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Daisy Richey Lewis  -  Letters 1947-48  (Ranchitos-Totavi)

Espanola (Ranchitos), New Mexico
January 14, 1947

Dear Mother,
     Was glad to hear you are better. The trip down there was hard on you, I know.
     It seems too bad we can't live close together. It is lonesome without you here. The children miss you too. The morning after we got back Sharon asked if you were up. We tried to explain you weren't here, but she got up and went to see. She stood and looked at your bed, a very thoughtful girl. Then kept repeating, "Grandma - no Albuquerque."
     There haven't been any letters come for you. The paper has been coming all right.
     It snowed slightly here Monday night. I was in Santa Fe most of the day getting me some shoes. I did manage to get a pair that feel good, now. I shall be glad to get the stockings as I ruined my last pair of rayons.
     You shouldn't spend your time & strength making nighties for the children. I am much more able than you to do the sewing. And please let me pay you for the outing [flannel]. I imagine it is quite expensive now. I meant for you to keep that money and not be giving it back.
     Margaret and I went down to the laundry tonight. Also I caught up on my ironing today.
     The neighbor woman who stayed with the children while I was in Santa Fe said they fight too much. I wondered if it was because they are really bad or if maybe, hers being all girls, she didn't know how boys like to stir up mischief. Another day she stayed with them while I went to Espanola for drivers license - I got mine but Ivan must go in person to get his.
     Ivan told me tonight that I can have the car once in a while, beginning tomorrow.
     The wind is blowing tonight. It has been snowing on the mountains yesterday & today or maybe just fog. Anyway, the clouds rest on them most of the time in stormy weather. There was 4 inches in Santa Fe this morning.
Must close and get some sleep,

Espanola, New Mexico
January 28, 1947

Dear Mother,
     Had your letter from St. Johns. When Ivan brought it he remembered that he had forgotten to mail one I wrote to you last week. So I'll start all over again.
     I'm glad your water pipes were not broken and your cesspool ok. Too bad you could not have known that while you were visiting and then you could have felt better about staying away so long. I hope you can take it easy for a while. But am I just kidding myself, I wonder, when I say things like that. For it seems you are always helping some of us.
     The paper told of the strong winds. It (the paper) has been getting here regular since you left. Would you like me to send these I have back to you? It has been nice to hear the town news and also the doings of the family & yourself, as we get it from your letters.
     The apron came before my birthday. It fits just right & is so pretty. I'm going to wash it specially careful so it will stay nice.
     Jan 29th. I've been sewing and sewing - the thread had just given out today when Ivan came in early from work feeling bad with a cold. So he went to bed & I've been doctoring him all evening. I don't think he will go to work tomorrow, but he doesn't like to miss a day.
     I went to town for a few things while I had the car. Buttons & thread & trimming mostly. So far in a week here is what I've sewn. 1) a two-tone jacket for Tani, like Ian's - combined the dark blue with some light blue wool I bought in Santa Fe. 2) a red corduroy jumper for Sharon with a white sharkskin waist - one from an old white skirt & trimmed in red. The jumper is one Dwyn wore not so long ago. The length is all I have to take up for Sharon. 3) made green shirts (4) trimmed in black for the boys. It was a piece you sent me in Farmington. They really are proud of them. 4) pair of pants for Sharon, 5) dress for Sharon 6) and some patching - started on me a print dress today. I have a good machine this time and only got it for two weeks. If I have it longer my household tasks suffer too much.
     Sharon says, "Grandma went to her little house." Ian & Dwyn & Tani have been doing dishes & beds this week while I sew. Dwyn has been out of school with cold again.
     The warm days we had last week were too pleasant to last long. Now the wind is blowing and the temperature has dropped. It snowed a little last night.
     Had a letter from Carrie, she is tired of living in with someone and not being able to do things as she likes. Her husband is in Grants now looking for a job.
     Feb 4th. Had better send this off this morning with Ivan before it gets to be a week old. Had another letter last night saying you had sent the things. Thanks.

