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The old farm house The Lang 'Oil Boom' Genealogical humour Fogs, pools and walls Common ancestors Melvin Quale Mom's stash of letters My sister May
of Family Tree Research
Here is an item
from ScienceDaily titled,'Family Tree Research Can Open a 'Pandora's
Box' of Secrets That May Cause Rifts, Research Says'. It appears that
this is not the innocent pass time I thought it was. I guess it
matters on how prepared people are for their ancestors being 'human'
and how much relative get along. Here is the article.
“People researching their ancestors
can open a "Pandora's Box" of secrets that may cause
conflict and widen rifts in the family, new research says. While most
people derive pleasure and satisfaction from researching their
ancestry, for some it brings to light "secrets and skeletons,"
the study says.
Dr Anne-Marie Kramer, of the University
of Warwick, told the British Sociological Association's annual
conference in Glasgow (April 9) that of 224 people who gave her
details of family history research, around 30 mentioned conflict.
The main causes were: uncovering
unwelcome information, wanting information from relatives who didn't
wish to give it, giving relatives inaccurate information, spending
more time researching than with loved ones, and coming into contact
with hostile relatives. [see below for examples]
Dr Kramer analysed responses to
questions about family history research put to people taking part in
the Mass Observation Project, based at the University of Sussex, in
which people volunteer to write about their lives as a record of
Of the 224 replies, 140 were from women
and 83 from men (and one gender unknown), aged between 16 and 95 and
based across the UK. The accounts are from people researching their
family history or from the relatives and friends of those carrying
out the research.
Dr Kramer noted that in most cases
people wrote positively about researching their family's history.
People found pleasure in making discoveries, investigating family
myths and mysteries and making their ancestors real by finding out
more about their lives. In some cases, the research could help mend
rifts in families. However, not all experiences were entirely
Dr Kramer told the conference: "Along
with the USA, Canada and Australia, contemporary British society is
immersed in a seemingly unprecedented boom in the family heritage
"The public is enjoying
unparalleled public access to historical records in archives both
material and digital, while social networking genealogy websites such
as Genes Reunited facilitate the publication of virtual family trees
alongside the 'rediscovery' of long-lost 'cousins'.
"Meanwhile, the media has been
flooded with celebrity genealogy stories, with the BBC TV flagship
programme, Who Do You Think You Are? reaching audiences of over five
"But in investigating their family
history, researchers could open up a Pandora's Box of secrets and
skeletons, such as finding there are family issues around paternity,
illegitimacy or marriage close to birth of children, criminality,
health and mental health and previously unknown humble origins.
"The rifts are not confined to the
historic past -- bitterness and resentment towards siblings or
parents can result where information is not disclosed."
Dr Kramer gave some examples:
Bringing hostile relatives into
One 56-year-old woman wrote: "After
my father died in 1999, my brother actually fought me over the
[family] tree, despite his previous total lack of interest. He
insisted my grandfather's WWI medals be split between us, and took
photocopies of all my letters to Dad that Dad had kept."
Forgetting the living:
A 31-year-old man wrote: "It is
something of an annoyance to my mother that her own sister can travel
to [places abroad] to speak to a distant cousin she never knew
existed but cannot get on a train to come and see her own sister as
it is deemed too far. Such is family life: spoonfuls of love but
bubbling beneath lots of grudges, bruised feelings and massive chips
on shoulders -- none of which are ever discussed with the offending
A 72-year-old woman wrote: "I have
a friend, who, when his mother died, found information to the effect
that his sister was adopted. He has not given the information to his
sister and is very uncomfortable about holding the knowledge. "
One 70-year-old woman wrote: "The
fact that my grandmother was pregnant when she was married and that
my parents were also in the same situation before I was born were
matters that some felt were better not revealed. For some this
information was unwelcome and an elderly cousin accused me of
uncovering secrets that were best left hidden."
A 64-year-old woman wrote: "Family
history research can stir up a nest of hornets. For example, it
emerged that my mother-in-law 'had' to get married. She had always
been very dismissive about their [wedding] anniversary, but when we
looked into the records, it was rather too close to my elder
brother's birthday! Of course, nobody minds about that these days,
but she feels deeply ashamed."
A 40-year-old woman wrote: "I was
very interested in family history research but then decided I didn't
like most of the people I'm related to, so have partially abandoned
the research. Sometimes you reveal more about your ancestors than you
bargain for, and not all of it is nice to know."
A 68-year-old woman wrote: "My
mother and her sister didn't know they had had an older sister who
had died when she was three."
One 45-year-old woman wrote that they
found that a relative was not a naval officer, as had been thought:
"When we announced that fact -- oooh what an outcry. It took a
lot of persuading, and they still resist to this day. We are more
careful now, about what we say to the older aunties and grandparents.
They have their cherished ideas about the family and there is no
point to our upsetting them."
The same woman wrote about the shock
and anger experienced by her mother-in-law on discovering that her
grandparents had been less 'respectable' than outward appearances
suggested: "My mother-in-law had always known that her
grandfather had married the woman who had been a maid in his fathers
house… when we revealed that her grandmother… had given birth to
a child, who had died within a few weeks at most, before they married
-- she denied it completely, at first. Later, when convinced, she was
absolutely furious. It transpired that she had suffered much at the
hands of the 'respectable' grandparents with their rigid Edwardian
morality and preaching about respect and 'the right way to do
things'. To discover such a degree of hypocrisy was a great shock."
Passing judgment on the living:
One 67-year-old woman without children
who had been married several times wrote of a family tree sent to her
by a cousin: "I also hated the fact that there was a line
following each marriage with the words 'No issue'."
Creating tensions in the
A 40-year -old woman wrote: "My
father talks at length about his background (whether you want to hear
it or not!) and it's very much his interpretation of events, very
biased. Fortunately we met his parents ourselves and were able to
form our own opinions (quite different to his). As I said, he holds
most of the information on our family history and is unwilling to
part with anything of real interest, which is a shame."
One 70-year-old woman said that the
invitation to write about family history research had: ."
..raised a wry smile because my husband is into family history
research in a big way. It is his constant topic of conversation and
it is driving us up the wall."
Wanting information they have
no right to:
A 67-year-old woman (mentioned above)
wrote: "About 40 years ago a male cousin on my mother's side,
whom I had never met, got in touch having been given my address by
the cousin I'm friendly with. He was, it seems, compiling a family
tree. My cousin had given him details of myself and my three
marriages and he wanted further details of my husbands and former
husbands. What cheek, I thought and how intrusive."
Positive aspects of family tree
One 56-year-old woman wrote: "It's
great to be able to pass on memories of family members no longer with
us, and to learn more about the life they would have had. I think it
helps you to feel connected -- and also to do honour to people who
are no longer with us."
A 56-year-old man wrote: "My
parents and grandparents all died before I was 25 and as many
youngsters suddenly find it was too late to ask the questions that
now seem most important. So when I had the chance I gathered little
bits of information when I could. When my daughter's mother died when
my daughter was three I thought it would be good to have some
information about her family roots if ever she needed it."
Dr Kramer said the growing popularity
was under-researched, and further work was needed to understand the
role of family history in people's everyday individual and family
lives, as well as why so many felt it was important to explore their
Greetings to my cousins
Cousins are the first friends of
your life. When you grow up, they are still your friends. Cousins are
there as childhood friends and when we are older as forever
friends....No one will ever understand your crazy family like your
cousins. - I don't remember where I got this quote and didn't
know who wrote it when I found it, but apparently Koolbreeze (who
ever he is – large Afro-American I think) takes the credit on
Twitter, although I had it before I ever visited Twitter. Good quote
I have a number of circles of
cousin-friends. There are cousins, near my age, that I played with as
a child. There are just a handful of these: Harold, Hugh, Jean,
Marjorie, Connie, Lorna. There would be older and younger cousins
around but these were the ones that I played with – my
cousin-peers. There are cousins that I feel especially close to
because I have lived with them at some time: Marcia, Madeline,
Then there are cousins that I have
known all my life and feel very cousiny towards - but because of age difference or
distance they lived away, are not as close, there are about 15 of them. And finally
there are cousins I have seldom seen (or never). A group of
second cousins and the 'once removed' ones – seen and not seen.
Step cousins, cousins-in-law, very distant cousins, honourary cousins
and so on stretch off into the misty distance. This is what happens
with big families.
When I was young, I once made a list of
all my cousins of various sorts. Some have died since then and some
have been born or acquired in various ways. As a child I had about 30
first cousins; the count was well over 100 when all second cousins
were added, and well over 300 when all the 'removed', step, and
in-law were added in. I am sure they have been multiplying while I
have not been looking. Genealogy has add many distant ones that I
knew nothing about as a child.
I wish all my cousins (of whatever
kind) a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Benefits of Genealogy
Here is a posting by Christian Jarrett
in the British Psychological Society Research Digest website:
“Previously, psychologists have shown
that thinking about our own mortality - 'where we're going' - prompts
us to shore up our cultural world view and engage in self-esteem
boosting activities. Little researched until now, by contrast, are
the psychological effects of thinking about where we came from - our
Anecdotally, there's reason to believe that such
thoughts are beneficial. Why else the public fascination with
genealogy and programmes like the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Now
Peter Fischer and his colleagues at the Universities of Graz, Berlin
and Munich have shown that thinking about our ancestors boosts our
performance on intelligence tests - what they've dubbed 'the ancestor
'Normally, our ancestors managed to overcome a multitude
of personal and society problems, such as severe illnesses, wars,
loss of loved ones or severe economic declines,' the researchers
said. 'So, when we think about them, we are reminded that humans who
are genetically similar to us can successfully overcome a multitude
of problems and adversities.'
An initial study involved 80
undergrads spending five minutes thinking about either their
fifteenth century ancestors, their great-grandparents or a recent
shopping trip. Afterwards, those students in the two ancestor
conditions were more confident about their likely performance in
future exams, an effect that seemed to be mediated by their feeling
more in control of their lives.
Three further studies showed that
thinking or writing about their recent or distant ancestors led
students to actually perform better on a range of intelligence tests,
including verbal and spatial tasks (in one test, students who thought
about their distant ancestors scored an average of 14 out of 16,
compared with an average of 10 out of 16 among controls). The
ancestor benefit was mediated partly by students attempting more
answers - what the researchers called having a 'promotion
These benefits weren't displayed by students in
control conditions that involved writing about themselves or about
close friends. Moreover, the ancestor effect exerted its benefit even
when students were asked to think about negative aspects of their
'We showed that an easy reminder about our ancestors
can significantly increase intellectual performance,' the researchers
said. 'Hence, whenever people are in a situation where intellectual
performance is extraordinarily important, for example in exams or job
interviews, they have an easy technique to increase their
Fischer and his colleagues emphasised their research is
at an exploratory phase. Future work is needed to find out what other
benefits thinking of ancestors might have, and also to uncover other
possible mediating factors, which they speculated might have to do
with 'processes of social identity, family cohesion, self-regulation
or norm activation elicited by increased ancestor salience.'”
This should be taken with a grain of salt. It seems unlikely that
thinking about ancestors and not other things such as famous naval
battles or the evolution of dogs or famous composers, has this
particular effect. Still I intend to use it as an excuse for the
time I spend on ancestors.
Said at Mother's funeral
After mother died, I sent a small
letter to those receiving the cousin letter and a few others. This is
a repeat of some of that mailing.
I was a little girl, I was troubled about what happened to someone’s
memory after all the people who know them had died. Mom explained
that even after you were not remembered, your influence remained.
was as if each of your actions was a little pebble thrown into the
water. The ripples from that action spread across the water. They got
weaker as they travelled out but they never entirely faded away.
is comforting to know that mother’s influence was so positive and
touched so many people. So many little ripples are spreading near and
will all miss her. That does not mean we wished her to continue to
live in pain. At 90 years, her life was in a sense complete. It was a
life that was very well lived, leaving a lake full of lovely ripples.
Reid gave a eulogy:
1915, May was born into Clarence and Vi Wight’s family, which was
in mourning at the time. Little Marian had died. That left five
children, the oldest thirteen. Aunt Marjorie once told me they
weren’t quite sure if they needed another baby right away but, when
she arrived, that beautiful little girl brought joy and hope into a
home that needed just that kind of boost.
I was eight, I lived one winter and spring with May in a little
teacherage in Marjorie and Walter Barmby’s farmyard. May and I ate
at Marjorie’s table but we slept at our own place. I was a awkward
child, a difficult job for a young single woman. Yet, May looked
after me well. No doubt about it, she kept me in line, but somehow I
knew she was always on my side.
just nine years old, whatever the weather, drove May, Marian and me
to Dawn View School in the bobsled or buggy. I had no idea that May’s
innovative teaching was so far ahead of her time. Before schools had
noon lunch programs, Dawn View students took turns cooking something
simple for their classmates each day, perhaps chocolate pudding,
tapioca, macaroni and cheese or tomato soup.
benefit of a piano, she taught us to sing songs like “I’m Forever
Blowing Bubbles”, “Flow Gently Sweet Afton”, “When Irish Eyes
are Smiling”, and “Marsie-doats.” Every day after lunch, she
read us a story or poem. Often,the poem, Little Batiste, or the story
of Pollyanna, brought tears to her eyes. She cried easily. She used
to say, “My eyeballs sweat a lot.”
the experts had devised the method they now call Quality Teaching,
she let us learn Canadian History by writing the answers to test
papers as many times as it took to get them all right. She kept the
question sheets in envelopes in a shoe box, one sheet for every
chapter of the text book. As we learned about the early explorers and
pioneers at out own speed, we never got a failing mark.
we were in the middle of the dirty thirties, perhaps because she
liked to paint landscapes herself, she taught us to appreciate the
complex beauty of the land, the mirages and rainbows, dawns and
sunsets, meadowlarks, chickadees, robins and geese, quick gophers
scurrying into their holes, wild flowers, yellow carragana buds sweet
to the taste, and clouds riding the wind.
her career, she took her unique teaching style to the schools where
she taught. Her style included giving children opportunity to develop
their own special talents. I recall her telling me about one little
boy in Grade two at Davin School in Regina who loved to write poetry.
He told her, “My poems come like dreams. I have to catch them on
paper before they fade away.” She gave him a book for his poems and
permission to stop whatever he was doing in class, so he could write
his poems down on the spot and not lose any of his precious poetry.
She taught individuals, not classrooms of children. Her students and
their parents speak well of her to this day.
I grew up, I often visited May at Lang or in Regina. She taught me
many skills, everything from spool-knitting to making carrot pie,
from decorating wedding cakes to giving myself a home permanent. The
most generous thing she ever did for me was a cook the turkey dinner
at my wedding reception in 1950.
our family, we’ve known many wonderful aunts, uncles, grandparents,
nieces and nephews, cousins, off-shoot relative and special friends.
Some people wonder at the way we keep in touch so well. Likely it
looks to them that we already have too much on our plates, but it
seems that, down deep, we know that our lives are richer for every
relative and friend we have and we can always make room for more. May
believed in that philosophy. She attended every Wight family reunion
since the first one in 1967.
was right when she said years ago, “We found out we couldn’t live
without May.” There’s no set limit to the number of children that
completes a family, how many friends and relatives it takes to
complete our happiness or how many years to make a full life, nor is
there any degree of success that qualifies us to belong. Everyone of
us, imperfect, off-beat, contrary or considerate, becomes essential
to those around us. We are part of each other.
May is gone. It was her time, death no longer her enemy. Her pain
over, she left at peace. Her influence and achievements remain.
Today, we are here together to celebrate the gift of May Quale’s
friend, Dorothy Dreger, shared her memories:
is an honour to be asked to say a few words about my long time
friend. May was a talented lady. She was a writer, artist, gardener –
we all admired her lovely flowers. She did needlework and crafts and
she had great organizing skills. She willing gave of herself and her
have May to thank for our Lang Syne history book. She organized the
project and saw it through to its completion.
lady had a great sense of humour. We went on several trips with the
Quales. One incident comes to mind. We were in southern California
and stopped at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. The menu was in
Spanish so we had no idea what we ordered. But with each meal we got
a huge type of pancake (10-12”). While we were eating it started to
rain. When we were finished our meal, May put her pancake on her head
and walked out of the café and out to the car with her pancake
umbella. She left the lady at the till with her mouth open. But May’s
hair was dry.
you went to visit, it wasn’t long before May would say, “Would
you like a game of tile?” The purse with the rummy tiles was always
close by and the game was on. I am sure many of you, like myself,
have many happy memories of time spent with our friend.
Wilberts gave a portrait too:The old farm house - May Quale 1990
are her notes:
are things all over my house that remind me of my Aunt May
piece of Pottery
– some hanging from ceiling fan chains
things she made from shells
bookmark from Norway
taught me how to fold sheets
to enjoy the benefits of KIFER
to make & prepare different foods
to make bacon for a crowd (reunion)
laughed & cried together
was a wonderful teacher. But she loved to learn and did me an honour
by wanting to learn some things from me, that I had learned from
most of all she loved children and they loved her. She made them feel
special. She named their toes:
children did not want her and Mel to leave after they were at our
home for a visit. Our son Chris went out and let the air out of their
children didn’t want to say goodbye
It stood alone and boarded up five years ago when my brother, Calvin,
and I went to see that old house where we were born. It was so dark
inside we had to use flashlights to explore, but at least the swallows
had not built their muddy nests anywhere as they did in so many old,
abandoned houses. The present owner declared that the place was
haunted. He claimed that strange things went on in the night. Stuff
moved around and there were funny noises and flickering lights. He
asked if I knew of anyone who had died in that house.
