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Mary Scott Gash Thornton Letters

1927 - From Wyoming, not yet Thornton- Three Letters
1930 - On Ship and First Months in Japan- Twelve Letters
1930 - Getting Settled - Eighteen Letters
1931 - Preparing for Motherhood - Nine Letters
1931 - Twins are Born - Seven Letters

1931 - January through May - Preparing for Motherhood - Nine Letters

Monday morning
January 19, 1931

Dearest Mama:

Your nice big package came on the 16th of January – and my! How good it was to see all the things in it! Awfully funny that it was held up so long, for it was postmarked at Kobe on Dec. 12th, but, aside from being quite messed up and the cards being disarranged, everything came all right.

January 25, Sunday

Well, I didn’t get far with this last Monday. My head begins to ache so quickly that I’ve written very few letters this year.

A week ago today Aunt Effe, Helen and Paul came up – a surprise to me – in the A.M. and stayed practically all day. They cooked dinner but I was able to get up afterwards and sit and talk. I felt real good on Mon. and Tues., so Wed., or no – Thursday, we went to Osaka. First trip I have made for about 2 months. We stayed all nite, intending to go to see the doctor on Friday, but the day was so bad that Watson just called the hospital. The doctor said I needn’t come after hearing how I was – for which we were glad as the hospital is a good hour or more ride from Denbo. In the afternoon we went over to Kobe & visited Aunt Effe for a while, but the trip was too much for me as yesterday I was miserable. Had a terrible sick headache, but slept it off last nite. Of course all of this sickness is quite natural and not anything to worry over, but I am getting tired of it!

Have been thinking especially of Papa these days – it hardly seems possible that almost a year has passed since the Lord took him. I love to think of him now with no burdens to bear, no sickness, no toiling. Won’t it be blessed when we all go to be with our Saviour? But, until that time, it is equally blessed here to know that Jesus is leading us every step of the way. Miss Cribb gave me a motto for 1931 with these two verses on it, and they are wonderful aren’t they?

“Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.” Isa. 55:12

“I will go in the strength of the Lord God.” Ps. 71.:16

By going “in the strength of the Lord God” we can truly “go out with joy” and peace.

Of course we have prayed & thought a lot about Alice. We are anxious to hear the news.

My dress is so nice, I wore it to Dembo and it looks nice and is warm. The step-ins are especially nice because they don’t have rubber in the front. I use the comb & brush holder all the time and wear the linen collar on my dress. Your picture is getting to look more like you, but it isn’t really you. I would have preferred your hair not curled – your look more sophisticated than my mama does!

Mrs. Wurdack sent W. a lovely tie and three of the prettiest hand-made handkerchiefs to me! Would you mind telling Mrs. Darragh that we received her letter and were awfully glad to get it. I mean to write her sometime. We got new year letters from both Ruth Grissom and Kathleen. I don’t know when I’ll feel like writing to them, so just remember us to them and thank them for me. Ruth sent a funny xmas picture from the Saturday Evening Post which I cut out and posted in my scrap book. I’m glad you liked your kimono. Ruth said that you spoke to her about having received it. Did Ralph Page’s fit him?

Jan. 27

It’s snowing today and gotten much colder. All last night quite a wind was blowing and it rather scared me – the windows rattled so. Pray that I may put more trust in my heavenly Father. I’m always thinking of earthquakes, etc., I need to trust Him for all these things.

Now I’ll close – please forgive the long delays in this letter. With much love to you all….Mary

Dear Mother,

Mary doesn’t want to waste paper or postage so asked me to write to you a few lines. I don’t know just what to write about but I’ll try to write anyhow.

I heard something rather interesting and funny and instructive the other day. I was told that when Kiritasan, one of the Christians, met us in Kobe upon our arrival in Japan, he was much impressed with my height, but more so with the way I walked. He came back to Sanda and said, “My, but Mr. Thornton is tall, and he doesn’t take short choppy steps like we do. He takes long, slow, easy steps, as if he was not in any hurry. We’ll have to learn to do the same.”

Well, I smiled, but later I realized what it meant. Without my soliciting it, these Christians are going to copy me. They are going to try to be as much like me as possible. That means that my life must be very like that of the Lord Jesus, that in following me they may be following Christ. Of course, this may not be ideal way to lead a Christian life, but until they can see Christ for themselves, they must see Him through His servants. Mary and I both need grace and strength to follow Him perfectly.

