The following (rather long) post consists of snippets from letters my parents–Bill and Marjorie Wright–sent to my grandparents during the three years they lived in Masset, 1954 to 1957. Most of the letters are written by my mom, but some by my dad. The letters provide a somewhat different perspective than my dad’s “autobiography notes” as they provide more of a view of day-to-day life in Masset in those days, and also include more mentions of different community members and community activities. There are gaps (such as the summer months of 1955 when they were off-island and I was born in Summerland BC, and the other summer holiday periods; and the letters from March to June 1957 seem to be missing). I have left out the many personal references to family members off-island, and many long descriptions of myself, Norma, and my little brother, Stewart! You really don’t want to know all the details about potty-training and other delightful joys of raising babies 🙂
Sept 12, 1954
You will all have heard about our sudden move from Queen Charlotte City by now through Marjorie’s letter. Both Charlotte City and Masset have their good points and their bad ones. Mail in and out only once a week here–always by boat–leaves Vancouver on Monday nights. There is a small plane that flies up here from Sandspit twice a week and Masset is trying to get the government to give its pilot-owner a contract to bring airmail from Sandspit. Water is hard here–comes from a well–is all piped through the town–pressure is poor but the town is raising its water tower several feet higher and that should improve pressure considerably. Land is almost flat around here so no mountain dams.
However, food is supposed to be cheaper here. Our living accommodation is far better than at Charlotte. We are living in an almost fully-furnished apartment (1/2 of a duplex house)–bedroom, dinette, living room and kitchen. Also we share a bathroom-washroom (with washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and automatic hot water) with a young couple who live in the other half of the duplex. We are very comfortable here. Oil, heat, light, water, etc.–everything found for $75.00 a month. A little more expensive that at Charlotte, but we don’t have to worry about ordering oil, etc.
The school–a beautiful new (2 years old) four room school plus a gym. To be able to teach in such a lovely school compared with the wreck they called a High School at Charlotte makes us feel much better about coming up to Masset. We live diagonally across the corner from the school. The local church (Anglican) is on the corner across the street from us. Both the elementary and high are in the same building so we both teach in the same building. Marjorie has had a promotion. She is now teaching Grades 7 and 8….
The changeover from Charlotte to Masset was an inconvenience but the School Board wanted it so they paid for everything–transportation, hotel, meals, etc. We came up by taxi and boat on Tuesday afternoon to see the place–school, living accomodation, etc. Stayed at the local hotel. On Wednesday afternoon, Margy flew back to Charlotte to repack our luggage. She came up by taxi and boat and arrived here at 7:30 a.m. Friday. School, here, was closed on Wednesday and Thursday while Bill snooped into school files, etc. Friday, the elementary school ran most of the day, but we let our classes go about 10:30 a.m. Then we had our baggage brought up from the dock and unpacked again–with a difference! Our present apartment is supplied with dishes, cooking utensils, bedding, etc. So of course we are saving our new dishes, etc., as much as possible.
People are very friendly, both here and at Charlotte. All four teachers are married. Three of us are new here, but the other new one (Mrs. McCorriston) lived here about six years ago. The primary teacher is English, and really nice. This is her third year here. At least half of our Junior-Senior High students are Indians (here we call them “natives”). Most of them seem very nice.
… Please remember us in prayer. We need it more than ever in the new positions that have been forced upon us. God bless all of you.
Sept. 19, 1954
… we seem to be just about settled down now–at least as far as our home is concerned. Now that the big move is over, we are admitting that the move, in many ways, has been to our advantage. We are quite pleased with our little home and are really very comfortable. We have a bed chesterfield in the living room so we are all set to have our various relatives come to visit us.
… Actually, the news is “Schoolwork, schoolwork, and more schoolwork.” Having to get settled (Marjorie) and make up lessons at the same time, and likewise having to take over the administration of a school and make up lessons at the same time (Bill), is quite a major project for both of us…. Bill has just about go the immediate administration work completed but is still quite a way behind in his lesson preparation. Anyway, the one main result of our trials and tribulations is that we haven’t caught up with our rest…. However, we hope that by next weekend, everything will be back to normal and we will be getting our necessary rest.
Anyway, here’s a brief resume of the past week. School opened (grades 7 to 12) for real business on Monday. Grades 1 to 6 had got fully under way the Friday before. The teachers who had Marjorie’s class before her were pretty feeble at Music and Art so apparently they just didn’t teach those subjects–gave study periods instead. So Marjorie is going to try to give them a bit of singing and art work. Bill finds that his High School students are just interested in taking General Programme courses (opposite to University Entrance), and that none of the grade 10 and 11 students are interested in taking Algebra and Geometry, or specialized Science courses (Chemistry, etc.)… If any students had wanted to take them, they would have to take them by Correspondence. Instead, Bill is introducing Commercial Courses–Business Arithmetic, Recordkeeping, Typing (we have 2 typewriters), and one girl is going to take Shorthand by Correspondence–and Bill is going to help her with Dictation, etc.
Monday evening we took a short rest and went back to the school and worked until nearly midnight preparing lessons. Tuesday evening, after supper, the evening was to nice that we went for a walk before going over to the school to prepare the next day’s lessons. Another midnight. So Wednesday, almost right after school, we came over to the house to have a rest before supper. Just as we were thinking about supper, along came Howard Phillips, the trustee who brought us up here from Queen Charlotte City–did we want to go mushrooming? In a hurry Bill found that Marjorie likes mushrooms–as she quickly accepted the invitation. So we found ourselves out hunting mushrooms on the river flats about 2 miles from here. After an hour of searching we got enough for supper (Mr. Phillips is an old-timer at finding mushrooms–he found more than twice as many as the two of us put together–so he donated some of his to our cause). Supper was very tasty, but our little unplanned interruption threw our time-table haywire and so we had another late evening. Thursday, we changed our tactics–did all our lesson-planning right after school. Got home about 7 p.m., had supper, and then Bill shipped Marjorie off to bed (8 p.m.) while he did the dishes.
Friday slipped by quickly. In the afternoon, we took our classes out for an afternoon of sports. We had been warned to do so before the winter rains take over. The boys from the two rooms made up a couple of teams for softball, and Bill bravely took over the umpiring–and is still alive to tell the tale. Actually, we seem to have a nice bunch of students–just a case of getting the natives to like us and trust us. It seems that, in the past, several of the teachers, have tried to push the natives around. We’ve been told that if we want the native children’s cooperation, we must try to lead them, not push them. We both feel that the kids are beginning to like us. Marjorie has 24 students in Grades 7 and 8–mostly boys–mostly natives. Bill has only 10 students–Grades 9, 10, and 11. Bills’ little class gives him no discipline problems whatsoever. More than once (imperfect lessons!) he has told them to read, talk quietly, etc., while he has wandered out of his room. When he comes back (quietly and unannounced), most of them are reading–certainly none of them are causing any trouble. In Marjorie’s class, of course, there four or five boys who would like to see how much they can get away with, but Marjorie even has them behaving.
Friday night, we took a holiday from books and went to bed shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday was a different matter. Bill took over the school and found himself … [with] no supplies. As far as he can learn, the teachers who were here last year gave their principal lists of the supplies they wanted for this year for their rooms. Whether the principal sent the lists to the Supply Company or to the Secretary of the School Board as he is supposed to do, or just forgot them in his hurry to leave here, we don’t know. All we know is that we have no supplies. So, when he should have been working on lesson plans yesterday, Bill spent almost the entire day (until 11 p.m.) combining lists from the other teachers, typing out the order, etc. His secretary [Marjorie] helped him with some of the typing after she had prepared some of her lessons. From 11 p.m. until bedtime he tried to plan a couple of Science lessons but was too tired to do a good job.
And today is Sunday. How we have looked forward to this day!! All we intend to do is sleep, write this letter, and go to church this evening. Fact is, we slept and dozen in until noon today, got up and had a breakfast, then Marjorie had a nap and Bill has been punching these keys….
Weather has been really grand here–three days of rain in 12 days, a couple of cloudy days, but the rest of days have been real Indian Summer days–one day was so hot, that we were almost roasted out of our classrooms by recess….
…we can only pick up three [radio] stations, Prince Ruper and two in Ketchikan….
The boat calls here every other week and alternate weeks at Queen Charlotte City. All food supplies have to least two weeks between boats. In other words, as far as green foods are concerned, it is a feast for the first few days after the boat calls and a famine until the next boat. We can get baker’s sliced bread at the local Co-op Store (from Prince Rupert) but after the first week it begins to get stale. Makes good toast. However, there is a bakery here, so yesterday I went there to try it. Picked up three lovely loaves of bread straight out of the oven. Hurried home and ate almost half a load of hot bread and butter. Boy was it good. Cost 19 cents a loaf. Bread at the Co-op Store is 15 cents a loaf…
Sept. 26, 1954
I really do think…that we are gradually catching up on our rest.
… We try to get as much homework done after school as possible–except that Bill loses time going up town to do shopping. Of course, this is countered by the fact that Marjorie has to leave to get supper, so we both end up with homework to do after supper, but I think we’ve been getting to bed not too far after 10:00 p.m. each night.
Friday evening we supported a local cause (Kindergarten) by attending a Bean Supper.
Weather here is gradually becoming typical Queen Charlotte Island weather–rain. However, we still get enough sunshine between the rain clouds to let the boys get out to play ball. One minute there will be hardly a cloud in the sky and a few minutes later the rain will be coming down in sheets. Shortly after, the sun will be shining again.
October 3, 1954
Marjorie and I combined our Gym classes one day during the week for a game of volleyball between the girls and boys. The boys won, of course, but with some more practice and a little more confidence the girls will give them a run for their money….
