Welcome to new readers of this blog

Greetings to new readers of Nebraska Letters, especially those who have learned about the blog from the series of articles published by the North Penn Reporter newspaper during Valentine Week 2014.  A huge thank you to the paper for getting excited about the letters and for giving me the chance to share the saga of John and Ruth Ferguson’s first five years together leading up to their marriage in 1930.  The letters paint an intimate view of life at that time with the little brush strokes of history that they mention in the letters.  They are love letters – what better time to share than Valentine’s week – but are much, much more than that.

The best way to read the blog is to scroll all the way to the end to start with the introduction and the oldest letters beginning in 1925 and then read up through the blog.  It is long…there were hundreds of letters.  I put some of my favorite quotes in bold, so if you want to skim the blog you can scroll up and look at the pictures and the highlighted text and get a feel for the content, but I’ll warn you, if you start reading the stories you will get hooked.  They read like a novel.  

But most of all, thank you Mom and Dad.  You were incredible people and the best parents ever.  Your family is so grateful that you saved these precious letters for us to read and share 89 years later. Enjoy! Please leave comments (I love comments!)  ~ Rachel Ferguson Rider


John Ferguson as Sec. of Admin. under Gov. Leader

I haven’t gotten back to the boxes in the attic to track history after John and Ruth got to Philadelphia yet, but I will eventually.  However, this week Govenor George Leader, one of Dad’s good friends and colleagues died at the age of 95 and it has brought back memories of one of the highlights of Dad’s career.  The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a big article about Governor Leader and his accomplishments as the youngest governor of Pennsylvania when he was elected in the 1950’s as did the New York Times.  He appointed Dad to serve in his cabinet as his Secretary of Administration & Budget and thus began a friendship of mutual admiration until Dad’s death. There was a one term limit in those days so Gov. Leader only served for four years.  Much later George Leader and several of his former cabinet who had stayed in touch, along with brother Milton, formed a local govenment consulting firm where old friendships were renewed. The govenor spoke at Dad’s memorial service remembering what a pleasure it was to work with him because he had never worked with anyone who worked harder and was so pleasant about it!  I remember him saying that there was no assignment he gave him that he wouldn’t tackle with a smile.

Richard and David have been sharing email memories of Dad’s time in Harrisburg and remembering that Dad was responsible for purchasing the first computer used by the state even though Dad was not a techie.  Richard writes:

“Funny you should mention the first state computer – Dad told a story about the purchase of the thing when he was Budget Secretary (I think.)The decision had been made to buy one, and the job of shopping fell to him. Hard to imagine anyone with less aptitude for computers, especially in those days, but I suppose someone had supplied him with specifications.Anyway, one of the companies was Sperry-Rand, as I recall, and Dad went to visit them and kick the tires or whatever in Connecticut around Thanksgiving. When he left, they asked him if he would like to take home a frozen turkey for the holiday, but he declined. Musing about it afterward, he wondered if they really thought they could bribe him to buy their computer with a turkey!

I suppose he realized at some point that the offer was standard corporate customer relations, but to him the notion that he should profit personally while on state business – even by something as trivial as a frozen turkey – was repugnant. That’s the way Dad was. The straightest of arrows, if a bit naïve. I don’t recall where they ended up buying their computer. That must have been around 1955.”

Here are some photos:

JHF & Gov at farm show JHF w PA 1st computer

This photos of the computer were taken at the PA Farm Show where it was put on display.  The thing was a big as a room.  Dad and Gov. Leader are on the left.  The photo on the right is the computer and Dad is showing something and looking like he knows what he’s talking about to Andy Bradley, the first black man appointed to a cabinet position in PA, and two other people I don’t know.  What I remember about this farm show was that Govenor Leader pulled my ponytail!

JHF oath as sec of admin JHF & Ruth w gov

Dad being affirmed (Quakers aren’t “sworn” in) as Sec. of Admin & Budget with Gov. Leader (don’t know the other guy), and with Mom in the photo on the right, at the Capitol in Harrisburg.

June 1930 Wedding and Philadelphia

After the letters stopped the record of the wedding is in photos:

wedding portrait

John and Ruth’s wedding portrait


The happy couple in the side yard of the Benton house on June 10, 1930

wedding w parents wedding w Merl & L wedding J w family

The photo on the left is of John and Ruth with their parents.  The middle photo is with Merl and Lillian who stood up with them at the wedding.  The third photo is of John with his family; his mom and dad and Edith are in back with John, Chet, Leonard, and Kathrine (the kiddies) are in front.

I know that they went to the Young Friends Conference in Canada on their honeymoon and I know by the dates on the playbills from cultural events in Philadelphia that they arrived there by late August, but where they spent the summer of 1930 and what Dad did for employment is unknown.  I suspect that Dad did soliciting for the college as Guy Solt was urging him to do, but don’t know that for certain.  Wonder where they lived?  Maybe the answer is lurking in one of the boxes in the attic.

There are lots of cute photos of them in Philadelphia and their work at the Friends Neighborhood Guild.  Here are a few:

J&R in phila w fur

This photo of Mom & Dad in Phila. shows the fur that Mom spoke of in the letters that she bought in Nebraska.

Guild brochure 31

This is the brochure that was in Mom’s scrapbook about their work. Dad is in the lower right photo; Mom in lower right. Click to enlarge.

It is interesting to note that the top photo on the brochure is of the Staff at College Settlement Farm Camp.  Dad’s brother Leonard, who also was a graduate of NCC, became director of this camp in Horsham, PA and was there until he retired.  No doubt Dad had a part in facilitating that connention. The main house on the camp is now called Ferguson House.  Uncle Leonard asked husband Dave to be on the camp board when we moved to this area.  Since the late 1970’s until this day Dave has served in some capacity with the board of the camp.

R at work in phila

Mom at work at the Guild. Note how skinny she is. She told me in her later years, when weight was an issue, of fond memories she had of an older lady at the Guild who made her milkshakes with cream to fatten her up!

Dad apparently was back at being a basketball coach at the Guild because there are lots of photos of boys of all ages lined up like the pictures from NCC holding basketballs.  They were every bit as scruffy looking as the pictures from college days!  Funny to learn that Dad was a basketball coach because I don’t remember him ever talking about or watching basketball.

J&R at farm 31

I love this picture of Mom & Dad. It was dated 1931 so I’m pretty sure they went home in the summer. He doesn’t think so, but to me this picuture of Dad looks so much like picutures of brother Rich when he was that age. At any rate, I think it is such a cute happy picture.

To be continued after I do research in the attic!!

May 1930

Ruth 5/2/30

I’m lonesome tonight.  Mother called this evening and said she didn’t think I had better go home this weekend.  Dad is afraid I might take a germ home.  I would go to you if I could get away from my work.  It would do me more good than going home, but it appears I can do neither.  We have worked like slaves all week on report cards and a hundred other reports that Kruse insists on, and we are not through yet.  I’ll venture it will take us most of next week also.  We can see no sense whatever in most of these reports.  We think he has just given it to us to keep us busy until time for our next pay check.  He keeps telling us he wants the books and building to be fumigated, but we are told it would cost at least $200 to do it properly.  That will make the board think twice.  Many people are afraid to have us come here, but I don’t think we teachers are apt to carry it now.  It was much more dangerous I should think when we were with the children. Still, I would rather run no chances with Dad if he is afraid.  I would hang myself if I should take the disease home to him.  I did so want to see Dale’s class play tomorrow evening but Mother didn’t think I had better go.

Late night we went to a show at Wakefield.  Perhaps we shouldn’t have, but the town isn’t quarantined, why should we confine ourselves to its limits?  At dinner last night everyone gave me some foolish a little do-dad for a birthday gift like a lollipop, little can of adhesive, a small folding drinking cup, a bar of soap, etc.  Had loads of fun.

Catherine has been out to dinner and I am glad.  I fear her statement is true concerning me.  She said I am an unsocial creature.   I almost believe I am.  I enjoy being alone – doing the things I want to do without having to talk.  I like your company because we can be together for long periods and I do to need to say anything at all.  I am not a good conversationalist, I’ll admit, to my own detriment.  A good hostess must be able to talk when the occasion demands it.  Usually when I am with people I can think of nothing to say and never anything clever. (Rachel’s note: this was surprise. Mom was known for what a great hostess she was!)

Ruth 5/4/30

Your letter was certainly rich food for the heart.  What a joy it will be to live with you always and have you love me like that.  The idea of coming to see you keeps playing in my mind; I will come as soon as I can get away.  I want to be home for Mother’s Day, the last perhaps for some time.  Also I have been asked to play for baccalaureate next Sunday evening at Waterbury.

I would like to see your suit.  Won’t you show it to me if I come all the way to see you?  I know you will be perfectly handsome in it. When I think about it I have a panicky feeling.  I want us to be married at once before anything can happen to prevent it even though I know nothing could happen.  I’m impatient. (Rachel’s note: Dad’s wedding suit is in a trunk in the attic.  It has a gasoline receipt in the pocket.  Gas was 29 cents/gallon!)

An answer has come from Miss Lang (in Philadelphia) in reply to my letter.  She explains more in detail what is expected of me.  I will not have any regular classes to teach, but will act as supervisor over a number of classes seeing that supplies are kept on hand and that attendance is kept up to capacity and, if not, discover the reason why.  I will have complete charge of the library.  What that means remains to be learned.  She said we would work from 3-5:00 in the afternoon and from 7-10:00 in the evening.  Sounds as though all the morning is free to use as we care to.  After we arrive, free evenings will be arranged for us which sounds fine to me.

She has suggested a change in my salary and wants an answer soon I want you to tell me what you think best.  You remember at first they offered me eighty dollars plus room.  Now they suggest sixty dollars plus room, board and laundry.  Which do you think is the better offer?  It doesn’t seem as though there would be much difference but what do you think?

All the work we have to do about the house is keeping our own room in order and preparing our dinner on cook’s day out.  Not much, is it?  Then this is the way she described our room using her words: “Your room is fairly large with a northwest exposure – four windows.  It has a built in utility closet, wardrobe, desk, chiffonier, three chairs and two cots.”  How do you like that?  Not so sure about that last statement.  What think you, lover?  She goes on to say “If you have some blankets I am sure you would be glad of the extra covering on some of our cold winter nights.”  I should say so if I must sleep alone (???)  Will bring the letter with me and let you read the whole of it  Sometimes I think this work is going to be a snap, but again I think probably there is a great deal we shall discover that is not a snap at all.

I was home over the weekend after all.  Dad laughed at the idea of me carrying the germs home.  Dale came up and took me to his class play Friday evening.  It was quite good and I was so glad I could go.

Ruth 5/6/30

A more disgusted faculty you never saw than the one you would find here if you came visiting.  We are all most ready to pull up stakes and leave town and leave Kruse “in the soup”.  I never heard of such a superintendent in all my life.  I don’t think we are ever going to be through with this fool business.  We are having a grand time wasting time sitting around when we are not in mischief.  I’ll tell you how much time I’ve put in:  Friday morning worked half hour and the remaining time a group of us played baseball.  I worked two hours after lunch and then played tennis in the gymnasium with Charlie, Carol and Ray.  Yesterday I finished reading a book I the morning and made one report which took about fifteen minutes times.  I don’t know what I did immediately after lunch (nothing I presume).  From three to six I played tennis again.  This morning I killed time down town shopping.  Bought the funniest dress.  Spent two or three hours on one report today, and that’s all I’ve done.  Isn’t it a shame when I could be home helping Mother or spending my time with you?

It is raining again tonight.  Lots of it.  This weather has turned my hair all on end.  Had some of it cut off this morning.

Your suggestion for witnesses is excellent with me (Guy Puckett and Esther).  Could never think of anyone I would want more.  I wrote to Esther about details last evening.  I shall be disappointed if they cannot be there but, of course, I understand how it is.

I was reading in the paper this evening about the uprisings in India due to the imprisonment of Gandhi.  I don’t understand it at all.  Why Ghandi?  Perhaps during some quiet evening together you can tell me lots of things I should like so much to know.  Whether or not you answer my questions I should like to hear you talk.  When you are really in earnest about a subject you are so lovable.  It is so exciting to think that I can always be with you and share everything with you.

Ruth 5/11/30  from Waterbury

I am financially embarrassed.  When I sent the check to Ralph, I sent it from my checking account at the bank.  Other things have come up unexpectedly making it necessary to check out practically all my account.  Last week I sent to Lincoln to draw out an amount from the savings & loan, but they haven’t sent it yet.  That is why I am out of funds, and we don’t get our last paycheck until the end of this week.  Chances are the money will come in the morning.  If so, I will be there tomorrow evening – if not, I’ll not come at all this week, but will wait to see you at commencement.  Mother hasn’t wanted me to go at all because she has a lot of work planned here for me to do.  Since I am leaving her this summer, I almost feel that I should do this for her.

savings & loan

This was in Mom’s scrapbook. $2500 was a fortune in 1930! I’m confused as to why she thought she was “broke”.