We walked through the empty rooms and up the creaky, worn stairs,
remembering how things used to be when we were kids. As we peeked out
through the boards covering the little diamond window in the hall, we
recalled Mother's big vegetable garden and her flowers under the
In the big bedroom there once had been a divider to make two smaller
rooms. It was a built-in wall that had a clothes closet opening on each
side with cupboards up above for storage. The side of this wall in my
old room had a book case and a neat little desk that opened out for a
study area. We looked down through the hole in the bedroom floor where
the stove pipe came up from the space heater used in winter. That had
been a good place to eavesdrop on conversations in the parlor.
Then we wandered into the other room which had been our parent's
bedroom. Light flooded in when we pried open the door to their little
balcony. We stepped out on the tin roof over the kitchen. The yard
looked different; it had been rearranged and only a few of the old
buildings were still in use.
Back in the bedroom we examined the dusty little closet over the
stairs. But we found nothing that had ever belonged to our family. We
recalled the boxes of apples Mother often stacked against the wall in
the winter. Sometimes we would be sent up for a bowl of the fruit to
pass around in the evening.
From the hallway we turned to go up to the attic. Until I was tall
enough to see out the little window at the end, I was always mixed up
in my directions there. I think when I was a baby and was carried up
those stairs, I failed to make that turn in my mind. I had trouble
finding the things Mothers sent me for. When she would ask, “May,
please get me the towel on the east line”, I would be lost.
The attic was always a favourite place to play on a cold or rainy day.
But the old magazines, letters and papers were all gone. The tin bath
tub and the toilet were on more. With the flashlight we could see the
nails in the rafters that had held the lines where Mother used to dry
the washing in the winter.
So we went back down again to the old dining room. We tried the sliding
doors opening into what had been the parlor. That was where the piano
used to be and Dad's big roll top desk. The wall dividing the two main
rooms had been moved. The parlor was smaller and seemed to have been
used as a bedroom.
Out in the kitchen the partitions had been removed. There had been a
pantry and a tiny bedroom where Mother used to take her five minute
naps. The sink and the old pump remained and there was a cook stove. It
was not the wood burning Fireco that graced the kitchen when we were
young. We talked about how we could sit on the oven door when we needed
to get warm.
Our parents used to tell about the time they came to Saskatchewan from
Nebraska to start a new farm. Dad purchased the land in 1910 near the
farms of Uncle Lucien and Uncle Harold. Then he came to Lang with a
boxcar load of equipment and livestock. Mother didn't come until the
At the age of 33 years, Mother had six children. Gaylord was nine,
Marjorie seven, Myrtle six, Wayne four, Mildred three and baby Marian
two months ago. Our Aunt Minnie Wight accompanied them on the train to
help with the children. But they all behaved perfectly. However, our
aunt certainly was needed later when they all came down with the
Dad had written to Mother asking her to delay her coming for a time as
he did not have the house ready for them. But they left before the
letter reached Gibbon. The family arrived in Lang early in March and
had to stay in Uncle Lucien's home until Dad had two granaries arranged
for a temporary residence.
That summer of 1911 was a busy one. Brother Gaylord loved to tell about
the huge steam engine used to break the virgin sod for farming. And the
house was being built. Dad asked Mother to lay out a plan of how she
wanted the rooms arranged. She knew that where ever she was working the
six children would be with her and she wanted just one big room. So,
that was the way it was finished. Later when the children were older
a wall was added to divide the big room into a dining room and a parlor.
The present owner had asked me who might have died in the house. I only
knew of two. When our sister, Marian, was just over a year old she
contracted whooping cough. It so affected her that she stopped growing.
She never walked or talked again. Mother cared for her constantly often
rocking her all night to keep her from crying or having seizure. Her
short life ended one summer night when she just was five and a half. It
was a sad chapter in our family history.
Grandpa Krewson came to live with us after Grandma died. He and I liked
to play croquet out in the yard. During a game one evening he took
sick and went to lie down. Mother and I cared for him for several weeks
that summer. We made a bed for him in the parlor so we could be near
him. My sisters, Mildred and Myrtle, came home from their nursing
training to help and Aunt Lois came from High River, too. Grandpa saw
spots before his eyes from ruptures on his retina. I remember how he
had me swat the imaginary flies he saw on the ceiling. His system was
filled with poison.
One day he called us all to his bedside. He kissed each of us then
closed his eyes and died. I was only thirteen and will never forget
Though Calvin and I were the only survivors of our family, when I was
asked who had died in the house I recalled only those two. I associate
life not death with the old house.
Last fall I met the owner again, we started to talk about the house.
When he said, “Last night I burned it”, I felt so numb I couldn't
speak. I guess if there were spirits living in that house they have
moved to live in me.
The Lang 'Oil Boom'
Story in Lang Syne written by Ralph Barmby:
This version of the story of the oil boon was related to me by Mr. Dick
Cardiff when I was quite a young teenager enjoying a few puffs of
Ogden's Fine Cut in the furnace room of the Land School, where Dick was
In the event this man's history may be bypassed, I must tell you
something of my good friend. I believe he came from Brussels, Ontario.
He operated one of the livery stables when he first came to Lang, and
for a while took mail into the Ogema and Bengough area before the
advance of steel to those areas. Later he was employed by George Croft,
also Ralph Creasy and Wm. Galusha, the latter two being contractors. He
was janitor of the school and Imperial Oil agent for awhile. ... He was
a quiet man with a good sense of humour, and had a real understanding
of the younger generation. A true friend of mine.
With the rapid development of the uses of the internal combustion
engine, people became aware of the importance of petroleum. The stories
of the fabulous wealth with the discovery of the “Black Gold” in such
places as Oklahoma, Texas, and California, reached peoples' ears. If
oil could be found in the grasslands of Texas and Oklamona, why not in
the grassland south of the Moose Jaw Creek? One of Lang's business
promoters hired a couple of men and secured a windlass, and the search
for wealth in the grassland was on.
At some depth, a small amount of water was found. I must mention at
that time one of the chief lubricants was steam cylinder oil, being
black in color. Having a good supply of the oil on hand to lubricate
the windlass, one of the men upset the container into the well, and
remarked to the other that it looked like they had struck oil.
Whereupon they returned to Lang to quench their thirst in the local
watering hole, known as the open bar in those days, where a glass of
beer could be purchased for five cents. There they told of how the oil
was flowing into the well. The news spread like wildfire, and several
of the leading businessmen rushed out with their fast driving horses
and buggies to verify the fact. They tried a rope to a buggy whip and,
lo and behold, it was dripping with the “Black Gold”! They were
exuberant and their usually sober faces beamed, because down there was
all the evidence that was needed. They were standing on top of a
fortune bubbling crude!
The horses were not spared on the return trip to Lang. Immediately a
company was formed and shares were sold, many believing that in a short
while they could keep company with John D. Rockefeller. For several
days the watering hole with its brass spitoons and foot rail was the
scene of many a toast, as even the temperate ones who sat in the front
pew of the church, and who occasionally shouted “Amen”, were now
celebrating their new found wealth. And instead of saying “Amen” they
learned the meaning of such expressions as “bottoms up” and “down the
The bubble soon burst, and many were happy to forget the whole episode.
The saints and the sinners parted company. The sinners went about their
daily tasks, and the righteous back to the front pews.
Something light for the Christmas season. I'm old enough to remember when this was a popular song played on the radio in '47.
Many many years ago when I was twenty three,
I got married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
And soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse,
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle,
Then that also made him brother
to the widow's grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son,
Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
For he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue,
Because, although she is my wife,
She is my grandma too.
If my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it,
It simply drives me wild.
For now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!!
written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe
pools and walls
run into walls when looking for ancestors. Harry Nicholson called
them fog banks in this couple of paragraphs from his website.
many others I've a passion for genealogy, but much of what I've
uncovered is little more than names in faded ink alongside the dates
of baptisms, marriages and burials. Personality is not to be found;
we don’t see tears or hear cries of joy, there are no flushed
cheeks and beating hearts, no whisperings in the night time.
search and, if lucky, find slight scraps of each generation until we
reach a fog bank. That mist wall marks the darkness before the start
of church registers (in England, 1566). This is the furthest we can
journey in search of ancestors – unless they were aristocrats or
notorious rebels. I’ve trodden this way, back to a mysterious
ancestor: Lancelot Horsley (probably a fisherman). In 1573, he buried
his first wife and two infants, then remarried and had two healthy
sons. That is all I’ll ever know of him; his beginnings are on the
far side of that 1566 barrier.”
me there are two kinds of deadend. There is the feeling that the
ancestors have become numerous and at the same time similar. They
almost all come from a single culture and an intermarrying braid of
families. Somehow it no longer is a question of individuals but of a
group in a particular time and place. Names and dates are no longer
as interesting as the culture, the history of the people and the
nature of the place. Not so much a fog hiding the past as a melting
of individuals into a common pool. That is the way I feel about my
Yorkshire ancestors, the NewEngland Puritan ones, Quaker ones and the
New Amsterdam Dutch ones. At about the point where the detailed
information runs out, it also becomes somewhat irrelevant.
am sure that would happen with the Midlands ones if I could just
follow them back a bit more but I cannot at present. The feeling is
not of melting into the their world, but of walls hiding interesting
individual ancestors – a Spanish lady, a split family and maybe
another split family.
more recent ancestors where the who-where-whens are fairly well
known, there is enough known of the nature and events of their lives
to make me want to know more. Take Simon Krewson – wouldn't it be
nice to hear his stories of his travels and the gold fields. My
mother said that her interesting ancestors were the Krewsons
Someone asked Dr. Yan Wong – how many generations does it take before
someone alive today is the ancestor of everyone on the planet? He
looked at it going backwards rather than into the future. How long ago
does someone have to lived to be an ancestor to everyone?
To do this calculation, you need to follow all the family lines, not
just one. We have two parents, four grandparents, eight
great-grandparents, and so on. Each generation back, we multiply the
number by two. This leads to what is called an exponential increase: 2,
4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 and so on.
The average time between generations of 25 or 30 years. Imagine the
simplest case of a population of a constant size - say a million. If
people in this population meet and breed at random, it turns out that
you only need to go back an average of 20 generations before you find
an individual who is a common ancestor of everyone in the population.
And at 35 generations everyone in the population will have exactly the
same set of common ancestors (although the family trees will differ
with each having a different path back to those common ancestors). And
about 80% of the population at that time will be the common set of
ancestors and the other 20% will be been heads of genetic dead-ends.
When many die as in famines, wars, or epidemics, the 'inbreeding' is
increased. Separation into small isolated groups (island tribes and
such) increases local 'inbreeding' but decreases global 'inbreeding'.
So how far back do we find the most recent common ancestor of everyone
alive today? Even with isolation of groups it is only about 100
generations or 3000 years.
And 1.8 times further, about 5500 years ago, and we have the single
common set. This is about the time of stonehenge, Summerian writing,
Egyptian pyramids and the like. I think we need to consider that some
areas may not have been part of the mix (the Americas, Australia for
example) and would put back the age of a common set for the whole
world. But it is surprising how little movement of people from one
group to another is necessary.
When someone is descended for a famous person in the distant past
(Charlemagne, William the Conquerer, and so on; famous people whose
families are recorded), it is likely that most of us are too.
Mel was my step-father. He died recently and his ashes will be buried at Lang on June 8. He reached 99 years of age.
Here is his entry in the Lang Syne book with additions from another
document found in mother's papers which is identical in many places.
The additions are in italics:
Melvin was born at Lang on S 1/2 4-11-18 W2nd in 1914. He attended
Heiberg School where the chief sport was racing with neighbor children.
The buggies took a lot of abuse but patient fathers always repaired
them. Sham battles on horseback, another sport, was soon outlawed.
As a boy he was usually constructing something.
Melvin pulled many pranks. One night in 1934, he rode over to
Beck's one night when Norman Heiberg was courting Dorothy and took all
the wheels off Norman's buggy.
After working on various farms, Melvin did carpenter work, studying at
night to get his journeyman ticket. He continued the trade for ten
years, during which he built the locker plant in Yellow Grass and
several other buildings in the district.
He studied, during the winter when he could not work outside, until he
got a wiring license and went into the electrical trade. He obtained a
full contractors license for Sask. and Alberta.
He got started in the electrical
trade thinking he would be working inside when the weather was cold.
But it did not work out that way.
After some time Melvin was able to
write an exam and get his journeyman licence, which he held for around
sixty years. He also held a Sask. electrician construction
license for fifty-one years. He was able to get an Alberta journeyman's
license as well. When he was sixty-five years old the Alberta
Government issued him a life time certificate. The Saskatchewan
Government didn't do that.
In 1955 he married May Barmby (nee Wight) widow of Wallace Barmby. They
moved to Regina where May continued teaching and Melvin established Quale's Electric.
While in Regina he attended night
school and received a certificate as a lighting consultant and a
certicate in accounting. When in Regina Melvin was a member of the
Regina Electric Association and served as a director for a term and
also a term as the president.
Melvin was a member of the Masonic Lodge and served two terms as
Master. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite. He served a term as
Deputy Grand Master of District #20 and also as secretary for two terms.
Melvin was also a founding member of the Regina Scandinavian Club.
In 1977 they retired and moved back to Lang. They built a new house and became involved in the community.
Melvin served a total of nine years as Mayor of Lang.
He devotedly cared for his wife in her final years.
Melvin and May left Lang for a suite in a home for retirees in
Regina. After May died, Melvin returned to his house in Lang and lived
there alone with the help of neighbors (especially Heather Broderick)
as long as he was able. He later was resident in a care home in Weyburn
where he died.
My own remarks:
Melvin was told as a child that he was 'stupid' and his education was
cut shorter than it should have been. This left him with holes in his knowledge of many things and an inferiority complex. He
was dedicated to overcoming this and throughout his life he worked on
self-improvement and learning. So when he was asked about his life, it
is not surprising that he put emphasis on his career. But this showed
in other ways - he was eager to travel and learned a great deal that
way, from trips around N America and Europe. One thing he was not was
stupid. He was good at solving problems and somewhat of a perfectionist
about doing things the intelligent, well thought out way. It was part
of his very special relationship with my mother that she helped him
with things to learn and protected his self-esteem.
I will always be grateful to him for his dedication to mother.
Mom's stash of letters
In clearing Mel's house before its sale
a stash of letters was found and Laura Hoffman saved them for me. The
are three sets (click on links to jump to that group):
Letters from hospital when Dad was
first diagnosed with diabetes in '38
Letters between Mom and Dad when Dad
was in Ontario in winter, also one letter from his mother and two
from Marian '41/'42
A letter from Mom concerning the death
of Myrtle Klinkhammer in '48
At the end is a list of who the people
are – at least the ones I know.
Letters from hospital
Mom and Dad
started seeing each other in the winter of '36-'37 I believe and so
had been courting a year and a bit when Dad became very ill.
Grey Nuns Hospital
Wednesday Feb 23/38
My Dear May
Your a darling for writing me that
letter on Sunday and I hope I get a whole lot more from you. You know
well that I wish you were here but of course that is impossible so
I'm taking it on the chin and liking it. I'm thinking of you all the
time and my dear that is an awful lot in a place like this because
time is all there is here.
I've got hold of a case of diabetes
just about as soon as it started. I guess the first symptoms of it
appeared about the time we were over at Ed and Linda's as far as I
can judge anyway. I think they will soon fix me up so that I'll be
all right. This is my fourth day in here and I feel a great deal
better than I've felt for about 2 or 3 weeks. I've been in bed these
four days. The first two of which I spent on a water diet. Now they
are feeding me bits of a lot of things. This is what I've had so far:
fried ham, roast veal, beafsteaks, canned salmon, boiled eggs,
oranges, grapefruit, toast, bread, peas, beans, carrots, spinach ,
beets, tomatoes fresh and canned, Bovril, tea, coffee and milk –
quite a conglomeration isn't it? You will have quite a time if I have
to stay with a diet, feeding me.
Life here consists of waking at 5 AM –
taking temperatures and washing then breakfast at 7:30 or 8, then
dinner at 11, then visiting hours from 2 to 4, then washing again,
then supper at 5 PM, then visitors from 7 to 8 and then lights out a
10. Some existence don't you think.
Well darling how goes school these
days? The weather looks mild looking out of these windows but I'm
sure I don't know. I hope its not too cold for you going to school
I have a dickens of a time writing
while I'm in bed but I hope you can make it out.
Well darling I must close and hope to
hear from you soon. I hove you May and don't forget it. You know how
With all the love for you May
Saturday (post marked Feb 26)
Well darling I've been in this place a
week now and I'm sort of getting accustomed to it. Hope I will
anyway. I suppose I'll be here for two weeks so that leaves me
another week to go and I hope it sure goes fast.
Just now I'm living on a pretty bum
diet, the real nourishment of it consists of 2 slices of bread each
meal which is darn little for a guy as thin as I am. But just the
same I think I'm getting along alright. I'm still in bed as you might
know by this writing.
I miss you an awful lot May! I wish I
could see you. But I will be seeing you in a weeks time I hope. I
think of you all the time and when I get too blue I get out your
letter and read it over. I sure get a lot of consolation out of it.
It lets me know that you are thinking of me. I wish you were here to
take me home with you and look after me.
Well I guess I'm ranting along too much
but just wait till I see you.
With all my love and everything else I
Your mother was up to see me yesterday
and I was sure glad to see her.
Wednesday Mar 2
Well how goes things with you these
days? In my own case I think everything is going fine. I almost felt
happy today even if I am cooped up in here along with this bunch of
Indians (or you would take them for wild man).
McMillan comes every day to see me and
he says I am doing fine every time he comes which includes this
morning. I'm up and out of bed now and can walk around the ward and
up and down the halls. If you go too far you sure get chased back
again – l hour later. The superviser came along and told me in so
many words to get back to bad and rest an hour so – when in Rome do
as Rome does. Its visiting hours now. I wonder if anyone will be to
see me. I hope so as it helps pass the time a lot quicker.
