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A little history here: Grandfather John “Jack” Melrose had an older brother, Dale. Dale moved west for some reason, leaving behind his father, Philip G. Melrose, and his mother, Mary Brown Melrose. Mary saved as many of Dale’s letters as she could, and I own them as part of an inheritance from my mother.

I have decided to scan them here and tell his story through his own words as much as possible. I’ve read the letters and the story is a sad one, of love lost and a young life cut short. Dale was the favorite son, and my great grandmother never quite recovered from the loss.

The letters span 1911 through 1918, with a couple from 1944 (I’ll get to that later), and a final one in 1948.

Here, then, is the first letter from Dale to his family in Wisconsin. There’s no envelope (I promise to scan the envelopes, too, as they are relevant).

001 002Newberg, Ore. Sept. 30, 1911

Dear Folks,

I have just finished my work for to-day so I will write to you now. I like the high school pretty well. I am taking English, Latin, Algebra, and History. If I go to high school next year I will take Book keeping instead of History. I like my work here at the hotel “tolerably” well, but not any too well. I get up in the morning at four o’clock, go down stairs, sweep, and mop out the office, clean the spitoons, make the calls, clean the stairway, clean up the washroom, and sweep off the sidewalks in front, then my work is done for the morning, at night all I have to do is to carry in wood for the cook stove which takes me about twenty minutes.

I haven’t had to do much studying at home yet, but soon will have to work some at night. On Saturdays I have in addition to my other work, about half an acre of plate glass in front of the office to wash, then I split up wood enough to last me a week, and half scrub the kitchen, but then I get even with them for all that when mealtime comes. I got the bones all right, but you might as well beef them, for all I will have to spend anything for this winter is a new suit of clothes as I am getting to be a swell dresser since I have came out here.

When you come out here next spring come to this hotel for a while, you can get board here for $5.50 a week and it is the high toned kind too. Well, to-morrow night I will have to be leader in Christian Endeavor and I have been worrying about it All week, they are always picking on me to do every thine. Well write again as soon as you can.

Dale Melrose

 

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