Orene Wetherall's family letters

Orene Wetherall probably averaged an hour a day of her life writing letters to someone. The spacing of her letters stretched, and their length shrunk as she got older and the arthritis in her hands, which she began to suffer when in her 30s or 40s, made writing and even typing more difficult.

Orene's penmanship was clear and fluid, totally unforced, as though her pen -- fountain pens until ballpoint pens became more common -- was directly connected to her vocal chords. Reading her letters you get the feeling that she is talking to you.

To be continued.

The letters transcribed below are just starters. Many others will follow.


Letters from Orene to Bill

1940, 1947, 1952

William Bascom Wetherall (1911-2013) left 166 letters he had received from Orene Hardman and then Orene Wetherall between 1937 and 1952. Of these, 41 were received from Orene Wetherall during 3 periods in 1940, 1947, and 1952 when they were separated on account of travel or work.

 1940    17 letters   19 Aug - 17 Oct
 1947    17 letters    9 Jun - 12 Jul
 1952     7 letters    5 Jan - 28 Jun


Letters from Peck to Boise

19 August - 17 October 1940

17 letters, including 1 postcard, posted by Orene Wetherall to Bill Wetherall in 1940 survive. All were posted from "Mrs. Wm. Wetherall / Peck, Idaho" to "William B. Wetherall / 305 P.O. Bldg. / Boise, Idaho" as she was staying with her parents, Owen and Ullie Hardman, in Peck, while Bill was working in Boise. The envelops bear the 3-cent purple Thomas Jefferson stamp issued in 1938 for standard domestic surface male.


Peck 19 Aug 1940 frank, Monday [19th] letter

Bill forgets shoes in Peck

"a little squaw fish, a trout, and a pheasant"

"Immediate family" attends wedding

This letter is written to Bill after he leaves Orene at Peck and goes on to Boise work for a couple of months. Orene wonders if he has found "a decent place to live" and what of boarding [meal] arrangements he has made. "Room and board" means a place and meals, but busy people who lived by themselves might also "room" (sleep) at once placed and "board" (eat) at another.

Orene letters
Orene letters Envelope with Peck 19 Aug 1946 frank
Letter dated Monday [19th]

Wetherall Family Collection


My Sweet Bill --

I've been wondering all morning where you were and if you found a decent place to live. Also, how you managed without your shoes. I'm sending them today.

I got up shortly after you left yesterday, but even so I was next to the last one up. You just started the ball rolling. It was really best that you left when you did or I'm afraid you'd have been too much delayed by all the "goodbys" (Sp.!).

Burton [Hunter], Howard [Thomas], and Grandpa Doug [Hunter] went fishing before breakfast -- just down to the creek. They got a little squaw fish, a trout, and a pheasant. Each told a different story about the bird and I don't know which (if any) to believe.

Burton and Peggy [Hunter] left about 11 and Howard went with them. As soon as they were gone we started getting ready to go to the wedding. Dad [Owen Hardman] didn't feel very well, but he wanted to take us -- Mama [Ullie Hardman], Babe [Hardman], and me. It had been so long since just our immediate family [Owen, Ullie, Babe, and Orene] had gone any place together that it was quite a novelty.

We got to Ahsahka about 1 o'clock -- the time set for the wedding -- only to find that we'd have to drive at least 11 more miles up the North Fork to find the wedding. We started out, but with no real intention of trying to get there on time. After inquiring a few places we gathered all the necessary information, and at 2 o'clock found the right place. It seems that the preacher had been lost, too; so we were plenty early and got in on the wedding dinner as well as the wedding itself. I saw a lot of long lost cousins and Uncle Roy [Hardman] and his wife. Dad gave Edward (the groom) a five-dollar bill as a gift and I contributed a dollar as my share of the five.

On our way home we stopped near Orofino and had some Coca Colas. We were so hot and tired and dirty that we didn't feel like getting out of the car so we got our drinks at that road house just this side of Orofino and drank in the car.

When we got back home it was about 7:30 o'clock. Almeda [Oglesby] & [her son] Dwight were here. Almeda has come over to get dinner for Grandpa Doug. I expect Gr. Doug had pouted all day because we didn't take him with us. He went to Lewiston today, so he's happy.

