Monday, May 3, 2010

Letter Home 05-24-1944

Wednesday 1530


Hello Darling:

Last night after supper I stretched out on my cot for a short rest, and I did not wake up again till nearly midnight. As a result I did not write to you. I hope you don’t mind. I still love you even when I slip up occasionally on my writing.

Right now I feel nice and dirty, and there is no water, so I can’t take a shower. I’ve been lying out in the sun for an hour besides to make things worse. I hope it gets turned on before tonight. It gets chilly taking a shower when the sun goes down.

The reason I was so tired last night was because we finally took that trip to a native village. We took a boat to get there, and it was a three hour ride up with another three back. We did not get back till a little after supper time.

It was interesting to see the village, but I hope I never have to spend and length of time in one. They certainly aren’t the cleanest places in this world. At that this one is a fairly civilized one too. At least it is in closer contact with white people.

We got a surprise when we were just arriving on the boat. There were 4 little kids in a canoe, and they were singing. All of them were naked (as most of the kids in the village were, although a lot of the girls and boys that were 8 or 9 years old wore grass skirts, on in the case of boys a small piece of cloth wound around them like a towel) and these kids had a pole and a paddle to manipulate the canoe with. It was a hollowed log affair. When we got close enough to make out what they were singing we got our big surprise. It was that song “I’ve Got Six Pence to Last Me All My Life” and they had it down pat. Both the words and the melody.

A lot of the natives even understand English. Most of the older ones only understand “Pidgin” It is a massacre of the Kings English. The younger ones go to school, so they are a lot better. There is a mission there that teaches them. Some of them are very good, but they let the village policeman do practically all the talking and interpreting.

The village itself is a dirty place with the pigs and chickens wandering all over as they pleased. Still there were some amusing incidents happened while we were there.

The natives sell everything and anything they can. The Australian government has put a standard price on most things, such as coconuts, bananas ect. However the native’s standard price is “Two Bob” That seems to be all they know, although they are a lot smarter than they seem. “Two Bob” is about 32 cents in American money.

A slight pause here while I help Garst eat a can of peaches. They got canned fruit occasionally in the PX, and he got a few cans. They were good too!

To get back to the native’s a few of the boys bought melons that they call “Paw Paw.” I know it is not spelled that way, but that is how it sounds. The Aussie that was with us said they were very good. Like a ripe plum, but they still have a flavor all their own.

There weren’t very many of them, and one guy was asking a native if the had any more. However he was saying that he would give him “Two Bob” for some “Pom Pom.” That caused quite a bit of confusion and laughter among the natives. “Pom Pom” is a native woman!

I did hear one story of some native in one of the villages around here offering some “Pom Pom” to one of the boys for two Pounds. That is nearly $6.50, so I don’t think he took any. From what I saw I think anyone would be nuts to have any part of them even for free!

Most of them were old weazened up women. They were only a few young ones there, and they said that those girls were 15 or 16. By the time these natives get to be 30 or so they are really old. Their diet does not tend to keep them in very good physical condition. Most of the kids have big pot bellies, and it is not because of being well fed. They are just bloated from some lack of vitamins in their diet.

It is just starting to rain, so it looks as if we won’t have a show tonight. I hope that they have it tomorrow night if they do call it off because of the weather tonight.

There goes the chow horn, so I think I will sign off for now. Perhaps tomorrow I will think of some more of the interesting things of the village. They are quite simple though in everything of their lives, so it does not tend to be too much so.

I love you very much darling. Take care of you for me?

And of course I hope –

Love George?


Michelle Goodrum said...

I have really been enjoying these letters. Thought you might like to know.

Brian said...

Thank you very much! I started this mainly for myself and my family, but I am very grateful to have feedback from anyone who finds their way here.

There are plenty more beyond what I have posted up already. His letters run from 1942 through 1946, and he wrote almost every day.