[This is the last in the series of the adventures of Beatrice Boedefeld in the summer of 1916 at Yellowstone National Park, where she worked as a tent-and-cabin maid for the Wylie Permanent Camping Company.]
Click here for part 1.
Click here for part 2.
Click here for part 3.
Click here for part 4.
Thursday August 17
This was the biggest day of the year for Mary and me. We had every tent full, including the big four-compartments on Broadway, and had to do the bunk house beside. It was 88 beds in all, I figured up, and it meant some hustling, so I didn’t have much time to think about my troubles.
Didn’t have a chance to look up Doc Staufft and Nellie all morning—they were out with Roy anyway, and after dinner they came hunting me. I sent word I’d be with them in half an hour, and it was tall work, but I got my dress changed and made it without keeping them waiting very long.
Doc had an awful grouch on. George Bowles, who is their driver, had whirled them into camp without showing them anything, and she wanted to see the Morning Glory so bad. And Roy had been flippant and told such disgusting stories on the formation trip that they never knew when to believe him and when not. They thought he was perfectly horrid. I didn’t have the nerve to tell them that he is a nephew of the famous Stoddard who wrote the lectures—though he is. He tells some people that he is studying for the ministry, but I doubt that, myself.
So I piloted the crowd to the Morning Glory and then persuaded them to hike to Biscuit Basin and see the Sapphire Pool. Doc has had neuritis since she had diphtheria, and I was rather afraid she couldn’t make it after we had started, but she did and felt well repaid. I tried to bring them home by the way that Ivan and I went down before and nearly drowned the whole bunch in the mud of the swamp. I chose the wrong log, and we came to a place where we had to cross five feet of swamp on a three inch stick. I got Nellie across beautifully, but when it came to Doc, Nellie got me to laughing, and I was absolutely no good. A man of their coach crowd, Mr. Webber—quite German—was along, and he did wobble off the stick and got his feet covered with mud and his trousers spattered too. However, they all took it like sports and enjoyed the cow trail. Only Doc was sure they’d never get back in time to see Riverside play, and I was certain that they would.
We stopped at the corrals and had some fresh warm milk to refresh us, and then I showed them the Honeymoon trail path, and behold, Riverside had not played, although the audience was assembling, and they had plenty of time.
In the evening they sent word and wanted me to go to see Old Faithful, but I simply could not. Was about all in and had the program to get up, it being Thursday.
Managed to recuperate enough to dance. Then, while the rest had dates, I visited Doc and Nellie in their little beds until 11, and then scurried home.
The weather has taken one of its sudden changes, and it is beginning to snow. After Rae and I were in bed, the rest of the bunch came home, having been frozen out, and raised rough house for a considerable spell.
Friday August 18.
This morning I told Chip Samuels to tell Bowles that his dudes were sore, and that his tip was being reduced with every mile.
“That ain’t a tipping gang at all,” he said.
“Don’t you think it,” I said. “Two of them are from my town, and I know they pay well when they get service.”
Bowles was horrid to them at the stile, because Doc refused to go until the side curtains were put up. I saw Chip get up and speak to Bowles, and then he helped put on the curtains, but old George never moved. (It was a cold day.)
Had three dances with Lloyd tonight, the first in weeks, as he has been acting as guide for the evening crowds so as to learn the ropes. He wants to take Roy’s place at the end of the season and be a guide here next year. I got Lloyd first in a two step circle which dear ole Chips called from the top of the piano. I’ll never forget the picture he made. He was wearing his blue spotted tie, and his yellow pompador had fallen down over his forehead in a great yellow curl. He certainly is a handsome devil, and such fun, but he doesn’t like me very well.
Then I had a regular one step with Lloyd, and afterward got him in a rag that was very long and fast as a dude girl was playing. Some time. A nice old lady who had enjoyed my reciting told me I was as good a dancer as I was entertainer.
Came home with the gang and sat Gordon and Fuller out, which was mean, but we do get so tired of them, Gordon especially.
Saturday August 19
The kitchen gang and some of the heavers climbed the cliff back of Emerald this afternoon, and we kids hiked to Black Sand Basin.
Had a rather awful experience tonight, and yet it was funny too after it was over. I started home with Cora and Riddle. Then we went back to the store to get some peaches, as they have just come in. While we were waiting, one of the drivers stole two and put them in his pocket. I was watching and laughed. He looked up, saw me watching, and grabbed my arm, saying, “Come on out and see the Daisy play.”
I didn’t think anything about it, thought I might as well eat the peaches and have some fun as stick with Cora and Riddle, and the older drivers are lots of fun. Figured he would take me home after the peaches were disposed of.
By that time, the fellow was getting noisy. He said his name was “Murphy,” but it really was Johnny Kirk, I found out later. And of course we met Tillie and Fish and some more of the Newcastle girls who knew that he’d been put off the dance floor, because they were afraid he’d make trouble. I didn’t know a thing about that; in fact, I don’t know as I’ve seen him before.
When we got home, he insisted on coming in, and then he began to beg me to come out again and “she Daishy play, Daishy’s nice ole girl.” We told him to go home and go to bed, and when he asked the tent number so that he could come and see me again, I said it was 44 instead of 60.
Cora had a stick of wood ready in case he really tried to come in, but he finally went away singing.
Sunday August 20
I suppose everybody in camp but me knew that Johnny Kirk was soused last night. I was late for breakfast this morning, and only Lloyd and a few of the kitchen gang were there when I arrived. The girls said all the drivers had something to say about the Daisy playing, and I’d have wanted to have gone through the floor if I’d been there, I know. I told Lloyd how it happened so as to stop his mouth, for he is the worst gossip in camp, but I suppose my reputation will be nil, for sure.
