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LETTERS FROM Mona – Part 21- April 8 – April 28th, 1914

Mae’s mother, Martha Smith Phillips

April 8, 1914

Dear Diary,

  My heart is bursting, I got a letter from Roy. Funny how a little piece of paper can make my day but then it  isn’t the paper, it’s the person who penned it, isn’t it? But oh, how homesick reading it made me because it was filled with news of our Puyallup family. I sure miss seeing them. Letters aren’t the same no matter how nice they are.

And oh, how lovely Roy’s description of the spring color was. In my mind’s eye I could just see all the trees abloom. When I look out the window here there is nary a speck of green grass yet.

I have decided to study for the teacher exams in earnest. It will be a lot of work, but Aunt Sarah says I can do it and she will help me if she can.

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April 13, 1914

Dear Diary,

Just a few words now I haven’t written in a few days I will have to be short though as I have many chores still to do. Mama and I did the laundry earlier today though she ought not to as she is feeling rather poorly again. 

Fortunately, today the weather is fine and sun is out bright. I do love looking at it is blowing on the line mainly because it means it is done. Soon I will be out taking it down to save for ironing day.

I spent the night over at Edna’s Sunday night and Rob gave me a ride back this morning. Edna seems to be all over whatever her mad with me was about. Maybe it was just she felt different now that she’s and old married lady. But she isn’t old at all for we are both the same age. She has decided to study for the teacher’s exam, too. It will be nice to have someone to study with.

Frank Rishor was over and left Hazel and I some of his Rose Petals to try our hand at making beads. I hope we can sell some. It would sure be nice to make some money of my own.

That’s all I have time to write as it is time to put the rising bread into the oven to bake. Then I want to scrub the floor before Mama gets back from visiting Aunt Sarah.  Mama still looks peaked, but nearly as bad as Aunt Sarah.

P. S.

Here is how to make rose beads:

1. Gather the rose petals and place them on old tin sheets in the sun all day.

2. Put them through a mincer to grind them up with a 1/2 cup of water for every 2 cups of petals.

3. Heat them in a cast iron fry pan over a medium fire, stirring with a wood spoon. Do not let them boil, if you do they will lose their scent.

4. Roll them in balls about the size of a marble as they will shrink to half their size as they dry.

5. Use a hat pin or stiff wire to pierce a hole in the center. Let them dry on the wires to ensure the holes say stable and place in a warm dry place for 3 or 4 days.

6. Thread a needle and thread the beads onto thread and add a clasp. If they are stored in a wooden box they will retain the scent.

I am going to use the wooden box Roy made me last winter while he was here.

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Donald, Wyo

April 16, 1914

Dear friend,

I will now write you a few lines and answer your two letters which I received the two last Wednesday.

You said you suposed I got tired of your writing so often, and I know you do not supose any such thing and just said it to suit the time for you know how glad I am to get a letter every Wednesday and I can always depend on it. So, you must not think anything like that. I was glad to hear you was getting along so nicely and did not have to work too hard.

I am pretty well today, but Mama has been pretty sick for three or four days, she is some better now. It seems as tho we have had our share of sickness this winter, hope we get throw the summer all right. The rest of the folks are pretty well tho now.

Was sorry to hear of your mother being so sick and certainly hope she is well by this time.

I am glad you are having good weather there. It has been pretty good for a long time here but have had no rain yet, just a little sprinkle is all. Everybody is wishing for rain.

Papa has not heard from his Bid on the mail route yet but aught to hear any time now. Mr. Holly Barber put in a bid too so he is not sure of it. I don’t care a great deal if he get it for it is not a very good job for winter time.

Yes Bert is going shearing soon. Aunt Sadie is going to stay with Grandma, while he is gone. I expect she is going to be very lonely tho.

I guess it will be about the last of the month before we will be up home for good.

Vera is counting the days and hours, ha ha.

Aunt Sarah is a little better now. They have got a new doctor now and think he is going to help her. I surely hope so for she has been sick for almost two months.

I would love to have more of the pictures of some of those large trees that you had cut down.

I am writing your letter today (Thursday) for I am going to be busy and did not think I would get a good chance to write. I want to wash, scrub and clean house tomorrow and so I will get a good start today.

I am glad Joe is there with you for I know it won’t be so lonesome and I am glad that your partner don’t drink like he did if he get drunk you must not work with him for you might get hurt.

I was over to Rob Waddington Sunday and stayed all night and I had a fine time. Edna and I are quite chummy again. We are both going to study for the teachers examination this fall and she is going to Huelett with me she is going to take all the subjects and I am only going to take half or six or seven subjects. I will start studying on Monday. I will sure have to study some to get throw. Have had the head ach for so long that I could not study until now. Of course I have it yet, but must study any way. I don’t think it will be very hard.

Well I will stop for today and write some more tomorrow.

As ever,

Mae

P.S.

I supose you think I will never get my “say out” but always think of something to write to you. I was talking to Frank and he said he needed a good scolding but he has not wrote to any one for he is so busy, says he will write Sunday. And I was talking to Aunt Sadie and we both said we were about ready (to go to the Spring) we thot no body who would hear us, would know what we meant, for you were gone, and grandma spoke up and said don’t you do it, so we changed the subject. Aunt Sadie is going to stay with me next week. I am awful glad to.

Well I will stop again

M.E.P.

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April 17th, 1914.

Dear Diary,

I am sitting here by the window watching some much-needed rain fall. We surely need it but it looks like it won’t amount to much. I was going to try and do some laundry but it will save for another day. There are plenty of other indoor chores to do like ironing, churning, sweeping, cooking and so much more.

Mama has still been feeling poorly so last night Hazel and I said she could stay in bed today and we would take care of the chores. Hazel isn’t that good either with all the sore throats she’s been having. Papa said he thought a trip to Belle Fourche might be in order. I told him I could hold down the fort here. It might be kind of lonely here all alone but it would give me a chance to do a big spring cleaning here in Donald before we head back up to Mona.

I want to get a letter off to Roy this morning. And oh, dear I must go, we have a visitor, Mr. Price.

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April 17,1914

Well Roy, – here I am this morning. It is raining so can’t wash, so will write you some more. It seems as tho I write long enough letters doesn’t it?

Well I am feeling pretty good this morning, but so worried about Mama she was worse last night and this morning.  I just worry so; she is so weak. I think she will go down to Belle Fourche about Wednesday and maybe Hazel will go too. Hazel has been having so much trouble with her throat. So, I am going to try to get them to go for I know that new doctor will help them for he is just wonderful. I supose I will be kindy lonly then, but will be glad to have them to go.

Frank got your letter and I think he has answered it before now.

We sent Lida’s beads to her, Sat.

We are getting a little rain today but not very much. When we move up home you must write so it will get to Donald on Saturday and then Papa can bring it up then and it won’t be down here so long.

Well I don’t know if I told you or not but Mr. Price is going to give a dance the 7th of May for him and I, wish you was going to be here. I guess we will go.  Will close now.

As ever,

Mae


April 18, 1914

Dear diary,

I never got a chance to get back to you for after Mr. Price left it was time for me to get moving on the chores. The reason for Mr. Price’s visit was to tell us he was organizing a dance to be held on May 7th in honor of both of our birthdays. It’s nice that he thought to include me but without Roy being here I am none too keen on dances. I suppose I will go, wouldn’t be nice to do otherwise.

I am happy to report I did find time to read the first chapter in one of my teacher training textbooks last evening. So many subjects to take – methods and organizing a curriculum, measurement, geography, music, English, history, mathematics, reading and so many more. I decided to start with organization and management of a classroom. Seems like there might be more to teaching than I thought. Aunt Sarah makes it all look so easy.

