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S.S. Yoro, Gulf of Mexico
Dearest Mother and all:-
This is almost four o'clock Sun. afternoon and we left N[ew] O[rleans] yesterday about 1 P.M. so you see that we are well on our way and I am still able to enjoy the trip. I am thankful to say that I have not been really sick yet. Once in a while I get a little swimmy feeling but I lie down and it passes away. I have been to all my meals and ate a good dinner this noon.
We were somewhat surprised when we boarded to find that we were the only passengers with the exception of three ship officials. This service has been opened only three weeks and is mostly freight but we have very good accommodations. A state room with an upper and lower berth and another sort of davenport on the other side of the room. Then wash bowl, mirror etc. in the room and ladies toilet right across from our room and bath next to it. By the way, I am the only woman on board (Manly says, with the exception of our heifers). Everything is spotlessly clean, and good well-cooked food, so we are faring fine.
This ship has not accommodations for many passengers anyway, but they are getting two new boats for the service.
You can see there is not much danger of picking up the company that you warned us of.
The water is not very rough. I have seen it rougher there at L.A. I expect that is why I havenít been more sick.
Thurs [26 Nov 1925] - 7:30 A.M.
This is Thanksgiving and we have just landed at the wharf. Of course we are thankful for out safe journey.
It has not been very rough any of the way and I have not been sick which has really surprized me. I have enjoyed the voyage as you know I always like water. Last night both the sunset and the moonlight were especially beautiful
I believe it was the second day, or else the third, we passed near enough to see Cuba. It was green and pretty. That is all the land we saw but saw a ship now and then and flying fish.
We are in Colon and can see lots of Palm trees which make me think of California. Manly has gone ashore to try to get in touch with Charley. There is an army post on one side and a navy post on the other as we enter the breakwater. I will write again when we land at David - God bless you my little mother. Lovingly Hazel and Manly
Dearest Mother and all:-
Today we leave the Canal Zone and go up to our place, probably arriving at David Friday A.M., the Lord willing.
My, but I like it down here! Everything green and beautiful and tropical.
It is in its natural state (beautiful) what California is by irrigation. Flowers trees and birds.
The sun is quite hot in the middle of the day to be out in but it is a good deal like that of California and not the oppressive heat of the east.
The mornings and evenings are cool, but not enough so that you need a wrap nor any sign of a fire.
But when you stir around and work hard - washing, sweeping etc., it doesnít take any time to work up a perspiration.
We have had a very pleasant time while here. The morning we came in Manly went to the club house to look up Charley (by the way we didnít get in touch with him all that day) and found one of his old friends.
As soon as we were thru breakfast on the ship, this friend was down there with a nice big Studebaker and took us to their home. He lives with his father and mother. They certainly entertained us find and made us feel so at home. It was Thanksgiving and they had a fine turkey dinner.
We got Charley the next morning and he laid off and spent the day with us, helping Manly get everything attended to and taking us around.
We went to the locks in the evening and watched them in operation. The next morning we left for the Pacific side, went by train and it was a very interesting ride. I am going to try to write some about the Canal and its sights for the Y.P.F. [ďYoung Peoples FriendĒ- Church of God religious paper; sister Jessie was editor of this or some other Church of God publications.]
Manly had called one of his friends on this side by phone and he told him to come over and stay at his place as he and his mother live together, but she is in the States, so he gave us the key and we have come and gone just as we wished. It has been fine as we are quite centrally located. We get our meals here and Mr. Wilson eats breakfast and supper with us.
Manly has taken me around his familiar haunts and I have enjoyed it very much.
The natives live differently from any foreigners I ever saw. One thing about them, they are very clean, as a rule. Of course it is warm, and the children especially, are not burdened with clothing. I even saw one little tot in back of the house, playing without a stitch on, then across the street on a second story veranda, a "coloíd geníleman" with white shirt, vest and dress coat. People donít seem to be slaves to custom of any kind - Just live to suit themselves.
Well I could write on and on telling you the interesting sights and experiences, but we leave this afternoon and I have some things to attend to so will say Bye-bye - God bless you. We certainly feel that he has blessed and protected us. So many things have worked together for our good on our trip.
Lovingly your children
Hazel and Manly
I am making something for Ruthís girls and Fredís girls for Xmas and hardly think that I shall be able to finish it before I leave here, so it will require duty and I will send it in one package so it will not be so much. Will you please send the other on? We donít have to pay duty on the Zone but we do from David.
Charlie expects to come up the 15th and stay a month.
David, Chiriqui, Panama
After a safe and happy journey we have arrived at one of the prettiest places I have ever seen, and I surely hope that you can visit us sometime.
The woods before you arrive at our place are beautiful, following along the river bank for some distance - we have to cross it too - ford it on horseback then our place sets above the river. We cannot see it for the trees but can hear a little creek that flows into it, and a little higher up where we are going to build the house we will be able to see for miles and miles down the valley and when it is clear to the Pacific.
The country not under irrigation is not dry and barren as in California, but abounds in tropical trees, ferns flowers etc.
We have about two dozen orange and grapefruit trees besides bananas pineapple and native fruits.
