I am positive I can make good

To Bertha from Frank Buckler – Date approx.

[Note: Bertha is now married to Frank, who appears to be part of a depression-era tree planting project for unemployed men.]

Headquarters Idaho
Monday Evening

Dearest Bertha,

Came in about 6:30 last evening. A heavily timbered district and very isolated.

There is a nice group of bungalows here – occupied by Forestry Officials and Weyerhaeuser Lumber people. Rent is $17.50 a month with lights and modern plumbing. Several vacancies.

A group of foremen here about 30 – we are to have four or five days training before the arrival of the men. Spent one half day at “Skull Practice” – that is technical instructions and this afternoon in the forest. There is a lot to learn as there are several plants. And how to lay out work for 50 to 60 men and keep them busy is going to be a large order. There are a few advance guards here from the last and some 900 are expected the last of the week from New York.

We are to be sent into the forest in groups of 200. Unfortunately my station is going to be 14 miles from here and no way to go back and forth daily. Maybe will go in b “speeder” on the logging road. No auto roads, only rails. Of course I only work five days per week with Saturday and Sunday off, I could be home those two days. It’s very unfortunate that I cannot reach my work from here but that’s the orders and I am not asking for any favors. What do you think about this? The cabins and people seem OK.

Loggers (1930s)
Loggers (1930s)

The only alternative is for you to take the children to Spokane. This also presents problems.

I do not expect to get a supervisor position as they are filled by Foresters of experience – Forestry professors from Montana and W.S.C. – _____ Engineers and four men from previous years. I find that I am almost the only one in the group that has not worked here before. _____ buster rust control has been going on for some 10 years, I find. So really I am fortunate to get this job. – It seems to be quite a job. Each foreman has had ten men here-to_____ and now it’s to be 50 to sixty, very green hands – so I contemplate quiet a job as I have a just a few days to learn it in. However, I am positive I can make good. I don’t know as yet who the Army people will be at my camp.

From what I can learn, payday is by the month – time sent in on the first and checks arrive from the fifth to the eighth.

I will write you often my sweet. I love you and have confidence in you.

As ever yours,


Please forward every piece of mail. I need the “adds” for I’m looking for all business.

P.S. I do not see how we can finance the trip for the girls and rent you a comfortable place out of this first small check, do you? The studio and backyard and separate meals do not seem right to me. When you take charge, it must be independently and separately from all family affairs to be successful. Perhaps the July checks will make that possible. I am very cast down at the prospects of a summer separation but what the hell – $96.00 per month is what I have to do.

Write soon, honey.

You looked stunning in your white dress and large hat

To Bertha from Frank Buckler – Approx. date

Monday Morning


I think I shall be the first to write for you are traveling today. It was such a comfort to see you.

I arrive in CA about 10 and had a perfectly blissful nights rest. It is good to have ones wife if only for a brief visit.

You were looking very well, in fact, better than I had expected. You looked stunning in your white dress and large hat. I was very proud of you. How I wish we may always be well dressed and at ease.

I am in the field now of course – the usual routine. Some of the lads quite “grumpy” from “moonshine” and beer and late hours.

I am not “bearing down” very hard today. Live and let live. After all, I had a nice weekend so why quarrel with them over trying to have a little fun. It’s rather pathetic.

I hope you have a pleasant trip home and find all well.

I had a good letter at camp from _____ _____. He is coming to see me perhaps. Said he had to come to Pierce and would try to come out. I hope he does.

Also, a intriguing letter from William York. More about that this evening.

You were so sweet to come to me honey. I feel renewed vigor and hope now we are on the upgrade.

Will close now and finish this this PM. An ant is chewing on my ankle, mosquitos are lunching on exposed stain in droves and a chipmunk is scolding from a nearby limb. Nature is grand overheard. Pretty nice for you meeting Mr. Buckler meaning you and your mother. “Wasn’t she a peach?” All of which, I agree.

What is a virgin forest? Answer: One that’s never been axed.

All pony that you didn’t come to camp but speeder was in at 8:30 AM Sunday and left at once so it didn’t work out.

$100,000 at 5% we can be the most popular couple in Spokane


To Bertha from Frank Buckler – Approx. date

Monday Evening


I scribbled a note in the forest at noon.

About this York person. He seems to be making the grade and is on the verge of something bigger. A former letter, unanswered, offered me the vice-presidency of his Trading Corporation now being formed and position as Chief Operator (trade) incorporate – 100 shares of 6% preferred stock (voting power) and sell the common to the public. Use the money derived there from for ___ trading capital. Vote ourselves bonuses and extra dividends when we make successful trades. Give common stock holders dividends when they are any left. The old racket played by Investment Trusts? With a little more build ups, dignity and the prestige of some bank as trustee but the same thing exactly. I know. In business, to make money for the insiders like they all are. And the public apparently likes it for they buy and will continue buying. This idea of his is my idea. I told him that I was washed up with “services” but was interested only in trading and you see that he has gotten the idea. While I talk about it, he does it.

