February 1929

Lots of maturing going on this month. Ruth and John are overwhelmed with the choices that are ahead of them.

Ruth 2/4/29

I really enjoyed the trip home very much. Mrs Newlin (Rachel’s note: I believe Mrs. Newlin is a pastor) and I just more than talked. She told me quite a little about her courtship days and her married life. It was wonderful – just the type of married life I hope we may have. She said they had vowed they would do certain things and they always kept their vows. Such things as keeping neat in appearance, always being thoughtful of each other, always sharing any little joy of the day together. I wish you could have heard her. They must have been very much in love with each other. My heart swelled with gladness to think that my husband will be like that. I least I think you will. Above all I am grateful for your even temper. Mine, I fear, is not so good but perhaps we can get it trained.

Ruth 2/7/29

I told you I was to go out to Newlin’s last night.  I certainly enjoyed being there. As you know their home is very lovely. She always does everything so nicely. She served the supper from her place at the table. I hope we can do that way sometimes. May we? (Rachel’s note: Dad always served the main meal with formality at the table in our dining room at our home in State College.  It intimidated the heck out of  bother Dave’s friends when they came to supper!)  Oh there are lots of things I want us to do in our home if you will approve of them with me. I would have it the best place in the world.
I missed the teacher’s hilarity last night. Mr. Bell told the they might throw a party at his house and wait for the returns of the election. (Rachel’s note: teachers are elected or re-elected each year by the school board.) They got home between one and two o’clock. We were all re-elected except Miss Phillips and she received a complimentary election with the understanding she would resign. Everyone gets a raise also.  Mr. Bell told me today that they decided “plural” (having more than one grade)teachers were not so good and he wants to know as soon as possible what I am going to do. I told him it is likely I will stay next year but would let him know as soon as possible.

Ruth 2/15/29 Morning
We opened the valentine box yesterday and valentines – you should see the mess I got. Every size and description I’m glad that is over with. Any little thing like that keeps the youngsters all excited and makes discipline a problem.

This is just some of the collection that Mom saved.

This is just some of the collection that Mom saved.

Ruth 2/15/29 Evening
Your lovely valentine arrived today and it just hit the right spot. I haven’t had such good candy since Christmas. You haven’t forgotten my sweet tooth, have you? I think every time I am home I would make some candy for you, but there always seemed to be something else to do. To be sure I will make you some candy when just we two are together, Won’t that be fun?
I nearly had heart failure today. Mr. Bell has been gone most of the week and just got back. Miss Hammond said this morning that he would probably be coming around asking to see our plan books. Right in the midst of a class in he came and I thought to myself – old girl, here is where you are sunk. I haven’t had any plans written for this week nor for next. We are supposed to keep them written up three days ahead always. They told me he was very strict about it. Luckily for me he didn’t say anythng about it. You may be sure the first thing I do tomorrow is write lesson plans. I hate to be behind on them but there is a limit to the things I can do in one day. If he ever says anything to me about it, I’ll give him a piece of my mind about this job of mine.
The Allen basketball boys lost their game to Wakefield tonight. They nearly had a free for all in the midst of the game. A Wakefield fellow was put out for fouls and before he left the floor he shook his fist under Mike’s nose. Mike is the Allen captain. Allen and Wakefield can’t get along together at all. They fairly hate each other. The way the high school kids act makes me tired. They are such brainless things.

