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Letter from Linus Pauling, Jr. to Ava Helen Pauling. January 21, 1944.
Linus Jr. writes to discuss family matters with his mother and to offer some thoughts on the gloomy possibility of war with the Soviet Union.


January 21, 1944

Dearest Mom

I was so glad to get your letters! I don't remember the snowfall in Columbus at all. The environment for my spectacle was not very nice- bleak buildings and red mud but I enjoyed seeing the flakes swirling about.

I'm sorry little Linda got lost and caused you so much anxiety it was very bad of her. (And think of the gasoline probably wasted!) Perhaps Lindy ought to pack a little pistol to protect herself! But I guess I would not have enjoyed riding a bus at her age- I still get a little hot and bothered wondering where in hell I am when I ride! (Forgive the unfortunate profanity, but I felt it was needed for feeling).

I beg you not to start having grandmother's pride too soon. Peter or I should be the first to consider the possibility, anyway. I'm afraid that it will be a long time before I consider myself worth the girl that I would like to marry (ideals again, of course!) I'm not in any hurry to get married, especially these days when one can have all the advantages with no legal entanglements! But don't worry I'm not leading Quartier Latin life yet.

I feel well sort of weak after my long sojourn in bed, but my bad foot kept me from going on a 12 mile hike tonight from 1 to 5 A.M. with full field pack, etc.

What do you think about Russia? I think we're going to have a lot of trouble avoiding a war with her; if there is war, it almost means the end of the world. Perhaps this is the end; another Dreary Day is just around the corner. I shouldn't be surprised if we never see peace in our lives. My faith in the ability of nations to be tolerant is weak, very weak indeed. Every nation is extremely suspicious of every other, and these suspicions are too often well-found. Why cannot all nations have a sort of brotherly spirit?

By the way racial prejudice in Texas is horribly strong a negro does not look at a white man without being accused of trying to own the world. It is such feeling that creates unrest, even between nations.

You are right I cannot visualize the steps leading to the future I want. The time aspect bothers me most I can't bear to see the first half of my life totally unproductive. But so far my life has shown none of this hurry to produce. Perhaps it never will; I'm certainly not going back to college if I can't make myself learn all that I can. My desire is to produce something brilliant by my more earthbound self reminds me that I haven't shown much promise so far.

The nights in Texas are beautiful the air is cold and clear. Too cold. But the country is so flat and barren horrible.

Remember that you have all my love, dear mother.


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