Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 4 December 1917 – 10 January 1918

Venus in Tahiti: 4 December 1917 – 10 January 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 19, 2014

(Previous installment)

Tues. Dec. 4, 1917

Ironed. Went with Terai to have her tooth pulled. Martha called in the afternoon. Mr Alexander Drollett brought us a picture that he had taken years ago of some of the elders & saints at Takaroa, thinking it would be interesting to us.

Thurs. Dec 6, 1917

Went to dentist & called to see Terai on the way home. While I met one of her neighbors Madame Gorbett who asked me to call on her. Afternoon Pres & I called to see Coles, Miss May Edwards, an Australian artist and her brother were staying there, they are very nice people & hope to meet them again. Also called to see Mrs. Etwater, who gave me a bouquett of verbenias when we left.

Fri. Dec 7, 1917

The S.S. Moana arrived from New Zealand. Pres & I called to see Mr Falco on business & we spent the whole evening talking gospel with them. They were very much interested & asked for some church literature.

Tahiti Sat. Dec 8, 1917

Held a pure lamahanahanaa for Kauko one of our aged saints who had died early in the morning. It was held at Mr Graff’s home (who is the official interpreters of the court) and many prominent Papeete people were there & we had the privilege of preaching the gospel tot hem. there was also a Protestant & Catholic preacher there, who briefly expressed their thoughts.

Sun. Dec. 9, 1917

Hired an auto & at 7: am rode out to Graffs to conduct the funeral services. also conducted a short service at the cemetery. Kauko was Madam Graff’s stepfather. Elders Stephens & Heslop returned form Raitea, reported being very poorly received. Attended S.S. & Sacrament meeting. Gos conversation with Hei

Mon, Dec. 10, 1917

Washed clothes & went to dentist. Tecopu & madame Garbett came to spend the afternoon.

Tues. Dec. 11, 1917

Ironed. Mrs & Miss Edwards our Australian friends & Mrs Coles called to see us. Had quite a talk with them about Christian Science & Mormonism. In the evening we all walked down to their place & spent the evening. Took Mrs. E. a can of native honey I had rendered out during the day for her.

Wed. Dec 12, 1917

Dentist. Called to see Lena.

Thurs. Dec. 13, 1917

Lay down most of day, suffering from a severe cold & sore throat.

Sat. Dec. 15, 1917

Cleaned house. Went shopping & to the dentist, also called to see Terai & Hina. Madame called in the afternoon. Held priesthood at 4: pm.

Sun. Dec. 16, 1917

Held usual Sunday meetings, Madame Graffe & mother daughter, also Sophie & her daughter.

Mon. Dec. 17, 1917

Pres. and I are fasting. Bought some material & embroidery thread for Ruita & Rawana & stamped two dresses to be embroidered for Marie. Mended some trousers for Elder Burbidge (Sa [?] tutua I roto I tou rouru.)

Tues. Dec. 18, 1917

Washed & mended.

Wed. Dec. 19, 1917

Ironed. Elders Burbidge & Heslop left for Tautira & Stephens & Tillotson for Vairao. Hei called in the afternoon.

Thurs. Dec. 20, 1917

Am trying my luck at drying bananas. Have a large board of it out in the sun now. It sells here for 50c for a very small roll (doing my war time bit)

Fri. Dec 21, 1917

Made two new nightgowns.

Sat. Dec 22, 1917

Heavy rain all day. Went to dentist & called to see Teata & her new babe.

About 11 pm Elders Burbidge & Heslop returned from the trip around the island. Their feet were so sore & blistered that they had walked the last 7 miles barefoot. Had also had to swim rivers all the way on one side of the island.

Sun. Dec. 23, 1917

Elders Stephens & Tillotson also returned during the night, but we knew nothing of it until this morning. Held regular Sunday meetings.

Mon. Dec. 24, 1917

Washed clothes, mended sheets & hemmed some dish clothes.

Tues. Dec. 25, 1917

Ironed & called on Terai who had the toothache. Had a nice Christmas dinner & made ice cream. Pres & I were invited to spend the afternoon at Falcos with some other friends & have ice cream & cake. The royal family next door sent us over some pine apples, taro, bananas & two kinds of native poi.

