August 1929

The letters this month were some of the most touching of all for me.  Mom’s vision of their future home is the most clear of any in the letters – it took my breath away when I read it.  It’s Ruth’s turn to be honored.   John says good-bye to Central and moves on to the next phase of his life.

Ruth 8/2/29

You no doubt can tell more about what we should do than I since it is going to be largely your responsibility, but I don’t think we should try to go to school next year because it would necessitate too much debt.  It just seems wiser to work another year before trying it.  You are right in thinking we should get our preparation over as soon as possible.  Perhaps it would help to settle your mind on your work.  I’ll try not to prejudice you there – you know how I feel about it and you may give it the weight you desire.

Imagine my dismay last evening when I learned that Mr. Bell (Allen school superintentent) has resigned. Only four weeks until school starts and no superintendent.  The school board is “up a tree” to know what to do at this late date.  I’m afraid they’ll have to take just anyone they can get with no so much regard to his qualifications.  I wish I could resign too, but it would only make more complications.

Club meeting  this afternoon and it is so hot I feel terrible.  Must do a good deal of planning because next week we want to entertain all the mothers at a little informal luncheon.  Good training for the girls in entertaining.  Imagine our home without any entertaining, or did you ever think about it?  I have always thought of us having our friends in our home often.  I’m preparing for that and have a lot of plans for it. (Rachel’s note: our home was a place of much entertainment – frequent guests for dinner, many overnight guests, and often somebody living with us.  Brother Dave (who never paid much attention) claims he never knew who was going to be at the breakfast table when he came down in the morning!  I found Mom’s guest book in the attic with signatures from all over the world.)

I have indulged in a bit of extravagance.  It is a lovely bit of table cover.  I’m very fond of things like that.  Had you guessed?  You accuse me of being practical minded.  Anyway, I want to know, in a very definite way, what I’m going to live on and what I can expect in the future.  You have always lived on nothing so to speak.  I haven’t.  Thats why I’m hesitant about this thing you are so willing to venture out on.  I want you to tell me very definitely how you expect to work it then I shall be more at ease.

Ruth 8/4/29

Ralph wants me to go to Allen with him tonight to hear the band.  He has been disappointed because I’ve never gone before to hear them play.  I ordered him a new trombone today.  How he’ll ever pay for it is more than I know, but I’m glad he is getting it.

I understand we have a new superintendent now.  He is a young fellow just finished his college work last year but has taught school a number of years.  He was principal at Allen two years ago.  If he really has the job the gang will have some merry old times I’ll venture.

Ruth 8/15/29

Mary wants me to help her with a demonstration tonight and I told her I would.  Mother spoils it by scolding me for it.  She doesn’t like it because I’m taking on so much and maintains I’ll be played out by the time school starts and won’t have any pep for that.  She may be right, but I tell her I might as well die happy doing the things I like to do.  A little rest wouldn’t hurt me especially because I can lie down anywhere anytime of the day and go to sleep.  I’ve slept twice already today and could go to sleep right now if I didn’t have to go to town. (Rachel’s note: Mom always had the gift of napping that I’ve always envied!  She could cat nap any time for just a short whileand wake up refreshed.)

Now who’s getting in a hurry about preparations for next spring?  Even I haven’t gone that far but I’ve thought a good deal about it.  I can hardly wait even nine months. Your recent visit and lengthy talks have dispelled many of the doubts I have been having.  You are always so confident it gets into me too.  Ralph surely believes in us and our abilities.

Ruth 8/18/29

So many things have come up and I have read so many things that make me more anxious about the future.  I wonder if you’ll guess what I had in mind when you receive your birthday gift.  It isn’t so much the gift I want you to get as the lve that sends it.

I have another new pupil in music beginning on Tuesday.  I’m anxious to learn what she can do because she has been taking from a teacher I don’t think much of.  I’ll need to spend most of tomorrow studying my music lesson because I neglected it sadly last week.  That will never do if I hope to progress much.

Ruth 8/20/29

Tiny bits of melodies are running like toy race cars on a miniature track in my head this evening –  things my pupils have played for me today.  They are almost annoying now.  My new pupil is going to be a problem.  She thinks she knows a good deal but according to my standards I think differently.  It will be fun to see what I can do with her.  Perhaps the next teacher who gets her will groan mentally.  I am getting on to teaching a little better and enjoy it more all the time – especially since I have a little added knowledge myself.  Four of my present pupils have asked to continue their lessons after school starts which would amount to enough to pay for my own lessons.  Now isn’t that real business planning?  I think I can manage four pupils Saturday morning and go to the city in the afternoon.