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April 26, 1914

Dear Diary,

I am feeling pretty lonesome here by myself today and that cursed headache has been back in full force, so much so I haven’t gotten any new studying done.  All I want to do is close my eyes and wish it gone.  I swear some of the time it feels like a vice squeezing my left eyeball and temple. It’s all I can manage to take care of chores and get some beads made. My though, those beads do look nice and smell heavenly.

Yesterday afternoon the McDonalds came over and kept me company for a time. We sure did some laughing. My head aches so now, I much go, but before I do I must tell you the secret Clara Cady told me. She and Holly Barber are getting married. I’m the only one she has told so I must keep it hush, hush for now.

She also whispered to me she had heard a rumor about me. Seems someone is saying that I have plans to disobey my parents’ wishes and run away to Washington just as soon as I turn 18. I can tell you nothing is further from the truth. I would never hurt them that way. If I ever do leave for Washington it will be with their blessings. I love my family too much to just up and leave them. I can’t understand how some folks are so mean spirited to talk behind someone’s back like that. I sure hope the folks don’t get wind of it.

They should be back from Belle Fourche tomorrow.

LETTERS FROM Mona- part 20- April 4, 1914 -April 7, 1914

April 4, 1914

I am back from staying with Grandma and Grandpa Smith. I went on Thursday and Grandpa dropped me back this morning on his way to Aladdin.

As usual I had a good visit. Grandma and I made cookies and worked on her newest quilt. It’s going to be a beauty. And guess what? It’s going to be mine, to put in my hope chest. I can hardly wait until I can give it a place of honor upon a bed. Guess I will be waiting a while though, won’t I?

It’s done in the World’s Fair pattern. She’s using only 2 colors, a creamy white and soft green print of tiny flowers. I love how easy on the eye it is.

I took the logging picture Roy sent me along to show Grandpa. And Oh, my did he ever love looking at it. He kept exclaiming, “What a sight it would be to see a forest like this.”

Roy Caple is the man on the right with his partner Gus.

Then he got out a photograph to show me. It was a man in a Civil War uniform. “This is Isaac Smith, my father, that makes him your great grandad.

Isaac Smith – photo taken Dec. 1863. He served in the 28th regiment, CO D of Iowa Infantry from Dec. 1863 -Nov. 1864. He was discharged due to ill health and died April 1865.

I exclaimed over it and Grandpa told me his father had died from an intestinal illness during the war and then he got up abruptly and went out the door mumbling about chores to do outside.

Grandma said Grandpa doesn’t much like talking about his boyhood on account he was only 10 when his father died leaving the family destitute. To survive his mama married a man who turned out to be an abusive drunk. I guess it’s all kind of hush, hush but she finally had to divorce him.

Matilda Fowler Smith and her husband Isaac Smith. This photo was taken around 1852 either before or just after arriving in CA. Matilda was born in 1835 and Isaac in 1824.

I wondered why they had gone back to Iowa so I asked Grandma.

“On account,” she said, “of Matilda wanting to go back to her mother when she found out she was in a family way again. So they gathered up their meager savings and went back to Iowa and that’s where your great Uncle Addison was born in 1860.” Grandma fingered the picture and added, “I guess it took all their resources to get back to, leaving them pretty hard-up. She once showed me a small gold nugget she kept wrapped in a handkerchief. She said it was the only thing left of their time in California. She did go on to have 2 more sons by her second husband. She lives with one of them now.”

Do you think I could write to them,” I asked intriqued to know more.

“Don’t see why not,” she said. I’ll give you the address before you leave.

“But here’s something else for you to see.” She pulled out another photograph, this one of and old man and woman. Course I thought they were Isaac and Matilda but then I remembered he’d died during the war. Grandma said the man was Matilda’s twin brother and they were both still alive. I guess the photo was taken for a newspaper article about them being the oldest living twins in Iowa. She said she and Grandpa hadn’t seen them since they moved from Iowa in the 1880’s.

Matilda Fowler Smith and her twin brother William.

Then she chuckled, “Mae you had better watch out you’ve got twins running through both sides of your family, you just might end up with a set of your own.”

While I am looking forward to having a family someday, I’d just as soon skip twins.

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Donald, WYO

April 7, 1914

Well Roy I will try and write you a few lines to let you know I am still alive, and I am pretty well. I got your letter Wednesday, was glad to hear you were well. And hope you are yet. We are all, almost over the La grip now, and are awful glad. Mama is not so very well tho yet. And Daniel has the headach so much.

Hazel and Daniel are still going to school down here. There was so much school lost on count of Aunt Sarah’s sickness and so it won’t be out until the first of May or later.

School started up home yesterday. I think we will move up there about a week from Saturday. I will be very glad to get home again. For “be it ever so humble there is no place like home.”

We was up there Sunday but Hazel and I went to see Vera and did not go on as it was to far to walk back. We had a nice time there tho. I was so glad to see Vera. Clarence was there too. “Ace” Lathrop was there too and oh my what a scolding I did get for not coming up when we were at Aunt Sadie’s and he would not let me make no excuses, was the worst of it.

Was glad your partner was back again. And supose you were glad to see him.

Frank Risher is home again, I was talking to him today he says he had good luck down there selling beads he sold $23.30 worth and is going to sell a lot more.

Hazel and I have got the bead notion now. Can make them lots better and we were just thinking maybe there might be some people there that would like some if Frank hasn’t said anything about it. Hazel is just wild to make them. I am going to send Lida a string and a Bandeau, will send them Saturday I think.

I have a string of light blue that are pretty good.

Papa is busy farming has quite a bit done and lots to do yet.

We are having pretty good weather and the grass is starting pretty good now. I am surely glad to see spring once again. 

Do you hear from Justin often? I wrote some time ago but have not got an answer.

Was surprised to hear about Gladys Clason and that uncle of hers.

Edna was here last Wednesday and stayed all night.

Aunt Sarah is not much better, Mama and I was over there Wednesday. Oh my she looks so bad. It made me feel so bad to see her look so. I hope she gets better tho.

Aunt Sadie and Bert are both well, haven’t seen them for a time tho.

There is not much news to write, I guess I had better go get dinner now and finish later.

Well here I am again, just got throu with dinner. How is the weather in Nagram? Hope it is better.

It is kindy cold today we have had pretty good weather tho.

I am still reading my Bible. I was glad I was so far ahead for when I got sick I could not read for quite a few days, so had to read again and am ahead quite a ways now.

I supose you hear from your folks quite often. I will write Lida Saturday.

Well I guess I will close this time.

Write often,

As ever, Mae

Frank and all of the folks was just here and Frank says he got your letter and said it was a nice letter and he is going to answer it soon.

(did your ears burn today, ha ha)

China letter:

15. 1.23.26.5.1.24.24.22 translation: (don’t worry about me for I will get all right soon, Mae)

 11.5.22.12.7.26.19.22

.11.12.14.26.9.1.21.26 2.7.25.19.7

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 18 – March 5 to March 19

March 5th, 1914

Dear Diary,

It feels good to be back home. Sadie and Bert decided to come to the play and dance so I went with them. I really enjoyed the show. It was put on by a fellow who was pretty good. He sang, danced, played a mouth organ and had us all in stitches with the jokes and funny skits. The dance afterwards I didn’t care for so much, they just make me long for Roy all the more. Though by the looks of the way Sadie was dancing I’d say she is better now, she sure had a time of it with that wisdom tooth.

 Afterwards I went back home with the folks as Sadie no longer needs my help.

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March 12th, 1914

Dear Diary,

I have spent the past several days mostly in bed. I no sooner got home, and we all came down with a nasty chest cold, except for some reason not Hazel. She’s been doing the best she can helping with the chores, but we are falling way behind.