I'm still tired this morning. Mom & Babe have both issued orders for me to rest all day -- and I'm not objecting too hard.

Mom is picking berries, and Babe is washing jars in preparation to canning tomatoes. Tomorrow the corn is coming, so I'll help with that.

Biddy, I hope you didn't have any car trouble on the way home. The Blue Boy didn't have much of a vacation -- neither did his master. I want you to take it easy now -- the judge can do some of those cases himself -- darn him.

Say, honey, if there is any way to do so I wish you'd find out for sure whether that story Taylor told you is true or not. If it is the straight goods you could write to McNaughton and tell him you could come to see him. Then we could arrange to come home from Seattle that way. You could surely take a day or two off at that time before going back home. It might be worth investigating.

Well, I'd better give you a chance now. I don't need to tell you that there's an awful lack of something up here -- but i guess maybe I can stand three weeks of it -- as long as I don't have to take it in bigger doses.

Write all about your boarding place -- I want to know!

I love you --


The immediate family is the Hardman-Hunter family of Owen Hardman, Ullie (Hunter) Hardman, and their daughters Babe Hardman and Orene (Hardman) Wetherall. Though Burton was raised in the Hardman family, by his oldest sister Ullie, with her daughters Babe and Orene, who were his younger nieces, he was not a member of the so-called "immediate" family.

Grandpa Doug is Albert Douglas Hunter, Ullies father.

Almeda and Burton are Ullies youngest sister and brother. Almeda married Rance Oglesby, a forest ranger, and they and their and son Dwight are living in Peck, as are the Hardmans. Burton and his wife Peggy are visiting from Washington. Almeda and Burton were young children when their mother died in 1920. Almeda was raised by her older sister, Viola (Hunter) McGee, on Central Ridge and then Peck. Burton was raised by Ullie on Central Ridge and in Peck. Burton thus grew up with his older nieces Babe and Orene, and because he was Orene's age, he and Orene were classmates throughout their school years. Both graduated from Peck High School in 1931.

Howard was Ullie's 1st cousin, the son of John Wesley Thomas, her maternal uncle. Howard was the much older brother of Theodosia "Theo" (Thomas) Vincent, who was slightly younger than Orene, and though technically a 1st cousin once removed, more like a 1st cousin. Howard and Owen were close friends, and Theo and Orene were close friends. See 15.9 Thomas-Jayne on the Hunter-Thomas family page for details.


Peck 17 Oct 1940 frank, Thursday [17th] letter

"strange how quickly a person can change"

High school carnival "just a big noise"

Bill turns down Sandpoint offer

This last letter letter of the 1940 group puts an end to the temptation to relocate from California to Idaho. Had they stayed in Idaho, I -- and later my brother and sister -- would have been there, and the history of the Wetherall-Hardman family would most likely have been very different.

Orene letters
Orene letters Envelope with Peck 17 Oct 1940 frank
Letter dated Thursday [17th]

Wetherall Family Collection


Bill darling --

My letter is late for the same reason yours was delayed. I thought if we should be leaving this weekend you wouldn't get my letter -- so I waited to see when our take off would be.

I s'pose it is best -- for several reasons -- that we are staying a few extra days -- but I am anxious to get the trip behind me and find a place to settle down.

Now Mama [Orene's mother Ullie Hardman] will have time to finish my sewing, and I won't have to rush my last minute preparations. We have been so busy that I haven't even started collecting my much scattered belongings.

[Orene's sister] Babe [Hardman], [Orene's and Babe's younger uncle cum "pseudo-brother"] Burton [Hunter], and [Burton's wife] Peggy came up last nite to see me and say good-bye again. They ate supper with us.

Mama served on the [Selective Service] registration board yesterday. While she was gone one of my high-school [sic] friends visited me. It is strange how quickly a person can change. I found it really difficult to visit with her and do so with any enjoyment. Late in the afternoon her two children -- both in school -- came to see me. They made me realize that several years had passed since we had shared anything in common.

[Ullie's youngest sister, Orene's slightly older aunt] Almeda [Oglesby] & I are going to do the Hardman ironing -- while Mama sews.

