September 1929

School starts for both Ruth and John.  I love the details of what life was like in public school at the time.  John is principal of Monroe High School and Ruth has a 4th grade class in Allen.

Ruth 9/1/29 Allen, NE

I need you tonight for reassurance and moral strength.  My biggest need is to be strong and steadfast in everything, but I haven’t learned to be that way yet.  Being with this gang again is going to bring back my unrest and dissatisfaction.  I think I am in the wrong crowd.  Their ways and mine are so different.  Forgive this melancholy in the beginning.  I’ll not dwell on it more.


Allen teachers. Catherine is standing back left; Ruth is 2nd from left. Photo wasn’t dated so don’t know which of the two years Ruth taught this was taken.

You no doubt are waiting with many and varied expectations for the morrow.  I sincerely hope that everything proves satisfactory and you enjoy your work.  I do not know what to look forward to.  Supt. Kruse assigned me the fourth and fifth grades before he knew how many there would be.  Upon counting them the number proved to be 63 which gave me a sinking spell.   He said he would be down first thing in the morning and will separate them somehow.  How I hope I get just the fourth grade – at that I’d have 37.

Ruth 9/3/29

Tuesday evening and all is well.  The breaks are coming my way at last.  I’m not bragging yet because the thing has barely started, but my hopes are high.  You should have seen my room yesterday morning.  Children flocked in by the dozens until I had 63.  They were sitting thicker than fleas on a dog’s back.  Meyers had such a few in the sixth grade that they moved the fifth grad into her room.  Was I glad?  But I do feel terribly sorry for her.  She has forty-two in the two grades.  Her room is crowded just as mine was last year.  I still have plenty, thirty-seven, but having them all in one grade makes it so much easier.  Then too, I just inherited a naturally good group of youngsters.  They really are quite dear and so far I have enjoyed working with them.  I truly hope it continues.  We like Mr. Kruse very much.  He seems to be everywhere doing everything at once.

Ruth 9/5/29

We have been having a lovely time this evening after a very satisfactory day of teaching.  Honestly, things have been heavenly for me this week.  My work is light; I have no discipline problems, no trouble of any kind.  If my good fortune continues, I foresee a pleasant year.  I never work after supper – just have a good time.  Last evening we went over to the house where the other girls stay to a party in honor of Cundy’s birthday.  We were all sitting on one bed talking as only a group of girls can having the best time when all at once the whole bed went right own in the middle.  Then we did laugh.  The street lights were out went Meyers and I came home and then Ingram tried to scare us, old sap.  I’m glad we have these other two men teachers.  They are very nice and entertaining yet not crudely familiar.  Mr. Kruse plays a violin wonderfully well and Mr. Rising plays the piano.  They came over this evening and we played and sang for a long time.

Ruth 9/18/29

I’m so glad you had a pleasant trip home in so short a time.  Mayhap you won’t mind coming again soon.  I have been very happy all week until today.  Things have not been so nice for anyone today.  This morning Nurmie got word from his wife that her sister died last night.  We feel very sorry for them, but there is nothing we can do.  The tragedy of it is that this girl was expecting a little one any day.  Something went wrong and she died.  Stories like this scare me nearly to death.  I don’t know how I’ll ever stand it.  I guess I’m not very brave.

Ruth 9/27/29

Gloomy weather again.  What a nuisance it is.  It is quite impossible to keep things entirely quiet at school.  Hall duty is a little heavier on such days and of course this would be my week for hall duty.  I can scarcely realize that this ends the first four weeks.  Through all of this messy weather and all I’m not having a bit of difficulty.  My children behave very nicely.  I wonder every day how long it is going to last but it still is true.

Last night Kruse came over and we played everything we could get our hands on.  I have taken a number of the accompaniments to work on, but are the difficult!!  I’m taking them down to Mrs. Heizer so she can help me.  He’d like to play in a concert here in Allen if we can ever work it up.  We love the practice and it will be good for both whether we play or not.


Monroe contract

Contract signed by John to teach in Monroe Public Schools September 1929

John 9/1/29

By the time this letter arrives you will no doubt be back among the gang again.  I’m very hopeful that you will like your work better this year.  Now you’ll need to come down and meet my “gang”.  I think we will all work together nicely.  There is one lamentable thing though, and that is that I’m the only male in the group besides the superintendent.  Then too, since I’m principal they expect me to do some things that they otherwise wouldn’t.  We got acquainted at a meeting last Friday.  Oh yes, I never told you about the girl who is living at this place with me – no, she isn’t living with me – far from it – you alone are to have that privilege (maybe it will be a privilege).  She seems very nice.  She comes from Wakefield, is average size, has long hair, is a brunette, but isn’t what one would call beautiful.  We haven’t talked together yet so I can’t tell much about her.

It was good to be at home once more; however, I’m never abundantly happy there due to the unchristian atmosphere.  I covet a richer life for Mother and Father not only for their own sake but also for those kiddies.  So many things are said that cut to my heart, but it is almost impossible to do anything about them.

We’ll only have school tomorrow morning to get the students registered and assign lessons.  I will have four classes a day: one in American history at the first period, then one vacant period and one assembly period, then a course in 9th & 10th grade English.  In the afternoon I have two assembly periods, an oral English class and a World History class.  I wish I only had history to teach.  It will be about a month and a half before I start coaching.