Pray for us. We are remembering you especially at this time. May Christ be as near to you now as He was this time last year. By the time this reaches you it will be a year since we saw you.

Lots and lots of love,      Watson

Note: Watson wrote this letter during the time it took Mary to write the previous one.

Jan. 21, 1931

Dear Mother Gash:

We received the Christmas package from Louisville on the 16th of this month. It had reached Kobe on the 16th of December but had evidently been mislaid by the customs inspectors. By the way, the inspectors made a mess of the package. We don’t know who sent what so we just have to thank you all for all of the presents.

Within twenty minutes of the time the package arrived Mary was all dressed up in everything. The dress is just right – at the time of writing this letter – and she has been needing another wool dress.

It has not been so terribly cold up here except for about three days when the thermometer read about 4 or 5 degrees below zero (centigrade) – that is about 25 degrees above, by our thermometers in America. Every night the water and ground outside are frozen but usually by 9 or 10 o’clock A.M. the ice is thawed out. We have been having such nice weather, the sun has been shining; and with our large glass windows it makes the rooms quite comfortable – even those without the stove.

Mary is feeling much better these last few days except for her head. She has sick headaches so often. Then, too, besides getting her headaches from her Papa, she seems to have acquired your legs, and if she doesn’t have chilblains, she gets catches in her hop. In addition, she now has a siege of bumps on her body and legs which itch quite badly. They are something like the rash that bothered her a couple of times last summer. However she is doing very well, and, as the Japanese say,

Which reads like this – “Futari no bun wo tabete wiver” and means “She is eating portions for two”.    

For awhile she was bemoaning the fact that she could not speak more Japanese, and that she has had to stop studying for the past two months. Well, Okadosan was sick for about 4 days and Mary had no one to talk to, and, I suppose, grew quite lonesome. I wish you could have heard her when Okadasan came back to work. You know how a puppy greets its master after a day or so away from him? Well, Mary’s tongue was like that puppy’s tail – going at both ends – and she was really talking Japanese. I sometimes am afraid that she will be speaking better Japanese than I in a year or so. I hope so. She is getting so she understands what is said and can answer a little.

How good the lord has been to us! We sometime try to figure out why He is so good to us, but it always comes back to the same thing – “There is nothing is us to merit His goodness, so it must be simply His Grace and Love.” What wonderful love!

When we had received more than enough gifts from home, the Lord kept sending them in – nothing useless, of course, but things we could have gotten along without. I needed wool socks, He saw to it that I got 4 pair. Mary gave away some of her nice handkerchiefs – He sent her better ones. We wanted some especially appetizing food for Mary – He sent us enough to buy what we needed. We wanted curtains for the upstairs and glass doors to keep the rats off of the plates in the kitchen – and He sent us enough for that.

I must close now. Thank you for the picture, it is very nice, but not as nice as you are.

Pray for us that we may be found faithful.

Lovingly,     Watson

Sanda, Hyogo Ken
February 13th, Friday

Isa. 26:3 has been a great blessing to me – especially concerning any earthquakes which might come.

Dearest Alice, Ralph and children:

A letter from father Thornton last Sunday stated that a little girl had come to you. We are praying and hoping that everything since has gone all right. I think it’s nice that “it” was a “she” and am looking for the first letter telling us more details.

This is the paper Edna Ashercase sent me for my birthday. Isn’t it nice?

I’m trying to catch cold and have a sore throat however I’m putting cold packs around my neck and gargling. Seem that I have to have something wrong with me all the time. On the whole I feel much better, though, and am able to fix 2 meals a day generally. My mornings are still upset. Due to my enlarging person Okadasan is making me two flannel sleeping kimonos. You know I have nothing but pajamas to sleep in and they’re getting uncomfortable. One of the new kimonos is bright red with yellow stripes! Might as well be funny while I’m at it! I get so discouraged about sewing – I tried to make regular foreign night gowns, but haven’t enough sense to know how. My poor children! But the Lord will undertake.

It’s snowing again. Had 5 or 6 inches of it a few days ago but it practically all melted but now it’s starting to fall again.

