Letters of Daisy Richey Lewis 1946

Albuquerque, New Mexico
January 12, 1946

Dear Mother,
     We came straight through, arrived about 8:00. Ivan went on to Santa Fe to see about things. We visited Elizabeth. They are all ok. Their house is going to be roomy & everything up to the minute. I'll have more to tell you next time probably.

Farmington, New Mexico
March 4, 1946

Dear Mother,
     I wonder where this will find you. I hope you are well. You could say how you feel in your letters.
     There are a lot of people here we know. Yesterday we went to conference here. They had a large crowd, more than they usually have to a conference here. They have a nice chapel. It opens into a recreation hall like the one there. It isn't nearly so large or so handsomely finished inside. What I started to tell you about was all the people we know that we have met. Louis & Myrtle are here. Cristian (that isn't spelled right) Knudson & family. One of Annie Bond's daughters lives here. Just across the street from us, we find. The Russell Allens were here to see us last night. They have two little girls. We are all going to the show tonight. Not the children, of course. There are two girls in the next apartment who will look after the children tonight while we go to the show. One of the Lewis girls kept them yesterday while I went to the afternoon meeting. Looks like I could go once in a while now. Mrs. Allen reminds me of Norma. She is sociable & sweet like Norma too, besides looking a lot like her.
    The visitors at conference were Antoine R. Ivins & a Davis of the church welfare.
     The children are all well. Sharon & Tani like to play with a big cat that lives in this house. Sharon would hug it, it would let her but doesn't like the children to bother it. Sharon says, "Let me, let me," when she wants something. She has a pair of training panties on this morning. She doesn't understand what the little chair is for yet. She runs to her coat & begs, go, go, whenever any of us go outside.
     Dwyn likes her teacher but is reading the book she read a long time ago in St. Johns.
     Are you coming over to see me soon. I could put you on a cot I have. I hope you have a nice visit with Aunt Lizzie. I surely would like to see her again.
     Take care of yourself,

Farmington, New Mexico
March 24, 1946

Dear Mother,
     We get around some here. Today we went to see the Walkers & Allens. Walker was is Camp Walters with Ivan - every chance he gets he tries to talk Ivan into staying here in this valley. He is a very fine fellow. No wonder Ivan used to write that he enjoyed talking to him. He is Viola Davis' husband.
     By the way, have you seen Bro. & Sister Davis down there. They were not long ago. Viola asks about you whenever I see her.
     Has Aunt Lizzie arrived there. Christian told Ivan at Sunday School that he saw you in Mesa. Sharon stands at the cupboard & says, 'candy' - 'candy, cookie!' only candy becomes canny. She loves to go downstairs & out to play. She loves Tani & he loves her. They are sweet together. Tani tries to take care of her.
     Ian & Tani have a tractor & a big truck - both steel. They surely do enjoy them. Ian wants to play instead of eat since the toys came.
     March 30 - Sharon says whole sentences lately. She did sooner than the others.
     The kiddies have all been having colds again. Sharon has had a bad earache again. She has two molars, her first ones & other teeth swollen. She & Tani have had sore eyes along with their colds. Sharon is much better.
     People are gardening here. The apricots are in bloom. Today has been quite warm.
     I hope Jay & Leigh decide to stay where they are. Jay & Mable are just about to get their house finished. It promises to be so nice.
     Hope Dean can get out of the army. He has had a long stay overseas. In a recent Era we thought Dean was in the background of a picture. You could not see features plainly but the pose was so characteristic of him.
     Helen & Wayne will probably stop on their way to Colorado when they go home. That way we will get to see him. It has been almost a year since he sailed for Japan. Helen showed me some things he sent, beautiful silk pajamas & hankies. Also some silk material. He didn't send all he had either, said he didn't want to risk losing it.
     Do you know how long you are going to be in Mesa now? I was so in hopes Aunt Lizzie would go home with you. We might make it Easter & perhaps I should get to see her. I say "might make it." There isn't anything I would enjoy more than a visit home right now or anytime, but we haven't had such good luck lately. Ivan has had to wait for a rock crusher to be put in working order before he goes on the job again. He has been off nine days now so it is going to run us short for a while. I haven't given up hope that we may 'make it' though.
     We have looked this place over for a place that would suit our finances & our fancies & our needs for a home. There are lots of places for sale - most of them ask a lot more than they were even a short time ago.
     I don't know how it will all add up. We may find something & settle down. There is a possibility for work with local contractors but nothing certain.
     Sharon went outside by herself today. I was in the kitchen. She & Tani in the front room. Tani came in & said, 'my baby, gone outside.' I found her way around the house. She can open doors sometimes, I found. Well, I put another catch on the front door. I was surprised that she made it down those stairs without a fall.
     Am out of paper so will close.
Love to all there,

P.S. while I think of it that little necklace (chain & heart) is Dwyn's. Remember I used to have the brilliant heart when small.