[Almeda's husband] Rance left last nite, so Almeda is at loose ends again. It will be quite a while before he can come out again. He said to tell you he hoped to see you next summer. Seems like you two just couldn't make connections.

Tomorrow nite the high-school is giving its annual carnival. We'll all go, I guess. I'll get to see several people I haven't been able to see so far. Other than that it will just be a big noise -- I know from past experience.

My goodness! I'm certainly glad you are gaining. Seems like that fact should have some special significance - for example -- you should be pining away -- restaurant cooking -- no loving wife -- etc. -- etc. [--] but no! you gain! Any way if you keep up the good work, you can't scold me for doing th same thing. I weighed only 98 with all my clothes on -- about a week ago. But I'm not making any promises!

Dad will be working near Lewiston from to-day on. He plans to stay home & drive to & from work as long as I am here. Then he will [be] back at the crusher. Just now he's working awfully hard -- moving all the equipment.

I haven't written to your family yet, either. I thought I'd give you time to write. I don't know what you intend to say about the Sandpoint deal, but I thought I'd merely say it didn't work out. They'll be more interested in your explanation, anyway. My folks feel that, considering everything, we did the wisest thing.

Grandpa D. [Ullie's father Albert Douglas Hunter] left last nite to spend a few days at Kendrick [with his daughter Eva Keene's family]. He couldn't think of a single excuse for staying home this time.

Time for lunch. My tummy still lets me know when mealtime is near. That appetite will be the death of me yet.


Come on, Tuesday!


The Sandpoint deal refers to an offer to practice law in Sandpoint, a town on Lake Pend Oreille in Bonner County, in the north of Idaho's panhandle. The lake and town are north of Coeur d'Alene, which is north of St. Maries. Bills Baldwin-Steele relatives were living in St. Maries and Coeur d'Alene, and he had lived with the family of his aunt, Meda (Baldwin) Ury, in St. Maries while going to college in Moscow. His maternal grandmother, Ellen Baldwin, and his oldest aunt, Sadie (Baldwin) Williams, were still alive, and all were hoping he would return to Idaho. Orene, however, and her family, thought Bill should take advantage of opportunities that attracted him as a lawyer, rather than lead a life directed by family sentiments.


Letters from Peck to San Francisco

9 June - 12 July 1947

17 letters posted by Orene Wetherall to Bill Wetherall in 1947 survive. All were posted from "[Mrs. William]] Wetherall / Peck, Idaho" to "Mr. William B. Wetherall / 1922-24th Ave. / San Francisco, 16 / California".

About one-third of the envelopes bear the then standard 3-cent purple Thomas Jefferson stamp (Scott U.S. #807, 1938), and another one-third have the then standard 5-cent red DC-4 Skymaster airmail stamp first issued in 1946 (Scott U.S. #C32). A few were sent in stamped envelopes embossed with the round 3-cent purple George Washington issue (Scott U.S. #U436, 1932). And one letter bore the purple 1947 Joseph Pulitzer birth anniversary commemorative issue (Scott U.S. #946), which had come out on 10 April that year.


Peck 30 Jun 1947 frank, 30 July [sic = June] 1947 letter

Bill leaves medicine and fountain pen in Peck

Ullie waiting hysterectomy operation

Hardman family difficulties

When bringing Orene to Peck In 1940, Bill left his shoes. In 1947 he left his medicine and fountain pen. When moving to Grass Valley in 1955, he left his heart in San Francisco, where the Wetherall-Hardman family began. Over the years, however, he also developed an indelible love for Nevada City, where he spent remains of his days.

Orene letters
Orene letters Envelope with Peck 30 Jun 1937 frank
Letter dated Sunday 30 July [sic = June] 1947

Wetherall Family Collection

Sunday nite
July [sic = June] 30, 1947

Dearest Daddy Bill --

Tomorrows the big day, and I wish I could be there to hear all about it -- and to play you with aspirin. By the way, did you now that you left your medicine here -- and your fountain pen (I'm not using it!)? I'll send both. Even if you're a new man & don't need medicine I know you can't write with your finger.

