Saturday, February 4, 2012

From Howard Daniel, Shanghai, China, 20 August 1947

Dear Murray and Rosa: 

This is a belated replay to your letter of 12 June. Jesus am I ashamed. Fact is that your letter arrived in the middle of our conference when I was working about 20 hours a day. Immediately after the conference a million odds and sods of work turned up and I kept putting off correspondence.

I have bad news re the return trip via Seattle and the glorious North-west. Judy had to take her vacation earlier than we expected and is at  this moment in Maine with Mutti. I had to stay in this hellhole longer than expected. I shall leave about September 12 and return to New York via India, Pakistan (wherever in Christ’s sweet name that is) and Prague, London, etc. I am terribly disappointed as I had looked forward so much to seeing you. ... The news in your letter was interesting. How did Charley Olson’s [Charles Olson, modernist poet, who lectured at the University of Washington in 1947] lecture go? what is he up to now? 

I’m afraid this is going to be incoherent. I have stinking neuralgia all down the side of my bloody face and cant concentrate on more than three lousy words at a time. It’s more than somewhat hot in these parts so our office shipped in about fifty fans. The damn things are blowing on you from every angle. I’m against them. Am always on the verge of getting pneumonia.

Am tired. Just returned from a three week trip to Bangkok (aint that just a name for you?) Hong Kong and Manila. I liked Siam very much. Interesting place with wonderfully soft people. The Philippines I don’t go much for. It’s a horrible example to anyone else about to be taken over by America. The poor bloody Philippinos! They fought so hard against the lousiest part of Spanish imperialism and had their revolution (a noble affair) squelched by the Americans. Then they had Coca Cola poured into their brains for forty odd years with little interludes like the Japanese. Jesus, the place is a cultural wilderness. The destruction was tremendous and the whole air of the place is pathetic. I like many Philippinos but the rich sons of bitches I contacted are enough to give Job the bleeding piles.
I hope your course at Puget Sound [Murray had begun teaching that the College of Puget Sound, now University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma] doesn’t end up with the enraged parents bringing you a small gallon jug of hemlock. It ought to be a lot of fun, though. What do you know, I tracked Mary Barrett [a classmate of Murray’s from Columbia School of Journalism; she stayed in China to cover the Revolution] down. She is with USIS in Shanghai and having a pretty interesting time although it’s getting so that working as a cancre squeezer in a waterside brothel operated by your sisters and mother is a better atmosphere than working for the

Democratic National Committee or the US government.

I’m still trying to get some dope on SharkArm. Curlpurl just never answers wires, the bastard, or to give the expression its full treatment, the shithouse bastard. Did you get any reaction from the Rosenwald people? [Murray and Howard had written a crime novel based on the 1935 “Shark Arm” murder case in Sydney, Australia, Howard’s hometown. It was never published; I have a manuscript copy.]

I’m leaving here in about three weeks time. Shall be glad to get back. I miss Judy too much and it is impossible to know what the hell is going on in the great big world. I’m very sorry about not being able to return via Washington but hope that something can be managed round Christmas.

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