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The Alan Gregg Papers

Letter from Alan Gregg to his wife pdf (135,483 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Alan Gregg to his wife
In this letter, Gregg provides observations on China, and mentions a tea party with Chiang Kai-shek.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (135,483 Bytes)
1946-06-03 (June 3, 1946)
[Gregg, Alan]
[Gregg, Eleanor]
From the personal collection of Michael Gregg.
Reproduced with permission of Michael B. Gregg.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Exhibit Category:
Postwar Work and Retirement, 1945-1956
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Monday June 3 1946
Dearest: Your first letter came today when we were over at the office. I pocketed it and saved it till after lunch to be enjoyed in peace and alone and oh how it warmed the cockles and mussels of my heart alive alive oh. I'm writing small and fine to say more, multum in parvo. I'm so glad the Bach Festival overflowed your banks once more. Thank Pete for me for the gutter job. I knew they would need it some time and its the better for being early in the summer rather than late. Except for the wrench I'm glad the kittens got placed successfully. I hope Pete gets Chicago. He may have done better than he thinks he did. I hope so more for his sake or because it is his choice than because I think it is so much better than B. Indeed there is a chance that Sears may be the kind of person that Pete would find first rate. Mike's introduction to Japanese music seemed felicitous. I'm delighted that my bicycle, acquired on the plea of helping me to get the School Board meetings, is to have an honest career in giving ever greater pleasure. Nice that K Bradley came to call. Poor old Dick and poor Katherine! I'm awfully sorry for her and for him. Thanks for watching the pigeons so tenderly. Even if there are as yet no nibbles the longer the delay the more the final seekers are going to swap at the chance. So don't lose hope. I suppose that since you mention working in the garden the house is well nigh readied for the [. . .]. My honestly admiring congratulations. I loved RAG's.
We stayed eight days in Nanking--three days longer than we expected. Finally we got places in an Army plane with the help of Gen. Marshall and got here day before yesterday. A wonderful flight--up to 13000 feet at one time but most of the time low enough to see the millions of plots of cultivated ground, the ponds, the lakes, the canals and the tawny flooded rivers of China. And a magnificent view of Peiping and its glorious Imperial Gardens and Palaces. We came straight from the field to the Ying Compound where I was in 1932 at San Tiao Hutung to find it waiting and in wonderfully comfortable condition. Each of us has a separate suite of rooms, study, large bedroom and large bathroom. Perfect bed. Perfect servants dignified alert and smiling, dressed in white gowns.
Sunday we worked on budgets and got visits over the buildings. The Japanese used or abused all the available space for hospital purposes. Now about 2/3 of the rooms are used by Americans, Chinese Communists and Chinese National Govt in a joint effort to come to a working agreement regarding Manchuria and North China. If they fail there may be civil war here for years. The emotional tone of the town goes up and down--more hope or less. Sunday afternoon we went to a tea party given by the Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek and Madame. It was an affair of about 100 so you can imagine my surprise
when I found myself sitting on the Generalissimo's left: I speaking no Mandarin and he no English. He smiles broadly all the time and says "How!" almost continuously. It means "Good." A translator helped out for a while. He said that the PUMC was the best medical school in China and I thanked him and told him we were proud of the chance the Chinese had given us to work with them. There were an infinite number of flashlight pictures and a [. . .] photographer when he saw the beauteous Madame Chiang confided to a general of the US Marines who was standing nearby "Gee Sir she's the kind I'd whistle at if it weren't for my self-respect!"
Then a Chinese dinner party by an enormous and cheery General JL Huang among whose accomplishments is that of so steady-hand and patient a soul that he can balance an egg on the dinner table. Chinese dinners are wonderfully good to eat. About 12-15 dishes, each one a mere bite or two. Rice wine in tiny cups. You consume it either saying "GAMBEI" and drinking it all while looking at a chose drinking companion, or saying "MIMI" and taking only a sip. MIMI is old Chinese for a kiss--you are just kissing the wine.
This morning a Chinese scholar came to give us names which we are having put on visiting cards. Mine is [Chinese symbols] which is pronounced GUH RAY GUH guh as in gust. The characters are different because they mean "He who brings a blessing to others." Burwell drew Pao Hua Er which is as near as they can come to the sound of his name. It means "The man who thinks of others." This afternoon the task was looking at the library (which the Japanese left almost untouched) and the laboratory equipment which was in a confusion worse than our upstairs garage but amazingly full of valuable instruments chemicals and material even so. There was any amount of stuff the Japs could have taken or stolen or sold--and why they didn't is a mystery. There is much to be thankful for, especially that the 70000 books and all the hospital records are undisturbed.
We expect to be here until about the 15th. Then to Chungking if we can get the transportation by air, and to Chengtu and Canton on similar conditions. I am sorry to tell you there is so much by air but it cannot be otherwise. July 15 remains the time we set for leaving China for California but we shan't know by what means of travel till we get to Shanghai about the 6 of July. One of the histories I looked at today describing a patient said "OCCUPATION--MALE, SINGLE." His name wasn't Guh Ray Cruh. . . .but it might have been. I love you and always shall.
Love to Pete and Cellini and Nanny and that intrepid Keesler veteran and belles lettres author who is already looking for more worlds to conquer. Keep yourself well je t'en prie cherie and oh how nice will be the reunion in the bay Region!
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