Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: A.N. Bush

August 21, 1912

Dear Ryth:

"The Report" seems to have suspended publication. The vacation season is on, and the substitute stenographer made such a mess of the one she wrote that I did not attempt one the next week. Much of last week was wet. It rained hard and was cold enough for fires. It cleared off in time to save the crops. Much of the wheat and oats was in shocks, and, although saved, the damage done is not inconsiderable.


This entry is taken from a sort of journal written by A.N. Bush in 1911-12 to his friend and fellow photographer Ryth Gatch (pictured, ca. 1905, in a photo by Sally Bush). Ryth's father, Claud Gatch, had worked at Ladd & Bush Bank for decades before moving the family to Berkeley, California in the fall of 1911. Ryth, who was in her early twenties at the time, sorely missed her lifelong friends; A.N. Bush wrote her these weekly epistles, entitled "The Report", to keep her up to date.

"The Report" is a remarkable record of the daily activities of one of Salem's most prominent men, members of his family, and his employees. A.N. gives detailed descriptions of his weekly walks in the countryside around Salem, to places like Sidney and Ankeny Bottom and Sleepy Hollow and Orville. He writes about hosting (and feeding) visitors, arguing politics with benighted Republicans, and collecting wildflowers. He reports on the health of his father, who was 87 years old in 1912, and of his beloved wife, Lulu Hughes Bush, who was recovering from an operation. He catalogs his growing collection of Victrola records, some of which were rejected for home use but were suitable for playing at the Salem Canoe Club. Occasionally, his reminiscences include a gem like the following:

"About eighty years ago a young chap in Westfield, Massachusetts, was a bum farmer, and they never ceased to tell of how his father said it was harder to make him hoe corn than to do it himself, but that boy beat the whole family out."

"That boy" was A.N.'s father, Asahel Bush II.

1 comment:

Capital Taps said...

What do you know about Sleepy Hollow? I have found references to it that suggest it was the slight depression between Gaiety Hill and Fairmont Hill - that is, the little hollow drawn by Mission st to the river. The Mintos seemed to be at the Center of it on Saginaw?