Detroit, U. S. A
November 4, 1943
Here's a little description of my trip to Detroit.
We arrived here just before 12 p.m. Friday evening, and since life was still really buzzing here, we took a little walk around the centre of the city, going to Cadillac Square where there was a lot of captured German and Japanese army equipment. Man oh man, what stuff! There were motorcycles with tractors on the rear instead of wheels, the German Volkswagon, like our Jeep, and many tanks. But the queerest machine was an eight-wheeled armoured car With a steering wheel for each four pairs of wheels. 1 don't see how it was driven, but it was.
Then we had a look at a Pratt and Whitney Wasp, being turned by an electric motor, and all cut away so that you could see how it worked. It was in the lobby of the Hotel Statler. (Some place !)
By three o'clock in the morning we figured it was time we went back to our free Hostel bed. We slept until 8:30 a.m., and then had our free meal, which was true of all our meals. We then went to the General Motors Exhibit. ( There's a picture of the building on one of those cards that I sent to you.) I wish Dad was with me, for he certainly would have enjoyed the trip. All the displays were working, including the precision instruments. It was so terrific that you couldn't see it all even if you stayed there for years. I can't begin to describe all the stuff I saw, but there was one little gadget that particularly took my eye. It was made up of a series of ball bearings jumping through another bearing so accurately that the ping- ping- ping was just like a clock ticking. It looked something like this:
The ball bearing carne out here and bounced through the bearing in the centre as it turned and then back , through the bearing on the other side, and around the back on rollers, to begin the process again. Two balls would be bouncing at once, so that the timing was perfect.
After seeing that exhibit we went to the top of the Fisher Building by elevator. It was the first time that I had ridden to the top of a skyscraper in an elevator. It caused me to have quite a funny feeling in my stomach. In the skyscraper we visited a radio station.
After dinner we went out to the Edison Institute, built by Ford in Dearborn. The little book I'm sending to you will give the details about the place. Dad would have enjoyed seeing it all. A few of the things that caught my eye were the ten seat bicycle that held 2500 pounds, over a ton, and had been ridden a mile a minute, a car where the driver sat in the back seat, Tom Thumb's carriage, a twelve cylinder Mercedes, once owned by Wilheim Kaiser, and the car that the King and Queen rode in when they were here. There were many Rolls- Royce cars and ancient aeroplanes and carriages, as well as old radios, telephones and movie machines.
We then went back to Detroit, had supper at the U.S. D., and then went roller skating at the Arena Gardens, which had the best floor that I had ever skated on. Even the boards at the end of the link were curved so that you skated on the length of them all the way round the rink The music was by an electric organ. We started about 5:30 p.m., and continued for over six hours until 12 o'clock, so it was the longest skate I had ever had.
Later we went to a show at the Fox Theater, which was some building! We decided to sit in the fifth balcony, so we were quite high up in the air. We left the theater at three a. m., returned to the Hostel and slept until 7:30 a.m. again roaming through the centre of Detroit. We went roller skating again, from two p.m. until five. Everything is free for us in Detroit-buses, tramcars, food, beds at the U.S.D. and even the admission to the roller skating rinks, so our only expenses were the trip from Canada to Detroit.
Our first big test is coming up this Thursday, and after that we will get another 36, "See all you can while you can" is our motto so we'll do some more travelling later. Glad to hear that Dad made the last payment on the house. The weather here is cool but damp. We received our overcoats, but we haven't had to wear them yet. If I don't get enough leave to come home at Christmas, I'l1 visit Aunt Lola. By all means send me the book "Disputed Passage", It is one of Douglas's that I did not get.
P. S. I've been reading a book called "The Countryman's Year". I just thought that I'd put on paper a few thoughts. Right now I have no worries, and no cares- I feel free, as it were. I'm doing a job that I'm good at, and I have no fears for the future. The large amount of reading that I did at home has helped me to develop a code to live by. I see some of the fellows here, who apparently have no code on which to stand, and so they go to pieces, and become persons that their friends would not be proud of. I don't need frivolous diversions to keep me interested. I actually get fun from observing the other fellows, as if they were acting their parts. And I've met such a variety of fellows, so that life is very interesting. From the Grayson book I get a lot of contentment. It's marvellous what a little ink and paper can do for you.