June 9, 1940
Dear Mother, Dad and All,
Just a week ago yesterday I gave up all thoughts of writing you anymore letters, thinking I would be conversing with you in person about the end of this month. Pres. told me I had better get my trunk packed and prepare to leave this week on the same ship he and family and three other Elders were preparing for. I was completely taken by surprise and could hardly realize I was about to leave here. Since Xmas I have known my time would be shorter than the usual thirty months, but coming so soon, really caught me flat-footed. The reason of course being because of the Gov. law that is causing us to lessen our number. We are to be allowed only 14 Elders. Just as quickly as possible we are to be cut to that number, therefore it is necessary that we take every reservation possible. Through some "pull" or something Pres. secured one more bunk on the ship that is (or was) taking them back. Elder Benson is working in the Tuamotus and it would be a month before he could get in; Elder McEntire is working out in the district of Tahiti, and I am still here in the office. Inasmuch as Elder Richards has been working with me for sometime and knows the run of the printing press and work pertaining to it, it was thought that my position would be most easily filled without making changes throughout the Mission so I was elected to leave. I surely began my packing with a heavy feeling over me; I didn't feel ready to leave.
Now things are much brighter. During the week a rumor went around that the Wyotapu (our ship) was in America, having made the run from Australia straight through without stopping here. The Steamship Office can't verify it but they believe it to be true. Anyway, I'm writing this letter on the presumption that it is true and that I won't be home until ... it's hard to say. Maybe August sometime. If it isn't true, then I'll be following this letter by a week or two. But I feel confident in saying you needn't expect me before July or August. You understand how I feel ... I want to serve down here just as long as I am permitted.
Now, just to show you I am in high spirits, I'll tell you what may happen. If the Wyotapu is in America then she is out; we won't return on it. The Cape Horn will be along in July sometime and it may be that we can't get reservations on it. Now the big chance left is the Monterey, a 26,000 ton passenger liner that is schedualed to be here on the 3rd of August, leave on the 5th, land in Honolulu on the 10th and then in America on the 15th. Pres. has signed for 12 reservations on that providing they pick up passengers here. If everything fails up until then and then they allow us passage on that, think what a wonderful break that would be! It's really almost too good to be true so I won't count on it too heavily. So, all I can say now is this may be the last letter I send to you and again there may be one more sent on the Cape Horn. I wish I knew so I could plan accordingly, but this isn't the first time ships have been the cause of an unsettled mind.
Well, that is one of the thoughts uppermost in my mind these days and now that it is written you can make it out as best you can.
Maybe you are wondering how I am sending this letter. The Hauraki is expected in any minute now, according to rumors, so I am preparing this to send. Due to the war a great secrecy has been placed on ships so we don't know but very little concerning them. Elders Hunting and Chapman are leaving on this ship. You can see what an exodus of Missionaries this Mission is experiencing also. Brigham Young's prophecy is surely close to fulfilment these days.
Now you may be wondering if war is effecting us very much yet. Noooo, not so much. We're not allowed to print any war news in our Mission paper, discuss news, or have any freedom of the press; everything must be read and passed on by officials before publication. One article I wrote on tithing was torn up and refused but on the whole we are treated quite civilly. We haven't had any bread for over a week now but we don't miss it so much. Breadfruit, potatoes, vegetables, etc. are holding out nicely except the price is quite high on everything now. I surely feel sorry for those in the Tuamotus. There isn't a sack of flour around that we know of and that made up the greater part of the diet for the natives. Canned foods are too expensive for them. I imagine they are quite hard up.
The Limerick came in last week bringing me four letters from you and one from Verba. You surely are holding up your end of the writing, Mother and Dad, and you know I appreciate it. I always am glad to hear from you even though this letter may sound as though I'm not very anxious to get back. (I will be when I get started that way.)
June 13 — The first thing I heared this morning on awakening was the ship is just about in. So, presuming it to be the Hauraki, I had better get this letter finished and in the post office. Well, a ship means flour so we will be eating bread again for awhile.
Well, I haven't much more to say so I better let this be sufficient for now. They are pretty strict about mail getting in early for inspection before the ship leaves.
I doubt very much that I'll receive any more mail so maybe you better not write any more. I wish I knew definitely.
As ever, Love,
You may send mail but I have plenty of money to see me through.