While there were so many letters from the 1914 stack, there are few from 1915. My guess is that, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Grandpa probably just wasn’t very good at saving them. I say that because as you read these letters, one thing comes through clearly: Grandma liked to write – to Grandpa and everyone else.
The first letter is from March 30, 1915. It’s datelined “Stringtown” – where is that, again? Somewhere between Otto and Burlington? – and is quite intriguing. She’s reading the Congressional Record, but just why is never revealed. Was there some burning issue in the area that was of concern to Big Horn Basin residents? I guess we may never know; it just seems so odd for them to be reading the Congressional Record.
Her next letter, dated May 9, is all about her cooking and cleaning at a sheep camp somewhere near Cody, Wyo. She speaks of being able to see Sage Creek and camping at “Red Cabin” one night. I’m not sure where that would be; maybe Rich could narrow down the location for us.
In her May 24 letter, Grandma takes of life at the sheep camp, but also reveals that she’s been keeping a diary.
“I have been keeping a diary since I came up and Willis likes to slip in and read it once in a while. Henry laughs at me for keeping it, but I don’t care. It’s lots of fun, sometimes.”
I’d sure like to see that diary, if it still exists. Anyone ever heard of it before?
The May 30 letter tells quite another tale of life at the sheep camp:
“You never would guess what did today, I know. I shot a badger. He was in a trap, though, and I missed him the first time, but the second I shot him between the eye and ear. Don’t you think I’m getting brave? We saw him several days ago ad Chester tried to kill him but he ran down his hole. After dinner today, Mr. Baker chased him down his hole and set a trap for him. Then when he got caught, Henry and went over and I shot him. He was just across the lake, about a quarter of a mile from the house. He was a pretty one.”
She then transitions from the badger story to the beauty of the camp area. She speaks of the flowers, and “pressing” some.
“If I just had you here, I’d be perfectly happy, I believe. I’d give a whole lot to see you tonight.”
Then it’s back to walking up the mountain with a .22-caliber rifle and shooting “picket pins.”
By June 23, she’s getting lonely and spends most of the letter trying to convince Grandpa to ride up over the Fourth of July to spend it with her.
Finally, in the July 2 letter, we get an echo of what Grandpa wrote to her:
“I’d like to box your ears for telling me that I could realize all my ideas of perfection in Collins. Theresa may like him but he lacks a whole lot of coming up to my ideas of perfection, I can tell you, and you know it. He can’t compare with someone else I know.”
But she likes to poke right back:
“I think I’d rather make a hit with Mr. Phelps than Jim, cause he told me this morning I could make better coffee than Theresa could. He’s old enough to be my daddy but that ought not to make any difference.”
The boredom of being on the mountain and dealing with so much rain led them to do some odd things, too:
“Yesterday morning it rained so hard they couldn’t shear so Henry started to mount a weazel [sic] he killed the other day and I helped him. We had a great time. You’d ought to see our work. I’m afraid you’d laugh at it though.”
Next week we’ll begin on the 1916 letters.