Correspondence for August, 1934
Well, the little "Norco" boat went away yesterday but I was not on her! She was loaded so heavily that she looked unsafe, anyway. K said he'd hate to be on her but one might as well drown as be here, and I'd have been willing to risk it, or most anything else to get away. I wonder what you are doing and if you have sent my letter to R. and heard any reply from him yet. There has been time, if he answered promptly. I've been saying to myself all this week, since last Friday (July 27) that I would get the money this week, or some good news about it; or at least that you would get it at your end of it. Maybe I'm just hypnotizing myself but I feel as though the end would come soon. Mail boats from the south are scarce this week. The next one may get here in time to get the mail sorted before P.O. closes on Sat...
This town has a negro rape case today. Negro sailor who has been in navy 10 years is in jail for rape on a white girl here last night A navy boat is anchored close off shore demanding police surrender the prisoner to them. He is their cook and they miss him! There is talk to the effect that he was framed up by some of his sailor enemies, and a white prostitute. Something on the order of the Scotsboro case. Local police have refused to give him up and they are now waiting order from Washington, D.C.
I think myself, that sending the navy up here among so many country girls may lead to considerable trouble --especially if they send the whole fleet up here next summer for drill. The girls here seem to take the sailors seriously and the citizens treat them as equals, or superiors. It's not like in Los Angeles or San Pedro. Also there is wide open booze, everywhere -- not merely in restaurants. The Indians here are citizens, can vote, pay taxes and get drunk like white people, too. If they were not citizens they could not buy booze, or would not have to pay taxes or pay for hunting licenses!
The canning workers all go on strike today or tomorrow. There is much bad feeling here because Filipinos are brought in in great numbers to do cannery work, while whites and natives starve, and people who have homes here are unemployed!
There is no gov't relief agency of any sort here now. There was one last winter. If there were any I'd have tried to get them to ship us out to L.A. If R backs out or falls down, I don't know what I can do. I cough so much, along with the asthma, that I get little sleep. Some times I have only one and sometimes both, and about one night in each week I can sleep.
People here stay up all night and it is very noisy for a small town. Most of the sidewalks are roofed over to keep the rain off people. That would be a good idea in L.A., to keep off sun in summer and rain in winter.
August 4 TO QUEEN FROM ROSER from Wellington, Kansas
Your letter of Aug. 1st duly received (air mail). I am sending you documents received from Independence, Mo., which are self-explanatory. No doubt, you will hear from Mr. Carmichael within a few days. These people seem to be very precise and businesslike. You will have to use the power of attorney from Grace Verne Silver in signing up. I sure would get rid of that land as soon as possible. It will be only a burden to you.
Did you do that writing in the postscript with the fountain pen I send you? It looks fine. I am inclosing [sic] $5.00 to be used for repairing your typewriter and buying some dishes. My manager, Mr. Hurd, says it is some job sending dishes by mail or express. Liable to be breakage and then the carriage is high.
Received your receipt for $10.00.
Received your mother's note. I will send you $100 in a few days and pay $10.00 per month until able to pay the whole. It is foolish for your mother to spend a lot of money in order to acknowledge a deed. I would not do it. I think if you go to Chaim Shapiro, my attorney, at 616 Chapman Building, 8th and Broadway, he will not charge you any fee for acknowledgement. You may assure your mother that I will not bother her in any manner wherever she may be, unless with this exception. If I file for divorce, I may want her assistance in the matter of service of summons.
As for court reporter, I think you are aiming high. It has become a matter of influence and monopoly. They used to make fortune out of it. It may be they have been cut down since I was familiar with the matter, but they used to make salaries and fees larger than the judges and other county and state officials, and in a few cases more than the president of the U.S. God to the information desk in the Broadway lobby (west side, first floor) and ask the man where the office of the Secretary of the Superior Court is now. Then go to the Secretary, and I think he can tell all about the court reporter business. It is like getting expert in playing the piano or violin, it takes constant and unremitting practice in short-hand to become expert and speedy.
The weather has been terribly hot here ever since I came, but hotter lately. 109 degrees today. It was 111 several days ago. No rain and no prospect of it. Last year, tho, there was a heavy rain here in the middle of August.
You did not enclose a copy of the Forum program. Think the Utopians are petering out. It is just another racket. The clique in control will milk the cow dry. I am making my will and have put you in as an heir. However, I expect to live twenty years longer. The Western Worker, whose plant was destroyed by hoodlums in S.F., has resumed publication. Am reading about the strikes in the W.W., L.A. Daily News and the Wichita papers. I am enclosing the big ad which created sure a furor here July 14th. If I send you one, you can give this away or return it to me.
The vote on Sunday Theaters stood: for 1239, against 763, total 2002. Two years ago the election resulted about 500 majority against Sunday Theaters.
P.S. You must send the deed and the affidavit of the affidavit of the bishops to Ocala, Fla., to be recorded. Better register the package.