The roads are in terrible condition because of so much rain which is going to make it disagreeable for the baccalaureate services at Waterbury this evening.  I am going over with Dale, but I don’t think all of the family will.  A Catholic priest will give the message this year.  The town agreed to alternate each year with a Catholic and a Protestant speaker each year.  Usually about half the class are Catholic students.

I have been having memories yesterday and today as I “cleaned house” in my room trying to discard everything I thought I wouldn’t want to take with me.  I have saved so many things during school days which make me recall lots of things.  Have decided it isn’t a wise thing to do reading over old letters and such things.  They should better be burned shortly after receiving the.  Today I have been putting pictures in my picture album.  Pictures are not so bad.  I dare say they will afford us hours of amusement when we are far from home and old friends.  I wouldn’t take a good deal for all the pictures I have collected of home, family, school and friends.  They are a source of great pleasure. (Rachel’s note: Thank you Mom for all the stuff you saved!!)

I must write to Josie and ask for her assistance with the wedding in the menial tasks bound to be connected with such an affair  I shall be of no account and Mother will not be able to do all of it.  I’ve thought of lots of details that I want to talk to you about.  I have had to make a slight change in the wedding due to Mother’s wishes and I must first ask your opinion.  I told you there would be no wedding march.  Mother doesn’t like that, but now there must be one.  I cannot think who to have to play but Helen Newlin.  What would you think of inviting Mrs. Newlin too?

Ruth 5/15/30

Did you talk to Dad about our plans and desires when you were here last?  You promised to but I forgot to ask you if you did.  I hope I get my pay check today and then can you guess what I would do?  I would go to Sioux City tomorrow and buy the dress.  Wouldn’t it be fun if you could help me choose??  I’m not setting my mind on any particular color or style until I see what I can get.  Oh, it will be fun.  Going to take Mother along to help decide this big question. (Rachel’s note: she doesn’t mention the dress after this reference, so I’m not sure whether they were able to make the trip or not given the awful weather. If not, then I don’t know when she bought it.)

We went to the schoolhouse last night for supper and the tenth grade graduating exercises.  There was lots of food and a good time was had by all.    Lawrence got his eighth grade diploma last night and is so proud of it as well he may be.  The speaker was a lawyer from Ponca.  He talked so  and on so many different subjects that I could scarcely sit still before he finished.  During the course of his speech he mentioned the financial situation, banking system, religion, character, home, occupations, conditions in the mid-west, conditions in the east, sights of Chicago, education, means of travel, advancement since his day, and on and on.   Will go to Dale’s commencement tonight.

Ruth 5/17/30

The folks went to Springbank this afternoon to attend Quarterly Meeting  The quarantine has been lifted from the churches, but I imagine a good many people will hesitate about coming to the meeting.  Several families have the fever yet, but I haven’t heard of any recent new cases.

I have a duty to perform tomorrow which I always dread – singing for a funeral.  First I was asked to play, but they needed another to sing and drafted me.  That is even worse than playing.  It will be the funeral of a man who used to be a barber in Waterbury and now has his home in Hartley, Iowa about a three hour drive from Sioux City.  The trip into that part of the country will be interesting for I have never been over in Iowa farther than Sioux City.

You don’t have to remind me of the nearness of the date.  I am fully aware of the fact.  I can imagine you being very calm and sure of yourself, but me….  Sometimes I wish we hadn’t even planned a home wedding, then I wish it were over and we were living quietly together.  Sometimes I feel actually panic stricken although I don’t know what about – not from fear but just everything in general.  If I only didn’t have to oversee everything and make the plans.  Mother will always say “how do you want this and how do you want that?”  until I don’t know what to do.  Why did anyone ever start this sentiment about home weddings?  Probably it is the proper place and deep in my heart I wouldn’t want it any other way, but the planning and thinking about it is such a strain.  No dear heart, I’m not backing down on our plans; I’m just thinking out loud.  I want everything to be lovely for us to remember about our wedding.

In talking to Mother about our announcements she wondered if we would rather announce it ourselves because we have so many friends who the folks do not know at all.  That is true, but it wouldn’t make much difference, would it?  Tell me what you really prefer for I must order them soon.  I told Mother I would have them ready before we left and she could send them out a little later.  Or would you rather wait until after we return from Canada?  Considering the number we want, it is going to be quite an item.

wedding announcement

Dad has been teasing me about being hard up.  He said he was afraid I was going to have to call it off because I couldn’t afford to get ready.  I must confess I’ve been doing some “tall” thinking and figuring today.  To make it worse, notice came today of insurance soon due.  I wouldn’t tell Ralph of my troubles for anything  He would feel terrible.  I have to think twice about everything. Terrible state of affairs at such a time, but I shouldn’t have gotten myself so situated.  Plain dumbness on my part and now I’ll have to make the best of it.

Cathryn Chase wrote the other day asking for the dates we would be I Richmond so she could make plans for our visit.  They have moved into Richmond with his mother.  He is going to school during the summer and Cathryn will stay with his mother and maybe work in an office.  She hoped we would be there while Clarence was still home.  I would like so much to meet him.

Yes, we are scheduled to visit the Capitol building while in Lincoln.  I want to be in Central for the June festival and commencement too, if possible, but I must be I Lincoln by noon of Tuesday if I go with the group to the Capitol building.

Ruth 5/21/30

You are a dreamer and what beautiful dreams.  Life will surely be wonderful with you as my companion.  Just three weeks from today is the big day for us but I trust I shall feel better than I do now.  Only a week from this Friday I will go to Central City.  After that the time will be as good as gone.

Don’t feel worried about me for I will surely feel better by tomorrow.  It was pure carelessness on my part that I have such a cold, but it is a bit unusual that it should affect me so seriously at this time of year.

All my heart and soul is in your keeping, sweetheart.  Ruthie

This is the last letter from Mom.  She heads off to NCC for commencement and then on to Lincoln.  And when she gets back, it is wedding time!


 John 5/1/30

I’ve just returned from the junior-senior banquet which was a very delightful occasion.  It was worked out after the fashion of a carnival and was very clever.  I had to give a toast on the subject “masks”.  This occasion recalled to my memory one banquet during our Junior and Senior years.  We had a good time, did we not?  I always enjoy attending such affairs with you – in fact I don’t feel right not to have you.  You always look so beautiful and seem so happy on such occasions.  Truly you are the idol of my dreams.

I’m glad you like the present.  Best of all though is the fact that it’s’ ticks carry my message to you.  I thought as I bought it how it could serve as our night guardian and watch as we sleep in Philadelphia.  As a general rule I don’t make promises as far as a year in advance but since it is you that asks me to promise 23 kisses, collectable at 6:30 am April 27, 1931, I shall promise  This must be accompanied with a proviso, though  That is, that on August 22, 1930 at 6:30 am you give me 23 kisses.

Miss Simmons took ill this week so last night she wished me to drive her in her car to Central City for treatment.  I did, and when the doctor saw her he advised her to go to bed and remain there because she had a very contagious throat disease.  She didn’t return, so I took my time about leaving Central.  I stopped at Nortsheds and did – what do you suppose? – bought a new suit for our special occasion on June 10.  I feel that much nearer a married man now.  I know what you will say, “I want to see it”.  But no, not until I come to see you on Tuesday morning, June 10.  I want to surprise you, you see.

Esther was brim full with excitement to talk to me.  She said that their plans are immature yet.  Guy Puckett may return to Nebraska. but on the other hand  he and Esther may get married in California.  Have you thought of who you would want of our friends to be there if Guy and Esther cannot be there?

John 5/4/30

For some reason I haven’t felt very well this week end.  I was at home and when I came back I’ve had a headache.  I’ve had much to worry about this spring and more now but perhaps I’ll get over it with a little rest.  With lots of love some of my perplexities won’t cause me so much anxiety.  I’ll be greatly relieved when school is out.  I suppose I really should rest awhile, but student campaigning isn’t such difficult work.  I’ll mix those two weeks with jollities of your visit, commencement, and yearly meeting.  Then vacation time will be at hand.

When Edith was putting a hair piece in her hair the other day she missed her hair and punctured her ear drum.  Thus she has been quite unwell this week due to the pain.  She managed to teach, however, all but one day.  She has lost the sense of taste on one side of her tongue but the doctor says it will return and her ear will heal.  She is going to summer school, perhaps to Central.  You knew they were going to have summer school, didn’t you?

If Guy and Esther can’t be with us June 10 what would you think of  having Merl and Lillian serve as witnesses and partners in crime?  Had you thought of anyone else?

Chester says he is going to take you away from me.  What do you think of that?  He always talks about you when I go home.  Leonard is still a book worm; he reads continually.  Katherine is well now and is a peppy as ever.  I laughed at her because she hung a little boy a May basket and pretty soon the boy hung the same May basket on her door only he had different candy in it.  She burst out right in the presence of the boy, “why, he gave me my basket back!”.  Mother laughed heartily over the matter.  The kiddies are all doing well in school; I shall get awfully lonesome of them next year.  I’ll not burden you by it though.  Lawrence is working as a foreman of a special gang of railroad men now and will do so for the rest of the summer.  He receives about $225/mo. for this work.  Lawrence and I haven’t much in common now, but never-the-less I get lonesome for him  I think I shall write and invite him and Rose to our wedding.

John 5/6/30

I also received a letter from Miss Lang though she told you more than she did me.  All she stated in my letter was that I would have charge of the boy’s work and you would be an assistant in the girl’s department.  She also said that we wouldn’t need to go to Philadelphia before September 3 and that we would have plenty of time for adjustment during the first month.   Miss Lang told me she would send a contract soon – I suppose before doing so she awaits your reply.  I didn’t suppose Quakers, especially easterners, signed contracts – it was originally not a Quaker practice.  I think it is wise to have a written agreement, don’t you?

Guild agreements 6-18-30

These are the agreements for their work in Philadelphia that didn’t come until June.

John 5/8/30

We had a small flood last Tuesday night which was quite exciting to the townsfolk  The lower floors of the school were covered with six inches of water, therefore yesterday was declared a holiday.  The water was all dipped out and it was quite pleasant again today  It has been clear today, but now it is raining to beat the cars.

We don’t seem to have much difficulty to agree with each other about plans for the summer, do we?  You have been so wonderfully patient with me in all my uncertainties and then, too, so willing to cooperate  I used to wonder whether we could live happily in view of our differing interests but now there seems to be very few differences and toward those we do have we are sympathetic  It all seems like a triumph for our long years of courtship.

John 5/12/30

How different has been this evening from what I had planned.  My first thought upon awakening this morning was “today she is coming”.  I could hardly wait until evening and I shaved especially for you this morning  Of course, I was disappointed when I received your telegram this noon.  I don’t know whether or not to be anxious about your welfare, or to plan on you coming soon  Of course you will let me know all about your change of plans as soon as possible.  I know you too must have been disappointed.  Mrs. Sigia said that she heard over the radio that a storm struck the area north of Norfolk last night.  Putting everything together, I suppose that weather conditions necessitated a change in your plans.

The sunshine was welcome today after such terrible rains as we have had here.  The town was flooded twice and everything has been muddy and wet since.  The town of Silver Creek has been entirely flooded for the past several days  If it begins again I’m going to build an ark.

John 5/13/30

Your letter quieted my anxieties considerably.  I was a little worried about your welfare until your letter came, though I suppose I should be more worried now after reading that you are broke.  I’m reminded as I sit here tonight that four weeks from this time will be thrilling to say the least.  It hardly seems possible that the tie is so short yet I don’t have any regrets.  In one sense it is fortunate for you to have this extra time in which to complete your wedding arrangements.  I’m so busy now studying the League of Nations, the World Court, and Ramsay MacDonald that my mind is kept off of the coming events to some extent  I dislike not to be able to dream but it isn’t good for me to do too much of it.

Mary Ida Winder will be at Yearly Meeting this year.  I always look forward to seeing her and visiting about her work because that is my work too.  Yes, my job in this life is clearer now than ever before – it is in the line of politics and international relations.  Come what may I am steering on until I have done what my ambitions demand.  The future with all its doubts and problems would not be nearly as promising without you to love and live for.  While I must do what I feel I should do I covet the realization of all your dreams for you.  I shall be disappointed if our marriage shall deny you what you want most.  Now if you feel the same way, how perfect!

Why do you suggest that your letters should be destroyed soon after they come? I may agree after we are married, but I doubt it.  Our lives are revealed too exactly in our letters to make it seem right for me to destroy the record.  No better diary could have been kept than your letters. (Rachel’s note: way to go Dad!  So glad you won out and all the letters were saved for us to enjoy!)