I attended a very distressing funeral this afternoon at Wayne.  Floyd Kingston’s (Rachel’s note: remember Floyd, the former boyfriend?) sister was killed in an auto accident Sunday evening.  I went with Dale because Mrs. Kingston wanted Doris’ old classmates to be there and Doris and Dale were in the same class.  I hope I can sleep off this peculiar mood.  It isn’t all together pleasant.  Trying to think of it in a large sense – why be so distressed and sorrowful over the loss of one life when it is such a very small part of the great plan of things.  That is an idea too large for me to play with.  I notice too that it doesn’t work when it actually comes down to personal facts.

Ruth 8/23/29

It seems like fortune walked up and took me by the hand, but others don’t seem to think so.  I have to think twice to make myself really believe it is true.  Wednesday afternoon after my lesson Mrs. Heizer asked me – me, mind you – if I would be one of her assistant music teachers this winter.  Think of asking me to be an assistant in the oldest music school in Sioux City!! Well, I just haven’t quite grasped the fact yet myself.  Something must be wrong some place.  Mrs. Heizer must have overestimated my ability because I don’t see how I could really qualify.  She wants me to have a branch school in this section under her name and then when I have time assist in her studio.  It was her plan that I take just a few pupils – four or five – during the week beside my own lesson.  I could go in on the train Saturday noon and take my own lesson and spend the remainder of the afternoon assisting her in the big studio while she worked in the smaller one. You can easily imagine my enthusiasm over such a wonderful opportunity even though I feel so unworthy of it.

When I got home I could scarcely contain myself,  but Mother immediately dashed cold water on it and so discouraged me that I didn’t have the heart to write to you fearing I might get the same response from you.  Mother thinks it will divide my mind from my school work, be too heavy work, not give me any time for rest – and so on.  I haven’t mentioned the subject since. I feel so badly about it because it is the very thing I want to do and and such good fortune may never come again.  I want to do it so much.  It really isn’t work to me – I enjoy it so much.  I’m sorry if you feel like scolding too, but I’m like Ralph felt about his horn – I feel it in my bones that I am going to do it.

Ruth 8/25/29

What dreams I have of our little home! It must never become a studio for music for then it would lose its homey atmosphere.  I do want music to play a large part in the making of our home, and you know I want to teach music, but not to the exclusion of any home atmosphere.  It would be perfectly lovely if our house could be one with a lovely big library with rows on rows of book of every kind for you.  Where you could study and work alone at a big desk.  Sometimes I could come in and interrupt your work for a little love.  Then sometime little feet might skip in and little hands lose the place in your book but you wouldn’t scold. 

(Rachel’s note: I almost cry when I read this.  Our living room held her beloved two pianos where she taught piano until the week that she died. She is also describing my father’s study in our house.  The “little feet” that skipped in were not only their children, but also their grandchildren.   This is the memory our oldest son Keith shared in the memory booklet we made for Dad’s memorial service in 1997:

After lunch at 555 Grandpa would sneak up to his study for a nap.

 He had a black, vinyl recliner that vibrated and would “rest his eyes” for a few minutes.

 We were not supposed to bother him, but we could not resist sneaking up the back stairs

to go see him. He never acted annoyed when we woke him;

 he would just sit and talk quietly with us.

John in 555 study

John’s desk in his study at our home at 555 Ridge Ave. in State College. This photo would have been taken in the 1950’s I think.


John 8/1/29

This morning I checked over our total number of prospects and we have no reason to feel discouraged yet.  Today a boy from Bartlett drove down to see me about final arrangements.  He is one on whom Guy and I worked last summer.  Such things make me feel that perhaps not all of my efforts have been in vain.  At the close of this week I will have covered my territory twice.  From then on I shall only need to keep up contacts and meet special problems.

Yes, I see Merl quite often and as far as I can judge he is in good health.  Just yesterday he finished threshing and now he has no definite work.  He and Lillian are planning somewhat on going to the Young Friends Conference.  They were very anxious that we go with them, and I know we would have greatly enjoyed such an excursion, wouldn’t we?  We’ll have our next summer however.

