Well how are you making it by now? I am just fine and hope you can say the same. It has been quite some time since I got your letter and ought to have answered it before but was to lazy I guess. That is my only excuse I have to offer anyway. I was going to write to you last Sunday but had to work that day so had to put it off for awhile.
Well how goes it in Wyoming by now? Suppose you are working pretty hard these days harvesting the crop. Suppose it is pretty warm there now also. We are having fine weather now just warm enough to be pleasant. I don’t think it will get very hot anymore this summer.
You ought to be here to go fishing with me next Sunday. It happens to be my birthday and I am going to celebrate it by going fishing. Don’t you think that is a pretty good way to celebrate? It is lucky it comes on Sunday, if it was any other day I should have to celebrate with the big saw. Well I don’t know any new to tell you as there is not much doing here and I haven’t been any place since the Fourth and I haven’t heard much from any of the folks since then either so am short of news. Well guess I will read the paper for a while and then pull in.
Maybe next time I can think of more to write.
Your pal, Roy
August 5, 1915
Big news, Papa says we are now moving to Belle Fourche as soon as September is here. I hardly think we will make it that soon with all the threshing still to do but it does look like we will move for at least the fall and winter if not permanently. I won’t mind living in town but I do wish it were Puyallup. And I don’t have to tell you why.
The Grain is ripening slowly this year no one is harvesting yet. This had been a cool, wet summer for a change. That’s why I hardly think we will be moving as soon as September. Time will tell I guess.
I wonder if there are any Book and Thimble type clubs in Belle Fourche. I am starting to really enjoy our meetings. We had a big crowd at the one last Saturday. The weather was so pleasant we held it outside under the shade trees.
August 8, 1915
I am feeling blue. Today is Roy’s birthday and I miss being with him on his special day. As it is a Sunday I bet he isn’t working either. I do hope he is doing something fun. I doubt he went to Puyallup. I know his mother would make him a cake if he did. If he were here I certainly would. This year I think I’d make him a lemon sponge cake and serve a berry compote on the side. For dinner we’d have fried chicken, potato salad and fresh greens from my garden. Making it would be a labor of love, not work at all.
Instead I had to settle on sending him a card and some nice poems. Maybe next year will be different.
Steven Giles was around this week to show off his shiny new car. Seems more and more folks are getting one. If we actually decide to live in town maybe we will end up with one too, though Papa says never. Getting around here has gotten easier since all the neighbors decided to work together to fix the roads. The county sure wasn’t doing it.
August 10, 1915
Well here I am once again ready for a short chat. Intended to write to you last evening but took a sudden notion to go fishing, so didn’t have the time. Well how are you feeling this lovely evening. Fine I hope. I am still feeling good only a wee bit tired just now. It was pretty warm today and we have an awful rough place to work, have to climb of a pretty high hill to get to it and that makes it pretty bad when it is warm.
Your last letter came last night and I was certainly glad to get it as it had been more than two weeks since I had a letter and I couldn’t help being worried a little bit. Was some what surprised to hear that you are going to move to town and so soon. I won’t get to write you more than one more letter to Mona. I hope you will like it down there and have a good time. I would surely like to be there to go with you to the fair but is so useless to make a wish like that for it is all but impossible. I may go down to the Puyallup fair this year if all goes well until that time. It is a long time yet and lots might happen before then so can’t figure much on it yet.
Is Mr. Phillips going to rent that lodging house that he talked of renting last winter?
Last Sunday was my birthday. I celebrated by going fishing so of course you know that I had a good time. Mr. Cook my partner and myself packed up Saturday evening and walked about five miles up the creek (not the same creek that we went to last time) and slept out under the stars. We got up bright and early and started angling for the shifty trout. It took us only a short time to catch enough for breakfast, we certainly had a fine feed. Mr. Cook acted as chief cook and I cleaned the fish. We fished until about noon and then had another big feed before starting back to camp. We were just about all in when we got back, at least I was and I guess the others were in the same fix.
Mr. Cook undertook to give me a birth-day whipping but didn’t have much success with it. I had a letter from Mother last night and three birthday cards, one from Richard, one from my sister in law and the other from Mother. Richard’s leg is well now. He started away yesterday for east of the mountains to thresh. Said he expected to be gone about two months. Mother is pretty well for her. She said that Lida had been away visiting for a couple of weeks. She stayed a week with Blanche in Tacoma and a week in Buckley with a girl friend she has there.
Mother didn’t say any thing about any of your folks except your Aunt Ann and all she said about her was that she had just been over for a short visit. I suppose the rest must be all right or she would have said something about them. I haven’t heard anything of Justin since he was here. Have you heard from him lately?
You ought to have been here and went to church last Friday evening. There was a meeting in the dance hall. Gus and I went over but the rest of the rough necks wouldn’t go so there wasn’t much of a crowd. Nearly all women and kids. Well I am almost to the end of my paper so will have to cut it short for now.
Dear Mae: Well here goes a short talk with my Little girl. I wonder how she is this fine evening. Well and happy tho I hope. I am still felling just so good as ever and getting along pretty well.
Am back in Nagrom again as you will notice by the address, got back Monday evening and have worked ever since. Got your last letter yesterday, it came to Puyallup after I left there so Mother sent it up to me. Of course you know I was glad to get it. Glad to hear that you were all feeling pretty good and trust you are feeling even better now. Glad you are having nice weather in Wyo. now. We have had nice weather during the past two weeks. I think it is going to be nice for a while now.
Well the Great and Glorious Fourth is now a thing of the past, and I am not very sorry of it either altho I had a good rest and quite a nice time, much better than I expected to have. I think I told you what I did up until Saturday evening. I will take up the story where I left off and tell you all about how I celebrated the fourth.
My chum and I went down town that evening and stayed until pretty late, didn’t go to the show tho, just bummed around the streets. Sunday I didn’t do very much until after noon. Mr. Cook and I went down and got a gallon of ice-cream and we had an ice-cream dinner. We also had fried chicken, new potatoes and green peas and all the berries and cherries we could stand. I tell you it was quite a treat for us after living on camp grub for so long. wish you could have been there and enjoyed it with us. There was no one there beside the home folks except Blanche Stockton and a couple of girls that are picking berries for me. They came from Winlock, Wash. and they were pretty nice girls to, at least I thought so. Sunday evening we all went down to the picture shows and had a real nice time of it. There wasn’t a very good show that evening but had a good time anyway., Monday we all picked berries most of the day. Mr. Cook and I helped the girls pick and we sure had a great time.
In the evening Blanche and Lida and Mr. Cook and myself all went down to the Stadium in Tacoma. There was a play there called Colonial day and it was just fine. They showed the Landing of the Pilgrims in the Mayflower, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and a number of other historical events. They had the most and best fire-works I have ever saw before. It sure was a grand display and I wish you might have seen it. There was also a tight wire performance and other stunts in that line.
We stayed in Tacoma until midnight then we took a train out and put the girls off at Puyallup and we came up to Nagrom. It was after three oclock in the morning when we landed here, so there wasn’t much sleeping done that night. Justin met us at the train in Puyallup and came up here with us, but didn’t stay because he couldn’t get the kind of work he wanted. It was pretty much disappointed that he didn’t stay for it would have kept me from getting so lonesome and I think it would have been much better for him also for he could have got what he wanted later on. I don’t know what he intends to do now. Don’t think he has any plans for the future.
I had a letter from Mother today. She said that Richard had come home from the hospital said that he couldn’t walk yet but didn’t want to stay in the hospital any longer and was going to stay home until he could work again. I don’t think he is going to come here anymore, he says he is going down in Oregon to thresh if he gets well in time. The rest of the folks at home are all pretty well. Mother says she feels better now than she has at anytime since they went east last fall. Lida is working pretty hard in the berries. She is getting along pretty well at it. Father seems to be as well as he was before, he sure looks much better than he did. Joe is over east of the Mts. working in the wheat harvest. I don’t know just where.His wife it is staying with some of her folks. I think she is at Wenatchee, WN.