I’ve prayed a lot about my cooking and managing the house and God has answered my prayers. We have really nice meals now, with plenty of fresh vegetables and green stuff, not so much meat and the housework is getting more systematized. Once a week we get foreign vegetables from Kobe (cheap) and so have turnips, beets, carrots, fresh peas, lettuce, parsnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, string beans, tomatoes, etc. all the time. It certainly is cheaper than using canned vegetables for the latter are all imported and are quite expensive. I’m always eating. The doctor advised 6 light meals a day so here’s my outlay of meals for the day. Watson brings me a slice of toast and cup of coffee before I get out of bed – to settle me! Then, if I feel O.K., we eat breakfast together about 7:45; at 10 I generally eat several sandwiches then have our big meal at noon. At 3:30 after our afternoon nap I always have tea and bread and butter, cookies or some such thing, then supper after our walk – about 6. For a while I literally stuffed but have been suffering from indigestion so am not eating such large quantities now. Suppose you all will laugh at this, but it’s doctor’s orders! (I haven’t seen the latter yet, Watson went to him.)

Our birds are always making love to each other, but the female hasn’t much patience and sends her husband flying every once in a while. We’re going to get them a box so they can make a nest. I want a dog so badly and we have a chance of getting one for nothing (a puppy) but don’t know if it’s wise or not. It would be a problem to know what to do with it when we’re away.

Do hope that Mama got to feeling better after she came home. How I’d love to see her and the rest of you. We have gone to visit Mr. and Mrs. Wilkenson in Kobe twice and they have been here once. They are friends of the Thorntons though some younger all of our friends here are much older than we are and all are English, practically. You’ve heard of Mr. Wilkes (the head of the J.E.B.), he and his wife live with the Wilkensons – very interesting and lovely people. Mrs. W. has a very good cook and we enjoy the meals immensely. When they came here I had fried chicken, creamed carrots and peas, candied sweet potatoes, slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy and for dessert, Jello and homemade cookies. The final 3 items were rather new to them. The English only boil or roast chicken and their vegetables are boiled just plain.

All of the money that we “lost” when the Union Easton Bank failed has been returned to us by them. It is so lovely because it takes more than ample care of the hospital bill, etc. Isn’t the Lord good? If we hadn’t “lost” it we wouldn’t have it now.

We enjoyed Elsie’s long letter immensely and I will write to them soon. It’s wonderful to think of how kind our Father is and so ready to hear us when we pray.

Now will close – lots and lots of love to each one of you. Kiss the baby and Ralph Page and Mama for me…….Mary

March 11, 1931

Dear Mother Gash, It is about time for me to drop you a line and as I have a few minutes before Yamashirosan and his wife come up here for prayer I’ll at least start a letter to you.

To begin with, you would most likely be surprised to see me now as I am wearing horn rimmed spectacles all the time. I don’t know that it is wise to wear them all the time, but the oculist advised me to do so. My eyes had been bothering me quite a bit and I was suffering from headaches all the time, for the first time in my life. I decided to have my eyes tested and found that I was alright on distance but reading was a strain. It has been much easier since I got the glasses.

God has very definitely undertaken for Mary and she is feeling very well. Once in a while in the mornings she has slight headaches but they seem to pass off soon. She was feeling so bad most of the time that I took care of much of her work and as a result neglected mine to a great extent. I never felt right about it, as I wondered if Satan wasn’t trying to hinder my usefulness. About two weeks ago we decided that I ought to go out on Denbo and go on with my outside work, even if Mary did feel bad, so I began going out, sometimes being away from home three to five hours, and leaving Mary alone till 10 o’clock at night on about 2 occasions. It was rather hard on her especially, but God has rewarded our feeble faith and from that time, Mary has been better and stronger, taking charge of all the work, getting up at 6:45 in the morning, etc.

I went to Arima a week ago Friday and the Lord was pleased to give me great liberty in speaking and 5 young lads of from 12 to 15 stayed afterwards and asked God to forgive their sins. Last week I did not go but Yamashirosan was blessed and three young men and a young lady expressed their desire to know more of the gospel and to follow Christ.

God is certainly very gracious to us. Another young man came from about 5 miles away to inquire more perfectly into the salvation of Christ. It is so encouraging to have them come to us for help – people we have never seen before. It is a sign to me that God’s Spirit is working in this district and also it makes me feel encouraged to think that God trusts us enough to bring hungry hearts to us to be fed.

I suppose you have heard that Helen is engaged and that they are planning on being married the latter part of June. There is a tea in her honor at the school today and mary is invited. As I have some business to do in Kobe I will go down with her and we will both come home in time for prayer meeting this evening.