Mama [Ullie Hardman] is laid up for a few days. She had her minor operation performed last Thursday & came home Friday. She shouldn't have been out of bed, but she came. I've been pretty successful at keeping her down, so I know she really is feeling punk. She looks bad, too. [Ullie's sister] Almeda [Oglesby] told [Ullie's daughter, Orene's sister] Babe [Emerson] that the Dr. Said Mama wasn't responding to treatment properly & should have a major operation. I think he wants her to come back in six weeks or two months & if her condition isn't improved he'll recommend the operation. Of course, we aren't supposed to know that, but she admitted to me yesterday that she wasn't doing so well, & said she would certainly not wait when a major operation was necessary. I believe that, so am trying to keep from worrying about her. A lot of women have to lose part of the female organs, but it is not a simple operation by any means. Don't mention it when you write. She won't have it for a couple of months anyway, & I know she'll be o.k.

Babe went home Saturday. She took the boys [Orene's sons Billy and Jerry] with her Friday. They had a wonderful time. I gave them money for one toy each, & I guess they shopped each store thoroughly before making a purchase.

Billy was very careful to find a bed partner as soon as you left. He first wanted to sleep with Grandpa, but I had to tell him Grandpa got up too early. Then he said he could sleep with Babe -- and he did -- but first he went to bed in the front bedroom 'till I'man [Babe's son, Billy's and Jerry's 1st cousin] was asleep. He cautioned us several times not to forget him.

The boys went to Sunday school today. Mr. Ryle said they were very well behaved & only once did they make any noise. One of them whistled -- Billy, I suppose, because he's always practicing.

[Orene's high school schoolmates] Don [Clifford Holmes] [Class of 1931 classmate] & [Kathryn] Jean [(Graham) Holmes] [Class of 1933] were here a few minutes this evening. Their youngest is not yet two, & is taller than [Orene's and Bill's daughter] Mennen [Mary Ellen]. She's not far behind in weight, either. Jean is heavier than ever. Don mentioned several times how well I looked, & finally said he thought a little weight made me look less tired. Everyone seems to be of the opinion that I was all worn out last summer [1946]!

[Orene's younger uncle and "pseudo brother"] Burton [Hunter] called last nite to say that he & [his wife] Peg were going fishing to a lake in Canada over the 4th [of July?]. They haven't their car yet, but thought they might have it for the trip. We we're relieved to know they wouldn't be here -- particularly when Mama is feeling so low. They'll be here before I leave, tho, I'm almost certain.

What kind of care had the yard had this time? We're [sic = Were] all my plants in the basement o.k.? You can put them where they belong upstairs, but don't forget to water them occasionally.

Also, don't forget to pay the rent. I couldn't bear to be thrown out of our beautiful mansion.

Jerry is eating better. I simply sent him away from the table a couple of days ago. He went so cheerfully. I thought he didn't care, but since then he's eaten in a reasonable length of time. M.E. [Mary Ellen, Mennen] is still difficult - she keeps one eye on Grandpa, & knows she has support.

Billy seems perfectly contented. He doesn't leave the yard for more than a few minutes at a time. His bridge is growing & he's made "The Box" into a garage -- just temporarily. He explained that he took one side off, but could put it back when he wanted a box again.

The day that Babe went to town Dad took that opportunity to tell me everything. It is long & involved, but the sum total is that he thinks Mom's trouble is mental (and she think's [sic = thinks] the same of him, you know) and that it [overstruck] she needs him to care for her. He recognizes the fact that she is in ill health, but he thinks as soon as she gets through the "change" she'll see things in a different light & be perfectly happy in Peck! Then he told me a lot of Babe's troubles -- and why she had been so mean to live with, etc. I expect she'd much rather I didn't know, but I guess he just wanted it off his chest. Anyway, it just makes the problem bigger & less easy to solve. There are (1) certainly two sides to it, but I'm on Mama's at present. He wanted me to urge Mama to come home with me, which I would gladly do if it weren't for this operation pending. I know she wants her own Dr. to handle it, & also his fee will be much less than that of any Dr. I know in S. F. Oh, me! Why do people have to have trouble?

Have you seen the Shusters [San Francisco neighbors]? And what has Mrs. Whitmore [?] decided to do?

