May 29, 1938

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

Yellowknife, N. W. T.

May 29th, 1938

Dear Dad:

Our first class mail came in on Saturday the 21st.  It came in quite late—after nine in fact and so an all night ticket one [sic] second prize on the sweep.  I made $8.50 by helping run the sweep as the winners would not take quite all.  I got seven letters from home which was very welcome and eagerly read and the enclosed photographs.  These pictures were taken on the fast Super X film and the large grain of this film is very apparent.  They don’t enlarge very well.

The regular mail came in on Thursday which Tudor and I fetched in a canoe.  This trip by canoe though the latest was the hardest as wind had forced the ice up on the rocks where are [sic] narrow channel was and we had to drag the canoe over the ice a long way.  Over the worst places one would sit in the canoe and be pushed over and then get out and pull the second across [sic].  The wind also shifted the ice back into the open stretch between camp and Island.  Two days ago all this ice disappeared within a two hour period and now there is a really large stretch of open water.  Indeed we are expecting Page from McMurray any minute now.  He will be bringing Eric back too.

Sometime next week we expect the auditors from Vancouver.  I imagine this should be a rather interesting, if somewhat hectic, interval.  I am wondering how complete the check will be—it could not begin to cover everything.  With the auditors comes a new man from Trail to work in our office.  This means there will be six of us.  There will hardly be room to turn around until we can get the new office built.  I don’t know how the work will be divided amongst us now but until the boats start to arrive there is not really enough work to require more than five, if that many.  

There is the cheerful thought that the new man make [sic] make a holiday in the summer a possibly [sic] but this is extremely indefinite.  I think it would be rather inefficient to allow holidays while the boats are running as at other times of the year there is, in contrast, such a slack period.

You ask for my considered opinion on working for the company and I find this difficult to write in any coherent form so I will write my wandering thoughts.  I certainly am not truly satisfied.  When I first came here and there were few in the office I had a chance to learn a more varied angle of the business but with the increase in work and men and consequent specialization of work in the office my work is almost completely confined  to the payroll and anything immediately associated with it.  Directly associated with it are distributions of compressed air and tractor.  (All jobs the tractor does are recorded in the driver’s labour hours to each and at the end of the month total cost of tractor is split on these hours converted to percentages.  My work in this is completed when I have computed these percentages.  This is mostly mechanical work.  I also keep a complete record of all labour distribution which may cover nearly eighty different jobs (this is balanced monthly to the payroll) and also the payroll statistics comprising a resume of boarding house, steel sharpening, material, assay and many other costs and a complete record of the powder used and ore and waste removed from each drift and crosscut (of which there are eight this month).  All of the above is not to my mind truly accounting.  The branch accountant makes all entries in the actual books so that one has little knowledge of exactly how the system works.  This annoys me as I am interested in accounting.  I certainly did not need to go to Varsity to learn what I am doing now.  I should like to work on the invoices sometime.  There is much more variety in it and it would be very good experience.

June 1st  I don’t know how rapid are promotions with the company but I believe they are slow.  However it is probably better to be working here than outside according to Eric who returned from his holidays two days ago.  He said that things seemed pretty tough in Vancouver and a lot of men were being laid off in Trail.  Trail is evidently not doing much shipping now during the prevailing slump and he says there are huge stocks on hand.  Nearly every man in camp is not satisfied with what he is paid as C. M. & S. does not attempt to meet the wages that the other outfits are paying.  Labourers here get 4.00 a day out of which board takes 1.00.  Negus Mines adjoining us pay at least a dollar a day more than this.  Why is it that the salaried employees are paid least of all?  I cannot understand this though it is universally the case.  Probably the picture I have painted is too gloomy—things are not really bad until you start to think about them.

Radio Op. Thurba Cushing, whom Dick knows, is working for the company in Trail now.  He may be up to Goldfields while the operators there and at Con take their holidays.

Eric brought me a “Leudi” exposure meter for my camera.  I don’t think it will be very much use as the reading is somewhat indefinite.

Practically all the ice in the bay has gone in the last two days and planes are flying at all hours.  The doctor went up to Gordon Lake yesterday and on his returned [sic] landed here at 1 a.m. this morning.  It was very light even then but dead calm water made landing difficult.  Page came in a few moments ago bringing the auditors and Eric Randall.  They certainly chose the worst time of the month to come.

With love from


Seeing that I finished this letter sometime after I commenced it, it should reach you just before your birthday.  Many happy returns!

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