Correspondence for June, 1934
Friday a.m., June 1
P.S. Just got your letter, and R's. Better go through escrow at Calif. bank if he insists; anyway if he sends money from Kansas he will want to send it there is escrow as he'd be afraid to trust us. He evidently likes Kansas and will stay there till he gets all the money he can lay his hands on. Make him agree on price before you start escrow and notify Calif. bank at time you leave Deed with Calif. bank as to the amount he is to send. That is safe. And have your power of attorney recorded same time or sooner. He evidently wants a blank filled out and sent to him with no signature so as to help him raise the money. Try for 600 first and tell him about listing it elsewhere if he doesn't want it. I think he will bite on it. It is worth more than his half.
K's check came today too. I'm sending it back air mail Special Delivery.
Better hold the account in Calif. bank if you have not already closed it as it will help in dealing with Roser.
June 2, Seattle
Well, here is the time I'm supposed to be on the Aleutian and out of Seattle but I seem to be no nearer leaving than when I got here. Made 90 last night for my 2 hours work. Awful tired. Have had a meeting on every night but one since I started to speak a week ago Thursday. Cough still bothers. But I can stand it. If this strike keeps up we may not be able to go at all -- might be too late getting there to do much good. However, if it breaks soon there will probably be a lot of work for a short time.
I would try awful hard to get 600 out of $ but you may have to come down to 500 -- or even 400. I'll sign the deed if it is absolutely necessary. Tell him you have to sell it for enough to get the money back you paid on 2 years taxes for him, as well as my share of the money. He ought to sell his cheap if he wants mine cheap.
If you go into escrow the bank will hold up the deed which you deposit with them till he pays in full. Maybe they won't require the deed till after they get his money. They will want tax receipt for last year and certificate of redemption. And if you have not already had power of attorney recorded you will probably have to file that with them and they will have it recorded. I think that is the way it is done. If I get enough out of Roser, I may be tempted to make a hurry-up trip east by train, especially if there are no boats running by that time. I find I can do it cheaper from here than from L.A. $95 round trip from here via Calif., stop over in L.A., over Southern route to New York and back over Canadian Pacific to Vancouver or Seattle. That's just for this summer, till Aug. 15. I think one has to be back here before Aug. 15. I would not stay more than a week or 10 days, however; might get into trouble if I stayed longer. I might get it back from Aunt H. one way or another and it might be a dead loss. Or might wait till late fall, work in Alaska all summer and try to get a cheap rate from Prince Rupert, B.C. (where the railroad ends within a hundred miles of Ketchikan) to Boston and return via Canadian line. That might be best of all. It might cost a little more but on the other hand I might make enough extra to pay for it.
Sunday, p.m., June 3
I send you a letter most every day while I have a chance. Maybe later on I will not be so near a post office and may not be able to send or receive mail so often. I made 1.25 Sat. night and if I make 1.10 or over tonight I won't speak again till Wed. night. My throat is getting bad. But in order to rest two nights I want to save up enough to eat on Mon, Tue. and Wed. So I won't run behind any more than I can help.
Those of the strikers I know seem to think it may last two weeks longer; but maybe not. The communists want to keep it going indefinitely but some of the others are getting tired of it. So far the net result seems to be that Los Angeles has grabbed all the shipping -- doing more business than ever, they claim. Ocean going ships now go to L.A. and pass up Seattle altogether. And L.A. may keep the new trade, for while their harbor is not so good, it is certainly more modern and better equipped with dock facilities, etc. This place is not very enterprising that way. They have old wooden docks, narrow, and the birth for the ships is in many cases too narrow. They are making repairs now -- but only that -- no effort to alter or modernize docks which must be 50 years old or more. Old wooden planks all over docks and waterfront, and RR track for paving here. What a big fire they will make some day!
Tomorrow or next day I am going to write you a very short and pointed article which I want you to copy on typewriter and send to Liberty. Do they still have the Vox Pop. 25.00 contests? If so, mark it for that; otherwise just send it. It won't be long. I send you some more clippings. I was going to send them to Mrs. D. but decided you might get more good out of them.
Give Sabo lots of fish and raw meat and maybe he -- or she -- will be a big cat or weigh 15 or 20 lbs too.
I have another clipping. I want to use it tonight but after the meeting I will put it in and send it along. It is on the bread question. According to the Literary Digest straw vote 60% of the people still like Roosevelt policies.
There is a rumor now that if the Strike is not settled the Alaska Railroad will charter the Alaska ships and run them under Union conditions. Nome is without meat (except for a million reindeer, more of less!) and other towns out of meat and have to live on salmon! Ain't it awful? They have more to eat than we ever do, but they think they are starving. A man here says ham and eggs are 60 up in Alaska. But I remarked that we never eat ham and eggs here either so why eat them up there?
P.S. Well, Sun night performance is over. .85 cents. All out of literature and collections have been mostly not worth taking. Big crowd. Not so crazy and noisy as Sat. night. (Sat. nights are drunk nights -- more than usual.) I'll have to rest more till Wed. I can't stand the strain otherwise.
Mon. eve. June 4
Here are some more clippings -- not much news that I know is true. The strikers are going to let cannery boats which carry freight and which go to S.W. Alaska be loaded and maybe will let all cannery freight boats go. That does not help us, at present. But it is predicted by one of the strikers' officials that the strike will be over in two days. However, no one knows anything, as far as I can find out. It is also said 4 ship companies want to settle.
We went out to Sears Roebuck today. I looked it up in the telephone book and it seemed to be so far out I decided we should go by streetcar. So we got our first (and I hope only) experience of Seattle Street car system. 3 tokens for one quarter!
When we got there we found that we have previously walked within 3 or 4 blocks of Sear Roebuck without knowing it! So our .25 was wasted, and we got one token left that we don't know what to do with. For, of course we walked back. I bought a 22 cal. single-shot rifle of their make -- they call it "Ranger" and it will do for small stuff this summer. I wanted to get one which used cheap ammunition, for rabbits and geese and ducks, etc. Shotgun shells cost money, but one gets 500 22 cal. long high power shells for 1.68 or so. Then we looked at the other samples and picked out a new model 30-30 "savage" which they sell for 34.50 (in the retail store only) and decided to send for that after we get up there if we find we can afford it. That will be heavy enough for anything but the shells are expensive -- $1.12 for only 20! Most powerful appearing shells however. I had rather wanted to get a 22 repeater instead of a single shot small caliber rifle but after thinking it over decided it was not worth the extra cost, not at this time. After all, if you miss a rabbit or goose, he won't turn and attack you! And K says he don't [sic] miss often.
The 30-30 Savage Carbine, model 99 is what we will get later -- and it is better than what Hoegee wants $45.00 for and costs 34.50. Should have one in every home as the ads say.
Freight is high from here north, and I will try to carry up as much as I can for that reason. I'll take some food with me, too. More later. I did not writer the Liberty article yet.
June 5 Tuesday
Got a letter from you today. I don't expect to have you answer all of the ones I send you -- most of them don't call for an answer. I have not much to do and nothing to read but a bible we got at the hotel. And I thought that later on I might be where the mail does not go or come so often. Most everyone we meet here has either been to Alaska or is just going (as soon as they can get there). Some who know the ropes can get there or small halibut boats, I suppose. But K had no luck that way. I think it is illegal for the small boats to take such passenger and probably they were afraid of him. The Northland Transportation Co.'s two boats, Norco and Northwind are the cheapest of all for women. $20 to Ketchikan, but they carry so few passengers one would have to put in a reservation way ahead. I wish I could get out of here, but I want K to get away first, if possible.
No meeting last night or tonight. I hate to pass up the good weather, for fear it will rain here sometime. Continued dry weather, both here and in Ketchikan. The U.S. Gov't runs the telegraph service. Radio from here to Alaska and sometimes radio up there, sometimes wires. It is under the U.S. Army. I don't know what it costs, probably plenty.
The papers say lots of prospectors have been taken into remote parts of Alaska by airplane and left there for the summer, and that supplies are being sent there by parachutes and that no one knows what they will find till the airplane pick them up in the fall. Also that the Caribou district in British Columbia, North East of Quesnel on the Fraser River is booming. Lots of work there. So they say. But I don't want to emigrate to Canada if I can help it.
Did I send you the clipping about the couple of Grants Pass, Ore., who found a thousand dollar nugget? -- over 34 oz? I think I sent it. The catch about mining prospecting in Calf, Ore and Wash is there is not so much chance of killing one's meat. Prospectors in Alaska are allowed to kill meat for food without a license -- if they are hungry -- and I suppose they can get hungry if they see a deer!