Friday was also pay-day. Boy, our salaries look quite impressive when put together in one household. We hope to be completely out of debt by Easter and from there on it will be straight savings–minus the cost of living, of course! Actually, we figure that it has only cost about $150 for rent and food for September, so that’s not bad. We have spent money for other things, of course, things that were needed to get settled, etc.
October 17, 1954
Sunday again. Last night the weatherman forecast “storm warning” for the Queen Charlotte Islands. How right he was!! The wind is howling, the rain is coming down, and it is sure miserable outside. Then we just got over another storm last Thursday in which two men from the Indian village at Old Masset went missing in their fishing boat. They were looking for them with planes yesterday but I haven’t heard if they had any success.
… Last Monday, Thanksgiving Monday, was just an extra day for us to try to catch up in our school work, etc., and with the Inspector in town we had to do just a little better. Tuesday morning, he arrived at the school–spent the morning roaming around the rooms. In the afternoon, he had to go out to inspect the Indian school at Old Masset, but came back right after school for a little meeting with the teachers. He was very nice, seemed quite satisfied with everything. Now, we won’t have to worry about him until around next Easter.
Bill’s room is growing–he lost one boy from Grade 10 but this week another came to take his place. Also, another boy arrived back last Tuesday–Grade 12. As luck would have it, that was the day the Inspector was here so he helped me plan the courses for the boy. Actually, Bill will only have to plan two extra lessons and those straight from text books. The young fellow is going to take a couple of subjects by Correspondence and then is is also going to take two other subjects with the combined class. I’m expecting another Grade 12 boy this week. Bill hopes he is as easy to please.
… Marjorie has received word from Victoria that she now has her Interim First Class–Elementary Basic certificate, so she is now on the same academic standing as Bill is. On reading over the Summer School Bulletin, Bill sees that as soon as he gets his Permanent First Class certificate he will be eligible for an Elementary Advanced certificate, as the requirements for it are now two years university, which he already has. He intends to go to Summer School next summer and take the subjects necessary to give him his Permanent.
Did we tell you that we were out for supper on Thanksgiving Monday. Very nice. Puts us on a bit of a spot from the point of view of having to invite them back, but they realize how busy we are. One of these evenings, we’ll have to have them over and show them our pictures….
If Bill is still here next here (as we hope to be), it looks like he will be the principal of a 5 room and perhaps 6 room school next year. The Indian department wants our School Board to take Old Masset School’s Grades 4 and 5 down here. That plus about 15 Grade 1’s coming up will mean at least one and perhaps two rooms. Oh yes, the Indian department helps put up the extra rooms.
April 20, 1955
Bill is pretending to prepare lessons, but by the look in his face, I think he has found a good story in one of the literature books. Of course, he has to read the stories sooner or later, anyway. We are over at school at usual, he is writing up his day book and I have been typing a Social Studies lesson off the board. We have been doing it this way all week. I enjoy it and it helps him a bit. We have the filing system all fixed up now, too. Tonight we were on our way back from the Credit Union office when we were stopped by the Sch. Bd. Chairman and told that the Inspector is on the Island and will come back here next Monday. I guess Bill is about as ready for him as possible. As if he isn’t every day! The amount of work that goes into preparation of lessons each night!!
…. On Sunday we went out to Mavis’ place in the early afternoon and went for a sunny, windy walk–up the ‘mountain’ behind her house. We had been led to believe that spring flowers didn’t grow here, but we found quite a few small plants that look like flowers. Bill found some trillim plants first, then they practically covered the ground. We will try to dig up plants as soon as we find out what is what. There is a lot of mosses of all kinds, and small ferns too. It is much like Vancouver woods, only much mossier and wetter-looking. We sat outside on the grass, for the first time comfortable in the sun. The cows seem to have all disappeared with the first spring sunshine, so it is safe to sit down–not too many “tam-o’shanters” around. We had a wonderful supper then went to the Old Massett church. We enjoyed it except for its great length. Each hymn takes ages, the longest Psalms were read, etc. They have all the time in the world! I had a rough time standing up so long, and had to stop singing to stick it through. I guess I won’t go again till next year. A native man, father of one of the boys in grade either, preached in English. His sermon was very good, on the Resurrection and followed the line of baptism, confirmation, conversion and the subsequent life and warfare of the Christian. One of his sons was almost killed less than a week before, so he was very much in earnest.
Gummy was at Mavis’ for supper too … She is a little dear, and so hard up. She barely gets enough to live on, and works so hard in church work. We are going to miss her. She leaves on this boat.
….Bill and I go for a walk every day and evening. We went well across the bridge, past Delkatla to the lumberyard dump. We came home carrying lumber under our arms. People surely laughed at us. We said we felt we were too poor to buy our firewood. Actually, Bill’s was for a Science project (Model) for grade ten, and mine for a bread board.
…. I am getting covered with bites–flea, mosquito, no-see-um, or lice. Can’t tell which. We bath lots, clean the house within an inch of its life, etc., but I still am so itchy! What a country! Bill gets a few occasionally.
We will be awfully glad to have the boat come in! It is so long since we have seen lettuce, cabbage, etc. I really missed it last time, and two weeks seems a long time to go without. I bought a poor, beaten up grapefruit today. There are no apples, oranges or bread in town this time, besides no other vegetables or fruit. We had a whole loaf of bread go mouldy–no, I saved two slices and Bill didn’t notice the mould when they were well toasted. We have made out alright on crusts and bran muffins. We both use a lot of that horrible skim milk made from the package.
Our social line-up in the immediate future is Howard Phillips (Sch. Bd. Chmn) Friday, Prudens (who will be moving into their new house) for Saturday lunch, us to Mavis’ for Sunday, and I suppose the Inspector on Monday or Tuesday….
We certainly enjoyed the Easter Eggs [sent by family from off-Island]. So did all the kids in the neighborhood…
Daffodils are coming out all over town….
I am taking good care of myself–don’t worry! We want this baby so much, and want it to be strong and healthy.
… Bill is filling out his application for Summer School tonight. He has to pay fees of $7 a course this year, as it is his 3rd year of attendance (3 courses).
May 10, 1955
Whew, that was a close one! I had forgotten about it being mail day today, and was going calmly about my business. Mail is due in the P.O. by 6 pm, too. I have just sent Bill’s shorthand pupil back to school after her stint of dictation, and as I had also forgotten she was coming over, I was still feeding Ruby and doing the dishes. The water has been turned off intermittently since yesterday afternoon, so I was behind on my dishwashing. The ironing is sitting on the board, screaming to be done, too….
We had a very quiet weekend–very welcome to both of us. We were to the Martin’s home for a couple of hours of “Lingo” and tea on Saturday night…. Bill gave me a box of chocolates for Mother’s Day! We did enjoy them. I ate several and Bill ate SEVERAL. In the afternoon some of my former pupils brought over a lovely large shamrock in full bloom. Last Friday one of my pupils brought a large blue baby blanket and card. She siad that it was for either a girl or boy…. She and the girl with her informed me of the type of carriage to buy. If we got one that is not to hard to push, they will take the baby out for me often! That seems to be the main occupation of the early-teenage girls around here.
P.T.A. was last night. They are getting ready for the sports day on the 23rd. Bill is getting the boys all practiced up for it, so it means extra work for a while. The teachers have decided to have the next district meeting here, so we will be billeting them, and are planning a supper. It will be the weekend after the 24th, and we expect to have Miss Daly at our place. It will be nice to see them all again.
The minister here is pretty sick and worn out. He is seventy and hates to give up.
May 15, 1955
This is an “extra” as Mr. Pruden offered to mail letters for us from Charlotte tomorrow. Hope it arrives “in-between times.” That’s one thing that can’t very well happen here.
We got our income tax returns cheques on Friday, so can finance my tickets. We still aren’t sure when I’ll leave here. We had thought on June 1st, but aren’t sure now if there will be a plane-load from Masset, and we can’t afford $75 to charter a plane.
October 6, 1955
We are on the go a lot, but it is mainly in our own house, and even though our time seems so fully taken up, it isn’t the nervous rush of the city or even most town existences. There are seldom set times to do things, and appointments to meet. We don’t go far away, and the preparations aren’t so great. We often grab the baby, wrap a blanket around her, and with a bottle out of our fridge and couple of diapers, tear out to the taxi or to a neighbour’s place. Bill keeps busy with school work, but is much more relaxed and can take some time off without worrying himself sick over it. We go for a walk, play a game, or visit more frequently than last year, and feel that we are having time to live.
Because the girls keep dropping in, we have decided to invite them over one evening a week and have a social time, sew, and try to work in the religious aspect as we can. Mavis is going to show them her Portugal pictures next Wednesday night…
Norma June and I didn’t go to Port with Bill and the teachers on Saturday as planned because of rough weather. We had a wonderful walk in the bright sunshine on Sunday and saw the havoc of the storm on some boats.
On Monday Norma June was at her first birthday party. Paul Pruden (7 yrs) invited a group of little boys and Norma! Gabrielle’s party is tomorrow, and we are all going. She will be 12. On Monday we and the Prudens will give a Thanksgiving dinner for a group of friends at the Pruden’s house. We are buying the food between us and preparing it together….
October 11, 1955
Just after we got the mail out on Saturday Mavis and the B.C. Indian Health Services Inspector, Miss Harris, came in. It was just time for supper so I rushed around and opened enough cans, etc, to make supper for them. We had a gay time, then Miss Harris rushed to her boat which left early in the evening. Don [McRae] came over and we all worked at various things–Mavis a letter to her mom, Don a letter about Summer School business, and Bill school business. I made a cake, finished the wash, etc. About 9:30 we began a game of Scrabble which we finished about midnight. I won for a change.
