Letter(2), October 24, 1975

Hi Jan,

You are fourth & last on my list of letters for tonight, so I’ve run out of fresh & clever things to say (as if I ever had any!). That book about the campaign in ’72 sounds interesting. I haven’t got the book you’re sending yet, but will sure find time to read it. Right now I’m reading my second book on the history & current political & economic situation in El Salvador. It’s really informative, but dense & thus slow going. Unlike the other {book}, it offers no historical solution to El Salvador’s present problems. However, it points to a cool headed & cold hearted ruling oligarchy of hacienda {farm} owners & industrialists, who very rationally manipulate the country’s politics (with help from the, so far, very cooperative army) to suit their interests. In a small country like this with no inaccessible “hideout” areas for guerillas, such a “marriage” between oligarchy & army could last a long time unless the army officer corps “radicalizes from within” such as happened in Peru & Portugal, and no one here is optimistic even about that.

Where did you come up with the name Jerusalem Cherry plant? I called those plants Christmas Candle plants, but Mom started calling the fruit cherries, & now you’ve derived a whole new name for the plant! Even if it is more appropriate, I refuse to accept it, but am glad to hear the plants are doing well!

Some day when I get my butt in gear I’m going to send Mom a piece of woven cloth I bought in Guatemala! If you like it I can get some for you & Joyce. It isn’t really expensive, & I will get up to Guatemala again when things aren’t so hectic. Really hope you make it down in February. We could run up to Chichicastenango, Guatemala on {a} Sunday for their big market day. They really have some beautiful stuff, though it is heavily visited by tourists so things aren’t so cheap.

I’m trying to get my sorghum chopped, & the silage made, but there is so much hassle involved! I guess whenever you have to depend on others in a job, instead of doing it yourself, it’s like that! God save me from being a manager of other people!

I really do incredibly little swimming in the ocean, but I did climb a coconut tree the day before yesterday (da-dá!). It was small, but it was a start. Went fishing in the ocean & a river mouth Monday night with some friends. It was just past full moon & beeeeeautiful, just like early morning. I went in just my undershorts, & nearly froze my butt off! I don’t see how Salvadorans sleep in hammocks without a blanket or anything. The difference between the boiling heat of day & the brisk nights is really noticeable now that I’m sort of acclimated here. We didn’t catch much fishing, but it was great to see how they throw the nets & all.

Wishing you well,


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