I bought a box of strawberries this a.m. Beautiful berries but they cheat you on the box. Its bottom is like a false bottom, almost an inch up from the real bottom. Such crooks. I lb loaves of bread .90 -- 2 lb loaves 17 cents by order of the state price fixing board! Much row about it now.
This is a nice country to live in, if the dry weather continues. Cheap land -- one can buy quite a place -- 5 to ten acres and small house within 15 miles of city for 500 to $1000.
June 7, Seattle Gen.Del.
I sent you some more circulars and my copy of the big map. I can't get another but I got one which is even better for my purpose as it show S.E. Alaska in greater detail and in relief. So I'll use that.
I spoke last night (Wed) get .40 for over 2 hrs. work. The literature D. was to send me last Sat (and which I understood from her letter had already been sent) had not come even yet and I have nothing to sell. Tonight I made only .25 and had a good big crowd, very interested too. One small excitement when a christian woman who was also drunk appeared just as I made a reference to religion being rotten. She was very fat, very excited and very angry, but soon left. I said, "Look what the holy ghost did to Mary!" and she yelled out, "Yes, and if I'd been the holy ghost I'd have done the same thing!" I replied that I'd heard men say that but never expected to hear a woman say it! Then she left. Last night was a long fight with a dumb Swede communist or something who was partly drunk and wanted to argue all the time. I argued with him as it was the best way to hold the crowd and they were restless anyhow. last night here at the hotel a women in with a room across the 'well' from mine started singing "Washed in the blood, the wonder working blood," about 2 or 3 a.m.
No news yet about going -- boats still tied up. They tell me when the strike first broke out the Alaska line had 40 or 50 scabs working for them and after a few days 2000 men went down and forced the gates and took the scabs out. About 20 police looked on and did nothing to interfere. They made them come out one by one and walk the whole length of a double row of men, (and their pictures were taken) so they could be recognized. Now they say that the Alaska company wants these men put back to work, and reinstated in the Union, as a condition of peace and that this has held up the negotiations all of two days. They say if the Alaska Line is stubborn they will make separate peace with the Northland people tomorrow. But that's just what one of the men who lives in the hotel, and is on strike told us. I don't know how much he knows.
Mrs. D. is worried that when R comes back he will ask her where we are and wants to know what to tell him. I am going to tell her to tell him to ask you for you will know better what to say than she can. I wrote him from L.A. before I left that I was going on a speaking trip and would not get to Brockton before fall. I am going to write to Aunt H. tomorrow, just a friendly indefinite letter, and to my stepmother also.
Here are some more clippings.
June 8, a.m.
I got my ticket money back from the Aleutian (Alaska Line) and am going on the Northland. She is supposed to go out tomorrow (Sat) night. K on same boat. $23 apiece. Got both tickets this a.m. So unless something unforeseen happens, we will be gone in another 36 hours. Tell Mrs. D. if you see her. (I got her last package of literature this a.m.) K was going up 2nd class on Northland but that seemed to be sold out so we both go 1st class. She carries 65 passengers and will be crowded to the limit. I think we got the first two tickets sold. State room number not yet assigned, get that this p.m.
Strikers and owners are supposed to sign agreement by noon. Agreement reached but not in writing yet. They are to sign for 4 months and expect to pull a big strike then, so I hear.
June 8, p.m. Seattle
Well, I had new literature tonight and made $1.70. That is what is necessary. Two or three kinds of 5 cent stuff that looks good. They have money to buy if they want it. Impossible to sell anything for 10 cents except communism and christianism. [sic] This man whose address I give you is student at University of Washington and wants me or you to speak for them if we ever come to Seattle. Frank Mills, 2052 23rd Ave. North, Seattle, Wash. he says 85 percent of the students are atheistically inclined and would like to have some lectures. I only met him tonight.
Northland is loading with every prospect of leaving Sat. between 9 & 12 p.m. I will mail this to you just before we leave and thus you will know we are on our way. I expect to have a short meeting Sat night before going to boat. So far I have made $10.20 in 12 meetings. Had I brought literature of sufficient variety I could have doubled that. One should have always twice as much literature as they think they need. Collections here no good.
We eat here at a Japanese place called the Palace on 1st Avenue near Washington. It is the only place possible to eat in for us. They have a big white kitty with a collar on. She (or he) has one blue and one yellow eye and a bobbed tail. She, he or it spends much time sitting in a chair at the counter, with its feet up on the counter, or sits on its haunches and hangs its front feet over the back of its chair, begging bites from customers it knows, sometimes holds the pose for 5 minutes. Jap feeds it beefsteak and fish.
June 9, Sat. 10:30 a.m.
Can you beat it!!! This a.m. they stopped loading Alaska ships again and everyone walked out! Seems Ryan of someone forgot yesterday to include firemen and seamen in their temporary agreement and now they have to have another meeting this a.m. The men I talked with (a lot of them know us now) say the Northland will be sure to go first, however as that company has always been fair and square with the unions, they are letting trucks unload at the Northland pier now -- but at no other -- as they say they know the company won't attempt to employ scabs and never never has employed non union men. If the Alaska Line (which is responsible for the delay) does not come in line soon they say they will let the Northland go anyway. I guess it will only mean a few hours -- or at most a day's delay.
I don't know as I ever thought much about it when I was in L.A. but now that I am traveling again I recall several rules for traveling speakers which you might also find useful if you ever go on the road.
1. The first thing when you get into a new town, before you leave the station, find out and write down what time train leaves for your next stop, and how much it will cost to get there.
2. Get mail at P.O. first thing when you arrive and last thing before you leave. There might be something important. When you have forwarding order, have mail forwarded to where you expect to be a week later. The P.O. is too slow to catch up with you sooner than that.
3. Look for room somewhere within 3 or 4 blks of main Library. It is likely to be fairly reasonable, in the business district -- or near -- and semi-respectable at least. Besides, you can use the library and get some kind of city map and study it so you know where you are. Can get them free on hotel folders.
4. Pack suitcases, if you have two, so that literature for first meeting and clothes for that night will both be in same case and the other and heaviest case can be checked from one town to another an left 24 hrs. without charge at station.
5. Sleep on trains or boats or buses with all your clothes on except dress and shoes. Better yet, if you must take off a dress, use another dress not a nightgown to sleep in. Then, if anything happens, you are at least dressed. No nightgowns or kimonos when traveling. Use a loose dress instead.
6. Take your own collection if possible and watch that helpers in meetings don't go away with half your literature money. I sell it from stand when alone. Here K sells part and I sell part. He can talk all right for 5 minutes when I get down and sell or get collection.
Well, it's almost noon. Must go to dock and what if anything has happed to "my" boat.
June 9, p.m. Seattle, Gen.Del.
I wrote you very hurriedly in Post office in answer to your last two letters (air mail and one other). The fire men are still tying up the boats for Alaska but there may be a let up this p.m. Everyone thinks so. I don't know where to tell you to send mail, really. But if in doubt you could send it here as before and it would be forwarded on first boat going north in case I have already gone. I probably won't need the poems now -- unless I have to speak in Alaska! I hope not. But you have a Lumber Jack Prayer in your blank book, which was at D.'s place when I left. When you sell place make arrangements with D. to get magazines and pay him $50 or $10 from my share, not from yours. Burn what you can't store and what other stuff take to the hall if necessary.
You might get another mail box and mark it 135 1/4 A for yourselves, if necessary and put it along side the other.
The Hundred Days was in Country Gentleman about July, Aug or Sept 1933, I think. Was it the article about Roosevelt's assumption of so much power through the passage of 6 main bills by Congress right after his inauguration? If so, it was in Country Gentleman. We had it while still at the farm.
Either the meetings, the uncertainty, or the noise or the climate make it so I can't sleep much here; nor K. either, though he can sometimes sleep days when I can't.
Seems to be an awful lot of ex IWWs in the L.A. strike here. Seattle has a terrible long waterfront too, as well as San Pedro. But except for the first few days no effort has been made to really load ships here. The police stood by and let the strikers take scabs away from the Alaska line wharf and it is said that when some of the scabs did not like walking down the street between a double line of strikers and having their pictures taken, some of them tried to break through the strikers' lines and get away. But the police forced the scabs to get back in the line up! The new mayor may do -- or try to do -- something drastic -- if it is not settled soon. Seattle loses so much by the Alaska tie up; and Alaska loses a terrible lot.