There is a fellow in the next bed to
mine who is just coming out from the ether and boy is he hard to
handle, wants to get up and he is about as strong as an ox.
Well darling I hope I'm out of here on
Sunday. That will be fifteen days so I should. The Doc said when I
came in it would be about ten days but as usual they stretch it out.
Anyway it won't be long now and I'll get it put in some way or other.
I'm still thinking of you May and
getting a lot of pleasure out of the thinking. So I'll tell you again
that I love you and close with love and yours
Sunday afternoon (post marks Mar 8)
Well darling this is my fifteenth day
in here and I guess it will be twenty before I get out as far as I
can find out from McMillan. Hope I am home by next Sunday anyway and
also hope that I hear from you soon for I miss you about as much as
anything I know of, even getting home. How are you keeping these
days? It had better be all right because we don't want both of us to
get sick at once.
McMillan says that he is going to fix
me up so that I won't have to turn around and come back again in a
few months so guess I am quite willing to stay if he does that for
me. On Saturday morning they tested me out and I have absolutely no
urine sugar and the sugar content of the blood is normal and also every
thing else. My hospital chart shows wonderful progress and I am now
feeling fine. I've gained about 1 ½ lbs a day for the last week and
my face is filling out to normal again. Well that is about all I know
about my condition – it looks good to me.
I had Rands and Tom Howlett and Marian
Winkler to see me this afternoon. It sure is nice to see someone that
you know and it helps put the time in, the longest time seems to be
from dinner till supper. I wish I had you to talk to – then I'd be
happy even in here.
Darling May I want to get a letter from
you for as you know I love you. You know how I feel so Darling I'll
close hoping to hear from you soon.
Lovingly and yours
Letters between Collingwood and Lang
For two months in the winter of
'41-'42, Dad went with his England cousin Phyllis Campbell and her
husband Allan Campbell, their daughter Lorna and Allen's mother Mrs.
Campbell (otherwise referred to as the battleaxe) to where Allan's
relations were in Ontario to find work for the winter. This was the
town of Collingwood on Georgian Bay. Mom and Dad closed up the farm
and moved the animals to other places. Mom stay with her parents in
their farm, at Uncle Walter & Aunt Marjorie's farm when Walter
was ill and at Dad's parents on Lang. The trip was not a great
success. Dad failed to make any money and put a great strain on his
health. He was terribly homesick.
Lang Sask Nov 26 1941
I wonder where you are tonight. It is
10:15 here now. What time have you? Are you having a good trip? I
keep wondering all the time.
Today was a grand day thawing from sun
up to late this evening. It thawed yesterday too. The meat they
butchered Mon hasn't frozen yet. Dad sold 5/8 of the cow & we cut
up the rest in pieces for freezing.
Yesterday John, Edwin & I went by
car to Bechard. We didn't get stuck or have to shovel but boy it was
tough going – low most of the way. John attended a Pool meeting so
I had a good long visit with GC & the girls as they were home
from school before we left.
I haven't heard from your mother yet so
I don't know your address. Would have scribbled a note to send
yesterday if I'd had it. Or today as Arthur W. came by & borrowed
the bob sleigh out of the haymow & went to Bechard.
The road will most likely open up to
Lang as John came up this far with the car today & said it wasn't
bad going today.
Today we washed & dried the clothes
on the line. They really dried too. Also did a boiler of chicken.
That is sterilized them. We had them butchered yesterday.
Dad is feeling real well, surely a lot
better than last fall. Janet has had another cold but it is on the
mend now – didn't last long.
Did you take those pictures? Please
send me some of them. The ones of you anyway.
Did you say anything to Nubbs about
taking that steer into (Porier?) to butcher or shall I make the
arrangements. Gaylord wants a ¼ of it also a turkey so I'll only
have 6 turkeys to dispose of. Maybe I can sell them locally.
I finished reading the Bloody Mohawk.
It really was bloody. We sent it back so I suppose will be getting
another. I think I'll send in a list of books of my own too.
I can't tell you how I miss you. I sure
was hard to let you go. I know I could have kept you but it wouldn't
have been fair. It won't be so bad once we get used to it. Sure hope
you take care of yourself. All my love
Yours till spring
Tomorrow John's & Arthur are going
to Regina via Lang. Dad is going as far as Lang or Milestone or both.
So I'll have a chance to post this & also get your address.
Wonder where you are tonight. Somewhere
in U.S. I suppose. Please write & tell me all about your trip.
I'd sure love to be with you & see it all. How are Phil &
Allan & the others enjoying the trip?
Today was a grand day again, thawing
most of the day. But I'm afraid it will be cooler tomorrow. These few
warm days have been grand. We've been getting lots of odd jobs done
Today was Harold's birthday. Janet &
I wrapped up her picture book to send to him. She got a real thrill
out of it, jabbering all the time. One new word she says a lot is
“Don't”. Right now she's having a tantrum because mother was
putting her to sleep instead of me so we just shut the door &
left her to herself. I guess I've been clamping down too hard on her.
She sure is getting contrary & stubborn. She's been able to play
outside a lot yesterday & today. Tomorrow George Olson is going
to stay with us so she'll have a good play.
Time off for a game of rummy.
Well that was that, such a shameful
waste of time but I guess the folks enjoy it even if I do beat 'em
most of the time. Golly its comical sometimes to hear them going back
Janet finally cried herself to sleep. I
hope it does her some good.
I guess by the time this reaches you our
anniversary will have come & gone. (mushy stuff) I'll write you a
long letter Saturday night.
The folks say to tell you that we all
miss you & if you get too lonesome to come back. I hope you get a
good job soon so you won't have to do that much as I miss you because
that's what you went down for after all.
I suppose Phil has her camera along.
Take some snaps for me eh? & don't forget to send those we did
I did the ironing today & helped
mom butcher 6 roosters. That finishes hers now I'll have to get after
mine. The hens will be first. Some of them look swell but others are
kind of droopy. The young one are doing fine.
Have you gotten yourself some clothes
yet? I hope so. Maybe you should get some marking ink. Did you go
thro St Thomas & see Ralph?
John O have been trying desperately to
get some horses to keep this winter. That is a team to go to town
with. Wish Allan had known about him before.
I would have liked to have gone along
tomorrow & spent the day in Lang but I guess there wouldn't be
room & I'll be needed here anyway.
Did you pay up all our bills in Lang? I
didn't like to ask you about all that on the phone.
The folks go to bad early so I have the
evening more or less to my self to write to you or read or sew. I
kind of like to be to myself for a while.
I better go to bed soon as we have to
get up early.
All my love to my darling husband
Nov 29, 1941
My dear husband,
It was just a week ago today you kissed
me good bye. It seems almost as long ago as that day three years ago
when we head out on our honeymoon. (mushy stuff)
Your mother phoned tonight saying she
had a card from you. Glad you got across the line O.K. Did you get to
I sure was disappointed when Dad came
home from town Fri and didn't bring a card or letter for me. I
suppose you wrote to Ma instead thinking she'd phone & that I'd
be more apt to get it that way. You didn't leave an address do I sent
your letter Gen Del. Hope you get it O.K.
Yesterday Geo & Edwin O stayed with
us while they spent the day in Regina. They are good company &
did Janet enjoy them. They got a kick out of helping me kill 15 old
hens & watching the dressing etc. of them. There were 3 T.B. &
2 layers in the 15. Today I made myself a dress & apron.
Grace phoned me yesterday. They are
having a sort of tea or something in the Cooks honor Tues as it will
be her last meeting. She wanted me to be sure & get in if
possible & stay over there if I liked. Sure hope the roads stay
open long enough. However there is a raw cold wind out of the east
today which isn't so promising.
Marian phoned tonight to offer
congratulations & mother baked a beautiful chocolate cake in
honor of the day. Tomorrow is Churchill's birthday. If we'd waited a
day we sure could kid Perkin's
Janet often asks “where Wally?”
then answers herself “way 'way to town in a car” or sometimes if
I ask her where her daddy is she says “Home”. She surely is happy
here just as if she belonged. Although
she's pretty good she sure keeps us on
our toes. Never a dull moment. My biggest job is to get her to clean
up her plate & to go to sleep by herself. Tonight Mom laid down
beside her & was asleep long before Janet. They're both in there
asleep now tho & Dad's asleep upstairs.
Doc J. talked Dad into keeping his
teeth. He made some adjustments on then so they suit him better. He
eats with them now most of the time. Doc Johnson & Tyerman have
moved into the Hotel. It seems the Bank wouldn't fix up that blg so
they got out.
Mrs. Jaques & Mrs Smith are both in
the hospital & Melvin Rimmer is not very well. I don't know if
he's in any danger tho. That Mrs Watkins you've heard us speak of in
Milestone died. Her funeral will be tomorrow.
There is very little happens around
this neck of the woods & if it did we probably wouldn't hear
about it. So pardon the lack of news.
If the roads stay open we'll probably
get our mail quite often I hope & if not they will start going by
team. So don't fail to write to me often please.
I wonder where you are & hope you
aren't two lonesome tonight. It will be tomorrow for you tho now I
Good night sweetheart and sweet dreams.
Your own loving wife
Chicago Nov 29
Many happy returns of the day May. I am
sure thinking of you today. This is the first chance I have had to
write to you in a little bit of privacy since we started.
This trip is enough to drive a guy to
drink with that old battleaxe of a Mrs. Campbell along. If you think
Hitler is a dictator you should live with this old girl. Today we are
in Chicago at one of her son's in law, pretty ritzy to say the least.
We are going to see the place this PM and I hope it's worth the
trouble. I hope we get to Ontario by Tues that is one week after we
started. We sure saw some great country on our way down. It's been
nice and warm 50 & bright. Wisconsin is the nicest looking state
so far. Well I have to go now so will close. I'll be writing to you
when I can do a good job.
With lots of love from Wally
Tues Dec 2
John is going in today so I'll have a
chance to post this. I may go in too. Sure hope there's a letter from
you. It seems simply ages since you went away but it was only a week
ago today. I imagine you will be in Collingwood by now. Wonder how
long it will take you to land a job.
How is the climate down there? How did
all of you stand the trip? Was Mrs C able to travel the long hours?
Please have a good time, don't get too homesick & don't worry
about us. We're just doing fine.
Janet jabbers away about Daddy coming
home in the spring. If we mention you she cocks her head on the side
& says “spring?” then goes on jabbering about baby chicks &
Sunday Gaylords came over in the car.
They stayed for supper & part of the evening. We sure had a dandy
visit. They want a dozen dressed roosters & 2 turkeys so thats
that many I won't have to can.
Did the seat of your trousers hang
together thro the trip. Sure hope so & do
get yourself some clothes.
Yesterday I made
myself a housecoat. I got 2 more yards like that blue flowered stuff
I had. Boy it made up swell. Sure wish you could see me in it.
The weather has
been grand, thawing almost every day. How the snow banks have shrunk
but there is lots left yet of course. However the cattle can go out
in the field & forage for themselves a lot now.
I will be able
to write a better letter after I've heard from you.
I may put a note
in this when I get to town if I hear from you then. If I don't may
the Lord have mercy on your soul. Letters are unsatisfactory at best
but when they don't come at all well -
reading the “Good Earth”. Its quite a yarn eh. I'm glad we don't
live in China.
The time will go
quickly for me from now till Xmas.
Tomorrow I'm to
help Lily dress turkeys. In return John will help me with mine.
All my love &
please write often & lots.
Your wife May
I got to Collingwood today at about 10
AM. That is about 8 days since I left Lang. I sure didn't get much
kick out of the travel on account of the disagreeable company but the
sight seeing was fine. I had a first class look at Chicago and
Detroit. They are the second and third sized cities in the US.
I sure miss you May. I'm lost without
you. Everything is strange and I'm a long piece for home. I'm
thinking of you most of the time. I'm in a frame of mind to come home
I found three prospects of jobs 20
minutes after I got here this morning so I'll be able to tell you how
I make out tomorrow night. Hope that it will be good.
How are things in Sask? Did it warm up
again? I suppose you have all that snow yet. We didn't see snow after
we crossed the border at Portal.
I talked to Ralph on the phone last
night and he sure was pleased for he left for Mossbank Sask today.
Well May I'm going to close for now and write again tomorrow so bye
bye May. I love you dearly, seems doubly so now!
Love from Wally
How is Janet getting along and all the
rest of the folks? Write to me soon May for I would sure like to hear
from you and also I'll be able to get letters to you now as I like.
Collingwood Ont (in same envelop)
I'm just about nuts today without you.
It's Sunday with nothing to do among strange people, eight miles out
in the wilderness in a country that is so rough that we have to tie
our car to a tree because there is no ground level enough to leave a
car on and to top that off I'm living with the old battleaxe – I
don't know how Phyllis takes it. I will not be able to stand it very
long. Write to me May and the address is General Delivery Collingwood
I've been at work for three days on
construction work in Collingwood on a 200 house job. The work is no
good so I'm looking in the meantime for a good job and I hope that I
can get one or else I'm coming home and believe me it wouldn't take
any coaxing. I hate this damn country and everything in it.
How is Janet? I took one of those
Kodachrome pictures of her and have it with me.
There is all kinds of work here but it
is bull labour and no pay and that is no good for me. It seems that
you have to have a technical school diploma to get a job in the line
that I can do as good as anyone. Did Wayne ever write back to you in
regards the Massy Harris for I've got to do something about getting a
job that I can handle and also makes it worth while in the pay line.
I can buy a good car here for three
hundred dollars – quite a bit cheaper than at home.
Well I'm going to bed now for I have to
get up here at six o'clock, that is 3 am your time. Write to me
Darling for I'm lonely. With all the love in the world, I'm your
Dec 8, 1941
I rec'd the note you wrote while in
Chicago. Why in the world did you wait 3 days to post it. I sure was
disappointed when I went to town last Tuesday & there was no
letter from you. I didn't get your note till Friday nite. Your mother
phoned Sat & said she'd heard from you & that you were in
Collingwood & had work in view. I'm sure anxious to know all
about your trip etc.
I went to town Tues to Florence's
farewell & on Wed helped Lily & John dress turkeys. They sold
them to Tanihill for 20c straight. Thats what I'll do too I guess as
you only get 23c for A birds & I don't think any of mine will be
A. I'm starving them today & in the morning John will help me kill
& dress them. So I'll be sending yours soon.
Mother & I have canned a lot of
pumpkins & squash & done quite a bit of sewing for Xmas.
We're making pyjamas & house coats for the little cousins.
Sunday GC came over. Had a good time &
got a lot of knitting done. The radio took most of our attention
however. Isn't the war news terrible now. I'm afraid Ralph won't get
a Xmas leave now & your mother was so looking forward to it. He
may get home for a short while tho I hope. Pa has had a nasty cold
that has kept him in doors & in bed part of the time.
Tomorrow night GC and Vera are to be
initiated into the O.E.S. at Colfax. We are all supposed to go over &
see them in it. However today it is snowing hard, the first snow
since you left. The snow was nearly all gone & what was left was
just like ice.
Walter's are supposed to come out in
the morning & Marj will go to Colfax with us in GC's car. I hope
it doesn't blizzard. I'm to go home with Walter's Wed morning. Wed
night Marj & I will attend O.E.S. In Milestone & be installed
in our new offices for the coming year.
Janet is a good girl these days. Eats
so much better & her habits are improving.
Joe & Mabel were here for dinner.
They are up at Olsons now & will call for the mail as they go
back homeward. So I'll send this then. I suppose will get the mail by
Walters tomorrow. So there'd better be a good long letter Mr or else.
Do you have access to a radio?
Lots of love May
Give my regards to all the Campbells
I am at your mother's this morning.
Yesterday Margie and Walter drove out & brought me in. We went to
Chapter last night & then stayed here. (Nubbs?) will come in for
us sometime soon. I left Janet with mother. Hope she behaves herself
as I plan to stay at Marjorie's for a while.
Pa has a pretty bad cold. One warm Sun
a week or more ago he went downtown with no coat & caught cold.
He's had to have adrenalin every night since.
I was sure glad to get your letter. I'm
sorry you don't find things more agreeable and work that you can do.
But don't lose all hope. I'm sure you will find something better. But
if you don't why don't you worry about being welcomed home. What did
Allan find in the line of a job.
I had a kind of scare yesterday when I
went to do up the few chores. I couldn't find my turkeys high or low
& no trace of them. Then when we talked to Lily to see if they
were up there she told us of a mystery car with a powerful search
light that had been around presumably hunting jack rabbits & I
found some tracks I couldn't account for so of course we figured they
were stolen. But in the middle of the afternoon they came back. I
don't know where they had been. There are 9 of them left as we picked
7 & sold to Tamhill. They were grand birds & netted me $22.05
at 21c. I could have gotten more for them had I been about to take
them to the city but I wouldn't have saved anything making a special
Walter bought himself a new Wallis
engine. Hooray!! It was delivered last week, I believe it was.
I have paid several bills around town
for you – Pecks, Perkins & Rogers. I rec'd a receipt from
Cockshut & a dun for the interest. Shall I just put it away or
send it or what? I was rather surprised to receive duns from Pecks &
Rogers as I thought likely you had paid them while you were in town
so long before Campbells came.
This morning Cardiff came in & said
he would finish hauling the wheat now. Ma looked for your permit book
& of course couldn't find the illusive thing. Did you ever see it
It has been colder this week but today
it isn't so cold but there's a nasty SE wind that goes right through
I'm so glad you had gotten the
Handclasp as I knew GC had put those pictures in it & it never
came. I was afraid it had been lost as you or Ma had never mentioned
it. When I started inquires it was in the drawer here.