Espanola, New Mexico
February 18, 1947

Dear Mother,
     The fencing looks nice and we would like to be able to get some now. But right now we can't so will send this back.
     You want roses in your fence - that would be beautiful. I have wanted a hedge for a while now. I've seen some nice ones in traveling around.
     You know - just more lately we have wondered if building us a house instead of a studio would be better. We plan so many things that we do not carry out that I probably shouldn't even mention it.
     I've had a few days in bed with flu, I guess. Feeling better now. My house was so upset that Ivan got my neighbor on the south to come yesterday & she really did a nice job! So I am still taking it easy. I went to Santa Fe for shoes for Dwyn, Tani and Sharon last Thursday & Friday I was sick. Must have caught cold. I went on the bus and took Dwyn. They had some nice cloth at Penney's - I got a dress of rayon, lt. blue & some cloth for the boys a pair of pants apiece & Sharon a piece of cloth. I still have the machine.
     Did I tell you I got those packages you sent.
     Must close - I wanted some blankets but probably by the time I get some money to you it will be too late. Those colored blankets in the catalogue are quite nice.  Oh, I sent for a coat from M. W.
     The children enjoyed the valentines.

Espanola, New Mexico
Summer?, 1947

Dear Mother,
     Had your letter. I surely enjoy your letters.
     I'll answer your question - we have Ivan's gun.
     I don't know what you must have thought that time out at Ramah when you gave me your wedding ring & I didn't take it. It wasn't that I didn't want it. I can't think of anything I would rather have, but at that time, (& I hope you can understand) I felt like Ivan should give me a ring & I was afraid if I took yours he would feel that I had one and forget it.
     Have some applesauce and grape juice in bottles. And this morning after I wash I am going to try to get more grapes & apples to put up. I wish you would take it easy and not push yourself putting up fruit this season. You have enough to last you for at least a couple of years, don't you? Like the church suggested. I've been thinking about the grapes at the farm and how good the grape jam and jelly were.
     When we come over to get you I would like to go up there & see & take pictures of it again. Have some good watercress and lie in the shade & just look at the panorama.
     How are things going? Have been wondering if I should come and get things started & if then you could come back with me. What do you think? I know that Leigh is busy, especially now.
     I want to send the new baby something. Do you know some thing she is short on or doesn't have yet?
     I heard about Biness the Sunday I was down there but haven't heard since the operation. Am writing her this morning. Biness should have had the operation when they found out he had cancer, but he felt he had to straighten out his building affairs & so had put it off & that I think worried Elizabeth. I surely hope and pray he is getting along all right.
     This is sort of a hurry letter but I did want to get this off.

Espanola (Totavi), New Mexico
October 11, 1947

Dear Mother,
     How are you? It has been quite a while since I had a letter, I hope you aren't sick.
     Maybe I just haven't written in a long time. I go away to shop, to wash, to iron & have the missionaries every other week, and it sure cuts into the week. I like to stay home & sew & clean.
     This is a sample of my new dress. It is French type crepe & washable. Am making it with gathered pockets, otherwise quite plain.
     Did I tell you Ivan has his gun here? I remember you asked & don't remember answering.
     Last week, Tuesday, Mrs. Switzer brought the two Elders (Western States M.) and the two Lady Missionaries (who are Spanish Am. Missionaries) from Santa Fe. Wednesday I took them back. We had our regular cottage meeting. Which are quite enlightening as it is a free discussion & everyone can give his own idea. The missionaries started them this way to encourage Bill Switzer to ask questions. He seems quite interested and has finally started asking questions.
     There is a branch organized recently at Los Alamos. We may go there, but we like the class at Santa Fe & don't know what Los Alamos will be like.
     Ian has had croup & been out of school two days. But seems better today.
     The children have a big wagon to play with. They surely like it. It goes every minute they are outside. And they have leg ache at night.
     We heard lately that the fifteenth of this month the outer gate to Los Alamos will be done away with and it will be an open city. No more passes needed except to forbidden areas.
     Am going to town, Espanola, and want to finish my dress today which will be a full day.
     What have you found out about coming over? We are anxious to get you over here. I get so lonesome when I think of you way over there. I just have to quit thinking.

