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Mary works at the store in the heat

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Rhododendrons are in bloom and Mary Theler is having a hay day going out and picking them and making bouquets for the house, the store and the church. We learn that in 1938 the state had some kind of a tax on cigarettes. Oiling roads was pretty common back in the day when we did not have so many paved roads. Enjoy!

Thursday May 26, 1938

Sam came back through Tacoma and got home about five o'clock. We had a busy day as the WPA got their checks and I had to send Charlie to town to get some cash. It turned out just right for we were just about out of cash by the time Charlie got back. I washed all the light fixtures and Charlie washed all the windows on the outside and cleaned the garden. Now the place looks pretty good. Tomorrow Charlie is going to wash windows on the inside so all will be done. Dorothy Eddy was in and helped me put all the State Tax Seals on the drop shipment of cigarettes, so that is done. Then I candled all the eggs. In the evening, Ruth and I went out after rhododendrons and they are certainly lovely. We picked enough for the store, the house and the church for over the holidays. We had a nice ride and after I came home I placed the flowers in water and picked some wild roses and so have two bouquets in the house. Soaked my new handkerchiefs in sugar of lead and this evening I rinsed them out and hung them oh the line. They looked real nice. They surely are colorful. Had a letter from Annie and she wants to come out Sunday and also a letter from my Mother, who is working in Bremerton. The latest dope in the school business is that the friends of the teachers who were fired are going to try to recall the directors. The North Shore Road is so dusty that I could hardly see to drive and that's going slow. I'm glad that we don't have to travel that road very much for it is the worst I've ever saw. We shall have to oil it in a short time if the hot weather keeps up for it is getting quite dusty around the store.

Friday May 27, 1938

The wind blew so hard today that it was nice and cool all day. We were quite busy and Charlie finished all the windows on the inside and finished puttying the window where he broke a pane of glass out yesterday. I placed the rhododendrons in the vases all about the store and it looks very good. The place just shines it is so clean. In the afternoon I went to the beach and did a lot of mending and pressing that I had let go for some time. Then I cleaned the house up good and went to the store for supper. After that I went to Housens' and Mae fitted all the house dresses on me that she is making. They looked real good and I expect to wear some on my trip. They are so cool that they should be just the thing. I cleaned my suit coat for the first time and I hope the thing does not shrink too much or go out of shape. Then I cleaned a dress that I wanted to take along on the trip. In the evening I picked some wild roses and put in a vase and cleaned my white shoes so now most of my cleaning is done. I sent my Mother the picture I had taken for her and I hope that she likes it for I sure had enough trouble getting it. I forwarded all her letters and sent her one that I wrote last night. Our lawn is doing pretty well and Sam mowed last night for he thought it needed cutting.

Saturday May 28, 1938

This was a very busy day and we all worked hard in the store and Ruth had an early supper so she and Chet could go to Tacoma. Sam and I were just eating when John and Annie and Louise came. I waited until Sam came back from Bremerton where he went to get half a beef for we were running low. Then we went to the beach and later went to the dance at the gym, where believe it or not we had a good time. Home late and to bed. Dot Eddy and Camilla McDonald were doing the Scottish jig and fell down right in front of Sam and how they did scramble to get up. We had a nice time but the crowd was very small. John and Annie got up to the dance and kidded them about putting on an exhibition dance for they were the only ones on the floor.

Sunday May 29, 1938

This was a hot day and the wind was so strong that it was cold in the shade. So as it was Sunday we slept until late and got up to get the breakfast and about noon the folks came to eat with us. Irene and Carl and Rudy and Alma were here to eat breakfast with us and we certainly had a lot of fun at the table. We laughed at Rudy until our throats hurt. Afterwards they went to the cemetery over at Shelton and we left the dishes for the men to do and we went for a ride in the hills for wild rhododendrons. We took several pictures and came home to the store and got some meat for supper. We got the supper and had the Sundstroms stay and eat with us. We played cards afterwards and spent a very enjoyable evening.

Monday May 30, 1938

This was another windy day and so cold that Louise and I did not go swimming like we did yesterday. We did have fun in the water but their dog got so frightened when he saw Louise out there that he insisted on going out to get her and only scratched her on the back. In the morning, I went to the store and did all the mail and Ruth did the washing and Annie helped her. Then in the afternoon John and Charlie went to Ori's and got the electric pump that they had put up on approval. We rode to the wild strawberry patch and only found a few there. I guess it has been too hot to grow very many big berries. We drove to the lake above my Dad's and took several pictures of the flowers, which I hope will be good. Later we went to my Dad's and talked to him a while. John and Annie went home about six o'clock and then I planted some seeds in the garden over by the maples.

Tuesday May 31, 1938

This was a hot day and very quiet in the store for it was the last day of the month and I suppose no one has much money. Sam went to Shelton and paid half of the taxes and got some title for across the road. Then he went to Bremerton and had some work done on those contracts. Ruth ironed and I candled eggs and put the potatoes up and fixed up the vegetable rack. We had some local berries that were very good. In the evening the Gifford's were in the store and I invited them to the beach and they saw the place for the first time. They thought it was very nice and sat and talked for quite some time. I heard the Mister talk for the first time without interruption from his wife. I addressed all the cards to the graduates of the Belfair School and some to the high school graduates. Then I did some writing and went to bed. Last night I made a corsage like I want to make Helen for the Graduating Night and I never saw Mae so I hope it is not spoiled by tomorrow. It had wild roses, violets and maiden hair fern in it and was very nice. Mr. Squires said he's picking up his iceboxes and will give us one so now we shall have firm butter and cold milk over the weekend. My, that is good news for us and we sure need it. Then the barbershop found a hot water heater that will serve our purpose in the store and am I glad for we have everything but the hot water and we do need so much where we do so much cooking and washing off the hamburger machine. Ruth was surely happy when she heard about it and so was I. Ruth counted stamps and we are not coming out right in the count. It was perfect last month and I can't see why it can't stay that way unless someone is helping themselves out of it and we don't know it. We're about eight dollars short but it could show up for she may have made some mistake in the count herself. I've done that and gone over my work and found my mistake. Sam and Rhodes were in Bremerton to a dinner.

Wednesday June 1, 1938

This was a very hot day and Emmet had the first half of the day off. There was not much doing in the afternoon so I did a lot of odd jobs. In the evening I went to the show with Mae and it was fair but we enjoyed it anyway. Afterwards we ate noodles and had a lot of fun.

This has been an incredible year for rhodies. The bushes are thick and have more blooms than I have seen in years. The colors are absolutely incredible.

Thank you for reading this week's diary.

Clydene Hostetler is a longtime Belfair resident, local historian, media archivist and documentary filmmaker of "Hidden in Plain Sight." She has been researching Mary Theler's life for the past 13 years. She can be emailed at

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Original Publication Date: May 26, 2016

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