March 25, 1925.
As the days roll around and it comes time for another letter for the C.C.C., I can't help but draw a long sigh and think to myself, "What shall I write about?" When I received Cousin Roswell Young's letter yesterday, giving the fourth generation such a send off about being always behind with their letters, it made me feel as if I'd like to have a special roundup of our generation - and make everyone of them promise from now on to be on time with their letters. If any of you happen to be listening in on your radio, I hope you'll catch my thought wave, "Let's show 'em."
I received a letter from Cousin Will Selph a short time ago. Was glad to hear from him, even though his letter was rather "businessfied". I was terribly sorry to learn from his letter that three of the cousins had been called away since our last exchange of letters. The first thing I did was to get out my correspondence books and look up the letters and pictures of those three cousins. How badly we all would feel if their pictures and letters were not in the books, and how much more necessary it is for us - "slackers" - to get busy and see to it that before another exchange of letters anyone who hasn't his picture in one of the books should send it in, and I'm sure Cousin Will Selph will find a place to paste it in. I'm guilty, but I'm going to stand up before somebody's camera this next summer, and I'll try to drag along the rest of my family. Let's have another book of pictures - what do you say? I'm not the only guilty one - so now the rest of you get "shot", too.
I got the loveliest box of yellow jonquils and red tulips from "Georgiana Gardens", Harper, Washington. They came all unexpectedly, and were surely a glad surprise. They came through in fine shape, and were scarcely wilted at all. Brother Edd sent them. Perhaps some of you already know that my brother, Edd Hughey, has gone into partnership with Georgia Congdon Parks1, and is helping her raise flowers for the market. I hope they won't forget to write their C.C.C. letters, and tell us all about their flowers, and their families and everything else of interest.
1. Edd and Georgia were 2nd cousins. They knew each other from their childhood days in Brainerd, MN.
I am wondering if Cousins Ed and Em Congdon attended the Campbell Reunion at Cousin Charlie Congdon's last fall; also, if they spent the winter in California as they said they expected to do. I hope everybody will write long newsy letters this time. Cousin Charlie visited us Minnesota folks about a year ago. It surely seemed good to see him. I couldn't see that he had changed in appearance except maybe his hair was a little whiter.
In reading and in rereading the C.C.C. letters as I have done in the past year, I took special notice to see how many different professions are represented among the cousins. Seems as though there is one of every kind of profession, but as a whole we are mostly all a class of farmers. I can remember lots of things Grandma used to tell of things that happened when she was a girl. Great-grandfather Campbell was a farmer, and by what Grandma said, was very strict. Everyone of the Campbell sisters had to learn to knit their own stockings, and wash and card and spin the flax to be woven into long lengths of linen and then colored with shumack2 or some such juice, and then made into their Sunday dresses. Sunday morning found every member of the family in church. Sunday morning golf or baseball wasn't thought of in those days. Why can't we of today pattern after the ways of Grandfather Campbell? Slang wasn't allowed around where he was.
Grandma related an incident that took place one day when she was a girl. They had sweet corn for dinner, and after the meal was over her sisters, Sally, Jane, Phoebe, Eleanor, Mary Ann, and the others all piled their empty cobs at Grandma's plate, and then some one made the remark, "Oh, see all the corn that Lib ate!" Grandma replied, "I hope to die, I didn't eat all of that." Then, she said, Grandfather marched her out to the woodshed and gave her the worst whipping she ever got for saying "I hope to die". Our youngsters of today would think it very queer to be punished for such a small offense, but I imagine that it looked like a big offense to Grandfather Campbell. Perhaps if we could be more like him, there wouldn't be quite as much slang used today.
Cousin Jennie Cady promised to relate some stories that Aunt Jane used to tell. Let's hear them Jennie! I want to pat Mabel Shaw on the back for her letter written in rhyme. Well done, Cousin Mabel! It surely was good. I see by Cousin Tommie Campbell's letter that we are all invited to spend a winter in St. Petersburg. Do you suppose he could take care of all of us in his big hotel? And would he give us free board? Let's go - before he pulls in the latch string3.
