June 1, 1922.
Dear Lillian.—I suppose you have written but I have not received any mail yet. That applies to all my mail. I can’t exactly say that I am pining away with lonesomeness, but I may begin to pine or redwood or something like that soon if I don’t begin to get some mail. Maybe the postman can’t find Llanada. If that is the trouble I will have to hunt up a new postoffice. The one I have is too far away anyway. Which reminds me of a difficulty. When I ordered my pictures I told them to send them to me. The girl suggested C.O.D., to which I agreed. It looks like I will have difficulty getting a C.O.D. package, when the postoffice is 16 miles and the mail is left for us 5 miles away. Oh well I will probably get them sometime.
My work has not officially started yet, in that my analytical work has not gotten under way. I did some analyses today but did not get any finished results. Most of my work so far has been remodeling the laboratory and getting started. After we built the furnace I built a still. Then I had the carpenter put me in a window. I moved the sink myself. When I get time I will whitewash the place. I figure that a nice bright laboratory is conducive to more accurate work.
Well I guess that I will have to move tomorrow. I have been staying in the manager’s house and he is due tomorrow night. I have a tent all picked out but not swept out. I have not decided whether to use a broom or a shovel. It is right next to the laboratory which has its advantages. When I get my radio installed and working properly, or maybe I should say if, I get it working properly I can run an extension to the laboratory and have music with my work. It appears that instead of getting numerous holidays I will have to work most of the Sundays. But I will be able to come down before winter. Last year the chemist was here until the middle of November. This company seems to have a bad name in some ways, one of which is the analytical work. I intend to make an improvement there. I have done more at fixing up the lab. in a week that the fellow last year did in six months.
I told you before that we were near the Monterey National Forest. As a matter of fact we are in it. The nearest place on the map is Idria 1 ½ or 2 miles east of here. The elevation of the lower camp is about 2500, the upper camp being 3500. The climb up is nearly as bad as the climb up Grizzly peak in Berkeley. I have been up twice, Sunday to look at the place, and Tuesday to get samples.
The kerosene lamps here are a nuisance. I gave the boss a line, showing him the advantages of installing electric power and he may do it. At any rate I will have to get some source of electricity for my radio. I have been working on the coils lately, having made considerable progress. I may have to set up a tent and move into it in order to get my radio working. I have the site all picked to put a tent, but I have no tent. One of the fellows says that the road gang has a tent that I can get. If so I may move a second time.
The cook’s kids are some kids. When I am in the lab. they look in once in a while, and when I am in the house they show up a little oftener. The girl is quite according to my ideas. The only trouble is that they are leaving Saturday. The main difficulty seems to be a case of indigestion. But for a cook to quit on account of indigestion seems unreasonable.
Lately I have been having a quiet environment. All the other men have been working on the road. At noon the dinner bell rings and I go down to dinner all alone. Generally five or six places are set to make it seem less lonesome but I certainly have individual service. At noon there was a whole pie on the table. I did not even cut it. No, I did not eat it all either. I did not eat any. Speaking of food, last night we had some meat so tough that the boss said that he could not stick his fork in the gravy. I[t] was pretty tough at that. Generally speaking the food is pretty good, but if I was in Berkeley and eating it I would last about two days. The indigestible methods of cooking are all represented, particularly frying. Speaking of frying, have you learned to pan broil a steak yet?
Since I do not wish to tire out the postman I will quit now. You see if I get him all tired out he may not bring me a letter from you which would be a calamity. So start a letter soon to
Introduction to "Letters to Lillian" here.