On Sunday morning I slept in while Bill and Norma June went for a walk. Don and several kids came for a visit and eats in the afternoon, and we went to Mavis’ for supper and evening. Yesterday we worked hard then went to the Pruden’s for supper and evening. We co-hosted with them on the Thanksgiving turkey dinner….
Mavis has decided to stay till next summer, and so we are very thankful…. Now we feel that we have regained our old friendship and feel wealthy in friends too.
This is really gale season and most people didn’t get much sleep a couple of nights lately. We are fairly sheltered and sleep through it all like a top.
October 25, 1955
Poor old Norma June is lying on the table waiting for her bath, but I think she may have a long wait today, because the water is off. We never know when that will happen these days, but it isn’t as often as last fall. I can always go to Mrs. Pruden’s for water this year, if I get desperate…
The Public Health Dr. and nurse and the sanitary inspector came over on the boat to check the school and hold a baby clinic. Norma June cried a little when she had the needle (for protection against Whooping Cough, Diphtheria, and Tetanus) but smiled and talked while Dr. Liang (from Scotland) was examining her…. He says she is a healthy baby, and all seems weel….
We had the trio plus Mavis and Don for supper on Saturday … and finished up with apple cobbler (made with those wonderful apples from home) and topped with Masset whipped cream (canned milk and lemon jucie)…
I finally got Bill to write to Mrs. Green of Texada Island, but his method isn’t much help to me. He dictated it to his secretary, and guess who his secretary is …
We got the order from Woodwards and are now fairly well stocked with peas, corn, peaches, apple juice and milk (by the case). We bought a few other things, including some gingham to hang in front of the stand which holds the baby clothes. I made the curtain up right away, but am now thinking of using an old dress to make curtains, and use the curtains and the material that is left for a housedress. There is enough for a plain one, and it is a pity to use it in pieces around the house, when housedresses are so scarce. Guess that is what I get for always wearing sweaters and skirts….
Last night Bill was at another Boy Scout session and Mrs. Laik and I spent our time on German and English.
November 4, 1955
I’m due at the Police Office in 2 hours to take down the evidence in a court case. They have taken it in longhand before–and I’m not so sure my shorthand will be much faster! But they know how I feel and still want me! We have been praying for help in our finances and I guess this is the answer. So the Lord will have to help me.
I am getting to know some of the newer women in Masset who… are lonely, and I find it takes quite a lot of my time–me, the one happy woman in Masset, I sometimes think. Not quite the only one. My newest is another woman from Germany with a small daughter who isn’t well, just lost a baby, and can’t have any more…. Her husband runs the store in the Village. Mrs. Laik and I are having a good time together too. It is a good thing because Mrs. Prudent just told us that they are quitting the Indian Agency and going to Victoria in December… They are our best friends here, but we will make others….
We took pictures of [Norma June] with the Halloween spooks on Monday night and she watched the town fireworks display from our window.
… Hi folks. Marjorie is off on our court case still. The boat arrived late last night and so the mail wasn’t sorted until this morning. The Post Office opened at 1 p.m. so I sent three of my High School boys down to the Post Office to collect the school mail, our mail, and the mail of some of the teachers. Boy, did they ever come back loaded down! Now I’m home from school, have just read the mail, and am adding any notes necessary since I must mail these within an hour.
November 17, 1955
Now that the evidence of that case I took is finally all typed out and delivered, I feel free to go about our own business. It was a lot of typing, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, and it will mean a bit of spend on Christmas that we hadn’t counted on
Bill was all cleaned up and packed up, ready to leave on the plane this morning, for Prince Rupert teachers’ convention, but during the night a gale blew up and has been howling all day, so they just had the morning off, and school is on this afternoon. Last night it was calm and warm that we thought nicer weather was here… We had a few very cold days last weekend, then it snowed and hasn’t been cold since, to speak of. The kids did have skating for a few days. There are lots of ponds all around….
We have been busy and Bill has his reports almost ready to pass out. That is always a big job.
[Norma June] is a positive little character and has some temper! She gets to howl it out. She has yelled herself into indigestion when she has been really made, but Mrs. Frost said it wouldn’t hurt her–just us–and it did!
… Sunday School is going well, and we have the Christmas program planned. It is just to be an open-to-the-adults Sunday School session with everyone together and all the children taking part in the various things. It will be entiredly conducted by the children themselves. They do very well at that. We hope to have a carol service on Christmas Eve.
Norma June was given a yellow and white nylon sundress, jumper type with big lace frills. Mrs. McCorriston, gr. 3, 4, and 5 teacher. She has one just like it in blue, and we think they should be right size for next summer… The gr 7, 8, and 9 teacher gave her the blue one soon after we came back.
… This is Friday morning–beautiful and sunny and just above freezing. School had to be dismissed after roll call because the furnace went out and Bill couldn’t get it started. The man came and fixed it, and Bill came over and cleaned our stove out because I couldn’t get enough heat to give N.J. her bath. Bill just came back over to say the furnace is out again, so it looks as if school may be out all day. The boat had to turn back yesterday (one of the first times in several years) so it is expected in today sometime. Don’t know when the mail will be sorted.
We have found out how to get Prince Rupert and the Farm Broadcast at noon. We put the end of the aerial in a can of water on the metal casing around the sink. So now we hear how the provine is doing…We feel it is a real tie with home.
… This is Saturday and the boat still isn’t here. It dumped everything on the Prince Rupert dock and went back to Vancouver, so we will have to wait till a frieghter decides to bring it over. Hope our mail gets out some way. We have enough to eat so are fine.
November 22, 1955
The mail finally went out on the freighter on Sunday…
Our new neighbour, Doug Archibald, … moved into the other side our duplex yesterday. He is here to take Mr. Pruden’s place temporarily at least. If he is to be permanent, he will send for his furniture and live in the agent house. He is a confirmed bachelor, so they say, and goes to church…. Everyone says he is very nice, quiet and easy going. And he bakes his own bread and says he’ll give me some.
December 1, 1955
Just 20 shopping days before Christmas! …
We had a bean dinner at Pruden’s last night, to say goodbye to him. He is to leave on this boat.
Our bean supper for eight teenage girls last Friday was a howling success. We have had quite a bit of company this last week, the week that we couldn’t possibly entertain because of the necessity of getting the second class mail out….
The shift business at school has Don almost resigning. Mrs. Mallory, Gr 7, 8, 9 has her class from 8 am to noon, and he has his, Gr. 6 and part of 7, from 1 to 5 pm. He almost goes nuts–the kids get so tired and restless. Of course, it is dark here at 8 and at 5. We hope the people will get busy on the new school rooms.
…I have finally sent for wool for Bill’s Indian sweater. He will get lots of use out of it here. …
Cucumber [Norma] is out for a ride in her car [buggy] with Gabrielle as a horse…. Must get her weighed when I take her to Mrs. Frost’s for her poke tomorrow….
I guess I should have ordered our turkey sooner, but guess I can still get in under the line. Don’t know how I’ll get along–I haven’t even cooked a chicken!
December 6, 1955
Our oil system is being changed to an underground tank and pump, so there is no heat. I used the opportunity to scrub the stove, pipes, and kettle….
Shirley Lambert R.N., our new Red Cross nurse, visited us on Sunday evening, and we are so glad to have her here. She is making quite an impression on the inhabitants… She is very pretty and charming, so she could find plenty of fellows to go with … The RCMP boys and many boys as well are favorably impressed….
We keep the play pen in the livingroom corner where N.J. can see all over the house, so she doesn’t feel lonely. She wiggles around and often has her legs hanging out the side between the rungs. She gets so MAD when she loses her toys, so I tie rattles on the sides, and she plays with them for a long time….
I am at school and see that our lights are on now, so I guess the heating system is all installed and ready to go. Of course, it isn’t really a new system inside. He just put the large drum in the ground and installed an electric pump.
Dec 16, 1955
Mrs. Pruden, Gabrielle and Paul have been with us for a few days, and expect to leave in a few hours…. We have some snow and it is cold, but I like this much better than the rain we usually have all winter…
We are invited to a wedding tonight–all the town is. I have never seen the bride or groom, and don’t know the parents, except to see them.
Dec 20, 1955
It has been smelling positively intoxicating around here today and we have tried vainly to trace the smell. I finally located it a couple of minutes ago–an over-ripe banana in the cupboard. Bill will be quite relieved–our reputation was about to be ruined.
The latest coloured pictures are beautiful… We must get them to you soon, [and you could show them around]. Then they can send them back to us. I don’t think Bill could live without them too awfully long! He may wear them out before you see them, if I don’t get them away. I am sure our friends here must be getting tired of seeing them. Bill showed the last set at school before I even saw them, as the mail was taken to him at school by his boys.
Bill is very tired but works hard at school getting his administration in shape. We made a strong resolution a couple of weeks ago, to go to bed as soon as possible after 10 p.m., and are keeping to it most of the time. We are sleeping in a bit these mornings, but find that we feel much better for our earlier nights….
We had the PTA Christmas party yesterday afternoon, but I left N.J. with Daddy at school as I knew they would enjoy each other that way.
Carols have been wonderful this year. We have a carol service planned for Christmas Eve–11 to 12 pm and Sunday service at 11 a.m. Sunday.
I sang with 4 others at the wedding on Friday–on 2 hours notice–then we went to reception….
Mr. Hooper, U.Ch. minister from Charlotte, was here for supper (on 5 min. notice) and later evening. He is a very fine man and we are invited there for Easter.
Dec 29, 1955
Christmas is over and our cold spell is finally breaking up, with the result that our pipes, or rather, the pipes leading to us, are frozen and it is almost 24 hours since we have had any water to speak of. We still have plenty of snow, which we melt and use, but it takes a lot of snow to do dishes, bath NJ and flush the toilet. Fortunately, we did a huge wash yesterday morning, so the clothes situation is alright. Our landlord has spent all afternoon working on it, but no results as yet….