I wonder if anyone will be kind enough to tell Ivan about it. Well, it won’t be my fault if he hears it. I don’t ever want to talk about seeing Daisy play. I must be careful not to be too teased, though.
Tonight we decided to have church in our own tent and sat around and sang our favorite hymns. Mac Smith, who is a preacher’s son, stopped to listen and came in. Presently he said, “I know where there's an organ,” and we told him to go get it, but he thought he didn’t dare. So Cora and I said to lead us to it, and we’d dare all right. We took a flashlight and went over to the storehouse and dug out the nicest little portable organ. They used to use it for music before they got the piano. Then we dug out hymn books, and Mac played hymns as fast as Perla could find them, interspersing the performance with ragtime, of which she strongly disapproved.
We told him to leave the organ in our tent when he went, but he came back and said as long as he was responsible for getting it, he thought he ought to put it back. He really wanted to get it for his own tent, we think, and Cora and I are going after it tomorrow morning.
Monday, August 21.
Cora and I went and got the organ right after breakfast this morning and took it to the tent, stowing it in the washroom at the foot of my bed and under the clothes rack.
Cora was playing our organ after dinner when Spooks came down and stuck his head in the door and asked where we got the organ. Then presently Mac came down and calmly walked off with said organ. We had it out in the living room, and I had just taken some interior views of our home, with the organ in evidence.
At supper time, Mrs. Todd presented Bobby with a birthday cake. He passed it and then whispered that the Deaux Drops would have a party tonight. Rae brought down all the lemonade that was left and several bottles of grape juice. We also had candy and the cake.
I spent the afternoon in bed, but was well enough to dance tonight. We were wishing we had the organ back, and Ed and Bobby went up to Spooks’ tent and found it. Then we had a “Circle Cow Drill” as Ed calls it.
Katie Mueller was at the party, and Slim Francis brought a big lantern for light. We decided to hide the organ in Mrs. Mueller’s tent, thinking that the boys wouldn’t be able to find it there.
Tuesday August 22
Great excitement this morning. Cora and I decided not to go to breakfast and were taking a second snooze when there was the greatest commotion outside. I looked out and saw Bill Litchfield heading all the boys in camp in a dash down Lone Dog Alley. They were yelling for water, and my first thought was that they were going to duck someone. Then I saw that Lone Dog was afire, the whole roof blazing. I yelled to Cora, and we both watched, while the boys took the steps two at a time and began firing clothes, bedding, furniture, etc., into the street. The fire began to spread to the trees, and we decided that we'd better get ready to throw our stuff out. Got dressed in record time, believe me. Dick says Ed’s first idea was to get out the candlestick that he made so that Greer wouldn’t see it. In a short time, Lone Dog was a heap of ruins and the fire was all out. Cora and I then went to breakfast and made a very good meal.
Allen came in tonight, but I didn’t see much of him until after the dance. As it was pretty cold and we wanted more quiet than is possible at home, we went “bungalowing,” although it is against my principles. Selected 99 and made a fire and then sat down for a cozy little talk—and as a result, if we both don’t change our minds, we may be married next April. Ivan thinks that’s a long time to wait. Doesn’t see why I care about having the folks know him first, nor why we can’t just be married when we leave the Park and send them a telegram.
He certainly acts as if he were crazy about me, and when we are together I almost make up my mind to do as he says, but thank heaven, at least a fourth of my brain is left and is perfectly normal and sane. If it is only summer madness, we’ll both know by April, and I always wanted an Easter wedding. If he can’t wait six months, why his love isn’t the kind that would last, and I can’t take any risks. I’d rather remain single all my days.
But oh, we did have a good time planning. Ivan is sole heir to about 15,000 acres of Texas land when his mother dies, and they have a big cattle business. Then he has his assistant professorship and says, “I guess I have enough to take care of you. Why can’t you quit your job and come now?”
And I want to, and yet I don’t. Easter is best, I know.
Spooks and Mac stole the organ from Mrs. Mueller’s tent at noon today and after dinner, Ed went and got it and it is now in Mrs. Houghton’s tent. Wonder if they’ll find it again.
They thought they were so smart finding it. I saw them streaking it off up the street as I went into Fergie’s tent shortly before dinner to return a hot water bottle. So I staid and watched them from her window.
“Won’t they be mad?” Mac said, and in they marched and got it. Then they came back, right past the tent, but of course they didn’t know I was there.
“Where’ll we hide it?” they said, and Spooks wanted it in his tent again, and Mac said no. Then Spooks suggested taking it into the dining room where he could watch it, but Mac wanted it in his tent so he could play this afternoon.
I went down to the Deaux Drop and our kids, including Ed, were watching with open mouths. “How do you suppose they found it?” they said, and we had rather dark suspicions of Slim, who helped us stow it away last night at Mrs. Mueller’s.
Well, Ed didn’t say much, but he didn’t wait to finish his dinner. Streaked out, found one of the carts, went to Mac’s tent, loaded in the organ, and wheeled it away around by Daisy Park and the bath house so no one would see him, and then took it back to Deaux Drop. Mrs. Houghton’s tent we thought the safest from invasion, so we put it in there, back of the unused bed, and piled bedclothes over it.
I sure would like to have seen Mac’s face when he found it had gone, but he is so determined that I suppose he’ll find it if he has to look in every single Savage tent. We’re having a good time over it.
Ivan laughed when I told him about it.
Thursday August 24
It is to laugh.