If I could have foreseen all this we would have both stayed in L.A. till strike was over. Also if I had known R would be away all this time, and that he would get money, I would have stayed till I got it -- or else gone east and back while waiting for strike to end. But since K left before I knew R had done, and they told me in L.A. that the Alaska ships were still running, I am here. I hope to get out before next rent day -- Wed. At least, I'll sell out literature tonight -- what I have left. One package D. sent never got here. I don't dare send for me -- for I may leave any time now. And I may not. It sure keeps me guessing.
You must have a most ferocious cat; else you tease him too much. Better wear gloves if he is that fierce. Has he (or she) short or long hair? Maybe I'll send him some diced salmon or dried deer meat!
This town has a most enormous public market about 3 blocks long, narrow and open on one side. Much better berries and vegetables here but the potatoes taste awful -- too watery, tasteless.
I don't know whether I told you or not, but after I get to Ketchikan, (if I ever do!), mail should reach Seattle Fri night or sooner to be sure of getting the usual mail boat. They may send it often, but always Sat., (except now the strike is on, when it goes by D.Columbia boats and U.S. revenue cutters and is very irregular.) Air mail saves time to Seattle in emergency, but there is no air mail yet from Seattle to Ketchikan. Ketchikan receives money order, registered letters and parcel post pkgs same as in L.A. Some post offices don't, or have many restrictions on all but 1st class matter. There is a telegraph, operated by Federal Gov't (by U.S. army) which sends wireless messages from here to Alaska points and also telegraphs money. The cost is probably very high. Anyway it is not likely you would ever use it for if your news were important enough to telegraph I would probably not be able to do anything about it. Besides, its a rather public way of saying important things, unless very, very important to lose no time, such as a "warning" message.
R's talk about fixing the house sounds as thought he ant to get married again. I hope he gets his divorce promptly. He can file September 20. But don't say anything about it to him till the land is settled. If you think they expect it you can offer D. some money for storage of stuff. There are plenty of Big Magazines of all except Science Versus Superstition (only one big bundle of those, about 500 I guess), Godliness of Ignorance and God's Place in Capitalism. You can get a nickel for them here, easy, but no more. We can sell them anywhere for that outside of L.A. Some of the small ones are scarce. I have them all assorted at D's house. Some we have a lot of. We printed more of some than of others. 1000 of some and only 750 or 800 of others. I think we only got out 400 of one of them a lot of Atheism left at D's, I sold 23 last night. Got 22 left for tonight.
We have stateroom 23 on Northland. Both together. I told woman he was my brother and she said she'd put us in same room "if you don't mind." "Anyway," she says, "I think you'll be more comfortable than with strangers!" So we each have our own names, two berths, but one room That's the very small girl I told you bout. Miss Hansen.
Later. Just down to Northland Pier. One of the men told us to bring our baggage down this a.m. That if they got difficulty settled within an hour they would get out by 6.am. Sunday and that we could sleep on boat anytime. Told him our rent was paid till Wed but if boat was still here then we'd go aboard. He said they were sure to get out tomorrow. But they might turn back afterwards. I have no faith in anything anymore! We get baggage in today anyway and that much is settled. I'll mail this just before we get on boat (that's what I said last time!) and if you don't get another letter to the contrary next day, you'll know I'm at sea at last.
If in any doubt of anything in connection with R, ask Mrs. D. or the Bank for advice and then use your own judgement.
Mail may get tied up between here and Alaska again any time. I'm lucky to be on the Northland now. Other line tied up completely yet but Northland is half loaded already and will be out at least a day ahead of all the rest. Maybe the others won't go at all. Remember -- big strike again, 4 months!
Well, 2 pieces of baggage have been checked in at the Pier and another is to go. We are only 1 blk and the R.R. tracks and 2 street crossings from Pier. K is taking them down now. That is over. The papers are out with an extra that the matter is once more settled. But till they start loading again one can't be sure.
If you don't' think D. will want chairs I made (and he probably won't) why not bring them to the I.W.W. Hall? They could use them and if you ever wanted them you could get them. Jap has two in his house and Roser one in his. Also when R comes back there are pictures of us to get, etc. Typewriter desk also to I.W.W. We can't use the leather, unless you or D want it. If I use any it will be to make rawhide chairs, I guess!
We expect to sleep on boat tonight but not sure yet. Mail has already gone on boat and she may leave early Sun. a.m.
The Jap also has the bookcase with table and the polished bookcase which Armstrong made to us when you were in L.A. -- 16 years ago. Maybe the hall could use it. K says there is a pitchfork there at the place if any IWW wants to use it, he can have it. The box on ground outside the little house has corn for seed in it if the mice did not eat it. I'm sorry to lose the seed but its no good except for cornmeal or hulled corn now and if it got damp is not good for that. D has my new hand grist mill and if you open the box and find the corn is not moldy, you could try it out if you want to. Maybe you can use Dict. Stand in hall. Get Dict. from D's place if you want it.
I may have told R at the Plaza some time or other that I'd sell the place for 500 but I did not offer it to him for that. However, I think we are lucky to get that much for it. I wrote him $600 because I knew he'd want to beat the price down or he wouldn't be happy. I was afraid he'd only pay 3 or 400.
I have invented a new soapbox. No boxes in Seattle. They boil the fish boxes and eat them I guess. I use folding canvas chairs (cost 15 cents with a board on it.) But there is on sale one with a hinged board top which is light and folds same way and if I ever make a business of speaking I will get one and take it with me strapped outside of suitcase.
Well, meeting over -- made .95 -- sold all my stuff. Coup pretty bad. We expect to sleep on boat but are now going down to find out. If we sleep on boat will mail this to you tonight as it may be our last chance.
If strike is not settled soon, I'm afraid Seattle will be a rough hard place as I hear the new mayor wants to forcibly load ships.
I met one man here who knew us in Stockton and one in Auburn, Calif. when you were about a year old.
Sunday eve. 8 p.m. bright sunlight
About opposite Victoria, B.C. as near as I can find out
On board Northland
Well, we're on our way. We slept on ship Sat night, and I had Sunday dinner about noon, but did not leave Seattle till about 2 p.m. Sunday. The ship is real nice, build on a new plan -- more like an ice-breaker, with an egg shaped hull which rides the waves like a raft. Practically all steel. Walls, door, beds, all steel, also floors. We are very heavily loaded and at the last they put on some big machine, boxed, weighing 6 tons, and an International Truck, not crated. They put a new of heavy ropes under the rear wheels, and another under the front wheels and lifted it on board that way. This boat usually stops at two or three places but they don't always do so.
Two girls at one table. I think one is an Alaskan with some mixed blood. Very good looking, though plump. She said if the strike had lasted another day she did not know what she would have done; also she said she wished she had known that passengers were allowed to sleep aboard ship last night. Said she "had an awful time last night." From which I judge she must have had no place to go -- unless maybe an all night show. One of the all night shows has a section reserved exclusively for women, by the way (in Seattle).
I spent all afternoon, till supper time on deck looking at Puget Sound scenery. It is green and pretty but not striking, except that Mt. Ranier and Mt. B. can be seen for such a long way, at least for 100 miles. We had beefsteak for lunch and turkey for dinner (or supper. The turkey was mostly roast pork. K says his all way; but I had some skin on part of mine that proves it was either turkey or chicken. Also some fat on one piece that proved it was pig. Pity the Jews! But I don't think there are any here. Anyway, it was good. Then we had lettuce and tomato salad, asparagus, something that tasted like cranberry sauce but was dark blue and apple pie a la mode -- only they don't call it that. You ask for pie and the waiter asks if you'd not like some ice cream on it. One can have all they want. We eat at second table noon and night but breakfast can be had any time from 7:30 to 9.
We have a very handsome Collie tied on the back end of this deck. Our room, no 23, is near the head of the stairway leading down to the dining room and the one leading up to the smoking room. The observation room is in the front end, but while it is very nice, there are only about 18 seats and it is apt to be full. Seattle people don't like fresh air and in that town all the windows they can close seem to be closed. Their ferry bldg and stations seem to be air tight. Most of their windows can't be opened. And on this boat one can open their own statement windows but those in the observation and smoking rooms are stuck tight. I can't find any library on board, but the steward has the room next to us and he has a sort of 5 ft shelf of books over his bunk. They ship's officers have nice rooms. I don't know about the crew or the 2nd class passengers though.
