June 7, 1922
Dear Lillian—I was somewhat surprised today when the mail came. I saw a pink letter and made a grab for it and found that it belonged to Ben Dehn. But I was soon cheered up by finding that the yellow one was from you. My last one had not gone yet but it is gone now. Tonight after chow, the boss, Dehn, and myself went to Ashurst’s, as the boss wanted to telephone. I went along to see the country. Central had gone out to eat, so the phone call did not go in. The mail is left near Ashurst’s, about five miles from here. Today I saw the first good looking white woman since I came up. She was at Ashurst’s. I suppose that she is married, as I saw a little child with her.
It seems that I will keep the store for a while after all. This morning I was quite busy and the Esteban kids came in with a big order for groceries. But I finished early at that as I only did one analysis. I will not have to climb the hill after all, as Blackie will collect my samples for me. He took three this morning, including the one from the quarry bunker. He prepared one and I prepared one. Preparing a sample is no ladies’ job, as it involves crushing it by hand. The crude stuff, which is all that I have been working with so far, is quite hard. It takes about an hour to grind up, quarter and sift a sample of crude. The calcined takes about 10 minutes. After the kilns start, most of my work will be with calcined, with an occasional crude sample.
My laboratory nearly suits me now. I intend to build and addition to my furnace as soon as I get time, and give the furnace and one of my workbenches a coat of magnesite, and whitewash the walls. So far I have been lucky. I have made four analyses in duplicate, making eight in all, and have not spoiled any. We had a similar analysis in school and I ran four to get two good ones. Which shows some improvement anyway.
Blackie did not move in today. His blankets did not come and he is doubling up with Dehn until they do. He brought his mattress in tonight.
I started work on the battery tonight. It was pretty dirty so I busied myself with some gasoline. Dehn helped me, but we did not work long as it was near dark. We cleaned up five cells, not including the jars, and Dehn put one together and I assembled two more. I intend putting the other two together before breakfast, that is, if I quit writing on this letter soon enough. I have two six volt electric lights to try them out with, but I can’t fill them (the batteries) until I get some acid. I intend to refill the fire extinguishers soon, and I will get my acid from them. Efficiency is my motto. The only difference in the acid is that it will be a little diluted, and I have to dilute it a lot more anyway.
Don’t let the gang kid you too much. We will hope that it will not be long anyway. Yesterday or maybe the day before, I saw the boss using the hunt system of typing, and I told him that if I came back next year I would bring an expert stenographer with me. This is a fine place to be if you have something to do, but no place to spend a summer with nothing to do. But I am doubtful about coming back next year, so don’t get worried. In a way I do not like to see time pass and my vacation up here, which is really what it amounts to, go by, but I do want to see you again. I’ll admit it, I’m getting lonesome. I guess I had better figure the days to July 22, which is when I expect to see you next. June 23 more days, July 21, making 44 in all. Well, tomorrow it will be 43, and at that I may get fired or something and see you sooner. Well I just yawned, so I will obey that impulse.
Introduction to Letters to Lillian