Box 12-440 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN, B.A. from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Jun 23 1910
To: Calvin McQuesten Glenhurst, Saskatchewan
My dearest Calvin,
Your letter came on the Monday, after I had written on the Saturday and I suppose it will come next Monday again but I do not like to leave mine any later for fear it may not reach you. Ruby has been quite comfortable this week, fever down some days to nearly 99, but cannot get rid of wretched thing altogether. A Mr. Cook, who went to Arizona last winter has returned here for summer and he has been telling us much about it, he was greatly delighted with the air, he had stayed Tushon (so he pronounced it) it is a little higher than Phoenix and less dusty and had met some wonderful [?]; he considers Arizona the only place where air heals; thought we could rent a shack for less than $20 a month, living expensive their [sic], hot weather lasts to end of September. I have not yet had a talk about it with Dr. Parfitt, but when he spoke to me about her last week, he gave me no encouragement as to condition of her lungs. Her stomach is certainly much better and she eats moderate meals, but has certainly not much strength.
Ruby is very anxious to go and I would not like to discourage her, but it is a terrible undertaking for us, for more reasons than one. If Hilda and I could both get away from home, it would be difficult enough to plan. The real difficulty is Edna, we cannot leave her at home alone just with Mary, it would be too lonesome altogether; then Mary could not do the work at home alone; the month she had alone before we could get up here wore her almost completely out. Servants not to be had under $20 and then good for nothing, so Hilda seems to be needed at home. Then if I go with Ruby, I cannot cook and I could not do all the attendance on R. Hilda is getting very nervous and worn out with it, altho' I do all I can. The nervous strain is so wearing, it would be different if R.'s recovery were certain. I do not like to risk the health of either girl. Unless you are with an invalid you do not know the work or the care they require and R. makes as little trouble as possible. I cannot bear to have R. go without me and yet the only thing I can think of is to find some nice person of experience, not necessarily a trained nurse, for she would cost frightfully, and send her with Hilda, and at home let us go out for our dinners which also costs tremendously. I do not know where I shall be. I had written to Miss Campbell our missionary, whose sister from Arizona is now with her, I really got no information from them, except the address of the Presbyterian superintendent Rev. Frank C. Reid. Presbyterian Pastor at large. East Pierce St. Phoenix, Arizona.
Miss C.'s sister is Mrs. Rogers whose husband is Methodist superintendent.
Hilda and I do not like the idea of your going there at all, the heat never was the best thing for you, and we dread your getting run down, you would probably only get a pittance for a salary, the country is sparsely populated and these are mostly people who went there with this disease, just a desert no trees, all provisions have to be brought in and living high. This Mr. Cook can put me in communication with a lady at Tushon [sic], who might look out for a house and he says R. could be taken to St. Mary's sanitarium while they are getting settled. It takes 3½ days to go; about $60 single fare besides sleeper. Sanitariums there but very expensive. If we have to do it, and it depends on R.'s condition by September, we must trust God for guidance and help to endure. It is all like a terrible nightmare to me and Hilda cannot bear the thought of it and I cannot bear to think of them going without me even with a nurse or helper. If we could have Miss Coleman or Helen Locke now, it would be a comfort.
Had a letter from Miss Fisher, who with Mrs. Wood is sailing for England from Montreal on Aug. 13th, have let their rooms and think the money goes further there. Do not know how long they mean to stay.
Wasn't it too bad about your crop? Certainly the West is a very uncertain place to live in and now you will have no vegetables poor fellow! Lorna Culham is to live at Regina. We have had some pleasant cool days, but to-day is pretty warm. There is an excursion by Steamer Sagamo on Monday to Port Carling. Boat races, if weather is fine, Hilda and Edna will go I hope. I do no know what the girls would do without the boat, it is a little diversion in the evening, otherwise not a very lively time.
Mary picks blueberries, which are small and dry, owing to the dry season, but has not yet caught a fish. Nellie James writes of large fish caught at Sparrow Lake. I am sure you must be getting throughly tired of the prairie, this dry hot summer. Last Sabbath the churches were addressed by Dominion Alliance men. Hilda heard Crossley, the Evangelist in the evening, most extraordinary.
The last reports of Dorothy Hobson not so favourable, what a terrible time for her parents! Hessie Snow came out for a short visit and took her uncle Robert Park back with her. So people flit about. I wonder if we ever shall; now my one desire is to stay at home with all my family well. The Times of last night spoke as if [Alexandra] Arcade were sold.1 I trust it will be for the best. Well, Cal, dear, take care of yourself and let us pray much.
Ever your loving mother
1 For more on the Alexandra Arcade, see W1652.