There are no vegetables here now as they have had no care, but we are planting them and it will not be long before they will be ready, if nothing happens, and of course we can have gardens the year round here.
The native family who have been on the place have nine children and a neighboring family (German father and native mother [Ogden?]) have five, also there are other natives not so far away, so I think I shall begin my school right on the place and not where we had spoken of at the sugar mill. There are many more families there but it is quite a difficult road to travel and there are other Americans there too, who might not be in sympathy with all I would teach and as they are employing these people in their sugar mill and cane fields they might feel they had jurisdiction over them to some extent too, so I feel the best is to begin on a smaller scale and right at our place and it will not be so hard on me. This family here have three young girls and they donít let me do anything so far. They are in our house until they can get one up for themselves, then we will tear this house down and use the lumber for a new one. Charlie is coming up to help Manly build it. I will be able to get those girls to do the heavy work for very little.
They watch everything I do so closely, even writing these letters. They know nothing of reading or writing. I mean they arenít able to do either.
The boy that helps Manly has just come in with a very bad cut on his finger. Manly thinks it is to the bone. I have dressed it as best I could with what I had and we shall ask the Lord to heal it also.
If you like, you and mama may exchange letters as I have written some things to her that I didnít to you.
There are several American families around and I like some of the women especially well. There is one elderly lady who kept two girls (whose father is American and mother native) for two years and taught them to speak English and they do very well.
I am putting in some small remembrances for you [handkerchief and lingerie clasps]. Call one your birthday if you like - I should be glad to do more but canít this time. I had planned some hand work for you but didnít get it done. Write to me often little sis,
God bless you and keep you a blessing -
David, Chiriqui, Panama
I look in every mail for a letter from you but suppose you are quite busy. We received your nice Xmas cards and appreciated the sentiment.
I am still enjoying my new experiences and am feeling fine and I believe gaining in strength.
We are living in our new house but it isnít finished yet, but we can get along while Manly gets some work done on the place.
We have finished your book and enjoyed it very much. Manly talks of Livingston and his experiences often and even though we have to endure some hardnesses, I am sure that they will never be severe like those he endured.
We have plenty to eat and is no trouble to keep warm. It gets quite hot in the sun at times but is always comfortable in the shade and there is almost always a nice breeze blowing thru our house as we are up on the hill.
I went with Manly this morning, to see about a site for an irrigation ditch for a dry season garden. We followed along the river for some distance and it was so pretty, and the water rippled "right merrily" over the stones. There is quite a fall to the river, so it flows quite rapidly. There are many large boulders there, and plenty of stones to build a stone house if one wished.
I went to David and back, horseback, this week and certainly enjoyed the trip. We left at 9:30 P.M. and rode down in the moonlight to within a few miles of the town, and then we stopped at a friends and slept from 3 A.M. to 6 and started on after breakfast. There is a rise of 3000 ft. to our place but it is quite gradual and one doesnít notice it much but where we cross the river the banks are quite steep and rocky and the river beds are quite broad in some places as the streams swell so in the rainy season. This is the dry season now.
Jessie, I forgot to tell you about the [sewing] machine. I let Mernie Johnson Wing use it until you want it. They will crate it and send it whenever you write for it. Her address is Mrs. F.E. Wing 1233N. 9 St. West - Cedar Rapids. I told her you would pay the freight but they will crate it.
Did you ever get that money from Manlyís brother? Mama wrote that you sent $5.00 from Fred for her but didnít say anything about any from me. Ethelyn wrote that her papa had sent the $15.00. It was coming to us and he sent it after payday.
Then Fred was to send the interest money that he owes me to you to send to mama part at a time. Let me know please when he sends it so I may keep account of it. When that is used up, I am hoping to get Olmer to make payments, so much a month on what he owes me.
Well we have sent no mail out since I started this, but a neighbor brought our mail up yesterday and there was a nice letter from you also Maeís photo. Thank her for me and tell her I will write later.
Jessie you wondered if you were accomplishing much. I think if the children love and appreciate you that speaks well. When I left Cedar Rapids that little neighbor girl and Ethelyn and some old folks spoke their regrets with tears in their eyes and I felt that they were sincere. Childhood and age are just simple enough to be sincere, we cannot always tell about others, sometimes it is mere flattery. So if the old folks and the children love me I feel that life hasnít been wholly selfish for they are not drawn to you unless you make an effort to bring something into their lives.
I am so glad you have Amy Lopez for a friend. She is a wonderful character, I think. Unless one has been among these people you cannot realize just what their standard of morals is, and then too, the backwardness of civilization makes it less pleasant to the natural man. I know that Amy has ability that would cause her to be coveted by any congregation but I trust that she will not be beguiled but will as Jesus says "loose her life" for His sake. Such a life as hers is needed here. There are plenty for there.
Well, the boy will be coming for the mail as he is going to David this morning.
Our [heifers] Maybelle and Clarabelle are under the sod. They got Tick fever. We thought that getting them from the South, there was little danger as they have it there and they were likely to be immune.
Well write often please, as letters mean lots to us.
God bless you, my dear, and make you always a blessing.