We have heard from Nyel’s suit, but…

Early Sealand/Nahcotta – Bayview Hotel is white building  on left

I remember reading in a letter of my grandmother’s, “I haven’t heard from my suit yet, so I don’t know when I will be able to go up to Portland…”  I thought I had used that bit in my Dear Medora book, but can’t seem to find it to quote exactly.  She was writing to Medora, at Portland Academy, and was lamenting her one and only good suit being at the cleaner’s in South Bend.  It had been there quite some time, apparently.

In those days, South Bend was the nearest “city” to Oysterville and was where the Espy family did their banking, went to the dentist, took their cleaning etc.  Either one or the other of the mailboats, the Shamrock or the Reliable made the voyage between Sealand/Nahcotta and “the Bend” (as the family called it) almost every day.  With some things, like cleaning, you simply left your package at the Bayview Hotel in Sealand, right near the wharf, and someone would get it to the boat.  It would be picked up in South Bend a few hours later but, apparently, the turn-around time was not always prompt.

So… now that we no longer have a cleaning establishment on the Peninsula or in the Astoria area, we have had to send Nyel’s suit (which apparently saw a bit too much partying at Christmas) all the way to Longview.   Not having the equivalent of a mailboat to make the journey, we have had to throw ourselves upon the mercy of our friends.  We put the problem out there at last Friday’s gathering and  we actually had two offers!  Steve and John were going Monday (yesterday) so they took the suit with them when they left that evening.

Shamrock and Reliable, 1905

On Saturday Steve wrote that he had checked and that they could drop off the suit on their way to Portland in the morning and actually pick it up on their way home.  One day service!  Wow!  This morning, however, he wrote:   “What Village Cleaners didn’t tell me when I called Saturday, is that their dry cleaning machine shuts down at 9:30 in the morning.   We arrived at 10.”  They offered to pick it up on their next trip through… in April.

Meanwhile, I’ve contacted the “other party” who had volunteered and were planning to go to Longview next weekend.  We may hear from Nyel’s suit soon, after all!  Even without a mailboat called “Reliable!”


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