November was a rough month. Most of the letters were plotting how they could get together, but fate was not kind. Just a few entries will paint the picture. But as bleak as Novemeber was, December brought Ruth and John to a milestone in their relationship. Read on…..
My heart is rather heavy tonight. There seems to be no chance of seeing my darling until goodness only knows when. I am so disappointed I scarcely know what to do. I want to be at home coming so much. I called Lee this evening and he said he had given up all notion of going to Central. Oh why do we have to be so far apart?
There are not adequate words to express my feelings of this weekend. I was positively ill yesterday thinking about the things I was missing at NCC home coming. Everest came in Friday evening and was sorry there wasn’t room for me to go with them . Mr. Mitchell, the barber, said he argued with them trying to persuade them but they said no. About 7:00 things came on me so strongly that I dashed down to the restaurant to see what connections I could make on the bus. I figured I could make it so I dashed home and packed, told Mr. Bell I was leaving, and dashed back to the restaurant. Well, I waited and waited but the bus didn’t come. It had gone to Sioux City in the afternoon but decided the roads were too muddy to come back. The train wouldn’t get to Central until evening so there I was. Charlie, the janitor, knew I was feeling pretty low so he gave me a jar of candy. On Saturday Mr. & Mrs. Bell and Mr. & Mrs. Ingram went duck hunting and they took me along. They didn’t get any ducks but of course one doesn’t always expect to get ducks when you go hunting. (Rachel’s note: Brother Dave and Husband Dave have this experience with duck hunting in Strathmere quite frequently!)
Marvin , bless his old heart, said a bus driver came in the shop yesterday so he asked him about connections to Central. He said I could leave Allen at 7:00 and get to Norfolk any Friday then take a bus to Columbus at 7:00 Saturday morning and from there to Central by noon. So far so good, but better yet Marvin said any time I wanted to go he would take me to Wakefield immediately after school on a Friday and then I could get by train to Central by midnight. That is such a temptation that I think I will soon be coming to Central unless you come here. I almost thought I’d do it this weekend (pay day again), but Mother wants Myers and me to come down home. She said she would have duck for us to eat. P.S. Marvin is the barber’s son. We board at their place so thy have learned a good bit about all of us. They are very good to us.
I feel terribly moody tonight. I had planned so big on seeing you this week and the weather seems so nice now that I can scarcely give up the idea that you won’t come. I’m glad you have your work at the store if it is helping you out of difficulties, but I thought to myself how glad I was I’m not in school if you must spend so much time working. Looks that way now too, doesn’t it? I don’t want you to feel as I do – so tired to care what happens. The little contest in conduct I’ve been having was ended last evening so I gave the 4th grade their party. Of course the 5th graders were peeved and acted terrible. Girls are fine; the boys are terrible. Meyers says the 6th grade is the same. I never discuss matters much with the gang because I heard they thought I couldn’t stand the year.
It is impossible for me to be cross with you very long I did feel almost cross with you for not coming up since it was such a perfectly lovely weekend. If it had been anyone else they might have come anyway, but I knew you wouldn’t . You always do everything too nearly right for that.
I am so excited now that I can scarcely eat or sleep. Miss Bordeson is taking the bus from Wayne to Fremont Wednesday evening and I will go with her then take the first train to Columbus. I wish I could give the exact hour of my arrival but since I can’t I’ll just hope that you can make a guess and be there. I think I should die if you are not there. Just two more days and then……..
Its after 11:00. Do you feel as I do when it is late, its storming outside, and the wind and snow suggests cold? Then I want someone to cuddle with. My roommate just came in and said the drifts are higher than the cars in places. Its head deep almost everywhere. I don’t think I will get to go home now. I can’t get to town unless I walk, that I won’t do.
I mentioned that Paul Reynolds, one of our dormitory students, has been ill. This evening he was operated on here in his room. He has infected glands in his throat. Everything smells like ether around here now. It was certainly funny to hear Paul talk as he was coming out of the antiseptic. We think he will get along nicely now. (Rachel’s note: Imagine that happening today!!)
I know how badly disappointed you were and that made me feel worse than my own disappointment. I didn’t get your letter telling me for certain that you wouldn’t be her until Saturday. Guy Puckett and I waited until about 2:30 a.m. Friday night for you to come. Your letter on Friday said you would telegraph Friday evening if you couldn’t come. When I didn’t hear from you I just assumed you would be here. Oh how disappointed I was! Everyone was disappointed, especially Mr. & Mrs. Carrell. All the time I thought of you and how badly you must have felt to not be here.