Shirley’s typewriter is on the blink, so she has been using ours to get her monthly hospital reports done, so I have been waiting to write letters. .. Poor Shirley and her housekeeper don’t see eye to eye, so Jeanie is leaving on this boat. There is far too much difference in age and outlook, and Jean came up here thinking she was to be just cook, instead of laundress, janitor, housekeeper, and cook. She has practically lived here since arriving, and N.J. is going to miss her, but she will be better off in civilization. We are gradually getting to know Shirley, and will likely be seeing a lot of her. She drops in most every day for a few minutes….
We had a very exciting boat day, and then the mail on Friday last was just wonderful, too–about 60 Christmas cards arrived that day; so with the other 30 we have a very pretty wall display….
We had decided not to get each other presents, but broke down on Christmas Eve and took turns going into the Co-op and got something for each other. Bill bought me a pair of green wool gloves for my freezing paws, and I bought him a toy wind-up train. The boys all have so much fun with it! Even N.J. is fascinated with it, and loves to sit on Bill’s knees and watch it go round and round…
… as our water is still off, we have a pan of snow on the stove. Walter told Bill he will keep us supplied with water by barrel, and we think he is down at the Community Hall now, getting it. I had caught part of a pail from the roof, but a couple of thirsty cows got there first.
Doug let me put the Christmas turkey in his oven as ours was too hot (our stove must be kept hot enough to heat the apartment and the hot water) and pronounced it done perfectly and carved it.
In the early evening [of Christmas day], we walked down to the Red Cross Hospital to call on Shirley, who had to stay there because there had been a baby born there a day or two earlier. She was pretty lonesome, it being her first Christmas away from home, so she was glad to see us. We couldn’t get a taxi for Mavis, so we found Howard and had him take her home….
I have just heard the boat whistle, and that means that the boat has arrived back from Port Clements, and will soon be leaving, so this must go.
January 3, 1956
Bill has worked hard at Psych. [Bill and Marjorie were both taking correspondence courses in order to get their permanent teaching certificates]–got three papers out today–and has looked after N.J. a great deal so I could get extra rest and study German…. It is hard to imagine what it would be like not to have studying handing over one’s head…
We hear we may be getting enough extra high school students that Bill should be able to ask for another teacher. It would be a big help to him, if so, and if they could get a teacher.
We had Doreen [the new housekeeper at the Red Cross Hospital] and Sandra [her daughter] over Christmas even… We took pictures of the kids on Christmas morning, opening stockings and presents…
Bill and I went to the carol service at church on Sunday evening last. Poor Don had to sing the solo part for a Magi, and was barely holding on by the tail of the camel at the end of the verse. He was so embarrassed, and the kids from his room at school (who were in the junior section of the choir) had a fit! I had such a good laugh. It was really a nice service and was Christmassy, although so long after the day.
We have been taking it easy and I quite often have an “off” night, or sometimes don’t feel too well during the day, and we realize we need to conserve our strength for when we have a new baby and no one here to help. Mrs. Shields will care for N.J. during the day while I am at Charlotte, and perhaps we will have her take her for parts of the day after I come back too. The date is the 19th, but we hope it will be sooner, as the Dr. wants me to go down on the 9th. ..
Some folks were looking at the other side of this duplex tonight, so we may be having neighbours.
January 5, 1956
One of my little shorthand girls has just gone back to school, and as NJ is still sleeping, I have time to being a letter. Mary is only 16 and she informed me shyly today that next summer she is to be married to a navy boy and live in a little town in Sask.
…. We had to laugh when some of the local children looked at NJ’s one little Christmas doll, then began describing all the great big dolls and toys a local baby her age got. I hope we never splurge foolishly on such tings. I want her to always have something bigger and better to look forward to, and not have all the thrills before she is old enough to enjoy them.
… I put a “dish” in the oven and Doug and I went over to school where I wrote a lesson on the board while Bill and Doug played pingpong. The kids from the late shift were just going home, so they looked after NJ for me. We’ve been going over for ping-pong and basketball several times lately. Bill always beats me. Don and I usually spend some time at the piano.
We had the Steels for supper last week (primary teacher). They expect to go back to England after this term. We had Shirley and Mr. Gerluik for supper one evening, too.
January 17, 1956
Our SS Breakfast was a huge success–9 girls came. Suppose I’ll have to have the boys by themselves. At their age they despise girls!
…Bill gets a bit discouraged as he works so constantly at school work that he can’t get on with his correspondence course. I am going to correct and grade his typing assignments from now on, to try to relieve him a bit.
January 27, 1956
Dearest Mom and Daddy, I [Marjorie] am writing this note at school. We work so many hours overtime that I see no harm in scratching a few words during quiet periods when all the kids are busy.
Bill has been very tired for a long while and was getting to the place where his nerves were almost snapping… So I simply laid down the law and have taught Tuesday to Friday. He has looked after NJ and helped me with the lesson preparation, marked tests, etc…. It’s fun to be back at it (and I’m learning a lot!) but I am so glad I don’t have to teach any more. I’m so glad to be “just a housewife!” ….
Today is Don’s birthday and we are having him, Mrs. Frost, Mae Edwards (one of his pupils who are 14 yesterday–she worships him) and her family for supper. Her family consists of one or two brothers and her grandmother and grandfather. Doug may come, so we will have quite a gang. I made a big cake last night, and decorated it and will have a very plain meal with a big salad.
…We walked the 3 miles out to the Navy Station on Sunday last and had tea with the C.O. and his wife and 3 little boys. NJ enjoyed the ride very much. Don and Doug helped us push her. ..
January 31, 1956
Today I have just been holding the fort for Bill, who has been catching up on administration. Isn’t he lucky to have a school-teacher wife? I am quite enthusiastic about this subbing business, but wouldn’t want to do too much of it at a time.
Bill has been making a toidie for NJ out of two orange crates, and as soon as Howard gets the hole cut through the seat, she will be able to use it.
I haven’t had time to do my shopping since the boat came in, so we will likely be on rather short rations for these two weeks, but there is very little that I would want to buy of perishables right now, considering the condition and price of them.
February 28, 1956
Norma June is sitting in her carriage laughing at me and talking to her rattle, alternately. She has just come in off the porch where she slept from about 1 to 2:30, then sat up looking around till almost three. She had a good long sleep out there this morning too, so is in fine shape. Really, the best baby!
We had a very nice hour with the Sunday School kids on Friday, and they are all set to come this week again. I had to visit a couple of the parents who weren’t sure if they wanted their kids to come, so now all can attend, so are very thrilled. We showed them our wedding pictures, at their request. Just now I answered the door to find three of the girls coming to see me…
Our first red tulip came out on Saturday, and we have been enjoying it so much…
It keeps snowing, then thawing a bit, so is usually quite slippery. We have quite a lot more sunshine than we would if it were warmer, so we can’t complain too much.
…This is Thursday morning, and we are expecting the boat today. On Tuesday I spent all day at school (so did NJ) supervising for Bill, as he tried to get marking, etc., caught up. Last night, about 10 p.m. we were finishing the last test, and I think he will be giving out reports today…
On Saturday Mrs. Steel (Primary teacher) had us for a chicken dinner, and on Sunday we walked as far as the totem pole on the way to the Indian Village, about 2 miles, through bright sunlight, sleet, snow, wind, etc., by turn. Bill found quite a nice agate on the beach.
Norma June is enjoying her little teeth to the full–chewing up everything in sight. She reminds me of a puppy… She loves her swing, and the boys enjoy playing with her when she is in it… Don and Doug sneak in to play with her every chance they get, and she loves them!…
Yesterday, as I had a headache, Bill took NJ over town to mail the parcels and then to school with him, till suppertime. He met several folks who admired his daughter (they better!) and so they both came home in great spirits…
Bill got a refund on a trip they took to a teacher’s meeting, just in time to buy me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s day. He was so pleased, as there never seems to be any extra left over for such things. But at least, come March, we expect to be nearly out of the red, and to be able to put some extra by for the summer. Of course, on this district, thanks to Bill’s persuasive powers, the Board holds back one tenth of each cheque, and puts it on the June cheque, so we automatically are saving that much for summer living expenses.
God Bless our loved ones, and keep you safely under His sheltering wings.
March 8, 1956
Don is going to Vancouver tomorrow morning, as he has had a telegram that his mother is seriously ill in St. Paul’s. As I will be substituting for him, I will just have to send a note this time. Rumours have been flying all week about when a boat will come. It won’t be the usual boat, but a freighter, as the boat was 20 hours late in reaching Vancouver last weekend.
It is still snowing, as it has been for weeks and weeks.Bill and Doug are keeping busy chasing hungry cows.
… Bill is down seeing the Sch. Bd. rep. and Mavin, Don and Doug are discussing the kids, etc. You can see that it is a bit of trouble writing. I spend yesterday evening helping Mrs. Laik with her English, and Mrs. Grosse was over this afternoon to ask me to help her with some fitting.
March 12, 1956
This will be very short again as I am still teaching and am pretty weary tonight. We all went to school at a few minutes to nine this morning and came back home about 5:30 pm. So it was a long day for us all. NJ is an angel at school–sleeps outside, then plays quietly at the back of one of our rooms till bell. The older native girls view to wheel her around at noon hour on our duty days….
Don’s class is quite a handful–36 grade 6s and 7s, but not too bad for me. As we occupy the gym, there is plenty of space–quite ideal….
We had the Indian Affairs dentist for supper and evening on Saturday, then we all ate at Doug’s on Sunday. Had 18 kids at our Friday evening “party” and almost all the local scalliwags have joined Sunday School so they can come on Fridays. The Community Club has given us permission to use their hall free for religious films, so we are very happy….
We still discuss pros and cons re next year… Bill feels that as the way seems to be finally opening up, we perhaps will want to return.