Monday eve. June 11, 7:45
Still in Johnstone Strait after passing Seymour Narrows Between Vancouver Island and Mainland. Boat runs close to Vancouver Island over 100 miles.
Well, another day gone, We have had 5 meals and expect to get 5 or 6 more. We will take longer than usual to make this voyage as we have 210 tons of freight and we are only supposed to have 120. We are loaded down so the water comes up to our first rib-bumper in the picture and the black part of the hull (it is really red) does not show at all. We have 2 propellers, one on each side, and leave 2 "wakes" behind us. They dining room is in the rear of boat where the 6 portholes are grouped together. We have been going against a headwind all day and besides had to wait at the Southern entrance to Seymour Narrows about an hour for the tide to be just so. It is a long narrow channel and the tide and current are, at times, too strong for a boat to go against. Then, they anchor and wait awhile. I learned that the Japanese current divides somewhere about here and part of it swirls down through this part of the inside passage like a strong river inside of another river.
We are due at Ketchikan 3 p.m. Wed, I hear -- but we will likely be later. We will pass through Queen Charlotte Sound during the night. It is said to be roughest part of the trip. I have gotten along fine so far.
There is a big forest fire somewhere ahead of us. The smoke has been seen for all afternoon and now we are seeing the glare. We avoid the other passengers as much as possible. The observation room is built to give a scenic view but more of the people play cards instead of looking at the scenery -- which has been very beautiful almost all day. Same in the smoking room. Most of the passengers are going to Juneau, apparently. Except at mealtime we keep by ourselves, mostly up around the smokestack. The heat helps my cough and I sit by it most of the time. Also, one gets a good view and on this boat it is usually sheltered from the wind. We had the morning sun in our window. I saw the sun rise at about 4:15 -- but we have turned and twisted so much, and are now going west, that now, at 8:15 p.m., we also have the sun coming in the same window. It is almost ready to set now.
Crossed Queen Charlotte Sound between 12 midnight till 6 a.m. Somewhat rough and choppy like great lakes -- cross currents but not much wind. Ship rolled 4 ways at once. I woke up about 2 and had to get up and walk down the corridor. Plenty seasick between 3&4 but then I went back to bed and finally got to sleep about 5. The roughest part in midchannel was between 3&4. If I could have stayed in bed I'd probably have been all right. and if I had not had a coughing spell I might have got by safely. Both were too much, along with the sea. This boat rides nicely though. Once could not expect to do any better. at 1:30 today, we got into the middle of ---[?] Sound beyond Ocean Falls and Bella Bella. I was just through dinner and came up and lay down before I felt bad. Got through that into smooth water in about an hour.
All this morning the water was smooth as glass and there are hundreds of wooded islands on both side of the channel, with once in a great while a village in a cove and we saw one two story house built on a point miles from any other place, and a few cabins -- one very pretty one at least 10 miles from anything else.
Some people have all the luck and don't have sense enough to know it! One of the 2 girls at our table is from Juneau and going back. But the other is a Seattle girl of somewhat Swedish type. With all the people in Seattle trying to get on the Alaska boats for a month this girl gets a ticket handed to her the day before the boat left, and a job in Juneau to go to work in an ice cream parlor! And she says she never read anything about Alaska and never even thought about going there till last Saturday! And has not the least idea what it is like but is quite sure she won't like it and will go back to Seattle by fall! The Juneau girl (who shows traces of native blood somewhere) is trying to cheer her up. As I say, some have all the luck. The Juneau girl says if the other one doesn't like this job she is going to she can easily get another one. Maybe!
Some say we get to Ketchikan at 9 a.m. Wed. and some say 3 p.m. Both quote ships' officers, too. We have missed no meals yet and if we are on after 1 p.m. Wed. we will be 10 meals apiece ahead! K wasn't sick at all. He says the Caddopeak rolled so much off Cape Flattery, Washington at the entranced to Straight of Juan de Fuca that the waiter spilled the soup in someone's lap and the passengers spilled their own soup. K was at the captain's table and he and 2 of the officers drank theirs and, so, saved it. We have never rolled so much on this boat.
I think you had better let Mrs. D read this letter, because I probably won't be able to write her so much about the trip. The only chance, as far as I know, of mail going from Ketchikan will be if I can mail this so as to catch the "Northwind" when she goes south and I think there is no time to spare. I am going to mail it as soon as I get to Ketchikan, before I look around or anything, so as to get it to you as soon as I can. I don't suppose they will send mail by Canadian boats any more. That means I must either catch the "Northwind" or wait till this one goes to Juneau and back south.
About once a minute this boat's engine emits a sigh like a sick cow a long way off. Some sort of exhaust in the water. One must make this trip once to learn how to do it. I admired the spring and spring mattress when I first came on board. Now I'd like to pitch them overboard! They are all right on land. Every slightest motion, even the jar of the engines when we are standing still, is multiplied several times by these darned springs -- 2 sets on each bunk -- with the result I'm as sore as when I came on the bus. All my insides are sore. I only just get an idea in my head as to how much of the vibration those springs are responsible for. The ideal bed would be a hammock hung without springs in its cords; the next best would probably be a canvas cot like yours. (It is at D.'s place) But I'd prefer the floor to that multiple spring bed and mattress I've got! I'm sitting on the floor now. On the bed, one shakes like a glass of soft jelly all the time, when it is not worse, like a car taking a rough road!
Today, after dinner, the sea was a bit rough and I lay down. The sea got quiet but the bed kept on shaking. And my insides are too sore to be shook! So I lay down on the floor and stopped shaking. I'd rather be on deck, but I'm too tired. We passed so close to an island just now that the trees shadowed the window so I go up and looked out to see a cute little house and a woman on the porch -- not 100 feet away! It was a gasoline station for motor boats.
I have been on Atlantic Coast boats when it was much worse than last night and did not get sick. They always had very hard bunks in the 2nd class cabin. The smokestack is hot, and good, and no one uses it but me -- but at night I can't get up to it!
After supper. That Seattle girl I told you about got a job typing freight bills on this boat and will probably get 8 or 10 hours work. Some are lucky! Chicken for my supper; K had ribs of beefs for supper; we both had breaded veal cutlets for dinner and he had beefsteak and I had omelet for breakfast. From the fact hat Juneau would send to Seattle for a girl like that I should think a typist and stenographer would get work easily, especially if one brought their own typewriter. I hear that one company brought up 17 girls in 14 years and all but one got married in Alaska and quit work! If they are in the habit of importing help that way there must not be many Alaska girls able to do it.
Our boat seems to be going very fast but it goes against wind and current most of the way and they say we are only going 10 miles an hour, and that we are now 169 miles from Ketchikan, at 7 p.m. Tuesday. I may be there by 3 p.m. Wed. We passed Swanson Bay, B.C. at 6 p.m. Tuesday and if we go at the same rate of speed tonight should be opposite Prince Rupert B.C. between 7 & 8 a.m. Wed. We don't stop -- they are wishing this freight to Alaska as quickly as possible. The Northland will be the first boat since Northwind and the 3rd boat in a month and will be 2 days ahead and the first Alaska line boat.
If the Canadian National RR and SS Co have an office in L.A. you can maybe get a map of B.C. coastline and S.E. Alaska. It shows this coast very well. I need mine till I can get another. Tell them if you should ask that you want to know about the "Triangle Tour" of B.C., Alaska and the Yukon and would like to have the map of that tour. The best way would be for you to write and ask them to mail you map and other information. You could write to General Passenger Agent, G.A. McNicholl, Can.Natl. R.R., Vancouver, B.C. The Los Angeles agency is 607 S. Grand.
I wish you had that Seattle girl's job, whatever it is!
Passed Prince Rupert B.C. about 6 a.m. and got into Alaska waters before 8. At this rate we get to Ketchikan about noon. Almost 3 days out of Seattle. Till now had bright sunshine all the time. I don't know what is ahead of us, exactly, but something.
I told you in my last letter that after you get the money from R. for the place, you should send me 20 here at Ketchikan in case I need it. Later I'll tell you when and how to send the rest, and where. Pay expenses of moving stuff, and pay Briggs, out of my part. Keeping 100 clear for yourself. Give Bob 10. But he has your violin and you should it back when he gets it.
I mailed you a long letter as soon as I got off the boat, by ordinary mail. I am sending this by air -- ordinary mail from here and air from Seattle. I am sorry to say that we have run into a rather bad snag here, temporarily. I find that the only room we could get costs a lot more than I had expected, and food is going to be higher. I know nothing as yet as to whether or not I can speak to help out. Today it is raining for the first time in 2 or 3 weeks they say. It may keep on raining; or meetings may not be allowed, and anyway I have no literature. The worst of it is that the strike has delayed the opening of the work K counted on so he cannot start work for at least two weeks, according to what he was told.