I didn’t get to see any of your relatives while I was down, was at Henry’s several times, so saw quite a lot of them. I helped Lillian pick berries for quite a while and had quite a talk with her. We talked about you to, did it make your ears burn? I saw your uncle John several times. He looks just as he did when you saw him last I can’t see as he looks much older. I didn’t see any of the rest except Hugh. He was over to our place for a little while. I did see Saul on the street to, but didn’t get to talk to him. Mrs. Henry said they are planning another trip back east this fall, wish I was going part way with them.
Well guess I have told you about all there is to tell about myself so will talk about something else. I wonder what kind of time you had the fourth. My how I wish I might have been with you but that don’t do any good I guess, I sure thought of you many times and wondered what you were doing. Hope you had a good time where ever you were. Hope you got to make that trip up to your Uncle Willies that you were planning.
Well I can’t think of any more to say so will stop and pull in as it is getting pretty late.
July 16, 1915
Well here I am once again. How are you this fine evening? This is only Thursday evening but I am so lonesome I don’t know what else to do with myself so thot I would talk to you for a little while and see if it won’t cheer me up a little bit. There is nothing special to make me feel lonely but can’t help feeling that way sometimes. I am still as well as ever and getting along pretty well with the work We have had a very sudden change in the weather this week. It stopped raining last Sat. and turned warm all at once. Monday was the warmest day of the season and believe me we felt it some to. It has been hot every day this week but not nearly so hot as Monday was. I don’t think it will last for any great length of time up here in the mountains. If it stays nice until Sunday I am going on a fishing trip. I think I have made plans to go about a dozen time this season but something always happened to prevent. I am going this time for sure tho If we don’t have to work.
I had a letter from Mother the other day. She said they were all pretty well at the present. I guess they are just about through with the berries now I think they were going to pick them for the last time today and I suppose they are glad to get through with them. Blanche Stockton is going to stay at our place through black-berry picking. I think that her and Lida are going to pick for Mr. Perensen.
Well here I am once more I had to stop writing the other before I finished and didn’t get to write anymore until now, and don’t suppose I can finish it now either as Mr. Cook and I are going fishing this evening. I am waiting for him to get ready and thot I would talk to you while I am waiting. We are going up May creeks about five miles and stay all night so we can get an early start in the morning. Well I guess Gus is about ready to start so I will have to stop and finish tomorrow night. I can then tell you about our trip good-bye for now.
Well here I am once more, how was you this evening? I am fine and dandy and hope you can say the same. I intended to finish this letter last night but Gus and I were invited out to supper and we didn’t get home until about nine oclock so didn’t have time to write any. We had quite a time on our fishing trip, didn’t catch many fish but had a good time just the same. We stayed all night Sat. night out in the woods under a big tree on the bank of a swift mountain stream and the water made music for us to sleep by. We got up at four o clock and started out to catch trout enough for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning and the scenery was just grand, wish you could have been there and seen it for yourself. We fished until seven and then we stopped and cooked breakfast. I cleaned the trout while Gus prepared the rest of the meal and then we both fried fish. We certainly had a great feed and it sure tasted fine for we were hungry.
After breakfast we went on up the creek fishing as we went until noon then we stopped and had another fish fry. On the return trip I went to climb along the cliff to get by a water fall and my foot slipped and I went into the water co-plunk and oh was it cold. The sun was shining tho so It didn’t take long to dry. We got back to camp quite early in the evening and we were some tired I tell you. We gave our fish to a family man that lives here and he invited us to come and help eat them so we went and we certainly had a good supper. After supper we had some music and singing go put in the evening quite pleasantly.
I got your letter today and of course was very glad. I looked for it Saturday, but it didn’t come so I wasn’t looking for it until Wednesday so was some what surprised to get it today. It was a very pleasant surprise tho. Am so glad to hear that you are feeling so well and hope you will stay that way. I had a letter from Mother today also. She and Lida are both pretty well and getting along pretty well. Richard is able to walk without crutches now and the Doctor told him he would be as good as ever by their first of Aug. Guess he will start away threshing just as soon as he can. I bet he is some glad to be able to walk around again. He certainly has had quite a time of it.
Father is getting along pretty well and is feeling quite will. My old uncle isn’t any better and I guess never will be. He had never recovered his health and his mind is failing him. I don’t think he can last so very long but of course it is hard to tell.
Well it is time for me to pull in so I will have to hang up and go to bed and get some sleep so I will be ready for another long hard day. Gus has been sitting here reading to me while I have been writing so if you find any mistakes you will know the reason and excuse them.
July 17, 1915
We went to the picnic and dance at Donald on the 15th. My did we ever have fun and eat so much good food. It was good to visit with all the folks I don’t see much. The boys and men spent most of the afternoon playing baseball while we women cheered and visited. They also held running races like the gunny sack and three-legged races for the younger kids. As you know I am not so crazy about dances unless a certain someone is there with me too. But I have to admit they had some mighty fine fiddlers. My toes were sure a tapping even if I did sit the dances out.
So many of the folks at the dance kept asked why I didn’t I just up and take myself to Washington. Believe me I’m temptedbut I would hate to hurt my family that way and beside Roy made Papa that darn promise so I am sure he’d still wait until I was 21 before he asked for my hand in marriage.
We have had so much rain this month it is interfering with the haymaking. Before it gets quite dried out it ups and rains again. After so many seasons of insufficient rain this year we have too much.
It’s been a very busy end to July, so busy with harvesting crops and canning. The men have been trying to get as much haymaking done as they can between rainstorms. Most of our alfalfa crops is laying spoiled in the fields due to the overly plentiful rain.
Papa has once again said he’s had enough of trying to farm out here. The Washington relatives keep writing to him saying he should come out there. I have my fingers crossed I think he is considering it. I don’t have to tell you how much I’d prefer that to Belle Fourche.
I am sitting in my garden. My flowers have flourished, they don’t mind all the rain at all. I’m being cooled by a pleasant breeze and the sweet scent of fresh mowed hay drifts through the air. In the distance I hear the yowling of the coyotes. This year these parts are being overrun with them.
China – coded letter written by Mae sometime in July or August it was included in the envelope for Roy’s letter dated July 17, 1915
Yes Roy I would like very much to be in Washington but you know I can’t as long as the folks are here. But everybody is asking me why I don’t go. But we must live in hope of being together I hope.
Vera and Hazel discovered the writing in the envelope, but it will be all right
I surely get lonesome sometimes if only I could see you once in a while I would feel so much better. But I hope and trust in God we will soon be together. It helps to look on the bright side of things you are just beautiful and I love you only
If you send any secret letters envelopes, don’t as they are looking
The busy time of year is almost upon us and I probably won’t find much time to write in you. I got a letter from Vera she said they are planning to make a trip up here to see family in Sept. I can’t wait to see her again. She is a faithful writer but there is nothing like seeing someone in person to catch up. I am sure she has lots to tell me she has left out of her letters and I can say the same for myself.
Yesterday we went over to Frank Phillips to watch the cowboy’s bronco bust for a bit. It’s always scary watching them as some of those horses really buck. While some did fall off no one was injured and that’s a good thing. Horses are selling well right now, these horses will be going elsewhere soon. I do hope they don’t have to go to the war in Europe.
We are going to Hulett to see Uncle Willie over the fourth of July. This year I hope we make it. It’s quite a way to go when the roads are so bad, sometimes I think I could walk faster.
I haven’t heard from Roy in over a week. I know it’s probably just the mail system but it still worries me. I get scared he might get hurt like his brother did though I think Lida or his mother would let me know right away if that was the case, so he is probably fine.
Puyallup, Wn July 3rd,1915
Hello girlie! How are you today? Just fine tho I hope and trust. I am having a pretty good time hope you are able to say as much.
Well I am at home now, came down from Nagrom Thursday evening and have been taking life easy ever since. My chum came down with me and is going to stay here while the camp is shut down. That won’t be very long tho, as we go back Monday//.
