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ERBzine Volume 1022
Presents
ERB  portrait by John Coleman Burroughs
The 
Danton Burroughs
Family Archive Series

ERB: The War Years

Danton Burroughs
ERB at work in his Honolulu office
. . . AND NOW. . . IN THE VERY WORDS OF MR. BURROUGHS. . .
Excerpts from the Wartime Letters of 
the Dean of Correspondents in the WWII Pacific Theatre
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Lanikai, Oahu
and
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard ~ Honolulu
HAWAII
1941

Collated by Bill Hillman


The letters are to daughter Joan Burroughs unless otherwise stated
CONTENTS
January 13, 1941
January 24, 1941
January 27, 1941
March 6. 1941
March 27, 1941
April 17, 1941
May 30, 1941 (JCB to ERB)
June 3, 1941
July 15, 1941
July 21, 1941
July 31, 1941 (JCB to ERB)
August 26, 1941
September 2, 1941
September 14, 1941
September 24, 1941
Oct 11 1941
October 30, 1941
December 1, 1941
December 5, 1941

1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
January 13  1941
Darling Joan:

Your very welcome letter of January 2nd just received, but it didn't come any faster because of the 6 cent air mail stamp; it is 20 cents from the mainland to Honolulu, and if less postage is on the letter, it comes by boat.   But yours came only one day later than one written by Jack on the 4th and mailed with 20 cent postage. Clipper mail is very irregular this time of year on account of adverse weather conditions.  About half the time they get part way over and have to turn back.

I was very sorry indeed to hear of Bill Terhune's death.  Please convey my sympathy to Mrs. Terhune.   It is too bad a lot of old fools can't be taken instead of useful young men.

Yes, it is too bad I cannot know the children better; but maybe it is just as well, for I am an irritable and grouchy old so-and-so.  More so than formerly.

God and Ralph only know when I will be home; and, speaking of Ralph, he never told me about his election to the presidency of the Chambers of Commerce.  That's Ralph all over.

Jane and Jack have written me about your wonderful Christmas.  I am so glad.  Our moving rather broke into ours.

How nice that you get picture work occasionally.  I know how much you enjoy it, end also that the money comes in handy.  I think I shall take up singing; I may need a job pretty soon. In fact I do now.

I hope Jim got his appointment as flying instructor.  That would be fine, especially because that is something he would like so much.

Miss Ralbe's calling you amounts to something of a coincidence. Ralph forwarded me a letter from Tarzana addressed to Miss Ralbe and her sister.  It was postmarked Houston, Texas, and had no return address.  I hadn't the faintest idea what Miss Ralbe's address was; so, after wracking my brain until it rattled, I forwarded it yesterday to the Board of Education, New York City, as I recalled, perhaps erroneously, that she taught school in New York.  If you will give her this information, she will have time to write to New York and have the letter forwarded, as it will go by steamer and not reach the mainland before this letter.

Lots of love, my dear.

Papa


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
January 24 1941
Joan darling:

Your letter of the 14th was very welcome, as are all your letters. Although you sent it via air mail, it must have come by boat; as it was eight days getting here, and there has been no Clipper in for about a week.   We were supposed to have had one this morning, but the morning paper now says it will arrive tomorrow; so I am sure your letter wasn't on it.   Quick, Watson, the needle! Am glad that you liked THE DEPUTY SHERIFF.  I wrote it in the summer of 1930, and we peddled it around to every magazine in the United States, with no buyers.  I think Ralph did finally get rid of it to some magazine; I've forgotten which one now.  I always liked it, and couldn't understand why it didn't sell readily.  I guess the trouble was that all they wish from me is highly imaginative stuff.   If anyone says a kind word about my work nowadays, as you did, I nearly break down and cry.  I have had so many refusals lately and had my classics so gratuitously insulted over here that I have lost confidence in myself.  I am getting damned sick of hearing people apologize to me for reading my stories, or pretend to grouse because they have had to read them to their children, or say that they used to read them while they were in kindergarden but have not read any for years and years.  It used to amuse me, but I guess I must be losing my sense of humor.  I think I shall come right back at the next one with a retort courteous, such as:  "Well, you homely looking abortion, if you had the brains of a cross-eyed titmouse you'd keep your fool mouth shut instead of knocking inspired literature that has entertained a hundred million people for over a quarter of a century !!!"    Do you think that would stop 'em? or is it too courteous?

Am just starting another goofy Venus story, THE WIZARD OF VENUS. This guy is something of a hypnotist, and he has every one in his valley buffaloed into believing that he has turned all their friends and relatives into zandars (Amtorian pigs).  One family keeps their daughter in a pen back of the castle.   All with apologies to Merlin, the Arthurian legend, and Mark Twain.

There is something in your letter that I do not understand - Oh! I just got it.  "M.A.S." - Mutual Admiration Society.  It had me guessing for a while.  It has been a long time since I heard it. I, too, wish that I were back where I could see you children often. Am sure that I still have a few laughs left under my belt that the weird Burroughs wit would bring out.

Are you getting any more movie work? and did Jim get the flying instructor job?   I certainly hope so.    Wish Hulbert would do something with his singing.  The first thing he knows he'll have a long, white beard and have to be pushed onto the stage in a wheel chair; and I understand that there have been very few successes under such circumstances.   There would always be the danger that, when he took a high note, his upper plate would fall out and get lost in his beard.

Yes, the Pacific is some puddle, and at the present writing I am no puddle jumper.

