October 1928

10/4/28

Would I object if you come to see me!  What a question to ask!  I nearly wrecked things yesterday when I learned you were coming,  I was so excited last night I could hardly sleep.  Mother wants me to come home after supper Friday.  I hope you can get here before six to go to supper with me.  All the teachers are anxious to meet you.

Ruth 10/10/28

How I hated to see you go Sunday evening!  I didn’t want you to know how near to tears I was but I suppose you had guessed.

I have been giving six weeks examinations this week an it is nearly driving me mad.  I have been correcting papers until I am cross eyed  I got another new pupil Monday.  Are you keeping track?  That makes 42 pupils!  

Ruth 10/4/28

This past week has been a hectic one for me.  those windy warm days were miserable one.  They make the yougsters so restless.  Then Friday it rained and when it is muddy or disagreeable out of doors the children have to stay in their rooms.  It certainly is hard on th teachers.  It is almost impossible to keep the youngsters quiet which we are suppose to do.  Imagine my 42 all tearing around in the room.  It is quite like a mad house.  Itis slowly driving me insane.  I am quite sure that when I go to Norfolk to the teachers meeting they will never let me come home again. (Rachel’s note: there is a  mental hospital in Norfolk)

I didn’t think I would get home this weekend but Saturday morning Dad came up and got me.    The folks are spoiling me sure . I keep thinking Ill stay here every week but by the end of the week Im anxious to go home.

Friday evening we teachers “slung” another party at our boarding place.  If these parties aren’t the wildest things, I never hope to see them. It wasn’t as bad as the other one we had but it was plenty.  Some of these girls go just about as far as they can.  In the midst of this you may not have the same kind of a girl next spring as you had in school.  Plenty of jazz in the right crowd can do a plenty.

Ruth 10/16/28

Whatever has happened to my sweetheart?  I received your letter just before school this morning and I haven’t ben able to get it out of my mind sine  It has worried me a great deal.  Won’t you tell me more about your difficulties?  Of course I have an idea of what the trouble is from what you have told me but what has intensified the trouble now?  I thought my being away might help matters along with your other work.  It has helped me a great deal.  I don’t have much time to think about it.  I am afraid you have put off our wedded state almost too long.  I truly believe that our marriage would relieve your physical and consequently your mental condition entirely.  Mr. Ingram and I have been talking a long time this evening about married life.  He told me how he and his wife were married.  I am almost tempted to try the same thing on you.  I’m sure it wouldn’t take much coaxing to persuade you.  I’ll be thinking it over.  Make up your mind right now that you are coming up at Quarterly Meeting time.  You must so that I may talk to you.  Don’t bother about the expense.  Ill take care of that. Now don’t you say one word against it.  I’ve made up my mind.For once please do as I want you to without arguing.

I got another pupil this week. (up to 43!)  He is the cutest little freckled face boy you ever saw. However he hasn’t been to school yet this year so I must have another class for him in some things.  The week hasn’t been so terribly bad considering.

Last night we had a terrible rain storm.  It simply poured buckets.  Railroad track and road bridges have been washed out until we are left stranded out here on the prairie without communication with the outside world.

Ruth 10/21/28

I just got back in town this evening after a strenuous weekend in Sioux city.  We went down on the bus Friday evening after waiting about an hour on the bus.  That made us late in the city but we all had to go to the Orpheum.  The show was rather dumb I thought.  They could weep over it, but I didn’t feel the least inclined. The next night Meyers and I went to see “King of Kings”.  I thought it was perfectly marvelous.  Coming up on the bus this evening I got seasick.  The roads were muddy and the back part of the bus swayed back and forth so much it made me sick.  We spent Sat. afternoon shopping. Yes we got our pay checks Friday evening and you can guess how much of it I have left.  I’m wondering if these regular pay checks aren’t going to ruin me.  It is so easy to get the nice things I’ve wanted a long time but never felt like I could get.  I’ll get in the habit and then what?

I found this photo of the Orpheum lobby.  The theater has been restored and is still open.