Richard is still in the hospital. I was down to see him yesterday afternoon. He was hurt much worse than I thought at first, his leg is in pretty bad shape as it may be quite a while before he will be out of the hospital. Poor kid, it is pretty tough to have to be in the hospital while the rest are out having a good time. I feel sorry for him.
Yesterday Mr. Cook and I went out to the Point and had a good swim in the bath house and later came back to Tacoma and had supper and afterward went to see a show. It was the best show I have seen in a long time to. Wish you could have been along and helped me enjoy it, but of course it of no use to make any wishes of that kind.
Today I haven’t been doing much but rest and eat berries and I am so full now I can almost touch them by putting my finger in my mouth. I have tried to eat enough for you and me both and guess have pretty nearly succeeded. The berries are poor this year and won’t amount to very much. I guess it is from the frost. There is only a fiew cherries and the kind that I sent you last year is a entire failure so guess I can’t send you any this year. I am so sorry to for I so wanted to send you a fiew.
Justin and Lillian are at Mr. Henry’s now. I saw them both for a little while today and I was glad to see them. I tell you don’t know if they were glad to see me or not. Baby John is some boy now, don’t look much like he did when I last saw him. He doesn’t look much like either his Dad or Mother, looks more like a Swede than any one else, he is so light. (Author’s note: Mae’s cousin Justin was married to the Henry’s daughter, so Baby John is Justin and Lillian’s son.)
I saw Hue and Saul for a little while this morning. Saul isn’t so very well yet but is able to work some and said he was getting better all the time. Hue and Lodie went to Rosedale this P. M. to spend the 4th. Henry’s folks are going out to the Point to celebrate the 4th. They wanted me to go along but I don’t think I shall. If someone that I know was here I would be perfectly willing to go tho. Justin is going back to the camp with me to see if he can get work there and I am pretty sure that he can. (Authors note: all of the folks he is mentioning here are Mae’s relatives)
Well supper is ready now and I must go eat, after supper Gus and I are going down town so I guess I will have to stop now and tell you the rest next time. Here is wishing you a very happy time for the 4th.
Mona, Wyo. July 8,1915
Well how you was today? I am pretty well only tired we got home yesterday about six oclock; had a nice time and a dandy visit, we never went anywhere only to Uncle Willie’s but Oh what a good visit we had. They were so glad to see us. They nearly went wild. Mama hadn’t seen them all for a year. They was so afraid we wouldn’t come for it was raining so Sunday, but we went anyway and it stopped raining about noon that day, but my we nearly froze to death. It was more like xmas than the 4th of July.
It was pretty warm the next day tho. It is so changeable you can freeze one day and nearly die with heat the next. But we haven’t had much hot weather so far, but supose we will from now on. It snowed some on the 3rd. Grandpa and Aunt Sadie and Bert and Iretha were here that day. They went home Sunday. My I don’t know when I’ll see them again now. It will be such a busy time from now on I supose.
I wonder what you are doing today, picking berrys I supose tho. I wish I was there to help you. How is Lida and your Mother. I supose they are busy too. Is Blanche there now? (Authors note: Blanch was Lida’s best friend but Mae knew her from when she lived in Puyallup)
I never got any letter from you yet this week, it will soon be two weeks since I heard. Tho the mail is perhaps delayed somewhere. I surely will get one tomorrow night. If I don’t I don’t know what I shall do.
Frank Risher called me up this morning, he got home last night, but I didn’t know he was there and it sure surprised me, glad he is home tho. He will be here until Sept.
My wish you could seem my potatoes they are surely fine all of our potatos are just grand they are lots larger now then we had at all last year. We got about a five pound pail full out of one hill and never got near all of them just dug in the side. I never saw such large ones for this time of the year. Everything looks fine. Papa’s grain is doing fine and the grass is nice and green yet and is about as high as I ever saw it. I guess higher than it has been for a good many year.
We drove Drummer and Ben up to Uncle Willies and Oh what bad roads so they are pretty tired, I believe it is thirty miles from here. They were sorry they never got to see you. I wish you could see Zeta their baby she is seventeen months old and is so sweet, just as sweet as Iretha so you know how nice she is. Ha ha.
I supose you have a nice visit with Sade. I wish I was there to go with you.
Every one almost goes wild over Hazel’s scarf, wish you could hear what they say about it. Aunt Lib is about the same I guess. She don’t get any better or worse. I feel so sorry for her. How is your uncle, and father? Where is Joe and his wife? And also Richard?
Uncle Willie has a phonograph and Hazel kept it pretty busy playing the latest songs they had a lot of the latest ones. She almost learned two of them. She knows about a dozen new ones I guess.
I heard Aunt Ann was going to pick berrys for you this year, so I supose she will soon be busy. Well I have almost run out of news so will say good night and finish later this week.
Well here I am to bother you some more, with my scribbling. We are busy straighting things up. Today it is kindy warm but not bad as there is a cool wind. I hope I get a letter tonight. I had aught to have two but maby I won’t get the other one until Thursday.
There’s going to be a picnic down to Donald and a dance in the evening. I supose we will go, wish you could be there too. Uncle Willie May come down. Helen Baxter was here last Saturday, she is home now. Well I don’t know any more to write I guess. I supose you got disappointed as I should have wrote so it would gone away Friday but I never got home until Wednesday evening and was so tired and didn’t feel very good either so I never got to send a letter, but you will get will get this next Saturday so you won’t have to wait very long.
I have to send the letters with the kids to school and they go so early I have to write the day before. I may write more when I get your letter. by by for now.
Well here I am this Sunday forenoon, Gertrude Guy wants us to come up this afternoon so I guess we will go, if it don’t storm, it is a little cloudy but I don’t believe it will rain very soon. We haven’t had a rain since Wednesday night the longest time we have had without rain this year.
I am sorry there isn’t so much fruit there this year, but what is to be will be. So maby it is for the best. As far as the cherrys don’t you worry about them for I can get along nicely without them.
I got two letters from you on Friday night, of course I was glad. I don’t see how come I never got one before, but there is nothing sure about the mail now as there is so much wash outs this summer and so it delays the trains sometimes.
Sorry Richard got hurt but hope he is much better now. I sent the last letter to Puyallup and supose you never got it there for you went to Nagrom sooner than I thot you would.
I have never answered Lillian’s and Justin’s letters yet but will in a few days. I didn’t know where they were for so long. I supose they didn’t speak very well of me, but I will make it right with them. Did Justin get work there?
Daniel went to a party today over near where you folks went with the sled that day for corn. He never has went anywhere like that alone so we all kindy worry about him. I guess he will be alright tho. He rode his pony.
Hazel and I went horse back riding yesterday. Well I have written a news paper so will stop my foolishness.
Well here I am once again to bother you for a little while. I wonder how you are this fine evening. Well And happy tho I trust. I am still as well as usual and am getting along pretty good.
Your letter arrived today and of course you know how glad I was to get it. Was awful sorry to hear that your aunt Lib is so bad. Poor old woman, it sure is to bad that she has to suffer so much. It doesn’t seem to me to be right that anyone should have to suffer so much and so long, but I suppose there are lots of things in this life that are beyond our understanding, about all we can do is try to believe it is all for the best but it is sure hard to think that way sometimes. It certainly must be awful hard for Mrs. Plummer and of course the rest also. I feel sorry for them all. You must be careful not to over do yourself or you may be sick to.
Am glad you are having so many nice rains this season, maybe it is going to be a good crop year. I sure hope so anyway for it has been dry about long enough. No, I don’t think you are getting our Wash. rains in Wyo. for we are getting our full share. Since the first of May there had been lots of rain and I never did see so much cool cloudy weather. There has been very little sunshine since in April. Such weather is fine and dandy for working as it is so nice and cool but it is not the best for crops. It has almost spoiled the strawberrys and if we don’t have more sunshine pretty soon I think it will be bad for the raspberries also. It is quite a little while before they will be ripe tho, so maybe the weather will change in time. If it had stayed nice like it was in April I suppose the raspberries would have been ripe now. As it is I don’t think there will be many ripe before the first of July.