I will now terminate this foolishness.   Lots of love, darling; give  my best to Jim and kiss the children for me.

Always
Head Janitor, M.A.S.

Papa

1298 Kaplolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
January 27 1941

Joan darling:
January 27, 1941Thanks so much for yours of the 16th with the clipping about the Mitchells.   Yes, they are the couple of whom I have probably spoken of in some of my letters.   You might drop in on them some afternoon and say "Hello!" - a very brilliant and original conversation suggestion. I know that they would be delighted to see you and I would be more than delighted to have them see you.

Glad you told me about Hully: he never would have: I wish he were not so modest. Please let me know how the appearance turned out. I hope he got an ovation and that the audience was full of grand opera scouts - Hully loves grand opera so!   Just like his father.

Was interested to hear about Gloria: she was always such a swell girl. Give her my love when you see her. Am delighted to know that she is both happy and prosperous.

Please excuse my Cheko-Slovakian, but how in hell did Tom Scully get the money to build a beautiful ten room house on Mulholland Drive?   I presume that he has entirely forgotten that he owes me $10,000 and that I need it damn badly.

There is really nothing for me to write: we do practically nothing.  Have met a young couple at the Niumalu who drop in for Contract or conversation quite often - Louise and Hubert Harmon. He has spent much of his life in France and England and consorted with royalty, nobility, and aristocracy; so he is very interesting. He is so well connected that he had the entree to the palaces, castles, and chateaux of many interesting people.

Thanks again for your letter. Best to all of you!
Aloha!

Papa

March 6 1941
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard,
Honolulu T H
March 6 1941
Joan darling:

Your very welcome letter of February 27th arrived yesterday, and I certainly was delighted to learn that you are building. Your description of the house sounds swell.   Will you tell me one more thing about it? what are the dimensions of the living-dining room?

I remember the location of the tract very well, and am sure that you will enjoy living there.

Oh, yes; I got some more questions. Are building costs extremely high now? I thought they might be on account of the tremendous amount of Government building. Do you know what they figure the cost per square foot for a house such as you describe? I am asking these questions because it seems to me that if we can get bank or FHA financing it might not be a bad idea for the corporation to build a couple of inexpensive homes on its vacant property, provided it didn't require any cash outlay.

Florence and the children are sailing for the mainland on the 14th. I found it possible to get them back at this time, and as it is almost impossible to get such reservations as we can afford, we seized this opportunity. The possibility of war with Japan made it doubly advisable.   I shall trail along home as soon as I can make the grade; and when I do get home I shall never leave Tarzana again without a round trip ticket.

Glad you liked the John Carter story: there is one audience of which I am always certain.

I had not heard of Edna's accident. I wrote George recently, but have not heard from, him for some time.   What happened?   Poor George! I feel very sorry for him.

Of course I remember the Goulds, and was sorry to learn of her death.

As I have quite a bunch of correspondence and nothing to write about, I'll tip my hat and say, Goodby, with love.

Papa



1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
March 27 1941
Joan darling:

March 27, 1941The house sounds swell: I envy you.   There is nothing like plenty of closet space in which utterly useless junk can accumulate over a period of years: I know from experience.  I think that once a year one should shut one's eyes and go into all closets and burn everything up and start over again.

The other day I saw a movie called The Lone Star Raiders with The 3 Mesquiteers.  Rex Lease was in the cast, but I could not identify him.  Maybe he was one of the horses, there were a couple of hundred of them, and all running like hell all the time.  They wasted enough gun powder in that picture to save the world for democracy.

Some day a tall, dark stranger will call you on the phone, and you will say: "Who the hell are you?"  and he will say: "Don't you remember your ol' Pappy, chile?"   But I don't know when it will be: maybeso come next Michaelmas.

Were you in Deanna Durbin's SPRING PARADE?  It is here this week, but I didn't see it because it is in an 80 cent house: I shall wait until it comes to my 39 cent hangout, where I, the gobs, and the orientals merge our various odors in a sweet attar of B.O.

Pictures get over here after everyone on the mainland has forgotten them.  The other day I saw W.C. Fields and Mae West in My Little Chickadee, a very high class and elevating production filled with gents' room subtleties: right up my alley, I am afraid. The goat sequence was not all that I had been led to expect: evidently the Hayes Office deodorized it.  I wish I could see a good comedy every day.

Well, dear, having nothing to write, I have done my best; so I might as well say 30 or 76 1/2, or whatever it is the newspaper people use as a tag.

Lots of love,

Papa

Oh, how about Jim's appointment?
AND: The pictures! They were fine. The children are very cute and that goes for Mamma, too.    Were the pictures taken at 3714? It looks like  a very cute place (I seem to have cuteitis). I am taking the pictures to the hotel to bore my friends. You know how exciting it is looking at snaps of people you never saw nor ever will and being expected to rave over them.  However, I am very proud of such nice looking relatives, and my friends will have to take it and like it.


April 17 1941
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
April 17 1941
Joan darling:

Can't commence to tell you how glad I was of the news in your letter of the 7th, just received.  Please congratulate Jim for me. He deserves all the credit in the world for sticking to his determination so long in the face of the many obstacles I know he must have had to overcome, for there must have been many times when the cost of training would have been terribly disheartening: You can't become a transport commercial pilot on peanuts.  I think it cost me about 2G to fly some thirty hours.  Of one thing I am particularly glad: that he is too old for combat service, at least I hope he is.