Down went McGinty to the bottom of the sea,
Dressed in his best suit of clothes, fiddle dee dee.
In other words, my romance is broken all into little bits, and I don’t think my heart is injured at all, so it’s just as well I woke up in time. It’s no use pretending I don’t care, for I do, but I really think it is my pride that is most injured. But this will have to be told right.
In the first place, of course I was tired yesterday. I should have been. Ivan came down at noon but couldn’t stay because he was taking his dudes over to the hotel.
Then at night, Catherine Marshall, his Riverside girl, came in. Now, I’ve known about Catherine all summer, because Miss Vogt, the Riverside news stand girl, wrote to Rae that they were teasing Catherine about a man named Allen, and it was easy to put two and two together. Indeed, I have had a lot of fun about it with him—but, if he and I are really engaged to be married, and we were on Tuesday night I supposed, why, he hasn’t any right to have dates with another girl without at least telling me about it.
Well, Tuesday night while we were in the office, Rae mentioned that she had a letter from Catherine and that she’d be in camp the next night on her loop trip. But Mr. Ivan Allen never said one word about her to me.
Well, Wednesday night Ivan met the Riverside bunch before supper and went over the formation with them and was with them all evening. I saw him and Catherine on the edge of the dance hall once, and smiled, for I thought of course that he’d ditch her after the dance. But he didn’t. I came home and went to bed, and didn’t he have the nerve to come down to the tent after a while with her and sit and talk to Vess, while Catherine visited outside with Rae.
I was too furious to cry, but I didn’t sleep much.
This morning I met him as I was on my way to the Savage laundry. He had been talking with Greer and trying to get to drive their bunch around the Park instead of his own dudes. Greer didn’t seem inclined to allow it, but I believe they pulled it off. He said he had left my watch and Cora’s at the office for us, and that he couldn’t fix mine because he couldn’t get the parts from any of the importers he works with. I was much too hurt to quarrel with him.
“Will I see you the next time I come?” he asked.
“I really don’t know; I suppose you will,” I said, and I don’t know whether he got the double entendre or not. He isn’t quick about things like that.
I felt miserable all morning but felt better at noon when Cora said that Catherine stuck so close to Ivan that he couldn’t get away. I’ll give him a chance to explain, but—our engagement is off, unless the explanation is most satisfactory.
Friday August 25
Had a lot of fun today. Being very much up in the air about Allen, I am going to have a grand old fling this week, so I began by a flirtation with Bill today and a date with him tonight.
I heard that his pictures had come, so I looked him up after dinner to ask about them, and he invited me over to the “Studio” to see them. They are fine, too, especially the one of the masquerade, and he gave me the film of that. We talked a while, and rotten-logged a bit, but I wouldn’t stay long, because knowing Bill I thought best not.
Tonight the whole Deaux Drop gang had a bacon bat, and as I had had a little Bill this noon, I asked him to go when we went to ask him for the bacon. Had to coax a little, for he does work long hours and gets tired, but I assured him he’d have a good time, and he did. So did I.
We planned to have broiled bacon sandwiches, pickles, and coffee, but bread in camp was scarce, and when we came to round up the supply, we had just thirteen pieces.
“Well,” said Dick, “I’m not going to take six hungry men, to say nothing of the girls, on a bacon bat without more bread than that.” So after supper, she and I started for the store—indeed, it was 7:30 before we left camp, and we hiked that mile and a half in record time, believe me. It was a dark night, too, and we had only a flashlight for a light. We swung along with scarcely a word, until we got to the Castle, when someone called to us, and we turned the flash on some rotten-loggers back on the bench. I’ll swear it was K-k-katie Mueller and Waterman. It looked like her skirt, anyway. So we got our bread and hiked back again.
Got in in time for the dance and danced until 9:30, then went down to the tent to round up the gang. There were Bill and I, Vessie and Gordon, Perla and Phil McNutt, Cora and Ray Lyall, and Rae and the new milk boy, Earl Seward. Frances Cattrell is here from Canyon on her loop trip, and we saw her with Deal as we passed Riverside, so asked them to come along.
We went up to the Wylie Spring, about halfway up the trail back of Riverside, and gee whiz, but it was dark. However, each couple was armed with a flashlight, and all the girls had ample assistance getting over all logs and rough places. Arrived at our destination, the boys built a big fire, set the coffee to boiling, and sharpened the sticks for the bacon. We girls got the bread ready and fixed the sandwiches, and they certainly were the best things. Then we spread out blankets around the fire and had a regular program. Frances gave a reading, Gordon sang and told stories, and we all sang.
Got home at about 1:30, and Bill was then ready to stay out all night, but as it began to rain, I didn’t have to use force to back my arguments. Vess and Gordon had quite a fuss about something on the way home, and there are indications of coolness in the air.
Saturday, August 26
Mac found the organ again today. He and Isabel Todd went through every single Savage tent until they found it this morning, while other people were busy. Then at noon he and Spooks got it out again. We had Mrs. Houghton sworn to secrecy, and she enjoyed the joke as much as anyone. This time they took it to the spud shed where Mac can keep an eye on it. However, we have had our fun. Mac goes Monday, and he is welcome to annoy the kitchen gang with his music today and tomorrow if he wants to.
The English girl was in camp yesterday and today and caused a lot of trouble because she wouldn’t go out when she was supposed to on the noon coach yesterday, but insisted on getting a trip to Biscuit Basin. Now she has to stay over and pay her own board until another short trip coach for Yellowstone Station comes in.