I wish I could help you work in your garden. My wouldn’t we have a good time tho. and I would like to help you eat some of it to. I haven’t had anything green to eat this spring, except the day I was down home. I get hungry for something fresh that I can hardly stand it. I will certainly make up for last time when I go home the Fourth of July. I expect to be home for a week or two then. Tell Daniel that I intended to send him a present for his birthday but forgot when his birth-came. Am sorry and will try to make it up at some other time if he will excuse me this time.
Well I guess I can’t think of anymore worth while so will stop. Some of the boys are playing cards in the room and making so much noise I can hardly think so you must excuse me if you find any mistakes.
Mona, Wyo. June 13, 1915
Dear Roy- I received your two letters today. My I was beginning to think I was never going to hear from you again. I didn’t know what to think as I never heard from you from the 24th of May until I got the two letters today. I never got any last Friday or any last Tuesday but got them both today. I was surely glad to. Was glad to hear you was all right any way and hope you are the same now. We were over to grandpa’s today and got the mail. I got a letter from Uncle Sol too. Well it is so dark I will have to finish later; I also have a headache so good night and pleasant dreams.
Well here I am this morning. How you were this fine morning. I am feeling lots better than last week I was about all in with the La grip, and such a dreadful cold in my head and lungs. I still have a cold but feel better, only my lungs hurt so bad today but will be all O.K., soon.
We had a dreadful rain about three days and nights it just poured down but it is nice today and was yesterday. I guess we will have good crops of every kind this year.
Am sorry your mother was feeling not so good as usual hope she is better now. I am glad you father is so much better tho.
Aunt Sadie and Iretha are both well. Bert will be home soon I think. Aunt Sadie will be over this week. I will be glad but will surely be lonesome when they go down home.
We were glad to hear from all the folks. They are not very good to write and so when you tell us how they are it surely helps out. Wish I could see Justin’s baby. I always thot so much of him for he was so sweet when we were there. I haven’t written to Lillian and Justin yet, but will soon. I wish I was there to eat strawberrys and cherries but you will have to eat my share this year, that will help some.
There is going to be a lot of wild strawberrys here and lots of fruit in Spearfish. Papa is going to start for town today going to Uncle Tom’s. He started last week but that rain came so he had to come back home.
Aunt Lib is about the same. I saw her yesterday. Mrs. Plummers daughter is out visiting now. She is Mrs. Oliver, lives in South Dakota.
What are you going to do for the fourth of July. I don’t know for sure what we will do yet. Wish we could spend it together but I don’t supose we can. You must go and have a good time tho for you are where you can. You mustn’t stay at home this fourth. Was glad your folks liked my picture. Wish I could see them all. I got some more papers from Sade. She hasn’t written for some time.
I got the roses they are sure tiny little things but awful nice. We sure have lots here.
Well I can’t think of anything today. I started my letter last night in the dark. I don’t know if you can read it or not. Now be sure and don’t disappoint me again with a letter, but I know how it was. And you write so regular, but I couldn’t help be worried.
Well Best of wishes, as ever Mae.
June 14, 1915
Yahoo! Finally I heard from Roy and not just one but two letters came yesterday. I am so relieved and happy to tell you both my mind and body feel better today than last week. After I last wrote to you it also commenced to snow. Can you believe that? What a mixed-up season. First it’s too wet followed by too dry and then it’s too cold, followed by it’s too hot. It’s a wonder anything grows.
June 20, 1915
Hello Girlie! How are you this morning? Just fine I trust tho. I am feeling fine and dandy as usual and hope you can say the same thing. I looked for a letter yesterday but did not get any. Perhaps I will get it today tho. I will sure be disappointed if I don’t.
Well I haven’t much in the way of news to tell you this week as I haven’t heard from any one in Puyallup since I was down there and everything here is pretty much the same at all times, about the only change we have is in the weather, so it is pretty hard to think of much to write. I have a new partner now. Mr. Cook thot the work was to hard so he left me. He is here tho, is working at another job. My new partner is a young fellow, twenty-two years of age and is a pretty nice boy and I think we’ll get along fine together. I worked with him a for a little while once before and we got along fine.
We are having some pretty disagreeable weather now. It is pretty rainy and cold. The coldest I have ever seen June. Seems to be getting colder all the time. Guess we are going to have some more winter by the looks of it. The warmest weather we have had so far was in April. It rained hard nearly all day yesterday and we got pretty wet. It is cloudy and cold this morning but isn’t raining, looks as if it might begin any minute tho. I would have went fishing today if it had been nice. I have been planning that trip fora long time now and always something turns up to prevent. Looks now as if I wouldn’t get to go before the fourth of July as there is only one more Sunday now.
Well how is everything in Wyo. by now. Hope you are having better weather than we are. I guess tho you are having some wintery weather also, as I was reading in the paper that there was six inches of snow in Sturgis S. DAk. and I suppose that there must have been some up in Wyoming to. If is pretty late in the summer for as much snow as that isn’t it? I suppose tho it will help with the crops some.
How I wish I could be with you on the Fourth of July. I know I would have a good time. How are you going to spend it? There will be a dance tho I suppose. Here is hoping that you have a fine time what ever you do. I haven’t made any plans as to how I shall spend it, as yet. If I go home I probably will put in the time picking berries or else take a trip to PT. Defiance Park. Wish you were here and could go along.
I suppose Burt will soon be back from shearing, guess Sadie and Tootie will not be sorry either. Expect you will be tho as you won’t get to see them so often then.
Well guess I can’t think of any more to write so guess I will stop and go do up my Sunday work and then put in the rest of the day reading. Tell Daniel to not forget to write to me.
Best wishes to all, As ever, Roy
June 20, 1915
Hazel and I are over at the Plummer’s. We are keeping Miss Guy company; she’s boarding with them while she teaches at Mona, but I am also responsible for caring for my Aunt Lib. She said she’d be okay if I’d stay with her but oh my does she ever demand my attention. Thank goodness she had drifted off to sleep for a bit so I can have a bit of a break. She is completely bed ridden. Is it ever work lifting and propping her up into a more comfortable position what seems like every other minute. Not to mention all the fetching fresh tea or water to sip. I do wish she’d let Hazel and Miss Guy help some. Still it makes me feel good to know she thinks so well of me.
The Plummer’s came home today so I am back home. My did they bring back a wagon load of fine fruit, so many cherries and strawberries. They dropped quite a few off for us as our payment for looking after their place. I am going to mix up some shortcakes and cream to go with them in honor of the summer solstice. Strawberry shortcake, if ever there was the taste of summer, that is it..
Tomorrow Mama and I will turn the rest of the berries into jam and can most of the cherries. I surely will miss the ones Roy has sent the last couple of years but this help make up for missing those. Except they do make me feel kindy extra lonely for him, at the same time. I mustn’t dwell too long on such thoughts. I’ll just distract myself with summer chores. Aunt Sadie is here, so we will have a good time cooking.
Mona, Wyo June 22, 1915 Dear Roy-
Well here I am again for a chat. I am feeling more like my self now but was pretty near in. I hope you are well and happy and still getting along fine. I hope the weather is good. too. I got a letter from you Saturday and of course was glad. Plummer’s went to Spearfish last Friday and Hazel and I stayed with Mis Guy while they were gone, we came home yesterday. Aunt Lib said that Cynthia could go if I would come and stay with her. We got along fine. She seems to feel so good when I am near. My I don’t know what to think, she wants me to wait on her and no one else will do when I am near. She is still pretty bad. I don’t believe she will ever get up again, but I hope she will never have to suffer so much again. Mrs. Plummer’s picked a lot of strawberrys and we sure had a feast. I supose you will soon be going down home, so I may write to Puyallup next time.
Well today is clean up day for me so will finish this later. Hazel and Daniel are visiting. Mama is sewing. Aunt Sadie and Iretha have been her since Sunday and you know what kind of time we are having. Wish you was here. Bert will soon be home I guess, and I will be so lonesome I will nearly die. I feel like that lots time any way but I know I mustn’t so don’t. ha ha.
