Raymond, AB on July 18, 1943
: Box 167,
: July 18/43.
: My dearest Joan,
: It was a pleasure hearing from you after a long time. I was terribly worried if you had stopped corresponding with me, but I knew it couldn’t be true because you’re not the type of a girl who would so such things. Well, anyways, thanks a million for your ever-welcomed letter and I was certainly glad to hear from you again.
: How is everybody in your family back home? Well, I hope, as we all are also.
: School’s over, and here I am at home. I stayed out almost three weeks from school on account of beet work and went back on the day before our June exams. That was June 18th, and the following week from Monday to Thursday I went to take my tests. So I got out of school on June 24th.
: Teruko (Yr. 8) got out on June 21st and went back on the 22nd to get her report card. My smallest sister, Marion, passed with honour, so she got out from school on June 16th. Lucky thing, she gets out the earliest and doesn’t have to do a bit of work in the beets. She’s just a spoiled kid in our family who never “grows up.” Gee, I was boiling mad the day I went back to school our health teacher gave us our Health Exam and I didn’t even glance over my notes. I still think it was her fault because Health Exam was scheduled on June 25th and I was expecting it on that date. I don’t know whether I passed or flunked in it (most likely flunked!) because we get our results mailed to us around middle of August from the Department of Education. On the same day we also got Home Ec. Exam and a little Soc. St. test. I don’t think I have to say much
: about that! All I have to say is that I fail my grade, I intend to quit school and go out working. Probably house-working in winter and farming in summer. That’s about all the work there is for girls out here. Well, I hope I passed (because I prayed to God about it) because I still want to continue with my schooling.
: All in all, we did thirty-four acres of thinning beets this year, (we have only twenty-six acres of our own.) and about forty acres of hoeing beets. Dad helped us hoe about half of our beets and then he went to work for our boss. So the rest of the family – Kay, Teruko, Sam & myself finished our beets and did fourteen acres of a man’s down at Stirling. Mom did washings and cooking for the family, making lunches and caring for the house. Marion would stay all day at our boss’s and just come out to the field when its [sic] time to eat. She wouldn’t miss her share of the lunch for
: anything. This year, we worked shorter hours; from 6:00 A.M – 8:00 P.M. We were all really surprised to find ourselves working faster this year. Last year, we worked longer hours and did only around 1 ½ acres, while this year, we worked approximately three hours shorter and do almost three acres a day. It rained quite a bit this year, but not as much as last year.
: Whenever it rained, I stayed home and rested. Heck, who wants to go to school when they’re tired? If I did go to school, I’ll be sleeping during the classes.
: We finished our hoeing thinning on Friday, June 25th, one day after I finished my exams. We started on our hoeing on June 28, rested on 30th because it rained, & also on July 1st, (Stampede Day) and finished on July 8th. Last year, on July 8th we just finished our thinning beets. The weather plays a large part in our work, I’ll say.
: Gee, Joan, I wish you were with me or I with you. It’s a shame war can endure in this civilized
: world, isn’t it? I hope we can meet all over again just once more in the near future.
: Dad has gone to the Church Service to-day [sic]. Since we came out here, I haven’t gone to a service but once. Back at the coast, we used to go to Sunday-School every week, but out here, it’s so inconvenient – no bus, or no tram to take. Walking nine miles (both ways) every Sunday over a gravel road is too far, so we stay at home and tune in a service over the radio. Sam takes his bike and goes to the Sunday-School in the morning and Dad takes the bike for the afternoon service. The could take turns between them, but the girls can’t, so we ordered another bike among us.
: Dad is looking for a car which he wants to buy, ‘cause it’s too inconvenient from town and we don’t want to walk half mile [sic] to our beet field (one way) every day.
: Everybody in our family went to the Stampede so I tagged along
: with them. This year we went on the 1st instead of 2nd, so we saw the parade. For such a small town as Raymond the parade was really quite good. The stampede programme was same as every year and I didn’t enjoy the programme part, but otherwise I did. After the stampede we went to a Buck Jones’ picture. The theatre was so full they had to close the wicket for a while. I never saw such a crowd of people in Raymond since I came here. Streets were crowded and cafes were just packed full. To get an ice-cream cone, I had to wait approximately twenty to thirty minutes. There was [sic] at least 18,000 at the stampede. (so it says in the “Raymond Recorder.”) Lucky for us, we had a good chance and got a ride home it was around 10:00 P.M. when we arrived home. Next day we worked Fiddle-sticks! It seems to me that I get more tired when I
: rest instead of working steadily day after day. I believe it was on June 22nd, I wasn’t intending to go to Shirley Temple’s “Miss Annie Rooney” show, but I went anyways, in spite of the tests the day after. I had to refresh my memory by going to a show. Oh! my! I forgot! ……
: Congratulations, to you, Joan & I hope you find your next grade as simple as you did this term. Don’t worry, you’ll always pass your grade with the highest honour, and if you don’t, nobody will. But that’ll be the day! You’ve always did and always will! To me, you’re the brightest student in the whole school.
: Father will be starting on [sic] Mr. Jensen’s chicken-house tomorrow. Mr. Jensen is the manager of the Social Credit Bank in Raymond. Chicken-houses are a nuisance to him.
: He wants to build boats, the ones he was building back at the coast; but I’m afraid he won’t get any chance to build one out here on the prairies.
: We decided to raise chickens, but we can’t as the hawks & weasels gets [sic] them. Then we decided to raise pigs, but we also find it a great problem to solve.
: I’m afraid, Joan, I can’t write such interesting letters as you could. There’s nothing interesting to write about, and even if there is, I can’t write it as you do. I guess I had better close as this letter will, no doubt, be boring you, so I will close with love and hoping to meet you very soon,
: I remain,
: Your affectionate friend,
: P.S. Excuse me for the water blotches on the letter.
: P.S. Please write soon as possible [sic].
: P.S. Mother send her best regards to you and the rest of your family. Love – S.
Mototsune, Sumi. Correspondence from Sumi Mototsune to Joan Gillis. 18 July 1943. RBSC-ARC-1786-02-15. Joan Gillis fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.