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In the spring of 1915 Laura's only daughter Rose wrote to her on the stationery of the newspaper for which she was a reporter
San Francisco, Calif
Mrs. A. J. Wilder
Rocky Ridge Farm
Dearest Mama Bess--
I simply can't stand being so homesick for you any more.
You must plan to come out here in July or, at latest, August. You've simply GOT to, so let me hear no argument about it. I know how you felt about being disappointed before, because I felt every bit as bad, I guess badder, because I was terribly disappointed for myself and twice as disappointed for you, and sore besides because I could not manage better. But this time I am quite sure it can be managed. Unless something very catastrophic happens, like war, or another earthquake, or something.
It won't be as I planned to have you out, because we haven't the machine [automobile] now, and both Gillette [Rose's husband] and I are working, and there isn't so awfully much money. But we can have a pleasant time together, anyway. You can see San Francisco and the Fair, and meet my friends, and we can play together all the time that I'm not working. I have worked this job into a sort of movable feast, so that I don't have to be in the office any regular hours, and you can go with me on lots of my outside work -- I can arrange for you to have an aeroplane flight if you like, and we can eat in all the little interesting restaurants.
I have it figured out that sometime in July I will be able to send you the fare, and while you are here and maybe right along afterward I can send you $5 a week to make up forwhat you will lose in chickens, etc., by the trip. I should think by that time all the little ones would be out of the way, and there wouldn't be so much work with them. The strawberries will be gone, and the pressure of work won't be so bad. You will miss most of the very hot weather, too.
I think by getting away from it all for awhile, and playing around with a bunch of people who are writing and drawing and otherwise being near-artists, you will get an entirely new viewpoint on things there, and be able to see a lot of new things to write when you go back. If the farm-paper market is closed, there are scads of other markets open. I got an invitation to submit stories to an eastern magazine the other day which I could turn over to you. I haven't time to write for it myself -- it is only a little magazine, but would probably pay $50 or so for a story. When you get things to running so that the farm work won't take up so much time you can do things like that. And with the notes and mortgages paid off and your lovely home all built, you and Papa can take things easier. Next year you can maybe get off and make a little trip together to Louisiana or someplace. The way it looks to me, there are only the debts to clear off and you will have a self-supporting home and can use the little extra sums -- the bunches of money, like from the apples or strawberries -- that come in, to play with.
Anyway, please plan to come out here in July or August, and get the work in shape so you can leave it for three months.
Don't get any new clothes, because we can get those here, except underwear. Suits and things are as cheap here as there, and perhaps the styles would be different-we can get things in a few days from the shops, and then when you go back your things will all be new to the people there. Bring warm things, because it will be cool here-you will wear a suit all the time except in the evening, and probably most of the time then-we don't dress up in the evening except on a rare occasion like a box-party, or something. I have a wonderful dressmaker, who can whip things into shape and astonish you, so don't bother making over anything, just bring it along. I was thinking maybe your rose silk would be pretty with a black lace over it and some coral beads. If you get anything, get some shoes and slippers from Sears Roebuck -- they cost out of sight here. Don't bring any extra hats, because by July everyone here will be- wearing fall hats and we can get one here. Bring your furs and warm underwear and gloves and shoes, that's all.
I will not talk much about what we will do, because then you will be disappointed when you get here. But we can visit, and play around in Chinatown together some, and you can meet the people I know, and have an aeroplane flight. And you can get acquainted with San Francisco.. I am glad you are from the Ozarks, because everything is hills here. It will be foggy and windy and dusty and gray and you will not like San Francisco while you are here, and then when you go away you will always want to come back. 'Tis ever thus. If you like you shall eat an octopus. I promise that.
What do you think of the Art Smith story? It is going fairly well. What do you think of the "Confessions of a Physician"? I think it is awful rot, myself, but the whole Bulletin staff thinks it is splendid stuff. I don't know that anyone else does. I will probably be back on the staff of Bessie's [women's] page sometime in June. I don't mind, it is a soft snap. I will write her another story and loaf all the time.