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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Diary of a Wylie Savage, part 3

[Note from Editor: This is the third in the series of the adventures of Beatrice Boedefeld, working in the summer of 1916 as a cabin maid for Wylie Camping Company in Yellowstone National Park. Here is part one, and here is part two.]


Saturday July First
They moved the Savage dining room today. We have been eating in the second “dude” dining room, but we really aren’t refined enough at our meals to be allowed to be so near the dudes. They haven’t enough cups to go round, so the Savages get their coffee in soup bowls; consequently, we can’t have soup or mush. Cora pines for the former constantly, and I for the latter in the morning. Lady Mac has promised more china soon, so that we can have mush at least if not soup.

We are learning to distinguish Sunday by the fact that we get sliced pineapple and cake for dinner on those days.

Our new dining room parallels the kitchen and is back of the room where they wash the dishes. There are two long tables for the drivers at one end, and a long and short table for the “family” set at right angles. No driver is allowed to eat with the Savages unless there is no room for him at the drivers’ tables.

Nurse Fergie is the ticket taker and the drivers line up for fully fifteen minutes before dinner outside the door and jolly her.

Have been having most of my meals with Bill until now, but as he is in the kitchen, he has to work mealtimes. Don’t expect to see much more of him, as he has joined the “dude chasing” squad of the pack rats.

The dance tonight was great fun. There was a big crowd of drivers, and I had every dance. About the middle of the dance, Mird and Spooks started ragging together. The drivers ordered them to cut it and get girls, but they wouldn’t, and a gang of the older drivers took them out to duck them. Old Spooks was game, walked right up to the horse trough and waited to be put in. It spoiled the fun and they let him off. Mird fought, for he had on his best clothes, and he hasn’t but two suits, and they ducked him properly. He needed it. They declare they are going to duck some of the other pack rats the next time they come in. Miss Johnston was furious, for ducking is strictly prohibited since a boy was nearly drowned one year. We were regaled with tales of how the pack rats and the girls ducked a manager one year, and of how a bunch of girls ducked another girl for dude chasing, and other like yarns all the rest of the evening.

Sunday July Second
Bought a bunch of post cards this afternoon and spent the time after dinner in writing them at the office. It was about the hottest day we have had. Roy took a crowd over to the Plunge and I am sorry I didn’t go. My suit hasn't come from home yet, but I wouldn’t have minded a rented one for once. After I had finished my cards I bothered Bill while he was trying to write a letter out under the trees, but he wouldn’t thaw out.
“We have hot water again from the Punch Bowl and I had the grandest bath
this afternoon. Tried to get a bathing suit from Garner but can’t.
So will you send me a $2.50 one from Sykes?
Ruth knows what I want—jersey tights with overdress of mohair.
I don’t like to borrow. Iron Spring surely is grand. Bee.”

While we were having service tonight, they had a circus with Bill in the barber’s tent. The barber and Al, the handy man, started the rumor this afternoon that the drivers had their eyes on five of the pack rats, including Bill. Bill was to be ducked for dude chasing.

He made an awful fool of himself the other day over a yellow haired sport who had all the kids running after her. When she went to go, she declared that she must have her shoes shined. Bill and Bobby have gone into partnership on the shoe shining proposition and Bill declared he’d be delighted to shine her shoes. While he was doing it, both Lloyd and Rae snapped his picture and said they were going to have the picture printed in the Los Angeles paper. Bill was furious and nearly broke Lloyd’s camera. Rae’s picture is safe, however. Lloyd said Bill’s “social position” would be ruined forever now. That joke is all over camp.

Well—Bill knew he had a ducking coming for being snobbish, and he bribed Al with pie to let him know what he found out from the drivers so that he could take a sneak. After supper Al told Bill that two of the drivers were looking for him and that they had started for Old Faithful. Bill lay low in the barber’s tent. Presently Al stuck his head out the door and said the drivers were coming. Bill made one dive for the barber’s bed, and Lloyd, who was there, giggled so that he disturbed the service. He came in presently and we wondered why he tried to look so innocent.
“Geyser Basin panorama taken from Geysers camp”

A thunder storm came up, and everybody had to take shelter in the pavilion. Bill came in while the popcorn was being passed, but he was nervous and fidgety if a driver even looked at him. I believe they did duck Lovey Evans for wearing leather leggings like the swaddies wear. Lloyd told us about Bill as we were starting home and we laughed ourselves sick over it.

When we got home, we built a big fire and had a fudge party. It was quite cold. Another sudden change.

Monday July Third
Spent a rather quiet day. It snowed a little this morning. This afternoon Rae, Bill and I did the family washing. It rained, thundered, and hailed, which made it interesting when it came to hanging out the clothes. However, when it got to that stage, the sun came out. We were afraid for a while that the rain would spoil the plans for a parade, etc. tomorrow. Red Maxwell and Tex Matthews came into the laundry tent as we were finishing the job, and we had a lot of fun with them. The Paradise Inn bunch is making masks for the masquerade tomorrow night.