August 7, 1934
I got 2 letters from you today -- one mailed July 31, written in longhand and one on Aug. 1, enclosing one from Aunt Helen. I am glad you sent the one I wrote on to R. I fail to see how any harm could come of it. And even 50 would get me out of here to Seattle, if I can live till it gets here. Getting it or not getting it is almost a life or death matter and if I'd had that much 3 weeks ago I'd have got clear to L.A. on it. I'd need 40, now, to get even to Seattle. The longer I'm here the more it costs to get out and the sicker I get up here. By the time you get this, I will have been here two months. I can pay my debts to the 10th of this month and live for almost another week, except for room rent. After that -- nothing. Of course, I haven't paid for either last week or this week, yet. If I have tickets, I'll leave even if I have to leave everything behind except what I have on my back, in case I can't pay my rent. I must get out of here someway. I'd hate even to die up here.
I don't know why you hesitated to send the letter to R. I thought it a very good ideas, and tactfully written at that. Of course, I realize you probably hope to get it all at once, but I think he'll pay it all in full any way as soon as he is able to do so. And I don't think you can believe anything he says about when he is to make the payment. Just before I left Seattle he said "in 2 or 3 weeks" and now after two months he pays two months rent instead of buying anything. I think myself he is delaying now on purpose in hopes of inconveniencing me so much that I'll be broke and go back to him. I think that is back of his offering you a job in Kansas. He thinks if you go there I'd be there at least part of the time. And I think he tries to help along the idea by his presents (which cost him nothing). I know that all that stuff won't have any effect on you but he probably thinks it will. And I want you to take whatever he hands out...because you ought to have it. At the same time, I realize his motives.
I would not like R. to know where I am, or that I'm broke, sick or stranded up here, but he's about my last chance of getting money to get out on and the way I wrote the letter doesn't say I was broke. Only that I would not sign "Roser" to any document before a notary anywhere outside of L.A. And I could not afford to make the trip unless he had made a down payment. I have to get out of here, even if I risk going to jail to do it. But I'll do nothing desperate as long as there is any hope of anything coming up. I hate jail but I'd just as soon be there as where I am.
I put a letter in the mail Monday, as there was supposed to be a south bound boat the next day (the 6th) -- now we know there will be none before the 10th. I'll try to put this on the boat itself. There is no good news at this end. I got 2 very short letters from you Mon, the 6th and nothing since, though 3 mail boats have come and gone. Now we have no more chance of hearing from you till Tues, Aug 14, unless by chance there is a telegram coming. I cannot understand R.'s delay unless it is deliberate with ulterior motives. No one can make me believe he can't put his hands on 50, or 100, or 500 dollars if he wants to. If I could get back there without selling to him I'd refuse to sell to him at all, after all the trouble I've been put to waiting for him to act. If he is going to stay in Kansas I might even live on the place if I can't trade it to some one else. He is slower than the Mormons. He still has a lot of things of mine and yours in the house, which he promised to give me ten months ago. And its 3 months since he said he'd buy the place. I don't trust his word at all about anything. I can stand another week here, but I hope I won't have to. Winter is closing down here and if I don't get out soon it will be too late to do me any good. Besides, one can get tickets now easily -- even 17 tickets -- but in 2 or 3 weeks more, the southbound rush will be on and it will be hard to get tickets without reserving in advance. People further north will buy them first.
Mon. August 13
I was going to mail a letter to you early this a.m. when the Haleakala went south but I missed the boat as she was 4 hours earlier than announced time. So I just tore it up and will write another.
K has a little work this week -- longshore -- about 8.00 for 3 different jobs at 5 different docks. From which must be subtracted over 2.00 extra for meals out, etc., and other expenses. The work is not bad but they only pay .75 an hour and have no organization and no hiring hall or anything. In order to get that work he had to stay up two days and nights to catch the boats when they come. The boss hires them when he sees the boat coming and no one ver seems to know when the boats will get here. They are always late or early.
There are extra freight boats now for a short time to take out canned salmon. Local people seem to resent any outsider coming here and getting a job very much and keep the information about jobs as quiet as possible. After he got through, he slept 18 hours without waking up and we were both so tired we missed the best chance of all for him to work on the North Wind. The men who got on her will work 12 or 15 hours -- maybe more. The Norco is due tonight at 1 a.m. and he is trying for that now.
I was so mad at myself for not mailing the letter today as you would have got it by Thurs the 16th and you wont get this one before next week. We no longer have a weekly Canadian boat to bring mail. After this she will come every 10 days and I don't know about whether or not she will bring mail. The next one will be here on the 23rd which means the mail on her will leave Seattle about the 20th and every 10 days after that -- provided she continues to carry mail. The Alaska line is supposed to send up two boats a week and to leave Seattle Tue and There but one never knows about them
K has not yet gotten paid for his last job yet. I will have to pay up my rent, as this old woman is not nice about it any more. If I pay to the 17th, I'll only have about 2.00 left, even with the work he got. I do my best to economize but when he gets work, he gets so hungry that I have let him go to the restaurant and fill up. You or I or any woman could get along on sandwiches and coffee, but a man can't, or won't, or thinks he can't, which is all the same. If he gets the job tonight he may make quite a bit -- but he may not get it. Its like the "spec" line at the movies -- very uncertain.
I expect a letter from you tomorrow so I'll put this away till then. If I have to stay here much longer I'll have to move. The room is awful but the landlady is worse than the room. I'm trying to stick it out so that if you telegraph you will have the address. There is a good many Northland company boats coming and going now -- more than on the Alaska line. So if you have not already wired to me the tickets or money before you get this, I think you had better wire the money to K. here; as I can get out quicker and cheaper that way. Also the southbound boats on the Alaska Line have steerage pretty crowded from now on as up north of us the season is already over and winter is almost here. I suppose we'll manage someway if we have to but I don't see how. This boat work will soon be practically over and I don't see how he can make enough at it to pay for our tickets to Seattle. At best, he can hold our own for a very short time.
