7 July, 1935 - Current
A BOOM IN BROTHERLY LOVEWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, I tell you the papers are awful full of stuff nowadays. News sorter runs in streaks, and we are passing through a streak. There is no war going on at the present time. Paraguay and Bolivia just whipped each other, but there is an awful lot of folks working on arranging other wars. Mussolini sent his Army down into Africa for a training trip hoping to annex some loose territory in route. That’s your next war.
England has strongly remonstrated with Italy and told them of the text in the Bible where it says (I think it’s the third chapter, third verse of the Book of Dutyrominy) which reads: “They shall not covet thy neighbor’s territory, nor thy neighbor’s prospective oil wells, or thy neighbor’s natural resources.” That’s what England told Mussolini, and Mussolini broke out laughing and England’s representative dident know what Mussolini was laughing at, and he finally asked him, and Mussolini said, as follows: “Where was the third verse, of the third chaper of Dutyrominy when you boys was coveting India, South Africa, Hong Kong, and all points East and West?”
Well for a minute there wasent any reply. The El Duce had the Englishman stuck, but not for long, for the Englishman replied: “Well I guess that’s in the New Testament and it wasent written when we grabbed Gandiland and those other little Knick Knacks.”
You see, Mussolini is just native shrewd enough to know that about all the big Nations of this globe live in glass houses, and when they start throwing stones of criticism about coveting some outside range, why it’s liable to catch ’em on the rebound, even as moral old Christian Nation as “The land of the free and the home of the brave” has gnawed off a little here and there during its short span of life. Grabbing off the Phillipines was not exactly by popular demand of all concerned. Course we are going to give ’em up, but not till just about two jumps ahead of when somebody would take ’em away from us anyhow. We are really dropping the candy just because we see a big bully coming around the corner to take it away from us. Had we got out the day we got in we would never have been humiliated. We did it pretty good with Cuba, only we never did really get plum out. We always had some sort of a bill where we was still to be the big brother, as long as the sugar lasted.
So both individually and nationally we are just living in a time when none of us are in any shape to be telling somebody else what to do. That’s why your League of Nations won’t hold water; because the big ones run it, and the little ones know that the big ones have only turned moral since they got all they can hold. I can come in with a full stomach and advise the rest of the gang not to rob the fruit stand. That it ain’t right.
Here is a civilized country like Scotland having church riots. Maby every fellow that threw a stone hadent been in his own church since his last kin folks was buried. All comes from telling somebody what to do.
England and Germany had a meeting and decided on what percentage of ships Germany could have in proportion to England. Italy and France says, “Hey, there, you can’t do that! You boys can’t make an agreement like that without calling us in!”
So now they are sore at each other, so the whole thing just goes around in a circle; friends today and by tomorrow enemies. The big ones would like to sorter stick together. They say it’s to protect the little ones, but it’s to protect themselves. There is no Nation laying awake at night worrying about a little Nation, unless that little Nation is one where somebody can march across to get to them. Who would have protected Belgium if Germany had been marching through Belgium, going nowhere.
It’s not what you are doing to the little Nation, it’s what you are going to do to us after you get through the little Nation. It would be a wonderful thing if it did. But brotherly love has never crossed a boundry line yet. If you think it has why don’t somebody protect China? China has never bothered anybody. They have been a friend to the World. They are having their country taken away from ’em, but nobody says a word for she is so far away that they hope no Nation can march clear through her and get to them. Yes sir, geography has more to do with brotherly love than civilization and Christianity combined.
YOU CAN’T STOP USWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I see here and there. I have been working pretty hard (laugh) on some movies. It just happened that I almost had three right in a row. Now that don’t mean that they will be released as fast as we made ’em. They only come out about every four months, but we got a couple ahead already made, and that means that I will have little time off to do a few things I been planning on and that I won’t look like I am trying to get in front of every camera that is grinding.
We run one the other night called, “In Old Kentucky,” and it’s got a lot of laughs. Had a lot of awful fine people in it, and they sure made good. You know the old idea of one person trying to be the whole thing in a picture is all washed up. Pictures are like a ball team, the pitcher can’t do it all. It’s got to be the whole team. You just watch pictures close and see how well done are just small parts, or what they call “Bits.” It’s because they are done by real actors, actors that anyone of them could go in and play the leading part. They may only get two or three days work out of it, but they do it like it was a star part, and you never hear ’em whining either about the part not being in keeping with their ability.
No sir, I believe there is more real nerve and gameness under the most disouraging circumstances in the picture business than any other place on earth. Course the stage is not far behind. It’s a heart breaking racket, but they don’t sit and tell you about it. Their heads are always up. They keep neat, they hide a lot with a great smile.
Well, after I finish a long siege I sorter begin to looking up in the air and see what is flying over, and Mrs. Rogers in her wise way will say, “Well, I think you better get on one. You are getting sorter nervous.” Well this time the Fourth of July was a coming on. I had had a lot of invitations to a lot of places where I would have liked to have gone on the Fourth.
So I went to a real cowboy reunion in Texas on one of their most famous ranches. Not a professional rodeo like you see everywhere else, but a real celebration in a real cowtown by real old timers. I wouldent have missed it for anything. You know the way planes run, it’s almost impossible to think of a place that you can’t be to by morning or at the latest next day at noon. It was getting along late in the afternoon. I had just played a little polo game at my place. Jimmy, the youngest, was “hot” and he made a sucker out of me. I was on the other side. Bill had the measles and had to stand off on the side of the hill in front of the house and watch it. He was just a-getting over what they call the German Measles. (Irvin Cobb said they were now called Liberty Measles.) He was a might big old boy to be measeling.
Then the Mother who had been taking care of him thought she had ’em and wanted me to get away to keep from catching ’em, so as I say it was late in the afternoon, about five thirty, and I called up the plane company and booked me space to leave at seven. And it takes an hour to go to the field. I wasent right sure I was going back to these celebrations, but I can be ready to go to Africa in ten minutes. Left at seven, arrived at Abilene, Texas at six the next morning, and it’s only forty miles out to the town where the reunion is, Sanford, Texas.
Why you can leave California in the evening on any one of the three lines, and arrive in New York and see a matinee the next afternoon and a night show and leave after the night show and be home by the next night for dinner. But they are moving plenty fast in cars too, and the trains are picking up and their business is picking up. It’s going to be one of the biggest prowling summers we have ever had.
