Fifteen letters
[ Fifteen Letters ][ Introduction ]
1954: [ June 5 ][ June 15 ][ June 26 ][ July 10 ][ July 27 ][ Aug. 1 ][ Aug. 11 ]
[ Sept. 18 ][ Sept. 30 ][ Oct. 29 ][ Nov. 3 ][ Nov. 11 ][ Dec. 13 ]
1955: [ Jan. 23 ][ Feb. 20 ]
[ Epilogue ]

3 Nov. '54

Hi again

Finally R&R is beginning to wear off, the groove doesn't feel so ill-fitting and I feel less like I'm cracking up. The last is not a joke. I was almost sure I was nearly gone about last Friday when I could walk around here, talk and talk, and within a half-hour not remember a thing I'd done or a person I'd seen. But now - at present anyway - equilibrium is retained.

USO show USO showToday we had a USO show. In it was a woman from San Antonio. She was tall, honey, bleached blonde, all mouth and double-jointed limbs and FUNNY. She imitated one of these afternoon TV housewives who give out with recipes, a big smile, plenty of chatter and some second-rate sponser. She proceeded to provide us with plenty of entertainment as she rambled and ha-ha'ed on thru the act. Definately not high-brow, but fun. Other good acts too, but only a so-so USO show in its entirity.

Yesterday the Major (nurse) brought 5 new Korean nurses thru the lab. on a tour. Since it is a rather dull tour, the 3 of us back here in Entomology decided to add a bit of interest. We have a little 2 1/2 foot green constrictor-type non-poisonous forest snake for a pet. I sat in my chair working on slides while Dave wrapped the snake around my neck. He (the snake) [or she as the case may be] lay there very docily ticking my ear with his tongue and wigging his tail on my chest. So I sat and waited. Then from the Photo Lab. next door we heard them beginning directed into our section. In they came and started talking with Dave and Bob. Then one of the Korean girls saw the snake and pointed a horrified finger at it. The others looked and gasped and the Major turned, right at my elbow, to see the cause of the commotion. She yelped and jumped back and I turned away from the 'scope with an interested but unknowing smile while Dave removed the snake. The poor dear old lady just stood there and sputtered. It was all so comical. After they left, we just sat and laughed, Such a business.

Kyong Bok palace Palace groundsSunday was a reasonably nice day so about 10AM I took my camera and went into Seoul. First I went to the Kyong Bok Palace grounds in back of the capitol. It was quite messed up by the war and is only partly restored now. Took a few pictures there.

On the way in we (I road in with some Canadians) watched a dozen paratroopers make practice jumps by the Han River. First live drops I'd seen.

Chang Dok PalaceAnyway to get back on the story, after seeing the Palace, I meandered up the road to the Chang Dok Palace which is a Paradise in the Inferno. Within the gate (200 hwan, thank you) was the entrance to the Palace proper. Lovely tapestries, ornate ceiling decorations, carpeted floors, lovely old furniture, a museum of Korean culture and numerous rooms. Apparently every monarch added a new addition of his own, and he did this additioning with the use of numerous wandering corridors going zigzag from one temple to the next. ‘Twas like a maze. I wandered around admiring the beauty, soaking it up, and cursing the flash attachment that wasn't working. But forgetting that I wandered on living over the days of laughing Korean Princesses and Kings, courtiers and noblemen. Then leaving the Palace I went to the Secret Gardens.

Aunt Ruth, it was a devine touch of New England sprinkled with Pagodas and Pavillions on glistening little ponds in wooded heaven. That this should exist in Seoul was unbelievable. Except for a half-dozen foxholes, there was no sign of war. Trees, crisp fall leaves to kick with my feet, little-used paths among autumn colored foliage away from the noise, the smell, and the poverty of Seoul. Steep little hills to vantage points for a King's-eye view of the capitol city. Lovely, exotic, oriental glades with beautiful foliage overhanging Pavillions sitting at the water's edge where in bygone days the courting of nobility must have been done in the secrecy of this inaccessible retreat. Thus did I wander away from it all, thinking of home, of ancient Korean life, and of abstract thoughts of no sense. For a couple hours did I wander alone making up poetry, relating reality to fantasy, and generally drifting around in a reverie of thought. But the beauty was undeniable, the fall smell of dying leaves, the rustle of fallen foliage, the ripple of a rushing stream, the gentle gurgle of little waterfalls, the scurrying of little animals, the silent circling hawk, the nervous twittering sparrows all so like home.

