July 28, 1938
Dear Folks at home,
Tonite before retiring I shall begin another letter to you. Just when a boat will arrive is again indefinite so I'll be prepared just in case.
Your very welcome letters (the first three) arrived on the 25th of this month. The first stated you were writing hoping this letter will go on the same boat. Well, it didn't... just two months from the day I arrived in Tahiti my first mail came to me. Needless to say, I was very glad to get it. (That $25 indeed put a few more francs behind my name which had become quite scarce.) Thanks, very much.
In order to answer each letter correctly I'll have to take them one at a time. Well, Dad, you ask for details of boat trip... I guess that has been explained previously, and just about everything else you asked for. Here's one time I got the jump on you.
Mom, that second letter dated May 15, made me smile. You wrote that while I was on the water and now I have been on land so long that I feel ready for another trip. (You say you hope I'm not seasick today... well, hardly.)
Very sorry to hear of Brother Carr's death. I shall miss seeing his kind old face when I walk into "Carrs" again.
Speaking of reorganizing Relief So.... we did the same thing just very recently besides starting (organizing) Primary in this branch. I am more or less the amusement director.)
I hope now you have heard from Verb and Claire, stating they will come home. I dreamed last night that they did; the first time ever.
Will be waiting anxiously for news of Edith and Verb once again. I guess next mail from Papeete will tell all developments.
Grandma's letter was very welcome. She does write very beautiful, uplifting letters. A good bracer upper.
Now for the third... the short registered one. As I said, I was glad to see a few more francs in Tahiti behind my name. However, this month of July living on Takaroa has cost me no more than $1.25 Am. money. That does not include what medicine I have used. Even that has been low. This possibly might go on until after October Conference... then my Companion leaves for home and I probably get transferred. But about that matter we neither are sure. Maybe Pres. Stevens will switch us around very soon. (I'm afraid I'll get called to go to Aratika to build a Church-house. I do hope they will wait until I get a knowledge of the language before all my time each day is taken up that way, but if I'm called, certainly I shall go.) Teneta (Elder Wilde) was put to work soon after coming here. He worked 11 months (labor), and his knowledge of the language is just beginning to become fair. He was 18 months before he could do anything, just because he didn't get a chance to get in and study when he was new here. Now he goes home in October.
At least I have advanced further than he had after being here the same length of time I have. Last Sunday I took charge (in Tahitian without an interpreter) of Sacrament meeting. Of course everything I said was memorized, but I figure my ability to learn is increasing. Pres. Grant stated "That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased. (I have learned that too) It broke the ice. I gave the opening address... just a few simple sentences, number of song, told them to arise and sing. 2nd song likewise. And then the closing remarks were the longest, but I "shook" through them O.K. I surely appreciate the chance I was given to gain experience while in the Boys Chorus. They better "carry on" if they know what will help them most in the Mission Field. Songs, and more songs.
Well, More tomorrow. I'm tired and sleepy.
July 29... What haven't I told now? Perhaps about the people and their dead kin. We had to lead a funeral procession last Tuesday. An old woman 102 years old passed away. I was awakened in the night by loud wailings which reminded me of coyotes in Wyo. The next day she was buried. Her daughter a woman about fifty years old promptly built a sheltering over the grave and there she is destined to stay (sleep) the rest of her life. Someday I shall take a picture of the many huts over the graves... people staying in each.
In digging her grave, they used an old hole that someone else had been in for years and years. The men just shoved the old bones aside and placed her box in place. Then we all solemnly tossed a handful of sand, leaves, twigs, sticks, anything available, upon her box. Then old tins were placed over it and cemented with plaster. The hole was only three feet deep so there surely is much covering over it. And the cemetery is directly across the street from our "house", and right behind the Church. Hope the wind continues to blow from the East.
I've revived the spirit of basketball here. We have two baskets and a fairly good ball. (All playing is just in an open field.) Each evening a series of games are played, two of three baskets wins each game. In that way everyone gets a chance. They won't let me play though. I have to do all the refereeing... gyp. Now the Pres. of this branch wants me to train a track team and see what I can do with rounding out a good basketball team. [August 20: This idea has now blown over; too hard at this time to keep the boys together. Their season for work.] There is a big celebration in Tahiti in November, and they are anxious to be represented. I'll have to see what I can do. Wish I could speak fluently. I'd give a lot for a good softball and bat now. These people would be crazy about that. We also have a swell field but not a thing to play it with. (Don't bother about sending one though. They're too careless.)
As to our going to Manihi... still not sure. Neither of our two Mormons are there and Teneta is afraid we'd have no place to stay. The latest thing I could get out of him was that we might go over for two weeks or so in August. Might...
My picture taking has rather slackened up from the time I left Papeete, but every chance I get I'll continue to take pictures of interesting things. Continue to keep all I send, because I haven't a duplicate.
August 2. It's surely a wonder I don't get lonesome and homesick. Personally I'll be glad when a change of companions come about. Elder Wilde is far from being what the definition of "companion" stands for. We very seldom do much together. Eat, sleep, attend church, and that is about all. He must be too busy with the natives to pay much attention to me.
Of course we never have any disputes between us, we get along swell that way, but I would like someone who will take a walk with me, go swimming once in awhile. (I haven't even as much as done that yet, or actual pole & line fishing.) He's a very poor sportsman. If he was all religion and centered on his work, I could overlook the poor companionship he shows, but he isn't so much that way. As a teacher of the language, well... I'm getting all I know by myself and from natives. What he has taught me, I could forget and never miss it.
He talks a lot about other companions he has been with... always picking out the bad points. I don't like that at all! (I got in quite a number of discussions with the fellow whose place I took here, and he told me just what to expect, so you see it isn't just my fault.) I hate to tell such things, but if I want companionship I go to native friends to get it... and I have quite a number of them to whom I can talk and can understand.
For instance last Sunday a heated argument was on over Genealogy work. Well, when E. Wilde sat down, I asked him just what the point was so that I might could maybe give him a little light on it (I believe I understand that work better than he even though I don't know much) His answer was "They don't know just what they are arguing over." Well, that is a nice attitude to take! I just thought at the time that it probably was him that didn't know.
Well, enough of that. I still spend most of my time studying; never any recreation except a little basketball and a walk around the Island. But I'm still in high spirits, like everything and everybody. Don't worry about me not getting along.
Yesterday I cut two little boys' hair. I started on them just a short while before dark so I knew I'd have to hurry. The first one was what I could call a "Numera hoê " (number one) job, but the second... O Me! I haven't seen the kid out playing yet. Well, still I didn't use a bowl (Edith), and had to finish him in semi-darkness, so I guess I didn't do so bad. Remember that first sheep I sheared up Weber Canyon, Dad?? Well,..........
Have taken charge once again in meeting. This time I had to make assignments and do everything but give the lesson. I'm getting experience in talking before I even know what I'm saying. E homa, te mau taeae, e te mau tuahine, Ua tae i te hora e haamata tatou i to tatou haapiiraa (or maybe) pureraa oroa.
Friends, brothers and sisters, at this time we meet together for lesson or Sac. meeting, etc. Well, try it sometime.
A boat is due any time so I'll close this letter today.
Take care of yourselves, and don't worry about this fellow. How are the teeth, Dad? New ones by now?
Get others to write, Mom. I like to receive letters. Love to all, Dean
August 10, Still no ship heading for Tahiti, but one came today from there bringing me a store of pleasure. Fourteen letters all told! Say! How do I rate such popularity. My goodness, I'm surely pleased.
Receipt of your registered letter with $10 Dollars
postmarked July 5, and Vern's postmarked July 6.
Thanks again exceedingly.
Very pleased to receive your
letters. The things you mentioned of
being sent I haven't received yet. The
boat that brought this mail (My pen balks) today isn't exactly trusted so they
probably kept it in Tahiti until next boat.
The letters were safe because they were given to native passengers.
The way they handle the money though... my
registered letters are opened in Headquarters, the money added to my account, a
receipt put back in the letter, and then the letter forwarded to me.
Therefore the money doesn't come to me at
Among my letters was one from Grandma, enclosed a real nice long one from Zella. They both wrote good letters.
The rest were from Barbara (6), from Eldon 1, real swell long one, Dona 1, Lucille (Nelson) 1, (I can't figure why they wrote) Owen 1, and Vern one. Well, I'm certainly glad they all write.
Your letters are plenty newsy. I learn all I care to with your information. Just keep them coming.
Thank Nane and Ern very much. I appreciate all that they and you and everyone else is doing. This time I have to answer quite a number of letters so I better close once again.
Love to all, Dean
Expect a boat tomorrow, but before I close (for good), I want to place a small order. Will you send me a small can (should be about the size of a can of shoe polish) of leather preserver. I want it to put on my leather B. of M., Bible, Song Book etc. I used some of Elder Wilde's; it's surely good. My books began to get a mold on the cover and since applying that, they have been better. I guess that's all. Well, I've been "happy as a lark" lately. Eat heartily, sleep swell, go to bed at 10:00 P.M., get up at 6:00 A.M., weigh (I weighed today on the Chinaman's scales) 73 kilos or 160.6 pounds. Elder Wilde and I seem to have each been lonesome during a short stretch but now we are rolling along nicely. As little as I know about the people here, I had to give my opinion on whom we should put in as new officers. The whole branch was reorganized, by us, (2) last Sunday. Six "settings apart" had to be done. (I wasn't voice in any (yet) however.
And now I'll close again; this time the last for this letter.
A boat, heading for Tahiti.