I’m to begin a new undertaking tomorrow that I think will help me out of my financial panic and make other hoped for things more possible. I’m to begin working at Skagg’s Safeway store. The job requires that I be there from 4:30-6:30 pm each evening and all day Saturday. It will be awfully exacting to be tied in such a way, but something had to be done.
We lost our football game to Grand Island 13-6. It was a thriller. Four times in the last half we were only 6 yards to 6 inches from touchdowns and then failed to make them. We still have one game to play.
Open house was a flop. In the first place our committees were horribly managed and then kids from town stole our food. The food had been left locked in the kitchen. Several boys gained entrance and took all the sandwiches and cookies and made their getaway. The ice cream and cocoa remained because they were out of sight. What was left was acceptable but not adequate. I didn’t feel nearly as bad over the loss of the food as I did over the attitude shown by the boys in our own group. It was one of forceful revenge – imagine that spirit shown by Quakers. Brooding over this hypocrisy was partly responsible for my bad mood.
Our first quarter grades were passed out today. I don’t feel badly about mine with the exception of zoology. I think I can raise those marks by the end of the semester. They are: German II 95, Drama 95, Friends History 96, US History 94, History of Education 93, Zoology 85.
The boys have just returned from Hastings where they met their waterloo, 64-0. The game, so they tell me, was 7-0 at half and only 20 at the end of third quarter. The last fifteen minutes must have been filled with action – by the Hastings men. We won only one game this year. The boys have fought hard and well regardless of the infamous record.
How different is this evening than the last few evenings! When the train left this morning I had an impulse to run and jump off. When I got to Columbus I called your folks and Herold came down and got me. I was just in time to have dinner with them. Your Dad sat by me an Chester wouldn’t eat until he would change places with him. He would just look at me with those lovely brown eyes of his and they would just sparkle. Those youngsters bring back my love for kiddies more than anything else. All of them are so dear.
It was snowing again when I was at Columbus. Your father (or should I just say Dad?) called me a “jinx”. The driver said he’d take care of my suitcase but the old egg went off and left it at the station. Someone bought it on in a car. It is storming in a terrific manner tonight . From Norfolk here the snow blew so we could scarcely see the road. It sounds now like it would blow the house in. I’m mighty glad I’m safe at home again.
I have never had such a cold in all all my life. To make it worse it has settled in my eyes and I can hardly see. Hence my short note. A normal trainer taught my class yesterday. I don’t know if I can manage today or not
Ruth 12/9/28 From Waterbury
Now that I have had a nap I feel refreshed enough to actually write letters. Sorry I couldn’t write last week due to my condition. On Thursday I sent down to the drug store for some dark glasses and been wearing them since. My eyes are better now and I think they will be all right. After this I bet I’ll not forget to take soda every night. Nearly all the faculty had colds last week. Nice to think that it will be vacation again in two weeks. What a pleasant thing to think of especially since I am getting another pupil and I dread it because I know what kind of boy he is. (That will be 44!)
Last night we had a carnival at the school. It was surely a mess but we had a good time. We just had a lot of foolishness but I believe we made quite a little money, a hundred dollars if not more. Meyers came home with me afterwards and we had a hard time getting up in the morning after so much gaiety.
I wish you would tell me something you want for Christmas. You seem to have everything that one can get for a man. I have made a list of suggestions (she lists 24 possible choices and then #25 is “Ruthie#). Dearest, I feel guilty in telling you what I am about to tell you. About this ring – I know there are so many other things that are …..you know. I almost feel as though it is imposing upon you to even want it. Anyway the size is 7 according to the ring I now have.
This letter is going to be a relaxation from what I have just been writing. Some letters to some mamas whose sonny boys wouldn’t take their report cards home. Do I hate it? I simply despise such work but it must be done. This week has been a terrible one but thank goodness tomorrow is Thursday and the week is almost done. Thank goodness I don’t have many years to look forward to in the profession. It has almost entirely destroyed my love for youngsters. It will be a long time before I can get that back.
Friday Allen and Waterbury played basketball. I certainly was in a peculiar situation. By sympathy was with Waterbury because Chester was playing center but I was supposed to be with the Allen gang. To save myself I didn’t yell either way. Waterbury won.
This week the teachers are haing a party at Bell’s on Monday, Tuesday is dress rehearsal for an operetta the music teacher is doing with the grades. I am to play for it. While I practice Mr. Bell will teach my class. The pupils will be mad. Do them good. We give the operetta on Thursday. It is a little play about the Three Bears. Friday we will have our Christmas tree, gifts, treats, etc. It certainly will be a relief when it is over. Mother says on Christmas day we will probably just stay home and eat. I hope you can be there.