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I am writing to you about it. Here is where we will be if considered. A chance to trade with money to do it with and a part of the profits. Manage Tom’s account for 50% and a salary besides from York. Whether we like York or not or approve of him is neither here nor there. He is unique. In a depression, he has made the grade while I am in the sticks. And Honey, we need $100,000 badly and here is a chance to get it. I am ambitious for us. You can be the social leader of the Spokane with that sum. You have talent and brains and beauty. I have learned what NOT to do in the market but here is a chance of what to do. I have brains and nerve, if I have $10,000 to trade with can make us independent in a year or two.

Are we willing to fight for this chance? I am older and more conservative now. I do not want you to have hardships anymore, but if you have the old audacious spirit yet, the sink or swim idea I always have, I am ready to go. York is not four flushing [Note: Bluffing.] There is no reason to do so. He would not call me across the continent on a four flush. He knows me too well. He has nerve and will make his million in a few years some way. I dislike the service idea as I dislike all services but a trading corporation is my meat and he sees it now. He has a former investment trust man with him but says he is no trader and I am. Personalities aside, here is a chance at Wall Street, a job and a larger account to trade (Tom’s account my private affair) but a useful extra source of income.

Now, honey, don’t be alarmed. I lay my cards on the table face up. I will not go without you. Never. I love you deeply and want to do well by you. But can I make you happy in a small way. As I said, I am invigorated and happy by your visit. Shall we take this chance or not? It’s alright with me whatever you say. I will not go alone. Life is too short. How to go? A small car for $75.00 – $100.00 expense money – an advance from York if stuck on the road.

I’m not out of my head, honey, my feet are on the ground but, honey, we need the money. With a background of $5,000 a year, $100,000 at 5% we can be the most popular couple in Spokane. I like the social thing, the country club things, winter in London and all more than you suspect. (But I like it only with you. Not for myself.) But perhaps you think this a wild idea, maybe it is. At any rate, I love you a whole lot. You are my life and hope and I write this merely to see how you feel. No dogmatic statements. It looks like a chance to make some money. But it means a year’s concentrated hard work for me and child rearing in a small apartment for you. [Note: It isn’t clear what he’s referring to, since Bertha didn’t have any children.] Let me know your reaction but don’t say go alone for I won’t. Neither do I say it’s best. I don’t know. It’s this way, York is making money. I’m not and I need to. He gives me a chance. Is it worth it?

Lots of love and a long kiss. You are mine and I’ll always cherish you, my love.


I’m thinking faster than my pen so please excuse.

Sorry to have left you cold, broke and starving

To Bertha from Frank Buckler – Approx. date


My dear,

Well, you are in a situation.

Tom was in and asked if I needed to draw some money. I said, “later in the week.” Business is OK. Need the capital and wished to draw a substantial check when I drew hence the S.O.S to you. Sorry about that. Didn’t dream you were short. You said you had a 90¢ laundry bill and I didn’t know about anything else. Store or what not pressing for payment. Groceries not due until the first. Well, I’m sorry about it. The rent I paid long ago in advance and I thought you were OK for funds. I only left one week ago and left you $15.00 cash. Oh, well it does take money to live. I know full well and besides it’s too petty to worry about now and too trivial.

I too am a little worn with the battle-living like a spartan and working. I say that _____ 14 hours a day. Will have made a very good profit this week but it is not luck nor a gamble.) I have earned every nickel of it. Will write you funds – Friday night or Saturday morning. AM going to finish the week out now and drive to Clem Elum [Note: In Washington State] with Tom then stage it from there. That is about 1/3 way and will save a few dollars. Write all the bill collectors – for Monday AM with my compliments.

The _____ letters from Portland must have been disconcerting – Probably the result of no letters from Spokane. My fault of course. Do not be alarmed. You know how much attention I pay to “backseat” driving. You are too mature for me to give advice to so do as you wish about them.

As to religion training, Methodism is in many ways stupid and common place but at least we understand the simple ways and plain old fashion dogma. Catholicism perhaps is fine and worthy but what one does not understand he distrusts just another one of the seemingly mounting obstacles to harmony. If I knew how to worship, I would prefer a huge pine tree as a shrine. But let’s not get serious over the question. There is good in everyone. If you care to instruct the children in the way of the Golden Rule and how to avoid the sinful valleys of this Earth that will be all the Sunday School I care about. Thanks for the $2.00. Look for a check Saturday and myself when I get there.

Best wishes,


A solid foundation is what I’m seeing. It is not as an ill paid employer. I cannot do it. I am and (have to) seeking the cue to money making. Have done well this past few days. Made more in one day than I would have at White’s in one month. But I wish that I could better – I have to do better and am sorry to have left you cold, broke and starving.

I was going to ask you to come over for a “lark” and get Mr. Patterson to stay. But of course that is insane so never mind.