I imagine that you will be in your new home before this reaches you; but as I do not know your new address, shall send this to the old.  I am anxious to see the chez Pierce, and hope that it hasn't crumbled into ruin before I am able to return to waterlogged southern Cal.   Do you approach your domicile by boat or causeway?   However you approach it, I hope I get there in time; but I am reminded of a scene of ruin painted on the curtain of the old Hooley's Theater in Chicago, beneath which appeared: "So fleet the works of men, back to their earth again ancient and holy things fade like a dream".

Am hoping that the iron didn't set your house on fire; or, if it did, that you were over insured.  I think one of the nicest things in life would be to have an all-out fire just on the eve of moving, provided one were sufficiently covered.

I am anxious to know how the Niumalu game came out and if you liked it.  Did Jack's massive Phi Beta dome absorb it?   There are times when Jack sort of reminds me of Jeeves' Bertie, although more often it reminds me of Jeeves, Jack having something of a Jekyll-Hyde brain, the Hyde appearing in the presence of all types of games.

Nothing thrilling to report.  Every morning I hear, faintly, the sound of reveille from nearby Fort Buger at 6:15, whereupon I thumb my nose and turn over for two more hours of sleep.  Later in the morning, I hear big guns and little guns booming in the distance and the roar of the motors of fighters and bombers overhead; then I turn over on the other side and contemplate the horrors of war, but not fearfully, as I realize that some two hundred thousand armed men, the United States fleet, and a swell air corps are gathered all about to protect me.  I think it was nice of Roosevelt to do this for me.

Lots of love to you all,
Papa


Letter from son Jack to ERB in Hawaii
May 30, 1941
Dear Pop,

This red half of my typewriter ribbon may as well be put to work.

Consider this red ink as the blood I am using to wipe out the dastardly, yes, even bastardly insults contained in your last letter.  My kindly, sincere suggestions, however simple, merited no such pusilanimous, paternal belchings.

Don't you realize the Valley is in the blood of all the Burroughs? Of all the places on earth where your life long dream of becoming an absolute monarch is most likely to be realized Tarzana is the most probable ! Just picture it - E.R.B. seated on a throne piled of the choicest Adohr cow dung ruling his subjects with an iron hand !

And imagine - in that happy little community of Burroughses not a single salesman need be allowed to live.

I shall bide my time to repay Ralph for his insult to us both in calling me a chip off the old block. Are you certain he only said "chip"?

As this is Memorial Day I shall now close, warning you to never insult your liege and hair-non-apparent

Your devoted servant kisses your feet.
(Jack)



1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
June 3 1941
Joan darling:

It seems ages since I heard from you, but I know that your time must have been fully occupied with your new house. I suppose you have been as busy as a bird dog.

There is not much for me to write about.  It seems that my letters are all about myself; but as I go practically nowhere and see no one, that is not strange.  For the past two months I have been out twice socially, and both times in the daytime.  Once I drove over to Kaneohe and called on the Mitchells for an hour, stopping at the Pfluegers' for half an hour on the way home; and last Sunday I drove over to call on Eleanor and Jack Halliday; because I had run into them down town a couple of days before and they had bawled me out for not coming to see them when I went over to the Mitchells'.  They were out; so I called on the Mitchells again. That has been the extent of my social activities.

For the past two Sundays I have taken in a couple of baseball games at the stadium.  They play double-headers every Sunday. There is a Navy team, a Chinese team, a Japanese team, and a Portuguese team in the league.  The games are a lot of fun. The audiences are of all shades from black to yellow. Everyone is good-natured and excessively vocal.  They razz hell out of the umpires, concerning whose past lives they seem to know as much as Walter Winchell might if they frequented the Stork Club.

The weather here is warming up; it is quite hot to-day, and I am dripping.  We have had very decent weather since Christmas, but I know from past experience that it will soon be godawful.  However, I seem to have become acclimated.  It doesn't get me as it did at first.

Now that the Navy has started taking over some of our passenger ships, there is no telling when I shall be home.  Every boat for the mainland is crowded, and reservations are almost impossible to get. Soon there will be no one left here but the Army, the Navy, and me (or I; take your choice).

I wish that I had something interesting or amusing to write you, but I'm afraid I haven't. I did have a little excitement the first Sunday that I went to a ball game: the grandstand got on fire almost directly under me.  Some one poured part of a bottle of coca cola on it without noticeable results, but finally a hero came with a bucket of water and put it out.  I enjoyed the whole thing immensely, and then the following Sunday I set fire to it myself! The only thing I could find with which to extinguish it were a number of peanut shells, which almost immediately caught fire themselves; but I finally got it out before the fire department arrived.  It has been a long time since I so ardently craved a Murad.

Has Jim got his instructor's assignment yet?  Ralph, or some one, wrote me that they thought Jim's age was against him.  Maybe a friend in a high place might help you.  Do you recall the day we visited Marsh Field and Colonel Arnold took us around?  I wrote him relative to Hulbert and got a very swell letter in reply.  I know that if you wrote him, telling him whose daughter you are, he might be able to advise you the best steps to take and would do so.  This is only a suggestion.  His address is General Henry H. Arnold, War Department, Washington, D.C.

I hope you are all well and happy in your new home.  Give Jim my best and kiss the children for me.

With lots of love,
Papa


PAGE 2 of a letter from ERB in Hawaii to daughter Joan back in California
July 15, 1941
2.
. . . been, to whom I really mean nothing. I suppose that had I been sick elsewhere, I would have found equally kind people; though it scarcely seems possible. None of these people are under any obligations to me; in fact, quite the reverse; yet there is nothing that they won't do for me. I wanted to tell you these things, so that you wouldn't be too sorry for me. I want you to be a little sorry, but not too sorry.