March 18, 1956
Here it is March 28 already, and the day after tomorrow is Good Friday–which of course brings the Easter Holidays. Boy, am I ever looking forward to the holidays. Oh, this is Bill. I’m playing secretary to my secretary. Actually, all these letters should have been written and mailed yesterday as Tuesday is outgoing-mail day in Masset on the week between boats.
Miss Budd won’t be coming for Easter, we found out today. We may go to Tow Hill beach for a picnic on Easter Monday with Doug and Mrs. Vinyard (hospital housekeeper and very nice).
March 21, 1956
We hear the boat is supposed to be in at ten tomorrow morning–after not getting in at all last time…
We went on a little picnic to the beach with Doug–rather cold, but it was lovely. NJ was so glad to get home! All smiles. Mrs. Vineyard, the Red Cross Hospital housekeeper, came with us. She has a grown family and is nice to have around.
We had a whopping big bunch of kids to the Friday evening affair–22 of them. What a houseful. They just pack in. We expect to have movies to show they this Friday, then have been promised “Queen of Sheba” and “Sunday on the Range” to show at the Community Hall on Good Friday evening.
We were extremely glad to see Don arrive back on Saturday afternoon. I was so tired and coming down with the cold, and we had found it quite a strain, with housework, baby and school for the three of us… I felt I couldn’t stand the sight of one more kid when Friday came to an end, then they all arrived here with a vengeance Friday evening, and haunted arond most all day Saturday–and there they were at Sunday School again.
April 5, 1956
We sure surprised the local storekeeper–we handed him a Credit Union cheque (we deposit our money in the local Credit Union current account) to pay off our March bill [January and February school board pay cheques didn’t arrive till March 10!] and a goodly portion of our April bill in advance. We want to pay ahead in future and not have to worry about the store bill when we go out at the end of June.
Marjorie’s friend, Mrs. Grosse, got back on Wednesday after a two-week holiday in Vancouver. Her husband was attending a Co-op Store Convention in Vancouver. He is manager of the Haida Co-Op Store on our Indian Reserve here…
Friday morning Marjorie went over to Mrs. Martin’s (postmistress, Sunday School superintendent, and church organist) to practice a special piece for the Easter Sunday service–song, “How Great Thou Art.” Marjorie and Red Cross Nurse Shirley Lambert sang the verses in a duet and the rest of the choir joined in on the chorus….
Then at 6:30 p.m. the Sunday School put on a public showing in the Community Hall of the first Christian films to be shown in this town–“Sunday on the Range” and “Queen of Sheba.” I got permission from the local school board member to use our new School Projector occasionally for such films…. we ended up with a beautiful sunny evening and a Hall filled to capacity with both local people and people from the Indian Reserve.
We went to the Sunday evening Easter service. The Church was packed and the service was very nice. The older Sunday School children took part–a boy and a girl read the Bible, two boys took up Collection, and all of them sang an Easter song. I guess that service will be the last for some time, for the lay-reader who has been taking the services is leaving on this boat and there still doesn’t seem to be any sign of the Church of England sending in another minister.
We were going out to the beach for a picnic on Easter Monday but the day was half-raining, so Doug rented a U-Drive and I [Bill] drove it and we went out as far as Tow Hill. We had never been that far before. It’s a beautiful drive. Most of the road is only one car wide and places to pass (we passed one car). Several miles of the road are made of planks placed end to end along the tire tracks. We saw a deer on the road.
When we got back from our drive, we found a visitor who had come for an overnight stay. She was a Miss Hogendoorn who teaches down at Port Clements. … She has been in Canada from Holland less than two years and this is her first teaching position. Marjorie had sent down an invitation to come up during the holidays if she could and she just happened to hear of a fisherman who was going up to Masset on Monday and back to Clements on Tuesday. So she came up for a short visit… She has started a Sunday School in her little teacherage in Port Clements. It’s a very small town–only a one-room school. (There blows the whistle of the boat–looks like we may get our mail today, after all)… Apparently she hasn’t much in the way of supplies at her school….
Monday afternoon, the W.A. held a Sale which we managed to get in on at the last minute after coming back from our drive.
April 10, 1956
We feel badly about about Doug Archibald’s imminent departure. Not many know about it yet, but he will be going back to Alert Bay, and a married man and his family will be coming…
Bill had a good day at school yesterday and showed The Kitimat Story at P.T.A. last night. It is a wonderful film, all in color….
April 19, 1956
Norma June and I were over town early this morning to buy stamps and to see if we could hear any rumours about boat arrival time. It seems that it will likely arrive sometime tonight, but as we have company coming for supper and evening, it is best to get the letters looked after now….
Bill is rushing this week, trying to get his report cards out, and he has me doing some extra typing, etc. for him as he wants everything extra-slicked up for the visit of the inspector. Not that he needs to worry–he never needs to feel caught, he works so carefully all the Time! We expect Mr. Ritchie the week after next, I believe, so I will have to have plenty of provisions laid in. He spent most of his time with us last visit, and we are looking forward to having him again.
Yesterday Norma June and I spent the day at school where I taught for Bill most of the day. I can’t remember much about Algebra, so Bill taught that. Norma June… is getting a bit too lively to go to school… The older girls would keep her laughing, then pretend they were studying, when I looked.
We feel bereft, losing Doug this boat. The new man, a Mr. Henson, has arrived, to be followed by his wife at the end of June, when she finishes teaching in West Vancouver. So now it looks as if we will have another substitute in town, unless she wants to be on regular staff. Which brings up the latest–the School By-Law passed last night, so we will have three new rooms and a duplex teacherage next year. If we stay, we have first choice in the teacherage.
I was over to see the Laiks, who are just finishing packing, to leave on the boat for Victoria. She is so glad to get out–for the first time since coming from Germany about four or five years ago. We will miss them, too.
On Saturday Bill and Norma June sat in the rented car at the end of the new road while Doug and I beach-combed for agates, etc. Bill make lessons. On Sunday, Doug, Don, Mill, NJ and I walked out to the cemetery and beach, about three miles away. It was a lovely day when away from the windy parts but we were so tired when we got home! Doug and Bill slept while I fed NJ and made supper. Men are to strong!
Our Friday night group numbered about 16, which was a nice group to work with, and we had a lovely time. Tomorrow we expect to show short movies at school to a larger group of children….
We are having Don and Mrs. Frost, and Howard for supper tonight for our farewell supper with Doug. I suppose the boys will play Scrabble! They found it more fun to limit the turns to three minutes each last Saturday night, and played a game in 45 minutes instead of hours and hourse.
I have a layer cake out of the oven, and should get the filling in, and the icing on. It is very hard to figure out a menu for tonight, as the stores are almost bought out, and we are almost bare, too. I did manage to get two pounds of hamburger, have a few carrots and part of a turnip, a tiny cabbage (last in store) and a can or two of peas. Mrs. Grosse got some potatoes from the village store for me, and I have found a cherry cake recipe for dessert. Of course, there is no ice cream, etc., in town, and I have only two eggs left. This is the lowest we have been this year… We have been out of both potatoes and bread–as are the stores.
April 23, 1956
Doug left us on the boat on Friday…. The new folks haven’t arrive yet…. We had about 35 or move kids to see the Christian movies (short ones) at school on Friday evening, so were quite encouraged.
Bill and I had our first Saturday evening in ages all alone! We really enjoyed it, for a change. Mavis had invited everyone else to her place for the evening, so we revelled in our privacy….
There are rumours that we might be getting the steamer in here every week soon, because of the cannery. Charlotte would get a freighter, and rely on planes for passenger service. I don’t know if we could stand the strain of getting mail each week!
Some people here have daffodils out, and I picked a bouquet of brambles for the kitchen window. We had some new rhubarb once, which tasted wonderful.
I have been studying world history today, as I want to write it in June. I just got the kitchen floor scrubbed and waxed, so am getting ready for tomorrow, when I expect to have Mavis, a visiting doctor, perhaps the new Indian Agent, etc. I have to wash on Tuesdays instead of Mondays, as the water is always so brown on Mondays. We are on the end of the line, and most people wash on Sunday or Monday. Water here is so bad…
May 3, 1956
Mr. Ritchie is here this week, and seems well satisfied with Bill and the rest. He was here for supper on Monday and brought me a lovely 2 pound box of chocolates…
On Tuesday we (Mrs. Mallory and Rosemary (6 yr), Mr. R, Don, and our family) went to Tow Hill for supper–beans, as there are no weiners or buns in town. It was sunny and warm with little breze, and we all had a lovely time.
Last night we went for a walk, and were thinking about bed, when a salesman came and stayed until 1:30 a.m.
Tonight we expect Mr. Ritchie for supper. I guess I’ll have to make a meal for our local bachelors on Friday or Saturday. Howard brought some lovely Trout on Monday, and one of Bill’s grade 10 students (boy) cleaned them for mee.
Our new neighbours are here — Regnarian–from Charlotte City. They have a 16 year old son who sleeps on the fishing boat they own. They seem very nice. She’s always bringing something over–crab meat, etc. Another neighbour is supplying us with rhubarb. It tastes so good.
We were at Mavis’ last Sunday and picked up some nice agates on the beach there. The beaches here are really magnificnet.
We had Mr. Ritchie for supper last night, then he and Bill spent the evening at Mrs. Simpson’s–school board member.
May 8, 1956
Mail day again, and just a few hours to go. A little neighbour girl is visiting me, so if this is a bit disjointed! …
We had a ball-game and eats for the kids on Friday, and then I decided at the last minute to go to Port with the teachers if the weather was nice. It was, so we left on the fishing boat at 8:30 on Saturday morning… We had a beautiful trip, and had a nice visit with Corrie, Miss Daly, and others. Port is a very attractive place in the spring, when the sun shines, but it is so very isolated. We are a raring city, by comparison. We spent over 2 1/2 hours, going each way.
