Monday, December 31, 2012

"Well it looks as though we are in the war at last" December 9, 1941.

December 9, 1941. John Morgan Rex wrote: “Well it looks as though we are in the war at last. I hope they soon get us to where we can do something”.

Johnny sent these post cards to his sister Helen, while he was at "Neutral Ports"  in the Pacific following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

This series of John Morgan Rex's involvement in World War II will be completed in the next few weeks, and links will be added below.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed December 7, 1941.

John Morgan Rex at Hamilton Field, Marin County, California about 1941
Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier were living in Oakland, California and attending Church on Sunday December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. They heard about it as they left the building and rushed home to turn on their radio.

Helen’s brother John Morgan Rex was stationed at nearby Hamilton Field. On December 5th he left for the Philippines aboard the troop transport SS President Johnson. After learning of the December 7th  Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the President Johnson returned to San Francisco.

The following letters from Helen’s collection better tell their story.
John Morgan (Johnny) at his barracks at Hamilton Field, California,
or during schooling in Illinois; at Scotts Field and Rantoul.

Letter dated and postmarked San Francisco, December 9, 1941.
Dear Sis,
Just a note to let you know everything is ok. I am in a Neutral port and safe. We are awaiting further orders. I sent you a wire “collect” and I don’t know if you got it or not. They may not send them out. I hope so though as I sent one to the folks too. I also sent them a letter. You write them too won’t you. Well it looks as though we are in the war at last. I hope they soon get us to where we can do something. I’d like to say more but this country of ours is at stake and we can take no chances.

Oh the only way I could send a wire was collect so don’t think I am trying to chisel you out of anything.
I’ll drop you a line later as soon as I find out about where we are going, but I’ll never tell you where I am at so don’t worry. Well I must get this off so I will stop.

Take care of yourselves and I’ll do the same.
Bye for now,
Lots of Love, Johnny
Oakland, California
1309 Derby Ave
December 10, 1941
Dearest Johnny:
Received your most welcome letter today. To be honest with you, you don’t know how happy I was to get it. At first I thought you must have mailed it before you left San Francisco. We didn’t get the wire. Guess they have been too busy.

Oh Johnny we saw you leave. We were on the fishing docks. We got over there about 6:45 p.m. They wouldn’t let us in because it was so late. It certainly looked like there were lots of men.

Your packages arrived OK. It was very sweet of you my dear. I hid them in the cedar chest and Glenn doesn’t even know I have them. Also the money order.  I’m going to do some shopping today. Get something for Harold & Diana and get it on its way.
I have a letter from Winnie. They are having a reception on the 12th, Joy that is this Friday, for her.

Everyone at the Ward inquires about you, particularly Ralph and Aileen. I’ll have to let them know I have heard from you.
So far I haven’t heard any of the warnings. We did miss the radio Monday night.
 We only held a short mutual last night, because there was to be a black out.

I sent an Airmail letter to the folks yesterday saying not to worry and that we are ok. I guess there will be those who will feel safer in the mountains and will return home.
Well I have to get to work. Inasmuch as I have to go to Leadership meeting tonight. I thought I would get this written now.

We constantly pray for your safe keeping Johnny dear. I’ll write often, and hope you receive them all.
Loads of Love [Helen]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. Letter June 23, 1937.

Choke Cherry Blossoms from Wikipedia.
Randolph, Utah
Wednesday, June 23, 1937.
My dear boy,
Well, this is your sister’s new typewriter, that is, the writing, and this is your mother doing the thinking of it. I have been making FLORA a dress, but stopped to get this written. You see, last Sunday was conference, and last week I was a very busy woman. Then Sunday there were meetings all day until nine at night, so I had no chance to write.  Clara was down to the afternoon meeting, but her folks had gone to Provo to visit. She is still a very sweet girl, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from her all the time.
I must tell you. Ben [Rex] gave Afton [James] a diamond last week. Oh me. You know Afton, and how she would act.
It is beautiful weather here now. We thought it would never warm up, but finally summer has come. Aunt Edna [Rex] took me to Monte last evening. It is so beautiful up there. The roads are grand. No dust; and the scenery is gorgeous. I suppose though you are used to beautiful scenery. Mr. Murray from the college was here yesterday. He asked about you. Did you ever write him? He would be delighted to hear from you. Excuse letters missed and extra spaces. This is a funny little jigger to work, and I shall have to get used to it. I am going to practice the touch system though. Maybe some day I shall want a job. I am wondering what to tell you. We didn’t get a letter from you this week, and I surely missed it. Nothing much happens up here. It was Mutual and Relief Society conference convention, so we just had board members from the organizations. It was very good though, but I must confess the women were the best speakers.
There are some choke cherry blossoms we gathered yesterday, on the buffet and they surely do smell sweet. Are there tall pines and quaken asp groves down there, or are they distinctly American, or Rocky Mountain. They are most beautiful anyway. I brought down a few shrubs, so maybe by the time you come home they will be growing well.
They played “Red Sails in the Sunset” the other night on the radio, and Oh dear, did I get homesick to see my boy. Willard Tingey sails the 28th for home. Doesn’t seem like he has been gone two years tough. His father always asks me how that Brazilian is. Oh, and Mr. Guymon told me to tell you hello.
Mr. Jackson is working in his garden. Cant you see him, grubbing along each row, clearing out every weed. He gets a little slower each year, and a little more crippled. Poor old fellow. Did we tell you Ina was going to be married. She is going to marry Patriarch Easton’s son. They live in Diamondville. However the patriarch did two weeks ago. Do you remember him?
Did I tell you Helen gave me a lovely pressure cooker for our wedding day. It is a beauty. I shall put [up] plenty of vegetables this summer. I feel so much better now, and have a little ambition to do things, for which I am very glad. I shall cook you a nice dinner in it when you come home, in just thirty to forty five minutes.
Maeser is going out with the bulls this next week. I object, but that doesn’t help any. His father says you were much smaller than he when you first went out. Well, be that as it may, I think father gets some things mixed, and I am afraid, by the time his boys are grown he will have them doing certain things when they were mere infants. Maeser is such a little wart, I think it is too much for his constitution. Of  course I do remember you piled on a horse and off to the hills when you looked like a little pickle sitting up there, but your father was usually with you, wasn’t he?
I am beginning to get tired sitting here, so I must stop for a while and do something else. This is going to be a joy though. Say, Winnie keeps asking about missionaries to Brazil, but there haven’t been any yet. I am sorry we haven’t got those things that you wanted, to you.
Well, here it is the next morning and I must finish this and get it off with Helen’s letter. No wonder she could write to fill pages. She indents so far, that half of the page is empty.