"Amos," of "Amos and Andy," passed through here yesterday leaving two very small black bears to be crated and shipped elsewhere. I patted one on the nose. Sorry I could not get him to keep, as he is so small he may die on the long trip alone. The one I told you of when I first came up here hanged himself by his collar. There are few cats here but one day I saw a mother cat with 7 half grown kitten and 4 of them were black. People here don't seem to care for animals much.
About 1 a.m.
K did not get the "Norco" job he was after but at about 10:30 he got hired on the NorthWind to go to work at 1 a.m. Don't know how many hours but there are still 20,000 cases of salmon to go on her and it is an awkward wharf to work on, therefore slow.
I have made the discovery that canned milk makes glue that sticks an envelope tighter than glue does. I had to open this one up twice and I know. So no more paste for me!
K hasn't got home yet and the North Wind is still at the dock so I guess he is still working.
Tues. August 14
I just got your letter of Aug. 7th and it is sure good news. I won't be in debt if it comes this week or even next as you will see by reading the rest of this letter. I'll be waiting anxiously for that telegram now and we will come right through to L.A. when we get it. So don't send literature to Seattle if you are sending $90 here. I'll send an airmail letter from Seattle. You will get it before the bus gets in. We'll come by bus because it is cheaper and quicker but I hate it just the same.
I hope R's "few days" don't lengthen to a few weeks. He must be all puffed up. Mrs. D. says he wrote to Graves and asked him to come to Kansas but G. is not going. Also he asked him if K. was still living at D.'s house! What does he think? He apparently does not care about my signature as much as he thought he did. We'll have to move the stuff at the place but I think that can wait till I get back. Better not mention my return to him if you can help it and not yet.
If you can pick up a copy of Sat Eve Post, July 21st, with the article "Nature the Farmer," do so and save it. Nothing special in Digest. I did not want to keep it with me so sent it to you. We hear that Uppie Sinclair is making great progress (?) Anyway, a big noise.
August 14, p.m.
K worked almost 2 hours this p.m. and has gone back to work this evening, if he can stand it. His left hip is getting bad now as well as his back and neck. He walks pretty lame. I hope this waiting will soon be over. He collected 4.75 of his back pay today. I think he has about 13 more coming but he thinks there ought to be 15 or 16, besides today's job. He got some liniment and I'll try the effect of it when he gets home. Soon as the money comes from you we'll have to take the first available passage home. Too late to wait for a cheap boat, and too late to get him 17.00 ticket as the canneries are closing and all southbound boats go back crowded to the limit. In another week the situation will be worse. He is trying to work desperately hard to get enough ahead so we can get out in case R backs out or stalls along indefinitely. I doubt if he can do it. But he is trying his best. It is most killing him. I am eating as little as possible -- its the only thing I can do to help, and he must eat much more when he's working, so I make up for the extra expense as much as I can. When he collects for this work, not including today, we ought to have about 15 5o 19 but have to eat and pay rent for this week. So far today, he has made almost enough to cover today's expenses and if he can stand it till midnight he will be about $3 ahead. They are a little slow in paying and even after we get the telegram it may be two or three days before we can leave. We'll have to get out quick as possible. If he gets seriously ill here I don't know what I'll do. It would be awful. This money he has got coming is in addition to the 18.55 he made last week, from 9th to 15th. This is just since the 16th. If he could stand longer hours like some of them do we could get out all right. If by any accident I should get away from here before you send the money, I'll wire you from here that I'm leaving so you won't send any money here. And in such case you should write me latest news Gen.Del. Seattle and if you address it to me also write on envelope "Do not forward. Hold till called for." If I say in telegram "Both" starting for Seattle, however, send magazines and letters to M.K. Gen.Del as that will be still more safe. If I send any such telegram you will have to get D. to send me literature, so it will be in Seattle when I get there. 15 or 20 of each of the 7 big Mage and Atheism, to start with, and maybe 10 or 15 of 3 other kinds that have live poetry in them. I'm going to mail this now before it gets any heavier. Another letter going also by same boat, ordinary mail.
Sat. August 18
I got your letter of the 10th and one of the 14th, both today. The last one got here in 4 days -- or rather, to be exact I got it out of the P.O. 3 days and 14 hours after it was postmarked in L.A. This is luck. Another boat comes this p.m. and one on Sunday and then no more for a week, I guess. I note that K. has not yet written about any additional "few days." But I wish he'd hurry up.
My two letters which went south yesterday and today will tell you that we are getting along and even getting a little ahead of debt once more. I hope to have 15 o4 20 left from the 90 when we get to L.A. And if luck keeps up, there will be about 15 more saved from K's recent earnings. He went to work again last night, though I thought myself he was too sick to do so. Boss told him to "stand by around" 9 p.m. as a freight boat "Forest King" was expected up from Seattle. So he stood around till 3 a.m. when it finally got here. Also Big Rain came with it. It is still raining and he is still working (10 a.m.) so far as I know, unless he got sick again. He has a short oiled jacket which our landlady lent him to keep shoulders and arms dry.