Kirtland, New Mexico
June 28, 1946

Dear Mother,
     We have moved to Kirtland. A two room house. A couple of blocks from town and on a big lot. Not much here besides the house but it surely seems good to be away from that mess in Farmington. That old fellow and his sister got to actually picking fights with the kids. Mrs. Hubbard too. I surely got furious. Just anything to get rid of us. They had a guy waiting for the apartment so they didn't care what they stooped to. They would shut the kids out of the downstairs hall and tell them to stay out. Imagine - the only door up to the apartment! Well that isn't a drop in the bucket to what they managed to do but I shan't rave on about it in this letter.
     There isn't a bath here nor water inside. There is a pump just outside & I may have the electricity - I hope so.
     My nearest neighbor is a Tanner. She says she raised Helen after her mother died. She is nice.
     Ivan moved us Monday and stayed Tuesday to help straighten things out.
     Sunday we went to Dorango and then on up in the mountains and I mean mountains to see about a job. But the contractor had all the cat skinners he needed. But we really got to see the Colorado Mountains and mountain road. You remember seeing a range of mountains up north of here with snow on. Well I have never seen such a place. Fir and spruce and quaking aspens and on up above the timberline the road goes right on up to where the snow is still on. Streams of icy water plunging off the mountains. Wild flowers & lakes & we surely did enjoy it. Someone said of that road, they picked out the highest peak and hit for that one and then looked for the next highest...
     I have Dwyn's dress finished except crocheting around the bottom & neck & sleeves. Sharon's is ready to wear. Am wishing for a machine. Will probably borrow a neighbor's. I got some heavy whipcord material at Taylor's store just last week. Got one pair of pants made for the boys on Mrs. Galloway's machine.
     Received the package and will be glad to get it made up. Thanks.
     Am straightened out here as much as possible. There is no dresser or drawers but I have some wooden boxes and the big suitcase. There were two double beds already here and a nice stove (coal and wood). And a cabinet & a cupboard & table & chairs, so we have enough furniture.
     Am glad most of your flowers & plants were alive.
     There will be plenty of fruit here if you folks want to come over I can line some up & maybe pay someone to bring my washer & machine over. If I am still here. We'll see.
     Well, take care of yourself.

Kirtland, New Mexico
July? ?, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Had two letters from you yesterday. I hadn't been for the mail for 6 days. Saturday I went over to Espanola to find a house. I knew Ivan didn't have much time. We found one Saturday by scouring the countryside.
     It is a big house - has three rooms and a porch & some small shade trees. The living room is one half of the space (it's about a 30' square house). The other half is kitchen, bedroom and front porch. The people are part white, part Spanish. ["Spanish" was preferred over "Mexican."] He and children speak English, wife speaks Spanish. This man (Mr. McKenzie) and wife were living in this place but wanted to rent it. The floors are waxed - nice furniture. There is another huge house that they are going to live in with their daughter, on the place.
     It is a fruit and farming district built up and down the river. Thirty miles north of Santa Fe.
     So I will wait until I get over there to put up any more fruit. The apricots are ripe here. I have 35 quarts up and could get much more but am packing now.
     Ivan is coming Saturday. We will go back Sunday - weather permitting. I came back Tuesday to Albuquerque, stayed overnight and came over here Wednesday. Biness is getting around on a crutch.
     Well I have to do a small washing today. I have no electricity here. Have ironed at Mrs. Tanner's & Mrs. Giffords. That's one thing I will have at Espanola over this place is electricity. The water is well water & toilet outdoors here and in Espanola. There has linoleum and painted floors and lots of space both in the house and yard. I think the rent is a little high for not being modern but so is the hotel and restaurant bill for Ivan - so we could pay more and still be ahead if living together. It will surely seem good.
      I have enjoyed it here at Kirtland tho - people have been so nice. They are nearly all Mormons.
     Must get at my work. Am glad you have fruit. It surely does take a lot of time and energy. I would want a small orchard. Tell everyone hello. I hope Vivian is going to be able to feel better. Tell her I will crochet on to La Veta's dress. Just send it to me at Espanola right away, Gen Del, insured, maybe. Riverside which is nearer hasn't a post office. The kiddies are pasting in their books now. [We would have a magazine to paste in and others to cut pictures out of that we liked.] More another time.