We are all moving around a bit but not up to our usual tasks yet. It will take Mama and I at least a month to catch up with all the washing not to mention so the many other chores we need to get done.

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March 17, 1914

There’s another dance tonight at MacDonald’s barn. I don’t care to go but Hazel does and since we are still in Donald and don’t need Papa to take us in the wagon I will go with her. After working so hard taking care of all of us this month she deserves to have some fun.

Today she’s been driving us a bit wild with her singing, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” over and over. She says she can’t help it for today is Saint Patrick Day and we are a wee bit Irish. I guess that is true enough as Papa says his grandfather, Patrick O’hara, was from Ireland. He and his brother’s are always talking about how rich we will all be when our Irish ship comes in, on account of some inheritance in Ireland there they think they should get. Mama say it’s all foolishness and I agree. They’ve been saying that ever since I can remember, though wouldn’t it be nice if it did come true.

Mae’s sister, Hazel

Mama is still feeling poorly. I am starting to worry about her. She has such an awful cough and tires so quickly.

Thank goodness, Papa is feeling fine again. With the nice mild weather we are having it is time for him to start farming again.

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March 19, 1914

Dear Diary,

I should never have written that part about it being so nice and mild for today it is freezing. I am sitting near the stove trying to stay warm as big white snowflakes falling outside the window, are sending chills up and down my spine. It’s a good thing, Papa hasn’t planted anything yet. Hopefully this cold spell won’t last long.

While Papa and I may be back to normal Mama and Daniel aren’t. I am still worried about them. Daniel looks so pale and wane. He hasn’t gone to school in three weeks. Aunt Sarah Waddington is bad, too. Once Mama is back on her feet, I intend to go help her out.

The dance was okay, except when they played “Peg O’ My Heart ” I almost teared up. I can still feel Roy’s arms around me as we danced to that song and he whispered in my ear, “We’ll never part, I love you.”

Vera was there with Clarence Waddington. It was so nice to see her again. When she wasn’t busy dancing with Clarence the two of us were chatting up a storm. I can hardly wait to get back to Mona where I can see her more often. Except I think she and Clarence are sweet on each other, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t up and get married on me and yet another chum will be lost.

I do have to admit that Clarence is a nice fellow, she could do far worse. Somehow I know our family history is all twined up with the Waddingtons. Papa says it goes way back to when everyone lived in Canada before the Civil War. He tried to explain it to me once, but it made my head spin.  All I know is we aren’t related by blood to Clarence’s family.

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Nagram, WA

March 19th, 1914

Dear Friend,

Hello Mazie: Here I am again. I got a letter from you yesterday and of course I was glad, but sorry you were all having such a time being sick and sure hope you will all be better soon.

I am still feeling fine as usual. I wish you could feel as well all the time as I do. Haven’t been the least bit sick for nearly a whole year now.  I wish you could say the same thing. I think you will feel a lot better when you get your teeth fixed. To bad you didn’t have that done a long time ago it perhaps would have saved you a lots of suffering. Was sorry to hear Daniel was so sick. Poor little chap he seems to have quite a hard time of it. Tell hm that I said for him not to get sick any more as it is a foolish thing to do.

We are having the lovelist spring weather I have ever saw so early in the season. March so far has been just like May. So far we have had only three wet days. The rest of the time has bright and warm. Everyone say they never saw it this way so early. The trees are all putting out their leaves and the snow is nearly all gone off the mountains. If it stays this way all spring we will be picking strawberries in May, won’t that be lovely.

I had a letter from home the other day and Mother said they had been planting garden. She didn’t say anything about any of the folks, except that Faith Henry was all over the small-pox and that they were still quarantined. Mr. Henry and Frank were batching in the little room adjoining Bryans store. I’ll bet Mrs. Henry is awful tired being there alone so long. Won’t she be tickled to get out again.

Father has recovered from his hurt enough so he is able to be about again. I hope he don’t get hurt again for a little while anyhow.

Tell Frank Risher that I wrote him some time ago when I first came up her to Nagram. I suppose he must have it by now. If he hasn’t let me know and I will write to him again.

How is Mr. Will Waddington by now? Sorry that Mrs. Waddington has been sick. I suppose they are kinda mad at me for I promised to come over and say good-bye to them before I went away and then didn’t go. If you hear them say anything about it just tell them I intended to come and see them again but forgot it until it was too late.

Do you know yet when you are going to move back home again? Suppose you will be glad when you get home again, as then you can see Vera most everyday. You wouldn’t get so lonesome then would you? Tell Vera I said hello! If you see anyone else that I know tell them the same.

I think I shall go down to Puyallup the last of the month. The 29th is Father’s birthday and the 31st is Mother’s so they are going to have a big blow out on the 30th in celebration of both and they want all we boys to be there if possible so guess I will have to go down. Wish you were going to be there to, but as you can’t I will have to tell you about it instead.

Guess I can’t think of anymore that I dare write so will say good-night and go to roost.

Good night and pleasant dreams.

As ever, W.R.C

LETTERS FROM Mona – February 20 – February 28th,1914

9,15,19, K ( authors note: This month what Mae calls China letters begin to appear. This brief use of numbers and the K at the beginning of this letter are apparently Sadie’s attempt at it)

Donald Wyo

Feb. 20 1914

(This is Aunt Sadie’s Writing)

My Dear Roy)

Dear friend, –

I will try to write you a few lines this evening.

I am pretty well and hope this will fine you well and happy. I have not heard yet whether you got home or not but hope you did for I was afraid, I heard there was some snow in the mountains, but hope you got there all right. How did you find every body there? And what did they all have to say, if I could only be there to hear the questions they will ask. I got your letter you wrote from Deadwood, was awful glad to get it and was glad to know where you were going, too.

I bet Grover West was sure some disappointed.

And I suppose some surprised.

How is your mother and Lida give them my best regards and tell Lida I will write to her in a few days, seems like I never get around to write very often, but I will try to do better.

I got my valentine and thank you Oh, so much for it. I thot it was so nice.  I got my watch too, it is just running right along too, I was so glad to see it just as tho it had been some body to talk to it and tell me everything I wasn’t to know. Did you get your sleep out. I never slept that morning not until that night. I just could not sleep. Bet you were tired too. Aunt Sadie is pretty well now. She and Bert came over Wednesday and then stayed all night and I came home with them yesterday. I am going to stay a while.

I think I will get my books and then I will go to studying. I will study day and night until I get through.

I wish you was here. I can always talk better than I can write.

Only that morning you I could hardly say anything. I wanted to tell you some things to tell the folks there. But I could not say much.

I sure missed you for a few days. Of course I miss you yet, but getting kindy used to it now.

Daniel missed you so much to, especially the next night he said he could hardly sleep at all, don’t know about the rest they never said. But I think they did tho. How are Lillian and Justin? I supose you have had a long talk with them lots of times. And what did Sade have to say. I wish I could see the dear old thing. Have you heard of any of their meetings just yet. You had better go for me.

I got my china letter and Mama and Hazel say they can read it if they only had the time, ha ha. You must be careful. 

Vera is just fine I not saw her yet, but talks to her lots. Our old phone won’t ring yet, makes me tired. Clara had been having a tooth ach for a few days awful bad. I have not had much trouble with my teeth yet. The weather is pretty good only a few pretty cold days. Yesterday was pretty cold only I almost froze my feet coming home to Marchants. But we did not get very cold coming on over. My cake I had baked the day you and Bert came from Sunday is still here yet, and there was four oranges and all of those cookies left. They had not been here only about two days since we left. The dog has a tooth ach I think for his jaw is awful sore. Aunt Sadie is bothering me so I can’t hardly write so I guess I will get some thing from you tomorrow but I won’t get it until I get home. I will say good night as ever

Mae Philips

February 24, 1914

Dear Diary,

I think the last week since Roy left has been the loneliest of my life, I miss him so. I did get a letter after he arrived in Deadwood. He said he found his father’s Caple cousins homestead without a problem. I hope he had a good visit. He should be back in Washington by now but I haven’t heard from him. It kindy has me worried because who would ever know if something bad happened with him traveling all alone. I am going to be on edge until I do hear he’s safe and sound.