I have a good doctor, and I am getting better slowly. My hind legs don't track very well as yet, and my left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing. In fact, God alone knows what it is going to do when I try to write longhand.  The doctor thinks that it is is the result of all the dope I took in the hospital and the enormous doses of sulphathiazole he had to give me. I am perfectly normal at the typewriter (hitting the usual proportion of wrong keys), and I drive my car the same as usual.

Wayne Pflueger has been a wonderful host. Anyone would think that I was doing him a favor by occupying his guest room and eating his food. I can tell you that when you are in trouble you learn who your friends are.

Well, I think that is about enough of Old Burroughs. Naturally I think a great deal about all of you. I am always wondering about Jim's flying. He must be a crack pilot. I imagine that he would like to fly bombers to England. God! What a thrill that would be. I was reading something the other day, and I can't recall where, about the relation between age and efficiency in pilots; and I thought of what you said about Jim's age being against him. But this article emphasized the fact that under certain conditions the older pilots were the better, and that a man could fly as well at sixty as at twenty if he still retained his health and his faculties.

I should certainly like to see some of you over here; but Hulbert shouldn't think of making the trip, as that would mean that there would be two of us to get home again instead of one, and the Lord knows that it is going to be quite a problem getting home.

Your home must be lovely, from what Ralph and Jack and Jane tell me. I am so glad that you have a real home at last; there are few things more satisfying. I am glad that it is not in the city. The Valley is a great place to bring up children. It is also a great place for antediluvian do-dos to live. I wonder if it has changed much in 14 1/2 months.

Thank you again for your sweet letter and for your very kind invitation. I needed a letter from home and yours came just in time; it was the only one I got.

Lots of love for each and every one. I am certainly blessed with the swellest children any man ever had.

Aloha nui nui!
Papa



1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
July 21 1941
Joan darling:

July 21, 1941Well  here I am back at my office again; I've been away since June 25th and most of the time since I first went to the hospital June 5th.

In re-reading your letters that came while I was in the hospital, I discovered that they were just like new material.  Between my fever and the dope, I had almost completely forgotten them; and I realize that I never acknowledged them.   I was glad to have the pictures of the children.  How sweet Joanne is!   Mike does look a lot as Jack did  and I can see a vague resemblance to some of my baby pictures; but maybe that is because I want to see it.  I am not casting any reflection on Mike.  I liked one of the pictures of you better than I did the other.  You scarcely change at all, except that in maturing I think that you have grown even lovelier.

Am glad that Jim's father was able to visit you and see your new home. I have never met the newspaper man he mentions, nor do I recall your neighbor who was on a Tarzan picture.  But that is not strange, as my recaller is almost a total loss. How many hours has Jim?    If this was any place for a white man to live, I might suggest that he try to get a job here flying for the inter-island Navigation Company.   They run several planes a day to the various islands - Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Hawaii.  They are beautiful runs, scenic beyond description.   I don't know, but I have an idea that they may lose some of their pilots to the army or navy.   However, I'd hate to have you live here, and would never advise it.   They use amphibians, as a forced landing might be in the ocean.   They have a wonderful record of not a single fatality in all the years that they have been operating commercial planes.

You re-call meeting Kit Carson at Somerset House, don't you?    He is vice-president of Inter-island. Thank you again, darling, for the numerous and nice letters you have written me.   They buck me up no end.

Lots of love to you all,

Papa


Letter from son Jack to ERB
July 31, 1941

Dear Papa,

Both Jane and I were very sorry to learn of the necessity of a divorce between you and Florence. Above all things, believe me, we have wished for your happiness. Now, as always, we are eager to do anything to help you find in the future the happiness and contentment you deserve.

I think your idea of building and living in a house of your own is a good one, although I still cannot agree with the choice of your location, believing it to be too darn close to your place of business. I'm afraid that the worries you will conjure up in the office will be too readily carried across the alley to your home. However, if you promise never again to worry I shall agree to finance the building of your house myself with the legacy that I have just acquired from the estate of a rich uncle in Siam. Nuts? Yes Siam.

Seriously, however, since you are a stubborn cuss and will insist on building here eventually anyway,after you get back and see how your business is prospering, I'm going down to talk with Ralph and see if we can't get started on it before you come home.

Johnny Davis, the model who has been working with  me for several years and whom I liked so much has gone back to Texas to join the army air corp. Since I need another model badly for JOHN CARTER in the newspaper feature, I put an ad in last Sunday's paper for one. You ought to see what turned up. I stated that I wanted an athlete 6' 3" or over and the first guy who showed up was a little filipino about Mike's size. The next bloke was tall enough but he had a beard and adenoids and his arms looked like a couple of jointed arrows dangling out of some bony ribs. One fellow I talked to on the phone, I thought his voice sounded queer; but he said he'd just had an operation on his sinus. He sent me his pictures and I think he must have been upside down when they operated on him. He was the one who said when I asked him if he was well-muscled: "My muthels aren't the knotty kind, if thath what you mean - they're more the flowing type !" They were so flowing that they'd all flowed off his body.

And so it goes. Yesterday I sent to a model agency and pored over a bunch of photos. Gorgeous things were walking all around the agency and I kept forgetting what I had come there fore. I finally lined up a young man with a beautiful build and I start work with him tonight. I think I'll go around to those agencies more often.