Poor Mary is having a hard time about clothes. She cannot wear any of her nice dresses any more and she had a “maternity” dress made the other day in Kobe out of black silk trimmed with tan but the sewing woman made a mess of it and it looks more like a sack than anything else. Mary worked and figured most all day Monday on it trying to fix it over but it was a rather discouraging proposition. She has not done any cutting on it as yet for fear of ruining the material. However she made a night gown yesterday which looks real well.

Well, I see Yamashirosan coming so will close for this time. Lots of love to all the family from your affectionate son,                                                       Watson

Dearest Mama:

I’m ready to go to Kobe now – all dressed up in that blue silk dress you and Aunt Nan made for me just before I left for Japan. Remember it was a little big for me? Well, it’s the only thing I can wear now that doesn’t make me look too awfully big. Also, your Xmas dress is the only thing I’ve been able to wear for the house and church. Aunt Effe gave me two old aprons which fit, however, and they’ll do now that the warmer weather is beginning.

Much, much love,   Mary

Sanda, Hyogo Ken
April 10, 1931

Dearest Mama:

Isn’t time going, though! Before long, the Lord willing, Watson and I will be the possessors of a brand new baby. I feel quite well now and look very healthy! I go to see the doctor again this next Monday and am interested to know what he’ll say. I certainly have grown big within the last month and I’m very conscious of something living within me. Isn’t the Lord good to give us a baby? It would be so nice if you could be here to help get things ready for it. I seem to know so little about everything.

We won’t have a regular bed at first but a fixing up a kori. Do you remember the Japanese kori we used to pack a lot of our things in? Well, we’ve bought cotton to pad the inside of it with and some blue rayon to cover it with and that will serve as a bed until we need a larger one. Mrs. Parker at the C.A. used a kori for her baby and it’s very nice.

Ruth and Kathleen both sent me a money gift and I bought a darling white silk dress and an undershirt. However, when I see the foreign nurse on Monday I’m going to find out just what I need and then Miss Cribb, Mrs. Asahina and us are to meet at one of the department stores and buy some things. The summers here are so terribly hot that I don’t know just what is most suitable. Paul Eckel’s sister-in-law’s baby was born in summer and wore scarcely anything for weeks. The class (Mrs. Billings) sent a lovely check which we are using for the baby. Surely our Lord supplies every need.

Several days ago it got quite warm so we took down our stove but since then it’s been real cold again. However we were able to buy a kerosene heating stove several weeks ago and that gives us enough heat for one room, although it’s considerably higher than burning coal. Today it turned quite warm again, so one hardly knows what to expect.

I wish you could see the potted flowers we have - geraniums, tulips, narcissus, chrysanthemums, roses, peach blossoms, and several others. None are in bloom now except the blossoms and a lovely pink flower of some kind, but the plants look nice on the shelf which Watson made and hung just under the kitchen window. Flowers are so cheap here! We at times almost long for a yard – but if the Lord wants us to have one, He’ll give us another house. The problem of where we’ll hang a baby’s washing is constantly in my mind now. You know our little garden is just big enough to turn around in.

We were so sorry that you all had such a sick spell. I know it was hard on all of you and by now I do hope you’re recovered your strength. Are the others of the family well? I owe Chas. and Madeleine a letter, as I’ve not written for a long time.

Aunt Effe is bringing a little gift to you, Mama, and also a doll for Mary Scott. We wish we could remember you all but find it not wise just now. Please, Alice, remember to ask Aunt Effe if there was any duty charged on the doll. There may be – the value is not much though, so it ought not to be much if anything.  Okadasan made the kimono and they are just like the children wear. Always a red one underneath. The obi (sash) we bought already made. Notice the tucks in the top kimono. Children’s clothes always have them, In fact, most girls don’t take the tucks out of their kimono until they are married. It’s quite a saving device – as they grow, they let out the tucks. It’s very peculiar that of all the dolls we saw, the most expensive had the same expression, etc., as the cheapest. This one isn’t very well made – only paper on the body, but we thought Mary Scott would like it, especially when she gets a little older.

I’ve gotten so few letters written there lately. We’ve had company for 3 days straight and that keeps me busy. I was in Kobe from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning, staying with Aunt Effe. I went to Kobe Union Church for the Easter services and enjoyed them. The third time that I’ve heard a sermon in English (besides Watson’s) since leaving home. They had special music and Helen had a solo besides being in the choir music. On Monday A.M. she and Paul and I met Watson at the top of Mt. Rokko and walked to Arima. Took us from 10:35 to 2:30, taking about a half hour to eat lunch. I’m doing some cleaning everyday now, besides preparing two meals, occasionally washing, etc. I get tired quickly and have heart burn, also my teeth are very sensitive, but I’m not real sick at all except very rarely.