Well, Maeser got off this morning, with his lips all greased. They have to go over the whole east range during breakfast. Remember. It is a beautiful day, and I must work outside before the mosquitoes get too thick. They are plenty this summer, but of course that is a sign that things are growing.
Well, my dearie, write each week. I believe you have more time than we do. I suppose you don’t think so. Well, anyway, we love to get your letters, so write long ones. Must close now and get this off. We all send best love, and mother sends an extra lot, prayiong that the Lord will ever bless you in your work.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. May 30, 1937 letter.

Flora Rex Lamborn 1937-38.
At home, Sunday evening.
May 30, 1937.
My very dear boy,
Helen has the typewriter from the office here, and so I shall make good use of it. Her typewriter hasn't come yet, and will I be glad when it does come. Oh, my dear, we do neglect you so. But you see last week, was a mixup. Heln got home from California Monday night, and the Sat. before I had taken Flora up to Evanston to dance, and got all tired out, and so I was simply on the lift all week long. Am feeling very much myself again now though, and shall try to not let it happen very soon again. I suppose you like to hear from this forsaken valley, dont you. I received two letters week before last and then none last week. We did enjoy your last letters so, and we are so glad you are enjoying your work.
It has been raining and snowing today; dark and miserable. A great Memorial Day. But we wont mind the storm. We need it, and nothing is up far enough to be hurt if it should turn cold. The valley does look quite green and pretty right now, and the mosquitoes haven't started yet. The best time of the year here.
Went to church, and Mearl and Helen Kennedy talked. It was to be on Genealogy, but Helen wasn't prepared on that subject. Mearl took the Seminary class down to the Temple a short time ago, and they had a wonderful time. He told us their experiences today.
I called Clara up when I was in Evanston last Saturday. She is working in Central. I didn't go up there tho' as we had taken a room and had the kiddies resting. They were surely cute. Your sister is some tap dancer. You'll see when you come home.
Floyd Kennedy is leaving this year. He didn't get a contract to come back. I am sorry. I wanted her to take music from him. Oh, between Helen getting her English lesson, and Flora trying to write you a letter I am all mixed up. Daddy and the boys have gone to the field to milk. I do hope they wont get too wet. They were soaked this morning. Morgan had a new pair of gray trousers and white shoes to wear today. I think he will surprise you when you get back. He has grown so.
I think Winnie is coming home for the 12th of June, our wedding day. I shall be so glad. She hasn't been up for some time, and I surely get homesick to see the pair of you, but that is all the good it does for you. Well, the time is flying by, when you look back, but an awful long time to look forward. I cant get any inspiration from the weather today. It gives one the blues to look out at gray dripping skies. I always do think of this little verse of Longfellow's.
Be still sad heart, and cease repining.
Behind the clouds the sun is shining.
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Well dearly, I just cant think of anything worthwhile. Daddy will put in a few lines, I think, and I know Helen's letter will interest you. Nothing has happened here. So I think I shall close. I get tired sitting on a straight back hard chair. Keep up you good work, and may the Lord's blessings be with you. We are very proud of you, and I surely do hope to see the other two boys go when they are old enough. Love and best wishes from all of us and a good big hug from

Note: Portions of this letter were posted here on August 21, 2009.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. Unknown day in May 1937 letter.

These Spring 1937 letters explain so many things. Cousin Gail H. gave me this picture of her Grandmother Gail Clayton. It is a picture of Bessie Morgan Rex (L-R) and her sisters Gail Morgan Clayton and Helen Morgan Burt Austin. It was probably taken in front of one of their homes while Bessie was in Salt Lake receiving treatment from Dr. Pyott.

