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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 85

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Temple, where we washed in heavenly warm water, and were given food: roast beef, potatoes, even hot biscuits and coffee! The next day Hugh advertised in the local paper for a furnished flat, and soon we were comfortably settled. Here we stayed until our son was born, a few weeks later. As soon as transportation in the Bay Area was possible, my father started out to locate my sister in San Anselmo. Except for the fatigue, she and her little child had not suffered. In the course of my father’s talk with her, he said: “ Poor little Marjorie is grieving over the loss of her baby clothes.” Mary Belle answered him in some amazement, “ Why, I have all her baby clothes.” Then my sister remembered, she had forgotten we knew nothing of what happened to her after she left us at Nellie Mason’s home. Instead of going straight through the Presidio and out of the city, she had decided to return once more to her home, and on the way back she stumbled across a child’s wagon. She grabbed it and ran. Before the soldiers could order her away from the danger zone again, she gathered a few things she had regretfully left behind and walked across the Presidio, dragging the loaded wagon behind her. So, to my intense and tearful joy, my father returned with my layette, crumpled and soiled, to be sure, but intact. As for the sewing machine, it had been a bone of contention at every move we made, but nothing we could do or say would persuade my mother to abandon it. When at last we reached the haven of Alameda, she went out to buy clothes for us, but the stores were completely sold out. Triumphantly, she came back with a bolt of muslin, some trimming and spools of white thread. Hour after hour she sat at that sewing machine, grinding away on its hand motor, and by the end of another week, each of us had a change of nightgown and chemise. The whole set of her body said, “ I told you so.” And what of Hugh and the new wardrobe he had purchased the day before the earthquake? After I arrived in Alameda, I wore my mother’s coat while my one dress was being cleaned, and it came hack looking more bedraggled than ever. But Hugh! Inside twenty- four hours he blossomed out in a light grey suit, new shirt, new socks, new hankie. And me? Still in my awful maternity dress and incongruous black lace hat ( with plumes, remember?). After our son was born, Hugh returned Tonopah. I finally acquired the promised new outfit and then, with tiny Hugh and the completely restored layette, I too took the train for Nevada.



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