July 2, 1939
Dear Mother, Dad, and All,
It has only been a short time since I wrote last, but due to two or three reasons, I feel as though I should write again. One reason is... I may not get another chance to write again for two months. Another, I received mail last evening, consisting of three letters from home, one from Ena, one from Elder Miller and further instructions from President Stevens. The result is we've decided on a course of action that will take us off into other sections of this Island for about two months, conditions elsewhere permitting. With that taking us away from the landing place of boats, we won't meet a ship for awhile. So, if you don't hear from me for awhile, think nothing of it; you should be quite used to that by now.
Our future instructions suggest we leave this Island in September, journey to Marokau (remember how I've almost got there before?) for Conference of this upper District and then after Conf. catch the first chance back here and probably stay here again until time to go in for Xmas. Now I guess that lets you in on all I know as far as future is concerned. Sounds like a busy "week-end" but that's what makes the world go 'round.
Our work here for the next two months will be to contact everyone in the other four "cities" on this Island, deliver our message to them, build up a friendship to the best of our ability. That's one thing I like about coming to an Island that hasn't had Missionaries for years & years (This one hasn't since before the cyclone of 1906.) We feel like we are opening a way for the next ones besides putting in our own little "thrust". It takes time to break down a Catholic stronghold... more than just mere words. I can surely see that. We're going to give them the best we have and let the Spirit do the rest. Someday, a light may shine... the Priest, though, surely has a black robe covering his people. He has commanded his people not to learn any of our songs. (Since then, though, we have taught them "Ua Pure anei Oe? " (Did You Think to Pray?) They surely liked that. We'll get around him somehow.
Well, that's enough talk about us here... now let's comment a little on what you wrote in letter dated May 9. It's too bad you didn't get to meet the Elder who left May 8 'cause I got him right to the side of me now. You would have enjoyed knowing what kind of chap was coming down to become a Junior Companion for me. Too bad you didn't meet him. Shucks! In reading over your letter again I see lots of news but I don't know what to say about it; it all seems so natural to be happening. Weston getting married, Dick's operation, shucks! That's all in a life-time.
About the trip you are planning to L.A. I would say not to count on meeting me there too heavily. Only one ship out of about a dozen ever stops there on the return. The majority go to Vancouver and the rest to San Francisco. It is very seldom an Elder lands in L.A. according to what I have heard. It is an English line & Vancouver is their home port. Of course, just how it will be a couple of years from now I don't know.
Thanks very much for the newspaper clipping; I surely like them. (it.)
Now for May 15th. It seems odd that you hadn't received more letters from me. It seemed as though I wrote quite a number while in the Leewards. I guess by now you have received more. Sorry to say I couldn't even get a Mother's Day card this year. They just don't know what such things are in this country. I didn't get a letter from Barbara this last assortment but it's all right anyhow. I'm not worried. Glad to hear Edith is finally settled. I haven't any idea what her place looks like; all I can vision is the old shop, Studebaker, brick walls and tin roof and junk. That should be one new sight to greet me someday.
May 31. Here are a few more pictures to add to the collection you spoke about in this (May 31) letter. There should be quite a few hanging around by now. Yes, I know Sister Streeter; I was a Ward Teacher on her block... a very sweet lady. I think of Mrs Tanner every time I read anything in "Ess. of Church History." Surely glad to hear some of the fellows will soon be going out. I've been the only lonesome one for quite awhile. Now someone else will soon be experiencing a new life. I don't think this Mission will take anymore for quite awhile. It has reached its capacity now. Pres. is a little afraid the French Gov. would put up a kick. We have all been cautioned to go easy, respect the Gov. in all rights and not stir up any revolts... I don't know Mrs McGrath so that bit of news was news only, I guess.
Now, Dad, I'm glad you took an hour off to write. I always like to hear from you. You spoke of going to Paradise... well! well! What was it like? (If you had told me about the road accidents before you mentioned going to Paradise then I would have believed it stronger) Anyway, how was the fishing? That's all we've eaten here for two weeks, but it seems we don't get tired of them. Of course some are much better than others, but I don't believe they will ever compare to Spencer's trout. (Remember... in Idaho.)
Well, and that's about all comment I can make on the three letters. Ena's letter told me about the activities of my pals which I am always glad to hear. She wrote a very interesting letter with a promise of a bigger one soon. I'm always glad to hear from her even if that is the first I have had for months. Thanks again to everybody for the news. That's all I can find to write today. So until next time I'll say, Love to All, Dean
July 13.. Back once again although I had this letter all sealed and had supposed it to be on its way to Tahiti. Oh well! It gives me a better chance now to bring you up to date again with activities here.
We left on the 3rd for Temarie, a little city a few miles down the line. We spent a very pleasant ten days there. And as I am customarily saying.. "That place exceeds all others that I have yet been to." We met all the people there, which consisted of only about ten families. They are certainly swell, and treated us grand.
Tomorrow is the 14th and consequently a
big French holiday. Everyone is coming to this
Island city of Tuuhora
for a day of celebration. We had supposed to work on around the Island but due
to everyone coming here, we came also. Sat. or thereabouts we will leave for
another Island city. The ship, o "Moana ," is still up
around Hikueru ma ... we think. Anyway, a ship hasn't called back here
since I wrote last so this letter is still lying around.
Tomorrow's sport will consist of racing, sail-vaa race, throwing spears at a coconut suspended on a pole, etc. Believe me, the sail-vaas surely do travel! That was proved thoroughly to Elder Price and me on our way over from Temarie. Three of us rode her, a native handling the main sail and rudder and I the fe'o or lead sail; Elder Price sat and watched. A strong wind took us faster than I have yet traveled upon the water. More Sport than car-riding. More later.
July 14. The ship just seemed to wait until we got here, 'cause one came today on its way to Tahiti. Am closing this so I can get it on while the 'getting's good'.
Just a little story on the Priest here: A group of kids were singing a few songs we have taught them. The Priest came along, listened and then shouted, "Mamu !" (Shut-up!) Aita te mau himene Katorika i mau? E mau te mau himene Mormoni? Mamu! (Aren't the Catholic songs memorized? Memorize the songs of the Mormons? Shut up!!!) And was he burned up. The natives are all laughing at the absurdity of his actions.
(Today at the raising of the French Flag we shook hands with him for the first time... he said in fair English... "Good Morning." We were surprised but pleased that he should speak.
And that is all for today. Goodbye 'till next letter a few more weeks away.