There is so much to see and so many good places to stop, and cheap. I never in my life saw as many out of state cars as there is in California this summer. That big fair out there is drawing a lot of ‘em, but every state has something that everybody ought to see.11
From what I can gather from everyone I talk with, things are definitely picking up. If they just get more folks to working which they are doing now too, there is no way to stop this country. Just quit listening to the politicians. They have to make a noise the nearer it comes to next year. Roosevelt ain’t going to ruin the country. The Constitution will remain as is. The Russians are not going to take us. Everywhere I have been on this trip there is a fine feeling. Let folks quit arguing over who did it, or dident do it .. just join in it.
1The California Pacific International Exposition was held at San Diego in 1935-1936.
THINGS ARE LOOKING UPWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I see high and low. Been home with my feet on the ground now for several days, but the air is more interesting. You can just see everything while up there, and travelers are mighty secretive. They don’t talk much, so you don’t have to listen to some fellow telling how bad things are going for Roosevelt, or what’s to become of the Constitution. They all seem to forget that those nine old gentlemen will look after the Constitution and Mr. Roosevelt will just have to look after himself. He has to do our worrying, but we don’t have to do his, so you can just sit up there in the middle of some clouds, or maby fog, and you don’t even have to worry. That’s the pilot’s business to do the worrying. We pay for the ride, not for the worrying, so we all ought to sorter stop doing so much worrying for awhile.
Of course, I know with lots of folks out of work that’s a pretty assanine thing to say, for if you are not working it just ain’t human to not worry. It’s pretty hard to get a correct line on just how the unemployed list is making out. They ought to be showing some signs of cutting it down by now. But there is so many conflicting stories about it that it’s hard to get any unbiased information.
I was a reading in the papers here lately where Canada was having a sort of a tough time. I hadent been keeping up with their affairs much lately. I have always had such high regard for the way they generally handle their affairs that I just naturally thought they were doing good.
That fellow Bennett, their Premier, always seemed like such a level headed, high class man that I couldent see how he could lose out up there, but I read now that it looks probable.1
Say, this running a Government is kinder like our movie business, you are only as good as your last picture. Things over which they have no control comes along and yet if it happens and it’s bad, why out they go. When all the British Colonies held their conference, this Canadian Premier was outstanding. They was all talking about him, but maby the poor fellow was put into a story that looked all right before they made it, and now that it’s not so hot he gets the blame, not the one that wrote it.
Now on the other hand we have just been visited by the Premier of Australia, and he is riding the crest.2 Australia had a terrible slump, in fact earlier and worse than pretty near everybody’s, but this fellow right out of the common herd is pulling his country right out, and Australia leans more than pretty nearly any other place to various experiments. In fact, it has tried a good many of these of ours ahead of us, but this fellow seemed to have improved things by a system of cutting cost.
There ain’t much improvement on economy in Government been discovered I reckon. Mr. Morganthou, our Treasurer, is out now to balance the budget.3 That looks like a sort of healthy sign. Course this relief thing is a hard thing to balance into your budget. You can’t sit down a year ahead and figure out who all is going to be hungry and how many of ’em there will be. It’s like sickness. It can upset the best family budget in the world. A big dose of it on one family is just more than any one can count on, but that’s what the old National Treasury has been up against; now that things are kinder looking up, why everybody has a remedy. I don’t believe anybody knows any more now than they ever did. The whole thing is so big and complicated that pretty nearly everybody that has a remedy has it according to his own particular case.
We are awful apt in saving the country to save ourselves first. Our solution is that as we are all in the river over our heads the only way out is to swim. We say that because we can swim, but there may be as many more that can’t, so the “Swim Out” remedy dident work, only with us.
1Robert Bedford Bennett, prime minister of Canada from 1930 to 1935.
2Joseph Aloysius Lyons, prime minister and treasurer of Australia from 1932 to 1939
3For Henry Morgenthau, Jr., see WA 582:N 4.
THE LAWYERS TALKINGWell all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I run into prowling around. A couple of weeks ago out here in the City of Angels we had quite a distinguished gathering. They called themselves the American Bar Association, and they was quite an array. I went down one night just as the thing was getting started and did some rough and tumbled blathering for ’em. What I mean is I made a speech.
Run onto more old friends down there that I hadent seen for years. The gathering was about as much political as it was legal, if not more so. It looked like a reunion of the Republican Old Guard. All the speeches during the convention had nothing whatever to do with law. They were all preludes to the next presidential election. They were opening overtures in the Follies. And you can’t blame ’em. Pretty near everybody that does something has got a reason, and lots of times it’s a pretty good one.
The old Republicans had stood by pretty good for the first year or year and a half of the administration. Of course, it was when they thought the President was all aces, but now that they begin to see that this fellow has treys and deuces in his deck, why they are out after his scalp. You see they are on the fortunate side. There is nothing as easy as denouncing. I write day in and day out, you talk day in and day out (about something that’s wrong), but I doubt if either one of us had to really offer a constructive remedy that would really stand up if tried why we would be stuck right away. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again.
Of course, this early in the game you don’t have to offer any constructive remedy. Just to shout what is wrong is enough, and it’s all in the game. Dident the Democrats yowl like a coyote at Mr. Hoover? In fact, the Democrats can call a man more things than the Republicans. The Democrats are better denouncers than the Republicans, for there has been so much more of the time that they have had practice at it. Denouncing is not only an art with the Democrats but it’s a profession. You see they are out of the office so much that they get all the practise. But for what little practise the Republicans have had, why they are not doing bad at all. They, for amateur denouncers, are doing fine and may soon be as good as the Democratic denouncers.
Course they got some splendid material to work on, for there had been many a queer thing done during this administration. Some of ’em looked like they were magician’s tricks, but done with another magician’s hat, and they dident hardly know what was in there, and when it was pulled out, why they were as much surprised as the people. The Democrats have done a lot of things just to see just how the audience would take it.
Well, a lot of the things they would pull out of the bag, and when they saw the audience dident exactly approve of that particular animal, why they had no way of disposing of him. They have had to stand there holding him in their hands with no place to put him. What the Democrats have needed was a garbage can, good and handy with a lid on it, and the minute they saw they had cooked the wrong dish why they could douse it into the old garbage pail before every one got a good look at it. Now parts of that NRA ought to have gone in the can after about the first preview of it. On the other hand, parts of it was good and is yet.
But to get back to the lawyers and their convention. They just have a thousand committees to fix everything. They got one, too, to drive the shyster lawyer out of their ranks, but it’s sorter like a skeleton in the closet, some of the more old conservative ones don’t want it dragged out. But they are doing a lot to eliminate him. Not all they could do if they entered into it whole heartedly (they could kick ’em right out of the courts) but they are doing something. You see, all these laws that they are having so much trouble wondering if they are constitutional, they were all drawn up by lawyers. For almost twothirds of the membership of the House and Senate are lawyers.