I am waiting for Bert to come pick me up. He called last night and said he could use my help seems Sadie is in the worse pain with a wisdom tooth coming in. I don’t know if I can help much with the pain, but I can do her household chores. At least it might take my mind off how much I am missing Roy.

February 27, 1914

Dear Diary,

I will only write a few minutes ad I have such an awful headache again the past few days. Sadie and I are quite the pair, me with my headache and she with her toothache. I made her a mash of garlic and onion to lay on her tooth but really I think the hot flannel I put on her throat helped the most of all.  Just wish there was something that would make my head stop aching. I am pretty sure seeing Roy would do the trick though.

I had a letter from Puyallup. It seems the Henry’s house had been quarantined for Faith Henry has the smallpox. I can’t help but worry about her, that’s such an awful disease and she’s only 10. I do hope she recovers.

Feb. 28, 1914

Dear Roy,

As Bert is going to Aladdin this morning I will write you a few lines, to let you know I am still alive but that is about all.  I have not felt very well for four or five days, feel better today only have a headache pretty bad.

Oh dear, Sadie has sure been awful sick: her wisdom tooth is coming through, it has just been awful for about four days. She had just been wild for most of the time. My it is awful bad. She is a little better today. I’ll tell you I have been some scared for a long time. It makes me feel pretty bad to see her suffers so.

We had a fire all night long for three nights and Bert and I have been up most of the time. That mush Mama put on my throat has done better than anything. I just put them on all afternoon yesterday and until about four o’clock this morning. I went to putting on dry hot flannels and she says she thinks it feels better than it ever has. And I tell you I am awful glad. I don’t know when it will get much better, not until it breaks tho, I know. She can’t hardly eat anything for it hurts so to swallow. I can hardly write I am so nervous and my head aches so bad. I don’t suppose you can read it either. But if you can’t just bring it back here and I’ll tell you all and then some.

I suppose you got my letter yesterday. I don’t know what you thot of me for not writing but I had to wait until I heard where you were was going first. And then Bert did not get in Aladdin in time to get the letter off on the train so it did not go away until Monday. I don’t know if this will go or not today, I hope so any way.

We had quite a snow but it is gone now. And it was pretty cold.

How is the weather there, fine I suppose. I sure wish I was there, too.

I got a letter from you, Mama said Wednesday but have not got it yet. Papa is going to bring my mail in and so Bert can get it today. I am sure anxious, too.

I have never heard you got home yet. Just think only two weeks ago this morning I saw you last. Oh, it seems like two years time. I don’t dare think of it for it makes me feel so bad.

If Aunt Sadie is better I think I will go home Wednesday. There is going to be a play at Mc Donalds Hall next Friday. I supose if I am home I will be there. I wish you would be there too. There is going to be a dance after.

I have been reading my Bible right along am quite a ways ahead. I like it so well I just read it quite a lot.

There is a lot of sickness in the country than I ever saw before. Most everybody is sick.

How are your mother and Lida?

I have not heard from Lillian and Justin yet.

I wrote you a China letter yesterday, while I was lying down. You must excuse it if you can’t read it. I know most of the letter and have not looked at my alphabet since you left.

Well I will close and maybe write you a China.

Well, bye, bye

Mazie

(Authors note : There were two China notes in this envelope decoded as follows.)

If you wish to write to me and don’t want anyone to see it send it to Aunt Sadie at Aladdin and she’ll get it to me.

With all my love,

Your Sweetheart,

Mae

Second one:

Don’t stop writing for I would never live.

Yours Mae

LETTERS FROM MONA -February 14, 1914 – Part 16

February 14, 1914

Dear Diary,

I know it’s been a long time since I wrote in you, this winter has been such a whirlwind of activity. Here it is Valentine’s day. A day reserved for those you love, except I feel so empty. No Roy hasn’t forsaken me but this morning he had to leave. He didn’t want to leave on Valentine’s day, but train schedules don’t care about such things.

I got up early to ride with him and Papa to Aladdin to catch the train. Bundled up under the warm buffalo robes in the sleigh there was so much we wanted to say but couldn’t as Papa was along. I for one don’t think I could have said much anyway as most of the time I was choking back tears.

The train was already in the station when we arrived, so our good-byes were hurried. As the conductor called all aboard Roy gave us each a warm hug and I a peck on the cheek as Papa was watching. From deep in his jacket pocket Roy took out took out a box wrapped in scarlet ribbons and handed it to me.

 “Open this when you get home and think of me,” he said.

Then he turned and climbed the steps from the platform to the train. I watched him find a seat by the window and we blew a little kiss to each other as the train chugged away.  

I don’t know how I will survive his being gone so deep is my agony. I saved the box to open until we got back home, so I could be alone. Inside was the loveliest pendent watch you ever did see. The cover has flowers etched in gold with more of the same on the back and the initials M.E.P. for my name, Mae Edith Phillips.  

This is a photo of the actual watch Mae received as a Valentine gift in 1914.

Oh, my goodness I’d think I was the luckiest girl ever if only he wasn’t gone.

We had such fun while he was here. Lots of visiting with family and friends. Lots of snuggling on sleigh rides even if Hazel and Daniel or Sadie and Bert were always along. So many long walks on crunching white snow and warm laughter around the stove as it kept us warm on the coldest of days. And I know Papa and Daniel appreciated all the help he gave them with the outdoor chores.

He has given up on the idea of ranching in Montana as there is no good land to be had there or here. So back to Washington he has gone to find another logging job as soon as the camps open. But first he is taking a side trip to Deadwood to look up some kin folks for his dad.

We have agreed on a secret code we can put in our letters so prying eyes can’t read. We are calling it our China letters. No, it’s not Chinese, for then neither of us could read it. Ha, ha.  Just a secret code only we two shall know.

And so here I still sit. I think Papa was getting ready to say I could go back to Washington to live with relatives after I turn 18 this coming May. But Mama got wind of it, planted her feet firm, crossed her arms and said, “she’ll not be doing that.”  And at least when it is regarding her children, what Mama wants, she usually gets.

Sadie confided in me that Roy told Bert that he gave Papa his word that he won’t ask for my hand in marriage before I turn 21. And if there is one thing I know for certain it is Roy is a man of his word. But what about what I think, 21 is still such a long way off. I will be 18 in just a few months but 21 seems like an eternity.  

I must tell you a little secret though while I am mentioning Sadie. She told me she’s in a family way. She doesn’t want everyone to know just yet but come September there will be a new little Marchant. I guess that’s one little thing for me to look forward to, a new little cousin, only I feel more like I should be the aunt and not Mama.

In the meantime, my heart feels fractured. I love Roy so, but I also love my family. I would hate to break Mama and Papa’s heart by disobeying them, but I am not sure I can wait until I am 21 to leave. I guess there is no point in fretting about this right now. It’s not like Roy has asked for my hand in marriage anyway. I have decided to make good use of the time and study by mail to get my teaching credentials. If I can earn my own way I could be more independent. Maybe even take a position in a logging town, ha, ha.

I just worry that in the meantime some Washington girl is going to catch his eye.