There is no use in my staying in Seattle at all as I can only make expenses at more and expenses are higher there than they would be in Los Angeles. I can make out in L.A. somehow or other. And if R doesn't take too long. Store will know we are back before he finds out E is gone and it won't be so bad for you. You will have $6 left for yourself after you send telegram. Don't arrange about a room till after you get airmail letter from me at Seattle as I don't know how long I'll have to wait here after getting the money before I can get a boat. Except Northland (and maybe Jacox) will be no boats south between now and next Thursday or Friday. And now I think of it, I can't even send this to you till then, either.
I think we'll stay in or near Los Angeles unless R comes back and stays, which is very doubtful.
I thought Jack Greeberg was too highbrow to write that kind of stuff! It is not so bad as his other poetry, I suppose, he has a whole book. Could we sell it?
K has not yet got paid for his last job before this one. The expenses on it, and time wasted on it before and after it, were more than usual. And he got sick before he really got to work on the next one. The one he's on now will probably work 10 hrs or more, if he can stand it. I don't see how he keeps up as well as he does. They work hard and fact -- he says much faster than in Seattle or anywhere else he ever was. At Wilmington little tractors pull a whole chain of little trucks from warehouse to boat but here the men do it and some of the docks are very awkward and primitive in arrangement. At one place all the loads have to be hauled and pushed by 4 men up an incline to the dock. I don't see what they were thinking of when they built it that way.
When you send me the money tell Mrs. D. about it if you can. And when you get a letter from Seattle call her up and tell her I'm on my way. She may offer a room temporarily.
I don't what R is thinking of -- his few days are 12 days already. He is the limit. Get all you can from him while he's in the mood. This stuff didn't cost him anything so he feels generous. When he has to buy it himself, he won't be so free with it. He is like a woman I used to know in Auburn, Maine. Her husband kept (and owned) a grocery store; so she said it did not cost them anything to eat! In a few years, they ate up the store and it was no more.
I'm so sorry I missed mailing letter last Mon. 13th as if I had done so you would not be worrying so much about me right now. You would have had it yesterday at latest. But the darned boat got here 3:30 a.m. and left at 6 and it wasn't supposed to get here till 8 a.m. and we were sleeping off the effects of K's being up two nights and my asthma keeping me awake till about 3 that morning. You'll get the two letters now in the mail about the 20 & 21st. Probably you'll have R's money by then. These boats always run just so as to make it necessary for me to wait several days after getting your letters before I can mail an answer. That inconveniences everyone, as well as me. People here don't kick much. They seek to think it's lucky the gov't gives them any service at all. I figure on mailing a letter from here to tell you what boat I'm leaving on -- just in case of any possible accidents. I may leave before the letter does, but even so, I'd better do that. Then as soon as I buy bus tickets in Seattle, I'll mail another air mail Sp.Del. so you'll know when I'll be in L.A. We'll have to wait here a day or two after we get the money from you for K to collect his last pay, probably, and that may delay us even longer than that.
K just got home, was out all night. Boat came in at 3 a.m., picked up a gang of longshoremen and went to a cannery wharf to unload supplies. K got on the boat. The boat took 3 hours to go a mile and tie up -- for which they do not get paid. Tide was against her and she could not get to wharf. (We have over 20 ft. tides here and current very powerful between two islands besides, like a river and some boats can't go against it at all). Then they had to go to breakfast and only worked from 8 to 12 -- 4 hours pay for all that trouble and expense. His last two jobs have been unlucky, but at that we'll have, when he gets paid, about $9.00 and my rent is paid to yesterday. The joke (?) is we had $750 before he got the last two jobs! So not so much ahead as I hoped to be. New boats coming up here first time have a terrible time getting tied up at dock as they doesn't seem to understand how to do it here.
You continue to handle correspondence with R just as though I was not coming to L.A. and sign the deed unless he kicks. It's not good for his "piece" (or peace) or mind to let him know I'll be in L.A. He may or may not hear of it from Kane. He asked Graves if K was at their house! Mrs. D. goes to Plaza some Sundays. My patent soapbox will be necessary in L.A. If I can do so I'll get one in Seattle with the plywood top and bring it down. Otherwise I use simple canvas beach chair, tie 2 ropes between rounds so it cannot spread in case canvas breaks (and to take strain off canvas top). Then, lay 12 inch board across top. Board should extend an inch beyond chair on each end and have cleats underneath. Must stand still on it. I used it in Seattle all time. Easy to carry chair and put board in with literature when not in use.
The letter on the white paper is addressed to you, but written in such a way that if R keeps on delaying to send the money, and you think it desirable, of that it might jar something out of him, you can send it to him, with whatever comment you choose to either emphasize it or soften it, as seems best. Something has got to be done to jar him loose. K thinks he's just stringing along. He wanted my signature badly -- now he doesn't care. He wanted to find out where I was and if K was with me he would back out and pay nothing. He wrote D. he had 23 correspondents now. He's trying to find out things. He's got something in his mind. When he says he won't annoy me that is a technical promise. He will try to hurt K if he can. I'm afraid of him, in a way. If he thinks you will get the 1st 100 he may send it. He does not want me to have it. He is deep and underhanded and is plotting something and some mischief. I wish I had gone to Nevada last spring if I had to go some place. There are things in that letter I could not say to him but he can't blame you for what I say, and if he tries to answer it tell him I told you not to send on any letters from him.