The minute you read something and you can’t understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don’t know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.
Every time a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, course perhaps he hadent really said anything, that’s what makes it hard to explain.
Anyhow they are like a lot more of the crafts that many of us live by, great but useless. One level headed smart man could interpret every law there is. If you commit a crime you either did or you dident, without habus corpus, change of venue, or any other legal shindig. But Lord if we go into the things that are useless why two thirds of the world would have to turn to manual labor. That’s really the only essential thing there is. Anyhow they was a good bunch and they had a good convention and it was good to meet ’em.
A WISE MAN FROM THE EAST
Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what happens day
after day. Finished my movies and wanted to just stay around home and have
a little fun without some director hollering at me, “Come on! Get on the set
here and quit loafing!”
I been just messing around doing this and that and not much of either. Get on old “Soap Suds” and ride off up a little canyon I got here with running water in it.1 Don’t mean a thing to you all in most of the places where you might unfortunately read this, but to us folks out here in California, or in any of these arid states I tell you running water is just about the last word.
Couple of Sundays ago we had a nice little gathering out at what we humorously call—Ranch—. Betty, (that’s the little woman) she invited some of our old friends out. Mrs Amelia Earhardt and her husband Mr Putman, and a darn nice fellow, and a mighty congenial pair by the way.2 Well he is awful nice and this Amelia, she would be great in any business, or in no business at all. She captivates the women too, which is unusual. She told me a lot about her trip to Mexico. She is crazy about Mexico. Well everybody is that goes there, and she thinks this president is very sincere and wants to get all this religious trouble settled and get everybody feeling fine.3
She has sure got the nerve that gal. She dident make her flight from there to N. Y. around the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, she just lit out and set a compass course and left the land at Tampico Mexico and dident hit land any more till she got away along about New Orleans. The thing I like about her is that she always has a fine word to say about all the other aviators. Not a one you mention but that has some particular quality or ability that she will boost as being superier to others. Jealousy is not eating her heart out in regard to her fellow flyers, either male or female.
Another old friend, Will Durant, our great philosopher, he is out here teaching philosophy in the University of Cal at Los Angeles.4 He is a great fellow. Bill, our oldest, had just finished up at Stanford this June. This philosophy was the racket he had majored in, and he sit around open mouthed and drank in every thing that Will Durant said. Durant had written and sent us the Book, a new one, “The Story of Civilization, Our Oriental Heritage.” It’s just a little what you might call “throw-away” or pamphlet. It’s only got 1178 pages in it. Mrs Rogers been working on it. I will get after it some afternoon when I havent got any calves to rope. That’s an awful lot of civilization for the amount we have had.
You would like Bill Durant, regular guy. Charming wife and daughter.5 Pauline Frederick is out here again and going to go in the movies, she has been on the stage for the last few years, and a big success.6 She is a neighbor and old friend of Beverley Hills days. Pauline can ride a horse and really loves it. Her and her great mother and aunt they are all fine and look wonderful. Pauline will show these young dames how to act.
Fred Stone and his middle daughter Paula was out. And say here is some news you will all be tickled to hear. He is simply great in his first picture. He is playing with the charming person Miss Hepburn, and the picture is immense and of course she is marvelous as usual, but so is Fred.7 It’s really a sensational hit, and not an envious soul in the whole of show business toward him, for he has worked hard for it. And Paula and the younger Carol are both working in the pictures and doing fine. An old friend Jimmy Minnotto and wife from Arizona, a rancher, a Count, state senator, ex govenatorial candidate.8 She is a Swift of Chicago, but now ranch folks, and love it. We had some of our own kin folks from Oklahoma, the Lanes, two nieces and two younger ones, touring and seeing the whole country.9 You know they have had the greatest trip. Started from their home in Tulsa, just been everywhere.
These people touring must have the best times and see the most things. I tell you I do envy ’em. I go too fast to see much only the tops of everything. I got to prowl slow some time through this country. Well we all had a nice lunch and nice day. Nothing like congenial friends to just sit around with nothing in particular to knock, and good word for all. Durant really did knock the tower of Babel. I asked him if it was true that they all was made to speak different languages, or was it just a gag. He said it was just a gag and told me to read the book. Lord just think of knowing something about eveerything!
1Soapsuds, Rogers’ favorite roping pony.
2For Amelia Earhart see WA 644:N 1. George Palmer Putnam, American publisher and writer; treasurer of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, publishers, from 1919 to 1930; chairman of the editorial board of Paramount Productions from 1932 to 1935; husband of Amelia Earhart.
3Laźaro Caŕdenas, president of Mexico from 1934 to 1940. Caŕdenas’ administration was marked by the renewal of a century-old struggle with the Roman Catholic Church and by the expropriation of foreign-owned oil properties.
4For Will Durant see WA 564:N 3.
5Ariel Kaufman Durant, Russian-born wife of Will Durant; collaborator with her husband on several authoritative, best-selling books written after 1957. The couple had one daughter, Ethel Benrenuta Durant.
6Pauline Frederick, American leading lady of silent films and early “talkies”; close friend of the Rogers family. She was the daughter of Loretta E. Fisher Libby.
7Katharine Hepburn, American actress of the stage and screen; winner of four Academy Awards for best actress and nominated on eight other occasions. In 1935 she starred in the highly-acclaimed Alice Adams, which also featured Fred Stone in his first movie with sound.
8James “Jimmy” Minotto, German-born Italian nobleman who married Idamay Swift, an heiress to a vast Chicago meat-packing fortune, in 1916. He later became a prominent rancher and political figure in Arizona.
9Estelle Lane Neal and Ethel Lane, daughters of Rogers’ sister, Maud, visited the Rogers family in the summer of 1935. They were accompanied by Estelle Neal’s two children, James and Nancy.
NOW ABOUT THESE LAWYERSWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers. And say I had to read plenty in the paper the other day. There is a paper got out in Detroit Michigan. It’s called the “Legal Record.” It says it’s a paper dedicated to the interests of the legal profession. That dedication that’s printed on its front page in big type shows that it’s a paper that has nothing to do with news or facts, and I like the honesty of it. It tells you right off we take nothing but the lawyer’s side. (For there ain’t any other side.)
