Following letter is from Cecil Clemens to his parents and Abbie Donohue
Mount Hope, C.Z.
Dear Father, Mother and Abbie:
As yet Alice does not feel like writing so I am still trying to keep you informed. I am depending upon you folks to keep the rest of the relatives and friends informed. We have received a large number of letters. Of course we have heard several times from Uncle Al. We heard again from Aunt Etta. Received a letter from Jean and Lester bought out a place that makes pop-corn and similar products. Alice says that she thinks she knows where it is located. Also received a letter from Averil and one this morning from Uncle C.S. Ought to be more mail in the P.O. today. It certainly seems good to get mail now days.
Alice as yet has not tried to get out except to take a little ride occasionally. She was saying this morning that she thought she was going to try to go to Gatun soon. The Stillwells wanted us to go out to their house Sunday afternoon but Alice had taken a ride with Mrs. Walker in the morning and did not feel able to go. They stayed awhile and Mr. Stillwell hung our porch screens. After he finished that we went out and got ice cream and frozen strawberries and had a real feast. They ship strawberries in frozen solid and if eaten before they thaw they are delicious. Sunday morning I had an interview with the American Counsel, Mr. Hanson. Lieut. Myer of the Cristobal police went along. It seems that the State Department at Washington had requested a complete report and so he was getting right busy. He said that the State Department would not have requested a report unless someone of prominence had made the request to them. We judged that this was more of Royal Johnson's work. I went over there at 10:30 and got home at 12:20 so it was quite a session and if that was an example of his investigations the report ought to be complete at least but I can not see that it will give much light on the case as there is nothing to report about as yet. While I was being interviewed Mrs. Walker was giving Alice an auto ride. Phillip Hall was over from Balboa to see us and had dinner with us.
I do not believe that I told you much about Alice's injuries as yet. She has one scar over her right eye but the eye was not injured but at first she was unable to see out of her left eye at all. However, she can now see a little and it improves slowly. We have been anxious to have her go to Ancon and see the eye specialist but as yet she has not felt that she wanted to try the trip. They think that the blindness is due to a blood clot behind the eye and that will be gradually absorbed. I talked to the doctor at Ancon yesterday and he said not to hurry her as probably nature could do more than they could anyway. She also has a bad place back of her left ear which is more of a mash or bruise than a cut. It was of such a character that the doctors were unable to sew it up. However it is all nicely healed and its appearance is not important as it is covered by her hair. The most serious injury was a fracture which I understand ran from her nose to her spinal column and that the night when the assault occurred and she was brought to the hospital that both blood and spinal fluid was being discharged from her mouth and nose. The doctors assure me that it is very unusual for a white person to recover from such a fracture so we are very thankful. The scar over her eye is in pretty good shape altho Dr. Oatman who sewed it up has a spell. It seems that at first she tore off all her bandages and pulled out the stitches and it had to be resewed and consequently is not as good as it might have been. I do not remember whether I told you about my sense of smell; anyway I have none at present but we hope that I will get that back to a certain extent in time.
The past week I went to the other side twice. Tuesday I went over on the regular official trip to the commissaries. Mr. Gerhardt the baker went with me. We say Mr. Kirkpatrick for a few minutes. Yesterday I went over again to see the doctor and just merely went over and right back on the next train and so was over there only about an hour and a half.
You all keep talking about us returning to the States and the more we think about it the foolisher it seems to us. In the first place I am in no condition to start in at a new position even if it is possible to obtain one. I am handicapped for the present in obtaining another place and even if I did I would not receive the consideration that I do here. It would be difficult to obtain a place in the States where the compensation would be as generous as here and we must look at that also. Furthermore we are neither of us in good enough physical condition to make a change as that is hard even when one is perfectly well. If we were to return to the States in the winter we would all run the risk of sickness and besides we would not like it too well. So until we can at least see how this is going to work out, we are going to stay "sot". Abbie, you can continue to wear the fur coat for a while yet without danger of Alice wanting it. Reports are to the effect that industrial conditions are none too good in the States, especially in the eastern portion.
I have made a rough drawing of our new quarters. It is not exactly drawn in proportion but I guess that you can get an idea of the general arrangement from it at least. The basement or first floor is made of concrete. Here you find the garage, maid's quarters, trunk room and wash room. These are duplicated for both apartments. The trunk room is fixed for an electric heater which really makes a dry closet out of it. The maid's quarters have toilet and shower bath. Hot water is piped down from upstairs to the stationary tubs. The lower quarters are just the same as ours except that they do not have so much room in the sitting room as more is occupied by the hallway and stairs. The kitchen is large and airy and is equipped with a gas range, gas heater and hot water tank. We understand that they charge outrageously for gas but it is a great convenience even if it is expensive. The sink is a very large one and is of porcelain. The pantry is large and has many shelves. Th ice box is also large. The dining room and living room are together. The furniture is made from the native mahogany and is a deep red color. We have a buffet, dining room table and six chairs, library table, serving table and three rockers. The kitchen table and chairs were also of mahogany and so nice that Alice has moved them to the sitting room and expects to get others for the kitchen that are not so good. The porch is large and roomy and we have hung Chinese screens all around it. We have some old wicker furniture on it but hope to get some new some day soon. The front bedroom is equipped with a mahogany bed, dresser and chiffoner. The bathroom is large and airy and we have a fine shower with hot and cool water. Also we have a built in medicine cabinet. A great convenience is the linen closet opening into the hall. Son's room has a single iron bed and a mahogany dresser. One thing we like very much is the fact that the bed rooms and bath room can be shut off from the rest of the house. In our old quarters if one was in the bath room when company came one stayed there until they left as there was no escape.
Rowland when we first moved to Cristobal was right discontented. He wanted to move right back to Gatun. However, after he got started to school he soon made friends and so now he is contented. Also he can see Roger Deakins every day at school. He came home all excited one day because he had seen them cut the high school freshman's hair and dope their heads with mercurochrome. Day before yesterday he took his lunch and ate with Roger and some of the other high school boys from Gatun and thot he had a wonderful time. Yesterday he brot Roger home with him for lunch. Rowland seems more interested in his school work this year than he has before. He has started in geography and that seems to interest him very much.
Well, it seems to me like I have written a whole lot so I guess I will call it off for this time.