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Mary′s letter to Bud (Mark) and Honey (Elizabeth), Sep. 27, 1936
Mary′s letter to Bud (Mark) and Honey (Elizabeth), Sep. 27, 1936
Yukon Archives: 91/112 f. 5, MSS 365
Mayo mailbox

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 two minutes!

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, for her.

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, while there.

I have a feeling that I told you some of these things before, - did I? I hope not.

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 could enjoy!

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 of her!

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?

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