Espanola (Totavi), New Mexico
October 15, 1947

Dear Mother,
     Had your nice long letter. Guess you weren't ill as I thot.
     I imagine Mable felt like she had had an exciting experience in their plane.
     Ivan & I have come to the conclusion you should come see us now and then the winter as long as you feel you possibly can. That title isn't that important. Just forget it for the next few months and let us know when you can come. We will come get you then.
     Have had the missionaries up this week. I went to Santa Fe and they came back and stayed at Mary's this time. We always have a good meeting.
     Am going to Los Alamos this morning to wash and mail this. Ivan is fixing up the grounds by the new laundry. When it opens that will be four I know of up there. Two have the regular washer with wringer but the others are the modern kind, all you do is turn a button or so and then take the clothes out & hang them.
     Do decide to let us come for you soon.

     P.S. Had a letter from Josephine, am writing her and would like to come for you while she is there or when she is about ready to go back so we could see each other.

Espanola, New Mexico
October 28, 1947

Dear Mother,
     Glad to hear you have decided to come now.
     We almost have the bathroom so it all works. Ivan has the cesspool complete. The thing we don't have is the tank so it works to flush the toilet, but it should soon. Today am going to Santa Fe and get parts.
     The Relief Society changed their meeting time to the afternoon of the day we have been going to Santa Fe. Whether it was to catch us when we could go I don't know. But today they are having a shower for Mrs. Crandall. She is expecting her fourth baby right away. So we are going to try to go.
     The rest of this week then I'll need to spend getting ready to come for you. Will come sometime in night Saturday and come back Sunday. That will be the 1st & 2nd of Nov. I believe.
     Was so in hopes that Josephine could get up there about now but haven't heard from her. So unless I do hear before Saturday why we plan to go for you.
     So will see you soon.

All the children can talk of is 'when Grandma comes.' We plan to bring back our good mattress & then get good springs to fix a double bed here. And then make two beds into bunk beds. Then we will have lots of room.

Espanola, New Mexico
January 27, 1948

Dear Mother,
     Every so often I momentarily wonder if you are resting and are getting up to visit with me. And do my work for me. You practically have me spoiled when it comes to washing dishes and patching.
     We had a good trip. Zipped right along on the way back. Went to Sunday School in Ramah. Saw a lot of people for about a minute. Including Mary Jo.
     We stayed at Esther's, had a good visit. I told her it seemed like I still lived across the street staying so close like that.
     One of Ivan's cousin's wife had twin boys. We dashed down before Sunday School to see them and the the English girl. She is pretty and quite shy.
     It is snowing here this morning, not so deep as while you were here but has drifted. This morning the radio said east of Albuquerque in a valley the snow was drifted as deep as three feet.
     The bus was half an hour late this morning. Ian didn't go, said he had a sore throat. He acts too good to be very sick though. I am fearful it has become a bad habit.
     Ivan didn't go to work as the snow and wind make it very unpleasant and cold outside.
     Am sending your mail & packages and the check for the dress. They were out of it & said to reorder. It was in with our package so Ivan signed the check. Here it is Friday before I get to mail these things.