Instead of scolding you about taking on so much work this summer I’m glad you have chosen to be active.  I believe we’re happier if we have plenty of interesting work to do than if we take life easy.

John 8/5/29  Comstock, NE

You would be surprised at some of the “practical” things I think of as regards our home.  I too want ours to be a cordial place for friends and I have thought of many interesting things in that connection.  Especially will it be great fun to have our college pals come to see us.  I’m glad you are having the club experience; it should prove helpful on future occasions.

This ___ work of mine surely disgusts me about this time of the season.  It is filled with too many disappointments to suit me.  One thing I am sure of, never again will I solicit students for NCC as the school now stands.  Not because I love our college less, but because this is an impossible job.

John 8/18/29

The drought is so discouraging.  I don’t see what more I can do to bring students to the college.  They are all so poor that financial assistance is all that can help them.  I’m tempted to assist one or two of them.  I would, but I realize that my income is now all called for.  Someday I hope that we can help several worthy boys and girls through college.  I can’t think of a finer charitable effort.

Ferguson’s (no relation – his friend Dale’s family in Central City) have gone visiting this weekend and so Dale and I have been batching it.  We’ve managed pretty well.  I’ve been cook while he does most of the chores.  I milked the cow last night, but the cow wasn’t pleased to have me.  She kicked me twice right in the stomach while I was milking.  I got a little angry and sat down and finished my job.  I may try it again tonight.  If you hear an SOS come quick.

John 8/22/29 (John’s birthday)

I couldn’t imagine what you would send me done up in a package like the one that was here for me.  Surprised?  Well I guess, but happy and pleased.  Now we can “Kodak as we go”, can’t we?  Taking pictures is a past time that I have more or less neglected, probably more because I had no camera than anything else.  Now, however, I can make our experiences last through pictures.

John 8/25/29

I’ve been taking stock of my financial status just now when I am finishing my work with the college.  I’m not so terribly bad off, and even though I am in debt, I’m glad I went in debt for the things I received.  For instance I don’t begrudge the debt of $40 to the YMCA for the Estes Park Conference.  If I hadn’t borrowed I should have missed that great experience.  This summer I have driven my car over 4,500miles for the college and over 600 miles for myself.   I’ve made about $20 above car, personal, and incidental expenses by receiving four cents a mile.  Considering all my earnings I have saved $207 in two and a half months with the college this summer.  This will practically cover my indebtedness to the college.  Then I will only need to pay about $300 out of my winter earnings.  This I can do easily in four months.  I believe I can save at least $300 this next nine months after paying all my debts.  What do you think? Can we get married on $300?  We’ll see, if we can’t I know my credit at the bank is good for at least $1000.  I’m not afraid to invest money, even though borrowed, in things that I think are valuable and needed. It may be that I will need to work one more year before we can go to school, if so that can be done.  I’m all primed to jump into some job and make things go.

John 8/27/29

Congratulation sweetheart!!  When I received your letter I wanted to kiss you because it made me very happy for your sake.  Why should I scold?  Not at all, when you love such work as you do.  I’m please for your advancement and for this present recognition of your ability.  You think there must be some mistake about it, but that isd only your modesty.  Persons who know you – and the one who loves you – can understand why Mrs. Heizer has made you the offer she has.  I’ll be anxious to hear more.  Again, I tell you that I don’t expect you to give up your great ambitions when we marry.  You have as much right to express your personality and satisfy your heart desires as have I. (Rachel’s note: as I read the letters I was impressed over and over at how ahead of his time Dad was in his thinking.)

Tomorrow I’m going to pack and prepare to move to Monroe on Thursday.  Now that the time has come I rather hate to leave Central City.  Think of it – having so many friends and contacts here, and now I have to leave them to begin all over again so to speak.  It hurts, dear.  However, I have the consolation that it isn’t hard for me to form new friendships and also I shall always feel that I can return to Central City.  It’s rather fortunate that both of us are alike in this matter, isn’t it?

John 8/29/29  Monroe, NE

It seems now that I’ve started on the last lap since I’ve moved to Monroe.  All I need to do now is work nine months and then the vacancy in my life will be filled.  Oh honey, I’ll be so happy!

Today I packed bed and baggage and moved.  The place I have to stay isn’t as convenient as it might be, but never-the-less it is quite nice.  My room is awfully small – that is my biggest objection.  I have arranged to leave my car with Mr. Kotas, my superintendent.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s