Family & Fun at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition 1915: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 14

Oct 11, 1915 Which I did [Lulu voted!] and for Rolph who proved to be the winner. [ James Rolph was the Mayor of San Francisco from 1912-1935 and then Governor of California for one term. He was a Republican] I watched Mrs Ettiene’s funeral from the Park [Mabel Mary Etienne who died 25 Sep 1915] and mailed a letter to uncle and the boys. During the days following I made Lois a silk coat to go with the dress. 5.00 and Lillie a blue serge suit 3.50

[Mabel is likely the same Mabel listed in Lulu’s diary as she lived at 1900 Fell St. at the same time Lulu lived at 1824 Fell less than a block away. It is interesting to note the circle of divorced women and their economic hardships.] On Sunday Dewey and I walked out to the park and inspected the pumping station the flower beds and ostriches and then came home. Frank had started that morning for Humboldt Co to look at land.

Thur Oct 17 Just two years after we landed in this western shore. I met Jessie at the Emporium and we selected a Piano which is now in the house. [Jessie is listed in the 1916 City Directory as a pianist.] We have been cleaning house and are tired out. Got a letter from the boys saying they would be here soon. A Joy and Gladness. Sylvester Miller and Jessie were out to the fair and had their pictures snapped. They are very good. Syl was here for awhile after church. Lolita served some of her cakes and Fruit. She’s getting to be a fine little cook. Albert writes of the encouraging turn in his love affairs! Uncle sent a big box of fine peaches from Escalon. I have canned quite a lot of fruit and chilli sauce this fall. This is a beautiful Gorgeous day (outside). Its always dismal in these rooms.

I expected Mrs Ross in soon with her coat to be fixed. I will or shall go to a lecture at our study club on thurs. to hear Madame Yates lecture. This brings this chronicle up to date. But I must add Frank came home on Sat Oct 9 without filing on anything and mad as a hornet at his cool reception. I couldn’t feel very hilarious over the misspending of 25.00 and the loss of his weeks work where I have to work nights and Sundays to keep up excuses but there’s an end to all things. Just keep me in the mind of that, my diary.

Went to hear Madame Yates lecture on the art of fashions in all ages. It was very well handled and of absorbing interest. She belongs to that most interesting race. The French Canadian.

Made a coat for Maxine Lichestine of brown Broadcloth and trimmed with fitch $3.00 Helped Edith Ross make her coat of brown Broadcloth trimmed with mink. $2.50 Mrs Ross also gave me some lavender Mercenised poplin. Made a white silk skirt trimmed with two broad bands of black panne velvet for Mrs Hall $3.00

Jessie lost her position at the photographers on account of slack business. Living is coming in very slowly. The weather continues fine.

Bought a set of aluminum ware for $7.83 at $1 per week. Got a letter from Goldie saying they, including mother were well. Received letters from the Boys Allie & Leo saying they were coming to S.F soon.

Oct 14, 1915 Leo arrived today. Think of that! I have looked forward to seeing him so long and here he is, in a quiet subdued way. I’m enjoying every moment of his stay with us for alas and Oh me!! he must return soon to his business in Minneapolis. He has graduated in his law studies and with his Linotype trade can get along with his battle with the world endowed as he is with a rare mentality and a sweet disposition. Add to these a serene confident outlook on life and a capacity for plain hard work fit him splendidly for his future. I only hope the rest of them will do as well.

Sunday Oct 24 We all including Donald Shaw went out to the beach and ate a big lunch under the little Stowe’s buffeted trees near the great highway in GG Park. We hiked out and back, enjoying the outing immensely. Spent the remainder of the week visiting.

Oct 29 Albert arrived. We are all together again excepting Eilene.

Monday Nov 1 Uncle Wm Petty arrived from Escalon to attend San Francisco Day at the Fair on Nov 2. Jessie put up a mammoth lunch and Sylvester came for Jessie and we all excepting Frank went out and joined our party with the throng that went to make up the 340,000 and over that went through the gates that day. The chief attraction was the crowd itself. Uncle brought a big ham and also furnished the boiled ham for the sandwiches. He left wednesday for Escalon to resume his duty as ranch cook.

Thursday afternoon Jessie and I attended sewing school at the Emporium.

Sun Nov 7 Leo and Frank went out to the fair.

Postcard advertising the 1915 Exposition

Tues Nov 8 Received a letter from my mother at Los Angeles saying she would visit us soon. I hope she can come before Leo leaves.

