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 ]

Sunday nite
1 Aug, '54

Hi Aunt Ruth

Speaking of Sunday mail, we have it here, too. It is nice, isn't it. It's too bad that those stamps got ruined. They were worth quite a bit of money.

And back to the age old enterprise, politely called prostitution. Wilkinson hit it on the head. GI's are, at least in talk, a conceited, superior, and as you say a godlike creature who is far above and who's culture is far above that of the Koreans. Many times I've discussed it, defending Asiatic custom and ridiculing, justly and unjustly, the Western civilization that has so changed Korea. I've not heard a person yet who feels that Koreans or other Asiatics have anything to offer the world. Even their infinite patience is considered a liability. There politeness and humbleness is admired at first and then abused. GI's realize only that "we" won the war, that we "saved" Korea from that horrible demon Chou En Lai. And we did, but they don't stop to think that we are outsiders interfering, changing, destroying and rebuilding, abusing and aiding their life, their families, their culture, their homes, them - which we are. The few Koreans who join the well-organized "sliky-sliky" gangs of thieves are considered typical of the entire people and the poverty of the property-less, homeless, landless peasants is considered signs of their laziness and indifference which only rarely is true.

Prostitutes in SeoulProstitution may not be noble, it was originally a last resort to survival, but it is a rewarding business. The work provides sensual pleasure as well as cold cash. The income is regular and much higher than average, the social stigma covered by the necessity of survival. In Japan, I heard with excellent reliability, of a father who took some GI's, buddies of mine, to his house to use his daughters - they were "Number one ----"

And these girls, especially the Japanese, are masters of their trade. Their emotions are nearly genuine - their love is real, their hearts are true, this guy is the one and only, and she will stop her trade if he will send her a regular income - until a half hour after he leaves. It's the same story over and over. Who are they fooling? A lot of them, believe me, a lot of them. And in my cynicism I say more power to them, may they make dupes and fools of these conquering heroes that these heroes may learn of their insignificance in time. In time for what? In time, maybe, to be good people? I don't know. Maybe it's my bitterness at the frailty of people, of their selfishness, lack of clairvoyance, and reasonless existences.

But tomorrow I will feel better.

In the night air, I hear amid the noise of a radio, the roaring of trucks, occasional artillery blasts, boom, boom, boom, boom, four of them just ripped off, and the hum of a generator, the bang bang of a shoot-em-up cowboy western. It must be recreation to sit and watch people shoot each other.

I just sprayed an aerosol bomb around. Maybe you'll get a whiff of it in the letter -- maybe not.

You speak about getting out early. I may extend a few months if I can get to Europe by doing so. Is it crazy to put off getting out? or is it wise to see Europe while I can? or is there no future in seeing Europe, and if there's no future in traveling, where is there a future and why?

What overlay on what signature? It's been so long that I can't remember. Best you tell me what you mean by an overlay.

I liked the paintings, especially the first performance. What is Ray's object in scratching his back with a paint brush. What's in the frying pan? It's fun picking out all the things in the picture, and must be even more fun to you to whom every line reminds you of some event of the day. And Jini's Loom has me baffled. Her wheat germ is number one, especially after. Her painting is lovely in its effortless artisticness and the drawings are super-clever.

About your gardening. I'm not too enthusiastic about a rock garden. I feel that it wouldn't fit there. Perhaps it would work into a beer garden, but so close to a Rhododendrun garden. I don't know about that.

You could terrace it and grow rice. That would be easy and very appropriate wouldn't it? Would such a slope be too steep for a nice grassed area leading up to a rhododendrun garden with an undercover of portulaca or something or other? Perhaps my landscaping insight, if such exists, has faded or retreated or is dormant.

Life here:


The rains

have left               and sun

appears                 and that's about it.

But if I scratch around a bit perhaps some not-too-stagnant memories can be located.

Thursday morning Pvt. Pellittiere and I hopped into his jeep, buzzed out onto the road built for vehicles on stilts with cushion mattresses for seats and bounded and sidled our way up the road to some rice paddies. Upon arrival, we parked the jeep being sure to have it well off the mudway to appease the angry Gods -MPs. Taking our dippers, eye droppers, and sample bottles, we not-so-boldly ventured out on the winding narrow clay-and dirt walls of the paddies. We would dip and look, picking out larvae, identifying them, and putting them in the sample bottles. After making 20-40 dips around the paddies, we returned by similar precarious routes to our jeep. There we got out our paper and pencils and jotted down impertinent misinformation regarding weather, the paddy condition, % of mosquitoes per dip, location and recommended control necessary.

Roadside vistaThen away we rowed to our next paddy. Repeating this process, we went from paddy thru puddle to paddy until noon. Then we returned and reported. I called the airstrip and that PM at 3 we hopped into a 6x6 and dashed madly for the airstrip at a brain bestirring 25 MPH. Upon arrival, I reported in and we got a pilot while the others took the truck around to the strip. Then I made a mistake. Instead of going up myself, I had Sarge signed in as the passenger. That morning he had had 2 teeth out. For an hour he went up and down and round and round swallowing blood and more blood. By the time he got back he was really sick. I should have gone up but forgot about his teeth. Oh well, he lived and the spray job did get done. We got back to the unit just in time for chow, and I still haven't been up - darn it all, I'd like to get an air view of Korea. And a shot would be #1 with my new Argus C-3.

Yup, I spent $50 or so and got a camera. Now I can get colored slides at about 10-15 cents apiece. Already I've shot off 12 black and whites in two days. Tokson fun, by golly.

And thus was Thursday taken care of. Not to use a preposition to end a sentance with, but rather to find English in the best use of. Ugh, ain't it awful how I louse up a good thing.

Jarman and Sturdevant spray in a villageFriday we again went out. This time it was Dick and myself with PFC Jarman. We took out the gas-driven duster and two triceps-biceps driven "organ-grinder organs." With these and 200 lbs of dust we headed out. While Jarman ran the baby buggy, Dick and I took the organs and hit some other rice-paddies against the wind from the road. We got about 100 acres of paddies in all. My only worry there is that I may locate a land mine the hard way and chances of that are slim indeed.

After putting out the dust and getting plenty of attention from the Indigenous personnel, we reloaded our equipment and returned to the area. Then off we went again down to Quartermaster to take a shower. It felt good to have plenty of hot water and clean, freshly miticided clothes to put on after a hot, sweaty, dirty day.

Cpl. Jarman dressed for a Command InspectionYesterday we went on a Command Inspection (notice I capitalized it like I am told to do) I went with our Lt. while Dick went with the Division Preventive Medicine Ossifer. We had to get all dressed up -- shined boots & buckles, cleaned decently fitting fatigues, all necessary patches and insignias, blocked hats and proper scarves (maroon for the medics) We got there. had Brass? Brass all over the place. It was dopey, standing in ranks with Lts., Captains, Majors, and Lt. Colonels. But that's the army. After the head man -- Chief of Staff (3d Division Totempole) arrived, the various units -- medics, Q.M. ordnance, signal, admin. were given guides and away we went walking around to the various companies. While the Lt. inspected Mess halls I went with the Company Vector Control NCO around thru the quarters, latrines, urinals, and other facilities inspecting for insect and rodent control and sanitation. Then I'd report my findings to the Lt. and a company sanitary report would be made. This took all morning and typing up the reports took all afternoon. Papers out and I'm tired.

Good night,