Wed. Dec. 26, 1917

Called to see Salmais, Terai & Mrs. Etwater.

Thurs. Dec 27

Called to see Terai again. Had toothache all day.

Fri. Dec. 28

The Elders are putting a cement walk in the front path. Called to see Terai twice.

Sat. Dec. 29, 1917

Cleaned house. Held priesthood meeting in which Elders Stephens & Tillotson were appointed to go to Takaroa & Elders Burbidge & Heslop to Tubuai. At 5: pm Pres & the two Elders for Takaroa left on the “Vahine Katapua.”

Sun. Dec. 30, 1917

Held our usual Sunday meetings. Mrs. Estell & a young half caste girl & the Stewart children came in in the afternoon.

Mon. Dec. 31, 1917

Washed clothes. Went to dentist. Terai & Tecopu came up in the evening.

Tues. Jan 1, 1918

New Years Day. Terai, Tecopa, Teroro, Teua & Vairao called to see us before we had finished breakfast, to bring us New Year Greetings & decorate the house with flowers & flags. Tecopu brought me a beautiful snow white straw hat that she had woven herself & Terai a gaudy native patch work cushion cover. We had a nice New Years dinner & made chocolate ice cream & cake to serve our callers. Just as we were about to sit down for dinner, Elder Burton dropped in on us. He also brought with him our Sept mail from home which he had been carrying from island to island for the past 3 months. We received a letter from Ern’s Aunt Mary Wellman in London telling us that her husband was dead. Also received a beautiful picture of Ell & Bobbie. Among others who called during the day were Mrs Sophie Carlson, a Mongeravian [sic] woman and her daughter. Mrs Stewart one of our neighbors sent me a beautiful bouquette of ferns & roses.

Jan 2-3-4, 1918

Rained torrents nights & day. Usual routine.

Jan 5, 1918

The Navua arrived from New Zealand on its way to the states.

Jan. 6, 1918

Held Sunday School as usual & Fast meeting at which Teata a Toae had her new babe blessed. It was named Lucien Harvey Buniere.

Jan 8, 1918

Finished my letters to send on the “Navua.”

Wed. Jan 9, 1918

The Paloona arrived from America, bringing Elders Grant Benson of Grantsville, John Leonard McCullough of Salt Lake & Andrew Steedman of Mammoth, to labor in this mission.

Thurs. Jan 10, 1918

Did not get our mail until this morning, as there was three months mail to get out. Received the sad news of the death of my dear grandmother White. How I had hoped that she would live until I returned home again. We also received our Christmas box. Received $20 from the 10 ward missionary society, $5 from sister Libbie, a swell pair of shoes, 2 house dresses and a small confectionary store from Mother & Sadie, a pair of silk hose from Pheobe, some linen handkerchiefs from Rye also a picture of Bryant in his army clothes, a box of candy from Bro & sister Geo. E. Burbidge & also one for Bro & Sister David W. Evans of Ogden, and a magazine & tatting book from Margaret, a[nd] last but not least a lot of home pictures. Ern received 2 shirts, a pair of shoes & some linen handkerchiefs from mother, a whole box full of goodies from Sadie, & a belt from Pheobe & handkerchiefs from Rye.

(To be continued)



  1. I know the question of visits to the dentist has probably been answered (bad teeth, etc.), but still: Was the frequency of trips to the dentist pretty much the norm for people generally during this time period?

    I love this: “(doing my war time bit”). It sounds so modern.

    I also like that the royal family lives next door.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — January 19, 2014 @ 10:29 am

  2. No other diary I have ever read talks about visits to the dentist like this one does, Gary. I’ve seen some missionary diaries (like the Jones diary I posted here just before beginning Venus’s) that mention going to the dentist once in a great while, usually saying it was to have a tooth pulled, but nothing like the near daily visits of much of Venus’s records.

    “The Queen next door.” Sounds like a sitcom title!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 19, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  3. Oh, so sad to lose a dear grandmother and not be able to attend the funeral. Having had that experience twice I do feel for her.

    Comment by Amy T — January 19, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI