July, 1909

Dear Anna,

 How I wish you were here to share in our summer activities now that the sun has finally begun to shine.  We've had such a cold, rainy May and June that our garden has produced only cold weather vegetables; cabbage and broccoli, until I don't want to see either ever again.   We've eaten cabbage in every way imaginable and were doing the same with broccoli until Teddy discovered a worm in his portion and the children’s tolerance of greens came to a screeching halt.  I'm afraid even Louis has taken to inspecting his plate with the diligence of a surgeon and says its hard to enjoy the freshness of home-grown vegetables when “anything could be lurking there”.  Fortunately both cabbage and broccoli have started to bolt and with a little more sunshine we can look forward to the beets, carrots and green beans.

 The cotillion was a success with enough money collected to provide several families with new shoes, work pants and groceries.  Teddy suggested we give “all the wormy stuff” to families less fortunate than ours and spent several days weeding, not only our garden but that of the neighbors as punishment for his insensitive remark.  

 The rain held off  on the evening of the dance and Louis and I were able to walk down to the new Masonic Lodge instead of having to depend on the Grumble brothers and their abominable automobile. Although it was nice of them to offer transportation, the idea of sliding into that backseat in my new gown caused me palpitations.  They've used that car to carry everything from dead deer to a load of turkey manure ( a load that filled the front seat when they had to use the brakes suddenly) and I swore to Lewis that we would walk downtown in a drenching rain storm before accepting their offer.  But as I said, the weather was lovely and the evening a great success.

 We now have Marsha Watson staying with us (she's taken over the entire upstairs and Louis and the children are complaining that they   have to make an appointment to use the bathroom).  They are exaggerating, of course, but she does seem to occupy more space than any of the rest of us.  Its not her size (she has a lovely figure) but her personality that seems to fill any room she enters.  Not always in a bad way but somehow her presence seems to radiate from the center of a room out and into all of the corners.  Emily, of course, loves her and is enthralled with her hats, dresses, shawls and shoes, of which she has an abundance. Teddy outraged Mother Orchard and sent Louis into paroxysms of laughter when he found one of her corsets hanging on the clothes line at the back of the house and attached an assortment of dead and dried out squirrels, chipmunks, etc. to the garters, explaining that the garment made a fine drying station for his latest interest; taxidermy. I tried to convince Marsha that we'd replace the garters and the corset would be as good as new but she tossed it into the garbage.  That corset must have cost enough to provide a family of four with a week's groceries.

 I'm sure that by the end of the summer I'll have many stories to tell you.  The Grumble brothers have taken to visiting only when they've seen Marsha busy shopping downtown or visiting with neighbors.   Those two grown men are terrified of her and a sixth sense appears to have alerted them when one or both of them are in her sights.  If I had to place a wager, I'd bet on Marsha.

Love to all,

Amelia

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