Have you decided to move again? Is that house not warm enough?

Bertha Widbin is so good to us – writes very regularly and sends us some very interesting missionary bulletins from the conference. Father Thornton writes once a week, and mother T quite often, too. Your letters are so welcome and we always look for the next ship’s arrival with mail.

Now will close, much love            Mary

Written in Mary’s handwriting. Last part of letter missing.

Sanda, Hyogo Ken
April 19, 1931

Dearest Mama and all:

I feel quite badly that I haven’t written more about “Mary Scott” but I truly was very pleased when I read that she was named after me. Haven’t I mentioned it before in my letters? I do hope you all do not think that we aren’t interested – for we are – and how we’d love to see the baby, and the rest of you!

Perc’s welcome letter came the day before yesterday and I was real glad to hear from him. I had a good laugh. How long it’s been since we’ve seen you all!! Your and Alice’s letter of March 24th came in this morning’s mail. The news about our new home is fine. I know you’ll like it, especially since it’s been a leading of the Lord’s that you move. I would like to know the Deans, I read their names in the Tidings, of course, their daughter is the editor now, I believe?

Do hope you’re feeling better now, Mama. Take care of yourself.

You ask for news about the baby (To be frank with you I’ve forgotten just how much I’ve written before.) I went to the hospital to see Dr. Shimonura (my doctor) last Monday. The baby may be born in June but he can’t tell for sure. By next month he’ll be able to say, I think. Due to the hot weather, it won’t need very many clothes. One of the foreign nurses lent me two books with patterns for baby dresses and petticoats and with various helpful hints about layette, etc. It’s impossible for me to buy the things ready-made as they are too expensive. I have bought quite a lot of light-weight flannelette – enough for several night gowns and petticoats. Also some white material (muslin of some kind) for several dresses and petticoats. The nurse said that it may be too hot for flannelette.


First part written by Watson

Sanda, Hyogo Ken, Japan
May 5, 1931

Dear Mother,

Life moves on very rapidly with its changes and its joys. And with it Mary and I are experiencing daily new tokens of our Heavenly Father’s mercy and love to us. Last week, and this, have brought many blessings to us chief among which are the dresses for Mary. It was so good of you and Mama to make them and send them out and they fit her so nicely. Also the voile has given Mary just the thought she needs to finish over her black silk without hardly any trouble, as all that will be necessary is to fix the collar, or whatever you call that piece that hangs down the front, and to take a couple of tucks in the back.

Next part written by Mary.

I called Watson to lunch at the above stopping point and as he has now gone out to distribute tracts, I’ll write someone this letter.

Mama, it was just simply lovely of you and Mother Thornton to get together and make those dresses and petticoats. I look just swell in them and they’re just the thing I needed. Have been wearing several of Aunt Effe’s house dresses, for which I’ve been very thankful, but of course these new ones look more like they’re mine. You must thank Aunt Effe when she gets there (in July or August) for all her goodness to me. Did I tell you before that she is bringing you a tray from us? It is one I like very much and so thought you would too. The Asahinas gave it to us for Christmas but I have 3 others which I use all the time so do not really need this one.

The Lord willing, we will move the 15th of this month. There is a house just across the river from here, which we can rent for the same price as this one, but which has several conveniences that we don’t enjoy here. There is quite a large garden, a large, concrete “monohashiba” (or place to hang a washing) off the kitchen and one at the front, a tank for the pump water, with pipes leading to the kitchen and to the wash-stand by the toilet, a servant’s room by the kitchen and lots of closet space. We have very prayerfully laid this before the Lord and feel it is in His will for us to move. The house is quite dirtier than ours, for we keep our homes cleaner than the average Japanese do, but the other features, I think, more than make up for this deficiency. It will be nice to have a yard for the baby to play in. Here there is practically nothing.

Mother Thornton wrote me of the possibility of a sewing “bee” for the baby. I think it’s wonderful of the folks to take such an interest in us, and we pray that all their needs may be supplied by Him, even as ours are being supplied. It’s wonderful to walk day by day with our hands in His. People who do not know the joy of trusting the Lord for everything are missing the greatest joy of life.