John 5/15/30

This morning the post office was closed before I went on our sneak day trip so I missed your letter.  Though the office was closed tonight when I got home, I went to Kelley’s and had they get my mail.  I certainly wish I might be able to grant your request and put my arms around you and tell you all was well.  For it is, and I love you as tenderly as ever.

We went to Lincoln today with the seniors and visited all the important places: the capitol, the “pen”, the university, etc. This afternoon we went to a movie which was terror – kept you excited and mystified until the end.  I did get to see Ralph.  I marvel at the capitol building.  Today a guide showed us about and if what he says is true, and no doubt it is, the building is one of the most wonderful in the world.  When you are in Lincoln I hope you see it.

What you told me about Merl and Lillian makes me anxious for them to get married before they change their minds  It seems that they have a difficult time with their plans and arrangements, doesn’t it?  I hope and know that we won’t have any such difficulties.  Especially since you and your mother are making such careful preparations.  You put your whole soul into what you do.  It gives me the most satisfied feeling you can imagine to have you thinking and doing so many things just for our love and happiness.

It is hard for me to realize that school is so nearly over  I’m glad though I regret in some ways that I will leave here  When I compare these things thought with our plans for next year, there is no choice as to which is the better or wiser.  The other day when writing to Bill Thomas I told him of my plans for the summer and fall.  He stopped by the school the other day and complimented us on our arrangements.  He asked your name and when I told him he responded, “Merl’s sister, if she’s anything like Merl you are to be highly congratulated!”.  He asked us to come visit him at Camp Sheldon this summer.


I’m full of ambitions and dreams today and you are helping me perform them all.  I see you as a beautiful loving wife a source of inspiration a wonderful hostess, a good mother, and all.  Dr. Stuart said this morning that a woman’s greatest service was her inspiration and influence.  I can’t make myself believe that we are to be married in about three weeks.  Two more Sundays before I go to you to leave you again never.

I don’t want you to feel that marrying me is chaining yourself with undesirable fetters.  Life reaches its highest happiness when two are bound together willingly and freely in pursuing their dreams When you say “I do” on June 10 then we shall start on one happy crusade.  It’s apparent, isn’t it, that “I’m a dreamer”.

Friday night the pep club gave a party for the basketball team.  We had a jolly time.  They gave us a beautiful trophy because we won two-thirds of our games.

Yesterday I went home and had a good time with other, Edith, and the kiddies.  Edith’s school was closed three days early on account of smallpox.

John 5/20/30

The seniors tendered me quite a surprise the other morning.  They called a class meeting, then called me in and presented me with a splendid bill fold.  I was greatly surprised and I enjoyed their expression of like for me.  Such things as these together with many “good-byes” make it seem that I’m hurting someone by leaving.  I should dislike to leave very much if it wasn’t to take up a happier abode – that with you.

Our bank opened Monday.  I haven’t been down to see how my account stands.  I think us all have 30% deposited but we can only draw out 10% a month.  So, my dear has gotten herself into a financial embarrassment.  Well, that doesn’t worry me at all – I’m so used to being so situated that I am confident everything will work out well.  I’ll come to your rescue Friday.

I should have told you that last Sunday afternoon I dropped into Suttons  Faith and Irene produced a beautiful bedspread, a light blue one, and said it was ours.  This certainly was a surprise.  I like it so much, you know my sympathy for blue.  I know you will love it too.  I certainly appreciate the fact that I have gained some real friends here in Monroe.  The memory of these two girls will always be a pleasant one.

I had a letter from Guy Solt today assuring me of work for the summer should I be able to give some time.  I must write to him tomorrow again and state my terms.  I’m remembering your objections to my doing this work, and I shall do everything to make you happy while I labor.

Yes, you can make train connections early Tuesday morning to Lincoln.  I think the train departs about 6:00. Phew! That will be early, won’t it?  We should get used to it though because we will probably see that hour pretty regularly sometime  I don’t like to think of you leaving Central and me on Tuesday morning  That is the day of the alumni banquet.  I had so hoped you could go with me if not to the breakfast, then to the old student’s dinner in the evening.  But if you will be happy to go to Lincoln, I grant that you should go.

John 6/4/30

Will you welcome just one more letter upon your arrival at home?  I know you will. (Rachel’s note: This is the last letter from Dad before he left for NCC, his home in Columbus and then on to the farm for the wedding.)

My thoughts left Central City for the most part on the train that left last Tuesday morning though I was still asleep.  I missed you so greatly and even now I want you more than anything else.  How happy to know that on five more days remain before we are united forever.

Yearly Meeting is going as usual.  Sermons, sermons, and more sermons and they all say the same things, or practically so.  I have had a delightful visit with Mary Ida as well as with the Mission Secretary  She told me about many interesting opportunities for service in other lands,  When we go through Richmond this summer I want us to investigate all possibilities for going abroad soon.  Several were mentioned that I think would appeal to you as they do to me.

The breakfast yesterday morning and the banquet last evening were both delightful occasions. The banquet last night was late because at the about the time for it to begin it poured down rain.  Did I say “pour”?  Literally sheets of water fell.  Consequently the lights went out so lamps and candles saved the day again.  In spite of it all we had a good crowd and a good time. Because of the heavy rain my student campaigning has been interrupted so all I can get done now is to work tomorrow and Friday.

Saturday morning I need to be here at Yearly Meeting.  At noon I shall leave for Columbus.  There I shall have my laundry done and also some pressing.  Sunday, at about noon, I will start for your place.  Then sweetheart, the time will be very short.  I hope you will be already prepared by early Monday so you can have your mind free.

Of course I’ve been wondering how you have gotten along at Lincoln.  I hope you have fully enjoyed your dear self and also that you have been somewhat rested.  We shall get a real rest soon dear but I want you to be “peppy” on our wedding day.  Will close now, dear, but only this letter.  My love and thoughts shall be with you continually.

Your adoring lover and sweetheart – John

Thus ends the saga of the letters.  The next post will be wedding photos and photos of  Philadelphia where they begin the next stage of their life together.  What a journey back in time their letters have provided!  A true gift for which I will be forever grateful.  I want to dig around in the boxes in the attic to see if I can find more of what happened from Dad’s days at the Guild and graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.  There are a handful of letters from 1933 when he was doing research at the Library of Congress and Mom was still at the Guild, but it won’t be as easy to piece together.  Thanks for enjoying their story with me!   ~ Rachel


April 1930

Quite a tale this month of Ruth’s most unusual bridal shower and the horrors of scarlet fever!  As they learn more about Philadelphia, Ruth has to face leaving home.

Ruth 4/1/30

There is so much I want to say to you I scarcely know where to begin.  My mind is so  upset between happiness, regret, and the strangeness of everything that I am totally at sea.  I have been feeling quite cool toward our proposed work until I received your letter this morning, and now I am fired with enthusiasm again.  To tell the truth, the situation is beginning to look too good to be real.  A disappointment of some sort is surely due.  I would like to know a bit more fully what will be expected of me, but no doubt I’ll soon learn.  The only drawback I see is the great distance from home.  I have the queerest feeling when I think of that.

That brings me to another thing which is very selfish of me to say, but I might as well be frank about it.  I half way hope our work there will not begin until fall for this reason.  If we leave immediately after our wedding knowing that we will not be back for a year, it is going to spoil the wedding for me.  Not even my love for you will be enough to take away that dreadful hurt.  Don’t you see – I want nothing to cloud our first happiness together.  If we could be gone a day or two and then come back home for our final leave-taking, I could bear it much more easily.  It is a strange request to make, but you understand, don’t you?

Some of us are fairly holding our breath for fear school will be closed because of scarlet fever and measles.  So many students were absent today in all classes, both grades and high school.  The board met today and is considering the matter but decided not to close. They don’t want school to be held any later in the spring.  I am still wondering about myself.  I know I won’t have the measles (can I ever forget?), but scarlet fever is another thing.  I’m trying to be as careful as possible.

Ruth 4/3/30

We are still undecided about closing school, but I don’t think it will be.  There are a great any students absent but we are carrying on as best we can.  I had another good exposure to scarlet fever this morning.  If I am going to take it, I surely will now.

I had a letter from Ralph this week saying that he is wearing glasses now.  Can you imagine how he must look?  Funny old kid.  He has finally broken with Marie definitely.  For one, I’m glad that is over if he doesn’t get into something worse.

Ruth 4/6/30

I saw Mary Way.  She hasn’t heard anything from the job she applied for in  Philadelphia, but expects word any time.  I do so hope she gets her position there.  It would mean a great deal to me.  You understand it isn’t because I love you less, but it will just be hard to be so far away from family.  I’ll need all the loving you promised.  That is at the bottom of the whole thing.  I wouldn’t be going but for that promise.  It could lead me to the ends of the earth, I believe- just to be with you.

I received a copy of the last letter sent to you and it appears everything is set for us.  I foresee no reason for us not getting this appointment.  Now that I have thought of it so long, I would be very much disappointed if we don’t.  I’m glad you are making all arrangements and I can enjoy the benefits of it.  It is always so hard for me to make decisions on important things.  That is one reason I need you so much – to look after my affairs.  The cost isn’t much if loving is all you ask.  I have an abundance of that to give and there will always be more.

The county agent sent word that the state is offering a free trip to Lincoln the first week of June to someone who has a certificate of achievement and one of appreciation in 4H club work.  I have both, so he thinks I may be chosen.  He wanted to know if I would go if I was chosen.

Ralph intends to be home at Easter time too.  They will be having spring vacation and, as usual, he doesn’t have any work in mind so Dad is having him come home to build fences.  What would the poor boy do without Dad to turn to?  I’ll be glad to see him anyway.

Ruth 4/8/30

It appears as though we are fairly set for next year.  I really am looking forward to it.  Of course, I’ve had to tell the gang about it and they are all excited too.  Most of them are making some change next year, but not a one has as interesting a prospect before them as I.  If all plans work out, our happiness will be complete.

The music contest will be at Wayne this weekend and you might know I’m planning on being there.  I’m driving Dad’s car out and taking several others with me.  Then Ray and Catherine are going home with me Sunday for dinner.  Wish you could be there with me.

Ruth 4/9/30

I shall be anxious for the mail in the morning and yet I am afraid.  I want us to go to Philadelphia, and still I don’t.  To be honest I don’t dare think about it, or I get the blues so badly.    I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get the place, and I shall feel badly if we do.  It is just a fifty-fifty situation.  I feel like weeping every time I go home…..

The free trip to Lincoln is mine.  My expenses are paid – nothing to do but have a good time.  I wish that week would come a little sooner than first week in June, but since it is so; I must make the best of it.   The county agent came up last night to tell me about this trip.

More sickness – I am quite disgusted.  How can we do anything in class work with so many of the pupils absent and then to have them come straggling back to school?  The people around this town do the most outlandish things.  They act as though it is a disgrace to have scarlet fever.  A pupil of mine came back today and her hands were peeling off.  I was furious.  Her mother says the girl didn’t have scarlet fever, but she was sick long enough.  I have been directly exposed so many times this week that now I don’t care.

Merl has accepted the position of superintendent at Dannbrog, Nebraska.  Good for him, yet I hate to think of him as superintendent.  Too much of a dog’s life.  Perhaps he can make people feel differently toward him but I wouldn’t be superintendent for a good deal more than he is getting.  Mother is all thrilled about it.  She has wanted him to try for it for some time.  I surely hope he makes good.

Ruth 4/13/30

After so much foolishness and laughter I doubt if I can get serious enough to write a decent letter.  You will be grateful to know that I feel right with the world once more and can feel optimistic even though I have only 24 pupils left.  I don’t know how to teach with so few children before me.  Lord only knows how they will ever get their work made up before school closes.

Naturally I am glad our work doesn’t begin until September.  However, it doesn’t seem to me it would be profitable to go to Philadelphia for the summer.  It would cost us no more to make the extra trip than staying east, would it?  I don’t care what we do this summer.  You may decide.  Whatever suits you suits me.  I’m yours to do with as you choose so long as you love me and give me first thought occasionally.

Ruth 4/15/30

I haven’t written to Miss Lang in Philadelphia yet for the main and simple reason that I don’t know what to write.  I’m going to wait until I talk with you.  You must tell me what I am expected to write.  I don’t know very much about any of those subjects except music and not much about that.  If I must be your advisor, you must do as much for me.

I’m afraid I’m not as grateful as I should be for our opportunities.  So much has been offered to us.  I read a story last night that might well be concerning me.  About a girl who refused to leave her parents and old friends and the near tragic consequences.  It was like a warning to me.  However, I am glad for the summer in Nebraska.  Seems to me by September I shall be perfectly ready to go after becoming accustomed to living with you.  I will just naturally expect to go with you without second thought.

