Introduction to Letters to Lillian
Calif. June 11
Dear Lillian—Another mail has passed and no letter from you.
Considerable has happened since I last wrote. I will start by telling the most foolish one first. Or perhaps I might precede it by telling you that one of the kilns has been started and is in operation as I write. One of the kiln men, an Italian we call Pete, was working last night and the oil line became stopped. He looked in the end of the pipe and started poking with a wire. About that time the oil started fine. Pete saw oil. In fact he had a pretty good oil bath.
The next unusual thing also happened yesterday. One of the fellows had the official flivver
on the way down the line. He had my distilled water barrel aboard full of drinking water too. At any rate he left the flivver to open a gate. Then the flivver left him. It landed upside down in a hole alongside the road, landing on my barrel. The flivver is not together yet and the barrel never will be. The brakes on the flivver were in good shape because they are in the office and have been for a long time.
Another unusual thing yesterday was that I went on a horseback ride. We had the board of directors down for an inspection trip. They wanted to see the quarry so some horses were rented to take them. Joe and Dutch Larios and I returned them. It was about 4 miles down. Ben Dehn came after us with a flivver, but not the one that went in the ditch.
We have a new
foreman. He knows about as much about magnesite as I do, but not the same things. Between us we know just a little. Furthermore we have to turn out the best magnesite ever turned out here. The foreman who was here, has left to take charge of the selling. The new man’s name is
Next day, same week—I did not get much written before I had to quit last night.
I have another job added to my list. I have to light the fire for the cook in the morning and turn it out at night. Hayden was doing it, but since he has left I have the job. I am a full fledged mess sergeant now. The best thing about it is that while I am mess sergeant I get $15 per month additional.
Yesterday I sent for my radio set. If I don’t hurry up it will get here before my coils are wound and my aerial up.
Yesterday I worked most of the day. I put a hot plate on top of the furnace and did some analytical work. Today I rebuilt my still.
I have been agitating to have the one segregated into two kinds before it is burned. I failed to consider that twice the analytical work will be required. According to my calculations I will be busy about 27 or 28 hours per day. But why worry. I will get that doped out in due time.
This commissary job involves watching supplies pretty close. Just at present we are out of most everything. Some supplies have been ordered since the first and are not here yet.
This weather is unusual. The sun is shining brightly and the rain is coming down. The sun has been shining nearly all day and we have had rain off and on since noon.
Today I had another hospital case. One of the Spaniards mashed his finger. I cleaned it with iodine and bandaged it up and sent him back to work.
I investigated about fishing. There is good fishing about three hours horseback ride from here and I can get about five or six horses. It does not matter if you come when the fishing season is closed, because the game warden has not been around since someone shot the horn from his saddle. The place we would go to is near the diamond mine.
Blackie is putting up a new lamp. I used it last night and it is some lamp. It is a large hanging lamp.
Well it is about chowtime so I will have to quit for the present.
Tuesday 13th—evening.—I am getting worse every day. This letter should have gone in yesterday’s mail but it didn’t.
I received your letter O.K. but it was about three hours before I could read it. Supplies came at the same time as the mail and chow was being held for the men in the flivver. The company flivver is still on the blink, but will soon be in order.
I found out one thing anyway. I wondered why Carmel, the cook’s kid looked so familiar. She looks almost exactly like the leading girl in the Hawaian (ow, I can’t spell it) act I was so interested in just before I left. I see Carmel quite often as the cook’s tent is next to mine and I go to the kitchen several times a day. She occasionally looks into the laboratory too.
But coming down to earth. If I have as much work to do as I expect I will have I will have to bring you down as assistant chemist. I could teach you to run the lab. alone in about a week. But you would probably want to be nearer town than we are here.
This is the west you read about but don’t often see. Just like the story books.
I am sending for my photos in this mail. I was pleased to receive your picture. Where was it taken?
In regard to your letter when Ben saw the pink envelope he wanted to know how long his girl had been writing to me. I called Carmel’s attention to the fact that I had a letter. She asked if it was from my sweetheart. I told her that it certainly was.
Well, ‘tis ten bells so I must close.