Yanagidasan is busy as a bee. This A.M. we did quite a big washing and I’ve had to rest since lunch, but she has been scrubbing out the kitchen, the entrance way and the front. She seems to enjoy the work here. Pray for her.

Alice’s last letter came on Sunday. Her letters are always so nice to get. I’m glad Ralph Page is over his operation now. So sorry you had that sick spell during the night, Mama. Take care of yourself. I know you’ll enjoy your new home and I wish……..but then we’ll see each other sometime, won’t we?

A letter from Violet came the same day, telling of her marriage. I’m very glad for her and pray that they may be very happy. I do hope that he knows the Lord. How lovely it would be if together they would give themselves to Him.

Edna Asher Case is expecting a baby about September or October. Isn’t that nice? Ours will be born in the same year. They are building their own home out in the country and expected to be in it soon after Easter. She is a dear girl.

Yesterday Miss Cribb and the Sashinas came in time for a light lunch and then stayed all afternoon and for supper. I get very tired now when I prepare meals for company so won’t do it often from now on. We wanted them to come up yesterday to see the new house and advise us about it. They all felt it was the thing to do, i.e., move.

We’ve made delicious ice cream twice since it’s gotten warm and it’s so easy to make. If you ever want a recipe, use the one for Philadelphia ice cream in the red and white covered Good Houskeeping cook book. We use 1 ½ cans of Carnation milk for a qt. of cream and make the best chocolate ice cream in Japan!  Paul and his sister and Helen came up last week and we had a regular feast, fit for a king. Fried chicken, cucumber and tomato salad, potato salad, buttered turnips and young peas in the pod, corn pudding, ice cream and cookies.

It’s very hot this afternoon. I’m almost all undressed, sitting in a kimona (on the floor). I’m so big that it’s very uncomfortable for me any place.

The Lord is very good. Thank Him. Much love and many, many thanks, dear,           


As Yanagidasan is going out, will let her mail this without waiting for Watson to write more. He hasn’t come home yet.

Sunday, May 17

Dearest Mama:

I put the date on this letter last Sunday, but got just that far. Now I’ll continue and try to get it finished and mailed today (21st).

Helen said that she’d heard that you were having extremely hot weather for spring there at home.  We have some fine, sunshiny days, and then again quite cold, rainy ones. The hot weather will doubtless come soon enough, however.

Sorry to say that I’ve not been feeling very extra(?). Within the last week my feet have swollen so that I can’t comfortably walk. My old sandals are the only shoes I can get into, and then I can’t fasten the straps. The doctor said last week that if they got any worse (which they have) to not eat salt, but didn’t seem worried about them I’m to go see him again at the end of the month – don’t know what I’ll do about shoes. Oh, yes, you might be interested in knowing that there is a possibility of the “baby” being twins. He said that of course he can’t be sure but he thought he could distinguish two heartbeats and “feel” two heads. He doesn’t seem at all sure about anything and sometimes I wonder if he’s as capable as he might be, but then he must be O.K. as he has all the maternity cases at that hospital.

Aunt Effe and Helen have both made several nice little dresses for the baby! You know I bought a lot of flannelette for dresses and cut them out, but Aunt Effe is sewing them all for me. I’m so nervous and get so tired that it’s certainly lovely to have her offer to do it. The baby’s “bed” is ready, but if twins come, another will have to be prepared! Would you like us to have twins or not? Everyone seems rather sorry for us, and I realize it will be more difficult , but then, I think that if the Lord gives them to us, He’ll give us wisdom and strength for the care of them, don’t you? I’m sure He will.

We are moved and quite nicely settled. Several of the Christians helped us a week ago last Monday and although it was a rainy day, everything got moved in that one day. The heavy furniture we had hauled by kuruma (a small wagon hand drawn) and the other things were carried across the bridge. I think I told you that we are just a little piece (about 2 minutes) away from our old house. We feel very thankful to the Lord for this place, as it is so much more like a home, and still at the same rental as the other. We’ve had our bedroom and Watson’s study combined in the lone large room upstairs until now, but the stairs are so steep that we’ve “moved” downstairs now. I sleep in the living room on a ¾ bed and Watson sleeps in the dining room on the box couch.

Clear as mud, isn’t it? The upstairs is just one room, the same size as the living room, and a large porch for hanging out the clothes. There are 41 (maybe more) sliding doors downstairs and 14 upstairs, with extra windows, gates, etc., so we have plenty of things to move.