I found this photo of the Orpheum lobby. The theater has been restored and is still open.

The Sioux City Orpheum was designed by the nationally known Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp and constructed in 1927 as part of the Orpheum Circuit. The major builder for the theatre was local Sioux City businessman, Arthur Sanford. It was one of the largest theatres in Iowa at its time and was certainly somewhat of a risk financially for Mr. Sanford, with a total construction cost of 1.75 million. This once opulent vaudeville and moving picture house boasted a large 2,650 seat, three story auditorium complete with Wurlitzer pipe organ, half circle boxes, hand carved detailing, gilded ornamentation, several crystal chandeliers and a hand painted ceiling.

Ruth 10/18/28

I certainly was happy to get you letter today.  I felt much better after reading it.  From the sound of your other letter you must have been having a “blue day”.  I feel a bit like that this evening, dear.  I can’t see that I am accomplishing a thing and worst of all my kids run wild almost.  I taped one boy’s mouth shut today to try to remind him that he isn’t supposed to talk out loud anytime he likes  How I dislike boys!  I just can’t appreciate them like I can my girls. It’s always the boys that cause mischief.  I’ve decided I’m never having any boys of my own.  They’re too much bother.  I’m just going to have girls and only about two at that.  I’ve fully decided that seventeen is about to many.

I’m going to Sioux City with Miss Myers this weekend if  it doesn’t storm.  Tomorrow is pay day again.  The lights have gone off and I’m having to use a little old kerosene light.  The wind is blowing cold.

Ruth 10/23/28

So far this week the youngsters have been terrible and the strain of it nearly has e down,  I have a cold in my head again.  Every afternoon after school I nearly fly away.  I need to learn to control my temper but how can I do it?  Do you know the secret?

Ruth 10/25/28

Yesterday I had considerable trouble with notes. Now I don’t object so much to notes themselves, but it is what I found in them.  My fifth graders were writing them and they were terrible.  You’d be surprised how much these youngsters know and what use they put it to.  Miss Meyers was just sick about her sixth graders, but what can we do?  If you can suggest anything that might be helpful especially in handling boys I wish you would tell me.  I don’t know what to do with them.  After school one fond parent came to see me.  However I appreciated it very much.  This father is very interested in how his boy gets along  We had a very nice talk together about his boy.  There were no hard words at all.  It was rather a climax though and the rest of the evening I was all nerves.

Ruth 10/28/28

Chester and Lawrence both have serious girlfriends.  Honestly I am quite crazy about those two boys  Chester seems to be liking school much better and has been on the honor student the last six weeks.  Both boys are interested in singing and have been singing for a choir at church.  I am getting rather thrilled myself.  We have a fine little group going if we can keep it going.  I’m going to get some special music and see what I can do with them but don’t have much time to work with them.

This should be a hard week.  I should have a Halloween party for my youngsters but oh how I dread it. I’ll need a police force to control things when those young hyenas get started.  That will be Wednesday and we head for Norfolk (for teacher’s conference) on Thursday.  You and all the other “home folks” are supposed to come on Saturday.  Next week I want to go to home coming at Central.  No wonder I feel and look like a wreck.

Oh boy for Friday to hurry!  I hardly know where to tell you to meet me.  I’m going to be at my cousins’ who lives half a block from the highway on this side of the green house but I can’t tell you the street  Earl McAfee is the name and the name is on the house.  Of course you can stay at our house if you don’t mind sleeping with Lawrence.  Mother asked him and he said he wouldn’t kick you but that isn’t the question; rather it is whether you can pull covers.  I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the NCC gang.  Josie will keep two of the boys at her house and two more can stay at our house.

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John 10/8/28

Just a word tonight to let you know that we arrived back home in good time.  Just to think that it was only such a short time ago that I was with you makes me wonder if it wasn’t only a dream.  I’m glad it was more than that.  All your friends dropped by the bookstore today to ask about you.

