A letter from Harold A. Butler to his cousin Helen May Young.

 October 1927 Havana, Cuba

Dear Helen,

Well old gal, here goes your October letter not that I have much to say. Aunt Nell's letter came the other day and of course was tickled plum silly to get it. Please tell her that I have known of Butler inventions that turned out better than hers of soaking typewriter paper in water. Thursday night I sort of broke out the bounds and flung a party in honor of Sally's birthday. However being of a rather practical disposition as you have probably noted I killed two birds with one stone so as to speak by inviting out a couple that have entertained me several times.  We went to the Plaza Hotel roof garden and had a splendiferous time although I lost a lot of beauty sleep not getting in until 1:30 in the morning but oh well, I guess once a year won't shorten my life very much.


I went on a yachting party a couple of weeks ago and it was more thrilling than the movies. We went out with a wealthy Cuban on a 65 foot sailboat that also had a husky engine in it so that we did not have to wait on the wind.  Shoving off from Havana about 2:30 PM we arrived at our destination about sunset some 60 miles down the coast. There we made everything snug for the night had our supper and turned in for the night on army cots under the awning on the deck and except for a thundershower in the middle of the night everything was rosy.  About sunrise we shoved off for the fishing grounds still farther down the coast, planning to prepare our breakfast there but our visions of ham and eggs and coffee were doomed to be dashed onto the deck as the gasoline stove which we were depending on spring a leak and almost burned the boat up.  Believe me we let no grass grow under our feet by putting out the fire as it was about 3 miles to shore with a jagged coral reef to jump over and about 1000 sharks and barracudas to dodge.  


After the excitement died down I foraged around and found a stale ham sandwich and washed it down with a couple of bottles of beer. Not such a bad breakfast at that. There were plenty of fish and we had a lot of fun.  Around noontime we went back to the harbor where we spent the night and appropriated the island camp of a friend of ours. His stove and dishes came in very handy. He was not home by the way. Fish chowder was our principal dinner dish and maybe it did not taste good. About the time we started back the fun begin to start. The wind began to blow like the devil and riding on that boat was like riding on some of those contraptions that we rode on at Coney Island only we got a lot longer ride and every once in a while a wave would come aboard and sweep the boat from stem to stern.  We had a bird dog aboard and he was one of several that got seasick. I had to pity him as the boat was rolling so much that he could not stand up and when he laid down he was sliding from one side of the boat to the other and soak by the waves of came aboard. We arrived off the entrance to the little harbor where the boat was to be left about 9:00 PM and it was pitch dark. There being no lights at the entrance, but as one of the sailors said he could find his way and he was sent up front to give directions to the one that was steering.  As it turned out he did not know the channel and headed right into the breakers. We all saw the danger at the same time and yelled. The helmsman swung the boat around just in the nick of time as a receding wave dropped us down until we struck bottom but the next wave picked us up and the motor which we luckily had rolling over hustled us out to sea again.  After talking matters over a bit we tried again and managed to get in with out any more trouble.


I am just getting back to normal again now. We pitched around so much that when I tried to take a shower after getting home I had to sit down in the tub as it seem to be rolling about just like the boat did.  Anyhow it was a great trip and hope to go out again as soon as the cyclone season is over.  I am still playing golf but not much good at it however that does not cause me to lose any sleep. I am going to begin to save money now to entertain you in the style to which you are accustomed - don't fail me or delay your arrival too much - delays are dangerous at least that is what Sally says. Well old lady take care of yourself and don't take any flannel money. Give that sweet child pearl a great big kiss for me and give that big ham of the brother a swift kick where it will do him the most good - I feel just like putting on the gloves with a chap about his size and complexion. Give Aunt Nell a big Butler hug and lots of kisses and for yourself well just wait till I see you won't regret the delay. Lots if love HAB