Espanola (Ranchitos), New Mexico
July 30, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Have been sure I would write you every day last week to tell you we had moved. Ivan came to Kirtland Saturday nite & we packed in Sunday morning. Arrived here about four or five o'clock in the afternoon.
     This house is furnished, 2 cots - and a nice bed to a set - a dressing table and chest of drawers. Two tables and chairs - linoleum on all three rooms. There is a nice heater but we bought a kitchen stove (I think I told you) for $10.00. We could probably sell it to a museum for a hundred. Still it works better than that old stove we had when we were first married The house woodwork was quite dirty. I had the place fairly well cleaned last week. But had a huge washing. Have been washing nearly every day trying to get it all washed up. It doesn't make me feel bad to do it a little at a time by hand.
     The people here are more like white people. The white man's wife is light, not at all dark & they raise a white man's garden. She is a good housekeeper. The old couple moved [from this house] over to the big house in with their daughter. This house is about 36 feet square on the inside. That one is larger. It has at least 6 rooms, a large clothes closet & two porches. This one has a nice porch on the front. We are surely hoping to stay here until we can get a house on our lot in Farmington. It seems nice and quiet here. There are three other children on the place but they don't speak English very well and don't come over often.
     They have apples here that I am going to buy to put up and eat and I can get some fresh garden stuff occasionally. Ivan rides part of the time with another fellow so I have the car about half the time.
     When I came over here on the bus I left the children with Aunt Tilli. We stored some things there, fruit and jars mostly. I brought more with me here than when I started out. I had all the winter clothes this time. We are three miles from the main town here. Riverside and Espanola are just across the river from each other. Where we are is called Ranchitos. No post office here nor in Riverside.
     I am hoping to borrow a machine to make Dwyn some school clothes.
     Am sending you a sugar stamp.
     Was glad to hear what the home folks are doing. Would probably be fun to fly a plane - tho I have no desire to do so - am too jumpy. If any of you have an extra Sears Catalogue I would pay postage on it to get it. I should get a M W. [Montgomery Wards].
     Dwyn has made all four bed this morning to get me to make her a puppet.

Espanola, New Mexico
August 5, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Sharon dropped the pen & ruined the point so I am still using pencil to write. Ivan's pen it was. And a lifetime so we can have it repaired. Now at some drug stores you can buy cheap pens and replacement points that screw on.
     This morning Sharon and Ian and maybe Tani ate most of a large box of Ex-lax. Sharon said, "Good, Mama." At first I thot only Sharon had eaten it and I gave her three cups of warm water with soda & salt, thinking I could induce vomiting, but I couldn't get her to. So I went over to McKenzie's and asked the daughter (she speaks good English) if she had any experience with children eating Ex-lax. She said her little boy, 2 1/2 years, had eaten a whole box & he had running off a while but that was the only bad effects. So I came home and fed them their breakfast and they surely have had good appetites all day. Since starting this letter I have reason to believe I was doctoring the wrong child with water. I guess Tani ate most of the Ex-lax. They are better.
     It is cooler here than at Kirtland. The sun's heat was terrific in the middle of the day there. Here it is hot but not like there. "Up the hill" where Ivan works it is 2,000 feet higher than here. He says it never gets very hot up there. The place - Los Alamos - is a city of 7 or 8 thousand. There are (from reports) 75 buses go up from this valley - some people drive up from Santa Fe too.
     Then there are lots of private cars go up too, every day. The people who drive cars must have 22.00 insurance on them and a special license plate. So Ivan got a plate last Friday & Sharon took it out of the car & we, Ivan & I, each saw it and thot that we had it put up. I went to the Help-ur-self laundry after supper and when I came back he wanted to put the plate on. We couldn't find it, tho we looked the car, the house and the place over and over, and we haven't found it yet. It turned out to be very baffling. The only possible way it could have gotten away would have been for it to have been on the running board and fallen off as I went down the highway. It wasn't that the plate itself cost much - a dollar - but we still can't be sure it didn't slip into some secluded crack. Ivan was able to get another this morning. I sure hate to not be able to find something.
     There is fruit here, you could come over here, you know (tho some further, I guess). I bought a basket of yellow ripe apples for $2.00 and put up 6 quarts. But the children and Ivan and I, too, were hungry for fruit and have eaten the rest. I got it from McKenzie's - they have a 40 acre place here. They have gardens. We have been buying green chili & Mrs. McKenzie sent me cucumbers once & they have sweet corn on now too. So I can get some really good fresh vegetables.
     The wood costs $32 a cord and the coal $13.50 a ton. The wood looks like gold. (pine)
     The children have two little black and white kittens. Sharon and Tani nearly choked them the first two days. Now the novelty has worn off they get some rest.
     It is getting time to start supper. Ivan comes in at five.
     I have had that letter you sent to Kirtland.