THE LETTER ON WHITE PAPER
Well, R's few days has already lengthened to 16. For a man who keeps $2000 cash on hand all the time, and who has given his daughters $20,000, I must say he is acting very strange. He could surely send 100 if he wants to; and I told him before I left Los A. that one reason why I was selling the place was so as to pay you 130 back taxes you had paid out, and other money I owed you. So he knows that a large part of the money will go to you -- and he must know you are not working and have no means of support till next December. He ought to regard that tax money as a debt -- a moral debt -- which he owes as much as I do. I suppose he feels the presents have paid his share of it, but he knows I don't regard it that way. Before he brags to so many people about how much money he's got and how much he's given away he ought to settle a few little moral obligations like that. Even if he's still got it in for me, he ought to buy the place from you so you can get your share out of it. It's three months that he's been putting it off. He is as slow as the Mormons. His daughters never did a thing for him but treat him with contempt before he got the money. We saved his life 3 years ago when we took him out of the hospital. They never even offered to help you pay the hospital bill or Dr. bill. And if I had let him stay in the hospital and used the money to put roofing paper on the kitchen I'd not be having asthma so bad that I almost strangle for two or three hours every night. I have to fight for my breath sometimes, like a fish out of water. And if it had not been necessary for me to have my feet wet for 4 months 3 winters ago -- never having time to get them dry and house wet from end to end because the roof leaked, I'd not have the asthma nor this cough. And if I'd left him to the tender mercies of the country hospital, he wouldn't be a rich man -- or any other kind of a man -- and I'd still have my home. I'm not going to ask him for alimony, though I could easily get it. And I'm selling him the place for half what it's worth and the least he can do it to buy it and buy it quick. They say people are grateful if you save their livers but he never was half human even after I saved his. Next time he gets that way someone else can save him if they want to.
If you hadn't been trying to wait for him all summer to buy it you could have sold it in the open market at that price, and on such terms. If it was not for wanting to give you the money and having some to start up another atheist mag. I would sell it to him at all, after all this delay and the inconvenience it has put us both to.
You can tell him I'll cooperate about his serving divorce papers if he buys the place first and pays for it. I'll come to L.A and let them be served on me there, but nowhere else. I don't want people to know I was married.
I mailed one air mail letter already, and one by ordinary mail because it was too long and heavy for air mail. When you get them you will have all the latest news. None of the letters can leave here before Fri. 24th and you won't get them before Mon. or Tue. at the earliest. All boats going south now full up before they even get here. We will be very lucky to get out even if and when we get the money. In another two weeks, it will be very difficult to get passage. Tickets are sold further north; canneries all closed and big crowd going south. It is already winter, almost. K. has worked very hard this week, been sick twice and is very lame and sick today. Worked 10 1/2 hrs. last night. The other letters will tell you more about his. I got lineament last night for him but it seemed to do no good. Could not get Sloans anyway. Today I got a plaster and put it on -- $1 for the two. So far it has not helped but he thinks it will. He worked all night -- was out over 13 hrs and worked 10 1/2 not paid yet, except for 2 hours. I think he has about 15 or 16 coming now and we have 7 on hand. Had to spend most 5 in last two days for meals and medicine, and bus fare to and from job, etc. or would have more. Still have this week's rent to pay but can't risk paying it till he collects some more back pay. The boss is holding onto the money too long this time and it looks funny. K. thinks he has about 18 or 19 coming but I think it's only about 15 more. He had to turn a job down tonight. He hurt his hip so he can't stoop over till it gets better. I don't know whether he can work any more or not. He is in bad shape. If I was sure we would get the money, I would not let him work any more at present. But we both fear that it will never come. The "few days" is already 17 days since R. wrote that to you and nothing yet. We fear he is purposely stalling. Since I read the letter he wrote to D I am almost certain of it. See other air mail letter about that.
I have made tentative arrangements with the Northland Office here for passage for the two of us on the next trip of the Norco if possible to find room for us, and if we can possibly raise the money. They tell me it is doubtful if it can be done but they will know better Friday (24th) and if on of the boats does not go any further north, but turn around here and goes back to Seattle, it may be possible. I told them the facts of the situation -- substantially -- and that I did not know if I could raise the money but that I was very sick and had to get home somehow, etc. etc. and they promised to do their best to save passage for us both. No money deposited. They would not take it anyway if I had it. The boss of the office here knows K works longshore. If we should go suddenly I'll manage to wire you if possible. We can't do this anyway unless K. gets able to work, and gets a lot of work in a short time so expenses won't eat it all us. There are 2 "good" boats with lots of work on them due this week, and 5 or 6 more other boats -- all due Fri, Sat & Sun. So if his hip gets better he can make it. The Norco and Northwind are due to leave here first part of next week -- Mon, or Tue. 27-28. Unless I'm so broke I can't do it, I'll wire you if we leave. And will leave work at telegraph office also, in any case, and at post office. And in any case if and when you wire money here, if you have not already sent it before you get this letter, have the telegraph office in L.A. secure from this office proof of delivery of message at this end. If you have not already sent it, also, you had better address it to "Mark and Grace S. Keller" so if anything happens to him I can cash it. Remember this street address is 647 Mission St. No telegrams are delivered here at night, between 5p.m. and 9a.m. I do hope it come quick. This waiting so long is terrible, even when he is working; & worse if he is not. If I go suddenly to Seattle, and wire you, of course you will send no money here but if you have it, send $35 in registered letter to Seattle, Gen. Del -- to me and Mark "Hold till called for. Do not Forward." I am writing by this mail to Seattle post master to hold all my mail until I arrive. I doubt if K. can work enough to make the money or if he does that I can get room on the boat. But will try. If you have no money to send to Seattle, have a good assortment of literature sent. Mrs. D. will do that if you call her up as soon as you get a wire from me. The stuff will be there as soon as I get there. I can live there until the money comes.