2. A phonetic spelling of sumac.
3. Pioneer cabins did not have door nobs or locks. On the inside, there was a short bar, permanently fastened at one end, so that it could pivot. The other end was free to fall into a slot built to hold it securely and prevent someone outside from opening the door. In order to get back in when one left the house, a string was tied to the pivoting bar, and left hanging outside. To get back in the house, you jut lifted the latch string.
I notice by the different letters from Nelson and Osceola that the weather there is about the same as the weather here in Minnesota. In referring back to a year ago, different ones speak of seeing robins, and making maple sugar and doing their spring housecleaning. Well, we are doing the same things here in Minnesota today. I saw several robins this morning. My neighbors are talking "maple syrup". We took the bees out of the cellar today. They surly are having a great old fly. The air seems to be full of them. We cleaned a big pan full of fish for dinner. The were caught through the ice near the shore. The fish will soon be going up the creeks, and then we can get a load of them. They are fine smoked.
The ice hasn't gone out of the lakes yet, but in another couple of weeks I think it will have disappeared. The frost is going out, and cars get stuck in the mud in the low places, but taken as a whole, the roads are good. You can even see dust behind the cars 'most any place.
I was called to the home of one of my neighbors yesterday morning before daylight, to help out, but it proved to be nothing very serious, or of any consequence, so I won't take the space to tell about it, but I must tell you what the doctor said.
We were speaking of the cyclones and windstorms in the Southern States, and of the fifteen feet of snow in Winnipeg, Canada, and the doctor said, "Folks, we are living in God's Country, a streak from coast to coast, where we have neither floods, nor tornados [sic], nor blizzards4, nor earthquakes. Everybody is well and happy, with a few exceptions. Let's rap on wood." Why go to Florida, and be blown away in a tornado? But I would like to go to Harper, Washington, and help Edd and Georgia pick flowers.
I notice that Cousin George Buck's wife is interested in the Parent-Teacher Association. Well, so am I, and I am still busy and interested in our Farmers Club. I am a member of the Program Committee, and it means a lot of work, but I feel that we are all well repaid for our effort. Our County Agent is organizing a "Calf Club" for our youngsters, and our son, William, twelve years old, is going to compete with the other boys and girls in raising a Guernsey heifer calf to be taken to the County Fair next fall. William hopes to raise the best calf in the lot.
4. No blizzards in central MN???.
William is a tenderfoot Boy Scout, but he hopes to pass the test soon and be advanced to some higher rank. Irma, who is sixteen years old, is a Camp Fire Girl. She is working for honors, and earning beads and insignia to put upon her Camp Fire gown. The group of Camp Fire Girls to which she belongs gave a banquet for their fathers and mothers last Saturday night, March twenty-first. It was the thirteenth anniversary of the organization of Camp Fire Girls here. They had a three course diner, and a huge birthday cake, and then gave a splendid program telling all about what it means to be a Camp Fire Girl. The mothers and fathers enjoyed the banquet and entertainment immensely. Wish I had time and dared to take the space to tell you about it.
Our last list of letters took up the space of one hundred pages. Now, with our membership raised to eighty cousins, how will our Secretary be able to record all our letters in one volume? I hope all the cousins are well and happy, and that each one will write his letter. Do it now, for by another year some of us may not be here. I took time off today to write this letter, although my conscience tells me I should be ironing and churning and getting my work done up, so that I can go to Crosby tomorrow with butter and eggs.
I have seven hen turkeys, and a nice gobbler, Mammoth Bronze, added to my flock of poultry. Any one wanting a job at herding turkeys this summer, please send in his application.
If any if the cousins happen to be motoring through Minnesota this coming summer, just swing around in the direction of Brainerd and Deerwood. We will give you a hearty welcome - have a picnic, and all go fishing.
Love and best regards to all the cousins,
Copyright © 2000, 2013 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.