Sunday, September 27, 1936
Dearest Bud and Hon,
I wish I could write to the whole four of you at once, because there is so
much I want to say to you all, that I don't know what to start with.
Not long ago I had a darling box from you and Hon (or you and Mark) so I think
I'll acknowledge it jointly.
I was told there was a box in the Customs for me, which I could get on the
following day, so I took the letter mail home and it contained Hon's letter
telling me all about the parcel. I could scarcely wait to get it, tho when
I read the letter I felt sorry you had to go to so much trouble to get the
things I asked about. Hon, it must have taken a lot of your precious time to
look in all those places for the flowers. I guess I am apt to forget that it
is work to shop,- even when there is such a grand selection of things.
Well anyway, - I think I answered that letter before receiving the parcel,
for I said very emphatically that I couldn't think of not paying you for those
things which I asked for, and which I am only too glad to get, for what they
cost you. I quite meant it, too, but when the parcel came, and I saw all those
dear Christmas seals and wrappings and cards, - I felt that to ask for the
bill was dreadfully wrong, - so I hope you will understand that I surely did
not realize for one moment that it was going to be a Christmas box. I don't
think you should have sent a Christmas box at all, - but since you did, I can
only say that it was perfectly lovely and everything in it is fully appreciated.
You told me to open it now, which I did, - but that does not mean they will
mean any less to me at Christmas time.
Altho the parcel was held up at the Customs, they didn't charge me any duty,
and I was so pleased, for that made it seem so much more like a gift. I thought
it pretty good of them to let it come thru free.
The flowers are just right, Buddie. They aren't the first one's [sic] you've
sent me, are they? I'll never forget the one's we opened that Christmas Hon
was with us, and how bright they made the cabin look at Forty Mile. These are
just as nice, and I have them all arranged about the house, already. They came
just after our first sharp frosts, which had killed the real flowers, - and
these made such good substitutes that they fooled several people. We get Bachelor's
Buttons up here, so I put some of those you sent in the same vase I had real
one's the week before.
I hate to see the flowers go, - but this year we had none of our own. Next
year I hope to have a nice flower garden, and I think we will try a vegetable
garden, too. A nice little one was started here when we came, and I had no
idea they were so handy. Today Claude dug it up, and it is the first time he
did such a thing since he left the Old Country, so I took his photo to send
home to his Dad and Mother. Claude's Dad is such an enthusiastic gardener.
WE have been doing a bit of study with the wild flowers this fall. The books
you sent last year have proved very useful, Hon, and we hope to use them a
lot more next Spring. It was too late this year, to do much, for our upset
summer kept us on the go almost constantly.
When the Blacks called on us, during their visit here several weeks ago, Mrs.
Black delighted us with her casual talk about the flowers.
I don't believe I told you much about their visit. Captain Black has made
a marvellous [sic] recovery. He looks perfectly wonderful, and seems quite
his old self. Mrs. Black is the most remarkable woman I have ever known. She's
positively amazing. The I.O.D.E. gave a tea for Mrs. Black, at which she was
asked to give a talk. She did it so beautifully, that we didn't realize she
was “speaking at” us, at all. Over a cup or tow of tea, she told us the most
delightful things about her experiences in Parliament, as well as a host of
other things, - some of them really choice bits of humor, - until the first
thing we know, it was half past five o'clock, and time to go. It seemed about
Mrs. Black commented on just tow things in our house. One was a bowl of wild
flowers I had on the table, and the other was Anna's block print. She was very
much interested in that. I told her a little about Anna, - and then she asked
about you, Hon. I told her what you were doing, too, - and then she said “Your
sisters are wise to specialize”, - then she looked sort of sad, and said “That's
the trouble with me, - I've tried too many things, - and can't do any of them
well”! I thought that amazingly modest, coming from her. She is about to have
a book published, entitled “My Seventy Years.”
