Mrs. James F. Ball
Mrs. Donald D. Smythe
827 E. 11th Street
Eugene, Oregon U.S.A.
April 10, 1924
Dear Mrs. Smythe,
This paper looks very business like, doesn't it? But I am using it because I can write quicker on the typewriter, even if I am rather poor at it, and I have been so long in trying to get this letter off to you, that if I wait much longer it will not do you any good. Some time ago, your husband was talking about you and I told him to tell you to be sure and bring---. He stopped me, and said "tell her yourself", so here goes.
I have always thought how much easier it would have been for me when I came out three years ago, if some one had told me what to bring. Above all, bring your old clothes. The fact that you have had them a year or two at home won't make any difference here. We are usually about a season behind styles, and then you must remember that no one here has seen them, and they will not know they are old. I brought an old suit and hat that I would not have worn at home again, and how every one admired them for they were "homeside". And your old evening dresses too, they will be new out here, and we dress a good deal, our dinners, as Your husband has probably told you, are formal, as to dress.
Materials out here are very scarce- the proper kinds, and quite expensive. Next winter you will wish you had brought the old serge dress and the half worn coat that you left behind, and the old hats. As for the boat trip out here, You will be coming at about the same time of the year, as I made one of my trips, and after you leave San Francisco or Seattle probably wearing a knitted dress, you will soon reach warm weather, and it will remain warm. Always three days each side of Honolulu, at any time of the year, white is worn on the boat. I found several gingham dresses for morning, a darkish voile, or something of the sorts that would wash, then a couple of dainty organdies, and a knitted suit, besides an evening dress or two, was what I required. And these same things would be what you would need here when you arrived and next year too.
I went home last year for a few months and when I came back I knew that time what to bring, and so I shopped at the "end of season" sales, and bought a dark serge for winter and a couple of simple afternoon dresses, and a knitted suit, and such comfort I have had this winter from them. It gets very cold here, or at least it gets a little below zero, and underwear out here is all English make. So if you are going to need any while here, better bring it, but most of us do not wear much extra in the winter. And also corsets bring your self an extra pair, only silly English ones out here and very expensive- that is, if you wear them.
Please be careful about the sun. Use dark glasses when you reach Japan, and do not scorn an umbrella, for this sun is deadly, and you do not want to start out with a continual headache. Some people are more susceptible than others. I am one of the unlucky ones, and I have to line my hats with red cotton cloth, and carry an umbrella, and wear dark glasses when the sun shines, but here's hoping it won't bother you. However be careful.
Oh, yes, you will want your bathing suit on the boat too. We are looking forward to your coming. For fun once I told your husband to hurry and send for you, and added, "that is if she is nice, is she?" And he said, "Well, if she isn't, she has fooled me for five years"! He is looking fine and is well, and my husband has persuaded him to start in tennis, and they tried it yesterday, and as we watched, we all decided that very soon, Mr. Smythe would be beating the rest. Its good exercise anyway.
I hope you will pardon the informality of this letter, and that it may help you a little in what to bring. Its better to bring too much, than not enough, I don't think there is such a thing as too much. A light weight rain coat would help too, but I've existed without one. When it rains, it is too hot for any extra clothes. White shoes, of course, but better get the new ones of canvass. I know that you may not wear them at home, but its too hot for buck here. I use kid only for dress-up, as the children say.
Hoping that your nice husband will send for you very soon and that you will be one-tenth as glad to see us, as we are to see you, I am
Evelyn H. Ball