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Gerrit Schaapman, Ripon (California)

Sjouke Johannes Hoogland, Leeuwarden

Engelse vertaling
Naamloos document

Frisian emigrants 66.
G.H. Schaapman to Mr. and Mrs. Hoogland.

Ripon California Aug. 21, 1933.
Dear Uncle and Aunt,

Because it soon will be uncle's birthday, we thought it is a right thing to write to you and to congratulate you with the increasing of years and wish that you may commemorate this day for many more years.
After my wife said it's uncle's birthday on Sept. 7, than uncle's birthday is the day before mine.
If I  live I will be 44 years old at Sept. 8.
I almost cannot imagine that I am already that old, time goes fast.
It looks like the busier one is the faster time goes. I am always very busy.
Thijs and Roelof and I we always work together, mainly making hay, so we never have to hire other people but we always are busy.
The three of us, together we till about 45 hectares land.
The three of us we have about 50 milk cows plus the heifers and the horses.
So you can imagine that to get all the hay we need for all that live-stock, is quite a job.
Except the hay land we have a lot of arable [fit to plow] land.
Thijs and Roelof also have each a piece with corn for ensilage for the cows.
Sometimes that corn becomes 12 to 14 feet high and is mowed then and cut in small pieces with a machine and then blown into a large silo by that machine.
Those silo's  are 12 feet in diameter and 30 feet high, such a thing is filled in one day.
It takes about 15 men and 4 sets of horses and the machine to fill it in one day.
But then one has 150,000 pounds fodder, with that you can feed a long time and it is good feed for the cows.
It takes about 4 acres land to fill such a thing, almost unbelieveble isn't it uncle?
2½ acre is a hectare, then you know how much land it is.
Thijs and I each also have 4 acres in arable land and Roelof has 15 acres in wine grapes, then we also have the irrigation.
Once in a month we irrigate the land, that water comes from the mountains and flows through the valley in canals to irrigate the land.
Every one gets his turn, it goes on day and night, on Sunday and on week days.
If your turn comes, you have to take it.
If we didn't have the water than it should be a desert here because  it is not raining during the Summer.
Now with the water and the heat we have, it is very fruitful.
You can think yourself uncle, when we cut the hay and in about 35 days it again is as long that when one walks through it, one can put the tops of the clover in his pocket, then it grows quickly don't you think?
Watering the land is a good thing but it cost a lot, it cost 7 dollars an acre a year.
It wouldn't be that bad if we should get some more for our “products”, but everything is very cheap.
Many farmers have hard times. Many farmers who bought in the expensive time and paid off their land all the time, have now more mortgage on the land as it is worth now.
I know farmers who bought land for 400 to 500 dollars an acre and now they can sell it for 200 dollars.
In 1918 I bought the land where we live now for 205 dollars an acre.
Then I had to prepare it and to sow and to put buildings on it, with everything in it, then it cost over 400 dollars an acre.
But in the good years we worked hard and have been economical, so we have it free of debts for several years now.
The land we bought in 1930 we had to pay in cash. Then I had to borrow 1200 dollars, so we have 1200 dollars debt, because to pay it off we are not able these days.
When you can keep it equal it goes well these days.
Some years ago I lent father in law Schuiling 420 dollars, till now I didn't get it back, but at the moment there is no chance for that because there is no money.
Things are a little better since we have a new President but it goes very slowly.
Now they made a law that the laborers only may work 40 hours a week, so more people will have a job.
This way the working people will have more money so they can buy more and also the prices of the products can become higher.
The President is doing the best he can but it is a big problem, it won't go quick, it will take a long time.
It seemed that the people had high expectations about the new President otherwise I think we would have had a revolt long ago. In some area's it  was not very calm any more.
At some places where farms should be sold because of debts, the farmers took the law in their own hands.
They went, armed with riffles and clubs, to the auction so that no one dared to bid.
Then the farmers bought everything together for some cents and gave it back to the owner.
Here it is so that when one is behind with paying the interest and tax the mortgage holder can take everything back and then one loses everything what one put in it and that person has an empty purse.
Even the banks were closed here last Spring, but are opened again except some of them.
We didn't sustain damage from it. In the eastern part of America it was much worser, there a lot of banks got bankrupt and people lost all their money.
There are people, who lived on the interest, who have to work again for a living now.
The earthquakes, you must have read about them, were about 400 miles from here, we didn't notice one of it.
It was terrible where it was, complete streets fallen into ruins and lots of people lost their lives.
I think that there were about 3000 earthquakes, of course a lot of them were hardly to be felt on the scale which tells when there is one.
Now to write the last page before I stop.
The new tenants, we have on the 100 acres farm, please [us] well, they are good farmers and are punctual paying the rent, which is a good thing these days. We get 150 dollars a month.
About the running costs, some tax and interest, they are about 1500 dollars a year, so we have about 300 dollars a year left for unforseen circumstances, repair etc.
As children we together built a new small house for mother. Now she lives next to us.
We  gave her the choice where she liked to live and then she said she rather liked to live with us.
We built a house with a livingroom and bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen and a large wardrobe.
She is in a splendid condition, she is near by us and also free.
On Sunday morning she drives with us to the church and eat the midday meal with us.
When we go out we take her with us as often as possible to give her distraction.
She is sewing a lot for other people and she is reading a lot so she can pass the time well.
She has the milk for free from us and water from our water supply and vegetables from our garden, which is better than living with one of the children.
The proverb says:”in it is on it”, and a lot of that is true.
Now I'll stop, another time more. Write back soon. Hearty greetings from Gerrit and Sietsche [Sijtsche].