Have received and read your masterpiece  entitled "Uncle Miner and Other Relatives". I have not yet received your letter explaining why and how it was written, although I presume you were under the influence of either narcotics or heredity at the time. STOP. GO. It is very amusing and full of good laughs. I am giving it to Joan and Hulbert for their edification.

Please keep us informed how you feel and know that we are thinking of you constantly.

Love,


Aug 26 1941
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu   T H
Aug 26 1941
Joan darling:

Don't worry about me.  I just pop in and out of hospitals the way some people go to six day bicycle races, and I have about as much fun.  I don't think the doctor has been graduated yet who can kill me.   Many of them have tried.  Some were experts.   Anyway, I haven't been in a hospital since August 10th.   You should have seen my Korean nurse! Then you would understand why I spend so much time in the hospital.

My trouble is the same old thing, and I do take care of myself.  I am in bed nearly every night for 12 or 15 hours.  Maybe once a week I go to Pfluegers or Mitchells or Hallidays for dinner or luncheon; then I drink;.  I stopped for months until my doctor told me to start again, and now I don't drink excessively; so I don't think that is hurting me any.  I seem to have quite a capacity, and I'm frank to admit that with not much to live for I rather enjoy it.  If it didn't make me fat, I'd probably have a grand time for myself.  Fortunately for me, I can quit whenever I please, and do.   And as for eating: I am very conservative. The fact that I have lost 16 pounds since March suggests that I am not stuffing myself.  All the above because you said you'd bet that I am not taking care of myself.  You bet I am.  My principal aim in life is to live long enough to get back where I can see you children often.

And now Hulbert is coming to see me!  Gosh! you can't imagine what that means to me.  I shall probably go completely nuts waiting to hear that he has sailed - or is he going to hike?   I should not be at all surprised to hear that he had set forth in the Honey Bunny Boo.

Please don't think that I am not fully aware that you love me and are interested in my welfare, but what is the use of writing about nothing but my illnesses?   It always seems to me that I write too much about myself anyway.  That is bad enough without detailing all my symptoms and insisting on showing my scars.  Furthermore, I am the gosh darndest healthiest looking corpse you ever saw.

I'll bet Joan was glad to see you all Sunday.  Hope she is having a splendid time.  I wrote her last Saturday.

So Mike went to Mexico!  Do you remember your first trip there? You were xxx five, Hulbert was four, and Jack wasn't one.  I shall never forget Jack and that real estate agent who was helping us find a house. He rode in the back of the Velie with Jack and your mother.  Jack functioned perfectly and often and had absolutely no control.  A good time was had by all.

Thanks a lot for your letter, and love to all,

Papa


Sep 2 1941Sep 2 1941
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
Sep 2 1941
Joan darling:

Some day!   A letter from you. Hulbert. Jack, Ralph. Rochelle Hudson, Caryl Lee and a birthday card from Esther and Paul Speyer. That's an idiotic science for a literatus to evolve, but you will gather at what I was driving - I got six letters and a greeting card.

You are wrong: I do not hate to have my birthday remembered by those I love. I should probably feel badly if no one of you remembered it. What I do not particularly crave is a celebration. I had none yesterday. I worked at the office in the morning and went alone to a baseball game in the afternoon. Just before dinner my next door neighbor invited me in for a highball. I told no one here that I had a birthday coming up. I knew what would happen if I did.

Hulbert will be here Sunday!   Golly! but I'll be glad to see him. I hope I don't cry but I've been so starved for a sight of one of you that I might. His boat docks at 9 A.M.   As it is going on to a belligerent state, I shall not be able to go off port to meet it, as I had hoped to do. It is the same boat that I sailed on, the Mariposa. You will recall that they wouldn't let you come aboard.

I wish you wouldn't worry about my health.   I'm in the pink. Just going to a hospital occasionally is only a little eccentricity of mine.   I've got to find some way to fritter away my enormous income. Seriously though; twice I have had to go because of a strange nervous reaction following treatments that most people don't bat an eye over. In a few hours after the treatment I start running a temperature around 103o  and points east. Then I get delirious. It lasts, ordinarily, only a few hours; then I am as fresh as a daisy. The last time, I leaped out of the hospital and went to a baseball game. There nothing to worry about; so don't worry. I'm too tough to die - maybe too mean.

I suppose Joanne is home by this time and pining to return to school. I hope that she had a good time in camp. How about Mike? Has he been drafted yet?    He would have been had he been a German in Germany.

It has been a long time since I as excited about anything as I am about Hulbert's coming. I can scarcely wait to see him and hear about all of you. Do you realize that it has been over seven years since I have really seen anything of any of you? Once I get back, I hope that it will never be like that again.

Tonight, I go to a dinner party at Winnie Tenney's out at Niu Beach beyond the Pfluegers'. It is a black tie affair. Her first husband was Sperry (Sperry Gyroscopes). Thursday I am having three men for dinner, with bridge in my new room afterward.  I am under obligations to all of them. I have only three chairs; so, if I can't borrow one, somebody will have to sit on the bed. Before dinner, they will have highballs in my exotic apartment. Of course, I shall spurn these - the horrid, nasty things!

I have been wondering if you were all sending Hulbert over here to see if I were mentally O.K.  I shouldn't blame you, for I know my letters must often raise doubts in your minds. But I gotta have fun. After Sunday there will be two nuts over here to keep you guessing.

Lots of love to you all.