I figure we have enough money to eat on if we are very careful, but not enough to pay rent besides. And camping outside seems impossible here. I got a room for us on credit. It costs too much but under the circumstances I didn't see anything else to do, much as I dislike the extra expense. It is a better place than I would go to otherwise. Had no trouble about it to speak of. Only, if Roser delays that money too much I'll be in a fix, right, because baggage is all in room.
I don't know whether you can do it or not, but if you possible can do so, I wish you would send me $20 of your money now. Reimburse yourself when you get R.'s money. I hate to ask this very much. Of course, when you get R's money, you will keep $100 for yourself besides the 20 and pay all expenses of moving, etc. and Briggs from my share of what is coming. I will be here till that business is settled I expect, so you might as well send me the other money when you get it to this office. Send $100 money orders -- that is the limit. Hold back enough to be sure you have money for all expenses, however. This first $20 I am asking you to send however you should send by air mail, registered (a $20.00 bill) and send it either to me, Gen.Del Ketchikan, Alaska or to Mark Keller, #Gilmore Hotel Ketchikan, Alaska. The last if O.K. But maybe better send it to Gen.Del to me, as something might happen. We could be able to leave here. Mark you letter Grace Verne Silver, Ketchikan, Alaska, General Delivery.
Letter No. 3 from Ketchikan
I mailed a fat letter to you when I first got off the boat telling all about the trip. Then I sent another air mail letter last night. I found out since then that I can give a letter to the purser of the North Wind when she goes by tomorrow morning and possibly save 24 hrs time in getting to you. So this is the latest and most important letter. I case you get all three -- or the 2 air mail letter at the same time, this is the second air mail letter and if any part of it are different from the first letters, pay attention to this one, in preference to the others.
I told you in the previous air mail letter (no 1) that I had run into unexpected difficulties here. I have to pay more for a room than I had any idea -- and there is very slim chance of holding any meetings and I can't find any radicals here so far to tell me anything about the situation. In order to be able to eat at all I have had to get a room on credit at a place which is better than I could, or would, have taken otherwise and will have to pay for room when R.'s money gets here. The worst of it is that the cannery at which K expects to work will not open for at least 2 weeks -- maybe 4 weeks -- on account of delays due to the strike, etc. Seattle papers said they were already working before we left. And lots of men here waiting for them to open up so it is doubtful if he will get anything else to do. I've put us both on "short rations" till I see what happens.
Now here is what I want you to do if you possibly can do it. Send me $20 of your money now and take it back out of R's which you should get soon, if you have not got it already. Also keep 100 for yourself besides that 20, and pay all expenses of moving, Briggs, etc. from my money. But just as soon as you get R's money send me $100 by P.O. money order to Grace V. Silver, Gen. Del. Ketchikan. Send it "air mail via Seattle".
I know you will think I'm crazy and maybe I am, but I have almost decided that as soon as R's money comes I'll take the first boat back to Seattle and maybe rent of buy a place near either Seattle or Portland to settle down on. If I had $50 now, I'm so terribly homesick I'd take the North Wind down tomorrow if it would take me. I did not realize how far away I was going and I don't think I can stand being so far away from you permanently and maybe not able to make enough money to come and visit you, ever. In Seattle I felt close by -- like I could run down most any time, and you might come up sometimes. And on the way up I loved the trip and the scenery and it was like a real vacation, which I'd never had before in my life.
I'm not sorry I came, but I can't stay or go further -- not till I have a round trip ticket anyway. I never knew I could be so deadly homesick as I am now. I have not even been able to eat since I left the boat yesterday noon and I've cried so much, in spite of all my efforts, I'm afraid K is scared though I tell him it will wear off and not to worry about me. I'm not sorry I made the trip -- but unless K goes to work promptly I'm going back to Seattle as soon as I have the money to go with, for both of us. I can't leave him up here stranded because it was because I wanted to come that he is here. If I had never come here I'd never been satisfied. I've wanted to come all my life. But I came too late. The trip was beautiful -- but it was a mistake and a waste of money and I'll have to waste some more getting back.
I'll have to pay my hotel bill before leaving and buy tickets. If I had the money now, $50 would do it, but it may take 75 to get back to Seattle and pay hotel bill if I'm here two full weeks and if I should have to go by Alaska line in order to get out -- or by Canadian Pacific. Send the $20 by air mail registered. Send the 100 when you get it by air mail, P.O. money order, or registered. Wrap bills in thick paper for air mail.
I made so many mistakes and the strike has balled everything up. But I must come back as far as Seattle.
Your letter r'c'd. You are doing just right about the deed, etc. Your action with the Calif. bank will probably speed things up. You will get the money by the time this letter reaches you if you haven't got it already. Your letter relieves my mind, if not the economic situation which is getting acute.
When you get this letter, if you have not already sent the $100 to me by mail I think you had better send it by telegraph. I know it will cost $20 or $25 to do so, but that will be but little more than the extra delay of waiting for mail will cost me, to say nothing of the worry. You won't get this letter till Monday the 25th any way, the best I can do. There is also the chance of another tie up of boats in Seattle to consider; and I don't know where I'll be if that happens. I'm hanging on by the skin of a hen's tooth now! Andy telegraph office will hand it from L.A. It goes via U.S. Signal Corps from Seattle I think.
Or you might be able to do it cheaper by going to the Alaska Line office in L.A. on Grand Ave. (I think.) In that case you would pay for two tickets on Alaska Line from Ketchikan to Seattle for Mr. and Mrs. Mark Kellar, stopping at Hotel Gilmore, Ketchikan, Alaska, and they would telegraph the tickets to their office here after giving you some sort of a receipt. It will be necessary for you to get $35 to me besides the tickets, however, so I can pay my bills and get my baggage out of hotel and have a little left when I get to Seattle, if possible. It will cost 20 or 25 per cent to wire money. I think the Alaska Line will wire the ticket instructions to their office here without charge, but I am not sure. Perhaps they will also send the other 35 for you in care of their office here. It must be sent to MK address Hotel Gilmore, Ketchikan or else Alaska Line must send to their office instructions to turn over two tickets and $35 cash to M. Kellar and they must be given his hotel address here.
A post office money order is all right sent to my name or a registered letter containing money; but all telegrams should come to him to save complications. Sign your own name, Q.S. and Olive St. address and telegram as they will probably ask him where it is coming from and how. Another thing; if money is already in mail even now, I won't get it before the next Mon, (25th) or San or Mon following. So if money has already been mailed before you get this, take enough more of my money and send a three word wire to M.K. Gilmore Hotel just saying "hundred dollars mailed." That will help to stall off the Englishman who runs this hotel, even if I can't eat it! Also relieve my mind enough to pay for its cost. If I have the whole hundred here in cash I may be able to get on a cheaper boat -- and then I may not. It does not pay to wait.
This town has the highest cost of living and the lowest wages of any place I ever saw. If high prices make prosperity this town is prosperous -- only it does not seem to know it.
I got a letter from Mrs. D telling me she received a card from Seattle about the literature there and had sent it on to me at Seattle. I'll probably get it here, on next mail. Some mix up some how. After you have sent me the money you will know I am taking the next available boat our South, and I shall need more literature right after I get to Seattle so it would be a good thing to send me another bundle to Seattle right away. Only send it to M.K., Gen.Del. Seattle and not to me as I have a forwarding order in the P.O. and he has not. So I have to get back and cancel my forwarding order before it will be safe to send any mail to me at Seattle. Send letter same way, after I leave here (enclosed in an envelope addressed to K). I'm sorry to be making you so much trouble and worry as I am. Give Mrs. D $100 bill to cover postage and this list of stuff, if you can't get it ready yourself.
20 each: Pioneers of Freethought
(big mags) Science and the Workers
Evolution of Brain Power
Evolution of Human Nature
Evolution from Monkey to Bryan
Rights of Children
Science versus Superstition
20 each: Atheism
(small mags) Godly Criminals
Soviet Persecution of Religion
Method of Madness in Christianity
Postage may be over 1.00.
I'd like to have them waiting for me when I get to Seattle, mark package 3rd class matter, Mark Kellar, Gen.Del. Seattle, hold till called for.