Flora Hall from Lake was here today, and Rae and I went to the Plunge with her this afternoon. We staid in the water nearly two hours and sure had some sport, especially with some dudes with whom I danced last night. A great big man took care of Rae and tried to teach her to swim. Some woman, a professional swimmer who is staying at the hotel, was there, and I’d give anything to be able to swim as she does. She told of winning a race in which she swam on her back and held cups and saucers half filled with water on her hands, and not a drop spilled in the saucer at the end of the race.
After the dance tonight as Rae and I were going home, we noticed a queer greenish light in the north. Got to the end of the street and could see that it must be Northern Lights. So we went up to the overflow and sat on the steps and simply worshiped. I haven’t words to express the feeling of awe that those weird lights aroused in me. It seemed sometimes that the heavens must open and show the glory beyond, which was trying to push through. Long rays of light in red, pale green, and pale yellow marched along the sky, now brighter and then paler again, sometimes shooting to the zenith, and then sinking down. Mr. Greer and another man who came up said they had never seen them more beautiful and more wonderful. It was frightfully frosty and cold, but we sat and shivered for nearly an hour it seemed.
When we finally went home, we found that the kids were getting up another bacon bat, and they wanted either Rae or me to go and fill in with an odd man. They asked Rae first, as Edna Parkinson and Margaret Pearson from Canyon whom she knows were in the party. But she was too tired, so I went instead. The party consisted of Perla and Phil McNutt, Vess and McIlvoy, Margaret and J. Ison, Edna and Harry Ison, and myself and Teter.
McIlvoy must be a funny one. He had a date for a hike today with Cora, and Phil and Perla went along. Also Vess, as she was off duty, and before they got to Biscuit Basin, Mac had transferred his attentions to Vess, and Cora was left out. She was rather sore about it too.
Ed and Dick didn’t go, as they hiked to Summit Lake today, starting at noon and not getting back until nearly 9 o’clock tonight. It is all of thirty miles there and back, some people in camp declare, but I don’t see how they could possibly have done that. Twenty I guess is a better estimate. So friend Dick was in bed when we started.
We had another roaring fire and more bacon sandwiches. Also hard-boiled eggs which no one liked after they were cooked—storage eggs.
Teter is assistant camp manager at Swan Lake and quite nice, but ordinary. His home is in Tipton, Indiana, and he teaches in South Dakota.
Sunday August 27.
A very quiet day. It was quite hot. Frank Toner and one of the other drivers was down this morning and raised rough house at Deaux Drop. Toner is also from Indiana, Shelbyville. Funny how we meet new ones all the time. He is very good looking and good fun too.
Tonight Vess had a date with Teter. Cora and I went to church, after which we scouted around a while together and then went home.
Monday August 28
It was good and hot today. We took inventory at the tents this morning and were all supposed to work at the bunk house this afternoon, but Rae and I arranged for our washing before we knew, and that had to be done.
Bill and Bobby hiked to Lone Star today. We washed for Bill, although Rae declares each time that she won’t again. Lloyd, who was her protege, went to sleep and didn’t bring his stuff down, so we got out of that much.
Tuesday August 29
We had planned to hike to Summit Lake today, and Gene Eleson was to have gone with me. However, everybody was done up with hard work, and we put it off.
The wrecking crew arrived tonight and we will probably have to move into bungalows tomorrow for the rest of the season, as they always take down the old tents first.
So tonight we had a final feed at Deaux Drop Inn. Someone had swiped a slice of ham, which we fried in the dear old fudge-starch kettle. Slim Frances with his lantern furnished illumination; Al Shrader, who was in the doleful dumps, came home with Rae, whom he adores, and was a guest; and so were Ed and Bobby. We had much candy in addition to ham, bread, etc.
Rae confided tonight that Shrader proposed to her on the way home. We all knew he was more than half in love with her because he let that out in maudlin talk to Pinkey one night when he was stewed. Of course he is impossible, and Rae felt it rather a disgrace and made me swear never to tell.
Wednesday August 30
The wrecking crew, which is under the supervision of Kentuck, began work this morning, and to have some fun, they began to tear down the girls’ tents first thing, hauling trunks out, etc., before we were half ready.
Mary, who is going home on Friday, had a chance to go to Lone Star with Earl Seward, and so I got Miss Johnston to pick out the heaver who is to take her place as my pal, and she chose Nance Kelly. As Nance was slow, I had time to get moved, to take some final pictures of Deaux Drop with the gang, and do a lot of tearing around in between.
Rae, Cora, and I are in one bungalow, and Perla, Vess, and Dick are in the other, making an even split. We planned that we’d sleep three in a bed part of the time and go visitin’ a lot the rest of the season. Our home has the old name, and I lettered a companion “An Stai Awhyle” to go on the other bungalow. Some dudes who saw them thought they were “too cute.” We have the two trunks side by side under the window, covered with my old red blanket for a couch, as in the old tent. The table with the books, work basket, etc., is under the other window. The beds are along the south and east walls, the foot of Cora’s to the side of mine, and that leaves a nice big space for dressing with the two dressing tables side by side on the west side, and the other trunk next to the door. We put in a lot more nails, and clothes are hung all around above the beds. It’s very ship-shape and cozy, we think.
Everybody kept open house this afternoon, visiting from tent to tent to see what everyone had done. I helped Bill and Bobby about making their bed, for they went in together again. Myra declared we couldn’t use the dude blankets and quilts, but most of us did all the same. Rae and I have all summer, in fact.
I did a little ironing and darned some socks, also got some more addresses in my address book, which is getting quite respectably full.