Well I don’t know very much of any news and I don’t know when I will get to send it. But I do the best I can so you will excuse me. Well I will close for this time I am feeling kindy blue and I can’t write very cheerful letters when I feel that way. Hazel and Daniel are not going to school this week. We have had some bad storms lately. I am so afraid of them but we have been pretty lucky so far. Well I will close and maybe write more before I get to send this. best wishes, as ever Mae.
We got a letter from Aunt Ann the other day and she said uncle Sol was quite sick. My I hope he is better. Miss Guy was down today my she is a dandy girl, I like her so well and it seems so nice to see a decent girl again. There hasn’t been one near here for so long since Vera left. But she is a Washington girl so maybe that is the reason she is so nice. ha ha
Wednesday 23, 1915
Here I am and will write just a little more. We are all well today but Aunt Lib is so much worse so we are going up this afternoon. So, I will take this letter along.
Well I will have to get dinner. Iretha is sending you a flower she picked it herself. It is a honeysuckle. We have a lot of pretty flowers now and lots of roses. Well I am sorry to disappoint you, but I could not write before and so that is the way it goes. Well, good-by
June 29, 1915
The phone rang a bit ago. It was the MacDonald’s. Lela went to Belle Fourche over the weekend to visit with friends. She went out into the yard and got shocked by lightening when it struck their home. She’s okay, it was just a slight shock. But I hate lightening, it frightens me so. We certainly have had more than our share of bad lightning storms this past week. I am so thankful she wasn’t hurt bad or worst killed.
Papa has been gone for a few days. He’s off with his Phillips brothers to search for horses the military might want to buy. It seems like even here in this quiet little neck of the world the war still touches us.
I still haven’t heard from Roy and it worries me some. I know it’s just he’s very busy or the mail has been held up for some reason. All the same I can’t help fretting that he might be sick, injured, or worse. No, I must not let my thoughts go there. He’s just working hard, that’s all.
I do wish it would rain. I know we have had lots this spring but not in the past few days. We need some soon if our seedlings are to take off. Some of our neighbors are now talking of moving to Sheridan the unpredictable weather here in the Bear Lodge mountains just makes it hard to farm.
Sadie and Bert surprised us with a short visit yesterday as they were on their way to spend the evening with their good friends, the Bates. I loved getting a few extra minutes to cuddle and play with Tootie. She’s getting to be quite the crawler; I am afraid there is no more sitting her on a blanket and expecting her to stay put.
Nagrom, WN June 1st, 1915
Well here I am once again. Am a little late with my letter this week but better late than not at all so they say. I went home last Sat. evening so didn’t have time to write. I didn’t think I would go down before about the first of July, but I had a letter from Mother and she was feeling kind of blue so thought, I would go down and see if I could cheer her up a bit. She isn’t so well as she was a while back has been just about down with the grip for a week or more. I was home all-day Sunday and it seemed quite nice to be home again. It sure looks nice around Puyallup now, everything is so fresh and green and there are so many flowers in blossom. The strawberries and cherries are ripe to so you may know that I had a feast. Wish you could have been there and helped me eat some.
I saw all the folks except Justin and Lillian they were all well except Lode, she was feeling bum she said, but I guess it wasn’t anything serious. Saul and Hugh are not living where they did they have moved into the little house right south of Mr. Purkensen’s berry patch. (Author’s note: The Purkensens were another one of Mae’s aunts and uncles). I went over and had a nice visit with Henry’s folks. They seem to be getting along fine. I showed Mrs. Henry your picture and I thot she was going to have a fit over it. I showed it to all the rest of the folks to and they all said it was just dandy. Mother and Lida seemed awful glad to get it and said it was good.
Sunday evening I was over to Mr. Purkensens and had a nice visit. It was the first time I had seen since I came back from WYO so they had lots of questions to ask me. Justin and his wife are at home tho. Justin has a team and is working on the county-road. You ought to see Justin’s little boy. He is just awful cute. He and Iretha are just about the same size and I guess they’d have a great time playing together. Henry’s said they expected Justin and Lillian to show up in Puyallup at any time now. I expected to get to see them as I thought they were already in Puyallup but was disappointed. Will get to see them before so very long tho I suppose.
My Father is pretty well now, he looks ever so much better than he did when I last saw him. He is able to go out with the team now and do quite a little work.
I got yours and Sadie’s letter Saturday and of course was very glad. Sorry that you Mother wasn’t very well and hope she will be better soon. I expect you were some glad to see Tootie again. I would be glad myself If I could see her now. Many thanks for the picture. I don’t think it looks much like her tho, for I know she is much prettier than that. I sure would like to see her with her new shawl, bet she is some cute.
Sorry you have been having such disagreeable weather in Wyoming. Hope it will be nice pretty soon. It is still pretty well here. we have some rain almost everyday. Rained pretty hard this afternoon. I sure hope June isn’t going to be as wet as May was.
Well I think I have told you about all I know so will stop and pull in as I am getting awfully sleepy. Give my regards to all.
Here is the first little wild roses I have seen this season. I found them in the woods where we were at work the other day.
We had a meeting of the Book and Thimble club today at the Massies but it was so wet and foggy not very many folks came. Those of us who were there had a good chat. We agreed to postpone our book talk and try and meet again next week. Unfortunately, the meeting ended on a sad note when the phone rang to inform us that Grandma Rishor had died earlier in the day from a stroke.
June 5, 1915
Well how is my Little Girl this fine evening, just fine tho I trust. I am still feeling fine and dandy and hope these fiew lines will find you in the same fix. I received your last letter Wednesday and you know I was glad. I wasn’t looking for another letter so soon so was somewhat surprised. It was a very pleasant surprise and I wish you would surprise me again in the same fix. Was so glad to hear you were feeling better and your Mother is better to.
To bad the frost injured the wild fruit down there. I hope it didn’t kill all of it tho. It would sure be a shame if it did. This has been a bad season for frost here also. There is going to be very fiew cherries or apples and I think the raspberries are hurt some to. Just how much I can’t tell yet. It is to bad but I guess it cannot be helped, so it is no use to cry about it.
I hope I can get enough cherries from my trees so I can send you a fiew. I have only two trees that will keep long enough and they are the ones that got frosted the worse. I went over and looked at them when I was down and there was only a fiew left. They will be ripe about the first of July I think. No, I didn’t rent my berries to anyone this season. Am hiring them tended and am going to let Lida tend to the picking. It doesn’t pay for me to do it myself. Wish you could be here and help in the picking. I suppose the camp will be shut down for about a week the Fourth of July so I will get to pick some myself and of course eat quite a fiew also.
I got a letter from Justin the other day, the same day that I got yours. He was still at Oysterville, digging clams. He said he would have to quit that pretty soon tho, as it is against the law to dig any after the first of June. He is talking some of renting some land down there. Said if he didn’t do it he would be up to Puyallup soon, and would come up here after the Fourth of July.
There is a dance here tonight, Richard is going to play. Don’t know if I will go over or not. I worked pretty hard to-day and it was pretty warm, so I am somewhat tired. Am going to have to work tomorrow to, so I guess I hadn’t better go to any dance. I bet Hazel was some disappointed that she didn’t get to go to the dance at MC Donald’s. If she was here she could get enough dancing I think. I am going to bring my clothes with me after the Fourth and see if I can’t learn to dance. They sure have them often enough and have some good dancers here so I will never have a better opportunity to learn. Richard is practicing on some new music.
I am sorry I forgot the date of Daniel’s birthday for I intended to send him some little remembrance. I suppose he will feel a little jealous now because I sent Hazel a present after forgetting him.
Tell Hazel that I made a mistake when I put the ribbon in her shawl and got it on the wrong side and didn’t find it until it was to late to change it. She can change it herself if she wants to.
I found the flowers in your letter and think they are nice, many thanks for them. There are lots of wildflowers here but not so very many tame ones. Am glad to hear that there is prospects for good crops in Wyoming this year and hope the weather continues favorable.
I suppose you and Sadie and Tootie had a great time together last week. You will surely miss them when they go home again. Will they go before the Fourth of July?