Espanola, New Mexico
September 2, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Here another week has gone and I was sure I would write you last week. The children kept having dysentery. The whole family had it but me. Someone has had it all the time for two weeks now. Sharon & Ian & Ivan have had it worst. For the children the druggist gave us Infantol. It seemed to be good.
     The fruit is just wasting here. Have had a bushel each of peaches and plums, greengage. The trucks that usually came through for fruit for the packing companies do not pick so much up as last year, these people here say. Seems a shame it was not distributed more evenly throughout the country. Glad you can get home grown peaches. There was a huge crop here. The peaches and apples are breaking the trees. I want to get more peaches and apples and grapes for juice. That is one thing that doesn't require sugar.
     Mother, I left that piece to the machine carefully packed away in Farmington. I'll try to get one here. I can rent a machine here by the month $6. So I may do that after all. Do you suppose I could sell that one for more than $50. Am going to ask how they sell here. Will write more about it next time. If Ivy happens to want it go ahead and sell. but I want to look around for another one before advertising in the paper. I like that one & sort of hate to sell but I surely do need a machine all the time. They do not have what I want to buy here but Santa Fe may have. I know they have new ones for I saw one in a window one night when Ivan and I were in there. The Alden catalogue advertises a model like I want for $54, I'll get that maybe.
     I was hoping to hear more from you about Josephine and Erin. I'm so sorry to hear she is so bad off. I'm praying they may be able to cure her. Let me know as soon as you can.
     Ivan was off half a day Saturday, as it rained so much they could not work. Then he was off all day today, Labor Day. It has rained and rained here. There are mountains on both sides of us here and it has rained every day in them.
     Today Ivan helped me get plums ready to can & I have 12 quarts from a half bushel. They work up good and are easy to do in comparison with some other fruits.
     Guess you can send those wool scraps. I can't think what they are but they will probably do for the boys a coat (short). I received the other pieces, thanks. I know it was a lot of extra work to get them for me.
     Well, Dwyn starts to school tomorrow - rides the bus. She has been wondering if La Veta starts this year.
     We went for a ride as far as the guard house to Los Alamos this afternoon. From there one cannot imagine there is a city just over a little hill. There is nothing in sight to give its whereabouts away from the highway. No one goes in without a pass so we could not see the city. The people who live there are fingerprinted even to the children & go only where they are living and working. The place is under military law. We see MPs on the streets here often. Well we are hoping to stay here during the school year, at least.
     Sharon wraps her kitten up & rocks it in the rocking chair (I have three) & sings, "Rock-a-bye, don't you cry, we will go to lambies." Lots of times she wants mama to 'Rock-her-bye' and wants 'cover' (her quilt or blanket). I gave her bottle back to her. She refused to drink from a cup.
     Did I tell you thanks for the catalog? I can borrow a Montgomery and an Alden from my neighbors.
     Tell Bonnie 'Hello.' Would like to see her baby. We took some pictures Sunday so may send you one if they are any good.
Lots of love,

Espanola, New Mexico
September 10, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Yesterday I spent sewing - made Dwyn one out of that pink-roses-on-white material like No. 9 on page 309. Am cutting one out today like No 7 same page out of that blue with pink roses you sent recently. Have also made me a print & Ian & Tani two pairs pants apiece & took up a dress that was too big.
     The Singer agent had a portable machine for $100 & offered to take mine for $50. But I decided mine was worth much more than that, so I rented one for $7.50 for a month.
     Did Jay get a better job in Holbrook? You didn't say why they moved.
     Mother I wish you would not put up fruit for me. For I am putting some up here - I have 2 cases plums, one of peaches & and am going for more peaches tonight after Ivan gets home. Then I want tomatoes and apples - I have never had enough fruit in bottles, especially apples. There certainly are plenty here. The fellow we get fruit from at Fairview said he had sold $1100 worth of apples in one day - loaded them on trucks. There are grapes here too. So don't work and overwork on fruit for me please. I am sending a sugar stamp, but mind you, only for you to use & not to put in jars. You have probably used all yours for fruit. Now if you are tempted to put up more fruit with it just return it. It is not to put in fruit in my jars there. Now remember.
     It hasn't rained every day on the mountains lately, only once here last week, and that a thunderstorm mostly.
     I certainly have enjoyed the reading material in those Relief Society Magazines.
     Did I tell you we have a class on Sunday for the children - tell stories and learn songs. Sharon can sing 'Shine on' as we sing that song. Ivan plays the accordian & they all raise their voices though the words are often lacking.
     Dwyn goes to San Juan School - it is a county school. The Catholic Sisters are the principals. They mix some religion with it as most of their pupils are Catholics. But the sister assured me that she would have another class for Dwyn and others not interested when they have their class [catechism] from 8:30 to 9:00. It makes it so she has to go at 8:00 on the bus. It isn't over a couple of miles to school but the bus brings children from several places close by. Last Friday Dwyn missed the bus & wanted to go so much that I let her walk - rather she and I walked down there. But it is just a little too far. She thot so too.
     Last night the children were talking about playing 'froggie' and Sharon said "Froggie, froggie, how are you?"
     The children are all well now. I boil all milk & water & try to keep the flies out.
     This sewing machine is an Improved Faultless. It reminds me of the one you had when we lived at Richville. The one I ran the needle through my finger one time.
     You didn't happen to see Ivan's Book of Remembrance in a box with books in it while you were looking for cloth, did you? There were some things besides books. It will be so fine to have all my things together. I have been wanting my black suitcase with the rest of my genealogy but there it is at Ramah - I have some time I could start something again. Must close.

