January 1935

John Briggs, Freddy Dieckhoff, and Mary Briggs next to the Delaware River. The river is at flood stage and the ice is breaking up. Photo courtesy of Mary A.

January 1935
Tuesday, January 1, eight inches of snow fell and drifted. Bill Meyers Jr. plowed. Anna took the mail over to Bill and Lottie Meyers.

Erwin Avery delivered the milk with a tractor Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday, January 3, the snow plow finally got to the Leavenworths.

Thursday, January 10, Clara went to see Laura McBride. Friday Clinton took Clara and Jim to the dentist in Monticello. Clara had three teeth pulled. Jim had his teeth cleaned and a tooth pulled.

Mort Austin had written to his brother Ell that his son Bob was in the C.C.C. in California. The Civilian Conservation Corps was part of the Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was a public work relief program from 1933 to 1942 for unemployed, unmarried men, ages 18–25. Around January Raymond Austin received a letter from Bob in California, with his take on C.C.C. Camps. The first page was missing.

Bob Austin, Calif., to Raymond Austin, Staten Island
January 1935
The work is about 20 miles from Camp. If it wasn’t for the long ride in the morning, it would be very nice out here as we don’t have to work very hard. I have become used to the Camp, but I can’t get used to the cold.

We are quartered in barracks, but we have to sleep in double deck bunks in which there is a bag that we stuffed with straw the first day we came. It was very uncomfortable at first, but I can sleep on them just as well as if I were in a bed.

The barracks are very unclean since they raise quite a dust in the morning which settles on the two by fours and the boards which the beds are made out of.

We have to eat out of mess kits and it is very hard to get them clean as sometimes the water we have to wash them in is not very warm. They promised us table service over a month ago, but we haven’t got it as yet.

I guess we had about the same food (on the train) as they gave you during the war. But I didn’t feel very hungry. Some of the fellows ate in restaurants when the train stopped, but as I didn’t feel very hungry, I didn’t bother to eat in any.

We had it much nicer traveling as we had Pullmans to sleep in and we were always seeing new country.

The country around here is very beautiful and I think I wouldn’t mind it if we could live like human beings. It certainly gets monotonous lining up every night for supper and making our beds every morning. However, I guess it isn’t near as bad as the Army. But when I get out, I never want to get in another C.C.C. Camp.

We seem to be in about the worst part of California as we haven’t got any of the things that you associate with California.

The trees here are very large, but we haven’t got any of the real big redwoods that you read about. The biggest tree that I have seen yet was about 7 foot through and about 250 to 300 feet high. Most of the wood here is red pine, fir, and cedar trees. There are a few oak trees here and they also raise apples here. The trees however have altogether different leaves and bark than the ones back home.

I guess we missed sunny California by about 80 miles as our boss tells us that the Orange County starts about 80 miles southwest from here in the Sacramento Valley. I don’t think I will be able to get to San Francisco as it is over 269 miles and it would be very cold riding on freight trains now and when the weather gets warmer, we will just about be starting home.

Some of the fellows were thinking of bumming to Sacramento which is about
170 miles, but they changed
their mind.

I got a package from home Thanksgiving and I just got a letter from Mother asking me why I didn’t write. So wrote to her this morning. I guess she didn’t know that you wrote to me as she gave me your address.

How do you like the new place where you moved? It certainly must seem good to you and Gladys to be living by yourself again…

Mother tells me you are having nice weather back home. The weather here would also be called nice back home, but it don’t seem to me like sunny California. I will close now as it is nearly time for supper. I must get my mess kit and go to the mess hall.

Your brother, Bob

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