Well the headline as follows to wit, habus corpus, nolle prose, change of venue as follows: “The legal profession as a humorist sees it.” Written by a man who signs his name as O. Z. Ide. Now I am not a sort of a lawyer detecting things, but that name sounds a little phoney. When one man writes al that’s in a paper, and this only had three pages outside of legal notices, why naturally he has got to make it look like he had quite a staff, so he does like these big holding companies did when they was sending wires to help them keep on holding, why they signed any name they could think of. Now there ain’t no man named O. Z. Ide. He is as synthetic as the article. Here is what Ozie said: “While the American Bar Association was in session in L. A. recently some of our opinion molding dailies carried a syndicated article by Will Rogers.” Yes, some of ’em did, 650 of ’em did. But let’s get on: “Before the criminal is tried the defense consul should stand trial to see if there was anything against him. Mr. Rogers indicated further that this was the big question before the convention and that everything else paled into insignificance before this tremendous issue.”
Well now let’s take up the issues one by one. In the first place if there had been no truth at all in the statement I made there would never have been any yell about it. Now as to it being the dominant question, Mr. Rogers dident say that it was the dominant question, he said that it should be the dominant question. In other words the lawyers would give their eye to have the thing cleaned up, and they will admit that it would be of more benefit to their profession to have the crooks driven out than to have done any other thing.
Now here is a thing. I am in the movies. When there was so much talk of cleaning-up the movies, there wasent a lawyer, or any other profession but what said, “Why don’t they clean those things up? My wife and children can’t go to see ’em.”
Now you offered an opinion in my business, but the minute a comedian offers an opinion in your business, I am out of place. Your business is sacred and no one should mention it only in the highest terms. The movies cleaned up and they dident write editorials against the lawyers for saying they should. If all lawyers are not honest how are clients to tell when they might go to a bad one any more than a movie fan might go to a bad movie? There is no reason of knowing till you go and see. Lawyers is everybody’s business the same as the movies are.
Get this: “We have always appreciated Mr. Rogers but because of his droll ill-advised remarks we find our enthusiasm beginning to jell.”
In other words, I was funny when the joke was on the other fellow, but any about me is ill-advised, and don’t jell at all.
Get this one: “There was a time a few years back when a dig at the lawyers at the Bijou Theater was a sure fire laugh, but now the so-called humorists have sensed the distastes in the mouths of the public for such efforts of humor.” Well I wish he could have read a “so-called humorists’s” mail. Never did I have so much approving mail on one article, and not a half dozen dissenting ones, and they were from lawyers. Every layman approved. It batted about 98 per cent. I wish I could think of something else as true and as good. Some of my very best friends are lawyers, and are yet, but they don’t think their fraternity is some almighty deity. The biggest part of the lawyers are regular guys the same as most of them are honest and high type in their profession, but they know there is undesirable among them, and they are not going to faint when it’s mentioned.
My little movies have been fairly clean, but when the well-chosen roar against pictures come, I dident get sore, and rise on my hind legs and write any editorials. I knew it was coming to us and took it in good faith for I knew in the long run it would do good, and if this old boy don’t think that the audience will still laugh at the lawyers at the Bijou Theatre just let him book me for a lecture on lawyers at the Bijou, and come and sit and listen to ’em roar. The banker, the lawyer, and the politician are still our best bets for a laugh. Audiences havent changed at all, and neither has the three above professions. And incidentally comedians havent improved. Nothing has improved but taxes. Now let this end this lawyers thing or I will hire me a shyster lawyer and sue the legal record for deformation of character and if he is a good shyster lawyer, (of which there are many) I will get the damages. But that would be fighting you with your own fire and I don’t want to take that advantage.
Anyhow good luck to all my lawyer friends, and to you, too, Mr. What- ever-your-real-name is. You have to fill your column, and me mine, so we are even. And I bet you are a good guy at that, and good luck to you.
THOUGHTS WHILE FLYINGOdd McIntyre is always writing “Thoughts While Strolling.”1 Well, suppose you are not a “Stroller.” I am what you might call a mighty poor “Stroller.” The feet are bad and the legs are worse, so I take mine out in riding. So with all due apologies to Odd this is “Thoughts While Flying.”
Away here a week or so back I went out to the flying field at midnight in Los Angeles to catch the plane for Seattle. You see, day or night means nothing to ’em now. With the courses all lighted they run schedules in the night time the same as in the day. Bill, that’s the first born, and his Mother were with me, and I was off on a little sightseeing trip with Wiley Post. When my wife knew it was with Wiley, it dident matter where it was we was going and she was mighty fine about it.
Well she is about everything. You can’t live with a comedian long without being mighty forgiving. The same field a couple of years or more ago she had seen me off to Vancouver to catch a boat to go to the Japanese Manchurian war, and then fly on around the world and meet her in Geneva, Switzerland, at one of those Dissarament Conferences where I used to always go for my amusement. Then around South America on 21 thousand miles jaunt one time, and by the way, she is no mean aviation enthusiast herself. She will make all the short trips with you. In fact she was flying the next night after I left on this trip clear back to New York and to Maine to see our Mary.
But this has nothing to do with “Air Strolling” as I haven’t started strolling yet. Pretty night, nice stars, I dropped off in Frisco to tend to some business early the next morning and caught a plane out of there at eleven the next morning, and then to Seattle at five in the afternoon. That’s a pretty trip. The pilots in the big Boeing just scraped Mount Shasta. Snow all over the old ant hill. We flew right up and over what I think they call the Redwood highway. Lots of pretty little towns nestled back in little valleys and canyons. First stop out of Sacramento was Medford, Oregon, where a few days before some ambitious reporter had send out a Dispatch that he seen Wiley Post and I flying over there, when we were at that time crossing Arizona. So this time he is liable to report that I arrived there by horse and buggy.
Say, there is some Mountains over that route. South of Medford, north of Medford, that’s the town where they raise the fine pears. I was forced down there on my previous flight to Vancouver and they kept telling me about the fine pears and I after ward wrote about them, but said they never did offer me any, they just kept telling how great they was. Well, sir, when I returned from around the World, they sent me practically all they raised in the Valley that year I think. Every time a box would come it would be more pears, and better pears (if possible).