I have the strangest attachment to the odor of moth balls now! I have 2 bags of them here in the house and every once in a while I take fragrant whiffs from them. Hope that there isn’t any thing harmful about it!

Just now one of the Christians has come to the house and is upstairs praying out loud. The Japanese seem to not be able to pray silently, and sometimes it’s quite wearing on the nerves. This boy can’t pray or read his Bible at home due to a non-Christian father so he comes here. I’m truly glad that the different ones feel at home here and pray that I may just have grace for their various eccentricities.

Watson started out to meet Yamashirosan in order to go to Ahino for a street meeting but it has begun (again) to rain quite hard so I guess he’ll be back soon.

These are rather discouraging times for me. I don’t study at all, or do much of anything else either. Yanagidasan does her work remarkably well and is even learning a bit about our cooking. I sit down at the cooking table and she hands me things, and is learning their names, etc. I rather hope the baby comes next month as I dread thinking of going like this until July. I’m unusually stout, I think, and feel like a pair of elephants. Aunt Effe gave me 2 night gowns, so if yours don’t get here on time I’ll be able to get along, altho’ I really need more. Much love. I do hope you’re well and I’d love to see you and the rest. This letter is rather dreary. Excuse! The Lord is good.


St. Barnabas’ Hospital
Sunday, May 30, 1931

Dearest Mama:

Excuse the pencil but I haven’t a pen here with me.

Suppose you’ll be surprised by my being here already and I’ll admit it’s a bit earlier than I expected. I told you in my last letter of how swollen my feet were. Well, we came to see the doctor the day before yesterday and he felt it necessary for me to stay here for a while. My kidneys haven’t been acting right and I’ve been put on a milk diet and am not allowed to get out of bed. My feet have returned almost to normal but as yet I haven’t heard the results of the urine examinations. The latter are made once in every 24 hours by a Dr. Jones here in the hospital. He also has charge of my diet. Since coming in (Friday about 1:30 o’clock) I’ve had only milk, a little toast, 2 helpings of jam, one dish of salt, unsalted rice, and two doses of salts and a headache capsule! I certainly feel hungry but they wanted to try this milk diet for several days. You know I never liked to drink it – but! I tried to be careful in my eating at home, but evidently had too much salt, meat and eggs. I’m sure that I’ll get all right soon. As yet don’t know whether one baby will be born at the end of June or two babies at the end of July.

It is very interesting here in the maternity ward. There are only four others, although there are twelve beds. One woman’s baby was born this A.M. (a Korean) and one other was born the nite before last. The others’ babies are 4 or 5 days old. All are Japanese. When I see their babies I want mine right away, but most likely, if things go right, I’ll go home and then come back when it’s time for “ours” to be born.

Watson brought me a beautiful rose plant (red) and Mrs. Asahina brought some lovely cut flowers.

Last Thursday night Aunt Effe and Helen and Mrs. Parker (the wife of C.A.’s principal) came up to Sanda for supper. All I did was make a strawberry shortcake which turned out rather tough because of too slow an oven – while Helen and Aunt Effe made sandwiches and sliced tomatoes. Oh yes, I had also made some salmon salad. Mrs. Parker gave me a nice blue satin jacket to wear in the hospital and Aunt Effe brought 2 darling knitted jackets from one of the teachers for the baby. (Now they’re bringing in my lunch so I’ll stop a while.)

The nurse always feels sorry when she brings me my food because everyone else gets regular meals (only Japanese foods of course). Today I got 3 half-slices of toast, 2 bottles of milk and a small dish of rice. Sure will be glad when I can eat again.

I told you before that there are 2 foreign nurses and one foreign doctor here. However, I only see them once or twice a day and they are the “heads” and don’t have regular ward duty. I generally can make myself understood, though I can’t talk to anyone. That is, I can ask for things, but can’t engage in conversations much. It gets lonely but then Watson is coming this afternoon. He was here last nite and the nite before too. Also Miss Cribb and the Asahinas’s. Watson is staying in Dembo with Miss Cribb but it takes a good hour or more to go on the street car (one way only). Yanagidasan is taking care of the house in Sanda.

Miss Van Kirk, the head nurse, is going home to Pennsylvania, sails Tuesday, on furlough. I was hoping she’d be here but then Miss Jean (quite a young nurse) will be here when the baby is born.