Well it is getting so late so guess I had better pull in, as Daniel says and get some sleep so I can stand another long weary day. Tell everyone hello for me.
June 6, 1915
I feel so bad, this morning we woke to a blanket of frost on the ground. Unlike the one at the end of May this one I fear is a killing frost. I am afraid we will need to do lots of replanting. Farming in these parts is just too hard. Seems like we either have too much rain, or not enough or it’s too cold or hot.
Just heard a car go by. Since the roads have finally dried out there has been a lot of joy riding going on around here.
Today’s going to be a scorcher, freezing one day, pouring the next followed by a hot, that’s a Wyoming summer for you.
Yesterday we all met over at the Bates for a combined birthday party for my Uncle Bill Smith and Daniel. Of course we acknowledged Daniel’s real birthday, too. Hard to believe he is already 12.
Mama wasn’t feeling well so she stayed home but the rest of us went. Jim and Phoebe Bates cooked us a delicious meal out in the yard using their camp stove and we ate under the of the trees. Sadie and I brought cakes, a chocolate on for Daniel, and a lemon one for Uncle Willie.
There was quite a crowd of us with the Smiths, Marchants, and Bates combined. Tootie and Zeta are close in age and were so fun to watch playing on the blanket while the rest of us visited, played cards, and sang around a campfire. Uncle Willie said it was the best birthday he’d had in a long time.
June 12, 1915
Maybe it’s the unpredictable weather we are having but I have not felt will since Uncle Willie’s party on Tuesday. I have spent most of the of the week in bed with the La Grippe, I guess.
If I had to pick a week to be sick I suppose this is better than most since it has done nothing but pour since the party. The Belle Fourche river is running so high none of us from Mona will be able to make today’s book and thimble club meeting.
Papa says the roads are pitted mud baths again. We are so in need of road repair. I bet that tax collector riding around here is getting an earful.
I still haven’t heard from Roy; I am nearly losing my mind with worry.
Once again it is raining like sixty turning our turning our rutted roads into massive mud holes. It makes it so difficult to get around whether by wagon or foot. It’s about time the county and state give us some help repairing them. Folks around here have enough to do without having to maintain the roads too.
Daniel rode his pony off to the Mona school this morning, it just started up again last Monday. I bet he was drenched by the time he got there. It surely will be going late this year; I don’t envy him having to go during the hot days of July but we had trouble finding a teacher to come any sooner. The new teacher’s name is Miss Guy and she is boarding next door so I must try and get to know her better.
Bert and Jesse Phillips stopped by here yesterday. I guess their fishing/camping trip on the Belle Fourche river was a bust. They barely got enough fish to make a decent fish fry for themselves.
I believe I am all over whatever ailed me. My throat feels so much better than it did a few days ago. Mama says I should take it easy another day or two so I am going to take her up on the offer while she is feeling generous. I think I will go call Sadie and see if she is feeling better, too.
Nagrom Wn. May 5th, 1915
Dear Pardner Daniel:
Well here it goes a few lines in answer to your letter which I got some time ago. Ought to have answered sooner but was to lazy I guess that is the only excuse I can think of to offer so it will have to go. Well how is the World using you by now? And what are you doing with yourself?
Going to school tho I suppose. It will be pretty late before you get out this time won’t it? You had a good long vacation and I expect you were glad to get to go to school again. Who have you for a teacher.
Well were having nice weather now, just like summer time and I suppose it is pretty much that way in Wyoming by now isn’t it?
I may go trout fishing next Sunday if the weather is good, better you come along and I will show you some fun. There is a dance here to-night, Richard is playing for them. He has played for them twice before. He is getting to be quite the musician, you ought to hear him play some. If you will come over after a little, you can help us eat strawberries and cream. Mr. Cook and I got some berries from the store today and are going to have a feast. I guess they are California berries as Washington berries are not ripe yet.
Next time you write to me I want you to do a better job of it for I know that you can beat that all to smash if you try. Wish I could be at your place Friday evening for Mae’s party but as my air-ship is broke guess I can’t. Tell the dog and cat and the rest of the folks hello for me.
May 7, 1915
I am relaxing on my garden bench. I can’t tell you enough what a source of delight this space provides for me. As soon as I am done with my morning chores I come out here to pull weeds and coax my seeds to commence growing. From where I sit I can see the tiny wisps of onion seed and radishes sprouting. My cabbage plants are growing in size now I just hope the darn rabbits don’t decide to feast upon it all.
The trees and bushes along our road are painted in fresh coats of emerald while the wildflowers are busily popping up in artistic displays. It took its sweet time but spring has definitely sprung.
Today I am another year closer to the longed for 21, I am now 19. Hazel is off collecting wildflowers to decorate for my party tonight. Mama is inside bustling around getting ready for this evening. My grandparents, Sadie, Bert and of course little Tootie are joining us for supper.
When I left the house, the sweet smell of a vanilla cake already filled the air. Later it will be topped with my favorite rich chocolate frosting. My mouth is watering already. After supper, our neighbors are going to join us for coffee and cake. It will be so nice to see all of them again especially little Tootie. I can’t get enough of that little angel.
John said he’d drop any mail we had by later this afternoon. I sure hope I have a letter from Roy for if I don’t this is going to be a blue, blue birthday.
May 8th, 1915
Well here I am again. How are you feeling this lovely evening, fine tho I trust. I am feeling first class and am getting along just fine. Am feeling better everyday. We are having such perfect weather now that one couldn’t help feeling fine. It is sure great. I don’t think I ever saw so much sunshine in the springtime as we have had this season.
I don’t know much in the way of news to tell you this week, as I haven’t had any letters. I had a letter from Justin over a week ago and he said he was going back to Puyallup and would be there he thought by the first of the month, so guess he must be down there now. I wish I was down there so I could see him and Lillian. It seems a long time since I saw them, in fact it has been almost a year now. I am going to try to get Justin to come up here after the Fourth of July. He and I could sure have some good times fishing together. I haven’t got to go on any fishing trips yet. Was planning one for tomorrow but can’t go as we’re going to have to work, will have to put it off for a week. I guess I hate to miss getting to go fishing just about as bad as Hazel hates to miss a dance. You know how bad that is.
I got your last letter Wednesday; awful sorry you had such a time with your throat and hope it is all right by now.
Joe isn’t with us now. He went away last Wednesday. He said he wasn’t feeling very well so suppose he went home. I don’t know if he will come back here or not. I hardly think he will tho.
Richard is still with me tho and I am going to try all I can to keep him here. He has been sitting here playing the violin ever since I started this letter.
Well I have now told you all I know and some I don’t know so guess I had better let you go. Give my best wishes to all the folks and keep some for yourself.
As ever, Roy
May 9, 1913
I didn’t write in you yesterday as I was feeling pretty bushed out from my birthday party the night before. My did we ever have a nice time; it would have been absolutely perfect if only Roy had been here to share it. Nevertheless, it was far nicer than I expected.
As it was a warm day, Hazel and Daniel set up tables for us to eat outside. Hazel made three gorgeous bouquets out of the wildflowers she collected. I didn’t know the pale blue of Iris combined with blue eyed grass, white crazy weed and yellow sweet clover could be so artfully displayed.
Late in the afternoon John came with the mail. I had cards from Roy’s mother and Lida as well as from Vera. But best of all was the box, from yours truly. Inside was a beautiful card and a leather-bound book of poetry. Oh, I just love it so much. Wildflowers were pressed between four of the pages. He said they marked the poems that best spoke from his heart. Such beautiful words I never read and to think he thinks of me this way.
Mama and Papa gave me a new book to read, it’s the one for our mid-July book club meeting, “The Price of Love,” by Arnold Bennett, I think I am becoming a book worm. Must be the book club or perhaps it is Roy rubbing off on me. Never a day goes by without his spending time with his nose in a book or newspaper.
Grandma and Grandpa gave me the loveliest tablecloth to go in my hope chest. It’s made of damask with pretty pink rose embroidery. I can envision it now on my table, set with a matching bouquet of roses and fine china. Hmm, maybe I will have myself a rose garden so I can have endless bouquet of roses, now wouldn’t that be something.
