My Dearest Sister Elizabeth,
We are safely back from our trip to Calico, California. We were most fortunate to have the Butterfield Overland Mail stage take us the entire way. Our darling niece Melody is a good traveler. At the way stations she was very infatuated with the teams that pulled our stage. Our dear friend, Mrs. Maggie Marshal, was unable to attend with us at the last minute. It was fortunate that she had not purchased her ticket on the stage prior to our leaving. We were quite dusty and a bit weary upon our arrival but nothing a refreshing cup of tea or coffee could not cure. Mrs. Lucy Lane was the most gracious hostess to us. We had a wonderful cool place to keep out of the sun and warm temperature of the town. The trees in the high desert, of which this town is a part of, are few and far between.
The parade I had alluded to in my previous correspondence took place just before eleven o’clock in the morning. The parade was led by veterans from our wars. Our dear sister, Mrs. Mattie Marvel, was in attendance at the parade very close to the beginning of it. It has been relayed to me, as I was with Melody playing, that a lovely woman was next to our Mattie and they felt a song was called for. They fell into song and serenaded our veterans as they passed before them in review. The song is a rather new song written by a young chap by the name of Irving Berlin titled God Bless America. A hush was said to come over the crowd as the veterans passed this serenade and many of the veterans made silent acknowledgment of the tribute. While there may be those who feel otherwise, our sister’s love for this country is deep!
As the parade was in review Melody and I were enjoying the relative cool and calm of Mrs. Lane’s parlor. I had returned from an excursion to the wood smith’s shop to procure a few small toys for Melody. We had a rather enjoyable time with a colorful spinning top. Upon our arrival, after freshening up, Melody and I took a lovely stroll through the thriving town of Calico. With the silver boom there were so many new inhabitants. A house has been built made completely out of glass bottles. Can you imagine? It was most impressive yet it seems impractical. California is known for the occasional earthquake. I, myself, would not like to be an inhabitant of that house were that to happen in the future. There are several new shops on the main street aside from the Lane Mercantile. There is a Sweet Shoppe, a Pottery Shop, and a Print Shop. There has also been the coming of a charming restaurant and alas, a saloon.
The King Mine has been working shifts around the clock and the mine owner is putting in a crusher. Mrs. Lane has complained of not wanting the crusher to be operational due to the noise that will be in the town at all times of the day and night, not to mention the stirring of the dust and dirt – especially being as the soil is so red as to stain your hems terribly. The town received its name from the fabric, Calico. The colors of the rocks and dirt on the hills and mountains of the high desert are laid out in a wide array of colors, like the fabric. I had likened it to the calico cat we had in the barn as children.
Sister took her daughter out for a stroll through the town after luncheon. They had a fun afternoon on their stroll, with Melody searching for a penny in a haystack. They made a stop at the Sweet Shoppe for a refreshment of ice cream and then a stop by the blacksmith with an inquiry into horse shoes. Melody was most curious as to their fit and whether one would one fit her shoe. The curiosity of a two year old. It is fabulous to see her infatuation with the world around her. She did pester some miners who were working at a sluice and panning, but fortunately they sent her away happy with a piece of fool’s gold, and she none the wiser.
Alas, dear sister, we had to depart the hospitality of Mrs. Lane. The stage was making final trip out of the high desert and we had to be on it as it was not passing this way again for another week. We were all more subdued on the return trip home after a pleasant and tiring trip. Husband was at home when I returned. We had a quiet dinner on the patio as it was still pleasantly warm outside. I must close now, but I await the post when your next letter comes to me from New York.
Your loving sister,