Tonight Ivan came in. I didn’t know quite what to do, but I finally followed Cora’s advice not to quarrel, although she of course doesn’t know that things are rather serious. I shall probably hate myself for being easy later. Met him in the store after supper and asked him over to see the new abode, and the pictures of the hike on the 16th, which came yesterday and are wonderfully fine we think.
“Well, what do you think of me?” he asked finally.
“You hurt me a lot, boy,” I said. “Will you please explain?”
“Why, you didn’t care, did you?”
“Why of course I cared. It wouldn’t have been so bad if you had explained.”
“Didn’t I tell you I’d have to split the next night?”
“No, you certainly didn’t. That would have made a lot of difference, although I don’t see that there was any ‘splitting’ about it since she monopolized all your time.”
Cora came in just then, and of course we couldn’t talk any more just then. Instead we discussed the mail and looked at a catalogue she had received from the National, Ivan and I fighting silently as we sat on the “davenport” for the possession of my left hand, which was between us. He fancies himself as a warmer of hands.
Finally Cora went to the dance, and then Ivan said, “Won’t you forget it? She’s out of the Park, and it’s all over and done with. Truly, I thought that I had told you I’d have to give her some time, and then I couldn’t get away.”
So I gave in, let him blow out the candles, and we sat and watched the fire.
“It was mean of me to come down to the tent and rub it in,” he said, “wasn’t it.”
“I sure hated you for it,” I assured him.
After awhile, as we were constantly interrupted and really wanted to do some serious talking, we went out to 99 again and built us another fire there. And then, after a lovely half hour, Ivan began his old plea for immediate marriage, and we quarreled again. I told him that after last week I certainly wasn’t at all sure that he loved me as the man I marry must, and that until I was sure, there’d be no marrying. That I wouldn’t think of a runaway match, and that if the physical reason for marriage was his only thought, we’d quit.
“You evidently don’t trust me,” he said, “and I’ll certainly never marry ’til I find a girl who’d trust me all the way.”—whereupon he got up and got my coat and we went home without another word.
I don’t trust him “all the way,” especially not in the sense he meant, and I thank heaven that I’m not that much of a fool.
“Is this goodbye or just goodnight?” I said when we reached the tent, meaning Are you really through? I don’t know whether he caught my meaning or not; he’s not quick at subtle things. Anyway, he held my hands a moment, kissed me, and said Goodnight.
“What made you come in so soon?” Rae asked.
“Too cold to stay out,” I answered.
“Are you going to marry him?” she whispered.
“I don’t know,” I said. “He wants to be married the day we leave the Park, and several other things which are equally impossible.”
The kids next door had settin’s up with Gordon, Fuller, and Ed, and Dick and Ed brought us over sandwiches which we ate in bed, and then they proceeded to “rotten log” on our davenport, which surprised us a good deal, for Dick has been more uncompromising than any of the rest of us toward “rotten logging.” However, she told us that the day we thought they were lost, he proposed to her on top of the cliff back of Biscuit Basin. Maybe she didn’t think it quite such a joke as she let on.
Thursday August 31
Rae, Katherine Mueller, and I went over the formation with Roy this morning, and Nance did the work with Mary. After we had started, Roy informed us that he is going out to Gardner at 6 o’clock tonight on the truck. We had a Savage banquet planned for the kids who are leaving this week, and we were horribly disappointed to think that he won’t be here. I felt badly about Nance working, for she won’t get a formation trip now and Roy’s lingo is worth hearing. We took several photos of him.
When we reached Old Faithful, the coaches were waiting, and though the others chose to ride with George Bowles on a Skinner coach, I decided to go with Allen and find out just where we stand. He was strange and distant—which should have told me, but part of the time he was just as he always is.
When we got back to the stile, Gene met me with the news that the big railroad strike is called for Labor Day, and that we probably will all have to leave the Park tomorrow. The hotels are closing and sending out their dudes, and the Plunge, which was open when we were over, began to board up its windows just after we left, he said. Mr. Greer is trying to find out what to do and hopes to be able to give us our trip around the loop, but there is doubt even of that, and he won’t know ’til tonight.
The banquet committee bought the swaddie chickens and picked and cleaned them this morning while we were away. Mrs. Todd has promised us the best meal at her command.
Ivan promised to go with me to get decorations this afternoon, but at noon he was ordered to take Mrs. Kennedy and some dudes back to Yellowstone Station this afternoon. So we said goodbye, and he promised to see me at Riverside tomorrow, if we go. After he had gone, probably forever, for there is no certainty of his being at Riverside, and nothing was said about anything else, I felt as though someone had hit me on the head and demanded that I wake up out of a most wonderful dream—not so much marrying him—but having to go home before we are ready and everything all put together.
Everybody went around either with forced smiles on their faces, or the most doleful look imaginable.
Our bunch has been so wonderful, and we have been such good friends, with no trouble to speak of. Who thought when Mird and Spooks left ahead of the rest of us that they were really the lucky people of the bunch. We all pitied them because they were practically sent out—but they saw the whole Park, and we probably won’t. Allen had to haul them from Canyon, so Fergie told us when she got back the other day from taking a patient to Gardner, and he left Mird on the formation at Norris because he wanted to see everything and wouldn’t come when he whistled to him.
I have heard in a round about way that Allen has a girl at Canyon, Edith Romig, and that she also fought with him over Catherine when he proposed to “split” his time with her while there. He has never told me about her—I wonder how many more there are.
Well, I took a picture from White Pyramid and tried to think out my troubles under a big tree up there. I was miserable.