Ruth 4/21/30

There is plenty that has happened about our town today of which I will tell you presently, but first I want to tell you that I have just penned a letter to Miss Lang.  You must commend me for obeying so promptly even though I neglected the duty so long.  Now I shall anxiously await a reply.

The school has been a bit upset today because Miss Borreson was taken home to Wahoo this morning ill with either scarlet fever or measles.  We don’t know for such which.  She does not plan to be back this year.  I’m afraid it is going to be hard with her  gone.  And that isn’t all. Helen Newlin has the measles too.

Catherine has planned a linen shower for me Saturday evening at her home in the city.  She couldn’t have chosen a more inconvenient time for it as far as I am concerned, but I don’t dare say anything because it will make her peevish to have to change her plans.  She made them all and then told me about it.  Of course it is darling of her to do it, but I’m not especially crazy about the idea.  I want to be home Sunday because of my birthday.  I had already promised Mother.

Ruth 4/23/30

I am so tired this evening that I can scarcely move.  After school Catherine took her pupils out in the country for a picnic.  She asked Miss Cundy and me to go with her.  We had more fun playing baseball, football and what not, but now I am so very tired.  At any rate it is a healthy tiredness.   Ralph came up and spent the evening with me last evening.  He sang and then we listened to the band play at the school.  I felt so badly when he left I had to cry a little.  I have decided to loan Ralph the money he wants and the rest you may use this summer as you see fit.

boys on picnic kids in truck girls on picnic

Ruth 4/27/30

What a weekend!  That’s all I have to say.  So much has happened that I am about wrecked.  I don’t know where to begin.   Perhaps I should begin back to Friday and tell you the pleasant things first.

I think I mentioned that my school children were planning a birthday party for me Friday afternoon.  They were so excited about it and had such a good time.  I let them plan it all just the way they wanted it.  One of the others made me a birthday cake and wrote my name on the top with dark icing.  It was all very lovely.  They called Mother and asked her to come to the party.  That pleased other so much that she baked a big angel food cake to bring up, but then Dad was busy and wouldn’t bring her up.  Mother was so disappointed.

Saturday I went in to take my last music lesson.  It was so rainy and gloomy that I felt like a gloomy cloud myself.  I hadn’t wanted to stay all night in the city, but Mother thought I had better.  After dashing hither, thither and yon I finally went out to Meyers.  She met me at the door with the following story.  The first thing she said was, “the shower  is all off”.  I just stood there while she rattled on.  Three of the girls had called and said they didn’t think they could come because of the rainy weather.  Ray called from Allen saying he couldn’t come because he had planned to go with Kruse and Kruse was involved in so much that he couldn’t go.  Ray and Carol thought they could get a bus but learned it was too late.

Ray reported that Mrs. Ellis’ grandson had died with scarlet fever.  The school board and the health board met and decided to close school for the remainder of the year.  You can’t imagine how I feel.  I can’t make myself really realize that it is so.  There is an actual gloom over the whole town mainly because of the death of this little boy.  He was in the first grade at school and was such a dear little fellow.  The family had been quarantined for several weeks except two girls who were in high school.  They stayed with Mrs. Ellis.  One girl was a senior.  Last Friday she took sick so they took her home.  She just thought she couldn’t bear it because the junior senior banquet was held Friday evening.  She had a lead in the senior play so they decided that day to drop the play.  It is too bad for the seniors; they will be denied everything that makes a senior year happy.  They will not even have commencement exercises.

The only thing left for us is to make out our grades, check in our books and we are free to do as we choose.    This town will be a dead place for several weeks; the churches and theater are closed too.

By the time she told me all this I was completely flabbergasted.  Catherine was just sick.  She had everything planned perfectly lovely.  She was so disappointed she didn’t want to stay home so we went down town to a show.  I didn’t care to go, but thought better not to say anything.  We got home about eleven scared to death because we had seen such a scary show.  There were Nurmie, Vernal, and Miss Hammond!  We felt plenty dumb, but never dreamed that they would come through the mud.  We had a big laugh, and decided to go on with the party.  We had our dinner at one o’clock this morning.  We were too silly for words.  The kids decided to stay all night but we didn’t get to bed until nearly three.  We all slept late this morning.  First thing I knew something hit me square in the face.  Nurmie had thrown a pillow at me, but had disappeared by the time I came to.  Then the rumpus started.  Don’t see how Mrs. Meyers stood it, but she said she liked it occasionally.  It made things a bit more cheerful for her.  Before things were over Nurmie pulled me over the foot of the bed and gave me a birthday paddling. I thought what a contrast to your birthday kisses.  Catherine and I decided to come back to town with Nurmie much as we hated to.  Mrs. Meyers packed up the remains of the party and we brought them out to Nurmie’s.  Vernal fixed it up and we had a late dinner.  You see our party lasted two days instead of one evening.

Ruth 4/29/30

You think of the dearest things.  I thank you a hundred times for the little clock.  I simply love it and would kiss you more than twenty two times if you were here.  You are always getting me things I really want and have been wishing for.  Merl sent me a bottle of exquisite perfume.  Hope you will like it too.

I feel so lost without school duties.  Yesterday I checked in books and all day my throat ached from near tears.  Many of the children I will not see before I leave and it hurts.  Those who have come in for their school things nearly break my heart with the things they say.  All the books are to be fumigated and then they must be put back in their places.  A tremendous task considering all the books in the school.  I wish Kruse would let us go this week, but I guess we’ll have to put away books next week.


John 4/2/30 

The thought that you might get scarlet fever is too horrible.   Nothing must mar the happiness of these next few weeks.  You ask whether I have forgotten that only two months remain.  Why, Ruthie, that is my foremost thought these days.  It is easy for me to float away in dreams of you.  It is perhaps a good thing that we have some plans to work out; they tend to keep us down to earth.

What Mary said about living expenses is no doubt true.  Guy said that it cost him and Ella about one hundred dollars a month for living expenses.  They had two rooms in an apartment; they paid $40 for these.  I doubt that two could live here on much less than sixty or seventy-five dollars a month.  Dr. Hodgkin said that they asked him $250/mo. rent on a house near where Pendle Hill will be located – not an extravagant house either.  It is probably fortunate that we would have living quarters provided.

Congratulations to Mary.  It would be splendid if she could take the opportunity offered her.  She would be a comfort to you when you begin to feel homesick.  What is Nebraska going to do if all of us young Friends lave?  We’ll have to return and show these people a thing or two someday.  As you suggested I hope we can make our home here.  I love this old state and someday hope to do great things for it.

Miss Thornburg informed me that Penn State and the University of Penn are two different institutions.  They are not are distant, however; perhaps 50 mi or so. (Rachel’s note: wrong – they are 192 miles apart) I learned that largely thru the efforts of Ted Peters and another Quaker at Penn State, compulsory military training was abolished there.  He has some “stuff” in him which promises him success.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say these nice things, but I don’t worry about him now.

John 4/3/30

I know how you must feel at the thought of leaving home even with me – who is such an uncertain quantity.  When I think of being so far away I too feel badly, but it is a thing we must do – better now than when our folks are older.  The question in my mind is where we should spend the few days between our marriage and our departure to Toronto.  Have you any place to suggest?

Mumps and measles are our delight yet these are preferable to scarlet fever.  It would be unfortunate to close school this late in the season.  Do I remember your measles?  Say, I surely do! You have never seen me in quite so terrible a condition, have you?  May you never!

John 4/6/30

Perhaps one reason for my happiness is the letter which I am enclosing.  Please keep this letter for future reference.  The way Bess speaks it seems quite certain that we shall go to Philadelphia.  All my plans are centered on that fact now.  In my letter to Miss Lang I asked her to let us know when we might begin our work and how long we could expect it to last.    In my letter I suggested that if our work could begin in July or August it would save us considerable driving and expenses.  So if that request is granted, we will take a short trip upon the day of our marriage and then return for a visit of a day or two with your folks and mine. (Rachel’s note: it isn’t made clear in the letters exactly when they get to Philadelphia, but there are concert programs in Mom’s scrapbook from events in August.  She wasted no time in finding the cultural events in the big city!)

For some reason I dislike to have everybody letting me know how much they need me here and how badly they dislike seeing me go.  I haven’t told them definitely, but they know it is unlikely that I will return.  It doesn’t make me blue or sad, only I just don’t love their flattering – of course, though, I’m glad they feel like they do.

It was encouraging to note Miss Lang’s satisfaction over the fact that you have musical ability.  It will give you a chance to do the work you love to do.  In fact, the most attractive aspect of the work, after teaching school, is to feel that our time won’t be circumscribed so entirely by routine.  Another encouraging thing is the thought that our financial worries will be greatly minimized.  I won’t know how to spend or handle money, I fear, when we get situated. That is if creditors won’t take every cent we make. I hope we can get a sum accumulated so that our future will be freer.

John 4/8/30

I’m feeling happy and buoyant because I have just returned from the grand climax of our series of business meetings of which I was chairman.  Speaking or doing such things, if I succeed, gives me an incomparable feeling.  How pleasant would it be to have you here to talk to and love.  My mind always turns to such a thought when I’m happy

thank you from Monroe

Thank you letter from the Monroe businessmen.

Now who is fortunate and deserving of congratulations?  It will be splendid for you to have the honor of receiving the trip to Lincoln, if so it be. Have you definitely planned the time following the dismissal of you school?  What plans you make will affect mine in a measure.  I want to work if possible following the time my school is over.  Perhaps I can get in a couple of weeks of soliciting before June 10.

John 4/9/30

I heard from Miss Lang, but her letter wasn’t as clear and definite as I wanted for some reason or another.  She did write more about our duties.  Mine will be largely athletic and club management while yours will be club work, dancing, dramatics and music.  She state that my qualifications were such as to be satisfactory for the work and intimated that we are both hired.  She didn’t state anything about our salaries, the decision of the board, nor did she reply to my inquiry about what things we shall need to furnish for our “home”.  I take it that she understands that Bess told us about these things.

She said our work will begin on the first of September (good!).  If we choose to stay east we can occupy our place at the cottage by the 15th of July and each of us pay $1/day for board and room until September.   The question now is whether or to we should return immediately from Toronto and go back to Philadelphia about the middle of August.    Thus we would have a month and a half to spend I Nebraska.  What would we do is the next question.  I suppose I should solicit students and I would really like to if you would be happy.  When I go to Central this week I’ll talk over campaigning with Guy and see what arrangements can be made.

John 4/10/30

Isn’t it strange how our thoughts have changed over a period of time.  Thoughts of doing other than teaching together next year didn’t enter my mind until one day I got a letter from Bess telling of her new work and some of the opportunities for Young Friends. Rather accidentally I wrote to her and look what has come from it all.  God is very gracious to us when we trust him to help in our needs  He has never failed me; would that my record were as true!

John 4/13/30

Congratulations on your election to go to Lincoln.  You will have a good time, I know. Ralph will certainly enjoy having you visit him.  Your selection as the one to achieve such an honor makes me proud of you.

Mr. and Mrs. Carrell and others of your friends at Central send you their greetings.  They all think that we will very happy in Philadelphia.

John 4/15/30

Yes, we should have all our plans definitely made by Sunday and we shall, no doubt.  No, your work isn’t so much like school, or at least I don’t think it will be.  It will be more or less just living on the playgrounds and in the Guild lending a hand here and there in various activities.  I hope further word comes about the work this week.  Seems to me that things are awfully slow at the other end of the line.  I’m all set for the joys of the summer and for the new work.

We’re working hard on our play though it is difficult to get all the pupils there at the same time to practice.  I wish you could be here one week from Friday to see it.  You remember it, don’t you? “The Eyes of Love”.

John 4/21/30

The roads were terrible, yes, worse than that but we got home at about 11:15.  It was mud, water, holes, hills and what not.  I was fortunate not to have any trouble of any kind in view of such conditions.  I don’t regret at all though that I went to see you, far from it!

Dearest, you are the world to me now, as I told you Sunday.  Sometimes I’m inclined to feel “gloomy”, but for the most part you mean happiness to me.  I’ve turned over in my mind almost every point of conversation and plans that we had and talked about.  The time that I spent listening to you play and sing was so pleasant.  Often I want you to do that.  It was then that your beauty and charm fascinated me.  You didn’t realize what thoughts you were producing, did you?

John 4/23/30

The more I think about it the more I become enthusiastic about spending the larger portion of our time at Niagara Falls.  I plan to write soon for some travel guides that can inform us of the important and beautiful places that we may visit on a journey such as ours.

Sorry to hear of the new sickness in Allen.  Catherine’s plans for you make me realize how soon June 10 will come and how nearly married we are.  Last year I greatly enjoyed sharing in George’s experiences and I wished they too could have been mine.  Now our time is here.

Play, play, play, that’s about all I get done any more.  Thank goodness that it will soon be all over with.