Tuesday July FOURTH.
Such a funny Fourth. Not so much as the sound of a fire cracker all day long, for of course no firearms or things of that sort are allowed in the Park.

Of course the work was done as usual this morning. We had extra eats at noon with a real salad. Gee, but it tasted good.

This afternoon we planned our costumes for tonight. I curled my hair, shortened a slip, and made a Mary Jane dress out of my embroidered night gown. Helped the rest of the girls with their rigs, and loaned veils and jewelry to the girls at Paradise Inn. Bobby nearly wore us to a frazzle trying to borrow slippers, white stockings, and white kid gloves. It wasn’t hard to guess how he was going. At 7 o’clock, they raised a new flag over the overflow tent. Spooks made a speech, I hear. Our bunch was busy about that time in the dance pavilion with Red Maxwell, Doc Condon, Tex Matthews, and Red Barratt. Danced with Barratt, and then Condon taught me a number of new steps in the fox trot. I don’t know that I have noticed him before. He is a great big fellow. Quite good looking. Wears glasses and is studying to be a vet.

The masquerade was great fun. Dorothy wore a short white dress and pink ribbons, and I had blue ribbons with my rig, so we were twins and danced together a good deal. Fergie and Tillie were both Red Cross nurses, and they had one of the drivers done up in bandages for their patient. Dorothy and I pretended that Fergie was our nurse, too.

Perla had her hair in pigtails and wore a middy dress, Cora wore her riding habit and was a Western girl, Vess was a Dutch girl with a rig made of my black skirt, Cora’s velvet girdle, and a cap made of a Wylie towel. Helyn Fisher was a cow-girl, Clara Sample an Indian maid, Mart McIlwain a Spanish dancer, Helen Wilson a peasant, Elsie Rhodes an Indian, and Isabelle Todd a Greek maiden. Garnet Rhodes had a mighty clever rig made with Wylie towels, all put on to show the trade mark.

The Masquerade
Bill Litchfield was a society woman in a yellow party gown of Gula Frewes, very decollette; Bobby was a boarding school miss, Jimmie and Mird wore girls’ bathing suits, Steve and Gene Eleson were just girls, and Frank Vetter wore Billie Wilson’s dress and hat and the Dutch blonde’s extra hair. He was a sight. Lloyd was a coon.

[To Ruth] “Here’s Keppler’s if the pictures
weren’t good. It certainly is a pretty place.
Either in the daytime or night. What!?
B.B. Keep track of the expenses.
You know I got 2 film packs for nothing
so the loss isn’t so much.”
I danced with Lloyd and Bill and several of the drivers, filling in with the girls. Then Matthews and Maxwell got Cora and Dorothy to say they’d go to Keppler’s, and they came after me to go with another Texas boy named Allen. So, we tore to the tent, I pinned my curls up any old way, changed my slippers for shoes, and put on a skirt and sweater, and away we went.

I have adopted Maxwell for my brother as he has red hair. He was half sick, but he certainly is the funniest thing I ever encountered. We stopped at the store for oranges, and then away we went.

I really hardly know what the man I was with looks like. He seemed rather nice. This is his last year at the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and I find that there are 13 fellows from that school up here either driving or in the camps. There was no moon, but the starlight was so bright that we could see quite plainly as we went along the road. It really doesn’t get pitch dark up here. One thing Allen said on the way up that I really liked. We were looking at the stars, and said how insignificant they made us feel.

“And some people have the nerve to say that there is no God,” I said.
“It makes me know that there IS,” he said.

When we got to the falls we sat on the platform and ate oranges and talked for quite a while. Dick was wild because Maxwell wanted to be spoony. In fact, they all thought they were rather abused because we wouldn’t give them time for “rotton logging” on the way home, and Allen kept pointing out the delightful looking logs along the way and begging me to stop and rest with the most adorable southern accent. I could hardly resist, but I pointed out that as I had only just met him and didn’t even know what he looked like by daylight, even the mildest rotten logging simply couldn’t be did. We had a lot of fun squabbling, and he did fool me once into waiting about three minutes for Cora and Matthews to “catch up,” when as a matter of fact they were ahead of us. Score one. He lied.

Invited him to a feed at Deaux Drop some time when he is in, and he promised to bring up some fruit from Riverside. They had a watermelon picnic down there the other day and paid a dollar a piece for the melons. We got back to camp at about 1 o’clock and stopped under a lantern to size each other up. If he ever recognizes me, he’ll be a good one, for my hair was a sight. He said when we started out that he thought I’d worked a swap on him for I looked like a 14 year old kid on the dance floor, and after all I was grown up.