On Sunday, we took a few sandwiches, and with Don walked out to a little creek, the Bluejacket, on the new road, a mile or two out of town. We had noticed a patch of grass when passing it on Saturday, and found it a lovely place to spend the afternoon. Norma June enjoyed it thoroughly and we picked up some pretty little shells and agates.
It is very dry and dusty, and the roads are becoming pretty impossible for shoving a carriage. People are running short of water, too. Part of my wash came out orange! Bill went to PTA and I to a Sunday School meeting last night. NJ slept outside in her carriage.
This morning I taught for Bill while he did administration, and NJ stayed in the staff room with him. He has an office, but feels too stuffed up in it, so mainly stores and files things in it.
We have acquired another totem pole–spendthrifts, eh! We want to have two or three before we leave here, and we really do not spend much on extras here. That is one of the good things about being far from stores.
May 16, 1956
Supper is ready, and we are waiting to see if Mr. Henson will turn up for it. We sent word to him, but as he was in Old Masset today, we weren’t to know until five. It is almost a quarter to six now, and no word. Her perhaps is not back yet. We have halibut from our new neighbours and fresh rhubarb from the Strikes. If he doesn’t come tonight, he will just have to wait, as this is the last decent meal we will be able to have till the boat comes in.
May 22, 1956
What rainy spring weather we are enjoying today–and yesterday. After so many dry weeks, this rain is welcome, and I have all the winter and baby’s woolens washed and hanging around. We hope our water supply will be cleaner and less odourous, too. Of course, yesterday was to have been the big May day parade–quen, races, parade, etc., so all the kids were bitterly disappointed, and seemed to blame the powers that be for a bad day. Several sat around our kitchen with their bottom lips hanging to the floor, so I had them stay for lunch (waffles, as they had never had any) then they played pick-up-stix for a long time, so felt the day wasn’t a dead loss. One was to have been a queen’s attendant, and another was a twin of the queen. Of course, Bill worked hard on school work all day and evening as usual. We did a lot of work on the end of the year inventory and on the big order for next year.
We had a very good picture to show the kids on Friday night, and had a good turnout. We played outdoor games, and of course most of kids in town from preschool-up, turned up.
The sun seems to be coming out now, and of course, I have everything hung inside. It is so much nicer when hung outside. If things go as now planned, we will have all the doings on Saturday (that were planned for May Day). The school sports day is planned for Wednesday afternoon. Things will be very busy for Bill from now on.
Mrs. McCorriston (grades 3,4, and 5) has asked me to teach for her next week, as she has to go away on business. I said I would, but now we are wondering if we can find anyone to look after NJ. She has reached the point where it would be useless to take her to school. Her halo is slipping.
May 31, 1956
This is our rush week–end of month, boat week, Boy Scout man in with resulting extra affairs, my full-time teaching.
NJ has been much better this week, and the Smiths, local people, are having a lot of fun looking after her.
We finally had our May Day last Saturday, but practically froze to death in the rain. We had our school sports day on Monday afternoon. We used Mrs. McCorriston’s truck to visit Mavis on Sunday afternoon, and for supper.
June 21, 1956
I just put our merry sunshine [NJ] out in the typical Charlotte gale–what a bluster of wind and rain! The trees just bend over, and rain crashes down.
I spent Monday afternoon at school, supervising and typing exams and typed all evening while Bill was at the final Boy Scout do–wiener roast in the drizzle, of course. It was actually not too wet.
The grade 12 banquet was very nice, and the minister’s wife and I were given lovely carnation corsages. Mine was red. I gave it to Mrs. Grosse the next day as she hasn’t been well. These are the first real corsages I have seen in Masset. It seems to me that even the wedding had artificial flowers. Bill M.C.’d the evening and took pictures, and everyone was real pleased.
Because of the prevalence of German Measles, I didn’t go to the Sunday School picnic on Saturday. It was a miserable, wet, wiindy day, but they went anyway. You have to do things here–weather or no weather, usually. The spot was on a river “slough” which is very sheltered, and they had a good time, they say. The kids even went swimming! One girl had come down with measles the day before, and one came out in spots after the swim. They both went to the show that evening. So you can see what it is like to try to keep things from spreading here. I am not too anxious for NJ to get them, so don’t let kids in these days. It gives me a lot more time to study–and do I need it!
This will be our last letter before leaving for the south.
Now this is just for you three. Do you mind if we have a little sister for NJ? … It has been a bit rugged the last month or so, but things are looking up. We do hope this won’t worry you, but will make you happy.
September 14, 1956
I have been going to school after 3:15 lately and helping Bill with putting his lessons on the board, marking typing, etc., and he has been able to have his evenings for study. We are coming along with Psychology and German quite well. I didn’t go to choir practice, as I have decided not to sing this year. They have asked me to help with the Thanksgiving anthem, as they are short on altos, so I guess I will do that.
We went to Mrs. Grosse’s funeral on Saturday afternoon…
We began having sunny weather (especially afternoons) on Sunday afternoon, and it has been quite nice since, except for high winds. We need just enough rain for drinking water, but get it from Mrs. Mallory now. What a taste! We make everything strong–teac, coffee, and freshie.
The neighbour who bakes bread gave me a bouquet of sweet peas. She heard through the grapevine about our coming baby, so no doubt it is common town knowledge. As the man said about a small town, you don’t see as much as you do in the city, but what you hear!
NJ was commenting on the “pretty babees”–filthy old cows!
October 2, 1956
Here we are on bi-weekly postal service, as the boat has quit its weekly schedule and no between-week arrangements have been made. It is the worst service for many, many years, we are told, and the prospect of hearing from hom only every two weeks is sad. Still, we can get mail out by plane, so far. Howard is going to Charlotte tomorrow so will take this out with him.
We have been extra busy the last few days ordering all the furnishings, except linens, for all the new teacherages on the islands. It makes me nervous when I realize I have been picking out everything–right to can-openers and salt-shakers and toilet bowl brushes–for six families. We can spend up to $1,000 for each six. We are trying to make things standard, but have to vary things according to colour schemes which are set. The prescribed colour schemes are very dull according to my taste, and not too easy to match up to, especially when it has all to be done by catalogue. I ordered six red chesterfields and chairs, six fridges, six washing machines, drapes, curtain, rods, blinds, pots, pan, dishes, silver, etc., etc. It has been a big job–and all gratis and all to help the school board out. They are to take the blame! Of course, I would have done it quite differently if it had been my money and our place. Many of the things will be duplicated in four or five other teacherages, too.
NJ stayed with me at school on Friday as well as Thursday, and enjoyed the kids, and they her. I was just beginning to relax and enjoy it when I quit. Those little kids are cute and so responsive…
We had a nice time at Mavis’ on Saturday, but spent all evening poring over the catalogues. It is hard to get suitable things as the place is so small; we have to watch sizes carefully.
We walked to the Navy Stn. and back on Sunday–five miles, and could hardly stay awake in church.
October 10, 1956
It is kind of hard to keep on writing letters when we haven’t heard from you for so long, but according to the rumours, we may not have time to see your letters before we mail these, so here goes. Bill is soaking his head in his Psychology, and I should be doing the same with German, but he says he may want me at school tomorrow morning instead of afternoon, so our own mail must be ready as possible tonight.
The choir got through our Thanksgiving anthem and other music, so they are now beginning to learn Christmas music. Our minister, who leads the choir, had a wonderful choir in England, and doesn’t seem to realize the limitations of the little group here, but I guess there is no harm in being ambitious.
We had Howard, Mavis and Don here Saturday and scrabbled, and ate my whole weekend cake! Sunday we walked to the air dock then went to church in the evening. How it was decorated! Some local people certainly can grow vegetables! There were huge cabbages, celery, foot-long carrots and beans, etc. There was wheat (or some grain), potatoes, flowers, etc. On Monday we had our dinner–about 5:30 or 6 p.m. Howard contributed home-grown potatoes (remember how we used to dig spuds on Thanksgiving Monday?) Mavis brought a cake (which we didn’t have room to even taste then, but are now enjoying, and Mrs. Tidball brought after-dinner mints. We had Howard, Don, Mavis, Mrs. Frost and Mr. and Mrs. Tidball…. The Tidball’s kept the vege. and ice cream in their fridge for us. We borrowed extra cups and saucers from Howard and chairs from our new neighbour. We certainly depend on our friends. Afterwards, we went to the W.A. auction at the ahll, where they sold the food which had been in the church.
October 16, 1956
I had coffee with Mrs. Crist yesterday morning, had Mrs. Dean in for teach this afternoon, and had coffee with Mrs. Coop later, so am doing not too bad!
Mrs. Crist gave NJ a cute little white hand-knit bonnet, very girlish, with a frill… NJ really hops around these days, with or without hands–rabbit or kangaroo. Rosemary Mallory thinks maybe she hasn’t any insides, the way she gets wet so soon after having a drink.
The smallest squash I could find was 52 cents–about 5 pounds. I must make cupcakes tonight for the home cooking sale sponsored by the PTA. Maybe if I ice them nicely they will look good enough to sell.
October 25, 1956.
We had a successful Friday evening with 25 kids in all, but it is better now that we are dividing them. Bill has the boys for basketball (and is adding a lesson at half-time) at school while I have the girls here (they can almost play “Twinkle, twinkle little star” on their flutophones now) and when I feed and get the girls sent home, Bill brings the boys over for their eats. I have to do some fast dish-washing between. The girls hang around outside, waiting for the boys, so last time Bill helped the boys to sneak out around the back way, then they surprised the girls from the rear. The girls are just beginning to take a very bashful-brash interest in the boys, but the boys are hardly returning it. We had the Mallorys for supper on Thursday, then on Saturday we went with Howard to Mavis’ for pictures in the evening. She had the Leeches, Tidballs, Don, Mrs. Frost and Howard too, and we had a very nice time.
