I’m so hot I’m cool.

July 28th, 1931

Upstairs –
Where the West Begins.
Tues. July 28, 1931.

Dear Lloydine,-

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.]

Up in the Attic

July 25th, 1931

“Up in the Attic, Under a Teacup”
Sunday, July 25th
(2 P.M.)  1931

Darling Hubby, –

Your lovely letter received and nothing could be nicer.  Of course I am not really under a teacup, as I keep the teacups below me in the cupboard; but I am in the draftiest corridor of the upper staircase as it is 107 degrees downstairs on the north porch, and the family is all strewn about, below.  I crave to be alone.  Ye Gods!  I will be an angel if I (do or don’t) live thru this.

I hope you are not having too many worries and that you are real well.  Mother M. wrote the program of last Sunday.  How could they go so much and then back to supper at the same house.  They never would for us.  And radio, even Seth Parker!  But maybe they liked rabbit  We will have rabbit.

For dinner to day I cooked beets, and rice, fried bologna, made potato salad.  Had coffee, bread, jelly.  I get three meals a day, wash all dishes, do all sweeping, scrubbing, help tend milk things.  But will not gather eggs.  Mites annoy me too much.  Chiggers are bad enough.

John bought 21 hogs for $100 yesterday, to fatten I guess, and eat a big field of alfalfa that blue grass choked out.  Then he will plow it.  His alfalfa has mostly dried up anyway in another field.  The drought has struck us again, with hot winds.  Weeds are wilted.

Last year we sold 1088 doz. eggs for $215 and about the same the year before.  About 200 hens.  Not very good I’d say.  He keeps account of everything.

Who do you think dropped in last night!!!  I hardly knew him.  Our old friend Alfred Belin, from everywhere, and his sister Goldie from Oklahoma City.  Goldie had her two little boys with her and Alfred drove someone’s big nice car.  Came about 8 P.M. and stayed till nearly midnight.  They came from their banker brother-in-law’s in Green, a half sister’s.  They heard I was home and came right over.  Alfred brought Goldie from Ok. City two days ago and will leave her visiting while he goes to La Junta, Colo. tomorrow to work his territory in Colorado.  She will stay two wks.  Another sister, Virgil is here from Los Angeles now.  Alfred spent 3 wks in San Diego in March but thought we were in San Luis Obispo.  He is twice as heavy, almost.  Inquired all about you and us, very nicely, wondered also if Lloydine remembered him.  He works New Mexico too.  Tried Tia Juana once but no good.  Not in old Mexico any more.  Wanted to be remembered to you.  Mother was so glad to see him, and wanted him to come again.  I realize she has simply been too much alone.  She is mentally alright now, for three days past.

[Note:  The letters were read and saved over the years, many obviously reread and the pages not always properly to the proper envelope.  Eventually missing pages may be found or properly matched up.  On this day, such is not the case.  “Page 4” (a new sheet) continues with a missing page from a past letter, obviously about the threshing men eating…]

You have no idea how they ate.  I will tell you 1 – Seven loaves of bread, 1 1/2 pecks of potatoes, $5 worth of meats also, 1/2 lb. rice, 1 lb. dry beans, 2 qts. peaches, 2 qts apricots, 2 boxes macaroni, 1/2 lb. cheese, 3 cans peas, 2 cans hominy, 2 cans tomatoes, 3 lbs fresh tomatoes, 4 doz. cookies, 1 lb. coffee, 2 lbs. butter, 2 doz. eggs, a bucket or two of milk (and cream), 2 heads cabbage, about a gallon of gravy or more, and I don’t know what else.  And I cooked it all myself.  Cost 90 cents per man, almost, but of course they do not pay for anything.  The oven would not bake so I had to pot roast the meat, mostly, and couldn’t have pie.  But baked pudding, macaroni, etc. in huge pudding dishes, and had minced ham ($1.30 worth) one meal.  I had three big kettles of roast in all, and it turned out just lovely, browned a little and tender as could be.  And oh, how they ate it!  I had more fun!  And they all tried to get a good look at the cook without being a bit rude.  They were very mannerly and most of them neighbors.  John Lund’s thresher, Dan & Frank Bergstrom, Robt. Chaffee, Monty Rundquist, and others you wouldn’t know.   I made one of them help me, besides John, the first meal.  Some of them had 3 cups of coffee, and most of them two, and the water glasses used two buckets of water each meal so one person was busy “pouring” and John did that.  I refilled the serving dishes and kept things going around.  I had Monty’s boy, Deane count noses, get chairs in place, put glasses around, etc.  They quit threshing at 7:30 P.M. and were all out of the house at 8:30 P.M.  (For washing before supper they used 2 bowls and a tub and three combs and three big roller towels and two mirrors out on the porch.)  I washed the towels for the next time, altho I had six.  Used a lot of dish towels to do dishes and washed them between meals, too.  I was so tired I stacked the dishes the first night and washed only the silverware and kettles and put away the food.  (There were 16 of us & 17 the next day who ate)  Then next morning I was getting the pantry clean because Mrs. Chaffee had said she would help me at dinner and who should come but Sophie (Mrs. John Lund) and she said she was going to help me until Mrs. Chaffee came because she might not come.  (Our phone was dead on account of the rains.)  So I set her to washing the supper dishes and then I had her set the table.  Then she had to go home to get ready for her threshers when Mrs. Chaffee came.  I had her peel potatoes while I mixed things up for the oven, made gravy, etc. etc.  The only thing I did from then on, all day, was cook and cook, except to talk to Mrs. C. a little between times, and she stayed all the rest of the day, and at meal time she helped me, instead of John..  She was really very helpful.  There was no ice in Lasita or Green.  I got Claus Olsen to drive to Green for more meat and supplies.  He is……

