W6203 TO MARY BAKER MCQUESTEN from her daughter, Ruby
Jul 10 1908 Friday evening
To: Mary Baker McQuesten Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario
From: 1510, 4th St. W. Calgary, Alberta
[written at top] Please send this on to Cal.1
My darling mother,
It seems as if I had been here a long time without writing you but I thought the post card would keep you from feeling anxious about my arrival and it was really only last night that I could begin to unpack my things. But now I am so nicely settled it quite repays.
Florrie had secured my room for me but the woman had extra visitors at fair time & so asked me if I would mind just sleeping in her room for the two nights. So as her room was full of her own things I just didn't touch my things till my room was ready at 5 p.m. yesterday. Then it was a treat to fall to and unpack. My clothes just looked lovely. Certainly I am well supplied. And my hats were in perfect condition and really nothing the worse for the packing.
I hardly know where to begin there is so much to tell. To-morrow I'm going to start a staver for there is only a few minutes to catch the post to-night.2 But everything has turned out beautifully. My room costs $12 a month--Mrs. Pavey had been getting $15 but seemed quite glad to give it to me and everyone says that is a very low price as rooms go here. It is considered a very nice house and my room is large with a high closet, a double bed, a very spacious pretty dressing table, a table, two big rocking chairs & a big wide front window looking towards the hills. Then my board at the Y.W.C.A. comes to $4 a week and is very good. So that is $7 a week which is low for here and I couldn't want more.3
It has been most interesting here during the fair, the place simply alive with cowboys and Indians & Indians & racing bronchos. No horses trot here, all tearing along. And to see the Indians in their very best coming madly along from the fair in the evening, as if on the warpath and the women with papooses on their back it has been too interesting for anything.4
I'll tell you later about the fair and seeing May Newhouse. They were all so glad to see me and Mr. Newhouse said the men around where Cal was in Calgary thought a lot of him said he was a "real plucky fellow." They had appreciated his broncho efforts.
Thanks for your letter. It is fine about Cal. It is so much prettier than I imagined, just beautiful in places. I just wish my self sacrificing family could be out here.5 But I'll write you a long letter. Please excuse writing. My rocking chair isn't very noble for writing letters. Must run now to the post.
With much love and love to all.
1 This sequence provides an indication of how the family letters were circulated among the family members. This letter from Ruby to her mother was obviously sent on to Tom in Toronto, and was then enclosed in a letter from Tom to Calvin in Glenhurst, Saskatchewan (W6200), and then made its way back home again to Whitehern to be preserved for posterity.
2 The "staver" is W6211.
3 This is a clear indication that Ruby stayed in a rooming house when she was first in Calgary. It was with a Mrs. Pavey and was located at 1510 4th St. W, Calgary. Her address does not change until Nov. 1908 to 316 Fifteenth Ave, West, Calgary (W6310), and then she returns home briefly for two weeks in April 1909, and then to Gravenhurst for further treatment. She took her meals at the YWCA. It is not know for certain where she took her treatment because the sanatorium was not yet built in Calgary. However, it might have been at the Calgary
Ruby has just arrived in Calgary to begin her rest cure and treatment for "chronic bronchitis" which later became Tuberculosis and she died in 1911. See W6135, and Ruby's bio. by clicking on her photo on the "Family Page."
4 This "Fair" may have been similar to the Calgary Stampede. Calvin also describes the "Indians" in the "Sun Dance of the Blackfeet" in 1904 and provides photos. See Box 14-099.
5 Ruby is feeling better now and is obviously feeling guilty about using so much of the family funds for her care and treatment. This letter describes how much her room and board costs in 1908: $7.00 per week. In July, Tom contributes $30 to Ruby's care (6236). Ruby did spend an additional $100 for a trip to Banff, which her mother "rather begrudged" except that covered a trip to the Rockies (W6236). It also cost $100 for her return trip to Calgary (W6161).