Then I came back to camp and packed my trunk part way. Then I took some pictures Mrs. Corson wanted. Then I walked over to the store with Shorty Green after some films. Found everything boarded up at the hotel and the Plunge as Gene had said, and the store people feeling just as badly as we do. Shorty wants to stay with the wrecking crew. Nance, Clara, Tillie, and Fergie all get to do that, as do Mrs. Mueller and Katherine.
When we got back, I went to the dining room, arranged the tables in a hollow square, and started decorating with goldenrod and setting them for the night. Some of the others came to help, and we made them look beautiful. We set more than sixty places, and then more drivers came in tonight than we planned on, and there weren’t enough. All the drivers were invited.
I asked Bill to make a speech and also Gene, and I wanted Lloyd for toastmaster, but he had to take out a formation party, so I acted in that capacity myself.
The whole thing was really very successful. We had the speeches, some yells, toasts to Greer and Miss Johnston, and several of the drivers said clever things. We had chicken, mashed spuds, gravy, biscuits, and peas. Then we had apple pie a-la-mode for dessert, and stick candy as a treat from Stoddard, though he wasn’t there to get any.
After it was all over, Greer regretfully announced that all his efforts had failed and that we would all have to leave the next morning except the wrecking crew and a couple of pack rats, and Miss Johnston and Mart. So we gave a few more yells and then started in to clear up. While we were washing the dishes, the drivers got outside and gave nine rahs and some more for the Geyser Girls, and George Bowles and George Miller went down to the store and bought out the box candy department. They came back with their arms loaded and distributed it to us. I got a beautiful round box, and I have nearly a full box of Pink Ladys, Lloyd’s last donation, to take home.
Then I gave a program, and a most interesting man, a writer and lecturer, gave a talk on the War. Went to the dance and danced with him, also had quite a talk. He said the Espiscopal Bishop of Japan was in camp, but I didn’t see him.
George Chidlow took me home after we had danced until 11 o’clock. I had my final dance with Lloyd, bless his heart, and it was one to remember. George Chidlow proposed to the Deaux Drops, all togther and singly tonight. He said he had a ranch just over in Idaho and that if we were stranded, we could just all come and live with him. Then he needed a housekeeper and tried to get each of us to consent to be “it.” He had never known such fine girls—we believe that—or such wonderful dancers.
He had several touching things to say while he was dancing with me, about the way we girls have let him hang around, and about our teaching him to dance. He sure is a great old George. He knew he’d never be as near heaven again as when he was waltzing with me. We went for a walk all around the camp and met Dick and Ed down at the Old Deaux Drop, now stripped to the frame. Perla and Earl came along, and we had a “circle cow drill” as part of the final celebration. Then we came back to the tent. George nearly spoiled his record by kissing me at the step, but I told him it wouldn’t do.
Cora and Rae were trying to pack, and Cora was pressing the waist she expects to wear tomorrow. I began to pack and to throw away the things I didn’t want to take home. I’ll bet some things I want get lost in the shuffle. Nothing fazes George, and he sat on the bed and watched the proceedings. Lloyd came over too, bringing some pictures, and looked at ours to pick out which he wants. He hung around until Cora consented to go back to the store with him and help him pack.
Most of the camp stayed up all night, judging from the hilarity. Pink, Mart, Gene, Gula, Evan, and Garnet and some more had a final bacon bat at the spring and got in at about 4 o’clock.
Friday, September 1.
And now the summer is over! The most wonderful summer of my whole life—and as the train bears me wildly away from Arcady and Wonderland, I wonder if I shall ever again know such a wonderful carefree three months as this has been!
Strictly speaking, it would be hard to tell where yesterday ended and today began. I guess Rae and I slept from about 1 to 5. Then I got up, took my clothes and went off to the bath house for a last bath in the dear old punch bowl “punch.”
While I was there, Greer, Miss Johnston, and Kentuck came in for the daily conversation over the phone with Lady Mac and the powers that be. They can only use the phone at a few stated hours in the day. I splashed as much as I could so they would know someone was there, but I got a lot of information about poor Shorty Green’s case. He wanted to stay with the wrecking crew and Kentuck was willing, but Lady Mac just laughed when they asked her and told them to send him on out.
Bobby might have got to stay a few days longer, but he had been lazy, so Pink, Steve, and Jim Miller were chosen instead.
Back to the tent and then to breakfast, which was extra good for the last time. Then to the tent where Bill, looking very fine in his dude clothes, was nice enough to come in and rope our trunks. Also to grab my hands at the end with a few words about appreciating all I’ve done for him, and knowing me, etc., which was very sweet of him. One last rush to write in address books of people who will never write to me, and then Rae and I had to rush off to find Martie, who was sobbing her heart out in her tent.
Then we six Deaux Drops got a coach together with Lee as our driver, said a last goodbye to the wrecking crew, Miss Johnston, and Jimmie, nearly got some of Kentuck’s famous kisses, and drove away singing—
Then ring out three cheers for the Deaux, the Deaux Drops
For you love us, as we know,
And surely you’ll not forget us, forget us,
Though at last we have to go.
Cora and I sat in front with Lee and sympathised with Dick because they wouldn’t let Ed ride along with us. We all had a “shore ‘nuff” good time on the road—sang all the songs we could think of to keep up our spirits, tried to persuade Lee to take us to Firehole Lake, to drive right by Gibbon to the Canyon.
We went to Gibbon for lunch, the only Geyser crowd that did, and so we got to see a lot of people we would otherwise have missed. Chidlow, George Bowles, Gene, and Kewp, Bobby, Mary, and all the kids who were going out the northern entrance were there, and then there were some of our Canyon friends too.