He is about as tall as I am, has light hair, a one-sided smile that makes a streak in his cheek, and is very sunburned. I honestly don’t know whether I will be able to recognize him again or not, and I told him so. He says he’ll know me, however.

Wednesday July Fifth.
Was all in, of course, today. Lloyd had a great time kidding us about the time we got in. Got a card from Mary Proctor. She and a friend are coming through the Park by the Shaw-Powell route and will probably get here tomorrow.

Thursday July Sixth
Dick, Cora and I walked to the Shaw-Powell Camp, which is just beyond Old Faithful Inn and directly in front of the Old Faithful Geyser, tonight. Mary hadn’t come however. The Matron said she would be at Nez Perce tonight and would get to their camp tomorrow morning. So I left a note for her and said I’d be over tomorrow night, but that she might look me up at Geysers before, if she had time. Then we went out to the Old Faithful dump and saw a Big Black Bear!!

Friday July Seventh

Dick went with me to the Shaw-Powell camp tonight to see Mary. She is the same old girl and is having the time of her life, jollying the drivers, etc. Had innumerable stories to tell about incidents of her trip. She and her friend are traveling with two girls from Minneapolis named McGregor who have lost their suit cases and the clothes they intended to wear in the park. So they are making the best of matters and trying to rough it in silk suits.

We went down to the Plunge, where the Shaw-Powell crowd go every night, and the “Wee” McGregor, Mary’s friend Ellen Morehouse, and some other members of their party went in. We sat on the edge and watched them for a while, and then Mary and Miss McGregor walked back to camp with us, went down and saw our tent, which they greatly admired, and then danced a dance each in our pavilion. Mary had promised to play for dancing at their own camp, so felt that she must hurry back. We were sorry that they couldn’t stay longer.

Perhaps it is just as well, for within fifteen minutes, the fun began. Dick told Cora she felt sick and went home, and presently Cora came and told me, and said she was quite worried. So we both went home and found Dick doubled up with a mild attack of ptomaine poisoning. We fussed around with hot water, Jamaica ginger, and other remedies, but didn’t think at first of calling Fergie. Then she came down the street, having been called for Cupid Evans, who was having an awful time. Next, Jimmie came running to tell her that Ed was sick, and while he and Miss Johnston were taking care of Ed, Jimmie also had an attack.

Cora had a date with Bill, and he was quite peevish when I got hold of him to light up the kitchen so we could get hot water. Then began a round of the tents to gather up hot water bottles. We’d just get them from one tent, when the word would come that someone there had been stricken. Half the drivers were hanging out of the bunk house windows, and one boy, Toner by name, nearly died, he was so sick.

It was funny at first, but believe me, Fergie certainly was kept hopping, and so was Bill, after he once started. Mrs. Kennedy, Mary, and Miss Johnston were all sick too. Fortunately none of the others in our tent had it, though I felt sick partly from seeing the rest.

Saturday July Eight

I got just enough of whatever the stuff was that poisoned the camp to make me feel miserable all day today. Such arguments as we have had as to WHAT it was. Some people blame the beans, but some of the people who were sickest didn’t eat beans. Others blame the berries, but Dick didn’t eat the berries. Still others blame the meat, but several of the sick ones didn’t eat meat. Whatever it was, it was effective, and it was something the dudes didn’t have.

I quite enjoyed feeling punk, however, because everyone was so sympathetic. Bill and Lloyd were especially nice.

Sunday July Nine
This afternoon, having nothing better on hand, the Deaux Drops, with the exception of Rae, dressed in bathing suits and gym bloomers, followed the bank of the Firehole back of camp. We had also a blanket and some books, and made a camp. Then we went in wading in the ice cold water, staying in long enough to have some pictures taken, and came out, sat on the blanket, sang, gossiped, read and ate cheese crackers. Cora and I explored the bank for quite a way and found some miniature paint pots and some interesting springs farther down.

We saw Fergie and Tillie back in the woods, and Elsie, Garnet and Gula on the opposite formation. A thunder storm came up, and we had to simply tear to camp. Dick was a regular sprite this afternoon, and I got some cute pictures of her.


Tonight in the office, I was talking to Doc Condon, and he proposed that we go for a walk, so we did. We started to go out to the Punch Bowl but had only just reached the road when it began to thunder and lightening again, and I made him turn back. We sat on the bench by Daisy until it really began to rain and then raced for the tent. All the girls save Rae had dates, and we had a jolly time. After the storm was over, Doc and I went out again and watched the moon set behind the hill west of camp. He is rather a proposition, but I like him because he is big and good looking, so after making him beg real hard, I gave him a date for tomorrow night.

