ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Letter to Marguerite Butler 14 Mar 1922

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Series 14: Medical, Health & Hygiene – Line Fork Settlement
Anne Ruth Medcalf: Nurse – Line Fork Settlement 1922-1923
Marguerite Butler: Teacher, Superintendent of Extension Work 1914-1922

ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Letter to Marguerite Butler 14 Mar 1922

TAGS: Anne Ruth Medcalf Letter to Marguerite Butler 14 Mar 1922, Line Fork Settlement, Mr. Lewis, fatty pine, Anne Pavey, community members, community activities

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TRANSCRIPTION: Anne Ruth Medcalf Letter to Marguerite Butler 14 Mar 1922

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March 13, 1922

My dear Miss Butler:-

Thanks heaps for the Line Fork circulars. Have you been distributing them around?

My dear, I wish I had some interesting things to tell you but, while I seem to be on the go all the time, nothing extraordinarily interesting has happened, it seems, for a long time.

Perhaps I am getting so accustomed to things and people in these parts I do not always remember the unusual.

Mr. Lewis comes up here–

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–to be dressed most of the time now. He is an early riser, you know, so despite all my entreaties that he must not come till after 7:30 A.M., more often than not he arrives before I am dressed. I tease him a lot, and he says I “vilify” him.

I am enclosing two notes I have recently received. Possibly you can use them. But preserve them, please. I want them. The brown paper one is from Mary Susan Ingram, who was Mary Susan Cornet of Sige. She and her soldier husband have settled on the old home place with their pet parrot and squirrel after their fling at traveling. The other is from Floyd Cornet who has a new–

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–daughter — Ruth Anne after me, of course, but horror of horrors, they are calling the poor thing — Annie!! The note explains itself. The baby came unannounced. Even “Marthie,” my friend and co-worker, did not get there in due time. However, I went in the A.M. after my enclosed summons came to me, and every day thereafter for ten. And during that ten days I did many things. The poor little namesake had precious few clothes, so I had to donate a few, otherwise little Ruthie Anne could not have been “stript” and washed every day. I started a fatty-pine business. I discover–

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–ed one of them putting fatty pine up in the neatest bundles, so I bought some of them, and Miss [Anne] Pavey is going to take it regularly when she gets back to her cottage. Really, I think it is quite an idea. People would love to get it as gifts. Especially folks having fireplaces. I wish we could get boxes — attractive ones, and fix it up like the bayberry candles are fixed. And it would help these girls and boys, too. Don’t you think it would be fine? Remember these youngsters do it especially well and use only the richest pine.

Did I tell you that the people over–

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–on Leatherwood about the Delphia Post Office want a “fotched-on’ teacher? Mr. P[?] Hall, whose child I visited one time, came over later and asked me to see about it for him. And he was delighted with our cabin and our work. He didn’t know anything about us till someone told him to come over for me when his child was sick. It was after my visit over there that he asked me to see about a teacher. And to ask the Pine Mountain folks if they couldn’t have a settlement over his way. He said he hadn’t had any education, but he wanted his own youngsters “and all the other children, too,” he said, “to get the vision.” They were his–

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–exact words. He said he’d deed over land for a “house-seat” and do anything else within his power. Doesn’t it seem as tho they should have it where they want it so? The first time I went over there they had all the sick children assembled to see me, and I had to make several other visits besides. When you come back I wish you’d go over there with me and meet Mr. Hall — he’s a mighty interesting man for all his lack of education.

I’ve been meeting up with some of the Sugar Grove people at odd times. They’re always very cordial. One of the women from there said she’d have–

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–“All the women out” to meet me if I’d come over and talk to them. The more I see of people from other neighborhoods the more I realize that we have a proposition on our hands in this valley.

We’ve been having torrential rains. “Tide’s been high” as old Uncle Will Lewis says. Mud[?] has been bad, too, but still I have gone. One woman said she “‘lowed Miss Medcalf stood the cold pretty nigh as good as a man the way she goes about in all kinds weather.” And a couple of weeks ago I went over Stony Fork way to answer a call–

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–in a blinding snow. While the people who sent for me wanted me powerfully badly they were surprised when I finally appeared on the scene. And still more so when I prepared to go back. They couldn’t conceive of anyone going back across the trail that night, but I was bound to — I had such a big day ahead the next day. The man of the house said he thot I had “more nerve” than he did.

Ann Metcalf
Anne Ruth Medcalf [Ann Metcalf] on horseback. Road to Line Fork. [ann_metcal.jpg]

Miss Pavey’s “last day program” was a huge success. I helped her some with costuming, so I was quite thrilled at the effect it had upon the spectators. Really the whole thing was lovely. Too bad–

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–you had to miss it. Mrs. [Ethel de Long] Zande, Berto, Miss Reeves, Miss Coolige and Miss Wright came over for it. The Scouts were invested on that day, too, It was quite a ceremony!!

Speaking of the school reminds me of a story Mr. Fields told me of Ben Brown, a former Bear Branch schoolmaster. Because of it, my estimation of him has gone up considerably. Here it is: When Ben Brown was “fixing for to leave the school at Bear Branch,” he told Mr. Fields of a dream he had the night before. He dreamed he was up on top the ridge back of us when he saw a black mother bear.

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It was snowing. And following the old mother bear were three little bears, and those little bears “Didn’t walk no place but where that mother bear had walked.” Then Mr. Ben Brown “got to studying” and he “just ‘lowed that was how hit was with the folks on Line Fork.” They were doing just exactly what their own mother bears had done before them — didn’t dare do otherwise. So B. B. “‘lowed they needed someone who knew of other ways to skeer them out o’ the old.” All of which is very true — n’est pas? And a good story, too — don’t you think?

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–I had Mr. Lewis go over to Harlan to Dr. Nolan for an examination and a change of tube last week. He kept him at the hospital for several days, and when he came back he was the most disgusted mortal. It seems that they hadn’t done him up near as securely as I have been dressing him, so it was with a sigh of relief that he landed back here to get me to do him up. He knows from whence cometh his help!

Did I tell you that we had the big sale a while back? They loved the little gingham and calico dresses, so it was most unfortunate that they–

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–were all so much of one size. They were lovely for the most part, and they enjoyed handling them. We were all rather touched at this poor simple-minded Neally Cornet Findley’s wife — who lives up the way. She took a fancy to a dear little pink dress with bunnies and chickens embroidered on it in black, etc., etc., but it was too small for any of the stepchildren and much too large for the little expected one, so we tried to dissuade her from buying it; but without avail. She said it was “the prettiest dress” she “ever seed,” so she was “just a-goin’ to take it for to look at.” At which statement we–

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–ceased to influence her. I, for one, thot she should have it if it meant that much to her.

I am glad you’re going to be at the conference. Yes, Miss Pavey is going to join me there and she has written for a room, but she wrote direct to the Saint James. Wasn’t that right? So I’ll see you there if not before. I am anxious to have a talk with you.

Anne Ruth Medcalf

See Also:

ANNE RUTH MEDCALF. “In the Line Fork Country.” American Medical, 1924