Always,
Papa


1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
Sep 14, 1941

Joan darling:

Your nice long letter of the 19th was much appreciated by your Testers friends and relatives. As the Clipper has went, I shall send this by steamer, it not being of great importance as far so far and not likely to be later.

Hulbert and I have been working on books of the world's greatest literature. He started to read mine last night and tells me it is lousy. I haven't had a chance at his yet. He says that I am trying to write literature. I can't even spell it, having spelled the first one in the paragraph "literateur". Than God for the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invested erasers.

Hulbert has been fishing a couple of lines with a chap named Roy Fuller who lives at the Niunalu. They go way out beyond the reef on the windward side of the island, where it is always very rough. They were not seven hours the other day and caught one fish. Roy took three other fellows out yesterday. Hulbert having declined an invitation, and the four of them caught one fish. This seems to be a fisherman's paradise, but I think they are both loaded. Counting gas and oil for the car and the boat, the fisherman's time, and general wear and tear, I estimate that their fish cost them about $10 each. Roy sold one the other day for 45 cents. This type of high finance is right up my alley.

We are quite busy. We work mornings until 10 o'clock. At ten, we started watching the clock. The same thing happens again between two and four in the afternoon. At 6:40 or 7, we fall into bed, exhausted.

Don't let Hulbert talk you out of your present handwriting. It shows character, culture, and hereditary background; and it makes a short note look like a bulky and impressive letter.

You are dead right that it is a great relief to me to have Hulbert here when I have to go to the hospital, and, speaking of that, I called up the Cohen's today to inquire about a friend who is there. The floor nurse who answered the phone is a Tote - a cute little trick. She asked how I was feeling, and I said I'd be in again next month - "you know how it is with us girls", and she said, "I was just going to say the same thing." They all greet me like an old friend when I go in now - even the headhunters who act as orderlies.

I hope Hulbert is enjoying it here, but he is always so terrified that I am going to do something to embarrass him that maybe he is not. It reminds me of my own father and me; he was always embarrassing me. If the Lake Street "L" car was crowded, he would hit people on the legs with his cane to make them move over. I tried to pretend that I was not with him. I know just how Hulbert feels.

Was interested in knowing for whom Hickham Field was named. The boys have invited us out there to play poker at the officers' club. They were in the other night to play with us, and Hulbert feels that we should give them revenge. I don't know why Hulbert feels that way, as he is the one who should be looking for revenge. He's just big hearted with a fine sense of honor. When they get what I took away from them, they'll have to come and get it. Nobody who ever won from me ran after me trying to give it back - they just tried to get some more.

Am sorry Mike was embarrassed because his gang wouldn't believe that his grandfather had spent a wasted life writing Tarzan stories. Under separate cover I am sending him proof that will lay 'em low. In fact, he can hit them over the head with it and mow 'em down.

Love to you all, in which Hulbert joins.

Papa



Sep 24 1941Sep 24 1941

1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
Sep 24 1941

Joan darling:

Your nice long letter of the 19th was much appreciated by your Western friends and relatives. As the Clipper has went, I shall send this by steamer, it not being of great importance so far and not likely to be later.

Hulbert and I have been working on some of the world's greatest literature. He started to read mine last night and tells me it is lousy! I haven't had a chance at his yet. He says that I am trying to write literature. I can't even spell it, having spelled the first one in the paragraph "literateur". Thank God for the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented erasers.

Hulbert has been fishing a couple of times with a chap named Roy Pullen who lives at the Niumalu. They go way out beyond the reef on the windward side of the island, where it is always very rough. They were out seven hours the other day and caught one fish. Roy took three other fellows out yesterday, Hulbert having declined an invitation, and the four of them caught one fish. This seems to be a fisherman's paradise, but I think they are both loaded. Counting gas and oil for the car and the boat, the fisherman's time, and general wear and tear, I estimate that their fish cost them about $25 each. Roy sold one the other day for 45 cents. This type of high finance is right up my alley.

We are quite busy. We work mornings until 12 o'clock. At ten, we started watching the clock. The same thing happens again between two and four in the afternoon. At 6:45 or 7, we fall into bed, exhausted.

Don't let Hulbert talk you out of your present handwriting. It shows character, culture, and hereditary background; and it makes a short note look like a bulky and impressive letter.

You are dead right that it is a great relief to me to have Hulbert here when I have to go to the hospital. And, speaking of that, I called up the Queen's today to inquire about a friend who is there. The floor nurse who answered the phone is a Pole - a cute little trick. She asked how I was feeling, and said I'd be in again next month -- "you know-how it is with us girls", and she said "I was just going to say the same thing." They all greet me like an old friend when I go in now -- even the headhunters who act as orderlies.

I hope Hulbert is enjoying it here, but he is always so terrified that I am going to do something to embarrass him that maybe his is not.  It reminds me of my own father and me; he was always embarrassing me. If the Lake Street "L" car was crowded, he would hit people on the legs with his cane to make them move over.  I tried to pretend that I was not with him.  I know just how Hulbert feels.

Was interested in knowing for whom Hickham Field was named.  The boys have invited us out there to play poker at the officers' club.  They were in the other night to play with us, and Hulbert feels that we should give them revenge.  I don't know why Hulbert feels that way, as he is the one who should be looking for revenge.   He's just big hearted with a fine sense of honor.  Then they get what I took away from them, they'll have to come and get it.   Nobody who ever won from me ran after me trying to give it back - they just tried to get some more.

