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W6576 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her daughter Ruby McQuesten
Dec 13 1909
To: Mary Baker McQuesten Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario

My darling Mother,

Your letter came to-day and you needn't have worried about the amount of fresh air I get. There is about ten times more than I can use at present & I dare only open it a crack with the present gale. On Sat. my window was fixed. Mrs. Fournier thought of the idea & won't let me pay for it at all. A man did it in half-a-day, but it is very decent of Mrs. Fournier all the same. The two sashes of the window were fixed into one and it just opens with hinges like a door and it lets in a great amount of air & then I can partly shut it or just open it a little as at present. I wouldn't take Mr. Powis' room as a present even with an electric heater. And a view doesn't count compared with comfort. I'll get the stone if I want it--I haven't wanted anything these nights.1

Yes, Mrs. Motler's address is 316--15th Ave W.

Poor Tousie [Hilda] I can thoroughly sympathize with her about her nose and I hope by next letter it will be better.

I haven't the slightest idea who Mrs. Dr. Ross would be. If I knew her maiden name I might remember her.

Yes my temperature still goes to 99 or 99 2/5 in the afternoon & evening. It is generally normal in morning. It will probably continue that way for a couple of mos. I can't expect it any better. It is good for it.2

Yes, I saw what it said about Harvey Gunn in the Times. I never heard that version. I knew what you heard about the kind of operation and I just heard that his death had been caused not by haemorrhage of the lungs or pneumonia as is often the case after such operations but that the stitches had given way. Everybody felt very badly about it but they said if he had not had the operation it would have meant a great deal of acute suffering. Harvey Gunn & his cousin left here about three weeks ago--they left suddenly at the last I think it was on a Wed. & the last time I had seen Mrs. Gunn was on the Sat. before & she just told me very much what you knew that they were waiting for the doctor brother & trying to decide where to go for the operation. Then when the brother came from the West they hurried off & I expect poor Mrs. Gunn was too [?] to come and see me. I feel so sorry for them all. I've less chance of hearing about him for the nurses & Mrs. Fournier don't encourage you in asking about such things. I know he rested at the Gunns in Toronto for some days before the operation & then it was quickly over. 3Am sure the bows will be enough for the nurses. I don't want the girls bothering.

I haven't asked Dr. Parfitt about climates. I know he wouldn't let me go any place this winter or spring & I don't think it would be the thing in summer. We might consider it for next fall. When Cal asked Dr. Parfitt about places he said [?] California, or the Okanagan Valley is simply an experiment--they know nothing about it, and from what I've heard definitely about California, I've quite dropped from considering it.

I fancy from hearing 'lungers' talk & there is more information that way than from the doctors--the best places are Arizona & New Mexico & Texas.

It would be nice to know about that Sanatarium she speaks of. So many 'lungers' go wandering about because they are able just to go to boarding houses & take care of themselves. By next fall I'll probably be at that stage but it would do no harm to find out about the Sanatarium. I can't help feeling that when I gained so much in Calgary as long as it was warm & dry & it was only the cold that knocked me out, that some climate with the dryness & heat & without the cold would be the place. But at present if we go by the doctor I stay here for six mos. anyway.5

I'm sorry to hear Mrs. Whittemore is so poorly that she has to be sent on such a long trip. I only wish you could be sent for a trip too instead of spending everything on me. However, you can rest contented about me for the present. I've everything I need & there's time enough for the future though it's good to keep one's ears open.

With much love to all,

Your affec'ate daughter,


1 A "stone" is a heated stone for heating the bed, often known as a "stone pig."

2 This indicates that a fever was thought to be part of the treatment for tuberculosis.

3 This indicates that the death of a patient was not discussed.

4 This is part of the discussion of whether or not to send Ruby to a hot climate. It continues to be discussed and then it is decided that the journey would be too difficult for her and she is sent to a cottage on the Hamilton Mountain where she dies in April 1911. Ruby acknowledges here that the warm dry air in Calgary was good for her but that when the cold arrived the disease recurred.

For more information on Ruby and her treatment for Consumption (Tuberculosis), see W6135, and see her biographical sketch by clicking on "Family" on the Home Page and then clicking on her picture.

5 "Lungers" appears to be the name used for tuberculosis patients at this time, also Ruby speaks of being treated for "the Con." meaning Consumption. They do not use the name "tuberculosis" or, perhaps, they prefer not to use it. Certainly it was known at the time. The Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton opened in 1910

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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