Espanola, New Mexico
September 18, 1946

Dear Mother,
     How would you like to sell your place to us? You have thot of selling one of those rented housed before. Now how would you like to sell everything. You would have your house & flowers as long as you need it and we would take the responsibility for the rest of the place. We would live in one of the little houses and build a room for Ivan to do photography work in. Rent the other. Raise a garden for both you and us & we could have a cow.
     We have that land in Farmington almost paid out now. For ourselves we would need a fair sized house to live in and have his studio too. It will take a long time, nowadays, to get house on it.
     So we had an idea maybe you would be willing to make a deal with us, whereby we would be paying this place off and could start a business too. (He is getting a photo course before he starts.) By selling that place in Farmington we could make you a good down payment on your place and then pay you so much a month. He would have to keep at this kind of work for maybe a year to get a surplus or nest egg to start a business on. Then we would have a place to live and earn a living. Also we would be close and I could look after you so long as you are with us. And we hope that will be a long time yet. We could make a monthly payment large enough to take care of your personal needs. We would pay taxes, insurance, etc. so non of that would bother you. You wouldn't need the pension. Would love to discuss this verbally with you but guess we better keep at this job here, not taking holidays the company might not like. This job looks like it would last - I hope so.
     These are some recent pictures. I was picking out two or three of the best ones & Ivan said why be stingy, so here are eight. One shows the front porch of this house.
     We had a picnic last Friday evening over by the river. The children had good time.
     One evening when the stars were just appearing Tani looked up and said I see a movie star. A new one to me.
     The rain keeps on. The farmers are having a time to gather crops here. Ivan loses a day or half day every now and then because of too much mud.
     Have I told you about Dwyn's school? She goes on the bus at eight and gets home at five. When I have the car I take her and get her. It is only about a mile and a half. A little too far to walk. She has been getting a school lunch this month, likes it.
     Have Sharon's coat made. Three dresses altogether for Dwyn. 5 pair pants for the boys. Put up fruit last week so haven't finished as much sewing as would like to. I received the material for boys' coats. Thanks.

Espanola (actually Ranchitos), New Mexico
October 2, 1946

Dear Mother,
     I sure was disappointed not to get to see you. We could have had a nice visit while Leigh was getting those things.
     You seem to like the idea of our buying but we don't want to upset you and besides the better idea is to build a small studio where he could be seen from main street & where it could be found, so here is another proposition. Build a place big enough for a studio down the fence a way from your house. It seems such a long time in the future right now that it is not likely we will still have the same ideas by the time we can carry out our plans. But it would be better to have his business separate from the house there anyway.
     If you can without inconvenience, I think it would be better not to say that Ivan intends to go into photography for I know Easy Nielson is very much interested in that, too.
     Found my pen so will finish with it, it is so much plainer. The children have been having colds, me too. Dwyn and Sharon and Ian all spent some time in bed with ear ache and generally feeling bad. I haven't been able to do all the sewing I want to. The children have felt bad ever since I had that machine. I will have to get it again to finish but want to put up late peaches & pears & apples before I do much more sewing.
     Am on my way to town soon now. Have to get a glass window for the car, it is getting cool to get out in the mornings now. One glass has been out since in Farmington. Will try to write a long letter next time.

PS Mr. McKenzie keeps us supplied with tomatoes and musk melons and won't accept pay for them lately. They are good.

Espanola, New Mexico
October 9, 1946

Dear Mother,
     I don't get the mail very often since cold weather and Ivan works later. He gets home a little after dark now. Only works an hour longer but it takes all day these short days. Have the car today so will probably get a letter from you so will write before going into town.
     Have some late peaches & pears bargained for so will go get them today. The same place I get peaches I can get fresh carrots. I want to get some and bury them for winter use. Apples are $1 small and peaches $1.75 small, pears $2. They have been higher earlier and in town, but I go to the farm and orchard & get them cheaper.
     Has it been storming there? Last week we had two hard rains. Ivan couldn't work Saturday. Then it rained Sunday night, most of the night. There was snow on the peaks Saturday morning. It is raining and snowing on the mountains again this morning. Where Ivan works there has been no snow yet.
     Saturday we went to Santa Fe to get Dwyn some shoes. They didn't have her size here. I paid $3.50, quite high. Santa Fe is 28 miles from here.
     Some time ago Mrs. McKenzie told me to get all the tomatoes I wanted from their garden here by the house. I sort of hated to & didn't but she just insisted so I have been using all the tomatoes I wanted. It is a big garden here, I think. But they had a much larger one down in their field. It must have been mostly chili from the red chili they are stringing. They expect to have 50 strings when through.
     Have finished sewing until I get some more fruit in jars. I finished Dwyn's coat. The little boys some pants, only three pair apiece, but with what I have it makes them almost enough to keep them clean.
     Had a letter from Josephine after she arrived home.
     Sharon had had an inflamed ear again. She has ear ache nearly every time she has a cold.
     Back from town. I didn't get a letter from you so will continue...
     In the mail I received a cook book that I got as a premium for paying the balance of the encyclopedia all at once. It has a lot of expensive recipes I see in glancing through - also something in the way of fixing common food different. I haven't had even a cake recipe on hand since I left there - left my R. cabinet packed with my things. Not that I would use a cake recipe but some other things I've missed.
     It is a lovely warm day today, seems so good. The children can play outside - they don't quarrel so much outside as in. So it seems good and I know it is good for them.
     I can have the car three times a week - Mon., Wed. & Fri. When I have to go to town an extra time to wash or get things it takes all my spare time. I take Dwyn to school those days too. She comes home an hour earlier than she did at first.
     Sunday - Had your letter with the proposition. You are very generous, but you need the rent from that house to live on. We couldn't just let you give it to us.
     Monday: Dwyn composed her letter herself. The picture is one taken at school.
     Been in town to wash. Had a letter from you about your trip, I'm glad you can go with the folks. Also your suggestion of studio in front of the east house. If we do make a deal, he would want it separate from the house. It is so hard to explain on paper. Maybe we will have a holiday sometime then we can talk it over.
     One thing that has been on my mind for years is that you should get a title. If Bro. Udall is running for office somewhere else it might be wise to get one before he goes.

