The Santa Monica Expedition

August 22nd 1887

I want to write of an expedition we have just returned from. The sixth of this month we all started for Santa Monica. It was quite an undertaking, moving so many. There was Walter, Millie, May, Edith, LeBaron, Channing, Peter, and myself. One big trunk, five valises, and bundles and wraps. We had to stop in Los Angeles for several hours which we spent at 116 Grand Ave. We reached Santa Monica in safety and had a very busy time putting down matting, arranging beds etc in our rude little shanty. Our “tent on the beach” was a room of rough boards about 14 by 16 ft and a little cloth kitchen back of it where we had an oil stove and the necessary dishes. There was a table(?) there which we could use for breakfast. It consisted of a wide board resting on two barrels. At noon it was like an oven with the hot sun on the cloth roof of our kitchen so we moved our table into our bedroom-parlor and placed it on a trunk and a little table leaf that were in our front shanty. It was primitive eating, sitting on beds or chairs or nothing as the case might be, and it was primitive cooking and sleeping and living, but I think we would have enjoyed it very much had we all felt well, but Edie was sick and Channing was sick. LeBaron was sick and Millie had a dreadful cold and some days I felt miserably. We had anticipated so much and thought the change from hot, dusty, Cucamunga to cool sandy Santa Monica would be delightful. But the change was too great. It was cold and damp at night and our house was very open, and the numerous cracks gave more ventilation than was desirable. When we first went Walter was almost sick with a dreadful cold, and the next day after we arrived there the son of a business friend of Walter’s died. Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt and this only son were spending the summer in a very delightful tent on the beach and he sickened and died. It was a terrible sorrow to them and they had no friends with them so we went to them, doing what we could, and Monday went to Los Angeles with them to the funeral. Oh it was all so sad. Walter felt so sick he had to go to 116 Grand and I followed him as soon as possible, and he was too sick to leave so I stayed the night. Peter was with them at the beach, and I sent Bessie Ward down. The next day I went back and found they had all been in the ocean excepting baby who had stayed with Peter. Peter went home that night, Walter came the next day and then returned to Hermosa taking LeBaron with him.

One of our neighbors in an adjoining tent was an excellent swimmer and she took Millie and May under her charge and the went out into the surf, and if Millie had not had her dreadful cold she would have enjoyed the new experience, but many days she could not go.

Edie and LeBaron were afraid of the water and could only be persuaded to run along in the shallow surf. That was great fun, and if they had been well we should have been happy but how often in life does the great, little “if” come in changing pleasure to endurance. One thing however was ever enjoyable, ever grand, and that was the ocean! Oh I LOVE the ocean. With it’s ever changing, ever beautiful aspect. The whispering of the waves as they come rushing in; the sullen roar as they recede. The unspeakable beauty of the wave as it fills and swells and then breaks into lovely snowy crests running along in waving lines till all come rushing in shore rippling and laughing. It is so sad too. As if it were ever trying and never succeeding. I could watch for hours, with ever increasing delight, the changeful surface of this mighty power.

We left Santa Monica the 18th and spent that night in Los Angeles at 116 – went home the next day. I selected papers (wallpaper) and the decorator went home with us to see the rooms and plan intelligently. The next day Mr. Frey, who is to make our mantles, with his wife and little boy, came and it really looks as if our home might be ready for us in time. Mr. Frey has weak lungs and was delighted with our climate. So much dryer than Los Angeles. He would draw in deep breaths of the hot air with keenest pleasure and wished he could live in this neighborhood.

Transcriber’s notes

Peter is their hired man.

Millie is the hired girl who came with them from Geneva Illinois.

That is Maria’s question mark next to the word table.


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