Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Letters from Esther - #8

I am writing up a series of letters my grandmother, Esther, sent "home" to her siblings in North Dakota as she traipsed around the world working for the State Department as a working woman before it was chic. Letters were chosen over phone calls because long distance calls were expensive, and it was sometimes difficult to hear well at a distance.

This letter is the next letter I have from Esther by date.

No envelope. Hand written letter dated Sunday, Aug. 6, 1961

Dear Jennie & all:

I've just finished writing to my offspring & if I don't get writer's cramp will try & get a few lines off to you too.

Got here safe & sound tho we did have to turn back when we were about 1/2 way between Tokyo & Seoul. One engine caught on fire but they got it out right away. That was the only plane that wasn't a jet. Then we had a 4 hour wait & took a jet & got here at 6 instead of noon. My friend Ruth ws pretty upset cause they didn't know what happened to us.

I think I'm going to like it here perhaps even better than Saigon. The country-side is lovely - mountains all around, rivers, lush looking rice fields, trees & flowers. There must be a great improvement since Rupert was here as I have not smelled an unpleasant odor yet. The city is much like all oriental cities with slums & nice modern looking buildings side by side.

I have an apartment (2-room with Kitchen & bath) on the second floor of a building that looks like the reenbelt row houses - not bad at all, & nicely finished. Good bed too.

The PX and commissary are huge & like state-side super markets. They seem to have everything. The water doesn't need to be boiled & there are several army-run radio stations with American music & the latest news, including sports, on the hour. We are not restricted to the military compound where we live either but can go about freely in the city, etc. Its warm just now but no worse than Washington -- I do intend to get an air-conditioner first chance as Ruth's place is more comfortable with one.

Oh, Hawaii was just swell. I swam every day & took 2 very interesting tours. Its like the U.S. but ropical & with many orientals. I think you better plan on meeting me there 2 years from now.

Well I won't over-do it this time but more later. Hope you are all well. Give my love to everyone & tell them to write --

Love Esther

APO 301
San Francisco, Calif.

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