John 4/25/30

Just a few lines tonight in fulfillment of my promise to write after the play was over.  Of course it would rain on this day of all day.  Consequently our crowd was much smaller than it otherwise would have been.  We took in $71.00 of which $40 will be clear.  The play went off splendidly – the cast performed very well.

Play program J sponsor 30

Program from the play performed at Monroe High School

John 4/27/30

Happy birthday Ruthie!  May the little present tick happy thoughts of love to you.  I didn’t select this particular present solely because I felt you needed a clock, but because I thought it was clever and that you would enjoy such an article.  How inadequately it expresses my love.

For some reason I have been thinking this week about your wedding dress.  Have you decided upon it yet?  Will it be white or pink or blue?  In some ways I hope it will be white – you always look so nice in that .  Either will be nice, I am sure.  I shall be anxious to learn about what you decide. I bought the kind of tie yesterday you said you liked.

Since Friday about all I have heard is compliments on the play last Friday.  Everyone talks about how good it was.  Of course I am glad though the part that I played was very small.  Now that the play is over I have some other things to look forward to.  I have to give a toast at the Junior Senior Banquet next Thursday.  Then I have to preach two sermons for Dr. Steward two weeks from today – Mother’s Day.

John 4/30/30

The occasion of your school’s closing is tragic as far as nearly everyone is concerned.  I can’t imagine how surprised and disappointed you must have been to have Catherine tell you such news. Too bad about your shower but it couldn’t be helped, I suppose.  Did I read that you didn’t get to be at home for your birthday?  That, if true, was too bad.  I hope all your plans for marriage will not be so haphazard and disappointing.

Yesterday I picked up my encyclopedia and turned to Niagara Falls.  Don’t you do such a thing unless you wish to become enthusiastic about spending quite a time there next summer.  Really, it must be wonderful – judging from what I read.  I could just see us observing the many physical miracles and floating away I our love dreams in the spray and water.

March 1930

March is a very important month ~ so much happens! It’s obvious, even though I have posted only a portion of what they wrote, that the letters were many and really long.

Before starting with the March letters there is a correction I want to make after talking with cousin Elizabeth.  Apparently Ruth had two close friends whose names are very similar: Catherine Meyers, with whom Ruth taught in Allen, and Cathryn Miles, who was a close friend from Nebraska Central.  I identified Catherine Meyers as the girl that dated Ralph and years later married Ralph after John played cupid and got them back together.  After talking to Elizabeth, we determined this is incorrect.  It was Cathryn Miles that Ralph dated and  married late in life.  We think Cathryn and Ralph dated while he was in grad school in Lincoln.  She left Nebraska and moved to Richmond, Indiana where she later married Clarence Chase.  A newspaper clipping from their wedding is in Ruth’s scrapbook.  An honest mistake. When Mom told of Catherine coming home with her on weekends when they were teaching, she said how well Catherine and Ralph got along.  I think Uncle Ralph got along well with all the ladies. the handsome devil!!

Cathryn Miles

Cathryn Miles Chase Benton. Taken in school year ’27-’28 at NCC. Identified only as “My Pal”, but this is the woman in the wedding photo when she wed Clarence Chase .

Ruth 3/1/30

Do not hesitate to ask for a position for me in Monroe if there is a chance for me to get one.  I like to teach and would just as soon – would rather under the circumstances, but I wanted you to know that I would just as soon keep house for you.  The chances for me to get a school are so slim that I wanted you to know I wasn’t counting too much on that.  I want you to settle things, but I’ll do anything you want me to do to help you.  I have done and said a lot of dumb things, but I am not so dumb that I can’t see the reason why I should work if I can get a position.

Kruse brought the contracts around to be signed last night.  I turned mine in and told him nothing.  He won’t talk to me decently anymore and I’m not breaking my neck to get in his way.  He is down on the whole gang and so are we on him for the dirty deals he has given us the last few weeks.  None of the high school teachers want to come back if they can get other jobs.  He wants a gang of new Wayne teachers just out of school anyway who don’t have so much mind of their own (meow).  I could say a lot of things but I won’t.

Ruth 3/2/30

I was glad to find Mrs. Heizer much better this week than last.  She said she hadn’t been able to give some of her lessons.  Since the closing of school work will soon be upon us, I am thinking seriously of giving up my lessons as much as I dislike to.  Then it will leave Saturday free for other things.  I will be needing that time you know.

You certainly get yourself involved in things  I never saw anyone to compare to you.  You seem to have arrived at the place where you most run the town.  You are always telling about some new thing you have begun.  Will there ever be an end to it?  I am jealous of your time.

I get a funny feeling when I realize other teachers are coming here after my job  A girl from Waterbury was here today and learned I am not coming back.  I thought I wouldn’t mind a bit giving up my work here, but I do.  I wouldn’t change plans for anything because I want to be with you too much, but I don’t like to hear about those who are coming in.  Selfish I suppose.  If you stay at Monroe I rather hope I can teach too.  My opinion keeps changing you see, with new developments.  Do whatever you find that you think best.  Thank goodness someone in the family will be level-headed and sensible.  I’ll trust your wisdom so never mind my chatter.

Ruth 3/12/30

In my box this morning I found a letter that I have read and re-read many times.  It is indeed heart balm and sure cure for heart ache.  You are a darling sweetheart and I adore you.I wish you would not take on so much work.  You will wear yourself down  – I speak from experience.  Remember what I had last year?  I know you love to do the things you are doing and I am proud to know that you are capable of doing them but I also want a strong lover husband.

Another new pupil began her musical studies with me last evening.  I thought she was going to be very dumb, but she began very nicely.  I haven’t gotten very far in my own practice this week  The lesson seems extremely difficult for some reason, but I assure you I don’t mean to get stumped on the last grade.

Ruth 3/13/30

After correcting a few papers I went over to the school building and watched play practice.  I can’t say that I am wild about the play – too much family quarreling and meanness.  Even though it is only a play, I dislike it very much.  I vow in my heart I shall never talk to anyone that way and above all others my husband.  It would be a dreadful way to live.  There will be differences and plenty of them but we must remember to settle them peacefully.

Only nine more weeks of school  In many ways I regret it for I dislike to lose this group of splendid youngsters I have this year, but I probably wouldn’t have them again anyway even if I did stay.  More and more I am having to catch myself from dropping into day dreams.  It would really be too bad if I began to neglect my work.

Ruth 3/16/30

I went to the play given by the Junior Aid here in town.  It was very well given and very entertaining.  Catherine certainly made the most of her part.  Her reputation as an actress is well established.  Dramatics of all kinds are interesting and now I wish I had taken more of that sort of thing while I was in school.  When I think of my college days now I wish I had done a good many things differently.  If I could have known then what I know now I would have planned my work more advantageously.  Perhaps even yet I shall have the opportunity to make up those things I would like to have taken.

How interesting that our minds should have gotten together on the same date for the important event.  I just told Mother this morning that I had finally made up my mind to the date and we were looking it up on the calendar.  Considering all things, I think June 10 will be the day. (Rachel’s note: June 10 it was, and I was so surprised to discover that June 10th was a Tuesday!)

Ruth 3/18/30

The possible state of affairs for next year seems almost too good to be true.  Do you suppose it will really work out?  I am not so anxious about teaching two grades again but with so few it might not be so bad.  Dear me, I would scarcely know what to do with such a few pupils  What salary would I get  You should insist on a raise in your own salary.  Let me know if there is any chance for work and I’ll be right down.  The children are beginning to find out that I am not coming back.  They make it so difficult for me.  I tell them they will have a better teacher next year  I wish the year were over now.

Your father is to  congratulated upon his promotion.  It is splendid for him but distressing for the family to have to move again.  It will be sorry if they move, providing we are in Monroe next year.  It would have been the next best thing to being near my own home.  I will miss Mother dreadfully.  These last two years have spoiled me again.  I do like to be home.

Ruth 3/20/30

The problem that distresses me now is a popular one – money.  It isn’t a question of how to get it, but what to do with it.  I haven’t much, but what shall I do with that little that I have?  I think I told you that I have been putting it in the United Savings and Loan in Lincoln.  You’ve seen what has happened to several loan associations and one in Lincoln too.  Mine is alright as far as I know, but is it safe after all?  If I did draw it out, what would I do with it? Rumors have it that the Waterbury bank is near collapse and I’d be just as apt to lose it there.

A peculiar idea has come to me so I’ll pass it on to you.  I might draw out the amount and you could use it to eradicate you indebtedness,  It would be paid back later, you know, in the things I’d ask you to get for me which I otherwise would probably not ask for.  Isn’t that a bright idea?  I am sure you would be a safe investment.  I suggested some such thing to Ralph, but Mother put a stop to that.  She said my money would be too much tied up and it would be too long before I could get it again.  That, no doubt, would be true with Ralph, but with you – you would be at my mercy and able to pay back whether you felt so inclined or not.

I mean to talk it over with Dad when I go home.  Mary Elis lost a good deal of money in one of the concerns that closed in Lincoln.  I also heard that Mrs. Newlin lost in the same loan company.  It really is serious and is enough to make anyone worried.  Please advise me.

Now on to the old subject of what to do next year.  Your board is really trying to make it worthwhile for you to stay at Monroe it seems, but what about me?  I don’t want to complain, but I would rather not consent to live in one or two rooms with no outside work to do.  I would be a raving maniac and you would find it necessary to put me in chains before the year would be half over.  I would have to have something to do to keep me busy and keep me out of mischief.    Either I’ll have to have a permanent job or a house to keep.  I know what a task it is to find a house to rent in a small town an when you do find one it usually isn’t much with no conveniences.  How can one live decently without a bathroom in the house?  I perceive, lover boy, that when we are married our problems have just begun.  Such things as finding a house, furnishing it ad keeping it in running order will not be so easy.

Ruth 3/23/30

Apparently we are not lacking for opportunities to work.  What do you think of the offer from Philadelphia?  I have not been able to think of anything else since I read the letter that came Friday.  I’d give a good deal to be able to talk to you about this matter.  I will be so anxious to get your letter telling me what you think about it.   As I think of it, I come to think more and more that it would be quite the work for us.  I don’t know just what the work would be, but it might be interesting for a year anyway.   You would have the opportunity to go to school  part of the time if you wanted to.  To me it seems to be a great advantage all around.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be preferable to work at Monroe if we can both work there, but is that going to be possible?  Naturally we must think of financial gains in view of the future.  I thought perhaps you would be particularly interested in this wok because of school advantages.  The final decision is for you to make.  I am sure you will think it over carefully and make the wisest choice.  You may guess from what I have written that I will be willing and satisfied if it seems best to you that we should go to Philadelphia. (Rachel’s note:  at long last!! I began to worry that the letters were going to end before they heard of the opportunity in Philadelphia and then I would never know the details of how that came about!)

Questions come to me of course concerning the work.  Would we begin at once or in the fall?  If at once would we go to the conference as pre-arranged and then go to Philadelphia at once?  If not until fall, what would we do during the summer – be east or in Nebraska?  You see I hadn’t planned to be so far away from home so suddenly  That is the only objection I have to it at a  Mother said right away “Oh, that’s so far away”.  However it isn’t as if we’d never come back for years.  We would surely come back in the summer for our vacation.  Mother thinks it is a splendid opening for us and advised us to go and for you to go to school there.  I’m glad she talked that way or I should have felt dreadful about it and might not have formed my opinion as I did.  You know I would rather be nearer home than that, but since we would be going east sometime anyway it might as well be now.  We will be prepared to come back that much sooner, for we are coming back to live in Nebraska are we not?  I would so much rather live here permanently if your work will permit. (Rachel’s note: when I read this I felt so badly for Mom. Sorry Mom; you never get back to Nebraska except to visit.)

Last week Dad painted the interior of our house.  Mother says that much is done toward the wedding.  The house is all topsy-turvy now.  It wouldn’t be so bad if this would be the last of it, but it will probably be done over again before June.

You will think me very foolish when I tell you what I have just about decided to do.  It is something I have always admired and wanted, but is not necessary at all.  I want a fur neck piece.  I can’t decide whether or not to put the money into it for all the real value it would be to me.  If I don’t get it now I know I never will because there will always be too many other things.  Things for the house, you know.  Everything in my wedding outfit must be of the most exquisite and most beautiful things. (Rachel’s note: she does get the fur and that fox will appear in the photos from Philadelphia. )

Ruth 3/27/30

The suspense is rather hard on the nerves.  This week has been one of real struggles for me.  I’ll be glad when more information arrives and some decision is made.

You thought of the same thing I did in connection with schools and Prof. Peters.  It would be interesting to see him again, but I think it would be better not to.  There again you are too liberal in your attitude. We will let the past rest in peace, shall we lover boy?

