The Whistle Blows

January 1st, 1930

3726 Florence St.,  San Diego.
Jan. 1, 1930.

Dear John, –

There, you see I nearly wrote ’29, and I was going to start the New Year right and write.  Last night I was too sleepy and gave up at 11 P.M.  But Lloydine woke me at 12 M to hear the whistles blow about 1930 coming in.

Happy New Year and thank you very much for the Christmas letter, etc.  I was sorry I did not get your book sent before Xmas but I have had quite a time since I sent Mother the rug, which was a little early.  I have had an awful cold and now I am about over it although still barking.  and Lloydine was working every day she was not in school.  She had her first “job” and it was a busy one as she was clerking during the Christmas rush when everyone is in such a hurry.  She was in the “National Dollar Stores” here.  She earned enough to pay some of her senior expenses, class dues, class sweater, class ring.  They pay $16.50 a week.  They did not need her after Xmas day.  They had about 100 girls the week before Xmas.  She was sure tired every night but was glad to be there.  I had asked Guy’s folks and Uncle Will to Xmas dinner, at Thanksgiving, and they said I needn’t have them but I insisted so they came and altho I was alright that day it was pretty hard on me.  We had a big dinner and roast turkey and a tree.  I was sure glad to go to bed that night.  Guy has been working every day except Xmas day but pay is lower than he ever got.  He is on a big High School that ought to pay more but they turn men away every hour who are begging any kind of job.  He has been wanting to get on appraisal work again but the only job is in Honolulu and that is too far away.  Contracting is very low now with under-bidding just to get the job.  So he is a carpenter for awhile till things open up again.  Believe it will be better soon.

This stationary is what Mrs. Loring gave me for Xmas (The woman Guy built a house for last)  She gave Lloydine a French doll dressed in silk and Guy a necktie.  We were surprised she remembered us with gifts.  Guy gave me an oven thermometer I had wanted and some salt & peppers and Lloydine gave me a kitchen dress all made.  Then I got some goods (4 yds), and a set of candlesticks Maude had made of paper, and a box of candy, also some U.S. currency that was good.  Part of that went into Guy’s stocking as he is just tickled when he can buy something with Xmas money after Xmas.  Has me keep it so he won’t spend it for anything else until he can get what he wants.  Then he says “that’s from Uncle John”, or whoever gave the money.  This year he got a pair of sox, three neckties, two handkerchiefs, a pair of garters, and suspenders.  Now all he needs is a suit to go with them we tell him.  He says he will wear a sunny smile.  Lloydine will answer your letter and tell you her side of it soon.

We hope Grandma is much better now.  A friend of mine has had the same trouble most of her life and says it is largely a question of rest and diet.  No over-exertion and plenty of rest through the day, lying down for a nap after every bit of work, helped her.  No gas forming foods, but plenty of milk and simple foods.  She has had the best doctors both East and West and said there was no immediate danger but she could live to be a hundred if she was careful.  She is almost 70 now.  She said when it was hard to breathe she would have someone fan her and have her pillow higher and something hot at her feet to encourage circulation.  Oranges and Grapefruit eaten all by themselves (not with any other food) are very good.  But must be eaten between meals.  Other meals must be regular and the stomach allowed to rest when food seems to disagree.  Eat no lemons or lemonade nor tomatoes nor other acids.  Oranges are not acid altho most people think they are.  Use no sugar – or very little – with oranges.  Sugar ferments and makes gas in the stomach.

I guess that sounds like a lesson in school so I will say something about school.  School begins tomorrow.  Lloydine is glad.  They never call on me to teach but I am on the list if they need me.

A cousin of Guy’s is Prof. of Chemistry in the Univ. of Washington.  He had to come to Los Angeles last week to do some research work in chemistry and the folks have been looking for him down here but he has not come.  He is driving a “Reo Flying Cloud” with his wife and girl.  Must be back in Tacoma Jan. 6 to teach.  His mother is Guy’s father’s sister and his father is Guy’s stepmother’s twin brother.  Now do you know who he is.  Fred MacMillin.

His mother “Aunt Anna” fell off a log last spring and broke her hip etc.  She was in a plaster cast 12 or 16 weeks and now is sitting up and is getting well.  May go to her home in May.  She has been at Fred’s in Tacoma all this year since getting out of the hospital.  (They have a small “ranch” in some small place in Wash.)

“Alfred & Lucille” Sly (cousins) visited us from North just before Christmas and then went to live in Tucson, Ariz.  They drove through.  I had them five days.  They are nice young folks.  He was in France.  Is a graduate of Wash. State College and “cruised” for lumber in forests up north when he was not teaching.  Now has to go to Ariz. every winter to ward off tuberculosis.  Is expecting $100 compensation from gov’t per month.  They have a nice girl a year old or more, also had a nice fox terrier dog along.

Cousin Florence in Gresham sent photos of her two boys for Christmas.  Aunt Tina sent a card & the Perssons and the Rapps sent cards.  Carroll Persson and wife live in Brawley and have a little boy born a couple days before Thanksgiving.  They sent announcements.

Mrs. Oscar Bergstrom (Esther) sent me the nicest pair of pillow cases embroidered and with crocheted lace on them.  It was sure nice of her.  She had been saying she was going to make me something “for the new house”.

We had a touch of frost today.  The first in a month.  No rain yet.  It has been very warm (about 70 degrees) and only a trace of rain in several months.  The northern part of Calif. got some rain.  Guy’s father is real well again but he does not “work out” hardly at all.  Uncle Will from Pittsburgh pays enough to keep them all in food so they are pretty comfortable and one house keeps rented.  Uncle Will is not as well as a year ago but is fine for being so much over 70.  He gets a pension from the City of Pittsburgh and also has income from property.  He goes down town every day and around.

Maude sent a brown paper owl with the Christmas things.  Guy claims it as his.  I guess she made things to sell, probably.  I always send them each some money as I think they like that as well as anything I could get.  She sent him a nice handkerchief, and I also sent her a “crystal tree” I made myself.  The owl is on our window curtain but doesn’t say a word.  She sent Loyall’s picture.  I guess you got one too.  He has changed a lot since the last one I saw.  Last year she sent Forrest’s.

I have a couple ripe strawberries in the garden, I am going to eat them for you, or give Lloydine one for you, today, New Year’s Day.  There may be more under the leaves.  I just happened to see these two.  The poinsettias are blooming.  Also carnations and roses and sweet peas.  But most of the garden is gone now.  So dry.  There are a few violets.  I must close.  Guy is working today.  Best wishes for your Health, Wealth, and Happiness for 1930.  Yours –

Hemmie, Guy, & Lloydine –

Greetings to Grandma from us all.

Next HNB Letter – March 26, 1930.

[1930.01.01 / day – HNB to John Backlund Jr. in Lasita, Kansas.]