Nov 9 Our anniversary. Passed unnoticed.

Wed Nov 10 This day will live forever as a perfect one. In the morning I arose early and got breakfast put up the lunches and got children off to school then Jessie put up some sandwiches and Albert, Leo and I went out to the fair. The weather was ideal the sky a clear blue and the atmosphere free from fog. The bay and the Marin hills stood out like cameos seen from the Fillmore hill transfer. The sun tempered the chill in the air and we wandered through the grounds from palace to court and from terrace to esplanade and on to the aviator’s field to see the ? of the hour Art Smith fly. It was wonderful loop spirals and corkscrewing described in the air by parallel streaks of white smoke issuing from the ends of his aeroplane.

Art Smith performing a dive in his biplane at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco 1915

Aimme [his wife] was there to send him off with an encouraging smile and welcome him back to earth again. We heard Hawain music and the band the Phillipean Constabulary Band and a that we two were making on the Edison diamond phonograph in the Oregon building. This last was the most glorious of all.

A heart gripping duet wonderfully sung by a lady and gentlemen with golden voices. I hope I hear them again.

Nov 16 My Birthday 48. Got a skunk fur and a dictionary. This memorable day was spent preparing a huge lunch for Leo to take with him on his trip through the Canadian N.W. to Mlps [Minneapolis] at night. My eyes are blinded with tears. My Leo has started good Bye. My boy for awhile and God be with you.

Nov 18 Cleaning house. Two ladies Mrs Chadwick and Mrs Craig called. Had a pleasant chat.

Sat Nov 20 Washed and started Exposition quilt of Red & White

Sun Nov 21 Blue day Walked in Park alone came home went to church and came home also alone. [Can’t help noting a similar remark about Mabel Etienne in article about her death.]

Nov 22 Monday Got letter from Mother and card from Leo. Housework and sewing on quilt order of the day.

Nov 23 Housecleaning etc.

” 24 “

” 25 Jessie & Dewey went out to Fair.

Nov 26 Jessie & Sylvester Miller took in the Fair repeating the enjoyable performance on the day following which made her 3 days straight of matchless sightseeing under most entrancing circumstances.

Nov 28 Sunday Expecting Mother. Cooked our Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings. Went to meet the train No 49 at the Oakland pier and were disappointed at not meeting her. Returned to our belated dinner. Frank met the evening train with no better success.

Mon Nov 29 I went alone to meet the train and she came this time. I was very glad of it put to rest all our worries.

Nov 30 Mother and I went to the Fair. She enjoyed it very much.

Dec 1 This is Wed. We spent the day resting and visiting.

Dec 2 Washed clothes cold rainy day

Dec 3 Friday it rained hard all day. Most gloomy and depressing. Tomorrow is the closing day.

Dec 4 The last day! In the afternoon Mother & I went out to the fair. Uncle & Al had already gone also Syl and Jessie. There was an immense throng. We walked through several buildings and finally sat down in the North Archway of the Agricultural Bldg. in a lovely sheltered spot and waited from 9 o clock until about 11 o clock for the fireworks These were the best that have been displayed this season since the fair began.

Map Showing Lulu’s position while waiting for the Scintillator & Fireworks
And an Aerial showing the Court of the Universe & Bay beyond

The day was perfect. Clean and fresh after the rain the air sweet and cool. The skies clear and blue and the bay rippling as if its surface was disturbed by smiles and mirthful glee at the unexpected favorable change in the weather.

The scintilator drill was surpassingly beautiful. Imagine a giant’s fan unfurled against the inky sky the handle stuck in the bay and the sticks describing a semicircle searching far up into the sky. Each stick of the fan is a broad ray of electric light from a giant searchlight or scintilator, each manipulated by a man. These broad bands of light are luminous pearly white until the scintilator is covered with a colored scream of glass or something which changes the light to that color. They alternated the while with most beautiful shades of purple orange and green and trained the colored lights upon vast volumes of steam generated by a locomotive engine stationed on a pier by the bay by the Yacht Harbor for the purpose. The effect was wondrously soft and beautiful the hissing steam rising in billowy masses changing color chameleon like as it passed upwards through those magic layers of color.