Ivan was there with a freight team drawn by two white mules that he called his white rats. He was scheduled for Swan Lake but managed to get the manager to send him back to Riverside. I saw him for a little bit, but I didn’t get to have any serious conversation. Got a picture of him with the “rats” and had pictures taken with Bond, King, and several of the other drivers. I think Allen’s Canyon girl was at Gibbon, for when we came up from the corral he stopped to speak to a girl, and after that I didn’t see him again.
The afternoon drive was hot and dusty. Perla and Vess drove down on Bill Bond’s Skinner coach, and Ed, who came in with Mr. Browner, got to drive down with us. We took pictures of Lee and the coach just before we rolled in at Riverside.
Didn’t see anything of Allen and thought he hadn’t got to come, but he showed up in the dining room at supper. We sat with the Savages. Drew our pay, and Mr. Miles gave us several interesting pictures taken this summer. Cora, Clarence, and I had some pictures taken down by the river. I don’t know Clarence’s last name, but he is a friend of Cora’s. Then, all too soon, it was time to go.
Ivan appeared on the platform just as we were ready to load. Shook hands with him and said, “Don’t forget me,” but I’m sure that he will. And really, I don’t care so much now. He could have had me night before last for keeps, but he chose the wrong way, and really, the part of me that could love the hardest he never woke up at all. He said he couldn’t come to the station with us, but I noticed that Phil got up to see Perla off, and some of the others came too. I rather think Ivan could have, had he really cared, and oh, he would have been such a help.
The confusion at the station was indescribable. We thought we’d stay up all night in the day coach and raise Ned [Note: slang for the devil or hell], but soon we found that it was packed to the doors, and that if we wanted to ride we’d have to take berths. It took hours to get our baggage checked. Finally we got aboard.
We kids were all together with Bill, Lloyd, Ed, Blackie McIlhaney, Hertz, and a dude named Hertz whom Vess knew. We made things hum for a while. We sat in a bunch on the platform while Chic Williamson recited “Rotten Loggin” for us—gee, but it made us homesick. I shall never forget how he looked. He stood in the doorway of the swaying car, bored to death, for he has recited it at Canyon as much as I have recited some of my things, and it was—
All tourists through the Yellowstone
Without fail, exclaim
At the language of the Savages
And their twist to every name.
But one term misses most of them,
Through all six days of jogging,
Of all Park terms it means the most,
They call it “Rotten Logging.”
We have the skinner and the scissorbill,
The swaddie and the dude,
And the heavers call the barn dog
A pack rat if he’s rude.
But one term is the king of all
When it comes to language hogging,
The Savage uses a string of words
When he talks of rotten logging.
In the middle of the afternoon
Is a good time to begin,
When the sun comes down like blazes,
And the flies are thick as sin.
Go get the little kitchen girl
Who sets your heart a throbbing
Though you hie to the nearest hammock,
You’re going rotten logging.
Maybe you like the evening air
And make your date that way;
You can help your girl with her mackinaw,
For it’s cool at the close of day.
But no matter if you go up the road,
Or down where the frogs are frogging,
If we see you go, it’s all the same,
You’re going rotten logging.
Or maybe a formal Sunday call
Is the kind you like the best.
You make your way up to her tent
And sit on the steps and rest.
But though you never stir a step
In your go-to-church Sunday togging,
You may sit right there ’til you lose your pep
And still go rotten logging.
These last few words for the dudes are meant
For we want you to have everything
That may add to your enjoyment
Anywhere on the Ring.
Pick out the nearest of opposite sex
And set your eyes a gogging,
And maybe, if you’re a live one,
You’ll get to go rotten logging.
Bill and Cora made their way to the observation platform on the strength of that, and Lloyd had to kiss us all goodnight.
Saturday, September 2
We arrived at Salt Lake City at 8 o’clock in the morning. We girls carried our suitcases to the Denver and Rio Grande Depot and had breakfast at the Royal Cafe. Then we made our Pullman reservations and were ready for the day. Billie, Fish, and Johnnie took the 2 o’clock train for Colorado Springs, but we waited for the one at 4:30. As a first calamity, Ed had his pocket picked of nearly $40, the money he planned to spend on the way home. The Newcastle girls, and Perla and Dick, the rich ones of our crowd, dug up some money to lend him.
We went first to the Hotel Utah where we got the view of the city from the roof garden, danced a little, and got the attendant to take our pictures. Cora, Rae, and I all had Shepherd’s plaid suits and called ourselves the three twins. When we went down to the lobby, we met Billie and Fisher, who said Ed was moping down at the station, so Dick and the Caughey girls went after him, arranging to meet us at the Mormon Tabernacle for the organ recital. We met Bill and Lloyd in the writing room and started out for a walk with them, also going to the Tabernacle, Bill with Cora, and Lloyd with Rae and me.
After the recital, which was wonderful, but during which Lloyd went to sleep, we heard the lecture and toured the buildings. That is, Cora, Bill, and I did, and Rae and Lloyd went back to the hotel where we promised to meet them. The Mormon Tabernacle, where the recital was given, is certainly a marvel. Then Bill went to see the museum, and Cora and I waited in the park, where the Caugheys and Dick joined us, and we decided to go shopping.
We never did see Bill again, but we met Lloyd and Rae on the street in the afternoon, and also Hertz, the dude, and we all had supper together at the Royal, after which the kids escorted us to the train. Hertz was staying over. He treated us to ice cream. Ed and Dick had been on the train some time when we got there, and Rae had been over to the other station for Bill but couldn’t find him. So we kissed Lloyd goodbye all around, with the exception of Perla, and then kissed Rae and confided her to his care much to the amusement of the brakeman. And so the first break in our family came.