Ruth 3/30/30

I have had a terrible cold since Friday.  Another thing I must tell you but don’t worry about it – I have been directly exposed to scarlet fever.  Last Thursday afternoon one of my little boy was quite sick with sore throat and headache and his face was so flushed.  We had no way of getting him home, so he had to wait until the wagon came in the evening.  The next morning the doctor quarantined the family for scarlet fever.  Now the whole room is exposed, myself included, because I took care of him.

I am anxious to read the letter I know is waiting at the post office.  I’m eager for more information.  You must relay it as soon as anything comes to you.  I talked to Mary Way today about this work.  She says she doesn’t recall this particular work or organization.  When she worked in Philadelphia she was not under the Friends supervision.  She reminded me that we mustn’t think we’ll get rich in the east.  Living expenses are much higher there than here.  She advised making very sure of where we were to live before going there.  Conditions are not always so favorable.  Mary told me something else that interested me greatly.  She has been offered work as assistant hostess at the new school being established in Philadelphia.  She has not decided what to do about it though she is considering it seriously.  As soon as she got my letter she wrote to Philadelphia asking for more information.  The possibility of our going there too made her more interested.  I would like it immensely if she would be there.

I have finally convinced Mrs. Heizer that I am going to leave her at the end of next month.  I shall regret it very much but it must be.  She thinks she is going to get me in with some music teachers she knows there.  She said she wished I could go to one in particular, but she knew it would be too expensive.  Out of curiosity I asked her how much she charged.  Her reply – twenty dollars and hour.  Now if all teachers charge accordingly, I’ll not be studying piano next year.  Perhaps I won’t anyway.

Only April and May left, dear.  You aren’t forgetting, are you?


What a handsome couple!

What a handsome couple!

John 3/2/30

We made a good start in the basketball tournament by defeating Shelby, but our finish wasn’t so good.  We lost yesterday afternoon and again last night.

Some interesting things are happening here in Monroe just now.  We are planning a series of Hi Y meetings in which lantern slides will be used.  I brought a lantern from NCC which we are going to use.  A week from Thursday will be our first such meeting and then we shall show the slides at the church on Friday for the missionary society.  Our Sunday school is progressing nicely.  We have secured a new register and a lovely blackboard.  Our attendance reached 90 last Sunday but dropped a bit today because of the weather.  A week from this Tuesday the upper department of the S.S. is having an oyster stew to provide social entertainment.  Something else: the aid society is putting on a pancake supper to purchase a cabinet of maps for the SS.  The materials – flour, syrup, coffee – are being provided free by advertising firms.

John 3/4/30

Only three months remain until our wedding day!  Can you really believe that to be true?  It is hard for me to imagine just how it will seem to be with you continually.  I can’t understand it all now – all I can say is that I know it will be wonderful.  As the time for our marriage approaches you’ll need to remind me of any things that I should care for.  I’m prone to overlook details occasionally, but in this event nothing must be overlooked.  You won’t let me go off on our trip and forget my shirts or socks, will you?  I’m absent minded enough to do such a thing.

I’ve just returned from Bellwood where we played our last basketball games.  This team put us out of the running at the tournament last week, but we defeated them tonight 20-19.  Two of my men were disqualified because of fouls and I only had six along so we played the last six minutes with only four men to their five.  They kept creeping up on us with this handicap, but the game ended in our favor.  We feel real happy over this victory.

I’m dealing in automobiles again.  A man out in the country wants to buy a car just like mine and willing to pay for it.  I have another car in view here that I will buy if I sell mine.  I am a little disappointed in Merl’s car and have a chance to make some money on it and yet have a good car. You’ll think me a regular gambler in Fords if I don’t stop.  Well, it’s interesting to do and puts my business ability to a test.

John 3/10/30

Sweet and happy memories have been a part of me ever since I left you yesterday. You are so lovely you make my heart fill with joy and pride.  Your eyes speak of the love that you have for me and that is sufficient for me.  If I can’t make a success with the inspiration of you then I’m impossible.  We arrived home at exactly 10 o’clock without having any trouble at all.  I had trouble in keeping awake but succeeded after a fashion.

I’ve been interviewing different ones tonight in preparation of my speech tomorrow night.  One of them was a man who will open the bank here.  He is quite certain that the bank will open this week.  I need my money that is tied up.

John 3/11/30

The other morning we were arguing at the table about marriage, love, home life, etc.  Simmons always is casting doubtful remarks about the happiness of love and marriage, and of course I dote on arguing with her.  Finally she said , “Well, John, I have perfect confidence in the success and happiness of your marriage” because you and I are “different”.  Do you suppose others feel as she does?

I’ve just returned from our meeting held at Marion Hoare’s school.  Again I had to speak.  Believe me it is no easy task to prepare a different speech each week on the same subject.

Mr. Kotas told me that before I decided whether or not to come back that the board wished me to state my financial demands for their consideration.  Mr. Kotas told the board of my plans for the summer so it will soon be public gossip that I’ll be married this June.  I don’t care now who knows, do you?

John 3/13/30

So much have I longed for you that at noon I got out a small calendar and looked up the dates we were suggesting last Saturday.  Better than we thought.  Tuesday of the second week in June is on the 10th.  It will be for you to say finally whether or not if that date is to be honored by our marriage.  If it is, then not even three months remain.

One huge regret I have as we look forward to June is that my finances will be meager.  I would love to give you all your heart might desire but it won’t be possible.  However, ere many years pass we shall have enough.  I hope you will be patient with me because I have done and shall do the best I know how.

John 3/16/30

More reason why I feel happy today.  I have just returned from a visit with Lester Kelly, president of the school board.  They want me to return pretty badly next year, I learned.  I proposed the proposition and what do you think he said?  He said he thought that it could be arranged for you to teach here if there occurred a vacancy.  He has a healthy opinion of you (how could he have any other kind by getting his knowledge from me?).  Now I feel quite satisfied that we both can work here if there is a vacancy.  I told him that I would be able to consider the same salary next year if they hired you. I worry a lot about next year even though I haven’t said much about it.  I want us to go on to school so badly and it would be very hard for us to do it soon if only I teach.  Indeed I wish you wouldn’t have to work – just take care of me.

I’ve been wondering where we could stay if we teach here.  Hollingshead’s have some nice rooms which I think we could secure.  She is a good cook and they have a piano.  Suttons have a room upstairs that we could get.  It is always warm and it would be a good place to board.  I suppose our hopes shouldn’t be set too much on this matter because there isn’t a vacancy yet.

What do you know.  Dad has been transferred to Omaha.  He will be road master over the railroad yards there.  He doesn’t know whether to like it or not.  It is a promotion and he will receive more money.  I think he will get $260 or $270/mo.  Mother doesn’t like the thought of moving to a city.  The poor folks have moved about so much that they know almost everybody and nobody at all.  The family will stay in Columbus until school is out.  Dad is to be congratulated on his success in view of the fact that he has practically no education.  Isn’t it foolish for you and me to worry about the future in view of the advantages we possess because of our training.  If we have the stuff in us that our parents have we ought to succeed in proportion to what they have.  I’m afraid we lack the simplicity and courage to meet problems that they have had.  We want too much to begin with.

We shall probably keep our present car because the proposed deal fell through.  It will be good enough for us in view of our circumstances.

John 3/20/30

First of all, I want to ask you about the suggestion made by Bess Marsh (Rachel’s note: this is the same person who offered John the opportunity to come to the Young Friend’s Conference in Toronto) concerning our work for next year.  She said she was sending a copy of the letter to you, so I assume that you understand the situation to which I refer.  Can you imagine doing such work?  I can very easily.  I like the prospect and have written telling Bess that we were interested (I thought you would be) and wanted to learn more about it.  I think it would be the wisest step for us unless we could both teach here in Monroe – even then it might be wiser.  I think so for these reasons: we would both be profitably and, I think, happily occupied, we would earn quite good wages – more than if only I teach, we would form contacts in the east which we must sooner or later do, we would have the opportunity of going to school part of the time. This would enable us to get established so we could study full time another year perhaps.  The experience would be good for both of us, and your ability to instruct music would be a very great contribution to such an enterprise.  If we could start to work in July or August the question of summer employment after the conference would be solved.  I shall anxiously await your letter telling me what you think of the affair.

John 3/23/30

It is hard for me to wait until I hear from you to learn of your reaction to the suggestion made by Bess Marsh.  I’m afraid that if you leave the matter to me and we are acceptable to the people in Philadelphia, we will undertake the work in preference to anything else which is prospective.  The opportunity strikes me as being a very fortunate one for us in view of our qualifications and circumstances.  Now you may explode all such thoughts when I get your letter but nevertheless I shall consider arguments both pro and con.

Yesterday I took a Sunday school class of boys to the river for a picnic.  They showed me a good time.  After supper last evening I had to go to play practice and following that I stopped at Sutton’s and visited with the “old maids” (school teachers).  We felt silly so we passed the time spinning yarns, making up poetry about each other, etc.  One thing I have missed greatly this year and that is real companionship with young fellows of my own age.  Often would I have given much to have Ralph, Kenneth or Guy here.

Perhaps in view of the conditions of banking institutions it’s a good thing I don’t have any money to worry me.  I haven’t thought about the problem you face before now, but I share in your fear.  If money were in a local bank, and you knew something about that institution it would be different than having it in a “foreign” institution.  It isn’t a job for me to decide what you should do with it; it is your own. It would appear rather selfish of me to suggest that I use it.  It would be too bad to lose that which you will need badly sometime.  If you should feel that it should be used to pay some of my debts that must be your own action.

John 3/25/30

You are a game little sweetheart.  I can imagine some girls insisting on staying near mother or desiring all without giving much.  Not so with you.  You attitude toward our work makes it easy for me – or comparatively easy.  (Rachel’s note: is this where granddaughter’s Sarah and Amanda get their independence??)

I’m awfully anxious to hear from Philadelphia and I expect to again within a day or two.  If the people in Philadelphia will hire us we’re hired as far as I am concerned.  Indeed, I should like to go to the Univ. of Penn or I might possibly attend the new Quaker school. (Rachel’s note: He is refering to Pendle Hill outside of Phila.)

Do you know for certain whether Penn State College is the same as the Univ. of Penn? It occurs to me that we might get to see and be with Mr. Peters again if they are the same.  I would enjoy that.  No, I hold no thoughts of jealousy or hatred toward him.  I blame myself and you, not him.  I always admired and respected Mr. Peters and still do. (Rachel’s note: first mention of Penn State! Apparently Prof. Peters was teaching at PSU. You’ll remember that Ruth and Ted had a bit of a fling while at NCC.)   

Regarding finances in Philadelphia, I would receive about the same as I do now.  You would get a bit less.  I would get $100 plus board and room and laundry; you $80 plus room.  In other words we would receive about $150 a month clear of our expenses.  I think this would be enable us to do some of the things we desire, don’t you?

Hurrah!  Our bank is going to open this week or so it appears.  the whole town is feeling better because of it.  We shall get only 30% of our deposits to begin with, but that will be a great help.  I can use this money just now very nicely.  Especially in view of the fact that the church at Central City is calling for some assistance.  I feel inclined to help a little at least.


No word het from Bess, though I have been expecting to hear every day.  The time is passing and I must know what I am going to do within the next two weeks.  I don’t want to give up my work here when everything else is so uncertain.  Surely I shall hear about the work at Philadelphia tomorrow.  The questions which you ask are real, but I can’t answer them for you until I hear further word from Bess.  It will be great fun to actually work out details, won’t it?  When I come up again we will have so many interesting things to talk about.  Your folks will be interested too, no doubt.

Needless to say I’m very anxious to see Guy and President at Central.  While I’m visiting with President I shall propose the little job which we have for him.  Won’t that be fun?  Don’t you wish you could be a little mouse in a corner?

John 3/30/30  This is the letter with details of the jobs in Philadelphia as social workers with the Friends Neighborhood Guild.

I’ve had a wonderful weekend.  Before I left Monroe I received a letter from Bess which greatly interested me.  She said that she had gone out to see Miss Lang and had talked to her further about us.  She explained the work a bit more in detail.  Both you and I would have charge of the spiritual, thought, and recreational life of the guild.  Two other women would be on the staff.  They have a dental and children’s clinic, which require some other helpers, I presume.  The Cottage is a two storied brick building.  We would share this building with Miss Lang and another lady.  We would have our own room – a large one upstairs – and then have access to the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, etc.  The place is well equipped and nicely furnished.  We would have no cooking to do – doesn’t that please you?  A maid is there to take care of all the routine work.  I naturally suppose that we would have some minor obligations about the house.  Bess said that the hours for my work would be between two and five in the afternoon and then again after supper for two or three hours.  She didn’t say anything about your hours but I presume they would be similar to mine.  This would allow us to go to school in the morning if we chose.  Bess suggested that Miss Lang would like to go on thinking in terms of our coming and that I should have some recommendations sent.