In today's paper Phil's [?] house was advertised again, so he must have been able to get an extension on his option.

Write to your tribe. I haven't got myself settled yet enough to think, so if you can't get any sense from this you can lay it to that.

Lotsa love --
    Bug'n Boys'n Mennen


I sealed the letter then remembered two very important things --

What about the Stanford deal?


I wrote a $50 check & gave it to Mama to cash. That's the only way she'd accept the check. Then today when she tried to give me the money her resistance was too low to argue so I made her keep it. I thought the traveller's checks might be handy to hang onto till I bought my tickets -- therefore, the check.


Mary Ellen was known as Mennen and M.E. in the Wetherall family. Relatives, neighbors, and close family friends also knew her by these names. Only much later in her life did she adopt the moniker "Mellon" -- hence she was known only as "Mellon Zweig" -- her email and Facebook name -- by most of her recent acquaintances in life.


Peck 9 July 1947 frank, Wednesday [9th] letter

Sitting between the two little pigs

"You have some awfully brown kids"

Hardman clan too hard to get rid of

This letter, though shorter than most, ranges over more topics than many. Several of them infolve problems or conflicts.

Orene letters
Orene letters Envelope with Peck 9 Jul 1947 frank
Letter dated Wednesday [9th]

Wetherall Family Collection


Dearest Bill --

Little Billy is just about getting tired of chasing down the hill for a letter from his Daddy & coming home empty handed. Today he said he guessed he'd have to write you. I answered that it would be a good idea, in as much as you wouldn't answer my letters. Doggone you! Write!"

I'm sitting between the two little pigs [Mary Ellen and I'man] watching to see that they get their egg & string beans down in the proper interval of time. I'man feeds himself some foods very well so we've been letting him do it most of the time. Also we've been feeding him the same food we all eat and he does ok by it.

I forgot to tell you that we got an invitation to the wedding we didn't attend -- sent by the girl's parents. You should buy a gift before too long. You'll know as well as I what to get.

Evelyn Falen wrote me, too, to thank us for the baby gift. She said now more than ever she wondered how I took care of three.

Did I tell you or was it before you left that we got the announcement from Watsons? You might tell Laurence that they have a baby girl.

How are all the neighbors anyway? Is Skeeter still worrying everyone to death? And how is the Shuster-Romine feud progressing during vacation? Did you think to pay Judy more, or did the job warrant higher pay? I have her two dollars. I guess with our caring for the [unread] the def [overstruck] debt will be cancelled. What has Mrs. Whitemore decided to do? Did her boys arrive yet?

You have some awfully brown kids up here. Mennen [Mary Ellen] has the best tan she's ever had & Billy is black. Jerry is a shade lounger so he isn't quite so dark; but even his back will be the envy of the blcok.

Babe should be down tomorrow. I think Mom will go to Lewiston [↑ tomorrow], then on up to [her sister] Evas [sic = Eva's] [home in Kendrick] for over nite. It will be Eva's birthday Friday [sic = Thursday, 10 July]. She wanted me to go, but I know Babe will be busy enough without 4 kids to wrestle. She wants to can berries while she's here.

Sunday we're going to meet some of the Hardman clan above Orofino & have a picnic. They wanted to come down here, but Dad would have none of it. They're too hard to get rid of.

Dad has gone to Reubens [Lewis County, Idaho] for a couple of days on a warehouse job.

Much rush. The babies are in bed now -- our lunch is ready & Billy must mail this before it is too late.

Love --


I especially remember chasing down the hill for all manner of reasons. The Hardman home was at the top of a street that dropped to a street that traversed the hill. From that point, you descended a long flight of wooden steps to get to the skirt of the hill and the Peck store. The store was run by Ullies second younger sister, Viola. She (or whoever ran the store) also operated the post office, which was in the store. Behind the store was equipment for homogenizing and bottling milk.brought every day by local dairy farmers. Along the steps, but especially hear the top, which caught more sun, were nettles that could be very painful if touched. The steps were surrounded by trees and bushes which made descending and climbing them feel like moving through jungle. Steps have always intrigued me. I live today in a neighborhood which sits on the top of a height above a lake-like marsh and is connected with the flats along the marsh by a number of flights of concrete stairs, each of which has about 70 steps. They remind me very much of the steps at Peck, and some of the steps I've known in San Francisco and even Berkeley.