There has been a thin layer of ice on puddles these mornings and frost on the roofs of houses. It is good to have a winter coat on most days, and we have been continuing to have a lot of wind and rain. It is sunny so far today, and we kind of think the inspector may be here on the boat. If he should bring his wife with him, I will be pretty well responsible for their entertainment, the Tidballs will be so busy with the store and the hotel proprietor has flown to Germany for a six-week visit. The little Navy wife who says they called him “Prune Face” in high school is taking care of the hotel rooms, but isn’t making meals. She will have a first-class fit if she has to accomodate him! She hides around corners when he is in town.
One of the nice women in town has mentioned that she could likely look after Norma June for us when I have to go to Charlotte. Bill insists that, as her father, it is his duty and privilege to keep her with him at nights…. He has been feeling lately that he just can’t carry the load he has been, and Mrs. Mallory offered to take over his Grade 9 math class. It certainly is good of her, and is a big relief for him. It is the subject he least likes to teach.
October 30, 1956
The world is white with snow today, and NJ thinks it is very pretty pretty.
We heard yesterday that the rent for the teacherage will be $50, exclusive of light, water, fuel, garbage, etc., so it looks as if we will be going in. We do need an extra room and a warm floor for NJ but we will be missing our porch for keeping NJ and the garbage on! We will have to give Walter a month’s notice tomorrow when we pay our rent, so will likely move about the first of December. The furniture hasn’t arrived for the new place yet, and there are odds and ends to be attended to before we will take it. How we wish they would put in a well! The town water is terrible–brown, slimy and smelly. We will have to stick with the rain water for drinking and cooking. Our white things are unspeakably filthy looking, especially after last night’s wash. I wash in the evenings now because the rinsing in the bath tub tires me so much that I hate to waste my energy for the daytime. I didn’t sleep very well last night after washing, so guess I’ll have to have Bill help me soon. If we only had laundry tubs, so there wouldn’t be all that bending, it wouldn’t be half bad.
We actually got our cheques ahead of time yesterday, and I went to get them cashed and spent in the afternoon. Doesn’t take too long, does it! I got enough for my work at school to pay for the plane trip and a few days hospital, so hope I can make enough now to pay part of the doc’s bill. Terrible when a man makes his wife pay for the babies as well as have them, isn’t it!
November 8, 1956
I supervised Bill’s class while he marked exams for reports, and I do hope this is the last time. I am putting in double time this week, so don’t expect to go next. Perhaps by the next week Mrs. Simpson will be available to take my place. I can’t keep up this pace much longer…
Mr. Ritchie gave Bill a real talking to, told him he is working far too hard, and he must not do so much. He and his friend were here both nights for supper (plus the Tidballs who supplied part of the meal) and Mr. Thiessen gave me a lovely big box of chocolates. As I am not supposed to eat them, I have hidden them away for Bill’s birthday, and hope he will forget them till then. I have been saving coppers, nickles and dimes in a piggybank for NJ to buy him a present, so much decide what to get. “Moola” is so scarce at this time of year, and we budget so carefully that if I don’t sneak off with tiny bits of money, he won’t be surprised for his birthday.
So many kids came around on Halloween that I had to give away quite a few of my precious apples. We had a stuffed-broom ghost to scare them at the door, and several couldn’t resist coming around for a second time.
We are going in [to the new teacherage] about the first of December, and the furniture is arriving now. The rent will be $50 plus $4 for water, and the oil, electricity, etc. extra. It may come to slightly more than here, but we do need the warm floors for NJ and the extra bedroom. It is so small!
I have been getting acquainted with several of the new women who have moved here lately, and there are some real nice, friendly ones. The new Red Cross housekeeper is near my age and has a little girl, Sandra, NJ’s twin–about an hour elder…. We had them for supper a couple of nights ago.
November 20, 1956
Howard’s mother died, and he is back in town now. His dad is staying down and going for a trip.
I couldn’t find my pen anywhere today, and Bill looked high and low for it at noon. Guess where I just found it–in the garbage can. Between NJ and Sandra, we find many things there. I just rescued my mixing spoon this morning.
We had an earthquake on Saturday, just after noon, but people here say it was nothing, compared to what they have had. Still, it was a bit startling. NJ didn’t mind it at all! At first we thought it was an especially strong gust of wind, but the way the house creeked and jiggled, there was no doubt. The announcer over Ketchikan made the most of it.
We went to the W.A. sale on Saturday, but there was very little on sale. I left NJ on the porch while I had tea, etc., and she had quite a lot of loot when I came out. The kids gave her toys them got in the fish pond.
We have had quite a few of the newer ladies calling on us lately, and must try to get out to return the calls. The roads are hard to wheel the carriage through, so I almost hesitate to take her out too much by myself.
Shirley, the Red Cross Nurse, was just given an engagement ring by one of the local RCMP constables.
Bill has managed to get Mrs. Simpson to take my place at school so I feel very relieved. A new fellow has been elected to the school board, but he is rather down on the natives. We are wondering how it will work out.
Progress is very slow on the school, and we think there will be no rooms ready this year at all. Our teacherage has been ready for so long now, but as the furniture hasn’t yet arrived, we wonder if we will be able to move in next weekend as planned. We hope it won’t be much longer.
Mrs. Tidball was over to see me–her first outing after a bout with a bad throat. We are amazed that they are so friendly, especially since we deal so little at their store! The prices they charge!! They brought up five children. Mrs. T. tells me how lucky I am, with another one coming. She certainly loves her kids, and misses them.
I expect to quit teaching Sunday School soon, and don’t intend to have the kids here on Friday night any more. They enjoy it, but NJ clings to me as she can’t get to sleep and they maul her, and they are a rambunctious little crowd. Getting them all fed and watered and out, then getting things ready for Bill’s gang really is too much right now. Specially in cramped quarters. Also, sometimes they bring in flea-bitters with them, which are a bit of a nuisance.
November 26, 1956
The boat had to leave much more quickly than usual, so we didn’t get time to answer the mail. We hear that there was a big fire at Stewart and the boat had to call there to pick up the men who were left without lodging.
I went to see how Howard and Mr. Strike were getting along with the unpacking of the new furnishings, and of course they talked me into helping them check things over. Some girls offered to take NJ out for a while, then left her at school with Bill. She was happy, and we were able to really get on with the work. We had to stop before five as it was too dark to see and the electricity isn’t yet connected. It gets dark early now, and the sun doesn’t rise till close to 9 am.
Now that the gay green chesterfield suite has arrived, I almost wish we had planned on going into the other side of the duplex, where walls are fawn and not aqua. Still the stove there doesn’t work properly, and there has been no heat there yet. Likely everything will be warping and so sticking. Our stove is in good order, and everything is nice and warm. I guess comfort and convenience will be the important thing this winter. It is going to be fun using all the nice new things, most of which are as nice as the catalogue says. The pots are very nice–copper bottomed, and things are pretty complete, all round. The dishes are pretty, and there are lots of them.
Mavis was having trouble with her typewriter, so we went out for supper on Saturday evening and Bill saw about it. I typed out the pageant for the church down there, as she is pretty busy. She had a lovely cassarole meal with apple pie and ice cream. How we ate!… Anyway, we have decided to have Christmas dinner together at her place, and share the expense and cooking. It will be less work for me, as I have found I have to take it easier now. Don is invited, and Doreen and Sandra from the Red Cross, if they can make it. If Howard’s dad isn’t back, perhaps he will come too.
Yesterday I taught my Sunday School class for the last time, then in the afternoon Doreen and Sandra came over and stayed for supper. Shirley has gone to Rupert to have some work done on her teeth, so they are alone. The two babies had a great time….
NJ sits on the toilet lid and watches me put things through the wringer, and seems to consider it the most dangerous of adventures to watch the clothes coming toward her through the wringer. She looks so breakthless and says, “Oh no! OH!” when they go through.
One of last year’s grade 12’s came back to school to finish her credits–the girl you saw in the pictures.
Bill filled the machine for me, and I did the things that have been soiled since Friday night and then washed our car-robe, which we keep on the chesterfield. I am trying to get such things done while we are still here, as we have better drying facilities. The machine here is almost bowing out, so it will be lovely to use a new one. The wringer doesn’t do too much good any more.
December 5, 1956
We moved into our new home–partly on Friday and the rest on Saturday–and are quite well settled, except for the fact that some furniture hasn’t arrived, and all fixtures aren’t in yet. We had a bit of trouble getting the washing machine working, but it is just grand, now that it is adjusted. The hose for emptying the machine fits the nozzle of the bathroom basic tap so I can use it to fill it as well. Therefore, instead of using a bucket, it can be done through the hose, and I can easily rinse the clothes in the tub also, so there is no strain in doing the wash by myself. Now Bill can resign from laundry work.
We were to Mallory’s for supper on Saturday and to Mavis’ for supper on Sunday–Bill’s birthday a week early–chicken and dumplings. Bill is all excited about the first issue of the school paper which will go on sale tomorrow. It is quite an effort–thanks to him.
It has been very cold with high gales the last few days, but the wind was down considerably today Our house has been cold, but so have most. We do hope our hopes for a warm house are not disappointed. At least our pipes didn’t freeze, although we were without water for a while yesterday due to freezing up the line.
NJ had a wonderful time watching the kids skating on Doug’s lake this afternoon. He owns a lot which is just a big slough, and it has lots of good ice now–just about a block down the street.
December 11, 1956
Our new between week service began this week but it is pretty hopeless–the boat left on Friday, then the mail for this week (1st class only) had to be in on Saturday to go to Charlotte and thence out by boat today. No more outgoing till next boat.