Ripon Aug. 20, 1933.
Dear Uncle and Aunt,

Now it is already Aug. and we still didn't answer uncle and aunts letter, we are also not better [than other persons?].
Mother said uncle is having his birthday on Sept. 7 so now I'll write immediately.
Well uncle heartly congratulations with uncle's birthday and that there may be many more years.
Also hearty thanks for our [meant is your] congratulations.
We all are healthy and hope the same for all of you.
The little one started to walk two weeks ago and now that little curly head can reach everything, yes I call her curly head because she is a real curly head and a nice girl.
She is already over 16 months old.
Our Geertje will have her tonsils and adenoids out on Aug. 28.
She goes to the County Hospital, which is a hospital that originates with the State, then it cost us just 14 dollars and otherwise 50 dollars.
Our neighbor-girl also got them out this week.
Uncle and aunt will know that mother is living next door now in a small house.
She is really happy now.
She already lives there 3 months now.
Yes aunt, living with the children is rather difficult, it is a lot better this way.
Now mother can do or not do whatever she likes.
I do her laundry and she darns the stockings for me, which is worth a lot for me because I am very busy.
Soon school will start again, that will be a great pleasure for me because to keep peace between them [the children], than it is hot work.
Then there are 3 [children] away from 8 to 4.
I already canned a lot of fruit, almost 200 quart (200 bottles of 1 liter).
Well uncle and aunt I cannot write much more because Gerrit was very busy writing this afternoon during church time, the letter could become too thick.
About the brothers and sisters, they all are well.
With Do and Ytje the family will be enlarged in Nov.
Her little boy will be 2 years old on Dec. 22.
Yes, Ytje never write, aunt knows, and she can write Dutch much better than I can, I told her so many times.
With Dick and Jennie the family also will be enlarged in Dec.
They have only 1 girl, she will be 4 years old in Dec.
Ytje's daughter was 3 years in July and Geertje is still serving at the same place and her health is very well.
Well aunt especially greet the relatives and when uncle and aunt see mother's relatives, uncle Gerben and aunt and uncle Douwe and aunt, please greet them from us and that they may write a thick/large letter.
Hearty greetings from your nephew and niece Gerrit and Sadie.




Ripon Aug. 21, 1933.
Dear Brother in law and Sister,

Hearty congratulations with your birthday on Sept. 7.
That you may celebrate that day, with the family many times after this is also my wish.
As Sadie says G[errit] and S[adie] already have written a thick letter, but nevertheless I also like to add some lines.
In my last letter I think I've written that the boys built a small house for me, now I am already in it for 3 months.
It is a small comfortable house.
Living, bedroom, bathroom and a small kitchen.
It is nice to live here, a nice view and so free, I like living in the country so much.
I sometimes go out for a week.
The other day I was with Geertje in Modesto for a week, which is 10 miles from Ripon.
Last week I was in Trazij [?] for a week, which is a town west of here.
Last year I was there some times for a week with Mrs. Keuning.
She has nothing but Americans as neighbors there and she feels not at home there, yes during the first years she was very homesick.
She often used to go to school in O.B.Zijl [Oude Bildt Zijl].
Her parents often lay with the boat in the “Leisterdiep” [a ship-canal in Frisia].
Her father was a fisherman.
Thus she often had to deliver notes with orders to your parents for Mrs. W. Bierma, she says.
Those steps in front of the door she'll never forget.
They were so nice to play with knucklebones, although it was private.
When I'll be there we'll talk about old year out, seeing new year.
They rent a large farm there and milk 50 to 60 cows and they are highly respected concerning the tests of the milk.
It seems they can deliver the best milk, nevertheless they can feel the crisis here too, just like everywhere.
Last weeks were quite warm here, yes it were hot days but at night it was delightfully cool.
Two sides of my house we plant with flowers.
Also an umbrella-tree [written is: ambrilletree], that is a tree of which the crown is as round as an umbrella which is unfold, “ambrille” is “paraplui”in Dutch and “trie” [tree] is  “boom”.
May be it is not necessary to write this.
At one side Gerrit and Sadie live, at the other live Thijs and Anna, in a few minutes I am with them, so it's not a lot of trouble to see each other.
The others live to far to walk to them for a moment.
Sadie wrote some about Ytje she says.
Ytje can write Dutch very well, we say that often to her, but she cannot come to it to write you a letter, it seems.
The other day Geertje told me some years ago she wrote a letter to their cousin but never got a letter back.
When you write us, please tell us how their cousins are doing and also the other relatives.
We are thinking a lot about that and also speak often about it, everything what you are writing interests us.
Receive with this a lot of hearty greetings from Your Sister Boukje Schuiling-Dijkstra.