Mr. Black was a dear, too, during their call. He was terrible interested in
Claud[e]'s nature pictures. Then I remembered I had just received a pictorial
number of an English paper, featuring the Canadian Memorial at Vimy, this summer.
Dora Clarke had just sent it from there. Of course you know that Captain Black
was in command of the first Yukon contingent to go overseas, so I though he
might be interested in it, if he had not already seen it. Well, to my astonishment,
they both knew the leading people in almost every photo! Called them by their
first names! We had some interesting sidelights, too. Several of the men who
were described as being great hero's [sic], - standing right beside the King,
- were, according to Mr. Black, - “so scared when they were first under fire,
that they had to [b]e moved further back.”
We saw Mrs. Black on several occasions, tho Mr. B. spent most of his time
hunting. He says he doesn't really enjoy shooting like he used to, - and when
he does try for a duck, he always gives it a sporting chance, - never fires
unless it is on the wing. He says he enjoys being out doors and holidaying
by a stream, most of all.
Mrs. Black made a very nice presentation of some prize books to the school
children, here, and I was one of the committee appointed to accompany her.
As usual, she was charming, tho she said afterward that to speak informally,
in a small group of people she knows is one of the hardest things in the world,
Oh yes, I meant to tell you that I wore my new flowered jacket dress to the
tea, and felt terribly good in it. Indeed, I don't know how I should ever have
got along this fall without those things you sent. I think Mrs. Black must
have liked the dress, too, for I was wearing it the first time I saw her, and
she came right up to me and kissed me! I nearly dropped over, I was so surprised.
It was interesting to hear her tell about her first speech in Parliament. She
said that she had purchased her complete outfit of clothes for the season,
and was feeling rather good about them, when, just before the opening season,
King George died. She and Agnes McPhail were requested to wear black, so she
had to get quite a few new things, which, she said “were quite a shock to her
pocketbook”. She said she prefers black, tho, and intends to wear it always,
I have a feeling that I told you some of these things before, - did I? I hope
The “swellest” thing we had while the Black's [sic] were here, was a public
reception and dance, the night before they left. I was going to wear my new
lace dress, but it wants shortening, and anyway, it was a dreadfully wet night,
so my black velvet was really more appropriate. It was a grand affair.
Mr. Black danced with me, and I felt honored, tho he really isn't much of
a dancer. […]
Hon, - Mr. Jeckell was also at the dance. You know, - the Mr. Jeckell from
Dawson . I had a dance with him, too, - the first since that unfortunate time
on the curling rink when he asked me for the first dance, and Mrs. Boyle was
so peeved that she was cool ever after. Do you remember me telling you about
that? Well, we had a good time this time. She wasn't there, and I guess she
wouldn't care, now that she is his wife.
Did you, by any chance, hear of Dr. Nunn's death? He died after an illness
of only four days. He had been over-working, and then had to undergo an emergency
operation from which he never recovered. It must have been a frightful shock
to Dawson . We all feel so terribly sorry for Phyllis and little Patsy. We
understand he left her in very comfortable circumstances, financially, tho,
- so that will help, but I surely do feel sorry for her.
We have had two very sudden deaths here last week, too. One was a mere boy,
- crushed to death while mining. He left a half-breed wife, - nineteen years
old, and has two small babies. They haven't anything. Then Mrs. Negano [ Nagano
], wife of the [Japanese man] who runs the restaurant here, died of pneumonia.
Do you remember their eldest child, Margorie [sic]? She was such a cute little
baby when you were here, Hon. Well, - there were three children, and Mrs. N[a]gano
was only thirty years. I shouldn't be telling you all these sad things but
they were such a blow to us, I can't seem to get them out of my mind.
But I have wandered a long way from my original subject! I was opening the
Christmas box, and had only just got out the flowers. Buddie, I was tickled
to get the earrings, too for I'm so used to wearing them that I don't feel
dressed without them, and mine were awfully cute, but I was scared stiff to
clamp them on my ears! I had visions of those clips with teeth that people
used to use to hold their serviettes up with, - remember? I don't have any
lobes to my ears, anyway, so I was afraid they would at least pinch the edges.