Espanola, New Mexico
October 23, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Here it is nearly the last of October. The weather is fine lately. Today the children are playing out without coats.
     Had a letter from Elizabeth - she was home when she wrote. Marjorie and Alden's baby had arrived.
     The people we rent from are coming over tomorrow to Kalsomine the house & then they will let me have a new linoleum (if there is any to be had). First time anyone offered to clean my walls and ceiling. They will mend the roof too. It leaks like a sieve. I will have some cleaning to do when they get through, but that ought to be a small job to side of Kalsomining.
     How is Vivian? You haven't said for a long time. Also you haven't said how you are feeling.
     The children have colds easy this fall. I will need to feed them more vitamins.
     Last night Ivan and I put two new window glass in the car. We broke one out in Farmington while you were there. The other just the other day. The car is much warmer now.
     The three little tots and I went down to the river lately to see if we could find enough cattails to piece out a mattress. They had a fine time - we walked and took our lunch & they gathered milk weed seeds. They were all fluffed out and so shiny.
     I must get up and get ready to go to town when Dwyn comes. Am to get late pears and carrots & lettuce at Fairview tonight.
     28th. My living room is cleaned up. It is cream instead of pink - like it better.
     Am going to town to do washing this morning. Had your letter Saturday. Hope you are over your cold by now. Glad you can go so much. Tell Opal she is welcome to my machine. Is this a good job they have? Will write more later.

Espanola (Ranchitos)
November 4, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Ivan has been home for Dinner all last week & I had the car most of the time, as he has been working at Lowdermilk shop about a mile from here. The company is repairing cats & he has been helping there.
     Looks & feels like winter has at last set in. It snowed on the mountains for two days then snowed a little here. It is cold now.
     By hand I made Dwyn a pair of snow pants so she wouldn't have to have bare legs this real cold weather and I am not ready to get a machine yet.
     Well, I hope to finish this this time. It is still trying to snow here. Especially on the mountains. We had enough to cover the ground. But up on the hill where Ivan works there is about 8 inches, maybe more now. The real high mountains east of here are the highest in New Mexico. Clouds have hidden them since it started to storm this time. Radio stated Albuquerque had a foot of snow. Ivan is back up the hill driving cat now. We had thought he might not have to work all the time & we would go see you. But it looks like they intend to keep him busy. As that keeps the checks coming in and about the same as usual, we are glad. This month's payment makes the land in Farmington ours. There are still other debts to finish up and then we can call a check our own. So, much as we would like to talk things over with you & decide something definite, we will have to wait. I would like to visit with you again, seems like a long time since you were with us in Farmington.
     We are relining the car or at least we have some material to do so. I have probably told you that Ivan made a heater for the car that certainly heats. Then we will paint it and it will look like a car again. Anyway, some improvements.
     Speaking of improvements, when and if we make a deal with you for one of those little houses, I want to make a change or two that I think will make more room or at least it will be handier for me. The lower half of the shelves between the bath and bedroom I would have drawers, things fall out of those shelves so much the way I stack them up. Then I would hope to have a studio couch for living room and use it for our bed. Then have two beds for the children in the bedroom as we do here. Sharon and Dwyn one bed and the boys the other. Then I have an extension plan for the dining and kitchen. This may take a while but the dining part is so small I would like to take the partition out between the kitchen and service porch, put in a window if necessary (it might not need it) and have dining nook at the back - no service porch. Then have cupboards and a place for my washer where the present dining nook is. What do you think of that? That way we would have enough room for a year or so until we get going & have a chance to build a part on.
     Did Clarence raise any beans this year? Have been thinking of storing some. Do you know how much I could get some for?
     Had to have a new kettle lately so bought a Montgomery Ward best aluminum 6 quart one. It is quite heavy and only cost as much as a light one would have - here in a store. It is just smaller than the aluminum kettles of your - larger than those I had. So am pleased.
     Have moved the children's beds out of the bedroom and into the living room for the winter. It still has lots of floor space for play. The bedroom has no stove and this old kitchen model won't heat two rooms. The stove in the living room is large and heats fine. Bought a couple of tons of coal yesterday. Now I don't spend all day stuffing wood into the stoves and freeze besides.
     Did I tell you Sharon calls her coat her quilt? She told me the other day that Grandma gave her the dress she had on - the pink one. She knows you gave her the blue one too. She is learning to cut with little scissors.
     I still have apple to can. The pears and peaches I didn't get many in jars - the children ate so many fresh & I think it has helped to keep them well.
     Have been going to the laundry on warm days & leave the children in the car while I wash. That's on the days I have the car - usually three times a week so I can about choose a good day. Have only washed every two weeks lately because of the soap situation. I have to wash out a few things but it saves soap that way.
     You ask if this house is warm. It is adobe and 12 or 15 inch walls all the way through. Some windows aren't as tight as they could be but it is quite warm & doesn't get so cold at night as a lumber house. Am going to try and get two of those army blankets that Sears folder advertises. They are 100% wool & they are so warm. That will give me plenty of bedding for winter.
     Am glad you are getting wood and coal for the winter.
     I am just fine. Am seldom nervous since I left Farmington situation.
     Have been wondering if you need some A & D tablets to keep you from taking cold.