I don't want to make this too heavy so will close now. The "Alaska" goes south Thursday and it will go out then. By sending it air mail you will get it Monday. It's my last stamp and I can't afford to buy any more till I get some more money some place. There won't possibly by any answer to the last two letters I sent you by air mail before next Monday -- 6 days more to wait! The "Northwestern" leaves Seattle, Thurs (maybe) and may get here Sat. or Sun, with mail for Monday. Give Mrs. Doughty my best regards. I can't afford to write to her this time. After I get the money and before I leave here, I'll write to everybody again.
It rains all the time here like it did in Los Angeles on New Year's day. If there are any radicals here they are drowned. I find no sign of them at all. And no one either or us ever knew or saw before. No cats, dogs, birds, pigeons, or boxcars here either! Asthma very bad here. Can't stand it.
FROM QUEEN TO ROSER IN KANSAS
Received your letter of June 15 a couple of days ago but as I was preparing my speech for last evening I did not have an opportunity to answer.
I am enclosing a "Grant Deed" from which I got at Wolcotts. It appears to be the same as the one you issued to mother. I am also enclosing a copy of the description of the property as taken from the deed of Sept. 19th, 1933. I could probably make the deed out correctly except that on account of the sale being transacted through a power of attorney I would not know how to start it. Please advise me also as to how I should sign the deed. At the bank, they told me that in signing checks on her account I should sign her name and then my own underneath.
As far as the watch is concerned. It was only mentioned in a postscript in which you said that you were sending one. That it why I thought perhaps it might have gotten lost in the mail. If you do not remember sending it then there is a strong probability that you did not send it. I would be glad to have one as at present even my dollar is not working. (Maybe it heard about the dock strike and stopped in sympathy!)
I appreciate your being willing to give me the position there but I could not consider leaving L.A., for many reasons. I am so tied up with organization work here that it would be practically impossible to leave, and then, of course, I have many personal ties here, which I would not like to break. It's too bad you can't transfer the position here, isn't it?
The strike is still on here and all up and down the Pacific Coast. A peace plan was accepted by the officials of the I.L.A. but when submitted to the membership on referendum ballot it was rejected in spite of many maneuvers by the officials to help get it adopted.
I spoke last night at the Proletarian Party forum on the subject of the New Deal. Everyone said it was a good talk and I think myself that it was fairly good, all things considered. On the 1st of July I am talking at the I.W.W. Forum (our hall) on the subject of "Technocracy vs. Industrial Democracy." As it is less than two weeks away I shall be pretty busy till after that is over. I had not intended to take on so much at any one time but on account of another speaker being called out of town and no other speaker available, I had to accept as substitute.
This evening's paper carries the news of the formation of a "White Guard" for the purpose of combating communism in all its forms.
The last mail boat came in Fri, 22nd but did not bring anything from you. However, since it must have left Seattle late on Tuesday, the 18th it was too early to expect anything from you. I hope you are doing all right and that money will get here soon. Probably I won't mail till it does come, but I'm killing time writing this anyway. There will be only two Alaska line boats going south, now that the strike has tied them all up in Seattle again. The "Aleutian" leaves Tues of next week and the "Northwestern" Thursday, so unless I get away by that time I will have to go by Canadian Pacific Line. I hope the Alaska line office in L.A. will tell you the true situation in case you go to them as I suggested you might in my last letter. No mail goes south till Tuesday so I can't send you any news.
I suppose even L.A. papers tell you the strike has against tied up all Alaska boats that are in Seattle and those now going South will be tied up as soon as they get there. We get little news here but heard the streetcars and everything were on strike in Seattle. If that effect street meetings in Seattle too bad. I may have to go on to Portland, if I ever get back. This seems like another and very unpleasant world, or a bad dream. Plenty fish, but no place to cook them. Lots of wood so wet it won't burn no matter what you do to it and I can't yet eat them raw, though in another week I'll have to if you haven't sent money by that time. Now I'm worried to death for fear you have sent the money already and CPR will bring it up but at the P.O. they just say "maybe" -- they don't know for certain. I doubt if any more Alaska boars will be allowed to leave Seattle till the strike is all over. We are hoping that the "Princess Charlotte" which leaves Vancouver Sat and gets here Mon eve will have U.S. mail on board. I've already told you to wire the $100 if it is not already in mail. I was afraid of this new development in the strike as soon as I saw the new Seattle mayor was going to try to forcibly break the strike. He is a big fool, as the Alaska trade was most important of all.
I had better try to tell you something about this town First, when they see an outsider, they raise the price of whatever they've got to sell. It rains almost all the time. When it stops for an hour or so it turns cold. I've been here 10 days and the sun hasn't shone more than an hour altogether. Lots of Swedes here -- also a lot of quite good-looking Indians, many well-dressed in modern clothing. They seem well fed. They get a gov't allotment besides what they can make. Curio stores have very beautiful carved ivory pieces -- alleged to be Eskimo but I understand the Eskimos are importing them from China by the shipload. However, they are beautiful --and expensive. Curio stores have not much sense of "atmosphere" or they would hire an Indian or an Eskimo girl in native costume to wait on customers. Instead, they usually have a blonde Swede. However, when the boats come in they hang out their bear skins and take them in as soon as the boat leaves, too!
Reindeer skin moccasins on sale are beautiful, but made especially for tourists' trade, and on the Chippewa Indian model rather than that of the Eskimo. I wish I could send you a pair, but I'm afraid I can't. The reindeer skins are beautiful; I don't see why the natural skin is not being used for women's fur coats. It is much more beautiful than calf or colt skin. It has a "marbled" effect and the luster is different from anything else. Dye would spoil it.
We went into the woods back of town a couple of times when it was not raining, but it always rained before we got back. We found a few salmon berries. They are like a raspberry, only larger. Some red and some yellow. They are very watery, not much flavor and slightly bitter. With sugar they would be good. Any berry would be watery in this climate. Also got a few blueberries, but they are not like the eastern variety. Salmon berries very common, but the kids get them as fast as they ripen. There are many wild flowers of many kinds, too.
Children here are excessively polite and usually speak when they meet you on the street. Older people seem very clannish and reserved, except the librarian. There is a public library, one room of which is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day and the other two rooms every afternoon. They have about 4000 books, I guess, but quite a good selection as far as it goes; and some magazines, including the "war cry" etc. However it is a good warm place to kill time in and there is so much time to kill. I feel like I'd been here a year instead of 10 days.
I had an odd dream last night (Fri). Like this: you came into the room here, and said you had come up in a car but had left it a few miles back! (You would have to.) Then I said, "did you bring the money with you?" and you said, "No, it's in a money order on the way up; you ought to have got it by this time." I say we had had not boats for over a week and asked you how much you had sent. You did not tell me, but said, "Oh, there is enough!" And then we started for the post office to see if it has come yet. But I woke up before I got there. Queer feeling about it when I woke up. As a matter of fact, I am told there is an auto road as far north as Quesnel B.C. from which once take a river boat to the railroad which goes to Prince Rupert -- about 100 miles from here. They expect sometimes to have an auto road to Prince Rupert and another clear through to Dawson and Fairbanks. Perhaps when that is done this country will not seem so terribly far away. Never again do I want to be on an island and dependent on boats! Not unless I own my own boat.
John Barrymore and Dolores Costello and the two kids are up here on his 110 ft long private yacht "Infanta." They are spending 6 weeks cruising around and fishing. Met all four on the street the other day and he tipped his hat and bowed to us. I was looking at her and thinking I knew her somewhere and did not realize just who they were till a couple days later. I knew I'd seen her somewhere. She was in the Sea Beast when I was in the Java Village. He probably thought he'd seen us some place, too. I had the brown monkey and sent for me to bring the monkey over to his car one day. But he would not remember that. I haven't seen anyone else here I know or who knows me. The nearest was a Riverside, Calif. Indian who spoke to me the day I got here because I was till carrying an Inglewood, Calif. shopping bag! He said he was awful homesick. He must be, up here Indians vote, and are citizens, and seem to do well.
June 25, Monday evening
The CPR boat "Princess Charlotte" just came in and she is bringing U.S. Mail so I hope to have a letter -- and money -- from you tomorrow. I can hardly hope for more than $20 on that mail. But in spite of all reason I can't help hoping there is enough so I can get out on the next boat. The Aleutian, as I wrote the other day in the first installment of this letter, was to go south on Tuesday (26th) but hat has been changed to Thursday. The "Northwestern" also is supposed to go Thursday and the "Northland" is up north of here now and likely to go by here either Wed. or Thursday, too. The Alaska Line boats are now stopping at Vancouver, B.C. and not going to Seattle at all. They send passengers by rail from Vancouver to Seattle. They have one boat at Vancouver now -- the "Alaska" which is leaving there Tuesday and will be here Thurs. or Fri. That will be the next mail from the South. The first chance I'll have to send this letter will be Thursday, too. There are two mails a week, usually, but they are irregular as to time.
