Tag Archives: Hank

A Letter From Rimbey 2

August 24, 1936

Dear Margaret,

What do you suppose would be the best thing to do with me.  I have a notion to get behind a wicked horse and ask him to kindly oblige by giving me partly what I deserve for neglecting to write.  I received your letter about four weeks ago and I certainly was glad to get it.  I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t had a  very good opportunity to write but of course that’s no excuse.  I suppose I had better start at the beginning and tell you some of the things that have been happening.  We went to the stampede in Rimbey and it was really good.  I was thinking I’d like to go and ride some of them but I had my good clothes on so I didn’t try it.  It was a good excuse, anyway.

English: Blindman River, near Rimbey, Alberta
English: Blindman River, near Rimbey, Alberta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, kid, how’s it going with you?  Have you got a school, etc.  I hope you don’t have to say no.  I just hired with a dairy farmer here the other day and he wants me to stay all winter.  Should I should, or should I shouldn’t?  I wonder.  If Marg is going to be away from home, I might just as well be.  I haven’t decided yet but you’ll let me know what you think, then I’ll decide whether you’re right or not, eh?Last Saturday morning I got a telephone message there was a wiener roast in Springdale and oh boy did I have fun.  I almost forgot I wasn’t with our own crowd at home.  They’re surely full of fun here and everybody enjoyed themselves.  There is one big trouble with this country and that is the mud roads.  They’re fine when they’re dry but when they’re wet, oh boy, watch out.  The car just goes about where it wants to.  Harold and I were going into town the other night in the rain and we were driving pretty carefully behind another car and that other car took the ditch over the river bank.  Well that gave me a start, and how.  Nobody hurt – pretty lucky.

They all piled in with me and we got to Rimbey and home again safely and was I glad!  I thought I did pretty well to keep on the road when the other fellows couldn’t.  On the way home from the wiener roast the rain came down in torrents and I was alone so I stopped for a while.  When it was over I started on again but the road was so slippery I got square across the road and had to back into the ditch to get going again and nearly didn’t get going.  I was afraid to go down the river hill when it was so slippery in the dark so I stopped and went to sleep in the car until daylight.

Then willy wouldn’t start!  Oh oh!  I got a guy out of bed and he gave me a pull with a team and I got home about ten thirty.  Did I get razzed or did I.  That’s enough of muddy roads for me.  If it gets wet, I stay home.

I think I’ll sign off for tonight and go to bed.  Maybe I’ll think of something more to write before another evening, so Good night kid.   Hank.

****

Smithson Museum in Rimbey, Alberta
Smithson Museum in Rimbey, Alberta (Photo credit: Sherlock77 (James))

And here I go again.  Nothing much out of the ordinary happening, except that I was the object of an accident yesterday while riding the plough.  I was standing on it striking out a land when i hit a stone pretty solid.  I fell forward and hit my face on the iron rigging in front and you should see me now.  I look somewhat different.  It doesn’t hurt anymore but still looks bad.  Of course it isn’t nearly as bad as your accident with your hand last winter.

There is supposed to be a dance in Springdale tonight, so I guess I’ll go.  I don’t know what a person would do in this country if they didn’t dance.  Things would certainly be dull.

I’m going to try another page.  I surely wish I could write letters like you do, kid – they’re great.  The crops aren’t  very good out here, in fact they’re so poor that the boss and I invented a rig to use without twine.  We have a platform fixed on behind the binder and there I ride and fix the stuff into a coil then shove it off.  It was rather hard work the first day but I got used to it and it’s nothing but a day’s work now.

We don’t believe in hard work out here, they even have rigs to put hay on a stack without using the wagon.  It is pulled into the stack by a large rake affair and put on a stacker which throws it about twenty feet high.  All the forking is in making the stack.

Say kid, do you know if Newton is going back to the same school?  I’d like to see him.  I wouldn’t go to see him if I didn’t know for sure he’s there.

I can’t think of anything more to write except I’d like an answer lots sooner than I wrote.  You can send my letters to Rimbey in care of Irwin Budd, or to my farmer address – either one will get me.

I guess there’s no use writing when you’re out of things to write, so signing off for this evening.

With love and kisses, I remain, Hank

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Letter to Newton

Between my dad and his older brother Newton there was a gap of six years.  Dad wrote this letter in 1937 when he was twenty-three and needed some advice from someone older and wiser, with more life experience.


Port Elgin Ont

Dec. 5, 1937

Dear Newton –

I was informed that you wished I’d write once in a while.  I know for myself that I should but as usual am not prompt at anything.

I was informed also some time ago that Carl Gingrich is figuring on buying lot 8 and I’m keeping clear of it.

While cutting wood we came upon a nice little patch of birch.  What would you charge a cord for it.  It isn’t a very big strip, maybe twenty cords.  There has been several asking me if you would sell poplar by the acre and of course I didn’t know. 

I suppose you heard my old flame Alaine got the knot tied.  It makes me feel old all these kids getting married.

I am sort of contemplating the subject but it sort of frightens me.  What if I get the wrong woman or something?  Of course there have been several applicants but the job has not yet been let.  I’d like to get the advice of someone who has tried it.  There has been a lot of people heard I was getting married.  In fact one man wanted to make a deal with me to take over his farm in the spring.

It’s great weather for cutting wood now if it only lasts another couple of weeks we will have a nice little pile put up.

I suppose you have lots of snow up there.  Do you ever go over to visit Santa Claus?  I’ll bet he’s busy right now.  How’s Marie?  or I mean Mrs. McArthur because I shouldn’t get so familiar with one I haven’t even met.  Anyway, give her a kiss for me, unless it keeps you busy doing yourself justice.

Well I don’t know what else to say so I guess I’d better get ready and go to McConkey’s.  Write soon with information.

Hank

The letter was sent to Northern Ontario where Newton was newly married and teaching school.  McConkey’s refers to his oldest sister May and her husband for whom my dad was working at the time.

Perhaps on one of their family visits during the summer to our farm Aunt Marie or Uncle Newton brought this letter back to my dad.  It was mom who kept it in amongst her precious papers all those years.  I wonder what advice Newton gave my dad so long ago?  It was five years after writing it that he finally decided he was making the right choice and married my mother.

All his life my dad respected and admired and loved his siblings.  They were spread out all over the province, but it never stopped them from being close.

These little snippets of history, showing us who they were, help to keep the memories alive.