Next HNB Letter – August 12, 1931.

[1931.07.25 / day – HNB to GDM in San Diego, California.]

A few choice words

July 16th, 1931

Route 3, Green, Kansas
July 16, 1931

Darling Guy, –

I have written reams to Lloydine to give her some good reading matter to rest her weary college mind.  Now I have practiced a little I will pen a few choice words to convey my love to you.

It was very sweet of you to think of me and write so nicely on the eve of our anniversary, and I am sure the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la, and even the prairie flowers nodded to each other, in the loveliest way, on that day.*  I thought of it but did not mention it for fear we had not chalked down the same number of years in keeping track of the passage of time; and you might have had twenty-five or thirty instead of nineteen.  Uncle John asked me if I knew that married men live longer than single men, and I told him I didn’t believe it, it only seemed longer.

Your love is a very nice gift for the occasion and I am sending you a kiss and a squeeze for every lovely thought you have extended me the past year.  That’s a flock.

I like your letters, long or short.  How near done is the Hansen house?  Are they almost living there?  I am anxious to hear all about people looking at our house.  Everyone is a prospect.  I am glad you let me take some plans – folks here are interested and think the plans splendid.

Uncle John threshed 1038 bu. of wheat but it is only 28 cents and dropping every day, so he stored it in our granaries.  It averaged 22 bu. which is not startling.  Is a black head wheat, supposed to be good.  The heads look black, not yellow, and very bristly.  His “Kanota” oats, 8 A., averaged nearly 50 bu., the best yield we have heard of around here any year.  Had 394 bu.  One stack of straw, 18 A., was 90 steps around when I hunted strings (found only 3) so I didn’t walk around the one that had 45 A. straw in it!  The wheat was very tall making much straw.

I wish you could “explore” the farm with me.  Today was the first time I have been around, having stayed in or near the house, John says two weeks.  So I went to the barns, found them full of all kinds of interesting things (like Balboa Park, good for many trips)  I opened an oat bin door and found a frisky mouse; looked in a corn crib and frightened a frisky bushy tailed squirrel; chased up a frisky cotton tail in the orchard and a big jack rabbit near the stacks.  I ate plums, mulberries, green or ripe, and ripe gooseberries, au naturelle, till two brown thrasher birds chased me away.  There are many, many birds of all kinds and as bold as can be.  One mocking bird sings at night like at San Diego.  There are henna colored birds in the hollyhocks at the front door, sparrows, king birds, cat birds, canaries, doves etc. etc. in chorus all day long.  The cackle of many hens make fowl talk to add a din to the music.  Oh yes, you should be right with me to see and listen to the farm.  I miss the turtles & frogs so.  There are no ponds.  Uncle John has about twenty cattle, no hogs, a number of horses, I haven’t had time to see how many, but about six.  Lloydine had better be thinking of a “calfie” name.  “Topsy” is Mother’s cow’s name and she is red with a blaze face.  She will have to have a nice name, or two, ready to suggest to “Topsy” soon.

All the farmers are hard up.  Some had to give up their autos.  Some bake their own bread, and some had to sell their wheat, cheap, to live.  I can see it as well as hear it from them.  When it takes a bu. down to the price of a shave (and the expense of producing, unpaid) it seems times are bad.