Letters from Lewiston to San Francisco

5 January - 28 June 1952

7 letters

The 2nd group of the 71 letters from 1936 consist of 16 letters -- 15 of them postcards -- which Orene wrote and posted while traveling with Marguerite Manion and her parents through the western states.

The trip took the party of 4 south through the coastal states of Washington, Oregon, and California, as far as Tijuana in Mexico, then north through some inland states, including Colorado, Utah, and Montana. The family briefly returned to their home in Firth, Idaho, after which Orene accompanied the Manions, without Marguerite, to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Letters forthcoming.


Other family letters


Orene was the inverterate letter writer in the family. Bill Wetherall wrote legal briefs everyday but preciously few letters. It was never surprising to see a letter from Orene, and they were likely to be longer than short. A letter from Bill never failed to astonish and stir curiosity.

Orene's letters

Most of the letters that Orene wrote to her children, that are known to survive, are those she sent to Billy. And the only reason they survive in comparatively large numbers is because he is a pack rat. Practically every letter of the many he received from her after he settled in Japan in the summer of 1975 are organized by date in a file drawer at his home in Abiko.

Jerry, who settled in Hawaii in early 1970s, also received many letters, and has kept a number of them.

To what extent Mary Ellen kept her mother's letters is not known. The detritus found in her garage after she died contained many letters she had received from friends and family members alike. But the letters were mixed up, and neither Billy nor Jerry, who had only a few hours in the space of two days to do a triage on her belongings after her son Ditta had gone through what interested him, were unable to spend a lot of time going through the letters and decided not to save them. Among the few letters her mother had kept from her, however, was one in which she informed Orene that she, Mary Ellen, had found the man she intended to marry -- who would be Ditta's father. This letter was given to Ditta.

This writer, Billy Wetherall, now wishes he had kept the many letter he received from his mother, and rare letter he received from his father before the summer of 1975, when he moved to Japan. But in preparation for the move, he disposed of many of his personal papers, including the many letters he had received from his mother (and the very few letters he had gotten from his father) while working in San Francisco on and off from 1959-1962, Studying at the University of California at Berkeley in 1962-1963 and again in 1972-1975, and serving Uncle Sam in the U.S. Army in 1963-1966. But gone is gone.

Bill's letters

Bill commuted more with his children during the 10 years after Orene passed away in 2003, and his own death in 2013, than in the half century since Billy, Jerry, and Mary Ellen flew the Grass Valley coop. Mary Ellen would later settle in Nevada City, and then Grass Valley, which made letter writing a less likely way of keeping her abreast of family news.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Family letters


To be continued

Letters forthcoming.


Wetherall Family Christmas cards and letters

1940s to 2010s

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the Wetherall-Hardman family was living in San Francisco, Bill and Orene sent out a few family Christmas cards with a family photo on or enclosed in the card. After moving to Grass Valley in 1955, Orene occasionally wrote a fairly long Christmas letter that she sent to a substantial number of relatives and friends in your address book. After her death in 2003, Bill himself wrote a few such letters.

Copies of a few of the earlier cards and letters survive in the detritus collected by Ullie Hardman, Orene (Hardman) Wetherall's mother. Most of the letters written from 1975 survive in my (William Owen Wetherall's) collection of correspondence from my parents.


Peck 19 Aug 1940 frank, Monday [19th] letter

Bill forgets shoes in Peck

"a little squaw fish, a trout, and a pheasant"

"Immediate family" attends wedding

This letter letteris written to Bill after he leaves Orene at Peck and goes on to Boise work for a couple of months. Orene wonders if he has found "a decent place to live" and what of boarding [meal] arrangements he has made. "Room and board" means a place and meals, but busy people who lived by themselves might also "room" (sleep) at once placed and "board" (eat) at another.