I wish I were going on with my last two years of college. I’m playing with ideas now but I have wondered how it would be if I went on and got my A.B. while you got your masters. I mean for me to go back to Central and finish. I believe I would like it except the fact that too many states would be between us. Or I might go to Penn or Earlham for music. Now you are thinking “girl, what has put that in your head”? I have discovered that my folks don’t approve of our marrying now under the circumstances. They wouldn’t absolutely say no I don’t believe but what am I to do?  When I am with you I want to stay there at almost any cost. When I am away from you no one else seems to think it would be a wise thing to do and I see why they think so. Honey, why must you be so dear above everything else and then I could easily say that we would wait until next year. I know now that that would be the most sensible thing to do. You would be clear of debts and I would have something laid by.  Then I could devote all my time to being your wife. I think I have more doubts about this thing than you because it will mean a much greater change for me than for you. I feel the wisdom of either being completely your wife or else not at all. Do you see what I mean? Talk about indecision, dear. Yours is nothing to mine. Shall I go on regardless of what the folks say? My heart aches. If I could only know the right thing to do. Heretofore I have been a child. The folks have always taken care of me. Merl and Ralph solved my difficulties the first years away from home and then I turned to you. Now I have them to do myself. I have all at once had to become a woman and look after myself. I still have not learned to carry my responsibilities alone. I probably never will so long as I have you. (Rachel’s note: Poor Mom. I felt for her when I read this…growing up is hard to do.)

Ruth 2/21/29

Your letter this noon completely unnerved me. I wouldn’t want to keep you from going to school for anything. I wish I might work for my degree, but I won’t let you finance it unless we are married and you are going to school too. If you teach, I do too. I refuse the offer for the simple reason that you can’t teach school and make enough to live on yourself as you should and pay my expenses in school. Furthermore, I would feel like a slacker if I contracted school debts and then let you pay them. One doesn’t get rich teahing school, not when board and room cost $40/mo. How I wish I knew the outcome of the question. The suspense is terrible.

Ruth 2/24/29
Waterbury lost in the basketball tournament. It would have been great for Chester if he could have gone on to Lincoln for the tournament. Such chances of getting out improve his social skills. Ralph had promised him a good time. He has been ill today mostly because of nerves and it effected his stomach. That is the way it always gets me too. I seem to get thinner and thinner. Meyers told me if I wasn’t careful I wouldn’t have anything to put inside my coat.
Now I am going to scold you. You are making yourself an old man long before you should. If you must be so serious about everything don’t try to make everyone else that way. Life is short at the best. Why not have a good time while you can? I don’t ever expect to see you any other way, but what shall I do? That is the reason I don’t envy the ministry. It requires too much seriousness. You carry your gravity well, but I would be a very old woman in a very short time. I want to be young and enjoy living. We used to play a lot and therein was my love born for you but now you seem so far away from me. Selfish? Yes.  Anyway, it would do you good to wear a vagabond hat, take in a show or two and learn a few dance steps.

Ruth 2/26/29
If you begin teaching I know you are going to have some heart aches, unless you get an unusual class. Books do give one a little idea of what to do but it is just theory. The actual thing isn’t like that at all. Theoretic discipline is very, very different from real discipline you’ll find in the school room. I’m not trying to discourage you, I’m just trying to prepare you for the jolt you are going to get. If you think college is trivial I wonder what you will think of a high school?

I had a peach of a letter from Ralph. He is having a lot of doubts and misgivings. I think his are caused from uncertainty about his choice of a girl. Marie is too slow and “dead” I should say. He needs someone more peppy and lively. One who is ready for a good time. You aren’t that way either now, but you will be sweetheart when you get away from the too strong influence of the older men – meaning President, Mr. Watson and Dr. Hull. They are the finest men I know but you don’t want to be as old as they are yet. You are going to be young and have a good time with me.

Ruth 2/28/29
It is about time I write you an nice letter. I have been feeling mean, hence the mean letters. This week has been miserable made worse today by the entrance of a new pupil. Is she dumb? All she knows how to do is nod her head. I am glad she can do that much. (She’s #44!) Mrs. Warner said she never realized what I had to do until she came in and saw the mob before me.

Yesterday I was so furious. I kept Donald Roberts in because he is such a little imp in school. About five minutes to four here came Wilber (the driver) and said “I want Donald to come home.” I said “He’ll be excused in a few minutes. It is not four o’clock yet. “I don’t care, you have no business keeping a kid in that goes on the wagon”.  (Rachel’s note: the kids were transported by wagon instead of school bus!) It made me so mad I just raved in the office. Mr. Bell was mad too. He said the idea of a wagon driver talking to a teacher like that! He told me if I wanted to keep that boy in, keep him as long as I liked and he’d stand behind me. That boy is headed straight for the office tomorrow and I hope Bell spanks him until he has to sit on a cushion. This morning Wilbur sent me an apology which helped matters a little.

