Amid the company of Happy Maidens: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 21

July 23 1917 Since noting the past events a number of things have happened. I finished Fannies things $6.00 also a dress for Mrs Fish $6.00 a skirt and waist for myself w white dress for E. [Eilene] and other things. On the 16th E. [Eilene] was sick and I had all the work to do for a week which put off our trip. At last we are on the way, got started last night on July 22. Frank made a present of a handsome black Cathy suitcase, Frank [Hoffman] is one of the most generous souls I have ever met.

We are rocking along at a lively clip. The long train giving the huge engine plenty to do is belabored throbbing and choo-chooing comes back to us in our superheated Pullman set 13, and its heated breath blows in our little screen window making the atmosphere almost unbearable. We have stripped the baby down to the limit. All day long through Montana and the Milwaukee road have passed the sage brush and are going through rocky hills covered with scrub pines green grass and alfalfa in the little valleys with occasionally a cultivated field, a stream of water and trees, cotttonwoods and willows. More sage bushes which I thought we had passed, train is balanced hand an hour or so and trying to make it up. Will be glad when we cross the Rockies. Lavina [Montana] a pretty village with several pretentious buildings. A place [illegible] Large gray hay barn set in the [Illegible] a old of its with great [Illegible] Field. All aboard suffering from the heat.

Electric Locomotives on Left Steam engine on right Harlowton Montana

Harlowton end of division, beginning of electric line odd comfort, for with the steam engine gone there is no smoke or cinders so we open up the windows right and left and the relief is truly grateful. The scenery has changed to broad ? And alfalfa and other folds, a densely wooded stream occupies til middle distance beyond which are slow rolling hills while far against the evening sky looms the cool purple mountains. Supper over sun nearly done, cooler.

Just left Ringling a scattered hamlet with comfortable buildings , a good schoolhouse, a Catholic church etc. A splendid herd of cattle and the most magnificent string of mountain peaks I have yet seen off to the South East.

Deepening disk. Magnificent scenery pure covered Hanglets[?] rise to the sky so close they it tires the neck to gase [gaze] at their summits. Rock bordered pools reflecting the green trees on their banks.

Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad outside of Ringling, Montana

Tuesday July 24 Dewey’s birthday. En route just passed St Marys, Idaho. The river has broadened the pines are larger and thicker and greener than back in Montana, the beautiful hills and streams and tiny valleys infold to our view in an entrancing panorama.

Plummer Idaho Railroad Junction de Lux Rocks and Rills and wooded Hills. Mica with its brick and tile factory and now Spokane pronounced with a “can’. We are on the Western slope. The Reapers are busy cutting grain. Kelley S Garden paved streets and other first signs of the big city. What a trolley Car! Spokane the once green city with ?? residence parks are behind.

We leave now passed the lumbered Hills and come to the barren sage covered rolling lands with ….a field to show…..regrows to carve a livelihood. The conductor has ….up order Some today. I was real cold last night I had on two woolen blankets. It has grown quite warm again. Ellensburg and 4 oclock. Clouding over and wind rising. Everything green and growing prosperously. Irrigation as transformed the barren waste fields into wheat, flax, alfalfa and wild hay. Fruit orchards in and on thru tunnels over trestles cuts and fills and every other form of road building. Lofty mountains looming snow crowned high, tiny rivulets cascading down the cedar slopes telegraph poles in the making right where they grow stretches of stumpage where they have been cut down gaunt stark trees that perished in the forest fires and a blue huge front are now raging, this all and much more we pass as we near Seattle.

Ellensburg Canyon

Dec 8, 1917 At home in San Francisco. It seems strange to me that after writing those last lines before arriving at Seattle, I should become so averse to writing in my diary. Or the least thought of it even that I should neglect willingly and contentedly until this moment, when I feel impelled to record a few of the happenings that have grouped themselves around me. From that cold foggy day in July until this beautiful sunny Dec day.

The seasons seemed reversed. Every thing bears a strange exotic impression. The mysteries of life and death and the details of existence in between weigh heavily upon my soul. The Eternal questions went I and what for? have insistently intruded their unanswered presence upon me. I seek the solution. Such wonderful thoughts come crowding in upon me that it is inhospitable to record them. Some day I trust, pray, the Lord will clearly show the way that leads from darkness unto day to even me.

And thus it is and so it will ever be when mortals attempt to think out the unthinkable, explain the unexplainable. Trite staid phrases fail utterly to convey an impression of the state I’m plunged into by the sudden death of my sweet dear young friend, My almost daughter Lois Fryer. [Lois died 4 Dec 1917 daughter of George and Irene Shoup Fryer]

I have mentioned her often in these pages the last few years. I have revelled in her glorious vitalizing personality. I have gloried in her very evident musical talent and proudly showed her much sewing and dressmaking. A quaint old fashioned way she had that at 15 or less she could cook and serve a full course dinner. She had a full powerful voice which rang true. She loved music and learned it without effort, playing at recitals music from Peer Gynt, the Erl King etc.

Full of the joy of life she pressed it every where the baths, the ice place, the beach and automobile tours. Often she would run into my humble room that was glorified by her presence and throwing arms around me would pipe out in her high keen voice O I am so happy. And glowing fair, bubbling over she would tell me how she was going to see Aida and her Alice Gentle sine and then she would sigh and wish she were 17 when the great voice trainer Anthony Juro had promised to take her as a pupil.

O my Lois girl that fate should be so cruel. On your 17th birthday you took sick and less than a week after that you lay a beautiful waxen image of yourself in your white coffin. And so swiftly the harrowing events followed each other after that. Till all that was mortal of you my hearts delight, my pride and pet was consigned to the inexorable fate of the crematory.

Surrounded by heart broken friends, covered by beautiful flowers, the rarest flower of them all, you passed out an angel too heavenly for earth, a spirit of joy and love too fine for this gross planet. They needed you in Heaven with your glorious gift of song to complete the heavenly angel’s choir. Your loving adorable nature soul to pour out anthems of love and adoration to the God of love.

I can see you, my vanished joy, amid the company of happy maidens gathering exotic flowers in the gardens of paradise. Thou are but just gone ahead. We’ll follow soon and join you in the realms if joy forever secure in this love and can never again know the anguish of parting.—–

Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.

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