However, they worked fine, tho I can't wear them indefinitely, as they hurt,
after a while. Maybe they'll not be so stiff after a while. I like the other
little brown one's [sic], too, very much. They are different to any I ever
had, and I enjoy the change. Of course the pearl buttons are always good, -
I surely do feel well supplied, now, dear, and I thank you “ ever so!”, as
they say in Dersingham.
We did so enjoy Tinker's contribution, too. The mat is just lovely and his
note is priceless. I'll bet he never thought that out for himself! Tell Tinker
that we think his work is much too nice to use for a beer glass, so instead,
it is being used as a rug for an old-fashioned lady to stand on. The lady is
the little brass bell which Anna sent a long time ago, and which always stands
on our tea table. The other mat is on our dining table, so we notice it very
very often. Hon, it is on that little tray than Pete Picard made out of moose
horn, - remember? It is the one with the legs made of bone.
Bud, I just glued a new let on that little cedar chest box that you gave me.
I still use it all the time for my handkerchiefs. Indeed, I am constantly using
things that you home folks have sent at one time or another, and I don't believe
I quite fully realize how terribly much a part of our home they have become,
until I stop to think about it. They are the things I treasure most. I don't
really enjoy the new things I sent for, to replace those lost in the flood.
The last big load of freight arrived last week, - the last for this season,
I mean, and it contained a number of Christmas decorations I had ordered. When
I opened them up, I felt so blue, - for we have always saved ours and used
the same one's [sic] over and over again, so that now I feel it can't ever
be the same without any of those old things. I especially wanted one of those
artificial tress for a table center and you should have seen the dumb cardboard
thing they sent!
I got much more of a thrill out of your Christmas box, than out of any of
those things, - and I know I won't enjoy our Christmas celebration this year,
- I wish so much that some of you folks could be here with us, - that would
make a world of difference. I'm getting so that I just can't bear Christmas
without any of our folks, ever with us.
It seems to me that everyone in Mayo has a couple of relatives come in here
this summer. I thinks its [sic] our turn, - honest I do!
Tell Tinder that Claude and I both thank him a thousand times for the mat,
and I will write to him soon. I wonder if he ever got the little box I sent
home? It wasn't anything, but I hope he did, because he was so awfully dear
to remember us as he did.
Buddie, your last letter was so sympathetic and thoughtful. It is rather like
a soothing balm to have anyone express any sympathy over our flood difficulties.
Up here everyone is in the same boat, so we don't waste much time sympathizing
with each other. You folks have done so much more than sympathize, that really,
I don't quite know how to acknowledge it all. We are getting along fine, now,
tho, - so you must not worry. If Claude had not had his good job, I'm afraid
it would have been pretty serious for us, but we feel so fortunate in having
that, that I just don't think it is right to complain at all.
Have you taken any pictures lately, Bud? I do wish you would take some soon,
- we are hungry for another look at you!
We will try to take some soon, - but Claude's things are all put away in boxes
and he doesn't have time to do any of that work at all. He has to even send
out to Vancouver to have anything developed.
I am so awfully glad, Bud, that you are in such congenial surroundings out
there at the Hamilton . I know that must make all the difference in the world.
Claude likes his work, too, but he is not the head of a department, so the
office atmosphere depends mainly upon the mood of his “boss”, - and that isn't
always the same.
It must have been terribly exciting to meet Anna in New York . I know she
appreciated it so much, too. I'll never forget how grand it was to see you
there when I came home. I know it must have been a real treat to all of you
to hear about her travels. I was just thrilled with my letters from her, -
and she was awfully good about writing. I've told everyone every thing she
said. Sometimes I feel as tho I just must see her, to hear all about it, -
but instead, I guess it will be long enough for her to forget or to grow tired
of telling about it. I wish we had a definite meeting time to look forward
to! Even if its [sic] a long way off, - it helps.