The last three days it has not rained at all. Today was almost warm, and sunny. So was yesterday. The inhabitants consider this very remarkable! We have daylight till long after 10 p.m. I pull down the shade and turn on the electric light so as to imagine it is night. I could not sleep much while it rained -- there is a tin roof next to my window -- but have slept well enough since it stopped raining. If this country had some of Calif. sunshine and heat, and if Calif. got some of their rain, both would be benefited.
I have 6 or 8 seedling hemlock trees about 3 inches high packed in moss to take back to Seattle. I'd like to see if any of them would grow. I was thinking maybe I'd send them to you and you could put them all in a cigar box in a shady spot. One has a long root. I think one is spruce and the rest hemlocks. It will be a long time before they get to be a foot high even if they do live. Also I got some salmon berry seeds, both yellow and red. I think they could be crossed with raspberry but am not sure. I'll send them to Mrs. D. The bush is like a raspberry, only larger and thornless and the berry like a big raspberry in appearance. When finally ripe the red ones are almost black and lose their bitter taste. I think they would grow anywhere. Here they grow on bogs, ledges, swamp or bare stone is all alike to them. I suppose a shady spot would be best in California. Today we got half a hatful for our lunch. The kids say they are good cooked in pies. I think they are totally lacking in pectin, for one thing.
I can't see why the U.S. has no air mail service here. Mail could be flown from Seattle in less than six hours. With hydroplanes it would be safe as there is plenty of sheltered, smooth water to land on at almost all times. Cities which have 2 to 16 trains a day don't need air mail as bad as these out of the way places with no trains and few -- and uncertain -- boats need it. Canada has air mail from Ketchikan to Newfoundland for 6 cents an ounce! If Canada can run air mail to Ketchikan and other points in the North -- like Dawson -- for 6 cents an ounce I can't see why the U.S. can't do it too.
I may send you the little hemlock trees as soon as I get to Seattle. The gov't may confiscate them on some excuse or other. But I'll send them in a sealed envelope, or within a small pamphlet, sealed, and try it. Put them in water (like cut flowers) for a day or two to freshen them up before planting in dirt. I'll put them in water on the boat. I won't put my name in the envelope I send them in, or write anything to go along with them, just in case they should be suppressed on the way. If you get them, you'll be all right at your end. If you don't get them, that's all there will be to it!
Tuesday, June 26
I just got your letter of June 19th registered, with $20 it in. You had to pay extra airmail postage -- evidently it was over the limit. That will save my life for the present but I hope to goodness R hurries up with the rest. I'll have to continue at this same hotel, the "Gilmore" (Same as Gilmore Gas!) I gave them $10 on account and the rest I'll pay when I get R's money. Wire the $100 direct to M.K. -- that hotel. And, listen: I just inquired the cost. Wire via any telegraph office in L.A., but through U.S. Signal Corps from Seattle to Ketchikan. The charge will be $3.92 so add that to the $100 if you are sending R.'s money, Keep the balance till I tell you about it. You got the letter I sent via Northwind first. I got letter from Mrs. D and she got here on Wed from Ketchikan. Probably you got your other air mail on Wed. You see, the last letter I wrote to you went to the Northland office in Seattle and they mailed it there. The others were in the regular Ketchikan mail and had to be sorted in Seattle. I wrote all three before getting your first letter. It takes two weeks to get an answer, either way, counting delays in Seattle. Now there is extra delay as all mail comes via Seattle and Vancouver. So to be sure of catching Sat. mail at Vancouver, you must get letter to Seattle by Thurs a.m. if not sooner. 24 hrs delay sorting in Seattle, then by train to Vancouver takes time. We get mail again this week on the "Alaska". She will be leaving Vancouver today. Maybe your other letter will come then. When you write use thin paper and air mail. It saves some time and is probably sorted quicker in Seattle, besides.
Better start your end at the Calif. bank at once if you have no already done so, and then as soon as he gets the money he'll pay it over. Explain to them the situation. Send your certificate of redemption and last receipted tax bill along so he won't haggle over that. Then write him what you have done. Your letter was dated the 19th and if we have to wait 2 or 3 weeks longer I'll be here from 1 to 2 weeks longer -- as your letter was a whole week getting here. This one may reach you Tue or Wed -- another week. We get mail twice a week. At present the only regular date is by C.P.R. leaving Vancouver Sat. You still address mail via Seattle however. Then we may get mail on an Alaska Line boat besides. Don't buy tickets in L.A. -- unless you have already done so. The strike has things too much mixed up to do it and the $3.92 isn't much to pay for safety in wiring money.
Thursday, June 28
[The "Alaska" mail just came but nothing at all from you on it. I got only the letter with the money this week. No more chance 'til Tues. next week.]
I mailed a letter to you Tuesday, 26th, as soon as I got your registered letter containing the $20.00, and it was supposed to leave on the "Aleutian" today; but that boat is late and won't go south till late Fri or Sat. There is also another envelope in the same mail which you may find spoiled on account of the delay, but put it in water and maybe one or two will come to life -- that is, if the Calif. Agri.Dept. don't take it out of the mail.
I wrote Mrs. D. a long letter Tue afternoon and mailed it yesterday. I hoped you would both get the letters on July 3 but I think now they won't get there till the 5th, on same mail as this gets to you. After I got you $20, I gave the landlord half to hold him awhile and we went to a restaurant and had a good dinner to celebrate (the first regular meal since we got here); then we walked out a little over a mile to where they are building a new road and there is a rock crusher, etc. Here they don't have to haul crushed rock for miles. Country is all rock, shale formation mostly, looks like slate and flakes off in slices and slabs same way -- only it is not slate. I enclose tiny sample. They quarry the rock out of the side of the hill and bring it to the crusher, and as fast as they get a small piece of road finished they can move the crusher on to another quarry place.
K had heard there was a job there, so we went out as far as the crusher. Just before he got there I sat down on a rock and wrote Mrs. D a long letter, and made the pictures I enclose with this letter. K went on and talked to the foreman of the rock crusher, who said he'd have to see someone else, and to wait. He waited awhile but finally went on 3 or 4 miles to the main cap and saw the boss, who said of course he had no work, wasn't hiring anybody. Then he came back to where I was waiting and rested awhile. The boss drove by while we sat there and slowed down but did not stop. He took a long hard look at us, however, especially at me and my writing materials. That was late Tue p.m.
Wed. morning about 10, right after we left the hotel to walk down the street and see if there were any new boats in (that's the sole amusement we have here!) along comes the same boss (he's a big Swede) and overtakes us and asks K to come to work in the morning at 7 at the quarry near the rock crusher. That could only happen in a small town. And all the time he was talking to K he kept looking at me. I don't know why, but it was funny. So K has a job at last. 5 hours a day at .65 an hour. $3.25 a day. I don't know how many days a week yet, nor when payday comes. In L.A. we could save money on that, but here it may, if we are careful, enable us to break even.
Both food and rent is very high, and getting higher. One pays .40 for a .10 L.A. meal or .50 for one no better than the chink gives you for .15 in the cheapest place we can find in town. A can of salmon packed here costs twice as much here as the same can would cost in L.A.!
K. has to work from 7 to 12 a.m. Then another shift goes on at 12:30 and works 5 hours. I don't know how long it will last, or how long he will last at it. If it rains he won't have the clothes to stand it and they cost too much to buy unless one was certain the job would last some time. Maybe we'll have a dry spell. I am told that the day we got here brought the first rain in 3 weeks -- a terrible drought! Already we have had 5 or 6 days without rain again! I sleep very little here and so does K. The change in climate, or something, makes it almost impossible to sleep. Besides, the people here all stay up and make noise almost all night. The chambermaid (I thought she was Swede, but she is Norwegian) says no one sleeps much in the summer. She has been here 13 yrs and likes it very much. Previously was 7 yrs in Seattle and 5 in N.Y. after coming from Norway. She has her children and one grandchild all here too. I suppose this is better than Norway or N.Y.