I have to close now. I'm sure lonesome
at times & miss you like everything, but I'm doing swell &
can't coax you to come back as I know you will be the most homesick
amongst strangers & all. Do you still want me to send a turkey or
will you be home for Xmas. I won't sent it until your more settled as
it will be quite an expense & all. I'll write to you every chance
I get & you do write often too.
Several times when people brought out
the mail they didn't inquire for mine so I hadn't heard from you till
yesterday. Thank's a lot for sending them air mail. They come quicker
& the news is fresher.
Don't overdo yourself at a job you
can't handle. Please. We're not that hard up I hope.
All the love in the world for my
darling Wally. Your wife May
PS did you get the other letters I've
Dec 12, 41
Nubbs is going in today as Coop coal
came in so I'll send you a short note. We were going to dress turkeys
but that will have to wait now. I am trying to get some Xmas cards
Everyone is fine & busy much as
usual. All have had colds tho! There is to be a play practice
tonight. They are putting on several short plays by the young people
at the concert. Don't know if I'll be here then but I'm to stay till
the 19th as Margie wants to go to Regina 18 & 19 th to
a convention with Nubbs. The wives are especially invited &
special meetings for them.
Simmons has never come for this steer
here. Should we try to market it some other way.
I sure hope you have luck in landing a
better job much as I want you home again. I won't (?coax) you. But
please, please don't keep on with something that is too much for your
health. The war is getting so close & terrible it makes you want
your loved ones pretty near.
I can't ramble on today as I haven't
the time. This is just a note to tell you how very terribly I love
you. I hope I hear from you again today.
(letter from Marian)
May is staying here now and plans to
stay a week or more. Mama said she would put her to work so don't
worry about that. She left Janet at Grandma Wights.
I hope you get better work before long
(and from May)
Marian said I could use the rest of her
page. How are you today I wonder.
Ralph is supposed to come home today
for a 48 hr leave. A swell birthday for your mother eh? The way we
found out was thro' Freddie. He rubbered when your mother phoned Jack
to meet him. They saw Freddie at Franks at play practice.
Yesterday Porrier finally went &
got those pigs. I certainly was relieved.
I guess I'll be busy sewing for a few
days. There is swell ice on the creek. I will get my skates first
chance. I have to get to the house. I haven't been back since you
left. There are quite a few things I want now from home.
I sure hope there's better news from
you today. I hate to think of you down there working so hard. Surely
you can get something better.
And please write often.
Lots of love
Dec 14 1941
Today we are to meet mother & Janet
in town. I will bring Janet back here with me. Then tomorrow Marjorie
& Walter are going to Regina for three days so I'll sure have my
hands full. I may be crazy for getting Janet but I sure am lonesome
without her. She sure has the edge on Harold every time she turns
I am sending a Xmas parcel today. Hope
it arrives intact. I'll insure it. Please put your gift to good use
Yesterday I saw Ralph. He looks just
the same & sure was glad to get home. He'll have 5 day at New
Years & his furlong in January or February. I guess I'll be at
mothers Xmas & in town for New Years.
I saw Croft yesterday. He had paid
$8.00 left on your combine note & had the note. He said that
would cut off the interest. However I didn't lift it from him. I
suppose I'd better do that. Please advise.
I also got a cash ticket sold on the
board from Randel. $189.20 was the total. Do I give half to Ma &
pay the Coop bill. Please advise. The Coop bill is $110 I believe.
How come you didn't leave instructions about this.
Yesterday I was at the house a few
minutes. Everything was O.K. I got my flower seeds & skates etc.
Walter sold his turkeys in Weyburn. The
gobbler went B & the rest A. The Bs weren't finished enough. The
prices there were 22 & 24. I get 22 for mine in Bechard earlier
when I sold them. So I didn't do too bad as there was no expense of a
trip to the city.
Marjorie and I are getting a warm
kimono for Ma. She needs one in the night if she has to be up with
Pa. She had been wearing an old coat.
Well I must get some more Xmas cards
off. I have all the distant ones sent. Did you send any? You better
send one to George (Mann ?)
I read the card you wrote Ma Wed.
Apparently you still were at the same job. I do hope you soon get
something inside. If you don't you better come home. What is Allan
doing? Are you thinking of trying in another city?
Loves of love
from May (mushy stuff in PS)
Well May tonight I'm in a hotel room
and mighty glad that I am, for it is the first time that I've had a
bit of privacy since I left Lang three weeks ago come Tuesday. Also
it's the first time I've been warm for a week. It has been 10 below
zero here for five days with a strong wind coming in off the Georgian
Bay. I've been at work now for nine days at a h--- of a job. I'll
tell you about it when I get home. If I can't find a better job soon
I'll be coming home. I'm going to try and get a carpenter job
tomorrow morning. I was two days at McDermids and seven days at
McDonalds live in houses that we wouldn't keep a horse in. At
McDonalds all the lights that he had were two very small coal oil
lamps so I went to bed in the dark and got up in the dark without a
chance to read or write and no radio. This US (?) war was on three
days before I heard about it. To night is the first time that I've
been on the main st. of Collingwood. I hate the darn place its like
going back 50 years. These people don't know what progress is!! You
would think that you were over in the highlands of Scotland. I never
did think much of the Scotch but now its past words. As for that old
battleaxe of a Mrs Campbell I cleared out of her company today and
I'll never be caught within ten miles of her again. I don't know how
Phyllis puts up with her. I thought I could stand a lot but she's
more then I can take. She is crabby, bossy, tight, ornery and
everything else in that line that you could think of. As for her
having a weak heart that a lot of phooy for I seen her climb a hill
without stopping, that I had to take my breath twice on five hundred
feet high and impossible to get a car up it.
How are you getting along May? Are you
as lonely as I am? Twice this week I packed up at night ready to come
home but in the morning went back to work again. It seems that I
don't give in that is until it really gets me. Maybe now that I
pulled out from that mess life might be a little better. Heres hoping
so. There was an aircraft plant in here employing 500 men that closed
down yesterday so that will put a lot of men out looking for jobs.
There isn't the jobs here that there was supposed to be, not by a
long shot. Say if Wayne didn't write back to you will you send me his
address for I've got to get a decent job somehow or other. Tonight is
the first time I've had pyjamas on for two weeks and I feel slightly
civilized, also a good bed to sleep in.
I'm sure thanking my lucky stars that
we didn't move down here into this damn country. At present I'm
getting 3.50 a day and board and room is worth 9.00 a week and it is
terrible on clothes so I'm breaking about even. The cost of living is
high. I'm going to send this by air mail so that you will get it soon
and from now on I'll be able to write to you every day or so. I've
got two letters from you so far and they were sure welcome sort of a
gift from the Gods.
I love you May! I'm nuts about you and
if you ever catch me away from you or home again you can break my
fool neck. I haven't had a chance to get those films developed yet
but maybe I will now. Well so long and good luck to you May and a
very Merry Xmas to you and Janet. Tell me about Janet when you
write and say hello to her for me. With all my love. I'm yours May
and I don't mean maybe either.
Well I feel a lot better tonight as I
quit my old job Monday morning at nine and found a job in a garage
Tuesday at noon. This job that I have now is one that I like and the
work is not hard. Allen wouldn't quit with me so stayed on and then
he got canned yesterday afternoon and has no job now so I don't know
what he will do tho I'll be sure to tell you what he does when he
does it. I've got a room here in Collingwood and so has Phyllis and
Allen so I have my meals with them. By the way they left the old
battleaxe out on the farm with a brother in law.
I don't know how long this job I've got
will last but anyway it's something to tide me over for a while and
maybe I will find something else. What should I do if they start to
conscript manpower for industry which is the talk here – take a
chance or get out west again into a white man's country. I get up at
3:30 your time and go to bed at 6.
I guess that last letter I wrote was a
humdinger but don't worry for I won't go through that again for
anybody. If I can't get along the way that I want to I'll come home
even though it hurts to throw it all up as a bad job.
So Walter got an engine eh. That's the
best news I've heard for a long while. It sure tickles me. I would
sure like to bring a car home with me as I can get a good car 34 to
36 model for about $300 here and I could bring it back for the same
price as a ticket would cost me. So you see I'm going to hang on if
possible. If you can sell our car for $200 to 250 write and let me
Did Ralph get home on last weekend or
is he getting any leave soon? Send me his address. How is everybody
Did you get the wheat sold or receive
anymore bonus yet. There are two big bills yet, Winkler $100 and Tom
$100. As for the steer, chase Simons till he takes it to Moose Jaw.
Did you find the Permit Book yet. Maybe you have it out home tho I
can't remember. I bought a smock, underwear and a shirt since I've
been here. I'm afraid to do anything until I know where some money is
coming from. Three of those white shirts I brought are in rags now.
Will I bother to send them home?
I got your letter that finished off
Marian's today and it was sure welcome, they help a lot. How are you
doing these days May? Are you putting in the time OK. I think about
you and Janet most of the time. When this letter gets to you it will
be almost Christmas so be sure to have a good time and enjoy
yourself. I suppose you have all your Xmas shopping done by now and I
haven't got a darn thing done yet. The only chance I'll have is sat
night or else jump the job to do it.
With all my love to my darling wife
It's Sunday morning here and it's quite
strange to spend a day doing nothing when your not at home. It seems
quite out of place. I've been at work from Dec 4 with the exception
of a day and a half between quiting one job and getting this job that
I have now in Sheffers garage. I hope that it lasts for a while but
I'm kind of doubtful. It's only four days until Xmas and I haven't
had a chance to be in a store yet. I had to work until eleven o'clock
last night so you will be getting your Xmas parcel rather late –
this is when I can get it. I got your ring reset and fixed and am
going to send it tomorrow. The setting wasn't broken but worn away so
had to be rebuilt. They done it in two weeks for 3.00. I'll either
insure it or register it to you.
How are you and Janet getting along. It
will be Christmas when you get this so be sure and have a good time
for it comes only once a year. I hope all the rest of the folks are
fine. I've heard from Ralph, Bert and Ma since I've been here so that
adds a little to the few joys of life. I hope that I have a good time
at Xmas or else it will sure be the bunk.
I've made $40 since I've been here so
it won't be long until I'm even with the board again. Allen has been
out of work for a week and that is bad in this place as it costs like
the very dickens to live. These people where we stay are very nice so
that's so much to the good. The old boy's name is Fawcett and he
talks just like a faucet but you can't turn him off, sort of
The weather here is quite changeable
and very damp, temperature ranges from zero to 35 above this last two
weeks. The fellow I work for seems to be a nice man. He is only about
38 years old and has five men working for him. I like it fine and
hope that it lasts for a long time. I can get my suit cleaned for 85
cents and they will clean and fix my overcoat for 2.50 so I think
that I will have them done as both look like the dickens after
traveling and having them in suit cases.
With a few exceptions prices are higher
here than in the west. There is a canning factory in this town but
you still pay 65 cents for a pail of jam. Apples are almost as high
here as they are at home and not near as nice to eat and by the way I
haven't had a good cup of coffee since I left home. This is the
biggest bunch of tea guzzlers in the country that I ever saw. Even
the coffee in the restaurants tastes like a mixture of soap and
vinegar. I sure would like to sit down to a pot of yours and drink my
fill, also one of your meals wouldn't go so bad right now!
I sure saw a lot on my trip down here.
It was a sight that I never hoped to see or will ever see again. The
reason that it was so good was because there were people that took us
and showed us these things that you couldn't see yourself or even
have a guide show you. I'll tell you about it all when I get home for
it will take a good long time.
Tell how the money situation is with
you and also try and sell that car for 200 cash or more if you can
get it. Its got four good tires on it 2 new and that means quite a
lot. If I don't bring something back from here I'm missing the chance
of a lifetime. I sure hope that things go good for me here so that I
can get a few clothes etc.
I ran into a Brown from Weyburn and he
helped me get this job that I'm on. I'm trying my best to make a go
of it here and that's that.
Thanks a lot for the picture of Janet
that you sent. I'll bet that she is a lot bigger now. I'm very lonely
without you darling. Nothing is right without you. Sometimes I think
that it isn't worth it and will come home but then as long as I can
make it go I won't leave it until March then Oh Boy! (mushy stuff)
With all my love to my wife
PS did you hear from Wayne or send his
Dec 23 1941
So glad to get your letter & hear
about your new job. I one you wrote before was so mournful I tore up
the answer to it.
I just go home & G.C. is here so
will send this with him – must hurry. Milly and Ronnie just came on
12 o'clock train. They are living in Regina now.
Walter's appendix is bothering him &
he will likely have it out right away.
Hope Allan gets work soon. Say hello to
We had quite a time at Marjorie's, will
tell you all about it when I have time to write a long letter. G.C. is in a hurry.
Wayne's address is
111 Ross St. Batavia N.Y.
Last night we had a beautiful concert
at D.V. Nicest ever I believe. Janet was so thrilled over Santa.
Lots of love for now & please write
Saw Grace & she said she was
writing to tell you all the dirt around town so now you'll know more
than I do.
Gee I miss you
Lang Sask Dec 24 1941
I sent a note to you yesterday but it
was just a note. So now I'll write a little more. It is kind of hard
to concentrate in the hubub of Xmas time. I do wonder how you are
spending these days & how much time you have off etc. etc.
I wrote an answer to that despondent
letter you wrote that Sunday in the hotel but I tore it up when your
other one came.
Had a great time at Marjories while
they were in Regina with the 2 babies etc. etc. Walter came home
looking awful and with a sore side. He plans to have an operation
after Xmas. I may have to go down again although I rather hope I
don't as it sure gets you down. I didn't mind it when I was alone. I
seem to be able to work better alone.
Milly & her family are all here,
also Marian. The work & everything drags so because of so many
involved discussions. You know Calvin & Milly. They are amusing,
instructive etc. or something but terribly tiresome. Tonight the kids
will hang up their stocking. I have a lovely doll for Janet's. It has
sleeping eyes. Calvin is making a bed for it. She is so excited about
Santa & all. Edwin, Marian & Donnie are stringing squares of
tinsel & macaroni for trimming the lovely little tree.
Tomorrow GC & Marjorie's will come.
Then on NYears we plan to go to your mothers. She is having F &
Eliz & Jim & Mrs. P & Old Sam for Xmas but not Tom &
(?Chrisire) as old Sam won't come if they have anyone else & Pa
doesn't know what he'd do with both Miss L & Old Sam to talk to.
Calvin & Ronnie are trying to start
our car to tow the Dodge to Milestone. They haven't got it going yet
but if they do I'll send this. They just came in & said it was
too late to make it today so we will send this with GC tomorrow.
Adios for now.
Xmas Eve (in same envelop)
We have just heard a re-broadcast of
the Pres & Prime Ministers speeches. I wonder did you hear them?
Do you have access to a radio now? How are you spending Xmas Eve? The
kids are asleep now & we have filled the 4 stockings. There is a
pile of packages under the tree & it sure looks nice.
Yesterday Marjorie phoned about a gift
down there. Bobby found it – a little white calf. It was a dandy
Last night Milly talked about her
inlaws while the men folk had gone to Lodge. It sure was rich. Lasted
all evening & by the time they got home she was really getting
warmed up to her subject. I guess Mrs. H must be a very peculiar
woman. She surely is a H--- of a mother in law. Thank heaven she
Calvin & Ronnie killed a turkey
today. It is sure a dandy. All my turkeys were swell. Marian & I
took some old Xmas cards & cut very pretty place cards for
I hope we can get the little girls fed
& asleep before we eat our dinner. How I wish I could be with
you. It is Xmas now where you are.
They are lighting the nations Xmas tree
in Washington now. Wonder if you are listening too.
How are you planning to spend New Years
Eve & NY Day? What is your room like? Is there anything you need
that I can send to you?
Calvin came home in his uniform as he
got a cheaper rate that way.
I sure am glad that you have a better
job. How much do you make at it? How hard do you have to work &
what is the work like? Etc. Letters surely are inadequate aren't
they. (mushy stuff)
I don't know what to do with myself but
there is so much to do & there is always Janet. She talks about
you a lot. You'd be surprised to hear her talk even now she has
improved so much.
I hope spring will soon be hear. (mushy
Will write more tomorrow.
Christmas Day (in same envelop)
My darling Wally,
How I've wished I was with you today.
Not that you were here as you've probably had a dickens of a time. We
had a swell dinner & then Bobby dressed as Santa gave out the
presents. He was very good. Janet was afraid of him but didn't notice
him unmask & couldn't figure out where Santa went.
Got some nice things including 2 dress
lengths for Janet, 3 dolls, a cleaning set for J from Billie and
George. Box of stationary, tray etc. etc.
I got the letter you wrote last Sunday
& it was grand to have it for Xmas. Hope you got my parcel in
time. Please make good use of the pen & tell me all about your
Xmas. Did you get the whole day off & boxing day or how much &
what did you do?
The children entertained us this aft
with singing recitations etc. It was good. Janet didn't do anything
but all the others did. Then we played games etc.
Walter plans on having his operation
Monday. I'll go down again for a while. He wants to arrange his wheat
hauling first & get Short to take the steers & pig to market.
His given up Simmons & thinks Simmons is a gip anyway.
Milly & Ronnie like living in
Regina & have a swell place. Donnie will go to Davin School. Hope
it lasts. Milly says she won't go back to that farm on account of Old
Mrs. H – however Ronnie plans to farm it. Wonder how it could work
How I long to be back in our own home
again with just you and Janet. (mushy stuff)
I was home once for a few minutes to
get some things & it sure made me homesick but it seemed so empty
& cold when you were nowhere about.
The other night someone asked me how
long you'd been gone & I said “ten years”.