Orene letters
Orene letters
Orene letters Photograph attached to 1957 Christmas letter
Billy (WOW), Orene, Jerry, Mennen (M.E., Mary Ellen), Bill (WBW)
Wetherall Family Collection


Dear Friends :

"Well, it looks as if we've done it again!" -- and by that, I mean we have met the Christmas deadline! Every year seems to get busier, but the real pleasure of this season is to be able to make this contact with you.

To start with the youngest member of the family -- (I almost said "the smallest", and she is no longer that!) -- Mary Ellen, a teen-ager in about a month, has spent a profitable year with her usual interests of music and Girl Scouting. (Occasionally she shows a little interest in Boy Scouts, too!) Summer meant another session at camp -- no home-sickness this time -- long hours spent on trying for the Junior Life-Saving merit badge (she'll make it next year). After camp there was still more work on Scouting, which resulted in the Curved Bar award, the highest rank in G.S. [Girl Scouts] Christmas this year means more than it ever has to Mary Ellen -- it means getting ready for braces on her teeth -- and. planning ahead a couple of years when she will really be able to flash a beautiful smile!

Jerry, our fifteen year old, literally got too big for his britches during the five weeks he spent as Junior Counsellor in the Boy Scout camp. All that out-of-door living, plus man-sized meals and lots of hard work were almost too good for him -- at least, that was the opinion of Mama when she had to provide a new wardrobe from the skin out. He enjoyed a long vacation from the cello, but to make up for it has become a member of the Junior Philharmonic Orchestra of Northern California. And to add another bit of practicing to his already busy schedule, he is taking clarinet in the school band. Hopes to make the advanced group by next semester. He is still delivering papers to the local-area, but it looks like that job would be given up to make time for track, come spring.

Our super shoe salesman, house painter, radio ham, Jack-of-all-trades, Bill, Jr., is so busy doing six things at once that his family rarely sees him. He spent two months on one of the ball teams this fall, and if he did manage to get home before dinner it was to hole un in his room and cram for all the things that had to be done by morning. Summer time meant a new occupation for him -- painting fences, porches, and whatever needed painting. That, plus lawn work in the neighborhood, and the regular hitch at the shoe store left little time for play.

I wish you all could have been included in some of our corn feeds this summer. Bill had bragged so long about his Iowa heritage that he finally had to produce -- and produce he did! -- with the tallest corn in the country! Mighty good, too. We are getting to be such old hands at gardening that it takes an outstanding crop to make it worth while mentioning -- so I'll just say, we did have a garden. Our total fruit crop was one wonderful, juicy pear from a little newly planted dwarf tree. Divided five ways, it gave us a hint of what we could expect in the years to come. We had one fig, too, but some scoundrel got away with it before it had a chance to ripen. Our other fruit trees, also newly planted, include a Gravenstein apple, a pie cherry, a red peach, an Elberta peach, and a plum. Now all we ask is that we live long enough to enjoy the harvest from our orchard, arid that we can outwit the many pests that thrive in this area.

I should mention that Bill, Sr., is still making it his business to see how much mileage he can put on his new Chevrolet between here and Nevada City. With an occasional side trip to deliver some member of the family to a meeting or a ball game, he has done very well. We see less and less of him now that his partner [Harold Berliner] is the local D.A. [District Attorney]

The author of this annual report, Mama, "Bug", or just "Hey, You!", has not been home long enough to know just what has been going on in her territory. Most of the time there is ironing, cleaning, and numerous other little jobs waiting for her to get home from a committee meeting -- Girl Scouts, P.T.A. [Parent-Teacher Association], University Women, Newcomers, etc. When there is a spare minute you can find her in the yard trying to dig holes for the many bulbs that had to go into the ground this fall -- or moving the favorite rose bush for the third time -- or just digging from force of habit! Some day there will be a big celebration in the Wetherall family -- "Look, Ma, no rocks!" -- but until then every bit of progress is made the hard way, with a pick and shovel!

For a fill-in between the lines you will have to visit us here in our little town, where the slogan is "Every Day is a Picnic in Grass Valley" -- and until then we hope your Holidays are happy ones and your New Year the best one yet.

          Love from,
       The Wetheralls
    Bill, Sr., Bill, Jr., Jerry, Mary Ellen, and Orene