Consequently, I have written Miss Lang and have asked four persons to send reference:  Mr. Kotus, Dr. Stewart, Guy Solt, and President.  I read Guy’s recommendation – he was certainly generous to us.  I suggested that they mention your music abilities as well as your many other qualities.  Guy’s letter made me jealous he said such nice things about you.  Now all we need to do is await an answer to all this.  I believe it will be in our favor.  The folks at Central were all agreed upon the wisdom of our decision.  They feel that it is an opportunity which will open many larger things in the future.  You can’t realize how startled I was when Guy said what he did today: he said that the only reason I had not been asked to take Bess’s job as Young Friend’s Secretary was the fact that I have had no experience with Friends outside of Nebraska.  Gracious!  I didn’t imagine I could even be considered as a possible candidate for such work. (Rachel’s note: I just knew Guy Solt was involved with Dad getting to Phila.  Now I know how.)

So much for school and work!  Mr. and Mrs. Carrell were both present when I asked them if they would drive to Allen in June.  They said they couldn’t miss such an event – thus another question is solved satisfactorily.  We talked some about the ceremony but he said he would arrange that after you and I had talked about it.  Let’s talk with your folks when I come up.

Mother hates to think that we may go so far from home – in fact she says I can’t, but she knows I will if the chance comes.  We will no doubt get homesick, but that can be overcome and we can probably come home next summer.  At least let’s plan that way – then it’s more likely to get done.

Thank goodness I can see the end of my indebtedness to the bank at Central.  Next month will square me with them.  What other debt I have, save for my Ford which isn’t entirely paid for, can be cared for when possible.  Believe me, I’ve worked hard to manage things this year so that I would not be worried to death because of finances.  I’ll be happy when final word comes from Miss Lang.  Believe me, I’ll be disappointed if this whole thing “blows up”.  Let’s pray that it won’t.  It is trying to be so torn between conflicting plans and desires; especially when we are dependent upon the assistance and generosity of others as much as are we.

February 1930

Four months and counting and John and Ruth still don’t have a clue what they are going to do after the wedding, although they do decide on their honeymoon and a time frame for the wedding (thanks to Merl and Lillian).  No job for the summer and so many options for the fall.  Will John teach in Allen, Central, Fullerton, Monroe, Oklahoma?  or work for the railroad? 

Ruth 2/2/30

I knew there would be a letter waiting here for me when I returned this evening  I was so anxious to hear what Bess had to say about me going to Canada too.  I’m no good at deciding anything.  Between us we just seem to go round and round.  Now that the possibility has been offered, I would a little rather be married in the spring and go to Canada with you and I guess I’ll just leave the rest of the summer to you.  That will be an easy way out of it for me.  How would you like that?  I think by all means you should attend the conference because another opportunity like that may not come again soon. Of course I would like to go with you if I can.  If you went to the conference alone and we were married later, it would be rather an expensive summer for you.  Isn’t it horrid to always have to be thinking about money?

I can’t decide anything until you know what you will do and you want to know what I am going to do.  It’s a vicious circle.  I imagine we will learn this week whether we were re-elected.  I don’t know of a one on the faculty who wouldn’t be re-elected.

Ruth 2/3/30

I told you that our school board elected teachers last week.  Mr. Kruse came in to talk to me this morning and tell me the results of the meeting.  I was re-elected with a raise for which I am very glad, of course.  All the grade teachers got a raise with the exception of one who reached the maximum grade salary.  All the high school teachers were re-elected with the exception of one – wait until I tell you who and consequently the way for of this letter.  Just a few minutes ago I was up to the building with Catherine getting some supplies and I sang in the hall forgetting there was another board meeting.  I may get called on the carpet yet.  To go back to the important thing…. Ingram was the member of the faculty who was not re-elected.  That is, he received a complimentary election with the understanding that the position is open.  I couldn’t get that out of my mind all day.  As far as I can see, you could fill the place to the letter.  You could handle basketball beautifully.  You surely could do as much with football as Nurmie has and if you couldn’t teach manual training better than he has I won’t marry you.  Nurme is supposedly teaching physics and I’m not sure you are prepared for that, are you?  Considering everything, I think this is an ideal job for you.  The present salary is $1450.

After this years’ experience I would really enjoy coming back here to teach again.  I know I would if we were not getting married this summer.  I don’t know just what you would think of this town but we could surely live through one year at least.  What do you think?  Best of all would before you to come up and have a direct conference with the board  Now if you want them to consider us both, make it plain that I would like very much to come back to my work.  If they won’t consider that they might consider your application alone if you want them to.  Mother would be please to death to have us so close home.  Act soon. We will probably have until the first of the March to sign or reject our contracts for next year.  The more I think about it the more excited I get.  Will wait in suspense for your reply.

Ruth 2/4/30

The whole faculty went to the show “The Thing Called Love”.  It was a good show but not at all like the thing have we called love.   I hope I have sense enough to control myself and never cause a scene between us.  We are always going to remember our agreement that we will kiss first and then discuss the point of disagreement.

Ruth 2/5/30

At last Merl has told me what his plans are for the summer.  Of course I’ll have to tell you, but we had better keep it to ourselves for evidently he isn’t broadcasting them.  He and Lillian will get married as soon as school is closed and you would never guess where.  In the Friends church at Denver.  President Carrell will officiate.  Who would’ve “thunk” it?  Long live the bridegroom.  I wrote to him asking him if he and Lillian could come to our wedding in June.  They plan to take a trip through some of the southern states, but he said they could cut that short and come back in time for our wedding.

You see what I am doing?  You might have known it after you suggested the possibility of being married early in June.  To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t think of it any other way.  All along I have just been trying to decide what we should do that would be best.  The sooner the better. And I’ll let you worry about the rest of the summer.  If you are willing to give up that retreat and its pleasures just to have me go to Toronto with you, I’ll let anything go which might have come up for me during the summer.  Then we could be together all summer. After your enumeration of all our fine qualities, I feel like we could almost rule the world if we chose to do so.  I grant we have a lot in our favor.

Ruth 2/9/30

Yes, I have made up my mind that I have already bought some of my clothes.  I know you will think that is foolish and taking a good deal for granted. but I’ll tell you how it happened.  Yesterday I went shopping for a dress.  I would have to be in style you know with a long dress.  I have been looking for one for some time but had almost given up in despair.  I couldn’t find any that fit or suited me at all.  Yesterday I went into a classy little shop and in fifteen minutes had tried on several dresses that fit me as though they had been made for me.  Then I couldn’t decide which one to take so I took two.    One is a black and white outfit that I will wear now; the other one I am going to keep until spring and it will be just the thing to wear at the conference and in our journeying about.  Buying it now will be saving in nervous energy and time.  I don’t like to shop for clothes because I usually have such a hard time.  What ever shall I do when I look for my wedding dress!  What kind of a dress would you like for me to wear?  Should it be white?

Lillian said Merl said hers should be white, so white she will have.  She is going to Denver to get her clothes and wanted to know if I didn’t want to go with her.  I hope I don’t have to go that far away to buy my clothes.  Sometimes I feel like most anything would do just to get it over with.  You had better help me choose.

Ruth 2/11/30

Your letter this morning made me very happy.  I was so anxious to hear what you would say about my decision.  I think you must have known how I would decide. There will be many changes taking place in my mind before final arrangements are made no doubt so don’t get confused and bewildered with all my statements.  There are so many little things to think about that are necessary to make everything run smoothly.  This is one time there must not be any flaws of any description

When Dad was taking me to the train Saturday he was asking me about Merl and his plans and then he told me something about his ambition for the boys.  I’ll tell you about it some time.  It came with something of a surprise to realize that the folks are not working for themselves, but everything is for the boys.  It isn’t the pleasure of accumulating for self, but for the joy of giving.  It makes a warm glow around my heart to know that I have such parents.

During this talk would have been the time for me to talk to Dad about my own approaching marriage, but somehow I couldn’t just then.  I had a feeling that Dad would feel badly.  Have you ever talked to him about it?  If you haven’t, do you think you have done the fair thing to him?  I love Dad a lot and I think we should both talk to him about our plans.

You are to be congratulated upon the excellent standing you have in that community.  It is something to have people ask you to accept a position such as has been almost as good as offered you.  It doesn’t surprise me at all.  I expect such things will happen a good many times in your life.  Your worth is quickly seen and people are eager to make use of it.  I shall be proud to be the wife of such a man I love you and will always be your greatest admirer. (Rachel’s note: her faith in Dad was well rewarded.) 

Ruth 2/13/30

You are very kind to supply my sweet tooth for a while.  Your valentine was lovely, or perhaps it would be more appropriate for me to say it was delicious.

I anticipate a merry time tomorrow.  The children are quite excited about valentines.  The box is brimful now and I know many of the children haven’t brought their valentines yet.  It is great sport to watch their pleasure.

valentine collection

Some more of the collection of valentines saved from Ruth’s teaching years.

My heart goes out in sympathy for Catherine tonight.  She received word last evening that her father has had a stroke and is not able to speak or move one side of his body.  He was found in his car in Hartley, Iowa and was taken to a hospital there.  Catherine is very broken up about it and declares she knows he will never get well again.  I don’t blame her for being worried, but I wouldn’t take that attitude.  She taught today but I know it was a dreadful day for her.  She felt so badly that Mr. Kruse took her home to Sioux City to be with her mother.  Her mother is very emotional and taking on dreadfully.  I can sympathize because death came so near entering our family last spring only a year ago.

Ruth 2/16/30

I look with unusual eagerness for your letters now.  There are so many interesting things they might contain about various things.  I’m always interested in the things you are doing, but your actions now are so closely linked with my future that I cannot refrain from being overly eager.  Scarcely four months left in which must we be dependent upon letters to convey our thoughts and feelings. Then we shall be together forever to share everything.  I often wish that I might take a peek into the future and see just how it will work – you and me living together.  You have expressed such beautiful hopes for our lives.  Truly it will be a joy.

I dream about you and my heart races.  I remember one night in particular at Young’s Park last summer.  I was sitting in a swing waiting for you after meeting one evening.  Presently out of the darkness you called my name and then came to me.  As you stooped to kiss me there I realized how tender, sweet and real your love for me is.  There is always a tender caress in your hands that I dearly love.  I cannot ever imagine harshness in them.

Ruth 2/18/30

I am as dense as a block of wood tonight.  I’ve had a cold for some time and can’t seem to get rid of it.  I feel fine during the day but when evening comes I feel punk.  I have fever and nearly burn up.  I am going to be inoculated for scarlet fever tomorrow.  I have put it off as long as I feel I dare but I have such a horror of the disease that I have decided to take this precaution.  Nearly every day another family is quarantined and children are taken out of school.  We rather thought the thing had died out last week but it still appears this week.

John, you accuse me of being changeable.  I don’t think I am a bit more than you are.  I was very much surprised at your present proposed occupation.  I didn’t suppose you ever thought of that now.  I guess the trains have a lasting hold on all you folk.  Of course it is an idea to play with and may work out very nicely.  Keep it in mind.  However, this came to my mind.  If you take up that work you are more apt to lose sight of your master’s degree or any further school work. If you took up work with the railroad next year would we live in Columbus?  That would be a happy arrangement, don’t you think?  You decide.  I shall be happy and try to be content if I may have just a few things: give me a piano, home, and you to love and I shall make out very nicely.  I will try very hard not to worry about finances.

Ruth 2/20/30

I spoke too hastily in my last letter for I didn’t have the inoculation done after all. The doctor at Wakefield talked me out of it.  His personal opinion was that it wasn’t worth the risk of a serious reaction.  I know of no recent cases of scarlet fever and we hope the scare has died down.

I suppose you are having the same problem in your school that we are having here since the weather is so warm and that is this game of marbles.  What do you say to the boys who play marbles for keeps?  How should one talk to them about it?  Frankly, I don’t know.  I have no strong convictions either way.  Kruse talked to my boys today and several told him they didn’t know any other way to play.  What do you think about it?

Ruth 2/24/30

Word came this evening that Catherine’s father died late his afternoon  I am so sorry for her sake.  God alone knows why such things must happen.  It will be comparatively easy for the girls to forget their sorrow and live their lives happily, but poor dear Mrs. Meyers is left alone in the world with very little left to live for.  Imagine how alone she must feel.  I do not see how I could live without you.  If anything should happen to you it might as well happen to me too, for life would be void without you.  You have – and most men do have – your work quite independent of the home.  My work and all my hopes for the future are centered around you and the home we make together.  I must see you soon.

