My Dear Doctor B:
Please again accept my thanks for your hospitality during my recent, all too brief stay. I have included a small present in way of thanks, since your wife mentioned having so much difficulty obtaining good tea and chocolate in Nakusp. I hope that it will not offend anyone's sensibilities.
And thanks as well for your solicitude. As you know, my husband and my father-in-law's younger son are both in the South Pacific on Admiralty and Navy duties, respectively. (They're there to watch some giant bombs blow up, and confirm that giant bombs don't blow up giant ships. I'm not as optimistic as the Navy seems to be about that, but no-one's asked me, either.) You are right to say that the strains of carrying on without them are telling, and right to say that I should trust to my mother-in-law to carry on the family business, as she has so well. As you also say, I am a young mother with three at home, and my attention should be on them.
My Dear Father:
I include a packet of photographs from the South Seas, where you will find plenty of "Reggie and his Uncle James," Tommy Wong, and all of the other young and not-so young men mentioned in your son's long and belated letter. As you can see, although the business is supposedly serious, the actual atmosphere at Bikini Atoll is something closer to a holiday camp.
I shouldn't worry about doings in San Francisco, either. The Russians, incredibly, contracted cleaning at their embassy with Kong Loh Suee (have you met?), and securing the additional material wanted in Virginia was a simple matter of sending someone in with the regular janitors to replace the old rat traps --no heroic second story work needed at all, although the safe did have to be cracked. Mrs. W. hopes that this is "good enough for Piggly Wiggly," as she puts it, and that she will not have to cross the continent enceinte. It is bad enough that her cousin is now in Texas, and, after some months delay, allowed to write to certain persons of unimpeachable credentials. Yes, I am still a little amazed that Mrs. W. counts as such, but we have the Director on our side. I just hope that we don't end up exposing, oh, say, the Secretary of Commerce as a red-under-the-bed as the price we pay. plaintive letters demanding attention. Anyway, he sends long screeds in impenetrable German handwriting about how Texans do not pay him enough attention, and reporting that the lineoleum in his hut is cracked, and that the Army food is awful.
"Miss V." remained in the northwest after I returned, and hopefully will stop in again to see you in the first week of June. She is trying to arrange for a proper survey of the Spokane lands, with dreams of Uncle Sam busting the bank to build a nice officer's country right along the stream. We'll see. Even the outside-the-gates "strip" would be better than trying to make money on sheep on that land. Of course, even that is presuming that the Army chooses to buy from us, and not one of our neighbours. She will also be piecing her way through the papers in Couer d'Alene. She tells me that she has a "hunch" that she can hang something not covered by the state of California statute of limitations on the Engineer.
Finally, in the matter of the tape, we have a bite! Uncle George has found a New Jersey company which is eager going to manufacture tape recording/playback machines. all that is wanting is a customer, and Eimac has secured an FM license in the San Francisco area. Without going into the gory details, FM needs good sound reproduction a lot more than AM. James had a bit of doing to persuade the board that we had the right technology for them, but they were sufficiently open to the idea that I had the principal partners over to Arcadia. They seemed to take well enough to Bill and Dave, and I think we have a sale.
Uncle George had what he describes as an excruciating interview with the young man chosen to take on your little problem. He is apparently one of those supercilious boys who are wrong about everything, invincibly convinced that they are right, and determined to explain just why in the most annoying way. Obscure vocabulary, affected accent, condescending manner, hysterical religiosity. Truly a prig before his time. (Not to mention some casual remarks about "Asiatics," which do not, of course, sit well with Uncle George. Really, you expect these things in an older man)
Now, I do not know that Uncle George might not be exaggerating out of guilt. After all, the only thing the young man is really guilty of is tattling on a few fellow students to the Spanish embassy. The fact that one of them ended up getting arrested in Madrid does not look well on the boy, but it is a bit of a stretch that he planned it that way.
Ah, well. It is not as though the boy, at least as described, is likely to let "playing husband" get in the way of his life. Ahem. Perhaps I should rephrase that?
I include pictures of your grandchildren. Vickie is now walking, and in honour of her stubborn determination to follow along on the war trail of mischief blazed by her brother, I also send along a footprint. We all hope to see you together, perhaps at Christmas.