February 12, 1938

c/o C. M. & S. Co. Ltd.

Yellowknife, N. W. T.

February 12th, 1938

Dear Mother:

Three letters from home came today.  Yours was written the first—it must have just missed the mail from Edmonton.  Today was the first time since Christmas that the mail arrived on a Saturday rather than on Friday as it should.  I think the M. A. S. schedule was upset by a charter trip to bring in a druggist and his supplies, which will be another addition to our rapidly growing community.  This makes the second addition this week—the other being a branch of the Bank of Commerce—supposed to open on Monday.  The bank at present is a tiny building formerly a warehouse for the store and I should imagine one of the two bankers will have to step outside before a customer can enter.

WE have been having a long cold snap which is only beginning to abate now.  Each morning the thermometer shows about -42 and gradually under the influence of the sun shining directly on it rises to nearly zero.  However there has been no wind and so you don’t notice the cold much.

Radio reception has improved considerably lately and we are hoping the poor spell is over.  I often see northern lights but they are never very brilliant and never in colours as I once saw them in Edmonton.  Nearly all our reception is received over shortwave which does not give a great deal of choice.  There is a wonderful system of condensers on the generator now but it still has not cut out the noise on long wave.

The failure of our underground oil tank is beginning to have its effect and the diesel oil must be used sparingly if it is to last until the spring supplies arrive.  The power then, is turned off every day from ten to four.  This chiefly effects [sic] the radio operator but it has a small influence on the efficiency of the office staff as we have to use hand cranks in our electric comptometers.

There are altogether approximately 160 men in camp and I can put through each days time in just over an hour.  During the last two days I have been pricing requisitions as the regular man for this work is in the hospital.  When he gets back I will have to start on some new phase of work as there is ordinarily hardly enough to keep me busy.  Of course twice a month I have to spend about three days making up the payroll and a fourth day in catching up with my ordinary work.  When pricing the requisitions I noticed that our supply of fresh apples cost us over 4.00 a box (perhaps I told you that before).  I am now the only salesman for our commissary stock and this takes up most of every Wednesday afternoon.  Our stock is rather depleted now despite replenishments from Box (Goldfields).  In the fall it used to take about twelve hours for Eric and I to satisfy as best we could all the customers.

Eric and I took several floodlight pictures in his room a few nights ago.  He used his movie and took shots of me pretending to write a letter, listening to the radio etc.  I doubt if I shall wish to see them.  One night we got fired with ambition of producing an epic of the north and we immediately drafted a rough scenario, and decided on the actors and Eric sent for a titler and some spare reels.  And that seems to be the end of it.  I am wishing my own camera took shorter reels—it takes so long to take thirty six pictures—especially when I have “shot” almost everything there is.

Incidentally the projector is is working properly again and we put through several reels a few nights ago.  A new reel came in with Page yesterday—the one starring the Indian village.

So Mary would like a fur.  I won’t promise anything but I might be able to get either silver fox, cross fox or wolverine.  A good cross fox is easily the best and consequently the rarest.  Which will it be?

Thank you for the money, Dad.  It has been rather inconvenient to get cash up to now, but I suppose the bank will rectify that when it opens.

With love


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