There is little garden or fruit on account of frosts late in May this year.  The garden here will produce only a few meals, if any.  Have had nothing from it yet, but may get a mess of string beans if I wait long enough, perhaps half a pound.  Soon can dig some potatoes but they are poor and late.  (Mother just came in with the string beans.  One was a pod 14 inches long.  They are all long, a special kind.)  Father** ought to have some but she hasn’t any seed saved and doesn’t know the name.  She sends away for seeds advertised.

I hope you have been pretty well, and could rest at night.  I have been sleeping very well and mother is so much more content that she has not been up nights for quite awhile.  But the problem is no less.  I doubt is she weighs much over half what she did twenty years ago, and she was never heavy.  I doubt if she weighs what I do now, but her belt measure used to be 36 inches when I was home in 1922.  We have given up thinking of getting someone to live here.  John says he can get all the meals if she will let him.  No one would stay.  She has no relatives to come.  Money couldn’t pay enough to keep anyone here.  So I am banking on John’s arm getting better so he can sweep and do the dishes and Mrs. Lund and a couple others will help sweep and clean once in awhile for him they said.  I am glad there will not be much work this fall so John can stay near the house a good deal.  I will get everything in good shape before I leave.  The neighbors will help me paper the rooms.  I am hoping John can buy a front room rug and a congoleum rug and some paint.

I have written Lloydine to get me some things.  I wish you would give her a dollar and she can mail them to me as I can’t get to a decent town around here.  I thought I wouldn’t write so much but here is the bottom of the page.  I will sure appreciate getting back to you and my own comfortable cottage in the West.  My very best love to you and heaps of kisses, from Your Own Rosie – Scud.

Next HNB Letter – July 25, 1931.

*Note:  Guy Dennis Martin & Hemme Naratte Backlund MARTIN were married on July 8, 1912.  July 8, 1931 was their nineteenth wedding anniversary.

There was 2 cents postage due on this letter, resulting in a record of the speed of regular mail service between Green, Kansas and San Diego, California at this time.  The letter was mailed at 3:30 P.M. on the 17th.  It arrived on the 20th, less than three days and at a US postage regular letter rate of 2 cents.  This ‘three days’ matches the time it took Hemme to make almost the same journey, both mail and people moving by trains powered by large boilers of steam.

The farm consisted of 160 acres (A.) of land, the size of the original homesteaded land grant.  Apparently 47 acres was planted in wheat this season.  The threshing took two days (last letter), which means that about 25 acres were threshed per day, or a little more than one acre per person per day, 3 bushels (bu.) per hour per person.  At a wage of 50 cents per hour ($4 per day) the value from growing the wheat was less than 16 cents per bushel, less the coast of harvesting, less the cost of planting, less the cost of seed.  Fertilizer and pesticides were not used on the farm.  A farmer in America was receiving less for a bushel of wheat than the cost of two plain cake (not sugared or raised) donuts.  One of the great differences between the current economic crisis and the one in the 1930’s is the cost of food – then it was incredibly cheap, now it is incredibly expensive.

**Guy, as in the case of using “Uncle John” to reference her brother, Hemme writes most letters for the convenience of her daughter, although her mother is usually “Mother”, so it can get a bit confusing on occasion, but these are family letters written with a spontaneity as images come to mind.

[1931.07.16 / day – HNB to GDM in San Diego, California.]

105 degrees at Noon

July 12th, 1931

Sunday, July the twelfth, 1931

Dear Lloydine & Guy, –

I guess you know why I begin so close to the top.  Well, how is every little thing by now.

Here it is 75 degrees at 3 P.M. and it was 105 degrees at noon.  Yes, a nice fast rain with lots of fire talk to watch and hear.  I have more fun on the farm!  And now the wind is blowing a gale, as it has most of the time since I came, and the air is so fresh and filling, if you know what I mean.  Yesterday the same.

We have two white and one grey kitten with eyes just open.  Can hardly walk yet.  The old cat is grey with perfect white markings, clean, (how do you spell aquiline?) and a perfect lady in manner.  Also have a happy dog (Mother says “a good dog, tell them that”) sort of large terrier, short haired, bob tailed, white with brown & black ears, and one big black spot on his back.  So call him “Spot”.  He lies in the shelled corn to keep cool and sleep and is really very quiet and mannerly too.  He spends some days at Ludwig Lunds.  He is teased to death by birds in the bushes, and whines and barks at them.  He often chases two rabbits at once.  Then loses both, probably.  There are so many rabbits both jack and cotton-tail and all their relatives.  It is true then it must be so that this is home coming year for all the formerly-of-Kansas rabbits.  The ponds have no turtles nor frogs to make music (now all stock is watered from tanks)  But I heard a katy-did and I chased some fire-flies.  The chiggars have made my intimate acquaintance.  (But I have been taking a sponge bath every night in my room – and a little soda handy.)