Am sorry Mike was embarrassed because his gang wouldn't believe that his grandfather had spent a wasted life writing Tarzan stories.  Under separate cover I am sending him proof that will lay 'em low.  In fact, he can hit them over the head with it and mow 'em down.

Love to you all, in which Hulbert joins.

Papa

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
Oct 11 1941
Joan darling:

Hulbert and I were glad to have your letter of the 8th, which arrived about ten minutes ago.

Please don't make any effort to get that information for me, and please don't tell anybody that I asked for it.  I did not wish it for the reason you quite naturally assumed; so more or less authentic rumors would have served my purpose.  It was not to be used as evidence, but to relieve my mind, as I genuinely hoped that there was someone else.

Am enclosing one of the pictures you wished.  The nearer I am to death's door, the better I look. I shall probably make a beautiful corpse.  Hulbert and I are both feeling fine, although we get only ten or twelve hours sleep a night.

Yesterday after lunch we drove out to Hanauma Bay, which you will find at the very lower right hand  corner of the green map of Oahu that I sent  you over a year ago (if you still have it).  At the foot of a hundred foot cliff there is a beautiful bay protected by an outer reef.  In among the coral beds is a large natural swimming hole, and the inner end of the bay is bordered by a half moon of sandy beach. We swam some and wandered along the edge of the bay, which is surrounded by lava cliffs.  The bay runs in about a quarter of a mile, and on either side of its entrance the waves are dashing and throwing spray fully fifty feet into the air.  It is really a beautiful spot.  On holidays it is impossible as it is crowded by Japs and a motley crowd of various shades of brown and black; but in the middle of the week it is almost deserted.  The long walk down and up a winding trail did not appear inviting, but I was surprised to discover that I survived it - so was Hulbert.

Yes, we listened to the fight; and it was lousy.  Nova hadn't much more business in the ring with a champion than I would have had.  I am fed up with prize fights. I wouldn't pay two bucks to see the best of them.

Is Ralph dead?  I haven't heard from him for ages.  If you talk with him, tell him that his No. 3 letter of Sept. 29th is the last  one I have had.  And, as far as I know, no more coast mail coming in before the middle of next week.

Hulbert joins me in
                Love to all!

Papa

Oct 30 1941Oct 30 1941
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
Oct 30 1941
Joan darling:

Your nice letter of the 24th was enjoyed by both of us.  The next time you write, address your letter to Hulbert individually.  He spends most of his time running down stairs to our 80 cent mail box looking for a letter from some one.  Occasionally he gets an advertisement forwarded from Bel Air, on which he has to pay postage due.  I am afraid that it is effecting his mind.   As to your not writing often:  I think that you have been marvellous.   With all your multifarious household duties, I don't see how you do it.

And speaking of household duties:  You have too much work. Can't you get a little slavery to come in and do part of it? You should have help.  I am afraid that you are wearing yourself out.

Was glad to hear about Gloria.  Say hello to her for me when you see her.  Is her mother still living?

Don't worry about my health.  I am too damned mean to die. Hully says I have not "mellowed" at all, but am much worse than I used to be.  Such insulting remarks always follow our discussions of the Roosevelt family, and last night we took up Grand Opera.   Hulbert said that I was a "musical moron".  It is the first time I was ever accused of being musical.  Some plain, every day, garden variety of moron had his radio turned on full blast at the ungodly hour of 7 P.M., after I had gone to sleep.  Some fat, greasy Dago was shrieking at the top of his voice for an hour.  Hulbert said it was beautiful, and compared me with the hillbillies of the mountains of Kentucky because I agreed with Schopenhauer that "the amount of noise a man can endure is in inverse ratio to his intelligence".  Hulbert got out of bed and came in my room and insulted me for hours. Then he turned on the radio when the wrestling matches came on, thereby proving that he possesses the highly emotional temperament which appreciates the finer things of life - including shrieking Dagoes.

About the wedding pictures: I told Hulbert that I vaguely recalled that they were turned over to you and Jim, but Hully thinks not.  He says that they are there with the other films. I hope you find them.  They should be a source of further hilarity.

I don't know what we would do with Slingsby, unless he likes to go to bed at 6:50.   Hulbert and I are not exactly playboys. We return from the dining room at 6:30 and scarcely have suffic- (over) ient energy to peel off our clothes before collapsing on our beds.   You should hear the horrid grunts and groans as we go through our morning exercises - also the grating of vertebrae, the snapping of tendons, and the dislocation of joints.  If we could can the sound effects they would go great for a Gestapo torture chamber sequence.

Jack wrote me a resume of Jimmie Fidler's broadcast.  I was much interested.  Our radio has great difficulty in getting even the local stations, let alone the mainland.  It is just old and tired like Hully and me.

Lots of love from both of us!

Papa

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Honolulu,
December 1, 1941
Darling Joan:
Tomorrow I shall mail three packages addressed to the children. You can hide them until Christmas, if you wish. I am giving nothing to anyone else in the family this year. I may get the Christmas spirit sometime in January. This is a hell of a place to shop. I can't find anything, and if I could there would be no clerk to wait on me. Merry Christmas!

By steamer I am sending you another Sgt Shonfeld letter.  Pls let it end up with Ralph, who will mark it filed. If you don't know anything about getting these Shonfeld letters, please say so. You won't hurt my feelings. I am sick of them. Happy New Year!!!

It has been cold here the past few days. Last night Hulbert was cold under two blankets. I was under two and had a heavy sweater on under my pajamas.

