Friday, January 31, 2014

Fine Country

Tonight's letter comes to us from a rainy Tuesday night in 1932.

Elma, Wash., Feb. the 23, 1932

Well, little Fannie, I will write you a short letter; this
leaves me just able to work. Hoping this finds you all O.K.

Well, it is raining here now. If Frank was here he could be
working every day. If you and Frank will come, I will make my
home with you. Me and Frank working. we could soon get O.K., go
to the beach on Sundays and catch sea perch. You could bring
all your bedding and dishes in the cars with you two and I can
fix the rest so we can live. You don't know how glad I would
be to have you come. We can go to the woods and get all the
meat we want. If Frank and you would come and stay one summer
you would never go back to W. Va. [Probably true, but they never came]

The first day I get off, I am going to make garden for you, and
this spring would be a good time to come. It won't cost over
$100 to get here. There is no snakes here but little garters.
You don't know how bad I want you to come. If a man gets hurt
here he gets money enough to keep his family in good shape. If
a man gets killed, his wife gets a pension that keeps the
family long as she is single. You get lots of good [things]
here that you don't there. I think this a great country. [meaning Washington state]  I
have been all over [that is putting it mildly] and this [is] the best country I ever found.
If they keep on logging, I soon can help you some. If I keep
able to work, I will get all my bills paid next month if
nothing happens. I would not want you to come if [I] didn't
know it's the best for you both. Good schools and the kids are
hauled to and from school 9 months here.

Give Droddys my best regards. Is "Oat" living?

[He was! Ota Droddy (1871-1949) introduced my grandparents to each other.
He was a logger who had known J.R. Edwards and my great-grandmother
when they were still together.  A few years later he quit logging and took a job as a checkweighman at the coal mine where my grandpa's father (Mr. Henson, not his 'real' father Bill Conley) was the general foreman. Got all that straight?]

If you think of anything that I have not wrote about this country that
you want to know, ask me and I will tell you. The nights is
too cool to raise corn (anything but sweet corn). Potatoes and
everything else grow fine. I seen potatoes here that weighed
six pounds, and the finest fruit country I ever saw. Well, I
guess you are tired of reading my mistakes. Write soon, kiss
baby for Granddad. I love your letters so well.

Your poor old lonely Dad, [He really lays it on thick, doesn't he?]

J.R. Edwards.

I only met Aunt Fannie once, a few months before she died in 1974. I don't have a lot of pictures of her, but here's one:

Aunt Fannie on the left, Cousin Nita on the right

On the back is written, "You and your mom. The only picture I have of her." Most likely my grandmother wrote that.

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