I wonder if I should try to talk my Dad
into renting this place to Allan next year. What do you think of
With all the love in my heart. May
Lang Sask (still the same envelop)
Dec 26, 1941
Tomorrow morning GC is coming over to
tow the Dodge to Milestone & I will go with. Perhaps Vera will
have a dentist appointment. Then they will leave me at Marjorie's on
the way back.
Marjorie told me today that they will
go to Regina in the morning & Walter will have his operation. The
kids will stay alone until I get there & I will stay at least
until Marjorie gets home. I don't know when that we be.
Madeline stayed here last night. She &
Calvin & Ronnie have kept us in fits this evening. She got the
giggles. She's a good sport at taking a joke on herself & they
sure have a lot of fun with her. She is enjoying a pair of pygamas
that mother & I made her for Xmas.
I have to go to the bank tomorrow &
straighten out some RC business.
Just did some washing to take with me
tomorrow. We played rummy this evening & it was sure crazy. Duces
I don't know if I'll get another letter
off to you for a few days as I may be stranded down at Marjorie's.
What do people down there think of the
war? There have been some great discussions around here. I don't
agree with a lot they say but I just listen most of the time – then
they don't know if I'm dumb or smart & I get by.
Must get to bed now and I will write
some more in the morning as I may know more then. (mushy stuff)
So long. May
Sat morning (still same envelop)
G.C. Is here & they are getting
ready to leave. I must make this short.
Marian & Harold are at your
mothers. We will pick them up there.
Hope everything goes well with Walter.
Will let you know.
Don't know when I can get a letter off
to you but will tell your mother to write to you.
Lots of love
Well its the day after Xmas and here I
am and still at work for fifteen dollars a week. Just enough to get
along on in this man's country. I just got done paying 1.35 for
having 3 shirts, some underwear, 2 pairs of socks, 3 handkerchiefs
and my iron man pants washed. It seems like you pay two bits to look
out of the window here.
The three days before Christmas it
rained continually here and very heavy at that, must have had six
inches of rain. Yesterday was a nice day even if the sun has only
shone two days since we have been here.
We were out at Sandy McDermid's place
out on the mountain for Christmas yesterday. We had a nice dinner but
gosh I was lonely. So much so that I didn't like the day at all. All
I could think about was you folks at home enjoying yourselves. I
would have given a lot to be there with you.
These people are the most backwoodsy
outfit that I ever saw. There isn't a modern store in this town which
now has a population of 6000 people. A furnace in this country is
unheard of. They have ancient wood burning stoves and ramshackle
houses that are not as warm as a barn. The people here in the country
are composed of three or four families that consist of from a hundred
to three hundred members. Cousins marry cousins until the result is
that a large portion of the people are next thing to idiots. I have
seen about seventy five who never learned to talk
and a good many more that can only talk Gallic. Also there are a
large number of negros here. Every time you go up the street you see
people that are crippled, most of it due to life on the boats and in
the lumber industry.
here, take the Curries for example, have to have a way to distinguish
between them and they only use three or four Christian names, so
there is Big Sandy, Little Sandy, Fat Sandy, Lean Sandy, Fighting
Sandy, Greasy Sandy, Cragy Sandy and so on. I tell you these people
need some missionaries!
Allen got a job
the day before Xmas but he is the same as me for my job is liable to
end any time so I'm in quite a predicament for I don't know what to
do. There are thousands of men here and of military age too. It looks
like the west furnished most of the men for the services. There is
more than a man for every job here how with the exception of highly
skilled workmen and I am as far from a highly skilled workman as
gardener is from being a farmer. I sure don't like this way of living
from job to job always afraid of losing it. I wouldn't trade a farm
at home for the best I've seen yet and boy that's a lot. One of them
was a seven hundred a month job but just the same (?) on it.
How is things
going at home May. I haven't had word for ten days. Pretty bum
Christmas week without any mail. I got your parcel this afternoon as
you can see I'm trying out the pen. It sure is nice May and I've
always wanted a good pen. You be sure and tell we when you get your
ring for I don't want to lose it.
Write to me May
for your the only star in my blue heaven. The only worth while thing
in my life is to work with you, for you in our own sweet security at
home May. You have to do as I done to fully realize what a treasure
we have in our love and the days of being together as real pals where
the outside world can hardly get at us. A job consists of a Boss,
Time clock and pay envelop, none of them any good.
Well darling I
am a terrible guy to ramble when I write. I never was any good at
composition so I just put it down as it runs through my mind. I love
you May. I can shut my eyes and see you quite plain now that I've
been thinking about you and writing. I'll go to bed now and dream of
you. Good night Darling, I wish that I could kiss you.
Love from Wally
Hello Janet how
I love you May.
Gosh but I'm lonely today without you. It's Sunday and it is almost
like being in jail only there is no bars around me. I haven't heard
from home for a long time so feel kind of low. My spirits go up and
down at quite a rate. When I'm working time goes pretty good but on
Sundays, Christmas etc it's terrible. I've been reading your letters
over again. I'll soon have them worn out and then what? You will be
having dinner now as it is almost 4 PM here. What are you doing
It is evening
now and I've been out on the street for a walk. Went down to the ship
yard and wharf. There is quite a bit of ice along the edge of the
lake now and it sure is raw and cold. I sure would like to get into
the ship yard to work but I haven't had a look in as you know. I've been
down there about a dozen times trying to get a job. Oh well what of
May, I want a
little advice on the car situation. At the present time I can buy a
35 model Ford or Chevy for about $250. I see by the Regina Leader
that Phyllis got from home that our car is worth that much out west
and a 35 model is worth about $500 or $550 and it would cost me less
to drive a car home than it would to come on the train. It cost the
five of us about $35 to drive down here. Also there will be no more
cars built in Canada for quite a while which will make used cars
disappear after a while. Have you done anything with our car yet.
Also could you scare up $200 to send to me to get one. I've been
thinking a lot about this and think that if I pass it up that I'm
missing a golden opportunity. Our car needs the bumpers put on etc
and polished up before it is ready to go and also there won't be much
of a demand before spring for cars out there so I don't know what to
do. At the present time I'm just making enough to get along on and
nothing left over. It costs like the very dickens to live here so in
order to save something you have to earn more than $30 a week. At the
present I'm getting $15 per week and expect to lose this job soon.
I wrote to Wayne
today to see if he wouldn't give me an introduction to someone in the
Massy Harris from whom I could get a job.
figuring up my income and out go and I'm still in the red as I came
with $25 American and $100 Canadian and have now $90 Canadian so I'll
have to get a better job if I'm ever going to get even. Did you sell
the steer or get anymore bonus cheques yet? Tell me how you are
making out with your finances.
I don't know
what we will be doing for New Years yet. Maybe we will be having hash
in our rooms. But don't worry, you be sure and have a good time and
enjoy yourself and remember that New Years Eve is a sort of
anniversary for us. (mushy stuff)
Be sure and
write a nice long letter to me. Tell me all you know. Good night
Darling with lots of kisses.
Love from your
Dec 28 1941
Well I suppose you will be writing a
letter today too. How in the world do you spend your Sundays? With
Campbells I suppose. Do you room near them or in the same house? Has
Allan work yet? Its sure too bad if he hasn't. I must write a letter
to Phil. I got a card from her & a hankie in it. I also rec'd my
ring & it sure looks swell. Its nice to have it again. You don't
know how I missed it. I treasure it much more now. It seems to go on
easier. Did you have it enlarged I wonder.
I am at Margie's now. Didn't think I'd
have a chance to send mail but Bill A. is coming to haul wheat
tomorrow so will get him to post this. The kids are writing too.
Bobby would appreciate a letter from you but you had better send it
with mine as I'll probably be going home about Wed.
Bobby & Marian are good little
workers. All the neighours & brothers have been offering their
services. We're trying to think up jobs for them all but we don't
want to have to feed 'em. Jack came over this am & cleaned out
the barn. Frank is coming tomorrow & Bobby is going to put him to
work I guess. I get quite a kick out of it. Edna sent lovely Xmas
gifts to everyone here & Janet a nice dress length. I nearly fell
Marian & I have gotten quite a bit
of sewing & cleaning etc. done since I came. Expect to wash
tomorrow if I can work a Coop washing machine.
Did you get a letter from Grace? She
probably told you a lot of dirt I haven't heard yet.
I haven't paid the Coop yet but will
the next chance I have. Then when I get the money from the steer I
can pay Tom some but probably not the whole $100.
Had a mix up over RC funds. I deposited
$128 to the Lang Red Cross & then wrote a cheque on the trust
fund & of course it bounced. It's all straightened up now tho.
Next week is election thank goodness.
Must put Harold to bed & strain the
So Good Night
I will put a note on M letter
(in same envelop on letter from Marian)
The kids are all tucked away so now
I'll add a note inside Marians.
I have a picture of us taken on our
wedding day. You sure look good to me in that picture. I hope you
look just like that when I see you next. Have you one of those snaps?
If you haven't I'll send you one. Please get that roll developed &
send one copies to me.
I love you with all my heart
Lang, Sask., (Marian's letter in same
Sunday night Dec 28, 1941
How are you getting along? We are all
well except Daddy went to the hospital with appendicitis, he went on
Saturday and is going to be operated on Tuesday morning.
I hope you had a merry Xmas. We were up
at Grandma and Grandpa Wights and Santa was pretty good to me.
Our Christmas concert was on the 22.
Janet sure enjoyed it, especially Santa.
We had two recitations and four or five
Mama went to Regina with Daddy and
expects to be back Tuesday or Wednesday night. She wants to be there
while they are operating and he is getting along alright.
I'm glad you have a good job and room
and hope it lasts.
Hope you have a “Happy New Year”.
Lang Jan 1 1942
Happy New Year! I wonder how you have
spent your Xmas & New Years. The last letter I rec'd from you was
written the Sunday before Xmas and that was a long time ago.
The last time I wrote I was at
Marjorie's. I am home now. Walter came through his operation O.K. &
Marjorie came home last night with Gaylord & Vera & the girls
who had been to Regina. So I came back here with G.C.
Today GC and Vera came over for a
dinner & GC took Calvin to the train this aft but is back again
now for the evening supper & rummy.
Last Sat Gaylord & family took
Milly Ronnie & family home to Regina & then went to see Look
Who's Laughing at the Cap. They met Marjorie & Walter as they
came out of the theatre. It was a swell show I hear. Have you seen
any shows? Tell me about 'em.
I will enclose the invoice for the
steer that was sold. Short took it to Regina. Jack B tried to buy the
other steer from me but of course I didn't sell it. I may make a
trade with Walter of some of the meat after it is butchered & he
will give me part of one he will butcher nearer spring. Bobby will
take it into Lang to be butchered I think. Would have sent it Tuesday
but Butch is in Gravelberg for Xmas & New Years holiday so will
wait till he comes home.
Janet is growing – getting fatter &
heavier. I can see a change since I was away 4 days. She talks a lot
more since Marjorie H was here those few days. She is noisy tho. She
was so tickled to see me last night. It was about 10:30 when we got
home. She'd been asleep but woke up & didn't go to sleep till
about one thirty. She is bothering me now till I can hardly write.
Wed night I ran a dirty rusty 2 ½ inch
nail almost thro my foot between Piedeloo and Sariosall if you
recognize the names of the 3rd & 4th toes.
It has been very painful but there is no infection so far. I have a
bruise or two from falling in a faint from the pain. Needless to say
its good to be home & in mothers care. She even brought me
breakfast in bed this am. That's how I started the New Year.
Did Allan get any work yet? How is
Phyllis' health? Has she seen any eastern Dr? Do they room in the
same house as you do?
Took a recess & had supper, helped
do dishes & listened to Henry Aldrick did involved & out
again. By the way did you hear Hede Lomarr & Bob Hope in The
Bride Came C.O.D. Monday on Lux Theatre? It was a scream. Baby Snooks
& (Dolly?) were good tonight. I suppose you've access to a radio
some of the time – do you? Right now we are listening to Victor
Borgan explaining his phonetic punctuation. He gives every
punctuation mark a sound. It sure sounds crazy. His period is like
that awful sound I used to make with my lips teeth & tongue –
I'll send this over with G.C. tonight.
We sure hated to see Calvin leave. I saw so little of him, being
stranded down at Marjorie's so much of his holiday.
Tuesday they butchered the last pig, so
they are all taken care of thank goodness. I must get my roosters out
of the way too & I have a lot of sewing, knitting etc. to do.
I made Janet on cute red plaid jumper
out of some material mother gave her for Xmas & I think there is
enough more for a dress & pants. Marjorie gave me material
(yellow lace) for a blouse to go with it.
It sure is nice to have my diamond
again. Thanks so much for sending it.
Please send those snaps.
Calvin brought home a book - “Inside
Europe”. He left it for us to read & send. I think it will be
very interesting. Its by John Gunther.
Calvin is studying to write an exam
-C.o.J.C. stuff. He came home in uniform – cheaper rates. He'll
probably end up as an officer.
I sure do get lonesome for you but
there is lots else to do & I get along O.K. But I sure know how
you must feel among strangers all the time.
Write often & tell me lots. Your
letters are too skimpy. (mushy stuff)
P.S. Shall I advertise the car? If so,
will you suggest the wording for an ad. M
(post marked Collingwood Jan 3)
New Year's Eve
Well this is New Year's Eve but you
would never know it here. I worked until 7 tonight as usual and
everything will be open tomorrow and most everyone at work. I don't
whether I will go to work or not. It will all depend on how I feel in
the morning. Just imagine New Year as just another day in the week.
As I said before this is one hell of a country. I do hope that you
get a little fun out of New year's Eve as I would sure hate to see
anyone spend it as I am. Gosh I wish that I was home with you tonight
to have a little celebration of our own. If you ever catch me away
from home again you can hang me. We will be having a sort of a New
Years dinner tomorrow night in our room after work and that will be
our New Year.
You were asking me a bunch of questions
in the last letter about how I was getting on. Well I've heard about
three news broadcasts since I left home. I didn't get a change to
hear any of the big boys speeches and sure would of liked to. I have
no access to radio at all. My room has room for bed and dresser and a
few square feet to walk around in, has a large window to the east and
faces on a back alley. It is over a dairy and beauty shop. Every
morning about 30 farmers bring their milk in to the back door which
is under my window. I go to work in the morning while it is still
pitch dark, have to use the lights for about an hour & half but
then it stays daylight until 6 pm. Only use the lights between 6 and
7. And by the way I'm wandering around in a service uniform that has
printed all over the back of it Use Imperial Oil Products, can you
beat that. They never heard of a Co-op in this country. I work with
four other boys and all of them nice fellows, they are Tom, Earl,
Howard, Andy and each of us call all the rest Joe so when the boss
yells Joe, five guys come a tearing. Its a good job and one that I
have no trouble handling. The only thing wrong is the pay which is
far from enough $15 a week of which 8 is board and room and 1 is
washing so I have 5 to look after everything else. I dollar goes in
taxes on wages. Also I'm tied here so close that I'll have to quit to
look for something else. Allen is now working with one of his uncles
who is doing some repair work in a creamery.
Which one of the two cows has the white
calf May and also how much did you get for the steer and did Walter
save me a sow for next summer. Did you get your ring yet. Be sure and
tell me when you get it for I'm kind of anxious to know.
A cousin of Allan and his wife have
just come up so I'll go into visit for a while. The ink in this pen
is sure flowing fast now and when I first started to use it it didn't
flow fast enough. Be sure and have a good time tonight darling.
New Years Night
I have just put in one of the worst New
Years that ever was.
Jan 2 1942 (in same envelop)
Do you notice the letter that I wrote
on New Year. Well I was so low that I went back to work and spend the
day and tonight I feel alright again. It's a great life if you can
take it and I guess I can most of the time. How did you spend the
day. Be sure and tell me for I thought of you all day long. Did you
have any celebration on NYears? I hope you did. Today I've been
thinking that I'm over the holiday and the next event is spring and
coming home. Oh boy what a day that will be. How is Walter getting on
these days? I know that all must be right or I would have heard for
he has been in the hospital quite a while now. Its a good thing that
he went and done it. I suppose the brothers are quite sympathetic
these days and by the way were Jack and Edna in for NY?
When I'm not thinking of you May I'm
thinking of cars. I saw a 36 model Ford for sale today at $250
dollars so I want you to get $200 from somewhere and send to me for
I'm going to bring one of those home even if I have to sell it out
there for I can get 600 for it in Regina. I see by the leader that
our car will bring from 200 to 300 and as time goes on it will get
higher. Also its just as well if it stays there till spring so that
adds a lot to the value. So its a chance of a lifetime as car
production is going to stop here and also in the USA. Maybe your dad
has some spare cash until I get home to my flax, oats and car. And
Maybe I'll get a job that pays yet, but that is doubtful as I'm no
good in a bull labour gang and when jobs require insurance I'm out on
my ear. So that knocks out the prospects for me. I don't know what to
write about so you better ask me some questions and then I can answer
Well I'm running out of gas so I'll
close this and write again. I love you darling very very much and
wish to high heaven that I was with you at home for the guy that said
be it ere so humble there's no place like home sure knew his onions.
Well so long darling and I'll roll in.
Your loving husband
Jan 4 1942
Today Gaylord & Mother have gone
down to Marjorie's to get the girls. It is a nasty cold day with a
strong wind. But not much snow to drift.
I expect they will bring a letter from
you. Although the folks have had their mail 2 or 3 times, I have not
had mine. Maybe you'd better send letters in care of C E Wight. Then
I'd be sure to get them.
Sorry I forgot to slip in that invoice.
I will send it this time.
My foot is OK now. It healed remarkable
fast without a trace of infection. I don't limp now and it doesn't
pain or ache.
How are you anyway? It seems simply
ages since I got your last letter. It was on Christmas Day. I keep
wondering how you spent Xmas & New Years. Did you have a good
time? How much Ont. booze does it take to get a shine eh? I didn't
even get a smell, not even second hand this New Years.
