Where the West Begins.
Tues. July 28, 1931.
Hot? I’m so hot I’m cool. But there is a breeze here and I can have shoes & stgs. off, which I can’t any-where else. This is unusual weather for Kansas.
It is only 114 degrees on the north porch. (3 P.M.) Was 114 degrees several hours yesterday also. The corn leaves nearly crumpled and blew away yesterday. I don’t know what today will do. The south thermometer goes as high as it can every morning but does not break, about 123 degrees, The chickens all come home to stand in the water troughs and the dog nearly dies and we put the cat & kittens down cellar. Some sick hens died yesterday. John pours water on the suffering hogs. They puff. I keep carrying fresh water to the little chicks, and sour milk. That is good for them. It is too hot for the horses to plow so John stays home and helps get water, etc. He gathers eggs and we don’t let mother out in the sun. I cook in the morning for all day.
Yesterday Loyall drove out from Kansas City to stay a week. I find him very eager to help at anything. He puts up with anything and doesn’t want to be any bother to anyone. He doesn’t wait to be told to do things. Today he went to Green for us and then I had him help me paper the kitchen till 12 noon. This afternoon I declared a holiday for everyone. So no work. Mother is sewing and singing but John & Loyall are asleep, Loyall in his blue roadster under a locust tree. He is 5 ft. 11 in. Never will be handsome but is quick at everything.
Only once, years ago, was it this hot in Kansas John Lund said this morning. Towards morning the oven-like heat disappears a few hours. But I sleep very well, always glad when bedtime comes.
Maybe you can imagine why I can’t write you as I would like. I’m unable to think of anything but the necessities here. You are really in paradise and should take a nap every afternoon and write out your menus for a week so you won’t “waste time”. Make the work easy and don’t think of it until time to get busy and do it. An hourly schedule will help. Have a definite time to rest, sew, read, etc. just as important as to cook, or anything. You know you can enjoy summer without going round and round. But writing your menu ahead for several days will keep you from worrying about meals. I used to do that.
Loyall has the south room and goes thru the window with pillow and quilt to sleep on top of the porch. John sleeps in the hay rack when his east room is hot. I sleep in my bed regardless of weather.
Thanks for the things rec’d today. You should have sent me the cheapest paper, etc. We don’t buy anything here that is more than bare necessity. And the old shoe paste would have been plenty. Well, in another month I shall be with you again, for my vacation. Write me when will you start college. What did you have to go up for the other day?
I suppose you & Daddy both received my letters so I don’t have to repeat. Be sure Daddy has paid $1.50 to Demers on Aug. 1st., or else you do it.
I haven’t read a word of world news since I came here. Won’t I be back-woodsy. I’ll have the radio run all day.
About spelling, be sure to spell Marcia right. Everything else has been 100%. Your letters are lovely and quite correct in every detail, which is more than I can say about my hasty scribbles. You quite save my life with your epistles.
I hope the dentist is easier on you now. But when I look at Loyall I am so thankful you have had a chance to get yours straightened. He has been brought up a very poor boy. You can easily see that. But he never complains about it. And he is so full of interest in aviation it is real encouraging.
This hot weather has ruined my hair and if I can ever get to a barber I shall have a short bob. It is so windy here.
I washed & boiled 3 boilerfuls of clothes yesterday, burning old wall paper and using lye instead of soap. When I hung them out the dish pan in sun burned my hand so I had to use a holder to carry it in, and then I looked at the thermometer and that was the first I knew it was over 110 degrees (at eleven o’clock). I haven’t ironed yet. I have 2/3 of things washed that are real dirty but no quilts or heavy overalls yet. I shall not attempt quilts if they need it ever so bad. There are 20 pairs of bib-overalls mother can make rugs of.
I won’t need curtains or cretonne. Use the old cretonne drapes for old rugs. I hope you don’t go to Seattle as the time is getting pretty short till school, and it will cost so much.
I don’t care though, and certainly I wouldn’t go along even if I were there. I expect to rest when I get back. I have lost at least 10 lbs I think, altho I feel real well here and don’t mind the work at all. Just worried about other things.
Uncle Will wrote me he would not be returning in August. Wasn’t well enough to write but would tell me when he saw me.
Can you use these lovely linings? I have no time here nor “artistic ability”.
The pictures drawn from life of you and Daddy keep me company when I look at them & mourn for you. They are so like you both.
I think you are a real success as a housekeeper but don’t get a house of your own soon as it isn’t always you can have as nice a co-partner as Daddy is. He is one in a million. I’ve seen several here I wouldn’t trade him for if they threw in the world.
Some day we will all three drive back to Kansas for a short visit and play hide and seek on the farm. An agent came the other day and Mother thought it was Guy come for me. He looked something like Guy and has a sister in Tustin. He wanted to sell us an auto & was from Clay Center. Mother asks about you and smiles and makes some remarks about you, “So big a girl”, etc.
I must stop. The sun is coming in and I am melting. Will take a sponge bath and go down, refreshed.
Try to have the happiest time a girl of 18 without worries can, in a lovely little cottage, pleasant surroundings and everything as favorable as it will ever be in your whole life, but remember to rest and relax first of all, and just lie around when you can. Loads of love.
From Your Mother, Rosie
Next HNB Letter – July 31, 1931.
Note #1: There is a recent website report on the controversy regarding the issue of “Man Made Global Warming”, the so-called Al Gore Effect. This latest report discloses that the wrong temperature data was used from Russia resulting in ‘the highest temperatures ever’. It was an error, the report of ‘highest temps’ is false. Even the current decade is as of yet not the hottest, though with the right kind of war that could change. The record hottest decade for the world was (and still is) the 1930’s. The relation between exceptional heat, depression, and war should perhaps be revisited.
Note #2: Loyall’s father was Alfin Backlund, Hemme’s second oldest brother (surviving infancy). He was successful in his chosen field of electrical engineering, only to die at the height of his career on the day after Christmas in the year 1918 of the influenza. He was 40 years of age. Life for Maude, his wife, soon became very difficult as she struggled to raise her two young sons. She did her best in raising Loyall in an era mostly devoid of company pensions, social security safeguards, women’s rights, and the host of social service supports that we now take for granted, and even too unwisely sometimes complain about.
[1931.07.28 / day – HNB to GDM & LDM in San Diego, California.]