Ruth 2/25/30

Now that you know what your opportunities are for next year, I’ll tell you what I think.  Not that my decisions on such matters amount to much, but I want you to know how I feel.  I don’t imagine that you have heard anything from Kruse and I hope not.  What would you think if I told him not to consider your application, and that I would turn my contract back unsigned? I wouldn’t care to live in this town without working, and we couldn’t get a decent house to live in anyway – at least one that is at all modern.  Just say the word and I’ll tell Kruse this.  That man and I get along less and less every week.  He doesn’t even give me a chance to be nice to him anymore.  To tell the truth, I don’t believe I want to teach at all next year – so far domesticated have I become (imagine me saying that last spring).

I would love to live in Central City. Haven’t I told you may times that I wish we might always make that our home?  I like the town, the college is there, we have many close friends there, our church is there.  It would suit me perfectly.

I think as you do that we would be very happy in Fullerton.  It would really be starting a new life for we know very few people there  No doubt we would find much to make life pleasant  It is up to you to decide what to do.

We learned today that Catherine’s father will be buried Thursday afternoon.  Mr. Kruse is asking the board if school may be dismissed that afternoon to allow the teachers to go.  I feel I should go because Catherine and I have always chummed together and she would expect me.  Kruse made it a point to tell me this morning that if all couldn’t go, not one could.  I’d say something else, but I guess better leave it unsaid.

Ruth 2/28/30

School was dismissed this afternoon and all the faculty went in to Mr. Meyer’s funeral.  The service was beautiful and the family held together wonderfully well, but I felt so sorry for Catherine.  I just thought I couldn’t stand it.


John 2/2/30

I’ve worried unnecessarily I suppose about circumstances and plans.  As you say, our plans are so uncertain.  Time and patience alone can tell what will be best.  Whether or not things work out for next year, as we hope they will, we cannot afford to live apart.  If working harder and longer before we realize our dreams we must, then so shall it be; but to live another year in dreams but suppressed love I won’t.  How’s that for dogmatism?  Your love merits the best that a girl can have and it is my privilege to see that you have it – not all at once – but there are many years ahead.

I have the blues this weekend.  If I could afford it I would come next weekend but unfortunately I cannot.  There are so many things I want to do that I almost get desperate at times because finances will not permit.  If the money were available there would be no worry about plans for the summer and for next year.

John 2/4/30

I’m no further in my thinking about plans for next summer than I was.  I’m satisfied, as are you, about two things: that the conference should be attended and that we get married.  If you would be happy to leave the summer unplanned then I’d be willing to give up the retreat to have you go with me to the other conference in Toronto.

Believe me, though we may be poor, we shall not want for love.  After all, isn’t that all that is really necessary?  I blush when older people tell of their marriage in an earlier day to think that we hesitate and fear in view of our far better circumstances.  Our health is good, our ambition abundant, education fair, age young, love dynamic and all consuming, personalities attracting, reputations good.  If on the basis of these we can’t achieve our aims then we shall prove to be terribly poor stewards of our talents. We, as are most young people I suppose, are too impatient for success, and too sensitive to imagined discomforts.  Impatience is always the fruit of ambition.

John 2/6/30

What a busy week this has been.   I’ve been gone every night until late.  Tonight instead of having our regular HI Y meeting we all went to the YMCA at Columbus where we spent the evening playing basketball, swimming, and playing ping pong.  That is the only disadvantage of coaching basketball – your evenings are taken.  Perhaps, if I teach at  Allen next year I could arrange to practice after school.

So you would have liked to have seen me when I read your letter.  You would?  I was in the office at the school; it was just about 8:30 while I was yet reading. Mr. Kotas asked me about staying here another year.  I’d like to be at Allen when Kruse reads the letter I wrote.  I wonder what he will say or think.  Do you suppose he will talk it over with you?

John 2/5/30

I’ll tell you what I did in response to your letter.  After school I sat down at the typewriter and knocked off a long letter Kruse.  In it I applied for the vacant position and stated my qualifications.  Then I told him that we were going to be married this summer and that we both wanted to teach if possible.  If that is not a possibility then I wanted to be considered for the position.

Mr. Kotas asked me this morning if I would consider returning next year.  I told him that we were to be married and that I would consider coming back.  I said that I was looking for something that might be better, and he said he was also looking for something else.  Unless I could get the superintendency here or both of us can get work, I would choose to teach at Allen if it were possible.  Then you could continue in your music work and be near home.  I suppose that the best thing we can do now is wait and pray that things shall work out as we want them to.

Both of my teams won tonight.  The main game was won 24-10.  My boys are very good on their home floor.

John 2/9/30

At last two decisions are made, or so it appears.  First, we shall be married at your home and second, that the event will take place in June and that we shall go to Canada.  Thank you for your decisions – it’s a great load off my mind.  What date do you suggest?  I am so anxious that you have everything just like you want it.  Only that can make me happy.  So you see the planning is up to you.  You ask my advice on what colors you shall wear – you do it to  be kind and not because of my judgment on such amounts to a great deal.  You know that I like blues and pinks.  However, on such an occasion I think I should just a little prefer pink – not a deep pink – but a light one. (Rachel’s note: I couldn’t believe that Dad actually had an opinion about her dress!  Ruth’s letters never actually say when she bought the dress.  It is indeed a light rosy pink/lavender color. I have it in the attic.)

Before long we will have decided on what we will do next year.  One of the members of the school board came to me today and asked me if I wouldn’t stay.  He said I simply must stay and that I would be given a raise.  He also suggested that they were considering offering me the position of superintendent.  Next Saturday I plan to go to Central City and Fullerton and apply.

So Merl and Lillian are really going to do it!  Your family will decrease all of a sudden, won’t it?  I’m glad they are going to get married, Lillian must be terribly happy.  I’m glad we aren’t as old as they, aren’t you?  What are they going to do this summer?  Dear old Ralph may be the bachelor in the family – wouldn’t that be strange in view of his fondness for girls?  I hope he will sing at our wedding.

John 2/11/30

Each day I expect word from Kruse but as yet I haven’t heard a word.  I know it is early yet to expect a reply but I hope one comes soon.  The board here didn’t elect last night as they had planned so there won’t be need for such great haste in hearing from Allen and elsewhere.  However, I’ll be glad to get matters settled, won’t you?  I’d like to take a shot at affairs there in Allen, especially for your dear sake.  Then you could keep on with your music.

No, I don’t think it silly that you are buying some of your clothes now. It seems wise from every view for you to do so.  I’d love to see your new dresses – or better still to see the one in which you are going to be married.  Lillian will wear white?  Do you want to?  I have suggested pink already but if you would rather I would just as soon have white.  I suppose it’s about time for me to think about such things for myself too, don’t you think?  I have thought about it but I don’t think I’ll do much buying until school is out.  Now you suggest to me how I should be dressed.

It takes me a long time to write even a short letter anymore.  I dream so much while I am writing.  A reverie of at least ten minutes took place between these last two paragraphs.

John 2/13/30

Your valentine was dear.  I love it.  I want you badly tonight; I feel like I could love you to death if that were possible.  It seems like a long time since I’ve seen you; it really has been a month and a half.  I’m surely coming to see you perhaps in two weeks, but it may be three because of the basketball tournament that will be held in Columbus.

valentine 30

Inside it says: Just loving you ~ what a comfort you are to me. Just loving you ~ how much happiness true will be mine every minute today and tomorrow and always and always ~ dear. Just loving YOU. And Mom writes, “there is nothing more to say.”

You are right about what I should do in regard to your father.  I have had it in mind at several times to talk to you father about the matter but a satisfactory opportunity has never come.  When we are at your place your folks are always busy or else the entire family is there and thus it is hard to talk about such things.

The board met tonight to discuss the election of teacher.  I’m anxious to hear their verdict.  If I get the superintendency here I think I should take it unless we could both get work here or at Allen or elsewhere.

John 2/16/30

Mother showed me a set of pillow cases she is making for us and said she was making another set similar to those.  It is interesting, isn’t it? how much our folks care for and think of us.  I told her something of our plans and she was pleased.

What do you know about this?  Mere speculation, no doubt, but never-the-less something interesting to play with.  I said, “Dad, why don’t you get me a job on the railroad?”.  He said, “I think I can”.  We talked further and he said that undoubtedly he could get me a job in the office that would in many ways beat teaching school.  Its queer isn’t it how our ideas are shaped by circumstances.  Had I not been so greatly influenced by NCC, I no doubt would be at something very different from what I am now doing.  Our plans would be quite different should Dad happen to stumble on something that suited me.  Don’t worry, though.

A sign on the bill board in front of the garage struck me queerly the other day.  It said “Minnie Ha Ha lived in her tee hee:.  Rather clever, don’t you think?  The one that appears on the signboard now is “a waffle is only a pancake with cleats”.  (Rachel’s note:  Dad always loved these silly word play jokes.  His oldest grandchild, Laurie, wrote the most beautiful poem that she read at his memorial service that included his famous jokes that all of the grandkids remember.)

It was rather a surprise to me last Friday night when my boys played Columbus Reserves.  We won 19-12.  Our next engagement is in the tournament in two weeks.  People here think I must be a good coach but it isn’t I, it is the boys.  Next year the story might be different, were I to coach here because my entire first team graduates.

In a few minutes I’m going to write to my cousin in Oklahoma regarding a teaching position.  He seemed so disappointed last year because I had taken this position and so sure that I could have gotten a job in Tulsa.  Next week I’m going to Central and Fullerton.

You are no doubt asking yourself, “if John is so nearly broke now, how much will he have by spring?”  To be frank and truthful, I won’t have as much as I should like.  I must concede that this has been an expensive year for me though I will have most of my debts paid by the time  school is over.  Had it not been for them and my car I would have saved about $600 this year or half of my wages.  Before the summer is over I expect I shall need to borrow, but I don’t care for that.  I’ll look after the finances so you need not worry.  I’ll try not to worry too and I won’t unless you do.  It would be nice to have plenty of money, yet I have no apologies which I can make.  I’ve done my best – which I can truthfully say.

John 2/18/30

Isn’t life interesting.  Just for instance this relationship of ours.  In the early days of our courtship we little thought as we lived our way of the wonders and ends of our actions.  It was just another illustration of the truth that “we live our way into our thinking, rather than thinking our way into our living”.  When I try to analyze my heart and past actions I can’t get far.  All I can remember is that I liked you well enough to desire to go with you steady.  Gradually I came to care and looked after you with jealous care.  The hurts you gave me in those days didn’t intimidate me, but on deepened my feelings toward you.  Gradually you came to me and I was happy.  I have loved you without question ever since.  Worries don’t come in to upset me like they have done sometimes.  I’ve made mistakes and serious ones too, but I really feel forgiven now and that is a relief.

John 2/20/30

It doesn’t take much to make you happy, does it?  You say just “a piano, home, and you”.  Certainly your expectations aren’t very high.  You know you’ll have all these sometime, but I’m not so sure the last of those will be as rewarding as you think.

More work!  The town, or group of business men of Monroe, have recently decided to put on a six week’s good will drive in the rural communities around Monroe.  This is to interest people who seem to be drifting away as a result of the bank failure.  They have asked me to give an address on all of these meetings – six or eight altogether.  They want me to emphasize the necessity of good will, cooperation, etc.  It is a big job but I gladly consented to do it.  I’m eager to make use of any such opportunities, even though I can’t do them very well.

John 2/25/30

We had our meeting across the river tonight.  There were about 125 people there and we felt the meeting to be very successful.  I talked for about thirty minutes and had the time of my life in so doing.  Things went well for me as far as I could see.

Word reached me last night of my aunt’s death.  She will be buried Thursday in the cemetery at Grand Island where her baby is buried.  I am going to Columbus tomorrow evening after basketball and then o to Kearney with the folks.  This event together with the tournament Friday and Saturday makes a very full week for me.

I was interested in what you had to say about Waterbury needing a superintendent.  Do you suppose it would be well for me to make application there?  It is going to be hard for me to leave Monroe next year and the more I enter into the community life the harder it will become.  How I wish they would hire us both.

John 2/28/30

The funeral was very pitiful.  Aunt Bertha was only 41 years of age and it hurt her husband and daughter terribly.  Grandmother and father took it very hard.  Poor Grandmother is not likely to see another winter.  My uncle has had so many doctor bills that he is destitute and my Grand folks are terribly hard up.  You see the only money they had was lost in the bank failure and Grandpa can’t work.  He has his property there in Kearney.  If I had the money I would buy his property – not because I desire it so much but to help them.  I think one could purchase this property reasonably and by remodeling the house have an excellent home.

I’m baffled, so to speak, when I consider what we shall do next year.  I dislike very much to apply here for you when you would rather not teach at all.  Further, I dislike to encourage you to teach against your desire.  On the other hand, I must go on  to school and I will if I have to work and scratch for the next ten years to do so.  We have undertaken two or three big things which we shall need to accomplish: get married and be happy, second, continue our education.  The first is a settled matter and the second will have to be worked out.  I want so much to talk to you about these things.  Writing is a poor way of expressing my ideas and desires.