Touring Greenfield Village

Tuesday evening June 16 – 1942


Dear Folks,

It isn’t time for chow yet so I’ll write a few lines this evening.  I had a special liberty over the weekend so didn’t go out last evening as I was tired and had some washing to do.  I expected to have a guard tonight but didn’t get it so it will probably come tomorrow.

Greenfield Village has opened so we went thru it Sunday.  We spent four hours there and didn’t see nearly everything so you can imagine how much is to be seen.  A bus took us inside the grounds to the waiting room from where the tours start.  Tickets for the museum and the village cost twenty-five cents apiece but are well worth it.  We went thru the village first.  It consisted largely of famous old buildings, most of which are the originals though a few are relipicas of the originals.  Quite a number of the exhibits are connected with the life of Edison, who was a great friend of Mr. Ford.  The depot in which Mr. Edison sold papers when a boy is there but we didn’t get to go thru it.  We saw it from a distance and it looked just like any ordinary depot.  The building in which Mr. Edison carried on most of his experiments is there, fixed just as he left it when he completed his experiments with the light bulb.  Wallace, do you remember in the show “Edison, the Man,” where the boy came running up the stairs, fell and broke the light bulb?  The stairs are just the same as in the picture.  Edison visited the Village in ’28 or ’29 and lit a fire which has burned continuously ever since.

Upper Floor, Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory. Re-erected in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan
Upper Floor, Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory. Re-erected in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

In reconstructing one place, Mr. Ford brought seven carloads of dirt from Vermont to make it more realistic.  One place called the “rose house” is from someplace in England where they used slate for the roofs.  The barn was brought over too and since some sheep were needed, they were brought from England too.  We went thru an old grist mill which uses stone wheels to grind the wheat and corn into flour.  The flour is sold for souveneirs at the waiting room.  We saw wool carded, spun and woven into goods, using the old-fashioned hand methods.  In the museum we saw all kinds of chinaware, antiques, guns, farm implements, cars, trains, buggies, airplanes, in fact nearly anything you might mention.  There were cars of all kinds, the first ones which Mr. Ford made and cars of a great many other makes.  Steam cars, electric and gas models.  A person could spend a day in the museum alone.  We saw engines of all sizes up to 4,000 horsepower.  Old and new locomotives, several airplanes.  There were exhibits of nearly all of Edison’s inventions.  Wallace would have enjoyed those.

We left about four o’clock as we were tired and Megdalls wanted to go out for the evening so Josephine had to stay with the little girl for the evening.  I got three different rides coming back to the station.  The second car to pick me up was a man and woman who were coming out toward the station.  Before we had talked very long the lady asked “what part of the South are you from?”  Lots of people ask me that question.  I don’t notice their talk being any different from ours but they know that I am a “foreigner.”  I got a letter from Frances yesterday. She said that Betty and Al had been there and gone again.  It was sure nice that they could come.

We have had chow now and lots of the boys are here in the reading room writing letters as it is much quieter than in the barracks.  We had spare ribs, potatoes, peas, lettuce with dressing and gingerbread.  We had iced coffee too but it isn’t any better than hot coffee.  I thought it was ice tea and took a swallow of it before I knew what it was.

Has it rained yet?  It won’t be so very long before time to cut wheat, will it?  How big is the corn?  Not very big yet, I suppose.

I’ve run down so will say good-bye.



Love to all,



Corn field on the home place.
Corn field on the home place.


Free time in Canada

Skyline of Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario.
Skyline of Detroit, Michigan from Windsor, Ontario.

March 12, 1942

Dear Folks

Did you get the cards which I sent to you from Canada?  I wrote them in a drugstore in Windsor & left them for the druggist to mail.  Nearly everything costs more in Canada than it costs here but our money is worth more than theirs.  If we spend a Canadian dime here we must give a penny also.  If we change a dollar into their money we get one dollar & ten cents.  I tried to find a few souvenirs for all of you but they didn’t have a very large variety from which to choose so will try to find something for the men some other time.  Mom, I am sending you a handkerchief which I bought in Windsor, Canada, also one to Frances & to Josephine.

I received your letter at noon today & was glad to hear from you.  How are the baby chicks?  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHope you have good luck with them.  If the weather continues as warm as it is now it will soon be time to plant garden.  We saw garden seeds in the store windows in Windsor the other day.  It rains quite a lot up here but is very nice at the present time.

A friend & I went into Detroit last night & went to a stage show put on by the navy.  It lasted about an hour & a half & was good enough that they made recordings of some of the singing.  It was better than most of the programs we have here.  We hitch-hiked & it didn’t take very long.  The people around here are very good about giving us rides.  A lot of the Ford workers drive to & from work from Detroit.  We can ride the buses & street cars free but it is faster to catch rides & it is about two miles to the bus or car lines.  A liberty party of three hundred or so can leave the station & in twenty minutes none of them will be walking.  There isn’t any danger for the drivers because a sailor wouldn’t dare rob or hurt them & we aren’t in danger because we always travel in pairs.  Sunday night by the time we reached the station, eight sailors were in the car in which I was riding.  The man who picked us up made a special trip just to bring us to the station.  That’s the kind of people that live around here.

Greenfield village is closed to visitors this winter so we didn’t get to visit it.  If Ford Museum is open I want to go visit it sometime.

I have just returned from getting another haircut.  That is a regular occurrence every two weeks.  Also I got my blanket back from the cleaners.  I had it dry-cleaned because they are wool & are so big they are hard to handle in a bucket.  However I think I shall try to wash it next time.  Wish we had a washing machine.  If it were allowed, we could all chip in & buy one but our navy regulations wouldn’t allow that.  I have some washing to do yet this evening.

This morning after most of the boys had gone to school, a call came for a working party.  All of us in this room that were left had to go.  We unloaded part of a carload of canned goods & flour.  I was glad I didn’t get on the working detail the other day when they had to unload 40 tons of sugar.  That’s a lot of sugar.  They have quite a number of hundred pound sacks of rice & beans.  I took nine cases of spinach in for dinner.  Each case weighed about forty pounds.  I don’t know whether they used all of it or not.  The cooks had pork shops on the stove & it kept them busy turning those chops.  They were sure good.  Paul it was too bad about your dinner pail.  You might have gone hungry.  Write again sometime.