August 23 TO QUEEN FROM ROSER from Wellington, Kansas
Your letter of the 12th duly received. This reply will have to be a short letter, as I am making repairs on the Marble Building, and I have to look after the workmen or they will bungle the job. Besides, it is HOT. We had a light rain last night, but now the sun is out and the humidity makes the heat more oppressive.
Well, I size up the Utopian Society as a new and very ingenious racket and one which will be extremely remunerative to the clique who are in power. There are too many good organizations. Every week some good 100% American takes it into his head to organize a new organization, of which he is to be the supreme head and promoter -- and beneficiary. The bourgeois Americans seem delighted to join such organizations and contribute liberally of their hard-earned (?) cash to fill the pockets of these slick promoters and forget the debts they owe.
I have to write several other letters, so will not answer your letter in detail. Have absorbed what you have written.
Will send you a hundred dollars in a week -- have to take it out of the till, as those assets I spoke of are still "frozen." Partly on account of the inheritance taxes (both state and federal).
August 24th, Fri. a.m.
There were 2 mailboats yesterday and not anything for me on either. We get another chance today and Monday with a possibility of mail Sat & Tue.
K collected all his pay up to Wed night and we find he made 25.50 in spite of getting sick and only working half the time he could have worked. If we get good wire from you today all will be well. I'll have about 15 left after paying rent and we had to eat, too. If K could stand the work I guess we could have got out middle next week. He is in pretty bad shape and I don't know yet whether he can stand any more work. Seems to be quite seriously disables at present. He got up this a.m. and started to work when the Norco came in from Seattle, but I was down watching just now and he's pretty stiff. When he started longshore work on the 9th and in two weeks we are out of debt and 15 ahead. We would have had 25 o4 30 more if he hadn't been sick twice this last week.
If R doesn't send you the money pretty damned quick, I had better send him a letter direct. I can mail it on the boat and it shows no postmark except "Alaska Territory" or I can get someone to take it to Seattle and mail it there. I either have to get out quick or I'll be stuck here and if I have to stay much longer, I'll die. Its a matter of life or death to get out of here as quick as possible. I'll either stir him up so he'll send it damned quick or he'll get mad and quit. Something's got to be done.
Monday, August 27
I sent a letter down by the boat yesterday a.m. with Sp.Del. stamps on it. I guess you'll have it either Wed. 29 or Thurs 30. Depends on whether boat gets to Seattle in time to meet south bound air mail at 8 p.m. It has to get there 10 or 12 hours ahead and I doubt if I can get away on Norco as I hoped. I doubt if I have the money. K only had about 8 hrs work since Thurs of last week. He get left last night and stayed up all night and only got one hour. His hip is also a doubtful quantity. He stumbled this a.m. while at work and it hurt very badly and when he came home after 1 hour's work he figured he'd not be able to work again for a long time. Said it felt as if he had broken something. But after a few hours, he found it better than it has been for 10 days. I think he dislocated something 10 days ago and jarred it back into place this morning and that is what hurt so bad. He is reading now and hopes to work on North Wind when she comes tomorrow. She was here 8 hrs. last night but he missed her and it is lucky he did in the circumstances.
I still have $15 but we had hoped to have at least 8 or 10 more by this time and if he had not got sick and laid up this way. We still have hopes. But this trip of North Wind will be the last good job where he can make fare out and not eat it all up waiting for the next. It will about clean up the salmon business for this year and the tourist boats are beginning to stop running also. Winter is almost here now. I think we'll get out, even without outside help -- but it all depends on his hips and on how many hours he can work on North Wind. She is expected to be here about 60 hours. We had hoped to get my fare before she came and his out of her, and thus get out. It is doubtful if it can be done, but he is doing all he can.
I mailed an air mail letter to R on boat Sunday. I dated it 3 or 4 days previous to sailing time and put no town on it and the only postmark on it will be "Territory of Alaska." I made sure of that first. I know it's risky; and one can never tell how he'll take it; but situation is very desperate, for me and I may as well have a showdown. I told him I wanted to pay you the tax money and other money you gave me to live on when he and I were still together and that you needed it badly, as he should know, to live on till your next job in January and that I also owed you some other money which I expected to pay by selling the place. I told him that while he had been corresponding with you about it, I had had one chance to sell it and one to trade it in to my advantage, but had not done so because I understood he was going to buy it in "a few days" or 2 or 3 weeks. Etc. Etc. And that if he bought it, I'd gladly pay from my property the money which we both owed you, and would not be disagreeable about the divorce -- etc. I expect he'll tell you he got a very disagreeable letter. I really put it carefully, as mildly as I could and still hope to get anything into his thick, egocentric skull. I told him I was not speaking because I had too much asthma and lung trouble, thanks to leaky roofs, hunger and exposure in last 3 years I was with him. And that I was not using my own name or any other name he ever heard of and not to bother to write to me or try to. To either send you the money for the place, 50 or 100 down, or all in a lump as he chose, or back out altogether so I could let someone else have it.
