Gladys hit the jackpot today. Four letters received but we won’t know how long it will be before she receives another from Jake. This letter provides lots of great corroborating evidence in regards to the other letters we have read this week. The letters from Henry Reinhard, Jr. and Ruth M. both survived the ages. This letter also confirms that Helen Washburn sent Gladys a letter, although it has not yet revealed itself (if it still exists).
Gladys’ brother (my great uncle Jim Foster) also sent a letter. While life had been changing for my grandfather, Jim continued to work at the Norfolk naval base. If you have been following along for the past two months, Jim was assigned to the SeaBees, the naval construction battalians, in Norfolk. In his bible, Jim wrote “remained in ship’s company working in construction stores until 20 August. Then by having a little trouble with a Jew I was transferred to Batt. X, then I was transferred to the training department, being in “X” only over night.” I don’t know how much Jim would have written his sister about his duties or whether he would have mentioned the trouble brewing with the “Jew”.
I think this might be a good time to mention how much of a racist Jim was. While my grandparents were very tolerant and accepting people, Jim was not. He was very much a product of the time and place he lived. If you don’t know much about African American history, you might be surprised to learn that in the early 20th century, the Ku Klux Klan was extremely powerful in Indiana. On the Indiana State Library’s website (http://www.in.gov/library/2848.htm), there is a page devoted to the rise of the Klan in early 20th century Indiana. The library states, “The Ku Klux Klan rose to prominence in Indiana politics and society after World War I. It was made up of native-born, white Protestants of many income and social levels. In the changing world of the 1920s, the group was against Catholics, Jews, African-Americans, immorality, and drinking. Nationally, Indiana was said to have the most powerful Ku Klux Klan. Though it counted a high number of members statewide, its importance peaked in the 1924 election of Edward Jackson for governor. A short time later, the scandal that surrounded D.C. Stephenson destroyed the image of the Ku Klux Klan as upholders of law and order. By 1926 the Ku Klux Klan was crippled and discredited. Later efforts to revive the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s and 1970s were attempted, but its message was not received in large numbers, as it had been forty years previously.” It would be interesting to know what Jim thought of his parents since his father was an alcoholic and his mother had given birth to an illegitimate child before her marriage.
On the eve of Black History month (February), I am extremely grateful that wiser heads have prevailed. We have definitely come a long way since then, even though we still have quite a way to go until all prejudice and hatred is extinguished and all differences are acknowledged and celebrated. Someone told me once that if Jim hadn’t actually belonged to the KKK, he certainly would have fit in just fine. Jim’s views distressed my grandparents and they avoided any topic of conversation that would trigger Jim’s proselytizing.
On a lighter note, I have more people in Kentland to discover and track down. And oh, now we know what kind of stamps my grandfather sent to his sister by mistake. I love how my grandmother told him anyway, even when Ruth said not too.
Received several letters this morning. One from Ruth M., Jim, Henry Jr. and Helen, so I felt pretty good after all that. However I will feel much better when your next comes. Also got the Wilhite check and a rebate on the policies amounting to $8.77-that takes care of rebate on premiums not yet paid which fall due yet this year. Also policies were returned. Ruth M. sent me 12 air mail stamps you sent her and she concluded you made a mistake and intended to send them to me. She said Romaine finally lost her scab and now declares that her operation is officially over.
Mark has lost his zest for fishing for the present-due to the fact the caretaker told the boys they couldn’t fish any more. He now has taken up riding-that is he wants to but there aren’t enough ponies to go around and he has to wait until he can get one to ride. He went over after lunch and just
(page 2) returned-much disgruntled. So I made him lie down and try to get him to rest. I think he is some better since I started him on the Vit B and Phenob. However it has hardly had time to help him much.
John is busy typing something. His latest is writing a story. After practicing his lesson he started writing and has been busy ever since. I haven’t read it yet but he told me some about the plot. He isn’t at all interested in the horses. Won’t even go that way. He tried to entertain Bobby F. this morning a while but gave it up as a bad job. Since Jimmy came back from vacation he and Bobby fuss and quarrel so much Statons keep Jimmy in when Bobby comes this way, so when Jimmy isn’t to be played with Bobby comes here. Of course there isn’t anyone for him to fuss with here but he doesn’t seem to mind. He takes a nap every afternoon so he isn’t around until later in the day. Bill is gone this week
(page 3) and Arlene is still home. Expects to go to Lafayette any time now.
Yesterday John Krull and some over went to Peru to see about enlisting. I took Mrs. K home the other evening and she told me he was going over. I haven’t heard whether he made it or not.
I was going to send your picture to the hospital with Spencer but she finished her last case Sat. She wants a picture so I am going to give her one of those Art took. She said if I needed her and she wasn’t on a case to call her. I told her in case of an emergency I would, but that I was intending to go to Lafayette.
I called Mrs. H.A. this morning and she said she was glad to get any news. Seems Jr. doesn’t write home as often as you do.
It is time to send John to the bank and I have another letter to finish.
Lots of Love
Mother + boys