LETTERS FROM MONA Part15 – Dec. 1 to Dec. 26, 1913

Authors note: The name Frank Rishor is often mentioned in the letters between Roy and Mae. I am not sure who he is but it’s probable he was the brother of Cynthia Rishor who married Mae’s uncle Herbert Philips.   

Because Roy mentions him in 1913, before he was ever visited Wyoming, it suggests that they had probably met earlier in Washington.  Perhaps when Frank’s family were out visiting other Phillip’s family. IF this is the correct Frank Rishor, he as born in 1877 and thus older than both Roy and Mae.

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December 1, 1913

Dear Diary,
I can hardly wait for Roy to get here. I just have to keep busy as I can’t hardly sit still with the anticipation. We still aren’t sure what day we’ll make our final move to Donald.  Papa has been moving our winter provisions each time he makes a mail trip. I know it is best for him to be in Donald but if I can’t be in Puyallup then Mona is the place I want to be. Mama and I will do the best we can to make our Donald place seem homey but the things I really love will stay here.

Vera just arrived so I shall end. She and I are going to meet with the other young people to work on our parts for the winter program.

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(This saved letter from Roy it seems incomplete, date unknown but it is from Dec, 1913)

Little friend will make a good one though, I will bet. You will have to give another production of it xmas, so I can see it.
Lida came in just now said she had been over to see Lillian and that she and Justin were coming over here to spend the evening so I guess I won’t need to go over there.
I spoke to Lida bout answering your letter and she said had answered it but I guess she was pretty slow about it.  I suppose you have it before now though. I was down to Tacoma last evening. They have the stores all trimed up for xmas already and they were look nice. Wish you could see them.

I didn’t have much of a time Thanksgiving. Couldn’t tell it from any other day except that we had just a bit better dinner than usual. I Couldn’t help but think of last year and it made me feel pretty lonesome.
Well I think this is enough for now so will say good night and stop.
Give my best wishes to all the folks. Tell Mr. Phillips I wish he was here to help me with the berries again he is better at it than I am. pleasant dreams
As ever W.R.C.

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December 5, 1913

Dear Diary,

I am making progress on the scarf for Roy. The mittens and hat are done thanks to Sadie and Grandma ‘s help. I need to get it done before he arrives. My stomach is rumbling. Earlier mama put on a pot of fragrant stew to simmer on the stove. Papa has been doing the butchering so we will have meat for the winter.

I sure hope Roy makes it before for the Christmas program for it will be on the 19th. I guess he is still logging. I thought they would have snow by now in those tall mountains. Papa says we’ll move to Donald the day after the program.

Roy mentioned in his last letter how he went to Tacoma and the stores were all decked out for the holidays. I so remember seeing them before we moved here and the good time we had together that day.  There are no sign of decorations here, I can tell you, what with the getting things ready to move to Donald.

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December 11, 1913

Dear Diary,
I am getting anxious. I so wanted Roy to be here by now but I still haven’t heard from him about when he’ll be leaving. Unless he is leaving in the next day or two there is no way he’ll be here in time for the program. I will sure be some disappointed if he doesn’t make it in time for Christmas.

I am happy to report though that I have finished his scarf now.  I have to say after laying them in the tissue Mama gave me to wrap them in they look rather nice. I was going to tuck them into my hope chest for safe keeping but then Hazel reminded me we were going to Donald soon.  So instead I have entrusted them to Papa to leave at our place at Donald.

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Nagram Wn.
Dec 12,1913


Dear Mazie,
Well how goes it in Wyo. Today? Fine tho I hope.  I got your letter yesterday and was glad of course.  It came to Puyallup but my aunt got it up here to me.  Am glad you are feeling well and hope you will always feel that way.  I am feeling fine as usual with the exception of a bad cold. The first I have had for a long time.  We are having nice weather here now. Clear and bright but pretty cold. Hope it stays that way while we have to work for I have worked through enough bad weather for one year.  The camp is going to close down the 16th so we haven’t very much longer to work. I Am going to leave for Wyoming next Friday evening. So will get to Belle fourche Monday evening I suppose. I would like very much to get there in time to go with you to the xmas exercises you spoke of but don’t know whether I can.

 I don’t know if your Aunt Ann is still of the notion of going with me or not. I sent her a card yesterday telling her when I was going to start. Hope she don’t decide not to go for it would be so much nicer to have company on the trip than to be alone.

I Am glad Frank Risher is going to be home for Christmas for I want to settle with him for not writing to me.  Tell him that if he values his life he had better hide out before I get there.
Am sorry your folks didn’t move to Bell Fouche as they had planned. It would have made it so much handier for me. It takes almost as long to go from there out to Mona as it does from here to B.F.  Well think this is about all for now. Will tell you the rest and then some when I see you.

Roy

Don’t suppose I can get to Aladdin in time to get the Mona stage when the train comes in Tuesday. Is there anyone you could get to meet me in Aladdin when the train comes in on Tuesday. That would save me staying all night there. I don’t want anyone to put themselves very much out to do it tho as I can come out on the Donald stage Wed.

R.C.

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December 19, 1913                                                                                                                             

Dear Diary,


Papa just came in with a letter from Roy. I was nervous I could barely make my shaking hands open it so sure I was that would say he wouldn’t be coming after all.  Instead it was welcome news. He should have left for here this morning. At least I hope nothing stopped him. Just think another 4 or 5 days and he should be here. And just in time for Xmas. To see his handsome face again shall be the best present ever. The Christmas program is tonight. I am disappointed Roy won’t be here to see my performance but my heart is filled with joy just the same. I just hope I don’t forget my lines with all my excited anticipation.

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December 22, 1913

Dear Diary,


I am so nervous today. I know Roy should be arriving in Belle Fouche today and tomorrow he will be in Aladdin. I am still hoping someone will be able to pick him up and bring him here to Donald. I don’t think I can stand waiting another day.

The Christmas program was lovely. Our young people’s group set up trees and spent the day stringing popcorn and cranberries to decorate them along with red and green paper chains and candles. The evening festivities started with the singing of carols and then came our program.  I am happy to say I didn’t forget a word. All the ladies brought refreshments for afterwards and of course Santa arrived with goodies for all the little ones.

We moved here to Donald the next day and Mama and I have been busy ever since. Hazel, Daniel and I have our feather beds all settled with blankets, quilts and pillows. Now I am just going crazy with waiting.

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December 26, 1913

Dear Diary,


I am just going to take a few minutes to write quick in here for Roy has arrived. Just when I had given up seeing him on the 23rd Sadie and Bert’s wagon rounded the corner and along with them was Roy and boxes of Xmas goodies. They acted like they just decided at the spur of the moment to come spend the night in Donald but I know it was planned. No wonder everyone said they were too busy to pick him up. The men unloaded the wagon and then we all sat down round the crowded table to eat supper and catch on the news from Puyallup.  Before I knew it Bert and Roy were headed out to the barn to bed down for the night. Sadie stayed indoors with us.

The morning of the 24th Mama and I made flapjacks and ham for everyone for breakfast. I didn’t even get a chance to see Roy until then. He had insisted on helping Papa and Daniel with the morning chores.  After breakfast Bert and Sadie set off to spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Smith. The rest of the day was a blur of making pies, bread and cakes for tomorrow evenings supper dance. Midafternoon Mama put on a kettle of oyster stew and Papa and Roy came in with a small pine tree for us to decorate. We spent the rest of the day stringing popcorn and cranberries to wrap around it and singing carols. Hazel and Daniel were so busy talking I barely got a chance to talk to Roy. The Donald’s came by after supper to meet and welcome Roy to Wyoming and by the time they left it was time to hang the stockings and go to bed and I still hadn’t had the slightest moment to be alone with Roy.