He won't like that letter -- neither will he like the possibility of a Mexican with 4 or 5 kids buying the place! I really have to do something. Its 3 months and 3 weeks now since he went to Kansas, and with me it's now or never. Either I get out of here or stay here forever. I'm sick again -- was better for while but worse now. And I can't depend on K's hip, though his will power is there all right. And the extra work is almost all over.
I'll write more later. We got no mail at all on last boat (Tuesday). At least, I judge he had not written again, stalling you off -- not before 22nd, at any rate, or you would have written. I suppose no new may be good news! I hope so. Send stuff to Seattle like I told you in my last Sp.Del. letter. I guess I'll get there, somehow, and if I get there broke, I'll need it badly. I think K is going to be better now but he may relapse any time. I can't depend on anything.
Neither can I be sure of a cheap ticket even if I do have the cash. I may even hate to pay $25. Of course cheap tickets are sold out first. If you have already wired the money before getting this letter, or before sending lit. to Seattle, and if it is enough to get me home on why no need to send lit. at all. If it's there I'll get it and have at least one meeting on way. If not, and if there's money enough, I'll come straight home. Instructions covered by my last letter (Sp.Del) I think. If you send 50 here and I should need more to get from Seattle south, I'll wire from here before leaving so you can mail rest to Seattle. If you get only 50 that's all you can send, anyway. But wire what you can and pay cost of wire out of the $50. Keep your money. I'll try to wire you back when I get the money from you, if I can, so you will know.
It will take 2 or 3 days from here and 2 days from Seattle to get home, and may have to wait to get mail or bus passage. Probably be in L.A. 6 days after leaving here, if I have enough money to go straight through. If you get only 50 from R I'll know it because you'll be sending only about $48. If you get 100, send full $50 here and if I haven't enough I'll wire how much to mail Seattle. Be sure to mark all Seattle mail "Hold till called for," Gen.Del., Main Post Office.
It is cool here, but I sweat awfully at times and thus catch more cold. Sneeze like hay fever all time. Getting thin and a good figure! Also I'm getting bleached out. My hair broke off a lot in Seattle but is longer now -- and grayer, but I do it on one side and it doesn't show so much gray that way. I'll need make up when I start speaking.
Ask Dowing or Henry name of S.L.P. candidate for President in 1912 -- the one Haywood kicked in the pants in Butte, Mont. in 1912 and made him so famous the SLP nominated him on the strength of the publicity. A man who was with him at that time is here -- an M.D.
K. got E's letter and one paper. There is a boat taking mail 9 a.m. tomorrow so I'll send this now. We get mail again Wed or Thurs. of this week and have 2 more mail boats going south end of week.
Well, I could not get out on the Norco or Northwind. Both left last night for Seattle. Both were loading at same time and K. worked on the N. Wind 10 1/4 hrs. (7.60) and we have just as much money now as a week ago today -- no more. His bum hip, which hurts bad and makes it so he can't lift much at time, kept him from working one ship. Then, as I guess I told you, he staid [sic] up all night waiting for one boat and only got 1 hrs. work on her and missed the North Wind when she was here 3 days ago. The others got 9 hours on her. And if he had go on and could have worked, I could have left on Norco. She had space for me. But even if he'd not missed that job he would have had to quit in the middle of it. So it's lucky he missed it. The two bosses seem to like him and think he does well and seem inclined to prefer him to some younger men and the latter don't like it very well. Last night, he said the boss laid off one gang of young men first, and one of them kicked at his laying off the young ones, referring to K. and asking "why he kept an old man like that and let the young ones go." But the boss told him "that old man does twice the work you do." K. can work hard and fast for a few hours, but 10 is too much. He could hardly get out of bed this a.m. and is pretty lame. We have about 10 now, and this at least is good news. The owners of the Norco have given me a definite promise of two tickets on Norco for her next trip. I've paid nothing down yet, but they know the situation and the office manager is friendly to us. I have talked to him quite persuasively. And he knows we are not well. I want to go home and that K is working on longshore work to get money. If the Norco had gone tomorrow instead of last night I could have gone on her all right. As it is maybe we can both go together, about a week from next Monday or Tues. That will be Sept. 10 or 11, unless K gets so sick he can do nothing at all. That means I at least will g o on that boat, and if possible both of us. I've fixed it that way at the Northland office.