Pan-Pacific Exposition 1915 Scintillator

The fireworks were an improvement upon hitherto performances. They were larger more numerous and of greater variety than ever before. One display resembled a thicket or clump of rushes Bending before a celestial prairie fire. Sowers of gold dust seemed to fill the far spaces of heaven and miniature flags came fluttering down like a blessing with a promise. Witnessing this magic scene were 4 <blank> people assembled along the Marina filling every nook and space, corner and roof. Happy well-behaved and bent on enjoying the last drop of the last draught or the chalice of joy. They visited sang, joked and joked commenting and exclaiming in the most delightful way upon every thing in sight. A pageant of floats made its way slowly through the street litteraly packed to the hubs with people. These were gotten up with True SF skill and mounted on motor trucks. I must pass over the pathetic closing in the Court of the Universe where President Moore pressed the button that exited. Wished the lights forever that had played so sparkling and bright upon the Tower of Jewels and all the other beautiful spots so numerously scattered about the grounds.

Art Smith’s flight at Midnight

Art Smith’s unsurpassed flight at midnight and the final great salvo of fireworks that marked the end, for Mother and I were on tip of Filmore hill trying to get a car home.

View of the Exposition from Fillmore Street Hill 1915

Sun Dec 5 Spent at home at housework in morning and rest in afternoon. Sylvester came in the evening and with Jessie, Mother, Uncle and I spent a most delightful evening in general conversation.

Dec 6 Ordinary routine.

Dec 7 Went to church and walked home with Jessie and Sylvester. He told us about his operation on the chin for cancer and of his heartbroken despair at the disfiguration of his face by the removal of part of the bone and lower lip. Really this not so bad for he is quite handsome in spite of it all. On our arrival home we found the door locked and F.S. M.[Franklin Stewart Mosier] on Guard. He let me in but closed it upon Jessie and Syl. They walked around the block and he went home and Jessie came in F.S. demanded $2.50 to go downtown and blow in which I returned to him out of the 12.50 he had given me for the weeks expenses. He was mad at me for not bringing Lolita out to see the fire works at the fair sat evening. He said he raised a row Because Ma and uncle were here and he has been raving mad ever since. He told Jessie not to have Syl hanging around here any longer. Mother and I are hurt and displeased for we enjoyed his visits. He is very entertaining.

Leo sent his (Sylvesters) scarf pin back which he (Leo) found pinned in his blue chinchilla cap, when he unpacked his things in Minneapolis. Sylvester was glad to get it back but was exceedingly well bred in his concealment of it. We of the house are Openly overjoyed for the loss was a 7 days mystery so baffling that it affected our collective peace of mind.

Wed Dec 8 Baked white and raisin bread . Sewed on Mrs Woods skirt and ironed and swept the house. Helped get dinner and do up the dishes. Mother and the others helped. F.S. threatened to quit work but finally went. When we got home he reported that Jessie might have a job the 1st of Jan as an office girl ar the Lumber business. Hope so.

Fri Dec 24 The day before Christmas. Three week weeks of silence my Diary tho. neglected I’ve thought of you often and now because I’m to tired and listless to do much else I’ll endeavor to chronicle the things that transpired since I last set my pen to this page.

We have been resting up from the fair and Jessie has spent some little time looking for work and at last obtained work at the 5 & 10. She is afraid she will be laid off tonight. F.S. is still furiously jealous of every thing and every body. Now he is taking out his spite on Sylvester and has forbidden him the house, foolish man as if that would settle it. They go on meeting as usual but she cannot bring him which we all regret as he is a pleasant young man to have about. I bitterly resented this decision of his and do yet, But he is so obstinate and stubborn that its hard to reason with him or to ask favors so I suppose Our Syl will spend his Christmas holidays out of our house at least. Jessie feels this injustice keenly.

Milo has been working for a week at the fair grounds. Dewey and Frank have been there part of the time. Lois Fryer was in yesterday. She is an adorable child. Uncle Wm Petty is still here but will leave for his work next Tuesday. Lolita is busy filling bags for our Christmas Tree, and deriving great joy there from.

Dec 25 Christmas day Perfect in weather and joyful with the seasons cheer. The tree was a perfect success. The presents suitable and pretty and well recieved. Everything passed beautifully until Father refused to eat some of Sylvester’s candy. It was a splendid box from Haas and delighted all but him.

1914 George Haas & Sons Candy Store 770 Market San Francisco

This caused Jessie to lose her effervescent spirits and so she dropped and shut herself in her closet and grieved the blessed afternoon away refusing her dinner and causing us all to wish the was a more harmonious spirit of sweetness and love in the family. Father told me today he has nothing against him but that we treated him better than himself. It is now evening and dinner is over. May the day end happily for all.

Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All RIghts Reserved.

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