The mother of one of my pupils died this morning. It is terribly sad because they are so very, very poor. She has been sick a long time, but they haven’t been able to do anything for her because they they have no money. Poverty is terrible. The children in this family have actually not had enough food to eat. One girl has graduated from high school and has been taking in washing to get the things needed for the other kids.  But I was going to write a nice letter, wasn’t I?


John 2/3/29

I’m going to investigate the possibilities of my locating a job or an opportunity to study Political Science and law.  I’m almost convinced that God doesn’t want me to preach – in some ways I’m disgusted with our Quaker church.  It is certainly unfortunate that our meeting discourages initiative, free thinking and the desire to grow.  I want so much to find the place in life in which we can both find the fulfillment of our ambitions and dreams.  Help me dear with what ever suggestions you have.

John 2/5/29

Busy! My, my! With debate and the rush on the bookstore I’ve about all I care to swing.  Mrs. Carrell’s verdict was rendered this evening regarding the division of the debate teams for the debate with York next Tuesday.

debate team

Some of the debate team members. John on the left, Mrs. Carrell in the middle but I don’t know who the others are.

The application came for the $1000 scholarship to New York University.  From this one’s tuition will be taken, the remainder of the sum would be would be mailed directly to me (or us) each month.   If I should be fortunate enough to obtain such a scholarship, would you be willing that we should live in New York next year?  I’m going to apply unless you object. Its quite an opportunity and I’m quite optimistic about getting it.

John 2/10/29

Congratulation on your re-election though I hope you won’t need to accept the position again.  Apparently your work has been satisfactory despite your feeling that you have accomplished little .  I knew you would succeed

Do you know what I’ve been thinking of for the last few days (aside from debate)?  It’s about the possibility of going into business in Central City or elsewhere.  Really, when I seriously think about it the suggestion is very attractive.  If we could succeed at such it would make possible what I would like to doing the a few years.  You have rather laughed when I have made this suggestion  but for some time I have had as the height of my ambition to enter politics.  Did you ever know one with such wild ideas and dreams?  Unless a transformation is complete I’m not going to preach.

At last the reconstruction of my Ford is under way  Clifford said he would completely overhaul it if I would pay him five dollars and buy the necessary parts.  It will cost about $15 to put it in perfect shape.  I don’t have the money, but I expect to secure it before long.  After having a good fixing and a coat of paint I think the old limousine will weather the storm of next summer and maybe next winter.

John 2/12/29

I must tell you how the debate just turned out.  Both of our teams were defeated 2-1.  It was a lot of fun – you know how much I enjoy debating.  I feel that with this debate to our experience we will be able to do better in our next one.

John 2/14/29

Will you be my valentine?  You’ve been with me on this day for the past four years. I’m sure you ought to be here today

I’ve had a touch of the late hours this week too.  For the past two evenings our glee club has performed at the Donelson at the college benefit show.  The picture  “Buster Keaton in College” was a scream – most of our sides ached after the show.  It was so dumb that it was ridiculous  at times.

Before I close – my eyes are half closed now – I must tell you that six young ladies from the dormitory are now serving campus sentence for several weeks.  They skipped off to a dance last Tuesday night. Edith is one – I told her I ought to spank her. Can you feature my doing that?

John 2/17/29

I become more and more convinced that my life can be of the greatest service it is directed toward international affairs.  We boys, Horace Mott, Kenneth, Clifford, and I have just had a “bathroom session” in which we have drawn pictures of our aspired futures.  Theirs are quite different from mine.  I guess I have a too restless spirit.   It won’t take me long to choose if we have the option of deciding between teaching or going to school on a $1000 scholarship.  I suppose I ought not to plan too much on the possibility of getting it because no doubt there are others with better qualifications than I who are applying yet it so nearly fits what I hope for that I am planning a great deal on it.