Christmas morning arrived with wet white flakes falling. Our first snowfall in some time.
Mama and I made flapjacks again along with ham, eggs and cinnamon rolls. And then we all got into our stockings. There was candy, nuts and oranges for all. Daniel got a toy automobile; Hazel hair ribbons and I got a pin cushion. Then we tore into the gifts under the tree. Roy’s blue eyes shone with joy when he opened his gift from me. He immediately wound the scarf around his neck and said he’d keep it on all day. He gave Hazel and Daniel each a book and a box of writing paper but oh how can I begin to describe the stole, hat and muff I opened. Even though we weren’t alone our eyes met and said what I know we were both thinking. How much in love we are. Then we had to hurry and get the rest of the day’s chores done and dress, for in the afternoon we bundled ourselves up and left for the Donald’s barn. One good thing about living here is we don’t have far to go. And just like Thanksgiving the makeshift tables groaned with all sorts of good things to ear.

Everyone admired my new stole and muff, while I introduced Roy around. He was particularly glad to see his old friend Frank Rishor there. But once the music started playing he was all mine. Well mostly mine, I did have to share him a time or two. I must go now. Daniel and Hazel want to go for a walk in the new fallen snow and want Roy and I to tag along.

                

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 14 – November 10 – November 29, 1913

November 10, 1913

Dear Diary,

I hitched a ride with Uncle Waddington the day after I last wrote and spent a few days in Aladdin with Sadie. She says she is all excited for me and can hardly wait to meet this Roy she has heard so much about.

She let me have some of her cache of lovely wool yarn Bert got in partial pay for his sheep shearing. She had 3 colors, red, blue and brown. I chose the blue because it is the color of Roy’s eyes. I am going to make him a scarf, hat and gloves for his Christmas present if I can get my knitting needles to work. Sadie and Mama are so much better at it.

Sadie suggested I add some brown and make them striped and more manly that way. I guess she’s right so brown and blue they shall be.

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November 15, 1913

Dear Diary,

This morning I had to button up my jacket all the way and wrap a scarf firmly around my neck before walking down to the barn to milk the cow. The air is cold now. The frost covering the grass snapped at my feet and the wildflowers have all died. I must remind Roy how cold it gets here in the winter. It’s not like Puyallup where it rarely dips below freezing.

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November 17, 1913

Dear Diary,

Sadie was over today. She came while I was working on my horrible knitting. I can’t do a single row without making a mistake. She took over for me for a bit and got me started the right way again. I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought I could make Roy mittens, a hat and scarf. I should go back to making the simplest of things like wash cloths.

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November 22, 1913

Dear Diary,

The air is filled with scents of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and spices. Its pie making day for Thursday is Thanksgiving. Mama is the best pie maker in the world, everyone thinks so. I’ve watched her measure, mix and roll out her piecrust since I was knee high to a grasshopper but no matter how I try I just can’t duplicate her crust.

How I wish we were having Thanksgiving at the Caple’s again like last year. Oh, it was so nice, all of us crowded around the big dining table set with fine china and glasses fit for a queen and all of us dressed in our finest clothes and no one looking finer than Roy.

I’m so glad I didn’t realize then where I’d be spending Thanksgiving this year. We aren’t doing anything special during the day. In the afternoon we will set off for Donald as there is going to be a supper and dance. I’d so much rather be in Puyallup.

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November 26th, 1913

Dear Diary,

Thanksgiving has come and gone. My I wish Roy could have seen the fine spread of roasted turkey, fried chicken, breads and out of this world biscuits, not to mention roasted corn, beans, peas, beets and so many fine pies, cakes and cookies. It was a good thing there was plenty of dancing afterwards to work some of it off. Yes, I danced but it was mainly with Daniel or one of my many cousins.

We spent the night, or I should say morning as we danced until 4 at our place in Donald. Papa used the trip to bring some of our canning goods to start storing for the winter. I hate the thought of moving, Mona seems more like home.

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November 28, 1913

Dear Diary,

The young people around here have arranged to put on a special production for Christmas and I have a part in it. I hope Roy can make it soon enough to see me in it.

A neighbor has just arrived I will finish later.

The neighbors call was not a good one. Such terrible news, a young woman who use to live here to help Mama with the work lost her husband earlier today in a wagon accident.

I wish I could hug her like she used to me when I felt bad. But I know this isn’t the kind of bad a hug will fix. I feel so bad because there is nothing I can do. How awful to be a widow at just 22.

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Mona Wyo

Nov. 29, 1913

Dear Friend,

Well Roy I will write you a few lines this evening. I was so glad to get your letter and it came several days sooner than usual so was kindy surprised but it was a happy surprise and wish you would surprise me every time. But it just happened that way as it was mailed the same day as usual, but I guess it knew I wanted it to, away it came faster than usual.

Well I started this yesterday but went to get supper and did not get to finish so will do so tonight. Hazel and Daniel and Vera and I went to my cousins today, had a pretty good time. But I have such a headach I can’t hardly write.

What kind of time did you have Thanksgiving? I was home in the day time and went to a dance at night but was feeling blue as I was thinking of last year. What a good time I had. Wish the same crowd could have been there this time.

I suppose you are home or will be when this letter reaches you. I am going to send it to Puyallup any way. There is going to be a box social the 1st of Dec. I wish you were going to be here. I am in a little play what do you think of that?

I feel kindy sad as the girl that use to live with us, she was just like a sister to me her husband died yesterday and they took him down to Spearfish today. I surely feel sorry for her. She is so nice. There never was a nicer girl and she is only a girl too.

I hear you are having better weather now. We have had the lovelist weather we have ever had in the fall. I never saw it so nice, haven’t had no snow to speak of.  I hope it is nice all winter. We are going to move down to the other place about the 20 of Dec. I don’t want to but we almost have to as it is to far for Papa to come when it is cold weather.

I wanted to be so we were living here when you came but I guess we can’t. Maybe we will just be moving from here. About when are you going to start? I am looking for you before Christmas anyway so you will have to hurry.

I have a lot to tell you but will wait until I see you, for that our neighbors children are staying here while the folks are gone. and they are asking me all the kind of questions and every thing, they want to know who I am writing too. So you must excuse all the mistakes as I know there are a lot of them.  I wrote to Lida again but never heard from her. Well my head hurts so I must close.

Hoping to hear from you soon

As ever,

Mae

When the days toil is ended,

And my thots are all but free,

when of the lot I am thinking,

I mostly think of thee.

LETTERS FROM MONA -October 1 – November 3, 1913

(Author notes: Donald was another postal community on Mona Road in Wyoming. Its name came from the McDonald family who had a ranch there. Mae was related to this family. Many of the dances she mentions were held in their barn. Church services, weddings, baptisms and other community activities were also held there. From Mae’s letters it is apparent her family must have had a place there. Besides wintering there she often mentions her father off farming the property in Donald.)

October 1, 1913

Dear Diary,

October has come, every day I see more wild geese flying south. Papa had hoped to find a job and a place for us to live in Belle Fourche, but he had no luck, so we are staying put for the winter. I’d prefer to be in Belle Fourche or even Aladdin.  We wouldn’t have to work so hard to stay warm or enjoy the company of others.

So far though we have been blessed with pleasant weather. After that freak snow two weeks ago I thought we were going straight to winter and skipping fall. I intend to enjoy this nice Indian summer while it lasts.

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October 20th, 1913

Dear Diary,

I am afraid I’ve been very lax in writing in you.  Mama and I have been busy with the last of the canning, shelling of beans and turning a bumper crop of cabbage into kraut. We are going to move to Donald at the end of November or maybe even wait until December. My it will be a chore to haul all our food stuffs there.  But Papa got the mail delivery route and must go into Aladdin each morning to pick it up. It’s just too cold for him to travel from here.  Being in Donald cuts off at least 5 miles for him.

