May 10, 1914
Tonight, just after supper Papa told Daniel and Hazel to go tend to things in the barn without him. Hazel knew something was up so she said, “but what about my dish chores, don’t you think I’d better stay here and help Mama?”
“No,” said Papa, “Mae and Mama can handle it,” and he shooed them out the door.
My heart plummeted I knew they must have heard the rumors about me running to Washington and I was about to face a wrath of questioning.
Mama watched them go to the barn from the window as soon as she was sure they’d gone she turned to Papa and said, “I think we’d all best sit down at the table to talk.”
My bottom lip quivered as I sat with my arms hugging my chest. Why I was so afraid I can’t say for I knew I’d done nothing wrong. There was no way I’d let them stop me from writing to Roy.
Papa sat with his arms firmly planted on the table. “Mae there is no easy way for me to say this, we’ve heard Roy has sent you money to go to Washington. You know we have forbade you to do any such thing before you are 21.”
“I know,” I said. “I’ve heard the rumors too. But they aren’t true, I would love to go back there to live but I never would go without your blessings. Besides, Roy has never suggested I should go, let alone send me money. It’s all a bunch of nonsense, you know how folks like to gossip.”
Papa folded his arms and looked me in the eyes. “You do know Mama and I have nothing but your best interests at heart. Running off to Washington to chase a man at your young age is nothing but plum foolishness.”
“But I just told you I am doing no such thing,” I said, almost knocking over my chair as I got up to flee. Mama put her arm on me and said, “Mae, sit back down we aren’t done.”
Papa folded his arms across his chest, “I sincerely hope you are telling the truth; Roy seems like a good man but you have no idea how hard life can be.”
I braced myself for the usual lecture on how hard life can be, how Grandma Jessie was widowed with 13 children left to raise, when Mama interrupted. “Alex, I can tell by her eyes she is telling the truth, if she says she is not leaving for Washington then enough has been said. She rose from the table and handed me the hot kettle of water from the stove. She turned toward Papa and said, “It’s time Mae and I get the dishes done. Shouldn’t you be checking on what Daniel and Hazel are up to in the barn?”
And with that Papa strode to the door his jaw clenched and headed to the barn.
Fighting back tears, my fingers shook as I poured the hot water into the dish pan and started washing while Mama dried, neither of us saying a word. As soon as I was done I grabbed you and escaped here to where the babbling creek could hide the sounds of my sobbing. How dare they treat me as if I was still a child for a child I am not. If only Vera or Sadie were here to talk, I think I would feel better. They’d understand what the folks can’t seem to. And thank goodness for you dear diary without you to pour my thoughts into I think I would go plum crazy.
I guess I’d better dry my tears as dusk is starting to fall. I sure don’t want Hazel to notice I’ve been crying. She’d want to know why and if I told her she would tell her friends who would tell others and make me feel all the worse.
May 16, 1914
Tis washing day or at least it should be if it weren’t snowing. Yes, snow, I think there must be a good 4 inches out there now and it is still falling. It started yesterday and has been falling off and on ever since. I hope the cold doesn’t hurt my garden. I think it will be fine though, as it hasn’t sprouted anything yet. Guess it’s going to be an inside sort of day; I do believe I will spend some time writing Roy and maybe some of the other Puyallup folks. In his last letter he said he’d heard of the rumors about us and wondered if he should stop writing for a spell, a thought too hard for me to bear. I must reassure him I am okay and he must keep writing.
Tis ironing day except Mama and I did the washing instead. As cold and snowy as yesterday was, today the sun is out bright, the breeze warm and all the snow has vanished.
Not long ago the sound of a motor attracted my attention as I was hanging the clothes out to dry. I walked to the end of the clothesline and looked in the direction of the noise and what should appear but a blue automobile. Mr. Plummer waved at me as he turned and entered our yard. He jumped out and waved me over to take a good look at his shiny new blue car. After I had oohed and awed over it he joined Mama on the porch and gave us the news that Clara Cady and Mr. Barber had married. Course I already knew they were doing that but Mama was sure surprised. He said he intends to spend the summer at his ranch. And with that he left to show off his car to someone else. Mama laughed and said those contraptions will never make it out here. I don’t know, while our roads are plenty rough alright, I think the automobile is here to stay.
Guess I’ll devote the rest of the time I have left today to stringing rose beads and get a letter off to Roy. So, I best end this and get to work.
May 17, 1914
I received your letter last night and of course I was glad. I am pretty well and hope you are the same only better.
I am glad you are working not very hard as you say, but I don’t know whether to believe you or not in that case.
Well I just got started last night and had to stop to make a fire and supper, after supper we had one of the worst storms I ever saw. And of course, almost scared me to death so did not write any more.
Mama is going to the office today and I may go down to Davidsons as Vera wants me too. She was here yesterday all day. We had a real nice time. I wish you could have been here too.
My we sure had some rain have had lots this spring and last Sunday and Monday we had a great big snow storm the snow was about six inches deep in some places.
Papa is not quite through farming down to Donald and then he has to do our place up here it sure keeps him busy.
Oh yes, I must not forget to tell you about the wedding that took place the 11th of May. Can you guess who? Well I will tell you Holly Barber and Clara Cady were married on that day. I was not surprised as they told me. I was the only one who knew tho. Wasn’t they good? I knew a long time ago but did not tell any body.
Harvey Plummer was here today he is going to stay out here on the ranch. He as a new car now. You know he is the owner of the blue sedan.
Hazel and Daniel go to school. Miss Kendal is teaching again.
I guess Mama will go down and stay a few days with papa this week and I supose I will be alone in the daytime.
Well Roy we are sending some beads. I hope to bother you so we are sending more than we intended but maybe you could sell them sometime. They have been selling for a $1.00 per string and .75 for the bandeau but you can sell them for whatever you can get. We made them all last week so was real busy.
I am sorry Joe went away as I supose it is lonesome there for you. I went up to the barn with a rope and picked a couple of flowers, here they are Thank you for yours. I think them fine.
P.S. We thank you very much for your trouble with the beads and hope you will not have much trouble selling them. Frank said he got your letter. Vera said to tell you hello.
Friendship is a golden knot,
Tied by a loving angel’s hand.
(Author’s note: the following long China letter was hard to translate so it made sense. Part of it seemed to say there are so many stories so I would not pay any attention to them. Vera told me one but don’t say a word in the letters. Just what stories she is referring to are impossible to say as most of this does not translate into real words but it sounds like Roy must have heard of them and perhaps suggested he shouldn’t write as often.)
May 19, 1914
I feel so blue. Just a bit ago our phone sounded that special ring that tells us we have a call for all to hear. A neighbor was calling to play us a song on his new Victrola. If only it hadn’t been the song Roy and I had claimed as ours. I can feel his arms around me now as we danced and swayed to the lyrics.
“Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you.
Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.
Keep the love-light in your eyes so true.
Let me call you sweetheart. I’m in love with you.”
Oh, if only he was here right now…