Sadie gave me a blue polka-a-dot scarf. Hazel and Daniel picked out pretty cards with flowers adorning them. Hazel said she used the cards for inspiration for the bouquets she’d arranged. That made them even more special. She also embroidered yellow flowers on a hanky for me. She’s getting rather good with her embroidery. Floyd and the rest of the Waddington’s gave me a box of stationary, with their fetching our mail so often they know how many letters I write.
Well here I am once again. How are you feeling this evening? Just fine tho I hope and I hope the rest of the folks are feeling better than they were when you wrote. Was awful sorry that Hazel and Daniel were having so much trouble.
I have entirely recovered from my sick spell and am feeling as well as ever again. I am also getting used to the work so that it doesn’t make me so tired anymore. It did make me awful tired and sore at first. Guess it doesn’t pay to lay off so long. It always goes pretty hard for a while after being idle for awhile.
We have had quite a relapse in weather since the first of this month. It started raining the last day in March and has kept it up pretty steady ever since. Thursday was so bad we had to stay in all day, we went out yesterday and today and got pretty wet to, am afraid we will have quite a lot of rain this spring, it has been so dry all winter that it will take a lot of rain now to equalize it.
Well I am not quite so lonely now as I was for I have both my brothers here with me now. They came up last Monday morning. I was sure glad to have them come to. It has been quite a long time since I have been much with either of them, especially Richard. We have things fixed pretty comfortable now. We three and Mr. Cook have a cabin all to ourselves. Richard has his violin with him so we have a concert every evening. He is playing Casey Jones now. He was playing Chesapeake Bay when I started to write and I could hardly stand to listen to it.
Joe is going to move the wife up here after awhile if all goes well. She is staying with Mother and Lida now. Mother is feeling some better than she did, tho she isn’t well at all yet. I am afraid she never will be either. Father doesn’t seem to get any better. He sure is having a hard time of it. I don’t know if he will ever get his health back or not. I had another letter from Justin again yesterday. He answered this time the same day he got my letter. So I got an answer long before I expected it, wasn’t looking for it for a month at least. He said the weather was so bad down there that he couldn’t do very much. Said he was going to take to the woods pretty soon if clam digging didn’t get better. I asked him about the rest of the folks but he didn’t say a word about anything not even the baby. Wonder what ails him?
Well tomorrow is Easter, wonder how you are going to spend it, wish I might spend it with you but of course I can’t, so it is no use to wish. Well enough for this time.
April 5, 1915
I am so awful tired for today was washing day. After that was done I swept and scrubbed the floor and then the laundry had to be brought back in for ironing day tomorrow. I really don’t like doing laundry but Mama just hums right through it, says it reminds her of her youth working in the laundry in Riverdale. Well this is my youth and I am not about to remember doing laundry with fondness.
Yesterday was Easter, the weather was so fine, a better spring day one could never see. It was so nice to see all the ladies at church having shunned all the sober and somber habiliments of winter for the glory of spring suits and summer hats. How’s that for some fancy writing? Ha! Ha!
I got many compliments on my new outfit. If only Roy could have been there to see me in it, I miss him so.
After the church service in the Mona schoolhouse there was an Easter Egg hunt for the little ones. There were all kinds of pretty colored eggs both real and candy for them to find. The children had such fun finding them. Perhaps someday my children will get to participate in such goings on.
April 8, 1915
A lot of farming has commenced in these parts. Even I have started on my garden again. This year besides the vegetables I am dedicating an extra space to flowers. I am going to encircle it with sunflowers and I can just see myself sitting amongst them relaxing at the end of a long hot day. Wish me luck that it all grows.
The winter term for school has finally ended in Donald after going a steady 7 months. Papa’s cousin Helen Adair was teaching it. She’s another one wound up with the Waddington family but now she is married to an Adair. I wish I could have kept up on my teacher studies but everything kept getting in my way.
The tax assessor was around last week, Papa is never happy to see him come around. He says they always value this place too high. I think he is right, as they say there is nothing so sure in life as taxes and death.
Apr. 10, 1915
Dear Mazie: Well here goes a few lines. Just to let you know I am still alive and am feeling fine and hope and trust that you can say the same. Everything here is just about as usual. So there isn’t much news to tell you. The weather is fine here again and it sure does look like spring, everything looks almost as green and nice as it does in summer time.
Am sorry you are having such bad weather in wyo but maybe it is better now. I hope it is anyway but I guess that won’t do much good.
I received your last letter last Wednesday and of course you know I was glad. Wish I could have been there and been to those parties with you but what’s the use to wish in a case of that kind. There had been two dances here since I came here and there is another one to-night. I haven’t been to any of them yet as I haven’t anything but my working clothes with me. Tell Hazel they don’t dance the grape-vine here. They dance the two-step and waltz most of the time. I may go over to the hall after awhile and look for a while. The last dance they had here there was eighty numbers sold. I wish that picture man would hurry with those pictures. I want to see them so bad I can hardly wait. I looked for one this week but was disappointed. Perhaps I will get it next week, will look for it anyway but may be disappointed again, hope not.
Richard is making so much noise on his violin that I can hardly think. He sure makes things lively around the bunks and keeps us from getting so lonesome too.
Joe went down to Puyallup to see the wife this evening he couldn’t stand to be away from her any longer of course he had another excuse but I know it was her that he wanted to see. She is going to move up here pretty soon I guess at least he says so.
I had a new job. Part of this week was firing a donkey engine. Didn’t like it very well either as it was sure hard work was glad to get away from it. I think I shall start in falling again soon. I like bucking just about as well but there is not so much money in it.
Tell Sadie and Iretha I would like to see them, tell them hello for me anyway.
Well can’t think of anything more to say so guess I will stop and go over and watch them dance awhile. Best wishes to all the folks.
April 11, 1915
After not having one of those horrid headaches since last summer I have had one for the past several days. Why are Mama and I so afflicted? I’d thought I’d gotten rid of them for good and now they are back. I hate them for they sure slow me down. A person can hardly get anything done when it hurts to even hold your eyes open.
The Raleigh’s man was here yesterday for the first time this year. Mama stocked up on our needed cooking spices and such for it will be fall before we see him again. She also bought a new tonic he touted as guaranteed to cure headaches. I took some last night but I can’t say it helped any, my head still hurts.
Papa has been mending fence as it has rained so much last week the fields are too wet to work in. I tried digging in my garden but gave up as it was a mud bath out there. The roads are still pretty bad too, I will be glad when the mud is done with us for the season. Our telephone is out of order today as they are working on the lines making some repairs and improvements. I sure hope they get done fast; I need to call Sadie.
April 16, 1915
The weather has been nice the past few days. Everyone is getting back out in their fields and the grass is really growing now. We have done a lot of work to our yard this past week, cleared out all the winter debris and mowed the grass so it looks really nice. Mrs. Barrett gave me so many lovely flower seeds, the yard will look even better when they commence to bloom.
I have to admit I am a bit worried though. Roy wrote that he might bring up his suit of clothes so he could go to one of the camp dances. Okay, I know I go to dances here but most of the time I don’t have a choice. And besides, I don’t dance much and when I do it’s either with family or someone I have known forever. It’s not like I am going to fall for them. But I’ve heard those logging camps bring girls in by the train load. It’s just one more thing for me to fret about, like I don’t have enough already. Am I wrong not wanting Roy to go to a dance?
Tonight, we are going over to the Plummer’s for a surprise birthday party. I hope Floyd hasn’t heard us talking about it behind his back. If only Roy were here to go along but as he says no use wishing for what I can’t have.
The evening light is fading as I sit amid my garden. Like the light my garden too is fading, won’t be long until fall is upon us.
I am feeling rather blue tonight. I just returned from Vera’s where I spent the afternoon, helping her pack a trunk for her move to Belle Fourche. She has found a job in a boarding house working as a cook. I know she is glad to be setting off on her own but I can’t help wishing I could be on my own too. Except I know I’d miss everyone here terribly and they surely need my help.