Secret gardensFinally 5 o'clock approached and I had to leave after nearly getting lost in the palace maze. I finally got out with the aid of a Korean woman who helps in the landscape upkeep. But I've not seen the last of the Chang Dok. This weekend I'll go again if the weather is compatible to outdoor adventure.

On the subject of work: our main project of mounting and identifying larvae has been completed. Now, as P.M. Survey detachments are deactivated, we receive their years of paperwork from which we must extract information that will provide a summary of all mosquito work that has been done in Korea in the last several years. The new work is at present mainly paperwork. It is good to see progress and feel that our work is useful not only in sustaining the world's biggest organization, but also in helping mankind in his epic battle with the insect world. Now, doesn't that make us sound like heroes.

To answer some questions, rather some letters. I do not brag of my deterioration or disillusionment or discouragement or whatever and the results of it. If I say I got drunk it is stated as a fact with definately no conceit and neither with regret. What's done is done, the future needs the thought, the past only observation, deduction, and conclusion to better the future. If you don't care about these little episodes that I intend as markers of my attitude and change, or it they are unnecessary, then I'll drop them. I offer no reason for having done it. I can only say that having been gutter-drunk, I've little, in fact nothing more to learn of the temporary facts of intoxication so a source of temptation and curiosity is removed.

I'm returning this letter from Barbette since I don't know what use you may have for it, if any. The kid's got literary talent hasn't she? It is in the typical 20th century American style of put a lot in a little place, but she does it well enuf to keep it interesting, readable, and grammatically okeh.

The radio sounds like a Democratic majority is almost sure, just a few more counts to come in. I am sorry that it happens, for I still feel that any President who is capable (and I believe Ike is capable), can do much more good with a sympathetic Congress regardless of his political inclinations either to right or to left. Perhaps, tho, Ike is middle enough to even get accomplishments with an "alien" Congress under him.

I got a note from Mike the other day. Am sending the original to you but will keep a duplicate for answering. I'd forgotten the juvinility of his mind. Of course he's not too old. And then, 2 fellows who graduated from Arms with Barbette wrote to me in response, and frankly I was shocked at their grammar. Misspelling, poor sentance and paragraph construction, terrible punctuation. I swear I did as well after graduating from Grammar School. (Tho I don't now.) The poor fellows, and they plan on getting thru college eventually. Oh, poor college!

What was once a certainty has faded until now the opposite is nearly as certain. That is the feeling on Japan. When I learned of my assignment to Korea I was glad that it was not Japan because I'd be here 16 months rather than 2 1/2 years. However new factors have entered the situation, new weights have been cast on the scales. As US pulles out of Korea, chances of staying here diminish accordingly. It is very unlikely that I'll still be here next summer. Probably either Japan or Okinawa. Is it bad? Well, having established a quite heavy superficial layer of indifference to cushion the shock of disappointment as well as restrict the upsurge of hope or joy in realization, it doesn't bother me too much either way. I'm in and will be in until 8 Sept. 1956. And I'm happy most of the time. Unlike most others I'm not waiting for my tour to end because I know no adult life in civilian garb. Only youth and it's gone, so I'II enjoy the life here and learn until I get discharged at which time I'II learn about adult civilian life. So, one way or another I'II be happy, either in Japan or in the States. It is true I'd like to get a 30 day leave at home, but after the 30 I'd like to be gone again, so I'll just skip the 30, get the pay, and return home on a later day, one not so very far away. Amen, again Amen, I say.

Guess I just about turned the trick - filled up a half sheet of paper. sorry to bore you. Now I've got to drop a line elsewhere - Mike maybe.

your Son, Connie