We looked down and saw a big forest fire in the Mountains. Pilots said it had been burning for days. Lots of great timber going to waste. Beautiful country Northern Cal., and Oregon and Washington, everything green, rivers galore. Into Portland, Ore., a beautiful air field on an Island, and a beautiful located city. Asked for Tex Rankin, a flyer that had hauled me over that Country in the early days.2 He was a fine flyer, and is yet, which means that he is good. If “You are a fine flyer” means a lot more than saying “You was a fine flyer.” Girl stewardess come along somewhere in the story here with a fine lunch. It had more dainty little sandwiches, and knicknacks than I had ever seen in any lunch in my life, it was arranged lovely. They say it was made up at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
Then into the Puget Sound Country, beautiful Bays, and Islands. Tacoma, who had the first slogan that I can ever remember, it was when I played there in Vaudeville about 1908, “Watch Tacoma Grow.” I have never watched it much since, but it did. Seattle? That’s a whole story in itself. The Gateway to Alaska, to the Orient, to Canada. Have to tell you about that and seeing the big bombing plane they was just finishing for the Army. Biggest in the World.
Yes, sir, a plane is a great place to see anything, only the wings are right under where you want to look and you can’t see anything. Did really see Mount Shasta. They couldent hide it under the wings.
1For O. O. McIntyre see WA 566:N 5.
2John Gilbert “Tex” Rankin, Texas-born aviator noted for his stunt, speed, and endurance flying. Rankin, one of the most popular fliers in the Northwest, owned an airplane distributorship in Portland, Oregon, and operated a flight school in Tulare, California.
‘OFF FOR SOMEWHERE’ WILL WROTE
Well, all I know is just what little I see behind this old Lockheed’s wings.
It’s a Sirus wings, Lockheed body, three-bladed pitch propeller, big Wasp Engine. Wiley calls it “Arora-Borelaus.” I call it “Post Toasty.”
IN HIS COLUMN FOR NEXT SUNDAY
It’s a beautiful morning in Seattle, Wash. Wiley and Mrs. Post have been here a few days getting the ship from wheels to pontoons.1 I have had a mighty pleasant and lovely 24 hours here. Everybody terrible nice and accommodating, fine hotel, lots and lots of tourists coming in and out. Some that have been to Alaska, some that are going, some that have been to the Yellowstone, some that are going. Seattle is a great travel corner. Mrs. Post and Wiley and I drive out to the field. It’s a combination land and water airport, called the Great Lakes Airway, right on beautiful Lake Washington. That’s the lake that turns out those champion rowing college teams. Mrs. Post decided at the last minute to go up to the Alaska a few days later by boat, so it’s only Wiley and I that are taking off. Ship looks mighty pretty. It’s a bright red with a few trimmings of White stripes. The pontoons are awful big looking things but Wiley says “None Too Big.” Wiley is kinder of a Calvin Coolidge on answers; none of ’em are going to bother you with being too long. Mrs. Post asks me to take good care of Wiley. I said, “of course you mean in the air, after we got on the ground he is able to look after himself.”
There was an extra single seat ahead of a double seat. Wiley took it out, and there is left a world of space, as there is this comfortable double seat, it could be possible to be a six-passenger job. He has got a rubber boat and a canoe paddle, some life vests, or protectors. Oh yes, and his gun case. I don’t know what kind it is. I don’t hunt or shoot; it’s a long looking thing. I expect there is a Springfield rifle in there. Oh yes, and his fishing rod and 80 reels. Oh yes! and two or three coils of rope (and they are not mine). They are to tie the ship up and pull it up to the banks. That will be my job to get out first and tie the rope and then vault ashore and haul it in. I will have to have a card from the “Longshoreman’s Union.”What, no camera? No that’s what we are going on this trip for to get away from cameras, then too I don’t know nothing about ’em and can’t work ’em. We may see some fine sights but you can always lie about a thing better than you can prove it. Then you always have to explain that “This picture don’t near do the scene justice.”
Oh yes, and some sleeping bags, Wiley got them; said they was great to sleep in. I never was in one of ’em. You zip ’em up around you after you get in ’em some way. I always have trouble with those zippers, so I can see myself walking around in one of those things all day. Lot of dogs here at the field. Dogs and autograph hunters always find out where anything is going on.
There ain’t any unemployed in this country. That’s what the so called idle are doing, is getting autographs, and say they are working 24 hours a day. Fellow comes up and says, “I see all your pictures” and I ask him which ones, and he can’t name a one. Woman brings a little 5-year-old girl up and says, “Tillie wants to meet you, she reads all your little articles in the papers and enjoys ’em.” Tillie says, “Who is he, ma?”
Girl newspaper photographer, very efficient and pleasant, in fact all of ’em are. They seem to know we don’t know where we are going ourselves and they don’t insist on us telling ’em. Well, they ’bout got the gas in; Wiley is getting nervous. I want to get this off and leave it before having to send it back from Alaska. I am anxious to get going too. I think we are going to have a great trip, see lots of country that not too many have seen. But you can’t tell. You could go to the northernmost part of Hudson bay, and expect there would be a pack of folks there in Fords having a picnic, or maby some holding company stockholders sending telegrams to Roosevelt.
1Post was married to the former Mae Laine of Sweetwater, Texas.
KIND WORDS FOR FRIENDSWell, all I know is just what I hear when I talk to somebody and as I generally do all the talking, why I don’t hear much, but I started out on this trip with the idea that I was going to do some listening.
As I told you in a daily dispatch awhile back, Rex Beach hit Juneau just before we took off.1 Rex seemed to know everybody there, and all over Alaska. (That “Spoilers” I expect is one of the finest novels ever written about this or any country.)
He hasent been up here in years. He has always maintained some mining claims up around Nome, but it’s fishing and hunting where his heart lies. He had no more than hit Juneau there a few weeks ago when the very next day he was out in what they called “strip” fishing for what I think they call “Jack Salmon.” Then a little later he will start bear hunting, and he sure knows this country.
He come to Nome in about 1901, that was when she was really “Hot.” You see the ’98’ers were for Dawson and the Klondike District, a thousand and more miles from Nome. Then the Nome strike took it away from the Klondike District.
Rex and his wife Greta (That’s Mrs. Fred Stone’s sister), they are responsible for me in the movies.2 They was making a great Alaskan picture, and the character was “Laughing Bill Hyde.” It was one of his famous short stories, by that same name.
I was playing that summer in the Follies, and they got the “Nut” idea that I could play the part. We made it while I was working in the show. It was made at the old Fort Lee Studios, in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. They used to make an awful lot of pictures there.
It was made for Mr. Sam Goldwyn, who has all these years remained the famous producer.3 With producers coming and going, and changing, he has held his own right at the top. He was my first picture boss, and we have remained friends all these years, a rare combination.
I learned what little I know about mining, which is practically nothing, from that picture we made. Rex supervised the picture, and he made ’em make all the details as to the actual mining scenes, exactly correct, “Sluice Boxes” and “Panning” the gold. Then Rex wrote all the sub-titles, and they were “Wows.”