Bud, did you go to Norfolk ? I hope so, - and I hope too, that I shall hear
all about it, if you did go. I'm sure it would be a most interesting visit
for you to make. It seems strange that you didn't manage it before.
Bud, I think its [sic] a pity you don't write more letters, because they always
are such good one's [sic]. Just think of all the “might have been's [sic]” I
It is treading on dangerous ground, tho, to talk about “might have been” letters,
- so I guess I'll change the subject. It is about Hon's turn, anyway.
I'm still opening my Christmas box, and Hon, I've just come to those lovely stockings.
did you remember, dear, - how poor the Canadian silks really are? At any rate,
you couldn't possibly have sent anything more useful, or of better quality,
and I just love them. The only trouble, Hon, is that I worry because you all
are entirely too generous. I'm afraid you'll go bankrupt sending things to
me! How do you ever expect to get your next degree, or whatever it is you are
working for, if you keep sending me such lovely things?
You surely have been a brick to do all that shopping and to do it so well.
I do hope you don't think I'm taking advantage of your good nature, in asking
you so much. I do remember how I used to grumble at the way people imposed
on you, - and I guess I am doing the very same thing. Well, Hon, you've done
me several miles of good turns through it, and I am very grateful.
The curtain material is adorable !
Monday, Oct. 14
Well, my dears, I'm just positively sick to think that two whole weeks have
passed since I wrote a word in this letter. Really, - I just don't know how
to arrange things so that I can get thru with half the things I should. We
keep going all the time, and yet, - I'm always behind with the important things.
This is the Canadian Thanksgiving Day. The public offices were closed, but
that was about the extent of the holiday. It was dull and cold outdoors, and
Claude went to the office as usual.
Tonight there is a dance, given by the tennis club. They are trying to raise
money to repair the flood damage which was a terrible blow to their funds.
The court and club house were ruined beyond repair. They can only afford a
three piece orchestra, so Claude will be playing every minute. I decided, under
the circumstances, that I had better stay home and finish this letter, as the
plane leaves for Whitehorse in the morning. Our mails have been very few since
the last boat, about two weeks ago. We have had no incoming mail, since.
I've been making sheets for the hospital this week. I washed this morning,
this afternoon I had a couple of visitors. This evening several folks were
in before the dance, and Claude had a music lesson. I had to go out, twice,
on errands, so, with the meals and usual cleaning added to this, as well as
some W.A. letters for this plane, - the day was well filled, - but no more
so than usual.
I have not made up the curtain material yet, Hon, but the rods to hold them
are in place, and I hope to do it soon. I am so anxious to get it done, - but
just now we are working desperately to get our work done for the bazaar, -
and there simply doesn't seem time for any of my own sewing.
Yorke Wilson, Mr. Hall, the Bank Manager, and J. Fairborne were here to dinner
on Saturday. It was really in honor of Yorke, who is leaving shortly. Dot,
his wife, left by plane about ten days ago. I am glad I accomplished that,
for Yorke was in this evening to tell us that he is leaving on the plane tomorrow.
People come and go so quickly, now, since there is a regular plane service.
We've had a terrific lot of snow this season, already. The other day it turned
very mild and melted it all in about twenty four hours! The sloppy mess it
caused was, and still is, terrible.
Do you know, - I just feel awful about not writing to Anna for so long. I
received her letter from Lampeter, containing the dear little paper knife,
and I am going to answer soon. I got a dear letter from Blanche Byers, too,
and the Year book, which I simply love ! I will acknowledge it soon. She was
a dear to send it, - and what a complementary dedication to Anna! I am so proud
A thousand thanks, Hon and Buddie, - you are perfect dears. I send you all
a world of love, and the promise to write more, - lots more, - soon.
As always, I am your same old loving
Hope you are all well – how is mumsie?