Monday, October 31, 2016

Status of plans to move to Sandpoint

From a letter to a friend:

    I recently read a review of The Coldest Winter and obtained a copy from Amazon in "very good" or "like new" condition.  I've read a couple of accounts in the past of the Korean War and while they covered it well enough I suppose, they treated the part before I got there,  and I had pretty much read all that in newspapers before I enlisted in July 1952.  Chances are Halberstam's going to do the same thing.  My part wouldn't be all that interesting to an historian.  I was in what today would be termed an intelligence outfit in K8 (Kunsan).  One of my early jobs was to drive a Jeep to the nearby Air Force Base, pick up the "Secret" bombing instructions and take them back to my unit.  Korea was split up into K numbers in terms of radar responsibility and the Marine Corps had K8 and K30, maybe something else but that's all I remember.  I was at K30 (Cheju Island) when the truce was signed and North Korean soldiers had just been released from a prison there,  and while this doesn't make sense to me now, we were told they had to make their way back to North Korea on their own, but not everyone wanted to go so there were groups of them up Cheju Mountain and we could see their camp fires.  We were told that some American soldiers went up the mountain to go hunting, were killed and stripped of their clothing -- probably just boogeyman stories to keep us from wandering too far from base.  There were only 30 of us on K-30 which was an early-warning station.  Our "commanding officer" was a captain who stayed in his room doing a lot of drinking.  I came away with stories, but not the sort an historian would be interested in.  While I was at K8 or K30 (I don't remember) I received a "blanket" promotion to corporal.  We were told that we who were thus promoted shouldn't think highly of ourselves, the Marine Corps had found that too many corporals had been recently killed and so needed to promote a certain number of PFCs (serving in Korea and not back in the states) to Corporal.

Fast forwarding to 2016 in San Jacinto I have been weeding out books I'll probably never read or read again and sending them to Salvation Army.  At the same time, since I've been reading review after review from old copies of the NYROB (New York Review of Books), I've been encountering a number of books I imagine I'd like to curl up with on a cold Idaho winter night.   I don't recall what I paid for this one, but probably not much.  For reasons I don't understand, libraries are in the habit of getting rid of books after a couple of years and so for example this one sold for $17.95 new when it was first published in 2007, but a person can go to Amazon and buy a "good" copy for one cent plus shipping or $1.98 (plus shipping) in "near new" condition.  I don't recall what I paid but my copy looks "near new."  It is marked "Property of DeVry University, 81 Route 4 Paramus, NJ 07652."  It doesn't look as though anyone ever read it.

On occasion, I've checked the Amazon price of books I have and want to keep but are so beat up that I've ordered replacement copies.  When they arrive, if they are as advertised I put my old copy in a box destined for the Salvation Army.  I am very mindful of the parable about the rich man who built a lot of new barns and said to himself, "now I will take my ease and enjoy myself" (or something like that) which was followed by God saying "thou fool, thy soul will be required of thee this very evening."  With my dogs, the new animals I may get (a llama and perhaps some goats and chickens) as well as maintaining whatever property I buy which may not be in "near new" condition, I do not expect to "take my ease."  I have one daughter living in Sandpoint and another that wants to move back and may live with me for a longer or shorter period.  Her husband was killed in a logging accident leaving her with three kids, all of whom are grown now.  Her two sons have families of their own.   She has been staying with her daughter and two grandchildren, but this recently divorced daughter is apparently thinking of getting remarried; so Jana (now 54 years old) may very well want to live with me.   I was checking real estate listings in Sandpoint and saw one for $220,000 on 3.5 acres.  The main house built in 2007 is 1800 square feet but it has a nearby "manufactured home" built in the 1970s with one bathroom and two bedrooms nearby.  If I were ready to buy right now this property would work.  I could live in the house and my daughter could live in the manufactured home.  The alternative would be to get something larger and there are plenty of those up there, 2500 to 3500 square feet.

So I don't expect to be "taking my ease," but that parable could apply to someone having an incorrect view of his health.  In my case none of my recent health checks have disclosed any problems.  I recall when talking to Susan in the past about the likelihood of my outliving her she would say I shouldn't be so sure.  I might have some ailment I wasn't aware of that didn't show up in any tests which would kill me and she might outlive me.  Well, that didn't happen, but I think about that from time to time.  Assuming I'll live another ten or fifteen years is a bit like the unwarranted optimism of the rich farmer intending to take his ease. 

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