I suppose you and Daddy get along swimmingly, Lloydine, now that you have your new bathing suit.  Take good care of each other so you won’t get lonesome and I will try to get away from here sometime in August.  I am almost too busy to know anything is going on anywhere but right here.  Have to let you do the best you can until I get back.  I cannot even remember the day of the week except that I can’t work on a Sunday.  So I have a calendar I cross the days off on.  We get three newspapers (weeklies only) two of them are locals and no world news.  I almost wish I had the Sun.  But I will be here so short a time I don’t need to read.  I can’t do any writing or studying here, nor sewing to speak of.  Merely exist, get the meals, scrub, etc., wash, iron, carry in wood, feed the cat & dog, wash dishes, carry milk to cellar, etc. and help make it more cheerful for mother so she will be happy and get a rest.  She is already stronger and better.  The Doctor gave her six months to live when she had her first heart spell and that is now more than eighteen months ago.  Now she is out gathering eggs (her chief diversion) and walks with quite a sure step and no cane.  Her last sick spell was in early May.

Oh, about my trip.  I had a berth the first night only, 7.20 and I never went into the diner at all, the whole trip, but I never was hungry either.  I bought two donuts 10 cents and a cup of coffee 10 cents besides filling my thermos once (for 20 cents in Salida, Colo.) besides my 60 cent meal at Salt Lake.  I had no time to eat at Denver and at Manhattan two restaurants were closed for 4th and it was pouring rain so I ate from my lunch box.  When I got home Grandma enjoyed four pieces of your cake and 3 oranges very much.  The cake was moist and nice, and Grandma was very proud of Lloydine.  I had hot coffee from hot water in my thermos 36 hrs.  And in Manhattan the Colo. coffee was still warm 24 hrs.  I had no tips or bus fare to pay all the way so I felt I could afford the $1.00 tally-ho sight-seeing trip in Salt Lake, and I would rather see than eat, so I took that trip.  It was amply worth it.  Then I bought some cards and stamps and a Sat. Eve. Post (and a ticket home $1.22)

This week I have been getting ready for threshers, finding supplies of linen, dishes, etc. cleaning cupboards, washing linen & dishes, scrubbing floors and woodwork.  Will have thirteen men for two days threshing late this week.  And I won’t have any help.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the stove would bake.  I tried pies and cookies and pudding and find it will not bake anything on the bottom.  So I will have to have things cooked on, not in, the stove.  But I don’t let it worry me.  They can take it or leave it!  This week I have cooked potatoes, beans (dry), raisins, rice, and gravy, then start all over again.  I vary it with oatmeal & eggs for breakfast and pancakes.  We buy bread and cinnamon rolls & butter once a week and keep it.  Plenty of milk and once I made custard.  Today I opened a can of peaches, as it was Sunday, had macaroni and boiled beef.

Mother has left breakfast to me also so I have to get three meals a day but it doesn’t matter a great deal.  It is perhaps better not to have her do any of the kitchen work.  The sun sets here at 7:45 which seems late.  We eat supper just before sundown, and John does a lot of work before breakfast (7:00 A.M.)  Our lamps are too dim to see by so I am going to bed after doing up the work, about nine o’clock.

9:00 P.M. – Well, everyone is in bed but me and I am in my room (West).  Tonight it was raining gently at sundown (7:45) (not daylight-saving) and a perfect rainbow was in the sky (Ends at Rundquists & Lasita a mile apart)  We watched to see how long it would last and it was 8:05 when it was all gone.  Mother did not remember seeing a rainbow since she saw her first one as a child and then she was frightened by it.  So we showed her this one and she thought it very beautiful.  She was very much interested.  She is so annoyed at losing her memory.  John has tried to bring things back to her by showing her what she planted and the growth in years.  She says that has helped her to know she has lived here a long time and she can remember that she planted them herself.  She comes upstairs in the night to make sure she has John and that he is safe.  We are so afraid she will fall.  He wakes easily and calls to her and she goes right back to bed, content.  She sometimes goes toward the neighbors and he goes after her and is so patient with her.  He is afraid an auto may strike her if she is on the road.  So we watch and always knows where she is.  That is why I do not go to town with John and I have not sent your watch back.  So much to worry about here.  And I have so little privacy.  She wonders if I am gone if I go to my room.

