24 February 2014

No. 39 -- 6 July 1932

It's been a year since Noel left to pursue his college adventure in the United States. George and the family miss him and are hungry for information. He wishes he could do more to help him. The solvency of the Melbourne YMCA is weighing heavily on George in this letter. He describes their financial position as "sick" and is desperately trying new measures to bring in more revenue to meet the Y's bank obligation. The concern at his job plus concern about his adult children's welfare are weighing heavily on him. His own health is taking a hard toll.

Mr. N.A. Hughes,
C/o Y.M.C.A. College,
5315 Drexel Avenue,

My dear Noel,

We did not get a letter from you by this week’s mail and I imagine it must have been because it left just at the time of your College closing exercises, consequently you would not have much time to give to letters.

In the absence of any word, we cannot answer any queries which you may have raised. At the time when your next letter arrives we will hear the latest concerning your school results and your arrangements for the summer vacation.

All the folk at home are well. Keith has had three or four days’ work with the Texas Co. and I think he still has a day or two to complete ship. He is keeping in good health but he feels his position without working for so long.

This is the most detail I have seen so far
of George describing his health history.
I was stumped on the meaning of a
"plastine poultice" as George describes.
Google revealed no clues. However,
"plaster poultice" turns up a traditional
remedy using mustard applied in poultice
form. It might be what George meant.
See: Wikipedia: Mustard plaster
and Mustard Poultice
We have not heard anything further from Rex. Baker. Joyce and Edith are both well. There is nothing new to pass on to you regarding them. Mother is also well. As you know, I have to be careful each winter since my illness two years ago. Last week I felt a good deal of pain in my chest and I stood it until Friday night, when I took to bed and stayed there until Monday morning. I feel the long rest did me good, and with the help of plastine poultices I was able to remove the pain and to get a great deal of ease as the result. By Monday I was feeling fairly well, and I am glad to say the improvement has continued; apart from fuzziness about the chest I feel quite well. My temperature went up again and I did not like the signs, but it seems as if I have beaten it this time. Naturally I must be exceedingly careful for the next couple of months. I cannot afford to have illness just now.

"Crook" appears to be an
Australian/New Zealand usage meaning
irritable or ill and unwell.
We are expecting Ruth home for her holidays in about a fortnight’s time. She has been crook again and the rest will do her a lot of good.

I saw Johnny McRae in the street this morning but did not have a chance to stop and yarn with him. He looked well. I have not seen Margaret Park for some time. Millie Harris we see frequently at Church. She seems to be in excellent fettle.

Mr. Nichol has not been able to get any additional information so far concerning the Australian Exhibit at the Chicago Fair. He has promised to follow the matter up and to let me have any information as soon as it is available.

"...unless our membership effort 
this month is successful, we will 
have hard work to find the needed 
money to meet our immediate needs.
 I am enclosing a statement which 
I prepared for Mr. Crosby which 
gives details concerning the last 
three years, and which may help 
you to understand how “sick” 
our financial position is."
At the Association we are having a Membership Campaign this month and are hoping by this means to secure a lift both in members and in finance. Last night we had a conference between our principal committeemen and the Board. There were nearly 40 present and we had quite a long discussion on our financial position and how it might be relieved. I am afraid that very few of the proposals submitted will be of immediate value to us, but some of them can be ultimately worked out and they may prove of use. We have reached the position at the Commercial Band which is full of difficulty, and unless our membership effort this month is successful, we will have hard work to find the needed money to meet our immediate needs.

I am enclosing a statement which I prepared for Mr. Crosby which gives details concerning the last three years, and which may help you to understand how “sick” our financial position is.

The new diningroom service is showing some improvement in patronage, and we are hoping this will continue. General satisfaction has been expressed by our residents and ordinary members with this change in the food service. Of course, the ordinary Cafeteria service runs as well. We have partitioned off the diningroom to make special provision for those who desire a three course meal.

The Boys’ Department figures are still mounting up. Memberships are coming in very freely. The Montague Boys’ Club is continuing to do good work; the Mothers’ Club at Montague is doing wonderful work. Out at Wardrop they have been reduced to 24 residents. This is a losing proposition and is showing a substantial deficit just now, and of course adding to the general burden.

We get many disquieting cables showing the intensity of the depression in America. We are hoping that some of these are exaggerated and that the conditions are better than they are reported to be.

If I judge the position correctly, you are likely to get this letter about the end of July. I hope you are having as good a time as can be expected under the special circumstances. We cannot help feeling that despite the difficulties, a way out may have been found for you to earn something during you vacation. It is a long spell for you to contemplate without monetary assistance.

We have nothing further to add concerning the amplifier. Keith went down to a Skating Rink at Glenferrie the other day and gave particulars to the owner, who promised to call in, but we have not seen him so far. I really do not know what to do about it. It worries me a great deal.

We are looking forward with eager anticipation to your letter. I must close now.

We all unite in our warmest love
Yours affectionately,

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