President Carrell hasn’t returned yet, but he only asked me to conduct his class today so I don’t suppose I will need to tomorrow. (Rachel’s note: Dad gets his first taste of teaching)

John 10/21/28

You’ve probably been having a good time in the city this weekend.  I went home last night on the train.  Dad met me and we talked until quite late.  It was awfully good to see the folks and kiddies.  When we go away to school no doubt we will get homesick for our people.  I returned to Central this afternoon.  Who should I find but our brother Merl.  He was on his return trip from Lincoln.  As usual he was in a hurry so we didn’t get to talk long. (Rachel’s note: sounds like Dad is realizing that age-old phenomenon that when a kid gets to be 21 years old  his/her parents miraculously get smarter!)

I found another photo album in the attic so I can finally share a good photo of Dad's parents, Leonard & Dicie Ferguson.  Don't know when this portrait was taken.

I found another photo album in the attic so I can finally share a good photo of Dad’s parents, Leonard & Dicie Ferguson. Don’t know when this portrait was taken.

Some terrible things have happened among friends.  Last weekend one of Edith’s best chums from Shelton  who was attending school at Kearney was stuck by a car and killed.  Edith took it quite hard.  Then when Orville, Marian, and Horace were returning from Grand Island they saw a train smash a car.  Orville stopped and picked up the woman who was alone and brought her to Central where she died an hour later.  She was the wife of the superintendent of Archer High School’s wife.  I know Mr. Bartle. Imagine his grief!  Death seems bitter especially when it comes close to home.

Don’t dislike your boys too much dear, remember that your papa and I were boys once and aren’t we nice?

John 10/14/28

Oh how I wish this weekend were like the last one!  While you are having objective problems I am having subjective ones.  I have been brought face to face with some of my weakness or sins, those that have been with me for years.  I have tried and tried to overcome them;  I have sought the help of what I thought was God as earnestly as I know how.  As I face this situation I find myself in a sea of doubt.  Maybe what I have thought to be God is only a mental concept of my own. After I recover I will no doubt be the better for having this experience but I don’t enjoy such conditions.  In you I have someone who both understands and cares.  I’m basing a lot of hopes for personal uplift on our marriage.

On Thursday York defeated us 16-6. (Rachel’s note: love how he switches gears!) The game was awfully ragged because it was played ia steady downpour.  Everyone got thoroughly soaked, even dear President.  The ball was so slick that about every play was a fumble.  After the game the girls invited us over to the dorm and we had a party which was fun.  Last night the Junior and Senior classes had a party at Estella’s home.  I can’t ever remember having laughed so much at a party. 

I had a letter from Wilbur Thomas telling me about an opening to teach school ad be of service to a small Friend’s church in PA.  I don’t suppose anything will come of it but I want to pry around a bit and see what I could get to do should I not get a school in New England.  Only four or five miles from this high school is a grade school at which mostly Friends students attend.  You can guess what such a situation suggests.  I think I would sooner teach in New England.

John 10/16/28

I have recovered somewhat from my recent broodings and will write again.  Activity is a good remedy for such experiences.  I just finished my book “Realizing Religion” and honestly it is the most personal book I have ever read.  We had a cabinet meeting tonight and I was led to speak about the shallowness of our living ad how that in an attempt to be modern we were expecting to produce Christians by working from the outside in rather than inside out.  The thought was accepted and a spirited response was the result.

So you continue to have your problems and they are increasing at that.  I hope you don’t go entirely insane, please don’t.  Don’t take the noise too seriously; imagine the childish pranks of your early days, and mine too.

In one week fro next Saturday Quarterly Meeting will be held in North Loup.  The quartet and gospel team are all coming and then I’m coming to see you.

Gospel team & quartet.  John is in the letter sweater.

Gospel team & quartet. John is in the letter sweater.

John 10/18/28

I’m lonesome tonight.  All afternoon I tinkered around fixing my Ford.  I’m glad I have my Ford to tinker with, it is a good form of recreation.  This evening I went to the Presbyterian church to hear a program by a missionary from West Africa.

I wish you were taking the course in drama with me this year.  We are reading many plays and nearly all of them make e think of you and our life together to come. I just finished reading “Doll’s House”.  It portrayed the misunderstanding and conflict that too often exists between man and wife.  The conflict had many similarities to that which we experienced last spring.  Oh how it made my heart ache.  I could understand the attitude of the girlfriend character much better than the other members of the class.  It made me see the wife’s viewpoint in a different way.  I think more as you want me to see it. My hope is that I can learn to be all that I should and all that you expect and want me to be.  Then I would be happy.

John 10/19/28

I’m sorry I worried you. I don’t think there is need for any more anxiety.  After the storm come the sunshine.  Friday night I started reading and meditation.  I recalled how earnestly I have sought release from some of my habits and it seemed to me that there was no use trying further.  I was forced to ask if God answers prayer why hasn’t he answered mine?  And so went my thoughts.  I’ll come out all right though; my hope and faith has been renewed.  I mustn’t be so impatient.  As a result of this experience my whole philosophy has been tried, that is a good thing. I think I am nearer the truth now than I was before.

I have spent most of today in the laboratory working on zoology.  I didn’t like that subject at first but now I am liking it quite a bit.  Did you take it?  It seems to me that I remember you twisting your tongue over such words as plasmodium , coelenterata, etc.

John 10/24/28

It has definitely been decided that home coming will be Nov 10.  Won’t you please come home?  Perhaps Lee, Barney or some of the other “old timers” will be driving down and you could ride with them.  There will be a football game between the “old timers” and the current team in the afternoon, dinner after that and a program.  Our men’s glee club will make its first appearance upon that occasion.  You can’t afford to miss such a treat.

Tomorrow I’m afraid we’ll receive a defeat at the hand of Midland College.  Never-the-less NCC will have a great time.  How I wish I could play?  I’ve suffered a sprained had for the past two days from practicing football.

School is quite enjoyable but it is awfully hard work for me anyway.  Practically all I have done is study , all day and every night until late and I haven’t received any encouraging grades as yet.  I thought I was doing well in zoology until I got my examination paper for the first six weeks back with a grad of 80 on it.  The first test I took in history I only got 85 so I haven’t much to compliment myself upon.  I guess the only thing for me to do is to keep working.  I’m awfully glad this is my last year of college.  I don’t know how I could live thru another on for several reasons.  First of all I want you, then I want to start doing something for someone besides myself, then I want to get away from this drudge of financial embarrassment.  If it is a hard to save money while teaching as you and Merl say I’m beginning to wonder if we can go on to school after I teach one year.  At the end of this year I will be in debt over $200 and then there are several things I will want to buy next year.  at least it is something to think about.

John 10/28/28

Back home from Quarterly Meeting.  It has been snowing all day so the roads were quite slippery coming home.  I didn’t put on chains and got stuck on one hill.  My Ford continues to perform nicely.  I’m not sure we had a good meeting.  Actually, sometimes I want to revolt from the whole matter of religion, particularly the “holy, amen” type.  I’ve seen enough of that this weekend to run a lifetime and if I have to preach that kind of religion then I quit.  I spent the weekend with Guy Solt.  That kind of religion sours him as much as is does me.

Our football team went down to defeat 38-0 at the hands of Midland last Friday.  The game was better than the score indicates.  Our fellows played hard and well.  It will be three weeks until we play Grand Island College.

From the booklet of NCC songs and yells (I swear I’m not making this up!):

For we are quiet Quakers

And to yell would be a sin.

But we’ll  whisper to you gently

That we’re sure to win.

Yip skitty bow wow, rah, rah, rah

Central, Central rah, rah, rah!!

Our glee club is progressing slowly but we will have a couple of songs ready for home coming.  I like the songs we are working on very much, although you know how poorly I sing.  I get provoked because of my inability to sig but there may be better days ahead.

Let me just pass on this advice now about your boys.  Don’t be surprised at anything you discover in the lives of your boys.  I can full appreciate how some things which seem impossible to you have found their places  You helped one boy to make himself better, dear, you can also help the ones you now have.

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