I went to the barber and got a hair cut right in the middle of the picture and like to spoiled it, I dident know what I was doing, (and here I was going in one door with long hair, and coming out with a hair cut). They all like to had a fit. I think yet it was the best picture I ever made, for I hadent learned to try to act. There ain’t nothing worse than an actor when we act.
I have always had a great respect and friendship for Rex and Mrs. Beach. Rex is an unusual man, outside all this writing. He is an authority on a lot of things. He has a lovely home near Sebring, Florida, and went to work and cleared a lot of swamp lake land and started raising celery on a real scientific principle. He ships it to New York and it’s a real bonafide going concern.
Now he has got some Florida dirt, or something that is the very mineral that every person, or plant needs to make it grow. Who ever heard of feeding people “Fertilizer,” but that’s what it is.
It makes grass grow, people grow, chickens lay, cows give milk. It’s all developed under some great land chemist, and Rex says it’s a great thing. I am going to get him to ship me a car load of it to California, feed some of it to my horses and make ’em run faster, some on the Alfalfa to make it grow, and another few spoons full on my Chili Con Carne.
It’s good as dear old Bill Fields (who has been sick and I hope he is well—he is next to Chaplin, the screen’s greatest comedian), well, as Bill Fields would say, it’s “Good for man or beast,” or plant or fowl.4
Rex was a-telling me about a famous man that is Mayor of Vancouver, that he predicts great things for.5 As he says, this fellow is attracting attention all over Canada and even to England, that he is really smart and has the solution of the “Way Out.” He must have something, he couldent fool Rex.
Well, Alaska was certainly glad to see him. They remember up here, none of this one-day sensation like down in Cuckooland. Well, Wiley’s got her warmed up. Let’s go.
1The Spoilers (1906) was one of the best-known works of Rex Beach (see WA 621:N 2).
2For Allene C. Stone see WA 597:N 15.
3For Samuel Goldwyn see WA 540:N 4.
4For W. C. Fields see WA 597:N 13.
5Gerald Grattan (Gerry) McGeer, reform-minded mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1934 to 1935 and for a short time in 1947 until his death in August of that year.
THREE ‘FAREWELL ARTICLES’
Well, all I know is just what I see hither and thither, and just a few little
knick knacks here and there. I was telling you, I think, about taking off in
Seattle. Well she took off like a bird, with an awful short run and with about
260 gallons of gas. Seattle is awful pretty from the air, (well from anywhere),
but with a sea plane that takes off from the water you are nearer the city and
not so high as you would be if flying over it in a land plane.
CLOSE CAREER OF ROGERS
Then you start above those channells, and Islands and lakes, and then out and up the Coast. If there is a prettier trip in the World than from Seattle to Alaska by what they call Inland Passage, I never saw it.
Victoria over on the left, the place that is the most English of any place outside England and even more English than 90 percent of England. Beautiful gardens, beautiful flowers, a lovely dignified old city. It’s England.
The whole of Vancouver Island is pretty, then all along up the Coast. Big timber coming right down to the water edge. I don’t know where they would ever get any shortage of timber. We had pretty weather for about the first three hundred miles, then it began to kinder close in. We had expected to stop in Ketchkan our first city in Alaska, but Wiley I guess figured that if he stopped there we would get closed in and wouldent get any further up the Coast.
So he flew low over the very pretty little city right along the water edge with the high mountains to the back of it. They have the largest salmon canning plants in the world there. It’s a great fishing center.
Did you ever pay much attention to a map of Alaska? Well there is some astonishing things about it. Now we have a long narrow strip of land that I don’t think is but 30 miles air line back from the ocean to the top of the ridge of mountains, and then comes Canada. We cut Canada off from the ocean for five or six hundred miles.
I don’t know just how that come about, well I do too, you see we bought it from Russia in 1868 (I think it was). Seward was Secretary of State, and he bought it from the Russians and the Ambassador at that time from there was a Count Von __________ Somebody or other.1
There is a big picture of it in the wonderful museum in Juneau, and it shows the signing of the Bill of Sale. We paid $7,200,000 (seven million two hundred thousand dollars), the two hundred thousand extra was the Count’s commission I guess.
Then in that same museum they have a picture of the check that we paid. Think of that seven million dollars and the thing is almost as big as the United States. At that time they called it “Seward Follies.”
Kinder like it is now, we never know when we are doing well till away later. I guess it’s the best bargain we ever made. I never could see why Nations don’t sell each other land like they ought too instead of having them go to war to get it. I don’t think we are as civilized as we used to be back in those days. Now there was some land off away from Russia’s main body, and they sold it. Lots of Nations have land that is worth more to other Nations than it is to them. Well, the first thing you know you are in a war and get it taken away from you for nothing.
This Abysinian thing should be an outright sale for a big sum of money. Save the war, and let them be paying the Abbys for years and years, but the proudness of it makes ’em hang on to it. England has ten times more land than she can ever populate.
We ought to buy northern Mexico and pay ’em enough money for it too keep ’em for years. Like to get ahold of some of Western Canada but I doubt if they would want to join up with us, even at any price.
Here is an astonishing thing I bet you dident know. I met a very fine writer, and Englishman, up here, a Mr. Sullivan, that wrote a book.2 I think it’s called “The Trial of Destiny.” It’s all about the building of the Great Canadian Pacific Railroad, along in the eightys. Well do you know he told me that Canada had to build that Road to keep the Province of British Columbia from going with the United States. There was only a few thousand people west of the Rockies in Canada and they was so far away from the rest of their Country that they wanted to join us. But I guess they changed their minds by now.
But to get back to early principles that I was on awhile ago. I still don’t know how Russia or anybody else ever got England (or Canada rather) cut off from the sea like that. England is kinder crazy about her seas and oceans, and when you let her get 30 miles away and then don’t let her to it, it’s almost a miracle.
This may make you look at your maps and see just how Alaska lays. The Klondike is in Canada and not in the U.S. Well that’s enough Geography for Now.
1William Henry Seward, United States secretary of state from 1861 to 1869. Edouard de Stoeckl, Russian minister to the United States from 1859 to 1868. He and Seward negotiated and signed the treaty for the purchase of Alaska in 1867.
2Edward Alan Sullivan, Canadian mining and technical engineer; author and poet; sometimes wrote under the pseudonym “Sinclair Murray.” His historical novel, The Great Divide (1935), recounts the story of the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Trail of Destiny; a Romance of the Canadian Bush (1924), to which Rogers may have referred, was written by John M. French.