[unknown day in May 1937]

My dear boy,
I had a part of a page typewritten to you & now I cant find it. You didn’t get a letter last week did you.  It was my fault. I was to write. I had been to S.L. [Salt Lake] and came home feeling so much better, but it will take me some months to build up. So it was my slowness, dearie.

It is a beautiful May morn. Daddy has just loaded a 7B milk cow for market. The only one thank goodness.
I told you so much on that piece of paper. I don’t think they are sending missionaries to Brazil any more. None going this time. Your shirts will reach you in time to wear them home.

Clara & her mother & father were in to see me a week ago. It was the music festival. She is a lovely girl. Tonight is the Primary May festival. This is a busy time of year.
I hope you get your money on time this month. Daddy is late

getting it down. It will come, so don’t worry. 

So you get the Reaper? Well there is not much to read. It might keep you in practice with your English. It will be “Pardon my foreign accent.” Will you. Yes? I’m glad it is cooling off there – and warming up here. It has been a long winter. Seems so good to see green grass again. Salt Lake is lovely this time of year. Winnie and I had such a nice time. She is a dear. 
Well, I better close & find that piece of paper. Will write more next time. Am getting stronger & have more ambition. I need it. I went to Dr. Pyott. His is chiropractor dietician & I take no drugs. He has certainly done wonders for me. 
Helen says H. Hunger is going with Ruby’s cousin, a Probst girl.

Keep up your good work my son. I hope you keep the spirit with you when you come home as well as Mearl P. has. He is a fine young man. I know the Lord is helping you. Love & kisses from all of us.
Lovingly Mother
Note: There is a 1946 picture of the Pyott Sanitorian and Clinic at 1213 East 13th South in Salt Lake on the Utah State Historical Society picture database here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Percy Harold (P. H.) Rex. Letter to Harold April 18, 1937.

Picture of the P. H. Rex sons; L-R, Maeser, Morgan, Harold, 1930.

Note: The note across the top of this letter reads: Being chief cook and bottle washer along with going to work is some job. I do think of you lots. Will write a big long letter this week. Love, Helen
Randolph, Utah.
April 18 – 37.
My Dear Boy,
Just another Sunday night and time to start a few more lines to the little Boy down in the South. We are all pretty well up here. We did not get a letter from you last week but the week before we received two. It seems that is the way your letters come lately, every other week  two at a time.
We sure get a jack out of your letters and look forward to the time when we receive them, to know you are well and enjoying your labors, which I hope you do every minute of it.
We took mother to Salt Lake City last Tuesday to the Basic Food Clinic and she is still in the city. He gave her a diet and keep [kept] her there to give her treatments. We had a letter from her last night and she is feeling fine and able to eat better than she has done all winter. They treat her just well at Aunt Gails, but she said she is home sick I wonder if you know what that
is. I hope you never have it very bad.
To think that by the time this reaches you you will have about half of your time behind you, the last half will not seem so long, I hope. But to look back it does not seem so long in a way since we said good bye that morning when the wind was blowing so hard. I don’t think I will ever forget it.
We have spring now but there has not been any farm work done as yet, it is so wet. We are sort of catching up a little on moisture as the ground is so wet, and the snow melting, that it has the river out of its banks, the creeks are all full of water too. It washed out several hundred yards of the railroad over here in Nugget Canyon going to Kemmerer last week, and they had to send there trains by Ogden, but they have it fixed up now.

Helen is here writing to some you can guess very early she is quite thrilled she has her lay off or vacation coming up the 15 of May and is going down to Calif, to see that fellow from Woodruff. We had Sunday school union meeting here today and Miss Burdett was down today. Helen was there and saw her in fact. Miss James came up here with her and say [said] if Ben did not take a fresh notion for her, he is pretty slow, as she sure looked very nice in her new spring outfit.
Last Sunday we had the Evanston choir down to sing for us and the Bishop to speak. We always like to have Harold talk and the choir sing. John Nielson always has them Pretty well trained and timed. They put on an Easter cantata but they don’t seem to have the same kind of music and melody that the good LDS Hymns do--at least to me.

May be mother has told you we were thinking of make [making] a change in the house so we can have an apartment upstairs to rent. We have to parties wanting it now, so this steam Heat is popular  in this cold country. I had better hurry and fill this side of the paper as it is time I was in bed as it is past ten o clock. The boys are going now, Maeser has been asleep on the couch. They are pretty good boys. They have done the work the past two days, as Friday when I came home from Feeding  I felling [fell] and hurt my back so I have been unable to help since. But feel pretty good tonite and hope to be able to get out in the morning and get at the chores, as they have to go to school and I will have to feed the cattle and take care of the milk Cows. Morgan is getting to be quite a man, he has grown quite a little this winter. I will be drawing to a close again asking our Father in heaven to continue his choicest Blessing on you, that you may ever become more of a success in your labors in his work is my Prayer for you, with Love Daddy
[written along the top left side] Excuse the mistakes and pencil.
Note: I added some punctuation to this letter.