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My letter home is published in the home-town weekly, The Coast Star, in Manasquan, New Jersey.  While travelling around the U.S. or on my trip to South America on finishing high school the paper printed all my letters home to my mother.  This letter is presented as a continuation of those early travel letters.  November 7, 1952.



George Drake, whose letters we published while he was on a trip throughout the United States and Mexico, has written the following letter to his mother, Mrs. Ann Drake, from Korea: 

Dear Friends:

          Christmas for me this year will be spent in a tent in Korea, about 40 miles from the front lines.  I am writing to you through the aid of my mother to ask for a gift from you to make Christmas for a lot of us a true Christian event.  Here is the story I have to tell.

          Yesterday I visited Manassas Manor.  Manassas Manor is the name given to the orphanage supported in part by the company to which I belong.  I first read of the orphanage in a letter posted on the company bulletin board.  It was a request for winter clothing for the children, also an invitation to visit the orphanage at any time.  I took advantage of the invitation and yesterday at about 3 p.m. walked down the road about 300 yards to visit the place.  The institution is made up of two buildings.  A large hut of two rooms houses the overhead personnel.  The other building houses the orphans, kitchen, and sanitary facilities.

          I introduced myself to the director who spoke English.  He was so kind as to guide me about the place personally.  He first showed me the records - the number of children of each age and sex.  Most of the youngsters are under the age of five, while the rest range in age up to 12 and 13 years.  There are 55 children cared for here - 33 girls and 22 boys.

          All the children were in the enclosure playing ball, hop-scotch (or a similar game), and other children's games.  The papa-san (father-like superior) called to them and had them line up for a group picture.  What a bunch of dolls, all of them smiling cherubs!  They comprehend nothing of the cruel life about them.  For the most part their parents are not even known.  They have been orphaned by the war.

          They wear rags of all sorts, a goodly portion of which are made up of cast off GI clothing.  They run, play, eat, sleep and suffer in a valiant way.  They often go hungry and cold and want for the lack of close parental love.

          Samuel Wadsworth once wrote:

          "How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,

          When fond recollections present them to view;

          The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood,

          And every loved spot which my infancy knew."

          In years to come, what fond recollections will these dear little hearts call to view?  The barbed wire enclosure in which they play and live?  The hard, bare floor upon which they lie, rolled tightly in their blanket, trying to garner every last bit of warmth on nights when the weather drops below freezing?  (and such nights are frequent).  The room doesn't afford too much protection from the weather, as it is a one-story frame house of very light construction with a thatched roof.  There is no heating in the two common rooms, used in the daytime for schooling, and in the evenings for a dormitory.

          Possibly they will call to mind the kitchen - black as it was - where they crowded on cold, wet winter days to keep the least bit dry and warm of body and spirit.  In the kitchen there is always warmth and smoke - smoke - smoke.  The stove was but a clay shelf on which an oven-like affair was built.  A wood or coal fire was going in the hearth, while a large pot of liquid bubbles above.

          There is always the view from the rear of the orphanage to remember - a series of low hills covered with white stone markers - the cemetery - occupying a much greater portion of the hillside than ever before.

          And the sounds those little ears have picked up - 'tis enough to make one weep.  The thunder of canon, the rattle of machine guns, rumble of tanks and trucks going up the village road to the front.  The smells?  I'll not mention those.  How can I describe the odor of a country occupied by hoards of warriors for two years - but it's there.

          The good Lord only knows what sights and sounds these innocents have seen and heard before finding their way to this haven for the little war casualties.

          "...Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, 

          "...For I was hungered, and you gave me meat.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you took me in.

          "...Naked and you clothed me.  I was sick, and you visited me.

          "...Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me."  -  St. Mathew XXV.

          I feel that I need not say much more in expressing what I want for Christmas this year.  I want you to send me children's clothing, toys, picture books, candy, tricks, crayons, paints, anything that would make a bright spot in a heart of a child in want. Send a little, send a lot, you know best what you have to give, but please, as my good friends, do send something. 

          If a package is mailed within the week it might get here by Christmas.  But don't let the fear of the late hour detain you.  The body needs food and clothing in January as well as in December.

          I am looking forward to hearing from you.  Send packages care of:  Pfc George F. Drake, RA12344689, 326th CRC, APO 301, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, California.

          Love to all, and a Merry Christmas.



This letter which I wrote to her was printed by my mother on a mimeograph machine and sent to many friends and relative as well as to the community weekly newspaper.

November 7, 1952



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