“FLYING OVER THE YUKON”
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and I tell you these little towns and cities in Alaska have mighty fine little papers. They take all the
big news and whittle it down till you can read it and understand it.
WILL LEARNED ABOUT SMART
ESKIMOS, BUT DIDN’T HAVE HEART
TO BECOME A TRAPPER
You see with some of our big papers they have so much in there about the subject till it gets you confused. These fellows pick out the main facts and hand it to you in concentrated form, but they get in all the main things, both Alaskan, the mainland of the United States and international.
They cover about all of Congress that is fit to cover, you see we cover a lot that we shouldent. An awful lot of small towns have dailys, and good ones, some towns twice a week, and some three times.
They have a splendid radio service for messages out, and also all over this vast country, and brother it’s vast, and vaster still. A distance of 500 miles is just about a jaunt down to the Post Office and back. They speak of being over to some town 7 or 8 hundred miles away like you would going to your next door neighbors, and they start down or up these rivers in boats and the trip might be a thousand or 15 hundred miles.
That Yukon that you have read so much about that is formed away in the Yukon Territory of Canada, we flew down it from the head, and it winds and twists till it comes out away down near San Marchiel, in the Behring Sea, 3,000 miles away. It was interesting to be flying where the trip took you over where the head of one river went to the Artic Ocean, and a few miles over a divide the waters of the other would be headed for the Pacific.
That happened coming out of Hershel Island in the Artic, we couldent land there on account of the ice in the water, but we circled it a time or so.
There is only a half dozen houses, but it’s a noted place, it’s where the old whalers, the real old sailing boats, used to land and spend the Winter. They would come up from America or the various Scandinavian countries in one Summer, get in there and Winter and then that would give them an early start the next Summer when the ice went out. Then they would hunt all that Summer which was about three months, then back into Hershel for the second Winter and then out with the whalebone the next Summer.
We saw old Captain Peterson’s big old boat in there, he comes in and trades generally for the month of August.1 I think he has quite a few trading posts established in the island. They are pretty strict about who they let come in to trade. It’s got to be an established firm. I know they are over on the Canadian side and I think it’s almost the same with us.
For instance in Canada anywhere, the great Hudson Bay Trading Co., an organization that almost founded Canada (and a lot of the U. S. before the Revolution, they been going 250 years) well they don’t allow any Hudson Bay trader to take a dog team, or Boat, or any conveyance and go out and trade for furs. Or any trader, it’s against the law.
They have to let the Indians or Esquimos bring ’em in and trade at the posts for ’em. Canada has a great system of dealing with their native population away up in the Far North. You look on a map and all the country that is north of the real mainland of Canada, all those tremendous Islands and gulfs up there, a white men is not allowed to fish, hunt or trap, in. It’s entirely for the support of the Indians that live up there. We never had thought of that.
And say, the old Injun and the Esquimo is a mighty smart trader up there so they told me. Time means nothing to him in the way of an argument. It don’t take him long in some sort of a telegraph way to find out what sort of wild animal the women have chosen as that season’s show piece (it’s got to be just a show piece, for old House Cat will keep you as warm as a silver fox). Well these old boys suspicion mighty quick what the buyers are sorter secretly eyeing.
Well that’s one thing I don’t believe I could ever be (one thing I havent got the nerve to stand the gaff and go through the great physical hardships) but that trapping animals I can’t quite go that, although I know it has to be done.
On the other hand I expect I do things every day that a trapper couldent do, so we all about equal up in the long run. Each thinks the other is “pretty hard.” The hospitality and generosity of a trapper, or a man that lives away out, would put us to absolute shame.
Here we pass folks every day, every hour, that we could help, but don’t go to the trouble of doing it, when we can well afford the time or money, but we don’t do it. They would mush through the Winter 50 below for days to help a friend. We think they punish animals. We punish humans only we don’t think so.
FROM ESQUIMO LANDWell all I know is just what I run onto a while back when I was messing around up in Alaska. That’s a most interesting country. I mentioned to you one time about being in the fine museum in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. There is a little Russian man in there, he was born in Alaska, before it was sold to us, “Father . . .” (some Russian name). Well he has made a great study of Alaskan customs, relics, languages, its history and everything, and if ever a fellow fit in a museum it’s him in this one.
It has some marvelous works of art by the Indians and Eskimos. Those Eskimos are really a mighty high class bunch of folks, and plum proud. They won’t mess at all with the Indians, and not much with the whites. They think they are superior to the whites, and it don’t take much to tell that they have kinder got it on us. What they can do with the skin of some old wild animal! The women folks kinder work it down some way with their teeth. Some of the older women’s teeth are all wore down just gnawing on various skins to get ’em sewed.
A doctor up there told me that the Eskimos sew anything or stitch it up just like the doctors do a wound. Lots of their winter stuff have the fur inside. They can spread fish nets under the ice. Now how could you spread a fish net under the ice?
They got wooden boxes that are absolutely solid, that is they take one piece and when they get to the corner of the box they cut it, but not entirely in too, but so it will make a square bend, then sew the corners to keep it solid. And they have a water tight box, not a nail, and it’s absolutely one piece of board and not cut in two at all. Marvelous things cut from rocks, like hatchets and fish line sinkers and in fact anything you need.
Fish seems to be their specialty, in fact it’s got to be, for that’s about all they got to eat, and that’s what they feed the dogs on too. They have to catch a lot of fish for a team of dogs, which is five, or seven. Course seal meat, and white whales, which is something bigger than a porpoise but white.
You know I found out up there that these Eskimos have one of the most regulated lives there is, almost to a day of the various months or seasons, they will go from the hunting or trapping of one animal to the other. White fox takes up just so many days, perhaps a couple of months, but there is almost a certain time that they will stop and move to another place to take up another game. Muskrat, then white seals, then their seal and fishing for their supply of dog food. They all come in and hold a celebration on Christmas, then by New Years they are out again, and hold one at one of the native places. Then the polo bear season occupies so much of their time. He is pretty hard to get. He is worth real money to ‘em.
Oh yes, then they got the caribou to hunt. There is literally thousands of caribou all over Alaska and the Yukon, and northwest, territories. They say they pass in great herds like the old timers say the buffalo used to do. I kinder thought they was always kinder stringing us about those buffalo, but these folks say the caribou do that right now.