Espanola, New Mexico
February 3, 1948

Dear Mother,
     Am at last sending the box from St. Johns Drug and these papers from Montgomery.
     Am glad Lou has something - like at the ranch to do. From the way you talk, I wonder if Frank's wife is still there, quit school or what. It is fine the girls are finding jobs.
     The weather has been real warm for a few days following that severe cold spell and storm. Today there are clouds again. That look like snow.
     Ian ran a sliver in his first finger on his right hand last night. Ivan tried to get it out but couldn't, so will have to draw it out. It went the full length of the nail and we couldn't tell how much further. This morning he said it didn't hurt so guess it will be ok.
     Thanks so much for the underwear. Haven't had new ones for so long I didn't realize mine were almost holey gone.
     Two days ago an electric light pole fell & crashed right through the middle of the house next to Mary's as they were putting it up. They repaired the house all right. The children wondered if they would drop the one on us that they put up by our house, but it didn't fall.
     When they started drilling the holes for the poles, they planted the drill right in the middle of our cesspool. Ivan was home that day and when he heard the vibration he said they have the wrong place and dashed to tell them to move. The day before they planned on drilling through the water line and I routed them. Then they almost ran over the cesspool with the truck. Anyway they started drilling again this morning and I went to check up on them but they were just missing the stink hole that time. Bill said when they got close to his, if they fell into it maybe they'd learn.
     From the looks of things they are going to change our electric line, make it in with the rest of these houses.
     Went to a new place for apples last week. They have an apple house and they keep from one season to the next. These I got are crisp and fresh, but small. Had to pay twice as much for them. The people I got apples from when you were here last year have another store across from the one they sold.
     We had to have groceries Sunday & stopped there. There Mr. Brigham and his wife were, checking out. The reason he was supposed to have sold the other place was because he had decided he liked to farm better. Think I'll see if they have some apples next time.
     Took a picture of the children to St. Johns to give you but it was still in the suitcase when we got back.
     Still have sewing ahead, but then, maybe I always will have.
     Ian says his room & teacher are moving back to Central School. He and Betty [Berry?] are to stay there with another teacher. Dwyn likes her teacher at Canyon School. [Third grade: I had 3 different teachers. Diana Broom was the nicest. D.]
     Washed at the new Espanola Laundry last week. They were real nice and not so fussy as the old one.
     Take care of yourself, we sure miss you.

Espanola, New Mexico
February 17, 1948

Dear Mother,
     When you left I promised myself to write you every week. But I certainly haven't done.
     We went to the wedding, or I did, Ivan didn't get back in time. Wanda was beautiful and very happy. Everything including the ceremony & reception went off perfectly. She had bridesmaids and maid of honor. Best man and music and all the trimmings. Including a perfectly beautiful white cake, 5 layers and all the other dressings that make a real wedding.
     She received many nice gifts. I didn't see them all. E. gave her those beautiful towels she stenciled.
     I didn't expect to get to go so mailed her present Friday night. Then when I got home Ivan & a cousin that is here with us, were going in on business.
     I had a time getting there tho, Ivan didn't want to take the children, so I finally found a girl who would stay with them.
     Joe Nicoll & Cecil Lewis came in past Tuesday, Joe has a job at Los Alamos and Cecil will have soon. Ivan wanted them to stay here. They aren't getting very good treatment tho, as I don't feel too good.
     I went to the Doc and found I have some gall bladder trouble. That is ok now, but my back has been bothering me. I kept thinking it was something - internal - you know. Then I remembered that spell of sciatica I had at Farmington & I knew that is what it is for I started watching myself about lifting and stooping & it is much better.
     You ask which one at Ramah had the twins. It is Cecil Lewis, the cousin of Ivan's who is here staying with us. They have two other children, the oldest is 3 1/2 years.
     These houses here have fires kept in them now for a week. It looks as if we are about to have neighbors.
     Thanks for the apron. I made it right up & like it.
     The money I am returning. Ivan has had some work every week and we are getting along just fine. You can see we aren't too bad off when I tell you that Ivan traded for a better car in Albuquerque. It is a blue Chevrolet and a lot nicer than our old wreck.
     The children thought the valentines were nice. Ivan gave me a valentine & box of chocolates. The first valentine I remember getting from him.
     We had a storm the same time you did. It is just melting the last 2 days. There was wind with it & it drifted bad. The road was closed up the hill all one day, while everything available was used to plow snow. The children didn't go to school for two days. While it was bad.
     Ivan is so slow getting those pictures done, I hope you aren't in a hurry. He hasn't done pictures for some time. But I'll try to get him at it.