Vera and I had such fun this past summer trading our secrets, singing with her guitar, and just talking and talking.
I am still hoping we will move to Belle Fourche this fall but so far Papa has found neither a place for us to stay or any work. If we don’t go I will surely miss her company as there is no other girls around her my age who haven’t married. If only Roy hadn’t promised to wait until I was 21 before he would entertain marriage, things could be different. Three years seems forever and I know he won’t go back on his word to Papa. And I also know he is the only one that will ever be for me.
Sep. 5, 1914
I heard from my two brothers over in the harvest fields this week also. They were both getting along pretty good though they were having to work pretty hard. Grover West is also working with the same machine. I hope he comes over here when threshing is over for I would like to see him. I haven’t had any letter from Justin yet, but I had a letter from my Aunt today and she said that Justin was away digging clams and that Lillian was staying at home and had been picking berries. I suppose Justin must be over on the place at Arletta though she didn’t say. I don’t see why he won’t write to me, guess he must be mad at somethings, though I can’t think of any reason. Well I guess Amber Winter is now Mrs. Henry. I heard they were married a week or so ago. Mother said they had a big time at Henry’s in honor of the bridal couple, wish I had been there and helped them had a good time. She promised me an invitation to the wedding but they must have forgotten me for I not got any.
Well here I am once again for another talk if you have the time this evening. This is only Sat. evening but as I am going to work tomorrow can’t wait till Sunday this time. Letters have to leave here on the morning mail or you don’t get it until the Tuesday’s mail. Well how is the Little girl this evening and what are you doing? Wish could drop in and see for myself. I am feeling as well as usual and am getting along first class. My knee has been hurting me some all week but is better now and I think it will soon be good as new, hope so any way for I don’t want to be laid up any so long as the weather is fine, or at any other time so far as that goes.
Your welcome letter reached me last Sunday and I was so glad. I also got one from Mother and one from Frank Risher and a card from Leah McDonald and yesterday one from Vera. So, I guess I can’t complain now about not getting any mail. Mother said that everyone at home was well. Said she and Lida were just ready to start hop-picking. They are going to pick up about Orting somewhere. They expect to be gone about 3 weeks and were going to have a good time and make lots of money, hope they do. I guess the folks have entirely given up going to Missouri and I am glad.
Frank said he had been to bush to write to anyone lately. Said he had given up making beads and was now making some kind of cookies and selling them on the street and was doing quite well at it. Better than he did with the beads. He said if he could manage it was going to business college in Sheridan instead of Rapid City as he first intended. Hope he is succeeds for he certainly deserves it. Most people in his condition would be to much discouraged to try to do anything for themselves but he seems to be just as ambitious as any one.
Well it is about time to call it off and go to bed for I expect you are tired of my foolishness.
Tell Vera hello for me and give my best wishes to all the folks. Good-night and pleasant dreams.
As ever Roy
Sept. 5, 1914
Exciting news! Grandma Smith just called; Sadie had her baby this morning. A little girl, they have named her Iretha Mable, both mother and baby are doing well. I am so happy for them. I can hardly wait to go and see her but suppose it will be a couple of weeks because I am going to be busy for the next little while cooking for the thrashing crews.
Vera rang a bit ago, too. She isn’t leaving for Belle Fourche this week as planned. She decided to wait until after Clarence leaves for Nebraska later this month. And she said there is going to be a farewell dance for the Waddington’s on the 11th so everyone can say good-bye. She wanted to be sure I could come. I most certainly plan too as it will give us another chance to have a good visit.
Sept. 7, 1914
I am sitting under some scrub oaks at Uncle Tom’s cooling off a bit before the threshers come back out of the fields for the evening. Hazel and I are here to help with the cooking. It is crazy hard work but fun because I get to visit with lots of folks I rarely see.
So, imagine if you will, a row of porcelain washbasins all lined up outdoors for face washing. When the men come out of the fields they line up to take turns dipping their hands into the water and scoop it up over their faces and head. Then they lather up with soap and scrub their necks and face, splashing to rinse it all off. When they are finished they empty the dirty water on the lawn and fill the basin up for the next person in line.
After washing they proceed to the dining table where we have set full glasses of tea, lemonade, and water. And let me tell you they are mighty thirsty; I’d say each man usually drinks at least 2 full glasses a piece. And oh, my do they ever have appetites. It does not take them long to demolish the heaping bowls of potatoes slathered in butter and gravy, vegetables, platters full of meats sautéed in cream and butter, and the fresh bread and rolls we have set out. Then they put a big dent in all the homemade pies, cakes, and puddings we make, too.
Then it’s back in the fields for a long afternoon of work while we wash and get ready to do it all again for supper. Such hot busy work, I think we women are just as tired as the men when the day is done.
Generally, the main food is provided by the wife of the farmer but Uncle Tom has no wife. So, he was very appreciative of Hazel and I coming and helping to organize everything. He even gave us a small payment. I did not want to take it but he insisted and I surely can use it.
I won’t be cooking for the threshing crews tomorrow; Mama needs me to help with canning, but I probably will go back to cooking after that. Such a busy time, getting ready for winter is tiresome work.
September 11, 1914
Clarence was working on the threshing crew I was cooking for yesterday. He told me he doesn’t know how he can bear to leave Vera behind. I told him if he really felt that way he should tell her. I would not be one bit surprised if he doesn’t have her come join him in Nebraska as soon as he has a chance to get settled. Maybe he will tonight at their farewell dance. I am sad to say I won’t make it there tonight. Just too much harvesting and canning left to get done for us to spare the time to go.
Vera said it was okay that she’d make sure we had some other time together before she leaves, too.
Roy wrote that he had hurt his knee jumping out of the way of a rolling log. It makes me feel so anxious, what if it had rolled over him? I could never bear it if something happened to him. Mama says I worry too much about things that may never happen. I know she is right but when it comes to Roy I can’t help it.
Sadie just called to say they had weighed little Iretha and she’s weighed in at a robust pounds. It’s the first chance I have got to talk to her since the baby was born. She sounded tired but happy. Grandma Smith is still here and plans to stay a couple of more week.
Well, I’d better get back to helping Mama dig up the carrots and turnips. Hazel and Daniel dug the potatoes earlier and are loading them into gunny sacks now.
Mona, Wyo Sept. 12, 1914
Dear friend, –
I will write you a few lines as I have all my work done for a while. How are you any way by this time. I am fine. Daniel has gone to the post office and perhaps I will get some mail. I hope so any way.
I got a letter from Lida a few days ago. She said she and her mother were going up some where to pick hops so I won’t answer the letter for a while or until I think they are home. There was a dance at Donald last night, but we never went. I guess they had a fine time though.
Vera has been staying a few days at Rob Waddingtons, she is going down to Belle Fourche to work, is going Friday. I am glad she is going for I think we will soon move down there too. I will miss her while we are there tho. But it won’t be very long I don’t think. Papa and Mama are going down Monday to look up a “location” there (or a house) and as soon as we thrash we will go.
Oh yes I must tell you about Aunt Sadie and Bert’s baby girl, she is awful nice. Is almost a week old. I haven’t seen her but will soon. I am surely proud of her. Her name is Iretha Mabel.
Well Daniel has come with the mail and I have read your letter. Was glad to get it. I was glad to hear you were better but sorry you got hurt. You must be careful as you will get hurt pretty bad for it is dangerous in the woods I think for so many get killed or hurt so often. I hope you will be careful. I have not heard from Frank for a long while but I know he is busy as a bee. And I never do hear from Lillian and Justin. My I could just pull all their hair out if I could see them. I had not heard about Amber and Ode being married yet but thot they surely were. Well I don’t know much news. Only McDonalds have a new car and are real proud of it of course.
Well I guess I will stop for now.
With Best Wishes as ever Mae.
( China letter inside this envelope, translates to: I am looking for you xmas and I think Clarence is coming and that is our secret so don’t say a word, Be careful don’t get hurt just us four know it, Yours Mae You must burn all these letters for my sake.