Raining buckets in 1934

I have quite a collection of letters from the 1930s, and this one is interesting. It was written by 18-year-old Helene, my great aunt. Her brother (my Grandpa, Donald Edgar Duck) would have been 14. It was a 10 page letter, addressed to her mother (my great grandmother Mary (Kimmerly) Duck), who was visiting relatives in Windsor, Ontario. I especially enjoyed the part where she’s kept up emptying sap buckets during a rainstorm. This was during the depression, and it sounds like the house was in need of repairs!

1934 envelope


Postmarked August 10, 1934, Morpeth Ont.

Addressed to Mrs. Clarence Duck, 900 Ouellette Ave., Windsor, Ont.

Morpeth, Ont.

Aug. 10, 1934

3 p.m.

Dear Mother,

Received your letter this morning and was glad to hear what you are doing. I noticed Gordon’s coat soon after you had left but did not have any way to let you know. I did not look in the pockets so did not know that his permit was in it. I went over to see Mrs. Rockey in the afternoon. You had not been gone five minutes when Hal came over with a Devotional Topic for Tuesday night and a note. I found Mrs. Rockey in bed. She had been there for 2 days with cramps, etc. Well finally we decided what one would do for programme for Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon. She had gone to see Mrs. Moore and she asked Mrs. Rockey to take her place. So finally Tuesday night was over with.

Wednesday morning father got me up at all hours and we had breakfast at 6 o’clock!!!! Then I drove him and Donald up to Jim McKinlay’s to thresh. “Sparky” kept house with me all day Tuesday and Wednesday.

I think Mrs. Rockey and Florence Hall went to Chatham Wednesday morning. Mrs. Rockey was going to have Florence’s hair fixed up. I suppose you read in yesterday’s Star all about Hal striking a little boy and killing him. Nobody in Morpeth knew anything about it until Thursday noon. We don’t know any particulars about the accident and whether he was alone or not but I don’t think Mrs. Rockey was with him. Dad says he must have been speeding to carry the boy 150 ft. Of course Mrs. Rockey did not go to the missionary meeting yesterday. She and Hal are in Chatham most of the day but I was over at Rockey’s at noon to see about the meeting and she phoned to find out if everyone had a way to the meeting. Said that she would be home soon. I guess they haven’t told Mrs. Duck that anything happened.

Well we had a second flood on Wednesday night. It rained 3 1/4 inches but took about 3 hours to do it this time instead of 1 as before. It started around 8 o’clock and kept coming up.

Dad & Donald went to bed around tea but I stayed up to carry on the bucket brigade. They went up overhead and put up all the sap buckets that we had in the house. Donald put on his bathing suit and had his bath in the rain. It stopped long enough about 10 o’clock for dad to have a bath in the tub on the back doorstep. They ran the horses home from Bob McKinlay’s and were dirty and soaking wet. The worst storm of all was from about 10 to 11 o’clock.

The lightning was fierce. There were 5 or 6 streaks shooting across the sky all the time. I guess it struck several barns and burned them.

I went to sleep at ten after twelve, sitting on a chair, and I was nearly dead tired. I roused three or four times and every time it was ten after 12. The clock had stopped. Finally I got wide enough awake to crawl into bed and I don’t know what time it was.

They had a lot of trouble up at Jim’s on Tuesday. All morning the mill kept bothering. In the afternoon the “clutch” went out of Kennedy’s tractor. Dad came down and got ours and a spring on the governors in it was broken. They fixed it and then the oil line, was plugged and it took them 2 hours to put it together when it should have taken only 5 minutes. Since then they have been using our tractor all the time. They moved to Bob’s Wednesday noon and got his wheat and barley mixed and oats threshed. This good wheat they didn’t get done and Dad was up yesterday and the heat is so intense that it is starting to grow badly. He said another day like yesterday and the sheaves would be white with sprouts. There was more wind and cloudy this morning but it has cleared off and is very hot again so that it will not be any too good for the wheat.

Dad and Donald are cutting and raking hay to-day. They won’t thresh before Monday if ever.

Well I asked dad at noon if he was figuring on going to Windsor and he said yes. He asked me if we had better go Saturday night or Sunday morning and I said it was up to him. With a bum tire like ours I think it would be better to drive in daylight but I don’t know what we are going to do, so cannot tell you whether to expect us Saturday night or Sunday morning. I think he has eyes on that Cleveland-Detroit ballgame on Sunday because he wanted to know if Cleveland wasn’t a pretty good club this year.

Well I guess I have told you all the news I know so will close. Yours, Helene.

P.S. I have both pairs of Donald’s socks mended now.

Station D_U_C_K signing off…..

Forgot to tell you about the Missionary Meeting. 14 there all told. I took 7 including myself. We had a very nice meeting. For lunch I had a half-dozen sandwiches, 4 pieces of cake and a dish of ice cream. Not bad for a start eh?

This pen is no good.

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