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November 1, 1913

Dear Diary,

I haven’t been writing very regularly with all the chores to be done. Besides helping Mama with all the preserving to do for winter I have been helping Grandma Lavina too. So much to do to get ready for winter.  But helping Grandma is kind of fun because while we are working she tells me stories from her youth in Iowa and let me tell you she is quite the storyteller.

All her stories start the same though. I was born in Boone county, Indiana in 1856.  My mama was Mariah Hull and my Daddy Jonathan Harden. My Mama’s family came to Indiana from Tennessee, but they were really Pennsylvania Dutch which means they came from Germany long ago. Only after she tells that part does she launch into the real story. Yesterday’s was about a white mountain lion that roamed around Tama county, Iowa one year when they lived there. I guess Grandpa’s grandmother, Phebe Fowler came face to face with him one day. Thank goodness she lived to tell the tale. She also told another one about a couple who had just gotten married and got caught in a blizzard and froze to death so close to their cabin. She never forgot how the searchers brought their frozen bodies to her family’s cabin when they found them. How awful, made me about cry. No wonder she worries so, about us getting caught in a winter storm.

Her telling me about Grandpa’s Mother, last time I was here, got me to wondering about hers.
Many a time I had heard about how her father Jonathan had come here to the Black Hills in search of gold in the late 1870’s. Like Grandpa’s family in California he didn’t have much luck, so he took up a homestead here instead and that’s why we eventually came here too.

She had never mentioned her mother, so I asked about her. I was sort of sorry I had because she told me she was only 9 when she died and didn’t remember her to well. I guess it was great aunt Sarah who took care of her and her brother a lot after that. And she was real glad when she came homestead here a few years ago. I like her a lot so I’m glad she came, too.

She said her father married again and so she had 4 half siblings. I gather she wasn’t too fond of her stepmother though. I think maybe her and Great Grandpa weren’t too fond of each either because she never did follow him to Wyoming.

Papa and Grandpa have been very busy mending fences and winterizing the outbuildings. Papa has set Daniel and Hazel to chinking in all the holes they might find in all our buildings.

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November 3, 1913

Dear Diary,

I have spent the past two days in between my normal chores of milking the cow, washing up the breakfast dishes and that infernal cream separator and helping Mama get all our seeds for next year’s garden categorized and safely stored. I never realized as a child just how much work went into assuring we had what was needed to survive the winter and assuring crops for the next year.

My writing was just interrupted by the best of news, a letter from Roy. And better yet he says he expects to arrive for his visit here sometime in December after logging closes.  I don’t know how I am going to last waiting so long.

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 11- August 1 -August 30

August 1, 1913

Dear Diary,

I never had a chance to write more yesterday. It was quite a storm we had I barely got the clothes off the line and the cow locked in the barn before the sky let loose with a down pour. I had been hoping for a gentle rain to cool the air off instead I got sheets and sheets of rain, it just kept on going. Poor Deep Creek almost turned into a river.  Fortunately, Daniel and Papa were working on high ground yesterday, both came back drenched to the bone. Mama and I spent the rest of the day indoors baking for a dance tomorrow night at the Phillips barn. I’m getting to be a pretty good cook, but I can’t seem to get the knack Mama has with piecrust.

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August 5, 1913

Dear Diary,

The Raleigh’s man dropped by yesterday with his wagon. Mama had him come in and offered him some coffee and biscuits left over from breakfast. It’s always nice to hear of the news he carries. He talked Mama into buying a new elixir guaranteed to help with her headaches. I hope it does because the other remedies sure don’t work.

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August 10, 1913

Dear Diary,

Last night after we finished helping Mama do the dishes, Hazel and I set off to climb the hill behind us in search of choke cherries. The berries weren’t quite ripe, but we went ahead and climbed to the top of one of the higher hills anyway. And oh my, the sight nearly took my breath away. The sun was just setting over the Devils Tower and against the deep blue of the darkening sky it looked afire. How I wish I could’ve shared the moment with Roy for Hazel was not in the least bit impressed.

Someday I am going to go see it up close. I hear some folks even like to climb it. Oh, wouldn’t that make Mama and Papa sputter if I said I wanted to give that a try.

We saw several antelope and deer out munching on the prairie grass as we scampered back down the hill arriving home just as darkness was setting in.

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August 12, 1913

Dear Diary,

The choke cherries are dangling nice and plump, a dark red, almost black from the trees now.  Hazel and I have been picking like crazy. It’s been so hot lately that they are ripe a bit earlier than usual.

The tooth that has been bothering me some off and on for a while now seems to be getting worse.  Don’t know when I will be able to see a dentist, so I hope the ache goes away for it is annoying.

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August 14, 1913

Right now, I am sitting out in the yard hoping to catch a breath of fresh air. It’s so hot.

Mama and I have been making jelly out of all the chokeberries Hazel and I picked and oh my what a hot job it is.  First, we must rinse them in cold water. Then the cherries need to be boiled in our big kettle, stirring over the hot stove all the while to be sure they don’t scorch. Then it must all be strained through cheese cloth and then put the juices back into the kettle and boiled again with sugar added and stirring again all the while.  Only when you can lift a spoon a foot over the kettle and 2 big drops slide together to form a sheet that hangs from the edge of a spoon can you take it off the heat. Then you must quickly skim the foam and pour the jelly immediately into hot jars and pack them almost to the top and seal with lids.  Then the jars need to be boiled again for 6 minutes. All that boiling and steaming sure makes one extra hot, but it will be worth it this winter for sure.

My tooth still aches some.

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August 15, 1913

Dear Diary,

Mama took one of our fresh made jars of jelly and set it out with our breakfast this morning. Oh my, it sure tasted good on our griddle cakes.  Today I need to work on my garden and chop the weeds out. I don’t see why they are so determined to grow when nothing else wants to in this hot dry weather.  If we don’t get rain soon, I am going to have to haul water for my thirsty plants. It hasn’t rained since the 1st and that was too much, too fast, it all ran away.

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August 16, 1913

Dear Diary,

Our new neighbors the Durretts came over to introduce themselves. They live about 1/2 mile from us. And my I was so happy to meet them for they have a daughter close to my age. Her name is Vera and I do believe we will be good friends. I aim to go over to their place as soon as Mama and I aren’t so busy with the canning. Seems like this time of year there is always more to do than hours in the day.

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August 17, 1913[md1] 

Dear Diary

My, our grains of oats, hay and rye looks so nice blowing in the wind.  Mama and I are even busier for threshing has begun. There is lots of cooking, baking and preparing to do for our turn with the crew.  Wish my tooth didn’t still ache so.

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Mona Wyo

Aug 17, 1913

Dear friend,

Well Roy I received your letter last mail day and was very glad to hear from you. I am pretty well except the toothach I have most of the time. I have it so bad I can hardly write and I don’t sopose you can read this at all, but if you can’t bring it back and I’ll tell you all and then some, ha, ha.

Well every thing is pretty dry here. We have don’t have much rain any more and it is so awful warm too. All the way from 96 to 107. My garden looks pretty dry but I have had quite a lot of tomatoes and corn, cabbage and nice potatoes. I carry quite a lot of water or it would not mounted to very much. That is quite a job too.

Papa has cut his wheat but his oats are not quite ripe enough yet. I don’t know if we will thrash any or not. Not much anyway.

I got a letter from Lillian and Justin too. the first time since in May sometime. If it wasn’t for you I don’t think I would hear very much from there. I can’t see why they are so mean about writing but I can always depend on your letters. So I always know when I will get a letter and you don’t disappoint me either.