Espanola, New Mexico
November 15, 1946

Dear Mother,
     Ian says, "Tell Grandma I have a dump truck." Ivan soldered his truck he had when you were at Farmington & made it into a dump truck - much to the delight of the little boys.
     We had heard over the radio about the Colorado snow - families and livestock isolated and starving. They were using airplanes for dropping food to those in need. Yesterday a peddler with potatoes told about three feet of snow in Denver (really only 28 inches). No place to park on the streets, only a roadway cleared. They claim it is the most snow in 35 years. I wonder if Opal and Arlis are glad they aren't up that way.
     There have been little storms here, mostly on the mountains, for about two weeks. A few days of good weather, then this morning another storm.
     Ivan has been up to Los Alamos working for a while again. He worked at the shop a week. [helping repair equipment] Did I tell you that he had excavated and leveled land for nearly three hundred houses - new housing project at Los Alamos. When they are built then they have more leveling and road building to do. If Ivan was working there at the plant we could live up there. It is on top of a flat mountain. The canyons surrounding Los Alamos are quite deep. In the first place, before the war, it was a boys' summer camp. When they finish enlarging up there, it will probably be the 3rd largest city in New Mexico. The supplies go up the hill in huge trucks.
     I have my washing done up for another week and am glad as it looks like stormy weather. It is snowing now.
     Yesterday the McKenzie hired man ran a harrow over our rush-thistle yard. These people practically whitewash their yard. Mrs. McKenzie carries water from her ditch & throws it on her yard to keep it hard and smooth. Her sight is bad, cataracts in both eyes, I think and can't have an operation because she has diabetes.
     I am repeating things this morning for lack of anything new to write about. Sharon has had the pen while I was building fires.
     To answer some of your questions - we are not taking the Era, but I wish you would let the little things for the kiddies do. For Dwyn any small thing. We have a M.W. Xmas catalogue. The little kids have picked out what they want Samta to bring.
     The Children's Friend came long ago. I thot I had told you. Thanks. The children do get a lot of good from it. We use it for stories & lessons too.
     22nd. If you do come with Leigh, can you come see us? We could go get you. It seems so long since I had a visit with you. We could take you back at least to Albuquerque. I wish I could promise to take you all the way but I am afraid we might not be able to. It would take at least two days good traveling.
     Have had another letter from you since starting this. I haven't been in town for almost two weeks. To post things. Ivan gets the mail once in a while. He and the fellow he trades rides with aren't working together now so he takes the car every day. I go for groceries some place that is open at night. The people at Fairview that I buy fruit and vegetables from, have a store and service station on the highway between here & town. They are usually open & it is a well-stocked store, so I don't have to go to town for groceries.
     McKenzie's granddaughter Margaret came to iron Wednesday and then we made a fruit cake at her house in the afternoon. We put pineapple in, in place of applesauce. It was good. I still have part of it put up for Thanksgiving. Will try to get a duck or goose at Fairview. Wish you weren't so far away so we could eat dinner together.
     Dwyn has been out of school all week with a cold. She will probably be able to go next week. I try not to take any chances with colds. I put her to bed when she gets one, even then she was in bed a whole week. Last cold she had I let her go a day I shouldn't have and she was out of school nearly two weeks. I give them vitamins, all the time too.
     Have an order made out to Santa now. It includes trucks & train & dolls & Dwyn wanted a doctor set and a sewing set. She has wanted them a long time but have felt like they were a waste of money and maybe she would get over wanting them, but they were her first choice this year so that is what she gets.
     Was glad to hear you enjoyed the airplane ride. I doubt I will ever relax in one. I sat tense every minute I was ever in one.
     Did you get your coal before the strike? The national situation looks like something had to be done by the government. If only they would outlaw "closed shop". Lewis is CIO, you know. Ivan belongs to AFL. His meetings lately with the leader here sounds like there was small chance for trouble. He keeps telling them if they think they can cause trouble they are fooled. They sound sensible in other ways too. Of course it is still a union & I don't like it, but it isn't CIO.
     For coal here we paid $14 a ton plus tax. Wood has been $15 for a pickup load lately. For a while there were so many people came here trying to sell wood at that price. It had been $12 & I had an idea they thot they could get more from me, being a woman & white. Also I knew they sold to McKenzie for $12. So I just stood pat and told one fellow if he wanted to sell for $12 all right & if he didn't he could just go on down the road. He started to drive off & then came back and unloaded it. I haven't been bothered since. There must have been someone sending them here.
     The children are trying to build something to play with out of small pieces of wood this morning. They will appreciate Christmas, they have so few things to play with now.
     I'm glad to hear so often what the family are doing, even tho I don't get letters off very often. Have had this started for over a week, but as I said before I haven't been to town so I could post it and Ivan wouldn't remember to post it. Will try to get a letter in the mail oftener from now on.

