Dear Parent Papa and Diminutive Dave (2) – Birthday Party and The SS Alaska – Nov., 1940

Dan, Ced and car

Dan, Ced and car

Mrs. McCain’s birthday party was a complete surprize. By strange coincidence, I was the one who went for her mail the night she got the letter from you. I pointed it out to her. She said, “I’ll let you know what it says after I have read it”.

It was Ced’s duty to keep me at home and awake on the evening of the 27th. It must have been a hectic time for him, because I disappeared after supper. I had gone to a friend’s house to borrow “The Grapes of Wrath” from him, and Ced returned to the room to find me rather absent. Then, when to his relief I came back, I showed symptoms of going to bed; brushing my teeth, etc. He made a desperate attempt to interest me in the Sears Roebuck catalog, and at long last Rose Walsh called upstairs that there was a telephone message for me. When I got downstairs, she said, “I want to see you a minute”, and pushed me toward her open door. Lo! The table was set, and the cake with 22 candles (mistake in placing them) burned brightly, while the group assembled (mostly McCain people) sang happy birthday to me in purposeful but shaky tune.

I was completely non-plussed. And after we had eaten sandwiches, ice cream, and cake, I was further bewildered by the galaxy of gifts bestowed upon me. There was a Sheriff’s star badge, a toy automobile, an orange party hat, made of the finest ripped cardboard, a rubber ball of the most devastating red color, and a handsome, beautifully cellophaned and starkly naked rubber doll!

My maternal instinct welled up in me, and I turned softly away and wept, thinking that alas! Never should I bear a child again, no, nor was I discreet in condemning the fate that mis-sexed me so outrageously.

But I gathered my sorrow and locked it away long enough to eat another piece of cake and open Ced’s gift to me….A shiny leather case for my model C-2 Argus camera.

Mrs. McCain was insistent that I write you, telling you all about the rubber doll, and all, and I promised her I would, although I would have anyway, even the rubber doll!

Incidentally, Mrs. McCain is going outside next week. She will be away indefinitely, maybe a year. Two of her nieces will take her place while she is gone. Maybe only one will do it, but what the hell! You can’t quibble over numbers.

In these trying times, this little gem of wisdom has struck me with its forcible message, and I pass it on to you:

An historical novel is like a bustle…. A fictitious tale based on a stern reality.

I am back on the ol’ level once again, figuring out sewer grades for the building area.

I suppose Eastern papers heard the echo of the wreck of the SS Alaska out of Ketchikan. Two fellows I know were aboard when she left Seward, one of whom expected to disembark at Juneau, and hence was probably not aboard when she struck the rock. If you had not heard, let me reassure you….It was not fatal, although I have heard that two passengers have died since the crash, due to injuries sustained at the impact. The ship has been towed to Seattle.

That’s all, unless I feel disposed to add a few more words mañana when I mail this.




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