I think I may have lost a few pounds but I am feeling real well.  I really do not work hard, just keep doing something.

John is going to get some paper and I am going to fix Mothers room up real nice.  She will like that.  And I will take it easy and paper the rooms downstairs that he buys for.  Then if I leave in August I will have done something for my trip and it may look good for awhile again.  I am hoping they can persuade someone to come and live with them and do the cooking and cleaning.  I must stop.  I enjoyed hearing from both of you.

Love and Kisses – Mama. Scud.

Dear Guy:  Your letter was fine.  Tell me all about the jobs & what you are doing & everything, but be sure to write.

Next HNB Letter – July 16, 1931.

Note:  “U-No-Where” is at the Backlund family farm in Lasita, Kansas.  Hemme often used the name “Scud” or “Scudder” as a nickname and also as a pen name.  The term is Scandinavian in origin, although she most frequently referenced its usage to rocks and mineralogy, apparently in reference to its use as a mining term, apparently learned by her in Arizona originally, though the history of the word as used (or learned, or heard) in her life may be deeper.  Lloydine grew up spending many summers on the farm so knows the lay of the land (and buildings) fairly well, but not so well the changes.

Another point worth noting is that Hemme has returned to care for, for a time, her Mother and Lloydine’s Grandmother.  Hemme’s mother, however never again saw her mother after leaving Sweden.  In turn, Hemme never even met any of her four grandparents.  This is an often overlooked theme impacting the lives of the early immigrants to America, among those immigrants that came and stayed, and were never to return to the ‘old’ country.  Much has been made of the huge numbers of people that came to America as immigrants and then left again, returning to the country of their birth.  Most historians imply that it was more for reasons of economics, the unrewarding sweatshops and factory towns they found in their life in this new and ‘modern’ nation.  I suggest that it was also due to the enduring ties of family (that caused them to return), a bond more enduring for many than a ‘not so new’ nation given the often only vague reality of either any greater opportunity or any meaningfully enlarged degree of freedom.

The few letters written by Hemme’s father (he died September 4, 1923) to his relatives back home bear witness to his perception that even in farming any greater wealth that he may have achieved in America was due to a harder and longer work than he would have had in Sweden.  In short, he traded family life for money, an ongoing modern theme.

[1931.07.12 / day – HNB to GDM and LDM in San Diego, California.]

In The Clouds

July 3rd, 1931

1 1/2 cents postage.
In The Clouds – Official Folder
A thousand miles through the Rockies – Two miles above the sea.
On the Scenic Line of the World – Mailed from The Top of the World – Tennessee Pass, Colo. – Elevation 10242 Ft.
Denver & Rio Grande RailRoad (D&RG RR)

Miss Lloydine Martin
3735 32nd
San Diego, Calif.

“See America” Denver and Rio Grande – The Modern Way, Tennessee Pass, Altitude 10242 Ft.

Denver, Colorado, from State Capitol
Castle Rock, Colorado
Elephant Rock, Near Palmer Lake, Colorado
Gateway, Garden of the Gods, Colorado – Pikes Peak in the distance.
Skyline Drive, Canon City, Colorado
Royal George, Colorado – Spanned by the highest Bridge in the world.
Suspension Bridge over Royal George, Colorado – Canon of the Arkansas
On Top of the Royal George, Colorado
At the Hanging Bridge, Royal Gorge, Colorado
Suspension Bridge over Royal Gorge, Colorado – The highest bridge in the world.
Snow Angel on Mount Shavano, Salida, Colorado
Leadville and Mt. Massive, Colorado – Highest mountain peak in Colorado – Famous Little Johnny Mine in Foreground.
Echo Cliffs, Canyon of the Colorado, Colorado
Mount of the Holy Cross, Colorado
Double Track, Eagle River Canon, Colorado
First Tunnel, Canon of the Colorado River, Colorado
Second Tunnel, Canon of the Colorado River, Colorado
Near Shoshone, Canon of the Colorado River, Colorado
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Mailed by HNB en route.

Next HNB Letter – July 12, 1931.

[1931.06.30 / day – HNB to John Backlund Jr. in Lasita, Kansas.]