Margaret Pearson and Mabel Zimmerman and Ethel Frye from Canyon were on the train. The two latter are the Mishawaka girls. In the observation car tonight, Cora and I had such an interesting talk with the hostess from Canyon Hotel. She says Ring Lardner, Emerson Hough, and Eugene Cowles were among the dudes in the last mad rush to get out. She sympathized with us. The Shaw-Powell Company didn’t close after all, and Congress has acted, so there won’t be any strike anyway, so we have been kicked out into a cold world without our Park trips all for nothing. However, I believe Lady Mac tried to do the square thing, and really, as Miles said, she couldn’t take chances of having to feed us for several months. Better ship us out where we could get money by work or by telegraph.
[Note from Editor: Ring Lardner (1885–1933) was an American sports columnist and short story writer best known for his satirical takes on the sports world, marriage, and the theatre. Emerson Hough (1857–1923) was an American author, best known for writing western stories; he also successfully led the movement to protect bison in Yellowstone. Eugene Cowles may be a mistake for Henry C. Cowles (1869–1939), an American botanist and ecological pioneer.]
Money is a serious problem too. My expense money home is probably kicking around somewhere in the mails.
Sunday September 3.
Had a splendid ride today through the mountains of Colorado and made an interesting friend in an International Harvester agent named Smith, who has been up in Rexburg, Idaho, and is now going home before going to South America. It was cloudy when we went through the Royal Gorge, our only regret. The Caughey girls got off at Pueblo, and so did Smith. At Colorado Springs we parted from Ed, and following our example yesterday, he insisted that Dick kiss him. She wouldn’t, but he kissed her anyway.
Then an obliging automobile man with an eye to the main chance came up, picked up the whole crowd, took us to the YWCA where we got the address of rooms, took us and our bags to the rooms, and referred us to a restaurant. Incidentally, we engaged him to drive us to Cripple Creek tomorrow. Then we hunted up the restaurant, had supper, saw Johnnie, Fish, and Billie, and met Clara’s brother who was with them. They got rooms at the YW, but we were too late.
Mabel, Ethel, and I went to the Presbyterian church after finding that the Episcopal church was closed. The sermon was good, but we were tired. The others went to bed, and we were glad to tumble in too.
Monday, September 4.
Our drive today, in Mary Paige [Note: probably the name of his car], was wonderful. We started at six o’clock, visited South Cheyenne Canyon and the Seven Falls, then drove north to Colorado City, the Garden of the Gods, Manitou Park, and Manitou. We had breakfast at a little cafeteria in Manitou and then were taken to the Temple Drive and the Cave of the Winds, which we explored. Then we went on a way through the country to Cripple Creek, reaching one point that was 11,000 feet above sea level. I was disappointed in Pike’s Peak—it is nearly as high as Rainier, but not a bit of snow on its bare old dome except a little on the north side. But the view at the top of the hill above Cripple Creek was worth everything—mountain range after mountain range stretching away as far as you could see in every direction, melting into blue haze in the far distance.
We had a chicken dinner at a funny little one-horse restaurant, rested an hour, and started back by a different road, reaching town by way of Williams Canyon and Ute Pass at a little after 5. We hurried Mabel and Ethel to the train, and met Perla and Vess and our old friend Hertz and got them to engage our man for the same trip tomorrow.
Supper at the same restaurant, and Billie and I arranged to go to Denver together tomorrow as we go on from there by the same route. Tonight we went to the Burns Theatre and saw Under Cover played by the permanent stock company. The theatre is said to be one of the most beautiful in the country.
Tuesday September 5
Dickie took me to the station this morning and loaned me a little cash as she had borrowed from Lady Mac, foreseeing that we all might be short. Bless her heart, I love her better and better each minute. She never talks too much, knows the value of silence, and can meet you in your wildest mood. We just fit each other, somehow. Then Billie and the others came, and we were off on the last lap. More separations in the family.
At Denver, Billie and I made our Pullman reservations, had lunch at a cafeteria, saw the Mint, looked up Pat Malone at the Denver Express office, climbed the tower of the Capitol, and then took a sightseeing street car ride. It threatened to rain, so we didn’t see much. Pat promised to meet us with a friend and a car before supper, but we missed him, so we had our supper, cleaned up at the YW, and then took in a movie until train time.
And there at the station we ran into the whole bunch. Perla, Vess, Johnnie, Cora, Dick, Fisher, and Margaret had come up from Colorado Springs with Pink and Steve and some of the drivers. Miss Johnston and Mart stayed in Colorado Springs for the night. Ed has been all over Denver today with Lovey Evans, who will take the girls around tomorrow. Wish we had seen him. We had about 15 minutes, and then it was kiss and be kissed all around again, Pink and Steve coming in for their full share. And Ed, Billie, and I were aboard the UP bound for Kansas City, and so Home.
Billie and I did the town here today after saying goodbye to Ed this morning. Billie missed her train out, so will stay overnight.
I called Doc Condon, and his voice sounded very natural. Couldn’t see him though, and indeed, wasn’t crazy about it.
Got home at 8 o’clock and “They all exclaimed, ‘How brown she is!’ ” most aptly hits the situation.
So ends my dream summer in the land of many wonders. And I don’t regret even the silliest moment of it. All this last week I have felt as if someone had slammed a door on a lovely dream, awaking me with a start.
Will I ever go back?
[She did go back, in the summer of 1920 when she took her fiance and her mother to see her favorite places. Here they on their trip: Bea, Fred, and “Nancy” Ford, Bea’s name for the car.]