Its been 20 & 30 below most of this
week but we're surviving. Hope it soon warms up.
You won't know Janet when you come
home. She is getting so big & fat & talks so much. She's a
pretty good girl but is noisy & stubborn sometimes. She talks
about Santa yet a lot & about her daddy coming home in the
spring. She has 2 doll beds & a stove & a lot of dishes and
about a dozen dolls altogether. Its comical to watch her play with
them. They can do everything. She even asks them questions &
answers for them, feeds them & puts them on the pot.
I expect Gaylord will be along soon.
Hope they don't have any trouble as his heater is not working today.
The filament that ignites the gas burns out every once in a while. It
makes quite a difference to them as the sun might as well stop
shining for them as have their heater quit.
Maybe they'll stay to supper so I'd
better stir myself. If they do I'll add another note to this. I sure
do miss you all the time and long for the day you come home to me. I
can sure imagine that day.
All my love
Lang Sask Jan 4 1942
I love you so much I sure wish you &
I could be together again. I hate being separated even for a time. I
know how terribly lonely you are and my heart aches for you.
I wrote to you this aft & sent it
with Gaylord. He brought me two letters from you dated 26th
and 28th. He didn't stay but a minute. It was so cold &
they were all tucked in so I didn't have a chance to answer your
letters or add any more to mine.
It is terribly cold. Tonight I brought
Janet's bed into the dinning room & am sleeping on the couch. Its
warmer than trying to heat the front room. You should see me when I
get dressed up to do the chores. I mended up that suit of underwear
you left & wear it when I go out, also socks of Dads and my ski
suit with a lined smock over it. Believe me I don't get cold. There
aren't many chores. Just the chickens & cows. We still get an egg
or 2 or 3 a day. So we have fresh eggs occasionally. I still have to
butcher roosters & a couple turkeys for G.C.
Marjorie saw some of our chicken
customers in Regina & she says we could sell any amount of
chicken at most any price within reason. So I'll can my old hens &
maybe we can sell them later when we have a chance.
I surely enjoy your descriptions of the
country & people down there. What kind of work do you have to do
in the garage? Do you gain any experience or information from it or
is it all routine?
Janet is having difficulty going to
sleep out here in the light. It is 10:00. The folks have retired &
I will also presently. Janet sits up & jabbers about Santa &
the north pole etc. She throws kisses east for you, north of Santa &
south for Harold & Grandma & Jeannie. Maybe she'll learn her
directions by & by.
The war news is not very good these
days, especially in the Pacific. Its not bad from Europe. Dad is so
pessimistic about it all. But I can't see as there's time for that.
Do you hear news broadcasts or have to
read it all in the papers? What do people there think of the
situation? We don't get any weather broadcasts any more as its 'agin'
the law to broadcast the weather. That will put a crimp in programs
like Al Smith.
I hope I have a chance to go to town
soon & get my Red Cross business straight & out of the way &
get settled at the Coop etc. The steer brought $54.01. So after
paying Peckins, Peck, Rogers etc. I have about $200.00. There is out
standing $110 at the Coop, $100 to tom and about $40 to my Dad.
I will have some coming from Gaylord
for meat. He has asked for a quarter of beef & 2 turkeys & 12
How are we lined up for money for
spring? Did you leave anything with Ma or is that $90 you have all we
have besides this I have. Please tell me what to do. If course I will
settle up at the Coop the first chance I have. But about the others.
Do you want to let them ride till you come home & sell the car. I
don't have much hope of selling a car I can't start in this awful
weather. If you want us to advertise it, I wish you would word the ad
as you know more about that than I would.
When Marjorie told me Walter had an
engine. I paid her the $10 I owed her.
I sure wish it didn't take so blessed
long for long for letters to go & come. But the time you get this
answer it will be two weeks before I get an answer. So I will send it
air mail first chance I have & I don't know when that will be as
in this weather folks aren't going to town very often.
I probably will have a chance to slip
another letter in this before I sent it. So I'll sign off for tonight
& go to bed & get my feet warm.
but no one would know how I feel or how
lonesome I am inside because I don't talk about it but keep my chin
up & work & keep happy because I know thats how you want to
think of me isn't it.
I talk to Janet a lot about you because
I don't want her to forget you. I don't know what I would do without
her. Do you get lonesome for her? I'm sure she'll know you when you
We must figure out a way to buy a car &
then you must come home because there's not enough in it to stay down
All my heart & love
Your won wife
Monday Jan 5 (in the same envelop)
John just phoned that he is going to
Lang presently. Don't know if I'll have time to get ready to go
along. I didn't mention it when he phoned.
It is warmer today Only -10 and the
wind doesn't seem so raw.
There isn't any more news today so will
I love you & miss you all the time.
Hope I hear from you again soon as your letters mean so much.
Your loving wife
Well dearest how are you doing today. I
kind of hope that you are writing a letter to me this Sunday
afternoon or are you too busy. I'll tell the world that I'm not for
Sunday. It's the hard day to put in around here. I was out on the
mountain today to McDermid's place. Campbells enjoy themselves but
I'm sort of an outsider and its just one jump ahead of being in my
room all day. I was going to take a picture of the Bay and
Collingwood today from the top of the mountain but it was so foggy
that you couldn't see anything more than a mile away. There people
are anything but progressive in fact they are very backward. I
haven't seen a set of farm buildings in this country that can come
near ours for looks, size or anything else and they have been farming
here for hundred and fifty years. A set of farm machinery consists of
a walking plow, a seven run drill, two harrows and a five foot binder
and three horses. Winter wheat is worth $1.25 a bushel here and other
grains in accordance. A common ordinary chicken here in the butcher
shop is worth 2.50. So I'll be glad to get back to Sask where you can
afford to eat some meat.
I'm still working in the garage but I
would sure like to get a job where I could make a little money. I'm
hoping that I hear from Wayne and get a line on something in Toronto.
So I'm sitting here patiently waiting, for this job is like working
for your board. I'd be just as well off at home. And to tell you the
honest truth the thing that keeps me here is the hope of getting a
car here and bringing it home. So do your stuff May and try and
borrow $200 from your dad and send to me for it's the best investment
that we can make. I suppose you know that all car production stopped
here and in the states in March and by that time used cars will be
I feel pretty good tonight so the world
looks a little more rosey. I can shut me eyes and see you and Janet
real well. (mushy stuff) I had that real good picture of you and I
lost it, that is I haven't found it yet so Old Fawcett must have
cleaned it out with the room. Old Fawcett is the chamber maid around
here and he sure is a character. I never in my life heard a man swear
in the house as he does but yet he is the most (?) man that I ever
met. Whenever I get too lonely I go and say Hello Fawcett and then
listen for a couple of hours to his yarns and at times they are good.
So I have him to be thankful for. What do you think? I just heard a
news broadcast, the first one in two weeks and didn't sound so bad at
These goofs here think that the japs
will fly clear across the Pacific and bomb this place! I think it
isn't worth bombing even if they could get to it.
Tomorrow is civic elections here and
old Fawcett is sure primed up about it, seems to be one of his
Love from your
How is Walter doing these days?
Tuesday Jan 6 1942
Yesterday afternoon I went to town with
John Olson, where I learned from Grace that they had sold the store
to Mr. Hart. Frank plans to go into active service and Grace &
the boys are going to Melville for the rest of the winter. They
thought Hart would take over before the 15th so they won't
be here much longer. Alice G. is to have her operation soon after
Grace gets to Melville.
I saw Mrs. Cave about a farewell of
some sort. She thought it ought to be something after the style of
(?)arsfields & is to phone me what is planned. I may get in to
your mother's for a few days I hope.
They are selling some of their
furnishings, rugs etc. to Hart who bought building & all. She
didn't know what to do with the chesterfield & I suggested she
write an offer to Bert. The stuff in the store they will take to
Balcarres I think.
Grace seemed kind of broken up about it
all but was snapping out of it. Mrs. Young and Delta Ball had spent
the weekend with her. She & Mrs. Young will have more in common
than ever now.
I didn't see your mother as I hated to
have John waiting for me but I guess I'd have had time.
I arranged with Butch to butcher the
steer some moderate day & he said he'd do it & cut up a
quarter for the folks for $1.50 so if he'll save me the soap grease &
liver & heart, I think thats fine. I'll get Bobby & Frank or
someone to take it in for nothing & trade some of the meat to
Marjorie for some butchered later in the season.
I paid up the Coop. $119.69 it was so
When I told the folks what you said in
your letter about cars etc. Dad offered to advance you the money 'til
you can come home & sell this car. So that is swell. I didn't
even ask him. He offered.
But what I think is this. We should get
a truck first. We can get along without a car and a truck is more of
an essential. Furthermore we'll be more likely to be able to get gas
for a truck.
How do the truck prices compare? Are
they much higher? What do you think about that?
Flax seems to hold a pretty good price.
Did you hear President Roosevelt today?
He made a wonderful speech I thought. Its a tonic just to listen to
his voice. He certainly is a wonderful orator and naturally inspires
courage & confidence.
I'm still reading “Inside Europe”.
The first of the book (as far as I've gone) is a history of the rise
of the Nazi Movement and a character study of the main men of the
party. It tells a lot about the Blood Purge etc. A lot of things I'd
never known before. Its very interesting. The book has been revised
several times & much added to it. The last revision was in Dec.
39. So it is all fairly up to date.
I sent for a Wheat Pool Library
catalogue. Dad couldn't find his. When he sent back the last book
they wrote for another list as all the ones on his were out on loan.
So when the new catalog comes we'll each send in a list. That should
bring some good books.
What do you get to read? Do you have
any time for it evenings? When are you off work?
What work does Allan do? Tell me more
about your rooms, habits etc.
Janet & I are still sleeping in the
dining room as it is still more than -30. But its not so cold tonight
as the wind has gone down. Really tho you'd never guess in this house
it was that cold outside, especially if we keep the front room
closed. But the larder has been freezing the last couple days. I sure
hope our pit doesn't freeze.
Marjorie's cellar was freezing. They
had very few potatoes tho & they weren't worth much, as they were
sunburned & frost nipped & coal oil had got on some of them.
Gee that basement is a junk heap, stuff rotting and spoiling. You
can't find anything. It was down there I ran the nail in my foot. I
sure was tickled the way that healed up. It was only a week ago
tonight I did it & now it isn't even sore at all.
I'd have been a great one to take to a
New Years Hop. It would have been a hop alright. Maybe I'd have won a
prize for the rumba or something, like Mrs. Wearybottom. She was
going over to the powder room & tried to take some gum off the
bottom of her shoe & won a prize for the rumba.
Do you remember Rudy Jaster? They say
he was in Hong Kong before it fell to the Japs. I wonder what became
Aden Cave is quite sick in the military
hospital. He has infected tonsils which are poisoning his blood &
they are in such a shape they can't be taken out til the infection
goes down. I guess he's quite sick & suffers a lot of pain in his
arms & legs & back.
Cadwells are coming back to Lang &
work Wallaces place. They may be back here now, I don't know. But
they plan to be here in the spring I heard.
Mr & Mrs Miller were over the other
day collecting for the Milk for Britain Fund. I guess about $40 was
obtained in & around Lang. Mrs. Mark turned them down tho. They
sure haven't much public spirit.
Gee I sure hate to see Grace leave.
She's been so good to me. The whole town will miss her as they
depended on her in so many ways.
I'd like to get her some sort of a
remembrance but I don't know what it should be. What would you think?
As they are breaking up housekeeping there are so many things she
I wish it were the end of March. Please
hurry up & buy a truck or something & come home. I miss you
like the dickens. I doesn't seem to make sense your being away down
there & lonesome & all.
Janet is very happy & so
affectionate. She half sings. I love Mommy. I love Daddy. I love
Mama. I love Papa. I don't have to ask her to kiss me she is kissing
all the time.
Your loving wife
Wednesday Jan 7 (in same envelop)
Mr. Ried came along at dinner time so
perhaps he'll mail this letter for me.
It is warmer today, only -6 this am.
This morning I cut a lot of snow blocks
from the bank by the trees and hauled them up on Janets sled. John
brought the sled home one day as he came from Bechard.
We will wash soon this aft or evening.
If we wash in the evening we can hang up the clothes to be dry in the
Must cut this short as Mr Ried &
Dad have just about finished their argument I hope. It is quite
interesting. You should see Janny sew with a bodkin & thread.
I hope you are O.K. And that you will
find a good job and a good truck or something.
Lots of love to you Wally – all there
is. Hope to hear from you soon
Your loving wife
Lang Sask Jan 10 1942
Today I came in to Ma's with A.
Westborg and will stay till after Tuesday as that is when they are
having the party for Grace & Frank.
I will stick this in with your mothers.
Sure am sorry about Allan's money. Some
other Campbell must have gotten it. We have the slips & will try
to trace it. Hope we can locate it. Everyone is fine but colds are
Expect Walter home anytime now, but
haven't heard just when.
Dad said he'd get a bond cashed so we
could advance $200 to you. What do you think about the truck idea.
Today Ma & I are going to a shower
for Clover Stien.
Must hurry now. Lots of love May
P.S. I left Janny at Mothers. She wrote
a letter to you last night but I didn't get it in.
Jan 11 1942
I will soon be off to church. Your
mother has gone on to SS. Madge came on the train. She's coming to
church with me & expects to get a ride home sometime with
Ina Cave was over this morning. I'm
helping her plan the party for Perkins. Everyone seems enthusiastic &
Last night I was up at Grace's. Hannah
C was there too. We sure had a lot of fun.
Mrs Wallace was here for supper. It was
the first she had been out since Xmas & the visit etc. seemed to
do her a lot of good. About a month ago she went to Regina & made
a record that was sent over to be played to her boys.
Must go now, will write more this pm.
Hello Dearest One
I'm in bed now. In Ma's bed as she
sleeps in Ralph's since those cold days. She has to get up to Pa
I remember the first time I ever was in
this room. Do you? It was just before your folks moved in. Gee it
makes me lonesome to think of it.
How I wish you were going to be here
Tuesday night. This is the program. First community singing til the
crowd gathers. Then solos & recitations including me. Then cards
for half the crowd & a quiz game for the ones who do not play
cards. Then lunch & the presentation. Hip is doing the honors.
Mrs Cave is presenting the purse & I'm to pin a corsage on Grace.
Tomorrow I have quite a bit of running
around to do & in the evening Ina, Irene, Gladys & I are
making the score cards etc. etc.
Walter got home yesterday. He is fine
but weak of course. I did not see him but have talked to Marjorie
It has been very mild today. A real
chinook. Thawed since morning. We've had the windows & doors open
Today I wore my new dress and Pa said
that it was the kind of dress he liked & was surprised when I
told him I made it. Do you remember when we bought the material in at
Eatons. Its shirt waist style with brown buttons & belt and has
long sleeves. I'm going to wear it Tuesday night with my new brown
shoes. My foot is a little tender yet when I wear tight shoes. I hope
it doesn't bother Tuesday.
Miss Grunfield's suitcase was chequed
but it didn't arrive at Lang when she did. So she was kind of
worried. I'll have to see about it for her tomorrow. The new agent
seems very unsociable and not very obliging from what I've seen of
him. Hope he improves on acquaintance.
I saw Mrs. Batty re that money order &
she assured me it would be recovered & no matter where it had
gotten to there was nothing to worry about. So I hope it doesn't take
to long. She was very nice about it & said she'd send the date,
no etc to Mr. Motherwell immediately & also write to the PM at
Collingwood although that was against rules however she'd stretch a
I have to see her tomorrow about a cake
for Tuesday so I'll probably have more news then.
If you should get the M.O. in the
meantime let us know at once.
You must not have gotten the letter mailed at the same time to you
saying the money had been sent.
I wonder if
other letters have gone astray as you said one you had no mail for
ten days & I have never gone ten days without ending a letter
even when I didn't get the mail I had chances to send letter to you.
My pen is dry as
you see so I'll write some more tomorrow & get this posted. I'll
soon be sending you that money I hope so be deciding what you'll do
with it & then please come hone to your
Own true loving
Sunday Jan 11/42
I wonder what you are doing and how you
feel today. I feel kind of low today and wish to goodness that I was
home with you. It's three PM now and I've been sleeping most of the
day. Yesterday was very cold here. It was thirty degrees below zero.
Up near Sudbury it was fifty below and at Toronto it was ten below so
you can imagine how cold it was here. Yesterday I worked all day long
in the grease pits thawing out cars and as a result got an awful dose
of gas so today I feel kind of punk as if I had stomach flu. Just one
more shot of that and I'll be quitting another job. Working
conditions in this country are not so hot at the best of times.
Gosh but it's lonely here May. I don't
know what to do with myself. There is no place to go and nothing to
do. I would like to go for a walk but it's to darn cold to do that.
So I guess I'll finish the day up in my room thinking of you and the
grand and glorious West. As there us no place like it.
Have you thought over the car situation
yet and what do you think of it. On March 1st they are
going to freeze the price of used cars here but I haven't any idea
where the price will be set, high or low or anything else. I heard
the other day that farmers will be allowed to buy tires. Is that
right or just another rumour of which this place is full.
This week Allen only got in 27 hours of
work so he is disgusted with things, only had a pay check of $11.00
and that's no good here. You were asking once how Phyllis was getting
along. Well as far as I know she's getting on all right and I'm sure
that she has not been to a doctor or anything like that. The old
battleaxe got a job in Toronto looking after an old couple. I wonder
how long she will last.