It’s quite hot these days here and I suppose it’s equally so there. Hope you’re all keeping well.

Tuesday A.M.

I’ve just had breakfast consisting of cream of wheat (no salt), applesauce, toast and a glass of milk. Last evening for supper was the first time the doctor would let me have any solid food – then I had a few boiled carrots, creamed potatoes (no salt!), some toast and milk. It’s going to be hard on Watson when I get home if I’ll have to prepare all unsalted things, but then he can add seasoning at the table. Did you ever have this kidney trouble when you were having your babies?

It seems quite unlikely that there’ll be twins – so don’t count on it!

Watson is very tired and needs a good rest. He’s been that way for quite a time now – there’s been so much work about the house, with me sick, etc. Pray about it. I wish he could get away for a while. Maybe these few days in Dembo will rest him up some. He gets discouraged and thinks that he’s not doing enough missionary work – pray that we both may not be slack about anything that we should do and at the same time that Satan won’t get us under bondage about unnecessary things.

Miss Jean thinks that it will be safe enough to start from Sanda when my pains begin and come right away to the hospital in a taxi. It only takes 2 hours. The question of renting a house in Osaka and living here is about out of the question. Of course there are midwives in Sanda, but somehow I’d rather have the hospital with the doctor who knows my case, etc. than at home in my own house with a strange midwife, of course, nothing is definite yet but we’re asking for the Lord’s special guidance and I know he’ll give it to us.

The strawberries are about at their best and cheapest now and D.V. we want to put up jam next week. You know how Watson loves sweet things. We always have syrup and peanut butter and jam in the house. Last year we put up peach jam, strawberry jam and some grape jelly, all of which tasted quite good, but which didn’t last us all year. The Japanese can some but of course it’s more expensive and not as good as homemade. Cross and Blackwell (English Company) have very good jams but they’re 80 sen and above for a small can. We’ve been saving peanut butter cans and intend to use them with red sealing wax. Regular glass jars are sky high but we have a few Japanese ones. The latter aren’t very practical as they’re this shape -         - small neck with a glass top being rather different for sealing, etc. (I hope you don’t mind me prattling on like this. It gets so tiresome when I’m just lying here.)

This hospital building is new, only 3 years old, and as nice as any at home. Everything is foreign style, so different from Japanese hospitals. In the latter, the patients are taken care of by relatives or friends, the cooking being done right in the wards and children allowed to play around the beds while the nurses only give the medicine and take temperature. I didn’t know this until yesterday, when the chaplain of the hospital came in and talked awhile. This is an Episcopal hospital, and the chaplain, who is an ex-missionary in Kyoto, with his wife, are from Alabama. They most likely preach the Truth but from his conversation and the prayer he prayed he isn’t on as close terms with the Lord Jesus as we are. Aren’t you thankful that we’ve always had the whole gospel preached to us and that we’re not afraid to speak of the Lord as our Saviour from sin? So many missionaries continually talk about “Christianity” and studying to become Christians, and they don’t mention the Lord Jesus and his atoning death.  (My lunch consisted of a little spinach, rice, 3 half slices of toast, 2 canned pears and a glass of milk. I’m afraid I’ll fatten up on such a big meal.)

About 4 o’clock

Tsukuisan and his wife have just left. They were here for an hour and brought a lovely bouquet of peonies, carnations, lilies and fern. You know you can buy lovely flowers most all the year around here in Japan for a very small sum.

I want to pass on to you something I read this A.M. and which I just tried to tell them, which was of blessing to me. In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) we have 2 examples of prayer. They are contrasts and one is the right way and the other the wrong way for a Christian to pray. In verse 12 the young man says “Father, give me…” and in verse 19 he says “make me a servant”. We know what the results of his requests were. His father gave him what he asked for in the first place, but it was soon gone and the son was in want. But when he returned and asked to be made a servant he received “the best robes”, a ring, shoes and a merry feast. If we pray only for things and continually say “give me”, we’ll not get very far in our walk with Him. But when we’re willing to become servants of our Father in heaven, then (as the author put it) we receive Christ’s robe of righteousness, a ring which weds us to His purpose of saving souls, shoes of those who bring glad tidings, and a feast of joy in Him. I had never before seen those 2 things in the story. I hope they’ll be a blessing to you as they are to me. Oh that I could only learn to pray aright and not always just ask for things.

Now will close. With dear love to each one of the family and friends – Mary

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