Espanola, New Mexico
February 28, 1948

Dear Mother,
      The trip with Leigh would be nice, I'm sure. Also to see Jay and family. I hope it won't be hard on you if you go. Is he still taking all the family except Ramona?
     This afternoon we went to Taos. The scenery is very unusual. The road is built up the Rio Grande River. The valleys get narrower and finally after a steep climb we came out of the valley on a wide plain. The Taos mountains rise without foothills and some rolling hills are seen. The Rio Grand gorge breaks this plain from north to south irregularly for some distance. There is a crust of malapai over most of this country. Taos is in a slight valley up close the the high mountains and is quite a site. There are many cottonwoods & willows for a small stream winds down to the gorge on the west.
     The Ranchos de Taos are the small (Spanish and white) farms or ranches. Two miles farther the Indian pueblo is found. It is noted for the particular type of dwelling. The houses are built one upon the other to 5 stories high. Many on the ground then gradually narrow to a few rooms on top. Wish you could have seen it with us. The Indians all wear a blanket over their head & wrapped under their chin.
     I have been to Dr. Ziggler again. For my back this time and he gave me exercise that so far seems to help wonderfully.
     At the gate up the hill they won't let our car in until we get a sticker & we can't get a sticker until we get our insurance from Albuquerque. So we didn't get to Sunday School today.
     Ivan, Cecil and Joe have gone to Espanola to a Fireside Chat at Duran's. Last Thursday they went to conference there at which President and Sister Jones & Levi Edgar Young were present. They reported a good meeting. Tonight I have a cold. One eye runs & I didn't want to go that way. Last Thursday my back was very bad & I knew I couldn't sit through a meeting.
     You asked some questions about this house and whether we will have the same one & I can not answer them. I just don't know. We have only heard rumors to this effect & I'm not worried for I don't care which way they do it.
     The children enjoyed the valentines you sent.
     Last week I bought a box of apples from Mr. Brigham & they were so much better than the last box from the other place. Big & mellow.
     Since Xmas we have only had one full check. The rest have been cut because of bad weather. Last week he had about half time. It is enough to live on but we don't get to pay a few back bills. I think this week the weather will open up & the men will get to work.

Espanola, New Mexico
March 7, 1948

Dear Mother,
     Had your letter telling me you were going, today. Do take it easy so you won't be ill after that long trip. Tell Jay, Mable & family hello for us. It has been some time since we saw them, Forest & Scharlotte must be almost grown up.
     While I think of it, the sliver under Ian's nail never did come out. Or at least if there was one there (which it looked like) it must have come out when he pulled his finger back from the wall. Ivan managed to get a small piece out that night & I put Iodex on it then. He didn't complain of it hurting the next day so it must have come out and just left some paint under the nail.
     Ivan had the topic at the Fireside Chat in Espanola tonight. So I am writing in peace since the children are in bed.
     Cecil & Joe went home Wednesday night & Joe stayed there [Ramah] to take a job in Gallup. Cecil brought Lila & children back with him. They stayed one night & day. They had a house but had to arrange for furniture. They have two rooms nicely plastered in a tightly built [house]. Everyone tells them how lucky they are to get it. Their twins are two months old now. He helps her a lot so she doesn't have too hard a time of taking care of her four.
     When Mary moved she gave up the Primary & it sort of knocked the props from under it. The missionaries came one week and didn't hold it so don't know if they will keep it going or not.
     Mary & Bill found a two room apartment in Santa Fe. Very small she said. They had to store most of their furniture.
     I don't want to fool with the St.Johns paper now. Maybe I can remember to send you some money for it when you come back. If you want it. They don't send it very regular from the office. I wonder why.
     Didn't get the car insurance straightened out so couldn't go to Sunday School. The children sure do miss going. Sharon tried to wear her Sunday dress all week last week. Made her two new blue print dresses Thursday & Friday & you should have seen her dance around in them. She wants to wear them all the time, it doesn't matter to her if they are dirty.
     Have paper now [for photos} so hope to get pictures mailed. Please tell Lou & Vivian.

PS Let us know when you get to your destination.