How is the weather out there? Have you
much snow and how do you get in and out to town? Is there any car on
the place that is running? How is everyone and how are you putting in
I'm only about twenty miles from Camp
Borden here where all the pilots finish their training so there are
planes over here all the time. Also there are several thousand
soldiers there and they come here quite a lot for it's the closest
town. The political color of this place is Conservative if you can
feature that and the people are as imperialistic as can be. Kind of
makes you sick to hear them talk some times. They are a bunch of tea
drinking, beer guzzling morons! With all their ideas there are
thousands of boys here of military age and fitness that won't go near
I've still got $90 on me so I'm just
keeping myself, which is a dickens of a note for I would like to make
a little money as compensation for staying in this blasted country. I
had a chance to go into the shipyard last week to help bend steel for
ships with a thirty pound hammer. I didn't even consider it for I
would last about half a day at that job. It takes a man like Joe
Louis to do that work and survive. By the way, I heard the Louis Baer
fight Friday night. I went to the home of one of the boys that I work
with to hear it. I was kind of disappointed as I had to stay out till
11.30 pm to hear it and then it only lasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds.
Well May I've got to get out of this
mood or I'll be going down and buying a bus ticket home. The
temptation gets pretty strong at times. Don't tell anyone that I'm
such a home sick guy as this. You are the only one that knows.
It is seven PM now. I went out and
walked up and down the street like the king's horses. (mushy stuff)
I suppose Walter is at home by now. How
is he getting along? How is your dad getting on these days? Say hello
to them for me. What's Ronnie doing in Regina? Is he at work there?
Well darling May I'm going to close and
read some of your letters and then go to bed. I like to read your
letters over and over again. I love you May and I hope that I'll soon
Jan 12, 1942
My Darling Wally,
This morning I got your letter written
the 8th. Gee you must be homesick. I sure will send you
that money as soon as I can. I'll have to go home Wed. Then the first
chance I'll get it off. I don't know just how I'd better send it.
Since Allan's got lost & I'm almost sure some others too. I hate
to mail it tho I guess its safe. They must have a hell of a PO in
Collingwood. Maybe I'd better telegraph it or something.
You decide what your going to buy in
the car or truck line. Then get it and come home Pronto.
You can work for
your board at the folks till we can get moved home. Maybe you can
arrange with my dad to farm his land. He's counting on Walter but I
doubt if Walter will have time or strength.
expecting two fresh cows & I don't know who he'll get to milk 'em
and they have no hired girl in view. Oh its a mess. He hates to rent
this year as he has so much fallow he thinks he couldn't afford the
usual share of rent.
I guess Wayne
must be getting married or something. Its sure funny he hasn't even
answered your letter though.
Today is the
grandest day. I've been downtown twice & I'm going out again to
post this then over to Caves tonight. Tomorrow night at the hall &
then I'll be out Wed to Chapter. Its hard to hold me down.
Tomorrow if I
have any luck getting that steer in Porrier will butcher it. Bobby is
going to see if Klatts or Bill A will bring it in as trucks from town
are too darned high priced.
I've sure seen a
lot of people & been in a lot of homes in the last couple days.
It gives me something to think about tho.
The other day I
got a letter from you and as I was reading it I couldn't keep the
tears out of my eyes. Pa noticed too & thought I'd got bad news.
It sure makes me feel bad when I think of how homesick you must be.
So please hurry home. Find the truck or car you want & I'd send
tho cash as soon as possible so you can bid it all good bye.
so please hurry
home to your own May.
PS I've rec'd no
(? bonus) & doubt if they will come out before spring.
I'm putting a
letter in to Phil as there are too many other Campbell's in that
town. Please pass it along to her.
I get you letter
written on Jan 6 and 7 today and it sure was welcome. I would like to
get a letter from you every night when I get home from they are a great
pick me up. I wrote to you yesterday and I guess it was kind of a low
letter but I feel better today.
I work from
eight o'clock in the morning till seven or later at night, Saturday
night until eleven. Last week I put in 65 hours. I have not worked on
Sunday yet and had Xmas day off. I arrived here on Dec 3, went to
work on the 4th and have been steadily at work since
except on Dec 15 when I quit one job and got this one. Last time I
was in a store was on Dec 15. If I want something Phyllis or Lorna
have to get it for me as I haven't a chance. That's pretty close to
stay at work and make nothing at it.
I get the news
paper from Fawcetts and read the headlines each night and then go to
bad or take time out to write a letter. So you see I haven't much
time to read or go around. I've seen one show – on New Years night.
I get $15 a week on which there is 1.70 taxes which leaves me $13.30
pay. $2.50 a week for my room and 6 for board and from .60 to 1.20
for washing so that leaves me about 3.50 to buy cloths, insulin,
stamps, lunch etc. It's a great life. Up to date Allen hasn't been
doing that good in four weeks he was out of work for ten days and
then only half days etc. He is working for a guy by the name of Hogan
who is building a creamery and milk bar here.
When you live
with people as I have with the Campbells. You sure get the low down
on them and all isn't sunshine tho I think that they are about as
good as you would find on the average. Allen is always cussing
somebody for something or other, always talking for which I'm kind of
thankful because I'm quiet. He is never quite sure of himself so he
has a blustering front to get behind. He's always talking about what
he is going to do and if I should say I'm going to do the opposite
he's right with me thinking it's the only thing. Quite a guy when you
get to know him and we get along fine together.
In your letter
you were saying that your dad would advance money for a car or truck.
The reason I've talked about cars all the time is that cars are the
only thing listed in the paper. Evidently there are lots of trucks in
Toronto and they are cheaper than cars. What I want to do is go to
Toronto and get a truck for that is what we do want and hope that I
can get. Most of the trucks are Sedan Deliveries which is no good to
me but I think I can get a ½ or 1/4 ton open truck without any
difficulty. If I can't get one at all then I'll get a car instead. So
you take your dad up on it and send me the money, $200 if possible.
Lang will sure
miss Grace Perkins when she goes for I think everyone in the whole
country liked her. As for Frank there won't be any sympathy lost or
much at any rate. I suppose that Lang will give them a farewell, be
sure and tell me what is done any way. All in all they have been
pretty good to us even with all their peculiarity.
I can hear
someone playing the Missouri Waltz on a piano somewhere in this block
and it sure sounds good. The favorite music here is the weeping
wailing cowboy songs and most of the shows are cowboy pictures of Tom
Mix and Gene Autry and such. The population is simply gaga over that
crap. They would sooner look at and listen to that tripe than
anything else. All the dances here are square dances or cow drills as
we call them. Then once in a while they have a civilized dance and it
is called a round dance of all the goofs.
letter I was telling you how cold it was. Well today it's almost
thawing so things change fast around here. The other day I had to go
with the tow truck out to the terminal elevator to get a car and pull
it in. It was just getting dark and there was a storm on the bay. The
elevator is about 2 miles out on the pier in the bay. The waves were
coming in about six feet high with chunks of ice on them as big as a
barn door. Everything was sort of a purple color and the noise of the
ice was terrific. It was one of the most forlorn sights that you
would ever see. It is always foggy and cloudy over the bay now so you
don't see much of it.
Gosh but it takes me a long time to write a letter. I sit and think and then
write and think and write until I spend an hour and a half writing
one but it's the best way to spend it that I know of. What say?
Write to me as
often as you can May because letters from you are just wonderful
these days and if I can get a truck as I want to I think you'll see
me coming home. Good night darling I'll go to bad now and hope to
hear from you soon.
From a home sick
love sick boy
Well I got your
air mail letter today and it sure was good to hear from you. Said
that you were going to write tomorrow so I'll get another tomorrow I
hope. Last night was your party for the Perkins, how did it go? Was
there a large crowd there and what all did you do? You don't wish any
more that I do that I could have been there. I would have liked to
see you pinning the corsage on Grace etc. Did they have a dance
afterwards? I sat down last night which was the party night and wrote
a letter to them telling them that I was kind of sorry to see them
leave Lang and I am sorry to see them go even if Frank is very
peculiar at times. Do you know the real reason why they took the
step? I would like to know for I kind of have the idea that their
business wouldn't stand the standard of living that they enjoyed. I
lie in bed last night thinking of the whole thing and Lang in general
until about two in the morning. Couldn't seem to get it out of my
head and go to sleep. Well so much for Perkins et al.
Now I'll start
in about trucks. My plans are as follows. I'll stay on the job until
I get the money that you are sending. Then I'll go to Toronto and
hunt for a truck which may take a few days in order to locate a good
one at the best price that I can get. Then I think I'll look for a
good pay job so as I can make a few dollars in a couple of weeks and
then come home. If I can't get a job I'll come as soon as I have the
truck. Now, here, they will not hire men into good jobs if they will
not sign up for the duration because it takes time for to make
efficient workers of them and they can't be training new men all the
time. That plan went into effect in the ship yard here last week.
Labour in industry here is becoming highly specialized. A man has to
go into something at the bottom and work up to the place where it
begins to pay. All the men here employed by the Clyde Air Craft are
highly skilled and trained men so I'm quite an amateur in this man's
country. I'll have to stay at fixing cars etc. I hope the money comes
soon for I'm feeling kind of tired, sixty five hours of work a week
keeps you at it pretty steady altho with it all I'm learning things
at the same time.
So you are
having a stay in with Ma and Pa eh! I hope that you enjoy your stay.
It will be quite a change from out on the farm. Did you tell them of
the truck plans and of me very much in the mood to come home and how
it was going with me. I write to them once in a while also to Bert
and Ralph but of course they are common ordinary cheery letters, no
down in the dumps to them.
I have three
people that amuse me, Old Fawcett my landlord, Howard Skelton with
whom I work, he is the second. Charley Hyer and Allen and his goings
on. They really make you laugh once in a while.
I don't know
whether to buy a suit of clothes down here or not. The seat has gone
out of the one I have. You don't need clothes down here for you could
go to church in pajamas if you wanted to, the people are so
backwoodsy. I met a fellow from Grand Coulle down here the other day,
he knew Jack Caldwell. We had quite a talk and we wished that we were
I'm sure going
through envelopes these days!
Jan 14 1942
Ma just got your
letter of the 8th today. Frank brought it in as Edna had
gotten it Sat & perused it well – Damn her.
The money has
caused quite a lot of worry. You see I posted it for Ma on the 16 of
Dec. It was sent to Allan Campbell G.Del. And it was sent by Mrs W
Barmby. Mrs Batty started the investigation last Sat and she says not
to worry as it will be made good. I only hope it doesn't take too
long – Allan might go to the PM & speak to him about it so he
would know which Campbell to pay it to.
I'll go down &
post this & see if any mail came in on the 10 o'clock.
Mr. Kurylo was
here a few minutes ago to ask if he could get the old boiler at the
farm. Pa jumped up and assured him he could. He said he'd get $5 a
ton for the iron. He's the one that married Grace Martin.
Everyone was at
the party but Muziks & Edith Cardiffs. I guess Mrs Hitchcock
helped a lot.
So long for now
as I must hurry.
Lots & lots
Richardson was talking to me last night. She said her brother Frank
Patterson lived in Collingwood. He is Reeve. She had written to him
about you & asked him to look you up, but told me to tell you to
look him up if you have time. It might be nice to meet him.
from Ma in same envelop)
Frank just gave
me your letter this morning it had got to Jacks by mistake so as May
is here this week I expect she has explained it all to you and
perhaps you have both of our letters that we wrote last week by this
time. Mrs Batty think the money will be found alright – but what if
Allen had wanted to start home first. I've surely wished he had taken
it with him because one feels responsible even though I took what
seemed the safest way. We had it very cold here last week to 30 below
but this week the streets are all slush and mud. The fields all have
just snow in corners.
We have a big
party for the Perkin's last night. I expect May has told you about
that. His mother feels pretty bad about his breaking up his home and
also about his enlisting. She seems to see it better than either
Frank or his wife. She blames the Websters a lot for it, especially
Mrs. Webster – she says Mrs Webster was always complaining to Frank
that Grace had to live in this miserable place and that they always
held George Webster up as an example to Frank. She said to me Frank
sees himself as an officer but she could not. He forgets, she said,
it takes time and work.
Well I am sorry
to see them go. Mrs. Cave says he had to sell. He could not carry on
any longer but I don't know. Our folks don't believe that however I
suppose Balcarres or Melville will be so much better.
Had Ralph home
for five days at New Year. He is going to try and get his 2 weeks
this month. Hope he does. Pa keeps about as usual. May is wanting to
post this. Take good care of yourself, and oh how I hope they find
Love from Mama
Morning (in same envelop)
Well I'm in bed
now after the big party. Wow! What a crowd, must have been over 200.
But everyone was well entertained & had plenty to eat & lots
of coffee. I had the honor to pin a corsage on Grace near the
beginning of the show. There was plenty of speechifying & lots of
music, cards & quiz. They presented them with a purse of $68 –
I think I'll go away eh? Mr Dewar made a big hit with his singing.
He's quite a clown too.
Tomorrow we are
going to Chapter in Milestone & I'll go home with the folks.
Gee my dogs are
tired – being on them all day & this weather I think has
something to do with it. Ma's feet are tired too. It is so mild,
hardly freezing yet & so slushy & muddy but the snow is
nearly all gone.
Gee I love you &
miss you so much. I sure wish you were here tonight. But it won't be
long now till your home, I hope.
Have you decided
what to buy in the truck or car line? I hope so as I'll send the
money as soon as I can. Then you'd better come home as you can do
more good here than working for your board there.
I'll sure be
glad to get back in our own home again. You don't know how glad but
mostly to be with you.
I love you
Lang Sask Jan 16
Mr Batke brought
the folks mail but he doesn't get mine. However I hope to get to town
tomorrow and will send you that money. I am still wondering if Allan
got his yet. I hope nothing happens to yours.
tried to start the car & came mighty near it but couldn't crank
it fast enough. It has been so warm. The snow has gone off lots of
the fields. There is more snow around here than at Lang.
I've had the flu
or something today & layed off, but feel some better tonight.
Art Bladon &
O Smith were here for dinner. They were collecting for the Church so
I gave them a couple dollars. They had just left when Mr Batke walked
up with the mail. He wanted to talk about buying a car. He sort of
has his eye on the Model A tho he looked at mine. I told him we'd
want 250 for it. He has some good tires & would like to get he
could use those tires on. They wouldn't fit our car tho.
There are some
dandy editorials in the Producer this week, I'll send ours to you
when I get to Lang.
We do enjoy the
radio as Dad's isn't fixed yet. The batteries are holding up fine.
We haven't heard
a scratch from Wayne since that picture he sent of Mary Jane. Not
even at Xmas. He's a funny guy.
Aunt Bina wrote
telling of a card she'd had from Warren (you know he's in the US
navy) The card was post marked Pearl Harbor Dec 9. All it said was “I
am well, will write at first opportunity”. The cards are printed
and the boys cross off the statements leaving what they want to say &
that was all he could say. Aunt Bina can write to him but never knows
where he is or whether he gets her letters. Naturally she worries
At Riceton today
a 2 year old child was drown in a water trough. The parents were Mr &
Mrs Layman. He drove a truck for the Coop there. I believe it was
their only child. I sure feel sorry for them.
Bill Ardnt was
rushed to Regina the other day with some sort of attack & I
believe he's being operated on for some kidney troubles according to
what Marjorie told mother today.
Mrs Batty had
injured her arm sometime ago so my dad told her he was sorry about it
& she said in spite of it she had not missed a day in the office.
'Well', he said, 'anyone could run that office with one hand tied
behind their back.' She says “That's what Joe Muzik said but I told
him it took a British Subject.” That would hit Joe right between
They are having
some excitement around here following the exploits of Jack Hughes. It
seems he's been hauling our Alf's wheat & selling it in his own
name & cashing the tickets & so the police are after him. Its
quite a long story & seems to improve at it goes the rounds.
telling a trick he did on his neighbour Gilbert. Gilbert sowed wheat
on the road allowance next to Jacks and Jack went out with a scythe &
carefully cut all the wheat on the road allowance & made hay of
it. Of course Gilbert couldn't kick as he was a trespasser himself in
the sight of the law.
I cashed in my
till coupon at Perkins while I was in town & got a set of glass
bowls & 8 large spoons that will do as serving spoons or soup
Gee I hope you
can get a car & come home right away. What's the use of working
for your board down there. You can do that here & have a little
enjoyment of life while your at it. You never said how much a truck
would cost or that you thought about that. It seems to me tho that we
need a truck. We can still get new tires for a truck for farm hauling
& gas for it. Where as its doubtful if you could get either for a
car now that there are so many restrictions come in. However, you do
as you know best. Perhaps you want to get a truck here.
Aunt Mable said
they bought a new truck, paid cash but have no surety when or if it
can be delivered. So that's how it may be there too. However, I guess
we're not interested in new trucks.
I was surprised
at how much Janny had grown in the 4 days I was away. She had a bad
fall tho & cut her forehead. I do hope it doesn't scar. She's
pretty good not to pick at it. She talks more now too. I brought home
a calendar with a picture of two kids on a sled. She said, “Deres
owe & Jeannie. Whee dey does.” translated There's Harold &
Jeannie. Whee they go(es). I don't suppose you'll be able to
understand her as there are so many letters she doesn't pronounce so
she puts in substitutes so sleep becomes peep & cow tow & so
Wally, I sure do
love you. I get along all right but think always how grand it is when
your around & how terribly I miss my understanding husband
because no matter what happened I could always count on you to stand
by me. So please hurry home unless something good in the line of a
job turns up. I hope you won't regret going down as I suppose its
done us both good in a way but we need each other so much whats the
Your own true
I got your
letter today that says buy a truck and come home and that's just what
I'm going to do. I'm just sitting here waiting for the money. There
is a 36 Ford ½ ton listed in the paper these last few days for 250
and I sure would like to get it. I hope it stays there until I get
the money to buy it. They are dandy little trucks and now as gas
tires batteries spark plugs etc. are banned for cars a truck is the
only way out. A truck like that one when empty is just like a car,
fast and good looking. So we have both car and truck in one. I'm very
anxious to get it or one like it while I have the chance.