Now some more news. I am to speak Fri, Aug 31 here to a select and private and more or less secret gathering of radicals specially invited to hear some extreme views on education. I gave Dr. Carlson (which is not his real name -- he's a Swedish-French-Jewish mixture) two of your magazines...Monkey to Bryan and Science Versus Superstition. K got acquainted with him first. He is ex Natl Organizer of SLP and chiropractor and optometrist at present; also has a mink farm. If this fathering turns out well I may give some more talks and if possible have one good hall meeting before I leave -- just before the boat goes! He says it is a bad town and everyone is scared to death of everyone else. I doubt if they give me any money Fri eve. It may lead to a meeting that will give money. Hall rent is terrible high ($20) but this Carlson is seeing the "Elks" and they have the hall! He says most of the radicals are not yet back from the fishing, though the season is about over and they may be back before I leave. If worst comes to worst I may, if K can't make enough to pay for tickets, be able to borrow a little to help out, provided I have most of it.
Thurs. Aug. 30 [Postcard]
Sent air mail letter to you by Aleutian leaving here last night. In addition to the $5.00 I told you of in my letter I found a bag of candy, a dime and a penny this a.m. while prospecting city streets!
Got letter from Mrs. D. today but none from you as yet. Don't expect to get mail before Tues. now as P.O. closed Sun & Mon. -- though mail boat due on Sat. K pretty damned sick all night with hip better today and hopes to work two boats if he can get the jobs. One, anyway, maybe. I'll mail this on "Alaska" tonight with a P.S. telling if he worked or not.
I'll start another letter to you, though probably I can't send it for 4 days. Postmark on envelopes doesn't mean anything. I may end a letter by some freight boat seaman if I get a chance and he would mail it from Seattle. I got letter from Mrs. D. yesterday but none from you. We have no more mail till P.O. opens Tue. a.m., since although we get and mail boats Sat, P.O. is closed Sun & Mon (Labor Day) I send you postcard last night and letter to Mrs. D. and letter to you went down by boat 12 hours earlier. You'll not get it till Tue -- account of Labor Day, either.
R. will get my letter today and either blow up and do something or blow up and do nothing or send you money for rent, at least, I think you'll get a down payment and a whining letter about how hard I am. If you get any money at all -- even $5 or $10, or 40 or 50, try to get it to me, less the cost of telegraphing, before even of Mon. Sept 10, if possible. Because if I don't get that Norco on the 11th, I may have to stay here all winter. Here is why, as well as I can put it.
Things are not so prosperous as they were and at present we are barely holding our own. K. worked 3 1/4 hrs. on one boat and 1 3/4 on another yesterday, and although the work was not as hard as usual it was about all he could stand he's had to stay in bed today. He's hip is worse again and I'm afraid a ligament is torn so that unless he has a long rest, and some proper treatment, it will not be better. There probably will be no boats today anyway. Unless he gets better quickly, and gets another job soon, I shall have difficulty even in holding onto the 20 fare for myself or the next Norco, let alone get more for him, plus 11 days expenses and 2 weeks rent. He will have to earn 35 or 40 in the next 11 days. With good luck and good health he could do it. It looks doubtful now. If he had worked a day earlier and got paid 12 hours sooner on last Tuesday, and if I had found that $5 bill just 12 hours sooner, I'd be in Seattle now and able to have Sat & Sun meetings. If I don't get out on next boat, I won't get out, I'm afraid, at all, ever. And for K. the situation if as bad, for unless he also gets out on same boat he will have great trouble getting a ticket even if he has money. There is a long waiting list, and I have had to be very persuasive to get the promise of two tickets from the Norco owners. Every boat goes down loaded to the limit, and after 10 days or two weeks longer, only 1/3 or 1/2 as many boats will be allowed to run. That means less change for K. to work even if he is able, and less change to get a ticket even if I get out first and I am able to send him the money. Canneries are closed, and fishing season legally closed and the bottom has dropped out of everything already. If K. gets much worse than he is now, even I can't get out without help.
Also, another disquieting factor is this: I hear, via underground, (1) that the gov't arbitration board ruling in the longshore strike is being purposely delayed because (2) it's going to be against the longshoremen. (3) That as it is made public (about middle of Sept is the expected time) there is to be a "bigger and better" strike all over Pacific coast with general reorganization of union and split with AF of L. (4) that when this comes (within 3 weeks at most, it is expected) even the longshoremen in this town will organize (they are most ready for it now) and also be on strike. So even that source of income will be cut off for K. and me.
There you are; it's now or never. So I say that even if R. sends word he won't buy the place, he will probably send 10 or 15 for rent -- perhaps to pay up till Jan 1st and you should get even that little to me by 10 if possible, or 11th anyway. Norco will probably sail Tue. 11, between noon and midnight, but I can't expect them to hold an unpaid for ticket until 10th (Mon). Telegrams are not delivered after 5 p.m. but on the eve of the 10th, if we hear nothing sooner, will go in and ask about 10 or 11 at night.
I don't dare expect too much from the gathering of alleged radicals tonight. Will write you about it later, A small sum of money may mean all the difference in the world at this time. Just as it would have last Tuesday had K. got it in time. The one emergency way of out here would be by Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in case of a general strike and that's almost an impossibility. It means extra expense to go twice as far by railroad as one could go by boat, and crossing two International boundaries, with all the possible legal difficulties involved. Besides, though it is less than 75 miles from here, no regular boat service connects the two towns and few boats of any kind go there except in fishing season, except the Canadian Steamers. The prince boats run their last boat this week, unless their plans change; and the Princess boats every ten days at present instead of once a week. Very difficult to get out if strike comes and the next strike will be long!
Proceed to September correspondence
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