Your query as to whether we know for sure that we will not have children if we marry is inaccurate.  I hope to be a father some time, but not until we can become settled.  I think you need have no fear of the safety of birth control methods which I have suggested, at least from what little I know about them.  I shall endeavor to become better informed before we are married.

Pat Heaton will graduate with our class this year.  He took three years here you remember and then took three at Creighton.  Because he has thus had six years of work, NCC can grant him his AB at the same time that Creighton grants him his law degree.  With him graduating our class numbers eight.  Not so bad, do you think?

John 2/19/29

Edith has met with one or two responses from her applications.  I’m anxious that she get a school.  She will make quite a good teacher I believe.  The folks are well and happy.  Edith told me that Leonard’s basketball team was going to play this week and that he was all excited over it.  I can imagine that dear little fellow playing so wholeheartedly and excitedly.  I’d love to see his game.

I have felt like weeping as I have written this letter but that doesn’t help me much.  I wish I were sure about things.  Here is one of the times that I would be lost without the knowledge that God sees our needs and is more interested that the outcome be wise than perhaps we are.  I am confident of His guidance, therefore it behooves me to seek patiently His will.

John 2/21/29

At times, like tonight, I geel quite pessimistic about the value of NCC and the prospects for its future.  I became almost exasperated when in debate meeting, because Mrs. Carrell wasn’t there, the group would do nothing but act foolish.  Really the spirit of things here bores me sometimes.  The atmosphere is so trivial and nonsensical.  Often I crave some real conversation and study.  (Rachel’s note: hence Mom’s scolding about lightening up!)

I’m awfully anxious to hear again from you to learn of your reactions to my last letter.  Though I believe I know well enough what they will be.  I’m trying to shift my mental focus to marrying a year from this summer, but I have great difficulty in doing it since it did seem quite possible that we would be able to marry this summer.  I have always said we wouldn’t get married until you were sure that was what we should do.  I love you with my whole heart.  You have wisely led through out our courtship, which has been glorious, so it is wise that you always lead.

John 2/24/29

This morning after Horace Mott failed to prepare to speech at district 50, Kenneth and I rallied to the occasion.  We had a great time and people seemed to greatly enjoy our service.  This evening our gang had charge of the service at the Methodist Church.  It was snowing which caused the group to be small.  We enjoy such work but it robs Sunday of its restfulness.

Since taking the course in high school methods this semester my mind has been directed to the work of teaching.  We are now studying the subject of discipline.  This subject has keen interest for me because of what your and Merl’s experiences have been.  The course has made me quite anxious to teach.  From what others tell me I suppose the course in invaluable, but nevertheless I expect it to be of great help.  The course in Child Psychology makes me cast looks into the future to see how successful you and I would be with raising our children.

John 2/26/29

I’ve had mingled feelings as I read your scolding, you know too well how that makes me feel.  But I’m glad I have someone who can bring me down to life and tell me what is wrong.  I think if you could witness some of the frivolity here of which I spoke you would feel as I do.  For instance, throwing bread the entire length of the table when it is called for.  While I want to have a good time and do, I like to see some seriousness particularly in those who are going to college for the express purpose of learning to think and study – else why spend money for school?  I grant that perhaps I stopped sowing my wild oats too early and that life might be easier if I took the time and money to enjoy myself.  I have told you before I have tried to attend all the entertainments that my finances would permit.  You should be here when I get to playing ping pong.  I love to play that game and though it may seem impossible I often play it when I ought to be doing more serious things.  When the college gave the benefit show I did just what you told me would be good for me and it did do some good.  Our chorus of eight men sang “The Song of the Road” and we dressed in old clothes,  I had on a “vagabond” hat.  I had the time of my life and would do it over again if possible.  (Rachel’s note: cute story about the hat….and we always had a ping-pong table in our basement at home.)


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