There is some prospect of a canning strike and there is already a trollers strike which has delayed opening canneries for a month. They have cut the price of fish below last year's price. One cannery is working, buying fish from non-striking trollers. They also are offering only .45 an hour for men this year and there is some sort of agitation to try to get .65 for men and .55 for women. I don't know what it will come to.
The Sec'y of Commerce came here yesterday on a big coastguard boat. He's going to speak here July 4th when the town plans big doings. We will take a walk down the beach to get away from it, I guess. Another coast guard boat, the "Alert" is here all the time. The crew has a baby black bear less than 2 ft long for mascot. Very cute. Wish I could send him to you. They get him about three weeks ago. You could tell your landlady he was an Alaskan Doggie. He plays just like a kitten, climbs all over everything on the boat. They have him on a cracker and milk diet at present.
We expect the "Alaska" in today -- late -- and I hope to have mail from you on it. If so I'll add another page to this before I send it. I read in some paper that after July 1 airmail would be only 6 cents instead of 8, but I inquired at this P.O. and they said they did not know anything about it. Do you? This P.O. is like the one at Hawthorne anyway. They never know anything. I asked then if mail from U.S. would come on the C.P.R. boat last week and they "didn't know." But the hotel man said the C.P.R. boats had been bringing U.S. mail regularly for 25 years! Shipping mail from Seattle to Vancouver makes an additional delay now. Mail to reach Sat boat out of Vancouver may get there if it is in Seattle Fri a.m. but Thurs would be safer. We are supposed to get mail via Alaska line from Vancouver too, but till the two boats they have here now (Aleutian and Northwestern) get back to Vancouver and turn around (which will take at least 8 days more) there will be no certainty of my getting any mail except what the C.P.R. boat leaving there Sat brings up. And the C.P.R. boat leaving here on Sat for the South is the one regular one we can depend on either, as the Northland boats don't carry mail. It means that if I get a letter from you on a Tues noon you should not look for an answer before the following Tue or Wed. The actual time in transit is only about 4 days each way, with good luck. But in practice it means that two weeks after you mail a letter to me you get an answer to that particular letter. I'll try to send a letter by each mail boat, however.
If K likes his work and it likes him, and if it pays our expenses, it might be beset for us to stay here while he can work at least till the strike is over.
I see the police tear-gassed the crowd on the corner in Seattle where I used to speak. They said it was a "mistake!" I don't know if meetings are still allowed there of not.
If I have the money here to get out on whenever I want to I suppose I won't feel so badly. Keep all but $100 till I tell you otherwise. Better put it in P.O. too, on your name. If I had not closed out my P.O. acc't in L.A. you could put part there where it would keep till I got there. I suppose I'll be in L.A. sometime again! But...I'm afraid of banks. If you should have to leave L.A. suddenly some other arrangement would have to be made. In that case I suppose you could open a checking acc't at Calif. Bank in my name and for me so I could draw on them by mail. They have a banking by mail dept. That is, in case you left suddenly and we had no time to plan a better scheme. It is hard to cash a P.O. money order drawn on one town in any other town, so I would not want you to send M.O. to any place unless I was sure to be there long enough to get it. As I told you in my last letter the transfer cost is only $3.92 per $100 on money wired here, and to send the hundred that way, to K, at this hotel. I can't have it come here in my own name, or identify myself as Mrs. K -- that why I say send it to him instead of to me.
Mrs. D said in her letter you were going to make some curtains for the hall, but did not have the money. Do you know that the Broadway store used to make them free if you bought the material from them? Sometimes you can get it cheap enough there, too. I suppose I ought to do something for the hall to help you folks out, while and when I can. If you don't get your curtains before that, and if you want to do so, you can take $10 (if you need that much) from my part of R's money when you get it and buy your curtains and donate them to the hall. Make it either a donation from you, or me, or both, as you choose. I think $10 will do it. 6 windows, 2 curtains to each window. I don't remember the height, but each curtain will have to be 18 in longer than the window frame to allow for hem and shrinkage when washed. I should think that you would have to have them at least 3 1/2 yds long. That's 7 yds per window and 6 windows in 42 yds. Even if you have to get 50 yds I should think you could get plain cotton marquisette in cream color from 20 cents a yard and that would be $10 for 50 yds. If you need only 42 yds you could pay .25 cents and only cost 10.50. I would not want to put much over 10.00 into it, but a dollar or two more, if necessary to get good material, would not matter. Maybe you can do better at Sears Roebuck; though then I guess you'll have to make them up yourself.
Until we get the 100 from you, K will need to keep his card here to help identify himself; after that I think he will send it to you to be transferred.
Friday p.m., June 29
There will be another mail going south 7 a.m. Sat so I'll drop this in P.O. tonight. I won't send it air mail because it won't matter if you get it a couple days later. K has worked two days, breaking big rocks so as to get them small enough for the rock crusher. I guess he finds it pretty hard, at first. So far, no more rain, though it is cloudy. (K. says he's getting used to it now!)
We have three boats going south today and tomorrow, for the first time this week. The U.S. is sending a lot of gunboats, submarines and airplanes up this way, for some reason. Two destroyers here yesterday, and town full of sailors. Maybe they want to scare Japan a bit.
I was up at the library all a.m. reading Seattle papers which came in yesterday. We get out outside news in bundles, once or twice a week. It seems as though the Seattle police are not taking their strike breaking duties very seriously, on the whole. They stick to the letter of the order and let the spirit go. It seems the new mayor is not making as big a hit as he hoped.
This town is to have an old fashioned 4th of July -- already the bang, bang of fireworks is heard. Probably the town is too wet to burn, but if it every got dried out it would all burn up. Streets in the older part are wooden planks, also sidewalks and almost all buildings of cheap wood construction. I send Graves a card yesterday but I guess he won't get it till July 5th. No roast ducks this year. If we had got R's cash sooner I figured you folks could eat down there and we'd eat ours up here -- or in Seattle, but I guess it will have to be slightly delayed.
I really think R will get the money as soon as possible as he probably wants to get back to see about his place; I suppose he doesn't dare leave till he gets his share for fears he won't get it. Also I suppose a little of the stock and money sticks in his pockets and probably his drawing wages from the estate for taking care of store, or something. Did he send you the watch you spoke of? Might as well get what you can out of him. I suppose he must send Kane money for feed for bossy, etc. If R. gets $10,000 for his share, he'll be lucky; but he'll eat himself to death inside of a year! Unless he gets an idea he can drive his own car, then the end will be quicker.
K sent Erwin a card with two bears on it. Since then I've seen the same thing is a photograph and if I can I will get one for you before I leave town.
I hope Roser completes the deal soon, before he changes his mind and decides to emigrate to Kansas of something. I don't really think he'd do that, but he might die first, if he don't hurry up with it.
K. says the work was not so bad today. It's lucky, in one way, that it is only 5 hrs, though we could use more money. I have to feed him so he can work and food costs money in this town.
As near as I can figure it out there won't be another mail going south till July 7th so I'd better mail this now. We now have two regular Canadian boats each way each week -- leaving here Sat and Sun on two different lines, but only one takes mail. And the Alaska line boats are all South now except those 2 over at Nome and they probably won't stop here on the way South.
K said it wasn't so bad today, and the foreman who is over him told him he need not work so hard when the Big Boss wasn't around, If he stands the first week it won't be so bad -- unless it rains too much. He did not find out when payday comes but I'm hoping the money I have left will feel us -- especially him, till payday. Otherwise he might have to quit work to draw his pay. I ate in the room yesterday but went to the restaurant once today. prices. However, they do put out a larger meal than they would in L.A. K got soup, 6 sausages, 3 potatoes, large dish of mashed potatoes and one of spaghetti, bread, pudding and coffee. About twice as much as the chink would give of each, of thrice as much money as he'd want. The point is there are no small sized cheap meals to be had here. Custom of the country seems to demand a big meal and prices correspond. Although I was pretty hungry this noon, and had eaten no breakfast, I got more than I could eat. Soup, scrambled eggs and ham (a lot of ham) toast, break and butter, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, pudding and coffee. One meal a day does for me all right enough.
Write to me as often as you can. When the boat brings me nothing, I don't feel so very cheerful about it!
Sat. June 30
I really can't afford it, but I want to send you these pictures. They are photos made here at 5 cents apiece. You might give Mary the dog is you like. Maybe you could sell the photo of the bears to the Times. I don't they are copyrights. There's nothing on them to indicate it. If you could I could get some more -- deer, bear, Mt. sheep, etc. All 5 cents each and some very good. I don't' know when the mail will go south but I'll drop it in the box any way.
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