Hazel and Daniel have gone to our nearest neighbors and papa is milking and mama has an awful headache. Do you see your folks very often.

I am sorry your berries were not as good as you thot, but that was pretty good.

Aunt Sadie is staying home for a few days. I saw her Friday. I have a very nice chum tho now her name is Vera Durett. She is a nice girl, only lives a half mile from here. If it wasn’t for her I don’t think I could stand it at all. I expect tho she will so like all the rest of my chums done get married the first thing I know.

We have quite a few pretty flowers here in this front yard. There are quite a few rattlesnakes this year.

Where in Montana are you going?

It would be fine, but it is a long time until Christmas don’t you think? I do.

Well Roy I will close as it is so dark and I am writing on the porch so hoping to hear from you very soon.

I am as ever,

Mae

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August 23, 1913

Dear Diary,

My sunflowers are blooming now and my if they don’t look cheerful out in my garden. I wonder what Roy would say if he could see me out there with my sunbonnet atop my head. Would he think me beautiful as he did out in his berry patch?

We had to get rid of several rattlesnakes hanging out in our yard this week. Even I chopped the head of one hanging out in my garden patch.   I am getting to be the brave one, aren’t I.  I must remember to wear my boots though when I am outdoors for now.

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August 30, 1913

Roy mentioned moving to Montana again in his last letter, maybe taking up a homestead there. So, I finally got up the nerve to ask Mama and Papa if it would be all right to invite him to come for a visit over the holidays. Then he could check on the land in Montana on his way home.

I am delighted to say they said yes.  I thought maybe they were getting use to the idea of us being a couple. Later though I heard Papa say maybe if he was around a bit more, I’d get over my infatuation and start letting the young men around here court me. I can assure you it won’t work, there is no one around here I am the least bit interested in. I am going to write a letter right now inviting him. I am sure he will say yes. I am so excited, if only December wasn’t such a long way off.


 [md1]

LETTERS FROM MONA – Part 10 – July 2 – July 31st, 1913

July 2,1913

Dear Diary,

I am sitting outside watching Papa’s grain blow in the wind. It sure looks nice. I think we are going to have a good crop this year.
Roy wrote that his berries were just about ripe. I sure wish I could be there to help him pick again this year. He and I had such fun picking last year. But thinking of that is making me feel even more blue and I was already feeling blue enough. Roy told me Cousin Justin and Lillian are going to marry soon. Oh, my is that ever a surprise for they had just met for the first time in November right before we moved back here to Mona.
Mama and Papa thought the news was great even though Justin is 10 years older than Lillian.  Roy is only one more year older than Justin so why do they have such a problem with him being older?

I guess we are going to go to Aladdin for the 4th of July. I am looking forward to the festivities and seeing Sadie and our other kin there.

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July 8th, 1913


Dear Diary,


I’ve been feeling poorly since the 4th of July. I didn’t enjoy the 4th much either. I woke up with the tiniest bit of a sore throat and it got steadier worse as the day went on. I was sure glad when Papa said we wouldn’t be staying for the fireworks. I had a terrible night and barely slept, by sunrise I could barely swallow. It was all Mama could do to coax some water down my throat.  It’s some better today though. I ate some tinned fruit this morning. The first food I’ve had since the 4th.

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July 10th, 1913

Dear Diary,

My throat is almost back to normal especially since Papa came home with the biggest surprise for me. Two big boxes of Washington cherries. And you know who they were from. My, did they ever taste good. They made me feel so much better. There is way more than we can eat before they go bad, so Mama and I parceled some of them up to share with the folks around here.

The wild strawberries and raspberries are starting to get ripe and the plum trees are loaded. It won’t be long before Mama and I are busy canning them all up to eat this winter.

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Mona, Wyo
July 11, 1913

Dear friend,

Well Roy I wrote to you Wednesday but never got to send it so will write today and Hazel will take it to Mona tomorrow. I got your letter and those cherries. My! But they were fine. I was so glad to get them and must thank you very much. I have been sick ever since the forth of July and so the cherries helped me out I feel lots better now.

How are you any way? I hope you are well for that is the main thing I think. I was sure glad to get your letter. I just knew I would get one for I counted the days and you sure did not disappoint me. You are the only one I can depend on to write some of the folks have only written to us once. Haven’t heard from Uncle Sol’s since April and Uncle Hugh since March. So see we are always glad to hear from there.

Yes I sure, never thot when we left that Lillian would be Mrs. Phillips in side of five months. I never thot of them even going together. But wish I could have been there at the time. I haven’t heard from them since they were married but expect a letter every mail day.

Where were you the forth? Hazel and I were down to my cousins. Had a pretty good time but wish you had been there. Aunt Sadie and Bert are living down to Mrs. Merchants about sixteen miles from here. I sure get lonesome but can talk her anytime. They are coming up on Saturday. I’ll sure be glad. My garden looks fine. My corn is about the best in the country and I have nice vines also. Oh I think I am quite the gardener (nix). Every thing looks pretty good our grain is so nice and looks nice in the wind waves so pretty. The wind blows most of them time. We sure had some pretty warm weather, but is sure cool today quite a change. I am glad your berries are doing so well. And sure wish I was there to enjoy a few of them. The strawberries are almost gone. We just had a few wild ones is all. The raspberries just begining to get ripe but haven’t had any yet. I guess there will be quite a few plums and cherries. But not a good as yours were. My! No!

I was invited to a party last night. My garden looks fine. My corn is about the best in the country and I have nice vines also. Oh I think I am quite the gardener (nix). Every thing looks pretty good our grain is so nice and looks nice in the wind waves so pretty.

How is Lida? Why don’t she write? Hazel and Daniel got your cards but haven’t answered them yet. Daniel is busy most of the time with his pony. Do you go to very many shows. I wish I was there to go to one more like the last one or the one when we tried to catch the car. Hazel speaks of it quite often.

How is your mother tell her I sent my best regards to her. Where are Richard and Joe? Well I guess I’ll stop my foolishness for that all I can do is write anymore. Hoping to hear from you soon.

I am as ever,

Mae Phillips

I just got weighed, weigh 110 have only lost 13 lbs

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Mona Wyo

July 11, 1913

Dear friend Roy,

How are you gitting along I am fine and hope your are the same how is Lida and Mrs. Caple tell them hello for me how is your Berries if I will come bake will you give me a Job to Bee Boss? Are you coming to the fair I wish would come Mae is writing to you so there was a storm yesterday and after a while it got still and the sun come and all at once some thunder lighten come and struck something. It sure was hard the poney just tore up the grond offel, now when I get him and slap my hand he just jumps offel I could hartly get the girdle on him.

Daniel Phillips

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July 25, 1913

Dear Diary,

Last night just after we bedded down for the night, we thought we heard a woman screaming and a baby crying. Papa thought it must be coming from one of the neighbors up the road, so he threw his clothes back on and lit a lantern to go investigate. Just as he got to the door the scream changed to that of an animal and we knew it wasn’t coming from humans. This morning when Papa came in from his chores, he said he could make out tracks of a mountain lion close to our cabin. Mama and I were scared but Papa says it’s long gone by now. Just the same I’m going to be sure to be watching over my shoulders until I’m sure it’s not roaming in these parts anymore.

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July 31, 1913

Dear Diary.

Today was washing day. All that work standing over steaming water with the stirring, and wringing in this hot, humid weather has me pooped out. Right now, I am sitting on the porch trying to catch a cool breeze. Dark clouds are starting to rumble in. I expect any minute Mama will be hollering for me to rescue the laundry off the line before it starts to storm. It must be done so I guess I should put you down and get to it.