Hulbert is down around 178 lbs. I stick now at 183. I'm darned if I can quit eating. I've quit drinking and quit smoking. In order to help me quit the latter, or to make it easier, I started chewing gum. Now I'll have to try and quit that. I have been smoking for over 50 years, and I commenced to get over worries or fear it might stunt my growth or something. I can't say that all this goddam virtue has improved my disposition any -- neither will Hulbert.Happy returns of the day!!!
Love to all,

Papa

(See an alternate scan of letter and clippings for December 3 at ERBzine 0946)

December 3 1941

1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
December 3 1941
Joan darling:

Yours of Nov 25th came today.

Hulbert and I just got to laughing about the Christmas presents I selected for Mike: A boat that he will have no place to sail and a shirt several sizes too small for him. I hope Mike has a sense of humor. If you had seen the time and thought that I put into these selections you might have expected something better - something really epochal. When it comes to shopping, I am just not all there - did I mention shopping only?

We are both much interested in your aviation business and hope that it prospers. I have a feeling that it may run into something very big after the wars are all over - so many thousands of men will have been trained to fly and many of them will want to keep it up. Then, an agency for a good ship should be valuable. I may take it up again myself - if I get rich.

Glad you found the wedding pictures. When we are all dead, that picture and "Iffy" should be sent to the Smithsonian Institution or the American Museum of Natural History as a record of the evolution of pithecanthropus erectus - just one of the early steps in its evolution.

Am glad to learn that Mr. Pierce is better and hope that he follows the doctor's orders. But its darned hard to quit eating. That's the habit that's hardest of all to break. But then you wouldn't know, as you never eat anything.

We have been having cool weather. For two nights I slept under two blankets and with a sweater under my pajamas - or did I tell you this in my last letter? But that is typical of old do-dos - they repeat and repeat. Today, the weather is lovely.

Hulbert and I are still plying paddle tennis every day, and now he is beating me every day. I can't totter around the court fast enough on these old dogs. I am really doddering. Every day, I expect some one to say, "Lie down! You're dead!" But I'm growing old gracefully - like hell!

Thanks for the tips on books. I'm too Scotch to buy them; and if they are any good, you have to wait a year to get them at the library; so I'll wait until they get into the 25 cent edition.

There still ain't no news. Hulbert joins me in love to you all, and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

Papa (sig)
 
 



1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu  T H
December 5 1941
Joan darling:

Yours of  Nov 25th came today.

Hulbert and I just got to laughing about the Christmas presents I selected for Mike:  A boat that he will have no place to sail and a shirt several sizes too small for him,  I hope Mike has a sense of humor.  If you had seen the time and thought that I put into these selections you might have expected something better - something really epochal.  When it comes to shopping, I am just not all there - did I mention shopping only?

We are both much interested in your aviation business and hope that it prospers.  I have a feeling that it may run into something very big after the wars are all over - so many thousands of men will have been trained to fly and many of them will want to keep it up.  Then, an agency for a good ship should be valuable. I may take it up again myself - if  I get rich.

Glad you found the wedding pictures.  When we are all dead, that picture and "Iffy" should be sent to the Smithsonian Institution or the American Museum of Natural History as a record of the evolution of pithecanthropus erectus - just one of the early steps in its evolution.

Am glad to learn that Mr. Pierce is better and hope that he follows the doctor's orders.  But its darned hard to quit eating. That's the habit that's hardest of all to break.  But then you wouldn't know, as you never eat anything.

We have been having cool weather.  For two nights I slept under two blankets and with a sweater under my pajamas - or did I tell you this in my last letter?   But that is typical of old do-dos - they repeat and repeat.  Today, the weather is lovely.

Hulbert and I are still playing paddle tennis every day, and now he is beating me every day.  I can't totter around the court fast enough on these old dogs.  I am really doddering.  Every day, I expect some one to say, "Lie down!  You're dead!"   But I'm growing old gracefully - like hell!

Thanks for the tips on books.  I'm too Scotch to buy them; and if they are any good, you have to wait a year to get them at the library; so I'll wait until they get into the 25 cent edition.

There still ain't no news.
Hulbert joins me in love to you all, and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!
December 5, 1941

Papa


Source: The Danton Burroughs ~ John Coleman Burroughs ~ ERB, Inc. Archives
Copyright 2003 ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
The Dean of WWII Correspondents in the Pacific
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years
INTRODUCTION & CONTENTS
ERB WWII Time Line: 1940-1942 ERB WWII Time Line: 1943-1945 Photos  40-42   Photos 43-45
1940 Letters 1940 Letter Highlights 1940 Illustrated Timeline
1941 Letters 1941 Letter Highlights 1941 Illustrated Timeline
Pearl Harbor: Eye Witness Account USS Shaw / ERB Connection ERB-Truman H. Landon Connection
1942 Letters 1942 Letter Highlights 1942 Illustrated Timeline
1943 Letters 1943 Letter Highlights 1943 Illustrated Timeline
1944 Letters 1944 Letter Highlights 1944 Illustrated Timeline
1945 Letters 1945 Letter Highlights 1945 Illustrated Timeline
ERB: War Correspondent Pre- and Post-Wartime Timelines ERB Visits WWII Australia   Text Only
Our Japanese Problem ~ Hawaii Magazine ERB & Military: Early Years ERB Bio Timeline ~ 1875-1950
ERB Wartime Files v.1: Hawaii Clippings ERB Wartime Files v.2: Articles ERB Wartime Files v.3: Laugh It Off
 

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