Our fridge, a Kelvinator, arrived, and is working beautifully. Our stove is working well now, and we have water again, and the weather is cold, but not windy at the moment. Lots of snow.
December 15, 1956
While I went to Shirley’s shower last night, Bill looked after NJ. Night before last the moonlight was so bright that she was singing and talking at 3 am so Bill told her to go back to sleep, which she did when he draped a blanket over her crib to shut out the light.
The doctor finally came up, quite unexpectedly, last Thursday, I believe. Shirley marched him over to see me (house call, 75 cents, charged by Red Cross) and he wants me to go down on the 10th of January. Of course, I object but he things that may not be early enough, but I heard that song and dance about NJ too. As it is, I may have to leave on the 9th because of plane service. I am really taking things easy now–poor Bill is really on his own at school, and I just help one girl with shorthand and hardly ever mark typing. As weather and roads are so bad, I don’t even push the carriage to town.
The school concert is almost ready now and we will go to see it on Thursday evening. Bill’s class isn’t taking part.
December 20, 1956
I finally finished the little set–jacket, bonnet and bootees–in three shades of white, and put the blue ribbons on this afternoon. I hope the difference in wools won’t be too obvious to the casual observer. The size is really quite large, I’m afraid. There were only a few yards of wool left over. I have the shawl newly washed and the blankets ready. I must get a new little shirt and some pins, then we will be set. The nightie and diapers are ready too. I am so glad there is just one day of school, and then Bill will be home for his two weeks of holidays, and then three days later I will be flying south [to Queen Charlotte City], sad to say. I really haven’t much alternative, as Shirley is leaving tomorrow and we don’t expect there will be another nurse right away. It is a good thing Mrs. Frost is here! Marion Earl was in to tell me she will be going down when I do, and is anxious to have me with her. This will be her first, and she is quite nervous. She is the Navy wife from Oliver.
Our fridge is having its first defrosting. It is wonderful to have. How we are enjoying our new luxuries!
We were discussing about how to send word of the baby when it comes, and have decided we will send telegrams to each of the grandparents, and then Mom and Dad Wright could please phone em and she could let Laura and Preston know. Of course, perhaps June and Aud might be interested, too.
We get a kick out of 5 year old Erin Shields who always calls NJ “Norman June.
January 11, 1957
It’s almost 7:30 am and breakfast time in the hospital. Meiri and I arrived (in Unca Howard’s care) by plane on Wednesday morning and have been putting in time impatiently. It is so hard to be separated from Bill and Norma June. Mrs. Shields and family just love her, and Bill will take excellent care of her at nights and I know she’ll be happy.
I feel fine and we have been tramping the roads by the hour. It is cold but sunny, and Howard visits us each evening.
Meiri should have her baby tomorrow but the Dr. thinks I’ll be first. We are so anxious to have them and get home.
Miss Preston, matron at the hospital, was just in, and sure enough, she says Grandma [Marjorie’s Grandma Mott] has been at her home in Pilot Mound where her parents still live. She says we will have to all ourselves cousins. Her father and Uncle Daniel are first cousins.
Mrs. Tidball gave me one of those pictures you paint by numbers–to amuse me! I also have a pair of gloves begun for Bill.
***!! He’s here! Our little Son–John Stewart (JS). 2 pm 7 lb 13 1/2 oz. Just lovely–dark hair, nice small nose and ears… navy blue eyes. Seems so tiny and gentle. God is so good to us!
Easy for me, and quick.
Here it is Sunday evening. Yesterday Bill phoned and said he was happy about his son. He tried to get NJ to speak, but she doesn’t know about phones. I could hardly hear him because of interference. He said Doreen and Sandra left suddenly, as the new Red Cross Nurse doesn’t like children. I’ll miss them.
Stewart is coming along nicely and we are getting pretty fond of each other!
We have lots of company although we are just supposed to have husbands and mothers–Misses Daly and Budd, Rosemary Ault, Howard, the minister and his wife, Jessie Oliver (Deaconess), Mrs. Regney, etc., have been here, some several times. One of my pupils from Masset is in the next room still waiting. Just 16.
The nurses are lovely and we like the young doctors. This is a 20 bed hospital–very new.
January 22, 1957
Stewart and I had a pleasant ride home in the little seaplane, and Bill and NJ were waiting for us in front of the house, as there wasn’t room for them in the taxi. NJ looked at me blankly for 20 or 30 seconds, then her face lit up, and she said, “Oh-h-h!” and held out her arms to come to me. We exchanged babies! It was so good to get home and be together again. NJ looked at her baby and laughed and said her typical “Oh-ho-ho” in motherly tone of voice…. Since her stay at the Shields, she says “Oh boy!” about everything.
Bill is getting better acquainted with his little son and is very happy about him.
We are receiving some lovely gifts for Stewart–large taffeta edged yellow Esmond blanket from a couple of little neighborhood girls, towel set from the Tidballs, blue rompers from the Mallorys, blue blanket from the Leeches, and a gravy spoon in my Evening Star Community pattern from the Mallorys “for mother.”
I did quite a big wash last night, and it seems quite natural doing all those diapers. It was quite a job drying things–spent all day draping things over stove, etc. We string a rope from a handle of the high kitchen cupboards to the livingroom drapes to dry sheets, etc., on, and use the metal dryer for the rest. In fact any thing that one could possibly hang anything on has duds on it.
There is still no word about Meiri, poor kid.
It is a big help to have Bill take NJ to school in the late afternoon. She is extra lonesome now, since playing so much with Erin. I told Erin today that she could come over whenever her mother would let her, as NJ is so much ahppiers.
January 31, 1957
It seems almost impossible to get any extras done and still get the essentials accomplished every day. As we have had frozen pipes for a week, things take just that much longer.
It looks like another cold snap coming up, and we are still without water! Bill dismissed school last Friday so the Board fixed up a temporary arrangement so school has been on this week. But here we sit. Mrs. McCorriston brings a pail of water in two or three times a day, Bill carries many more, and I go to Mrs. Mallory’s to do the wash, so it could be worse. Things don’t seem very clean, though. Especially the bathroom. Times like this, we wish we had an outdoor toilet as well.
Bill is very busy on his special issue of the school paper, and with school generally, of course.
Norma June just loves Stewart and is very gentle with him. Right now she is calling him “baby girl.”
We are receiving a lot of nice presents–sweater sets, pyjamas, etc. It is amazing the people who are bringing presents–even the practical “owners” of the town. As I was saying to Bill last night, it is just about time for us to leave–we are really beginning to get acquainted and be accepted by the local people!
I have been boiling diapers all day as Stewart seems to be getting a sore bottom, and with the lack of water and the stove still not working quite properly, it is a problem.
Just five more months till we come home again. Isn’t that lovely? I do want you to see our little man.
February 5, 1957
We just had our “weep session” during which we decide how to allocate our cheque–so are broke for another month again! So goes life!
Big news today is that Meiri had her girl–Katherine Anne, 7 lb 14 ox, at 8 am today.
Mavis is in love, and has resigned as of March 31. Substitute airplane pilot, who piloted our little plane of both of my trips…. All and sundry are getting a great kick out of the whole affair, and she is absolutely rapt and glowing…
Bill has his pet project out–the Masset Maast, so is sending a copy to you.
Bill went to Port on Saturday, as the water did begin to run again on Friday. How we appreciate water!
Bill just noticed that his driver’s license expired in December–another $5. And he drove the scouts back to Old Masset last night!
February 12, 1957
I feel like the old lady who lived in a shoe today. Since Mrs. Shields is going to work at the Co-op Store while the Tidballs are on holiday in March, I am looking after Erin today while her mom gets acquainted with the work. I guess I will look after her during March too. Her mom was so good to take care of NJ for me… As her mom says, she is here most of the time, anyway. Her mom is one of the best neighbours ever. She and Mrs. Shields spent Saturday evening here, looking at slides and visiting (Don too, of course).
Time is really going quickly now, and we keep saying how long it will be till we get on that ship. Valentine Day on Thursday and exactly 2 1/2 years since we were married.
I have my big baby sitting on my lap as she is bored–Rosemary and Erin are playing together and haven’t time for her at the moment. Too many kids have been in today for comfort, especially in our week house. I must tell Erin she must not bring the whole town in. Her mom wouldn’t be pleased if she knew. Her mom is really strict for Masset–won’t let your school age boys smoke, doesn’t let her kids take money for running errands, etc.
I finished an apron for the PTA carnival sale today–the last of the table-cloth material I made several out of a couple of years back. I was at the monthly Red Cross meeting last night–a very short one.
Bill slept most of Sunday, and I took his turn at church in the evening. We sang some wonderful hymns. There were three men in the choir, so it was nice. One native man has a lovely voice. There was just one man in the congregation but we women turned out in fine numbers.
Meiri brought home their little daughter on Saturday and we hope to see her any day now. They live three miles away, at the Navy base, and that constitutes quite a transportation problem here, especially if one has no car. We used to walk out last winter, but two babies and one carriage makes a dif.
I try to hang the laundry out when possible, but we have a very short line–even when I use the line for the other apartment, and they are really dangling in the line of passing traffic. We have no secrets, and in a small town like this..
February 19, 1957
NJ was out playing in the sunshine today, tied to the clothesline by a long line, and with the bottom step barricaded so she could not climb the steps (which she found out how to do on Sunday, when she had her first chance. She doesn’t care too much for the arrangement but I think she will get to not mind it too much, and it is the best we can do, with no fence or proche. She was out with the little neighborhood gang riding on a wagon yesterday.
Stewart is having his vitamins and pablum now, and thriving.
We have been eating left-overs, after feeding the Shields family and plumber on Sunday, as they were moving to another house.