I sure would
like to talk your dad into renting the farm to me because I can get
Bert on a moments notice to help me. He was asking me not so long ago
if I knew of any way that he and I could get some more land. I do
hope that I can get something like that as it is the only thing for
me, and I don't mean maybe.
I'll call at the
station here to see if you sent that money by telegraph for I have no
address here and they wouldn't find me. I hope I have it be the time
you get this.
How are the
roads from Lang to Minot ND. I suppose they will be all right tho
that is the only stretch that I wonder about. It will take me about
six days to drive home myself and maybe two or three days to hunt up
a truck. So if things go good I'll be home by the first of Feb.
without any trouble. I've still got my $90 no more no less, so that's
I love you
darling more than anyone could and I can hardly wait until I get back
to you and get into a normal way of living. I have quite a time with
my eat (profasition?). I'll tell you about it when I get home. I'm
very much handicapped with it all, when your working under these
conditions. So today I decided to quit it and get back where I
So long until
Sunday Jan 18 /42
Today Gaylord & Vera are over. We
had a good dinner – baked fish etc. Gaylord came over yesterday &
took a letter & the money back to post to you. Please let me know
as soon as you get it.
We are all well. I am over the flu I
had a few days ago. The weather has been grand, just like spring.
Today the sun has been shining and thawing all day.
They told a good one on the Happy Gang.
“A garage mechanic was being examined as to I.Q. by a psychiatrist.
He was asked what would happen if he cut off his left ear. He said
(just as Mortiner Snerd would) why I'd be deef. Then he was asked
what would happen if he cut off his right ear. He said why I'd be
blind. Then the examiner asked how he figured and he said Well if
you'd cut off my right ear and me left ear my hat would fall down
over my eyes & I'd be blind.”
I must hurry with this because the
folks want to go home early.
Janet hasn't had her nap yet. She has
been playing with Evelyn. They have a great time.
I haven't had my mail for sometime.
John always gets it but Batke & Arthur don't.
Wayne wrote a letter to the Handclasp.
I'll enclose it as it is the screwiest letter I ever read.
I am hoping you will soon be driving
home in a new truck. Frank has a truck now I hear.
So long for now. I love you exceedingly
and miss you a lot.
(enclosed Handclasp letter)
to introduce to you my new scribe whom we hope is more literary
minded than myself. Though she is noted chiefly for her good looks,
she is also a much heralded radio performer and organist. Though it
seems to be expecting a lot to hope that she is a good secretary,
we certainly will admit that ye writer's record would not be hard to
beat. (We also hope she's a good cook.)
week we had a new experience – a black-out practice. This lasted
for ten minutes. The best part of all was watching the lights come on
again when the sirens sounded the “all clear”.
for the last week has been the coldest since I've been here.
has kept me very busy lately. It is very interest – all defense.
couldn't sleep the other night haunted by thoughts of Russia. He
reached out to pick up a book to read. Without looking he had picked
out the Old Testament which he decided he would peruse. Opening the
book at random he read about the destruction of the Pharaoh's armies
in the Red Sea after Moses led his people across on the dry land.
Adolph thought that his was a fine piece of real strategy. He
summoned the chief of the guard and asked if there were any of the
old boys around with the long gray beards. After some time one was
located in a concentration camp and brought in. Read this, said
Adolph. I know vot it says, said the Rabbi. Can this be done today?
Ya. Well, now how do we go about it? First we must have the stick vot
Moses used. Well, where do we get that? Dot, said the Rabbi, is in
the Royal Museum of London.
Jan 18 /42
It's Sunday night here and I
have just come back from being out on the mountain for the afternoon.
Yesterday and today have been the nicest days since we got here, it
has been raining both rains and it has taken most of the snow. It's
foggy here tonight and you never seen anything quite so dark –
black is the word. It's a dark as being in a tight room. Are you
still enjoying mild weather? I hope so for you can get out and enjoy
life while its like that.
I saw some suits here priced
at $13 in one of the store windows so I think maybe I'll buy one as
the seat has gone out of the one I have completely. It's a heck of a
mess now. What do you think about it? I'll have to get sometime off
to go down and see them. But first I'll buy me truck and then see if
I can afford to do it.
May hurry up and send me
that money if you can for the prices are beginning to rise. Everybody
who wants a car or truck is in there buying now while there are some.
I hope that I get there in time to a 36 Ford ½ ton truck that is
listed for $250 which I think is a good buy. It will be very much
like the one that Tom has. If you want to know how to send it, send
it by PO order air mail registered and I'll get it sure and fast.
Also I'll inquire at the Depot to see if you sent it by telegraph.
I feel pretty good today for
one reason or other. Maybe it's the weather thats doing it. But gee
May I sure miss you. Its almost two months since I left you and it
seems like two years. I'm looking forward now to the day that I start
for home and boy oh boy that is a grand feeling if there ever was
one. At the same time if I bring a good truck home the venture has
been successful as I'll have a truck that would cost $600 out there
and we have saved on coal and grocery bill plus the money we would
have spent on odds and ends which all amounts to quite a bit. Also
I've gained some knowledge at this job that will come in kind of
handy at times.
Allen is still working for
Hogan at his creamery and he doesn't know what he will do. My pen
just went dry so I went and got some ink from Old Fawcett and also
listened to a long winded yarn punctuated with cuss words. You really
ought to know this old duck for he's good.
Well I hope that I'm soon on
my way to Toronto for a truck and look for a job that will pay some
good wages. Also I'll have to find out about the license for this
truck to get it back home. Ont expires on Jan 31 so I'll have to get
a permit to take it to Sask. One of Allen's numerous uncles works in
the license branch in Toronto so I'll get him to fix me up. This ink
is the bunk. I can't seem to get it to write good. I heard today that
conscription was coming in and also that a ceiling was put on grain
prices. It's (?) right or just another rumour. They sure are howling
for conscription in this country.
I got those two rolls of
films developed the other day, they charged 40 cents a roll to
develop them here *!& etc. I'll send some in this letter and the
rest in others so as not to make it too heavy. Everything is fine
except me and thats atrocious to say the least. If I look like that I
feel sorry for the public in general.
What is your dad thinking of
the farming situation these days. Is he ready to quit or has he any
men lined up for spring or how is it going? I sure don't think much
of Fawcett's ink as I'm pushing this pen right through the paper at
Fibber Magie and Molly are
playing in Look who's Laughing here tomorrow night and I'm going down
to see it as I need a good funny show these days. What are you doing
these days May and how is Janet getting along? Is she talking very
much and feeding herself etc? I would sure like to see her again.
I'll bet there is a big change in her since I left.
I sure hope I get another
letter from you tomorrow. It sure is great to come home at night and
have a letter from you to read. It sort of gives me the where with
all to go through another day of car wrestling or gas pumping. I'd
sure hate to spend a lifetime at the job. I'll send you a picture of
the place I work at. Yesterday he painted his name John A Sheffer on
the front of it.
Your loving husband
Lang Sask (sent to
Collingwood but redirected back to Lang)
Sat Jan 24 1942
Jan will soon be a thing of
the past and what grand weather we have had except for the first few
days. It has been (?) and thawing almost every day but still there is
quite a bit of now around here – not so much at Lang tho.
I do hope that you got the
money I sent in time to get that Ford truck you wrote about. Was it
advertized in Collingwood.
I had a great time digesting
the four letters I recd from you Thursday night.
You asked the real reason
behind Perkins move. To tell the truth I didn't get it figured out.
Frank seemed awfully keen to go on active service but Grace was
rather broken up over having to move again. It isn't going to be any
bed of roses for her having to look after her mother and Alice &
her boys all at once. And of course her girl Josey left her in the
lurch at New Years.
By the way Josey is going to
go to business college & work for her board & room at
Mother is still in Regina &
will be till Mon as Milly is sick with the chicken pox. Mother phoned
this am to tell us as we expected GC to bring her over after the noon
Martha & Edith are going
to stay till she comes home. They like it here & are good
company. Janet likes them.
George & Edwin come up
and play with Martha & Janet. They were out all morning. Martha
is crazy to washing dishes and sweeping etc. So she's quite a help
tho she doesn't always do a good job.
John is going into town this
aft. I'll send this then. I may go in too but haven't decided.
Be sure to write and tell me
when you plan to start home so I won't be writing after you have
left. It takes about 3 days for a letter to come.
I am rather concerned about
Janet. She's fat & happy and good. But the other day she passed a
long round worm about 6 inches or more in length. I don't know how
many more she might have. Sometimes she's restless in her sleep. So I
think maybe I should take her up to MacMillan and get a prescription
to clean her up. I could likely go up with Gaylord but as you are
soon coming home I think I'll wait and go up with you as a few more
days can't make so very much difference. She seems perfectly well &
never complains a bit. You will certainly see a big difference in
her. She talks so much more & has gained a lot. I'd sure like to
know how she came by that worm!
I can hardly wait until you
Well I'm back in Collingwood
this morning after spending three days in Toronto. Also I bought a 36
Ford ½ ton truck for $200. I think I done pretty good as I only
found five trucks of that type in Toronto and I must have seen 2000
cars and trucks. I was two days dealing on this truck as it was
priced at $325 to start with. The prices on used cars etc. has
doubled in three weeks here and soon there won't be any so I just got
in there in time. I think I'll need about $60 worth of repairs on
this and it will be in good shape. Anyway I'm starting home in it
First I have to get a form.
It's to get money US then I'm 300 miles from Windsor where I cross
the US boundary and I want to stop in Dundas to see some of my folks.
I have to be out of Ontario by Jan 31 or buy an Ontario license for
this truck. I wanted to go to Novar but I guess that's out for its
160 miles over to there and it would take about three days to go over
and visit for a day. I'll get ready to leave here that is get my
truck ready and help Allen do a little on his car then go to Dundas
about Wednesday, cross the border about Friday and then be on my way
home on Saturday. It will take me a week to drive the 2300 miles
that's ahead of me and might possibly call in at Myrtles place, I'll
tell you later if I plan on doing that. It sure is a grand feeling to
be thinking about coming home even with that drive ahead of me.
The weather has been grand
here lately so I guess the roads will be good to travel on. The road
from Toronto up to here was good last night and I plan on using then
while they are good.
Well so long May darling and
I'll keep writing to tell you where I am and what I'm doing. Don't
write to me any more for I'll not get any more mail written that
late. I love you darling. It won't be long now.
Jan 28 /42
Well tonight I'm twenty
miles from South Bend Indiana, just across the state line from it. I
came all the way from Hamilton Ontario today. So I'm doing all right.
I was three hours from the time I got into Windsor until I left
Dearborn. Windsor Detroit and Dearborn are all like one city and is
about twenty five miles through the three of them. Yesterday I left
Collingwood at ten am and went to Dundas via Toronto. Got to Dundas
about 3 pm, had a nice visit with three of my cousins down there.
Tomorrow I'll be on the west side of Chicago someplace so when you
get this I'll likely be near St Paul. Well goodnight May for I'm
going to bed as it's 11:30 and I'm sleepy. Sweet dreams until I see
you. I love you darling and I'm coming, oh boy
Love from Wally
As you see I'm in Madison
tonight, got here about ten o'clock. I sure spent a long time getting
rid of Chicago. I got to the outskirts of Gary Indiana about noon and
finally got out of Des Plains at six tonight. Gary Chicago Evanston
and Des Plains form one solid city reaching for about sixty miles and
has a combined population of near six million. I've got Detroit and
Chicago behind me now so things look quite rosy. I expect to pass St.
Paul by tomorrow night (I'm going around that place) so tomorrow
night I'll feel as it I'm getting close to home. Tonight I'm just
about half way home so that's not so bad. I sure get tired of driving
but don't worry for I watch closely and take care. I drank quite a
lot of coffee today. It keeps you on your toes and helps keep me
warm. There is lots of snow here in Wis. and I expect I'll be in snow
the rest of the way. I sure wish that you were keeping me company on
this trip. But mind you no back seat driving for a sure got my fill
of what on the way down here. I'm sure glad that I'm through with
those cities and heavy traffic etc. From now on the biggest city I
will go through is Fargo ND and thats only a little dump compared
with some 80,000 I think. Three day should get me back to good old
Sask. If all goes well and it will, I may call at Cogswell but am
undecided about that as yet. Well honey I must get some sleep in bed
so I won't do it on the road. So good night darling and sweet dreams
till next Mon or Tues. I love you darling and it's sure great to know
that I'll be seeing you soon, Just a few days Whoopee
Love from Wally
traveled with Gaylord and others to Myrtle's funeral in Cogswell
North Dakota in '49.
May 15 1949
Dear Wally & Janet
We arrived in Cogswell early
this aft & stopped at Nick's but Bernards were all out at the
farm so we came on out here. Sabina & Irene were here and several
neighbors coming & going & bringing gifts of food etc.
Myrtle had had the flu and
Bernard had taken her to the hospital in Britton. She was improving –
her temp had dropped & she was feeling fine. At about 3:30 she
called the nurses & said she had difficulty breathing & was
placed under an oxygen tent & the family was called immediately.
Bernard & Margaret didn't arrive until five minutes after she was
gone. A blood clot had lodged in her lung & suffocated her. She
died within the hour. It is a comfort to know that everything was
done that was possible. Her body was brought to Nick &
Margaret's. We went in there later today but came back to the farm
for the night.
Bernard & Gaylord &
Ronnie are driving to Hankinson to meet Wayne W. tonight.
The children have been just
wonderful. Mildred K and Wayne K have been such a comfort to their
Dad & to the littler ones. Bernard is doing much better than we
dared hope. Mildred H plans to stay on for a few days. Perhaps Wayne
W will motor back with us to see the folks.
The funeral will be Tuesday
morning at 9.
I hope you folks are getting
along ok & hope to hear from you soon. They will post this in
Here are some of the
people in case you find the names confusing. I have not included
everyone – most the neighbours and business people are not
Bernard Klickhammer –
Bert Barmby – Dad's
Bina (Aunt Bina) – Mom's
Bobby Barmby – Walter &
Calvin Wight – Mom's
Donnie Houghtaling –
Mildred & Ronnie's son
Edna Barmby – Jack's wife
Edwin Olson – John and
Elizabeth Barmby – Frank's
Evelyn Wight – Gaylord &
Frank Barmby – Dad's
Gaylord Wight (GC) – Mom's
brother living in Bechard
George Olson – John and
Harold Barmby – Walter &
Jack Barmby – Dad's
Janet (Janny) – me
Jeannie Barmby – Frank &
John Olson – close
neighbour of Mom's parents on the farm
Lily Olson – John's wife
Ma – Dad's mother
MaMa (mother) – Mom's
Madeline Wight – Gaylord &
Marian Barmby – Walter &
Marjorie Barmby(Marj Margie)
– Walter's wife and Mom's sister
Marjorie Houghtaling –
Mildred & Ronnie's daughter
Mildred (Milly) Houghtaling
– Mom's sister living in Regina
Mildred Klickhammer - Myrtle
& Bernard's oldest daughter
McMillan/MacMillan – the
Myrtle Klickhammer – Mom's
sister lived in Cogswell ND
Pa – Dad's father
PaPa (Dad, father, CE) –
Ronnie Houghtaling –
Vera Wight – Gaylord's
Walter Barmby – Dad's
Wayne Wight – Mom's
brother living in Rochester NY
Wayne Klickhammer – Myrtle
& Bernard's oldest son
(the' owe' that Mom says was me saying Harold was more likely how I said Hugh, Bert's son)
My Sister May – by Marjorie Barmby
As time elapses my appreciation and
love for my sister increases. She came to our family seventy years
ago to be the baby sister for six older siblings. It never occurred
to any of us children that a new baby was unnecessary. May was wanted
and needed and welcomed with abounding joy. She was an “overdue”
baby and looked like a month old child when she arrived. With the
care and stimulation of an adoring family she thrived and became very
precocious. She is still precocious.
We were a farm family, without modern
amenities and subjected to privations due to crop failures. Yet
happiness was our hall mark. We were deeply saddened by the death of
our little five year old sister, taken by a childhood disease. May
was then a year old and helped us so much to eclipse the sorrow with
her robust beauty and zest for life.
On the day May was nine months old,
several siblings were coaxing her to take some steps from one to
another. She surprised us by running across the room. After that
initial run, she soon learned to walk.
Little children often came to visit us.
They liked hugs and kisses too, but to me no other baby tasted as
good as May.
May's creativity was always evident in
everything she did. We always knew she was an artist. When she was
nine years old she very successfully made a dress for herself. She
had been learning to sew from her mother but she fashioned the dress
when our mother was away. It was the focal point of much admiration
and must have encouraged her to further creations.
My sister's most valuable talent became
that of teaching. She still has that affinity for children, who are
drawn to her as iron filings to a magnet. Her teaching career spanned
more than thirty years. The primary grades were her special area. God
only knows how many lives she has guided and influenced for good. Her
approach to teaching instilled self-confidence and self-esteem in her
pupils. Her school room was always a hive of activities beyond the
requirements of the curriculum. Each project, be it a book, a plant
or a chart, was helping some child to reach a high potential.
Expressions of appreciation from students from years ago enrich her
May's husband gives her very practical
support with many skills. They retired to their home town where a
smorgasbord of opportunities for service utilizes their time and
talents. They touch and enrich countless lives around them.
As a reporter, May gathers news for a
weekly publication. Her column keeps people, far and near, in touch
with the town's activities and special events. Her participation in
these activities may require her to fashion a poster, paint a
picture, create a doll, edit a local history or promote a museum. Her
home is a sanctuary for every quest. My love for her is shared by