Espanola, New Mexico
April 6, 1948

Dear Mother,
     I wrote a letter about a week ago & sent it to Jay's old address. You may have gotten it before now. I hadn't written before as I'd had flu & the cold went into my sinus. I stayed in bed for a whole week.
     Yesterday was Dwyn's birthday. Her dad gave her a very small camera and I made her a new dress - striped blue and white. She has grown so much the ones she had last fall don't look good on her.
     We went to the show last night. The short feature was a travelogue of Havaii in color. It just took us around the islands & showed the active volcanos errupting at night. It was all so colorful. Ivan really enjoyed it. But then so did we all.
     Sunday we went to Sunday School on the hill. Elder Homer is back & he had to go to Santa Fe to talk. We took him on down after a quiet dinner & just barely made it.
     Didn't see many at Santa Fe but on the way back Ivan talked to Bill & he said they were moving back to Pojaque as Santa Fe was too far away & rent was so high.
     Ivan bought a ball point pen lately. Our other one the point was broken & it won't write very good at times. I get so nervous when it won't.
     Ivan took the car to take Homer back & so I am washing Tuesday.
     Am returning the five dollars you sent. I think you need it worse than we do. Ivan has had a raise this week.

PS Do you want the town paper sent here to us until you get home? Have you been getting it? We haven't had any come here.

Espanola, New Mexico
June 5, 1948

Dear Mother,
     I'll get a letter written to you. Haven't been to town for a week. Car has been in the garage and by the time Ivan gets in there the post office is locked and so haven't had any mail.
     Was so worried about you and Leigh's & Jay's folks. I didn't know where Bend or Gresham were & the last I heard you were leaving for Bend. This morning I found a map & saw that they were both probably out of the flood area. The radio has carried that as the big news there for the past week.
     Last week we found out that our children can not go to school up at Los Alamos without paying $225 tuition. None of us seems to be that rich. They might build a two-room county school here in camp but that would be unsatisfactory. We feel that our children should be allowed to attend school up there. We are here for the same purpose as those people up the hill. So we are wondering what will happen. Pojaque would be the school they would go to otherwise. It is overcrowded & has three white children. Well, we have all summer to think about it.
     Have Kem-toned the living and kitchen a light green & have clean curtains. It makes a big difference.
     Had a big idea and was coming to see you but Carrie left & the children were still in school. They just got out the 4th. Thot I would help you for a little while & sort of get away from here a while. It was a terrible hubbub with all those children & I was a wreck. Well it didn't turn out so well, maybe another time I will get to visit you.
     The car had to have a new motor. Mr. Duran put it in for us. He was to do it in two days. We took it to him last Sunday night & it was Friday night before he got it done. I still have to take it back today for some work on the wheels. It is in good shape now.
     Had an offer for our land in Farmington and have decided to sell.
     In town, had two letters from you so have caught up with you.
     Hope you had a good trip and get rested up soon.

Espanola, New Mexico
July 21, 1948

Dear Mother,
     Am almost out of paper but will write a short letter to let you hear from us. And so I can send it off this morning as I never know when I'll get to post office again.
     There was wing fort [?] burned down up the line from us here, Sunday morning. They had a gas stove for cooking & it must have exploded. I didn't find out for sure. But no one was hurt. The fire department from Los Alamos came about two minutes after it started & took over.
     We went on a picnic & had Sunday School with the Santa Fe branch last Sunday. Went way up in the mountains - it was beautiful.
     Sunday night I had Lila's twins. And for three days. They are pretty babies, 5 months now. Dwyn tended them mostly. Someone had to stay with them except when asleep or they fell off the bed. So it fell to her to do so.
     Replanted flowers where the first ones failed to come up. The children water them good & I do not have to bother about that.
     Looks like, if we are still here, that the children can go to school right here next year. McKee is putting in a store and supposedly a schoolhouse. They have been moving more houses the last few days & we keep hearing rumors that we must move so we may have another house.
     My goodness! So many of my neices getting married this year.
     Glad that Ronald is really going on a mission.
     Have to have work done on car & get my work done so have a full day in town.

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      Ivan's parents
      Daisy's parents

      Ivan & Daisy

      Life Sketch
      Letters 1937-38 - Ramah
      Letters 1940 - Tent & Trailer
      Letters 1946 - Farmington-Ranchitos
      Diary 1947 - Ranchitos-Totavi
      Letters 1947-48 - Ranchitos-Totavi

      Growing up 1915-37 -  Ramah
      Mission to Samoa 1934-1937
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      In the Army 1945
      Ivan 1937-1950