George’s letter today nearly broke my heart. How could I help but feel worried about you when someone else had to write your letter for you! Everyone is having the flu. Please take extremely good care of yourself and don’t take pneumonia. I want you to come so much but don’t endanger your health just to get here. If only I had you here so I could take care of you and would at least know how you were. After Christmas you must promise me you will give up some of your workload.
Miss Hammond and I made popcorn balls this evening for our kiddies and also bought some candy and peanuts for treats. I have a Christmas tree in my room now and the kiddies are perfectly silly about it and the little party I’m having Friday afternoon. They are all saying “I’ll bet you can’t guess what Im going to give you for Christmas”. I expect I’ll have a good collection to show you. Of course I’ll enthuse about everything as though it was the best I ever saw. Tomorrow night is the big operetta. Won’t I be glad when it is over? Seven of my youngsters are in it and I have to see that they are properly dressed and then pay for the thing. I have to watch so carefully all the time to see what they are doing. If they make a mistake or lose their place I have to go back and repeat, etc. A real task.
Ruth 12/30/28 from Waterbury
I have thought of nothing else but you since you have left. I have slept as much as possible and feel greatly recuperated and do not dead going back to school nearly as much as I did. I think I can go back with more courage. Teaching as an end in itself seemed like drudgery, but now teaching is not an end in itself but the means to a greater and better end. It will mean the beginning of the realization of a long ambition at least I think it will be and in companionship with you it will be perfect. I cannot bear to think of going through another year without you even though sometimes it seems better that we should. I want you so , dear. Ralph and I sat up late talking about very personal matters,d on’t you know. I told him all about our plans and he thinks they are OK.
My love, you looked afterr me so tenderly and well when I wasn’t feeling well; now I wish I could comfort you. Wouldn’t we have been a pair to be together like this? I feel well now and able to enjoy life again, how I wish you could. Life is much sweeter since you were with me.
Oh say, dear, don’t forget my request of you and do it immediately. That is to send me your ring size. A woman can never understand or experience the feeling and thrill connected with doing the thing that I’m just about to do. Perhaps you enjoy just as pleasant feelings upon receipt of a ring and wearing it. I hope you do.
In response to the list of suggested Christmas presents which you sent, I cross them all off save the last one. Honestly, I care not what Santa brings me. I’m afraid it is true, Ruth, that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. The only suggestion I care to make is that any present not be too expensive.
12/17/28 Letter from John’s good buddy George
Dear Friend, I am witting to you to let you know how John is. He is sick with the flu. He worked Saturday but was sick yesterday morning and spent the whole day in bed and is stil in bed He is the sickest of any that have had the flu around the college. We bring meals over to him but he doesn’t eat enough to keep a flea alive. Several other students have been sick and some still are. So far I have been fortunate enough escape being sick. I hope you manage to escape the flu.
Your friend, George C. Bishop
P.S. We will take good care of John so that he will be able to see you Christmas.
12/18/28 Letter from George
Dear Friend, I am writing again to let you know how John is. He is better than he was yesterday. President Carrell talked to him yesterday morning and got him to consent to have a doctor. The doctor left three kind of medicine so that ought to help him get well. John’s eyes burned yesterday but do not today and he has less fever. He says he feels better and he looks better. He doesn’t plan to get up before Thursday though. He said to tell you if nothing happened he would get to your place Sunday. Hoping this finds you well I will close.
Your friend, George C. Bishop
President was just in to see me – he’s a dear old man. He said he saw Mr. Powell (the manager of Skagg’s) for me and told him of my condition. They think it best I not return to work this week. I may work for awhile Saturday afternoon since I’m going to need all the cash I can get. The night George drove my car the radiator froze and burst. Consequently $12.50 of Christmas money had to be spent. Hard luck certainly is my friend.
John 12/30/28 ENGAGED!!
Fortunately I had a good trip home, no trouble at all. Oh how I hated to leave you only last Friday! I think I love your ring almost as much as you dear. I think of it very often and wish that I might look at it. I’m happy to know that you are wearing it so everybody will know that you belong to me an I belong to you. I’m glad you suggested I wear my ring. I’m really enjoying it a great deal.
This is from Ruth’s letter of 8/3/29 that discloses how John gave her the ring:
I went to the show last night in Allen. It was “Abie’s Irish Rose” and was the best show I believe I have ever seen. It was about a Jewish boy and Irish girl who fell in love but their father’s disowned them when they married. I liked Abie because he kissed Rose just like you kiss me. When he gave her a ring he did the same thing you did – slipped it on her finger and then kissed it there. My heart turned right over. (Rachel’s note: How sweet is that!!!)