Espanola, New Mexico
December 1, 1946

Dear Mother,
     I certainly haven't written often lately, your letter said you were looking for a letter. Mine should have reached you last week about the same time I had yours. It takes two days for your letters to get here.
     The book came for Dwyn. You know, I had forgotten you had written that you were ordering her a book & what it was. When it came I was a bit puzzled. Well, I am awfully sorry about it, but she has seen it already. Still she doesn't know it is for her. When your letter came, it jogged my memory about you telling me so I will put it away - she will not have it for her own or know it is for her until Christimas. I know she is going to like it. She thinks Sears sent it to us by mistake & she wanted me to buy it for her after she read a chapter. The books will be fine for the other children too.
     The trip or move I should say, that Jay wants to make would likely be good experience for them, but I can imagine how you dread to see him go so far away. Especially since my babies are getting older and will want to leave me some day.
     Is Opal living in Concho?
     Don't worry about the beans. If you get them ok, if not ok. Just get what you can with the five Ivan put in the last letter at the last minute, when I had no time to write.
     Tonight we finished covering the inside of the car. The material is light and will soil easily, but it looks so much nicer since we finished the job. Thanksgiving Ivan painted the car. Black this time.
     We had a baked chicken for Thanksgiving. And Ivan was home to eat dinner with us for a change. I was remembering some of the good times and dinners we have had there in St. Johns. Especially on such days as Thanksgiving & Christmas. You talk like you half expected us for Christmas.
     Ivan says we may make the trip, but when we cannot say. We should find out something definite though so we can try to sell our other property. So maybe we will see you.
     About two months ago Ivan had a sore jaw muscle & went to see a Doctor about it. The doc told him he had trench mouth, so we had every one of us examined. I had it and Dwyn too, slightly. He gave us medicine and a mouthwash and tooth powder to prevent the other children from getting it. Ivan's & my mouth seemed all right and then it broke out again. Mine is all right now and I think Ivan's will be soon. It certainly is hard to get rid of, but I think it is going to be all right this time. I have to be so careful of the dishes and it takes a lot of time.
     Then I have been to the Doc for a swollen foot. I thot I had a sprain. He began examining for all kinds of things. But it wasn't as bad as he thot at first. He calls it neuritis. Both legs and one arm ache & the one foot swells. He says it should go away soon. Nothing serious just uncomfortable.
     Dec. 3rd. This morning the people who own the house had a lady and man come and Kalsomine the kitchen. It looks so light now. They were done by noon. It is white. I have ordered a rug from Montgomery. They have found a nice kitchen range for this house. It should be all fixed up in another week.
     The radio this morning said they had limited the size of packages to go thru the mails. I have been hoping to have the car soon to go shopping, but it looks like he will have to keep on taking it to work. I may get one of the neighbor girls to look after the children Saturday and go to Santa Fe. There are so few stores here that they are high & then I like to be able to get things at a well stocked dime store. I can take a bus at noon from the highway and get back before dark.
     Am going to town to wash with Margaret, McKenzie's granddaughter. So will close this in a hurry.

Espanola, New Mexico
December 9, 1946

Dear Mother,
     The post office was closed Saturday, while they moved to a new post office building. I think there must be a letter from you there tho I couldn't get the mail. Also our Xmas package should be there and the rug for my kitchen floor.
     Ivan does practically all business [errands] as he comes from work now that he takes the car every day. I washed in there last week the day I mailed my last letter to you. Went in with one of the women who live here. There are four different houses here close together on Mckenzie's place - then a one room that his hired help uses - a San Juan Indian. He married a white woman - has three children almost grown I think. His wife is dead. He is so very dark - it seems strange to see the races of light and dark intermarried, but I see quite a few such families here. Some of the very darkest Mexicans are married to whites. We don't use the word Mexican here - just Spanish. Tani, in talking of this Indian says Spanish does this or that.
     Tani has a sore throat and has been vomiting today. Poor little kiddie, he wants to eat something all the time and can't keep it down. Ivan sent the Doc out this morning for Tani. He says it is an upset stomach.
     Max Fickle (the fellow Ivan roomed with before I came over) brought his wife out today. We had a short visit. She seems nice. Not at all like what I expected after meeting him some time ago. He sort of likes the limelight all the time.
     Last week when I wrote I was almost sure we would be able to go see you but this week it seems quite doubtful. Why not you figure up how much one of the houses & lot is worth and write me. We should get it sort of decided or settled - some sort of understanding so we can decide whether to try to sell our other land. These good prices won't last forever - nor good wages - so could you set a price on it. We want to buy.