenir banner from the Lake
This week I wrote to Watterson to have the garage get our car out and in shape by early August and when we begin to plan like that we realize that is won't be long before we see you.

We hope you both are feeling fine, and that it isn't too hot there.  Our days have generally been very cool and it is quite chilly at night."



NOTE:  The sailing date would be July 6 and the ship would be the Aki Maru rather than the one pictured in the clipping. 

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