Monday, July 10.
Had a couple of dances with Doc, whose front name is Jack, tonight, and then went “rotton logging.” It was a glorious night, and Riverside was due at about eleven, so we decided to watch it in company with a number of other couples, only we chose the opposite bank of the Firehole. The moon was glorious, and Jack was—interesting, after he had been given to understand how far he could go. The cave woman side really enjoyed him, but he didn’t know about my dual personality, so he had to be gently but firmly told to desist.

When we went home, I told him that I had to be in by 12, because I had promised “mother” that I would. Found that the girls had piled all the furniture in the place in front of the door, and had a wonderful time getting in, “durn” ’em. Told them the fiction about “mother” and we decided we would appoint a mother to chaperone the crowd and give orders for a week at a time, hereafter.

Tuesday, July Eleven
Not being used to such late hours, I was dead to the world this afternoon. Bill was too busy to help. Danced a while this evening, but came home early.

Wednesday July Twelve
Ironed early this afternoon, and helped Mac Smith with his laundry in the Savage wash house, as he most evidently doesn’t know a thing about such work. Took Bill’s clothes to him in the store room, and he was most grateful, said I was an “Angel,” etc. Words are cheap. He really was nice, though.

Then the whole gang except Rae decided to go over to Iron Creek and go in swimming, as we had located a nice place when we hiked over there the other day, and I was crazy to try my new suit. We had heaps of fun. The water was shallow, except in one place, so we couldn’t really swim, but we let the current float us down stream. I wore my watch into the water, and now it has stopped for fair.

When I got back, Perla told me that Allen came in with a bunch of dudes early this afternoon. I have been watching for him but wasn’t at all certain that I’d be able to recognize him. However, I did know him as soon as he came into supper, and smiled. He is quite a good deal better looking with his hat off. Has yellow hair.

After supper, I was standing in the door of the office when he came up and proposed that we go over to the store after fruit. We talked of the feed on the night of the Fourth. So we went over and bought some oranges, and then went on to the swaddie station and the Plunge. I’m really quite crazy about the way he takes care of me. New experience. I turned my ankle, and he nearly had a fit about it all the rest of the evening.

We got back in time for the program, or at least the end of it, and then I danced while friend Allen wrote letters. It’s too bad, but he doesn’t dance. The Texas boys mostly don’t. They are from a Methodist college, which is the reason, I suppose.

After the dance, the moon was perfectly glorious, so friend Allen and I walked down the road past Riverside, Morning Glory, the Fan, the Mortar, and the Churn, and found us a real nice log where we could talk about the stars and the moon and other things.

His first name is Ivan and as he has been doing watch repairing as a sideline up here, I let him take my watch to look over. He has a glorious chance, with the bunch of dudes he now has, of seeing the entire Park. They are out for fourteen days at least and want to see Mt. Washburne, Roosevelt, and take all the side trips. So it will probably be some time before I see my yellow haired laddie again. I’m really quite crazy about him. He’s so much nicer than I thought he was going to be. Which proves that first impressions are not a good guide.

Thursday July 13
Finished my ironing this afternoon. Some of the girls went swimming again this afternoon, but I was afraid it would be too cold. Went to bed right after the dance.

Friday, July 14
This afternoon, at the request of some of the girls, I gave Shorty Green, alias John Donahue, a dancing lesson, but he is hopeless. Also gave him a date for tonight, as they say the poor little thing is lonesome. He has driven in the Park for three seasons and came in late this year. Couldn’t get a team so took a kitchen job. He’s a chronic grouch but rather a good talker. Had a couple of dances with Barratt this afternoon. I sure was sorry I gave Shorty the date, for Condon came in, and I had to turn him down.

It rained, so Shorty and I, George Miller and Cora, and Perla and Owen had a marshmallow roast at the tent and lots of fun. Vess was out with Morning Glory Condon. They have quite a case, and he has made a date for every time he comes in the rest of the season. It makes me mad about Doc, though. I don’t see how he got around the loop so quick. Must have had short trippers.

Rae and Dick stayed at Lady Mac’s tent all night. They have been threatening to do it for some time.

Saturday July 15.
Usual work today. It is Mary’s and my turn to do the bunk house, but we haven’t minded it at all. I don’t see what the girls kick about it so, for. Of course it’s dirty, but that can’t be helped.

Gordon got Doc to go with him and Vess and Perla on a hike to Keppler’s this afternoon. It rained, and they were soaked when they got back. We were making fudge, and we had a great time drying them out.

Doc had a date with Perla tonight and didn’t even dance with me, which made me sore at first. However, I should worry.

Sunday July 16
It was cold and rainy most of the day, and we didn’t do much that was interesting. Had some fun with Gene and Bill during the service tonight over a paper that Bill was reading instead of listening to the preacher.

Dick and I generally have Sunday school on Sundays after dinner, singing all the hymns in the Hymnal, and Gene has attended several times.

Lloyd and Johnnie have quarreled, and he has been going around glum as an oyster for several days.

[Click here for part 4.]

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