I want to tell you the great story some time of the big drive of 3,000 reindeer from away over in the very northwest tip of our country of Alaska, clear along the very banks of the Arctic Ocean for 2,000 miles to the place where I stayed a couple of days at Aklavik, the very mouth of the McKenzie River. They was five years getting them there, it’s the greatest story in animal driving I ever heard. The Canadian government had bought them from the Loman Brothers, the big reindeer men of Alaska.1
It’s a great country, is Alaska and the Canadian Northwest, where you have to live off the country, hunt, trap, kill and live. Four mails a year into that place, two and a half months when it’s not frozen in.
It’s just a hundred and fifty miles from Hershel Island out in the Arctic (where we went too) and it’s the place where all the old whalers of the old days used to come in and freeze in the stay for the winter. A whale used to net ’em about 18 or 20 thousand dollars, when whalebone was selling, but the minute the women started reducing, and trying to get some sort of shape with a rubber corset, the old whalers were pretty near put out of business. The blubber and oil had to make up for the old whalebone corset stays.
Polo bear hides are not worth anything now they say. Furs have been pretty cheap but there is no depression up here and never was. Ground only thaws out one foot in the summer and from that on down it’s froze plum on down.
An Eskimo dog from the time he is just a half sized pup is never untied. He is always tied with a chain, and he don’t bark at all, he howls. They call all Esquimos “Huskys.” I always thought it was the dogs that were called “Huskys” but it’s the Esquimos themselves.
That’s enough northern knowledge for one lesson, especially when some of it maby ain’t so.
1The Lomen brothers—Carl Joys, Ralph, and Alfred Julien—were prominent merchants in Nome, Alaska, and Seattle, Washington. Their Lomen Commercial Company was one of the major dealers in Alaskan reindeer.
Well all I know about dogs is not much, but when I was up in Alaska there is an awful lot of dependence put in dogs, not enough to untie one from a chain, but theyrs whole existence tangles around dogs, of course the plane has diminished the dog travel a lot but still backbone of the Arctic is a dog’s backbone. I met up there just as I was leaving Fairbanks that famous “Musher” and dog race winner, “Seppala,” he become immortal on that famous drive with the infantile paralysis serum to Nome.1 Well I dident have long to talk to him that morning, as we was trying to get off, and the river was soret narrow and many bends and Wiley was afraid that in it with a full load of gas that we might have some difficulty in taking off, so we had some gas sent out to a lake about 50 miles out, and then flew there and loaded up and took off, we were headed at the time for Point Barrow the furtherest north of any piece of land on the North American Continent, (there is island in the Arctic, but no land on the mainland further north). It was over an entirely uninhabited country, only we did get over that little village of Wiseman, did you ever read the book “The Arctic Village,” well I must tell you about it some time.2 It was very popular and best sellar, and the author lived there a year or more and uses all the people in the town and their names right in the book. I got it and am reading it and will tell you about it, but to get back to Seppala and too dogs, for Seppala is as identified with dogs as May West is with buxomness.3 He has a splendid book written with him by Elizabeth Ricker who herself is a great dog fancier and dog driver.4 Well not knowing anything about it, I asked him about the dog “Balto” that there is now a statue too in Central Park New York in honor of this great race, and he told me. Balto was not the dog, the real hero of the race was “Togo” my lead dog, Balto was not in my team, he was in the team of the driver who made the last lap or entry into Nome, and hence he received all the credit, and Balto was not even the lead dog, the newspaper men asked him the names of the dogs and the driver told them the leader was “Fox.” Well half the dog teams in the North they said was named Fox, so they kept asng other dogs names in the team, and finally he mentioned “Balto” so they hopped on that right away it had headline possibilitys, and today I guess all over the world you find it on dog food boxes. The run out to meet the serum coming in wasent originally to be done in relays by different teams, they had asked him to go out some 300 miles out and that far back, to get it, and he picked his best dogs, 20 of them for the trip, meaning to leave some along the line to use on his way back after he had gotten the serum, but after he left the disease spread and they had it started from the other end. And he met it 170 miles out instead of the 300, then he made the run with it through a terrible storm but a relay team met him. But in all he had covered over 300 miles going or coming for the serum, and no other driver had made over 53 miles. He said he dident mind it for himself but that it was his wonderful lead dog “Fox” that did such great work and then lost the credit. Balto he had raised as well as Fox, and he had left Balto at home as he was a dog that he used on just his freight team. He used to win most all those big dog races, the biggest of which was the “Alaskan Sweepstakes,” which had prizes as high as $20.000.
He is a little bit of a fellow, but mighty husky. He works for a big mining company in Fairbanks. He has charge of a section of big water line, a pipe line about six feet in diameter that runs for over a 100 miles. It has burst when we was there and we had drove out to see it. He said he might get back in the racing game, but that he was I believe he said 58 years old. Kinder said it like he thought a man that age better be dying off, and it dident make me feel any too chipper. One of the hardest things he said is to train dog teams to pass on the trail and not go to war with each other. Then you are all winter seperating ’em, to say nothin of how long it takes to seperate the drivers. They don’t drive the big long teams as much as they used too, for they don’t have the big loads. They used to hitch 18 or 20. Now 4 or 6 or 8. Joe Crosson the ace pilot that we were with so much in Fairbanks an old friend of Wiley’s, he has a mine and we went out there, and he has a partner a Swedish fellow that runs it and he had just killed a bear right at his house door.5 And the Sweedish fellow tells how Mickey went out one night and run the bear in. Well as a matter of fact Mickey went out and the bear chased him in, and Earnest had to shoot the bear to keep him from running Mickey under the bed. They say there is more fellows been caught by a bear just that way. An old pet dog, (Mickey is a wirehaired fox terrier) jumps the bear and then they hike straight to you, and the bear after ’em, and the first thing you know you got a bear in your lap, and a dog between your feet. So “Mickey” is a great bear dog. So there is two kinds of bear dogs the ones that drive ’em away and the ones that bring ’em in. Little Mickey thought he had done it, as Earnest said he chewed all the hair off the bear, after death. Now I must get back to advising my Democrats.
1Leonhard Seppala, Norwegian-born champion dog-team driver. During a severe diphtheria epidemic in Alaska in 1925, Seppala completed the last leg of 650-mile relay to Nome to deliver 300,000 units of much-needed antitoxin.
2Arctic Village, a socioeconomic study by Robert Marshall about life in Wiseman, Alaska, a small frontier mining community. The book was published in 1933.
3For Mae West see WA 540:N 2.
4Elizabeth Miller Ricker, coauthor with Seppala in 1930 of the latter’s autobiography, Alaskan Dog Driver.
5Joe Crosson, well-known Alaskan bush pilot who flew the bodies of Rogers and Post to Seattle from Barrow, Alaska, following the crash of their plane on August 15, 1935.