John 9/3/29

My first day of teaching is over.  One of the most enjoyable days of my life.  Honestly I just love it.  Tomorrow I’m going to have a meeting and get baseball underway.  The boys are clamoring for it.  Along with this work, today I was chose senior class sponsor.  I can foresee a very busy but enjoyable nine months.  I have never seen such an orderly and scholarly group of students than we have here.  (Rachel’s note: Ah Dad, always the optimist!) As I’m living this new life I’m anxious about you.  I want you to be happy too.

I can well appreciate you feel about your gang.  I’m glad you have prospect of having more “stuff” on the faculty.  I can certainly understand how that group was and  is so lively.  Now I’m so chuck full of excess energy that I make life exciting for Miss Segia and Miss Nuremberger.  Mrs. Segia says my eyes just pop with mischief.

I don’t see how I can possibly come up to see you until after the first of October.  You see the college was so hard up it couldn’t make settlement with me so now I’m broke until payday or until I can get some money from the college.

John 9/5/29

I’ll believe now what you said last year about a teacher’s life being a busy one.  I’ve been on the jump every minute since I started teaching.  Yet I don’t mind very much because I am doing interesting things and working under ideal conditions.  Each day I like my work better. You too may detect a different tone in my letters now that I am so busy but you mustn’t think for a minute that I love you any less.

You’ll laugh when I tell you of an experience that was mine today.  I went to Lady’s Aid.  We teachers were all invited in order that we could present ourselves for the satisfaction of feminine curiosity.  Because I had baseball practice I was late in arriving .  They served us a very lovely supper.  After returning home Mrs. Segia gave a synopsis of the ladies discussion.  It was “that you are the best looking group of teachers Monroe has ever had”.

J w teachers 29

Monroe teachers – John is on the right (obviously!) and I think Estellene from NCC is 3rd from the left

The folks drove out tonight and brought my laundry to me.  They reported that Edith likes her school well. I was glad for that report because I had been anxious about her.  Chester is having a great time at starting to school.  His teacher calls him “Dear” and he is so flattered.  Kathryn hasn’t started to school yet due to a skin disease with which she is afflicted.

It seems strange to me to know that college will start next Monday and I’m far away.  It seems farther than it actually is.  Do you have such feelings again this year?  My heart is with Central though my body is here.

John 9/8/29

Lonely, dreary days such as the past three have been producing a similar atmosphere in my heart. My new friends here often ask about you much to my comfort.  Through Estellene the teachers have learned your name and character.  Now they are all anxious to see “my sweetheart” as Mrs. Segia refers to you.   Mrs. Segia (John’s landlady) is an elderly lady, but is very happily married.  Her husband does many little things to help her.  She is full of fun and ideas about good things to eat.  The other boarder, Miss Nuremberger is only twenty-one.  They spoke about my eyes because I’m always tormenting them.  You see I have to have some outlet for my excess energy.

I can’t quite feature your not having to study after supper.  My, what a change from last year and entirely different from my situation.  Thus far I’ve found it necessary to work from early morning until late at night.  It is all I can manage to keep up with assignments, master the lessons myself, and take care of questions.  With basketball coming on I don’t see any hope for a change either.  Yet I don’t mind my situation at all.  I’ve always had to work hard and I’m happiest when I’m busy.

This experience of teaching school is doing much for me personally.  My outlook on life is clearing very much to my satisfaction.  I have the feeling of security now that was so elusive while I was in school.  Also I have the feeling that the choice of life vocation is more rapidly in the making.

John 9/11/29

To add to my busyness, I am to be responsible for our school float that will be in the parade at Columbus next Friday afternoon.  This affair should be over by 3:30 then I’ll leave immediately to come to Allen.

A treat was mine last evening.  Bernice needed to go to Central City to get some books so she invited all of us to go with her.  Only six other besides herself.  We all piled into her Ford after school and “hit for home”.  What a treat to be back there again.  That place will always hold a special place in my life.  It was good to see a goodly number of  my summer prospects there in school.  I certainly hope you didn’t feel as homesick for Central last year as I do now.

John 9/18/29

We’ve been on a spree tonight we teachers.  Mrs. Sutton, the landlady of Estellene, invited us to have supper with them in Pawnee Park at Columbus in honor of their son’s birthday.  We had a splendid time.  En route to the park I stopped at home to get my laundry.  My heart was touched when I dropped in at home to find it just home.  The folks and kiddies there, doing the things they usually do each day when I’m away.  They are trying out a new radio; they may keep it.  It is certainly a keen one.

John 9/22/29

Yesterday four of us teachers went to Columbus to shop.  I purchased myself a new hat, some shoes, a tie, and a new shirt.  After we finished shopping we all went home where we visited, had supper, listened to the radio, and just fooled around.  The kiddies surely enjoyed talking to the women teachers.  They were so interested in everything the kiddies had to say.

I’ve had letters this week from both Mr. and Mrs. Carrell.  It certainly does my heart good to hear from them.  President reported that seventy eight were enrolled and that a few more were expected.  Last year we only had 66.  Football prospects are quite good too, I am told.  I can hardly wait until homecoming.

This week will be a busy one for me because my team is to play in baseball next Friday.  After this game we’re going to try playing a little football.  In this I think we can’t do much this year except make a start.  The boys are all eager for it, however.  I want to get my Hi-Y under way too.

John 9/26/29

Tomorrow closes my first month of teaching and that makes me realize that the time is passing very rapidly.  Only eight more months.  We have many things to do and accomplish in that short time too, don’t you think?  Each day of teaching brings fresh joys.  Really, I fear that something must be wrong somewhere because teaching school here has none of the flavors that I had been warned it would have.  Oh yes, we have our problems but nothing compared to what Merl and others said they had their first year.   The more I study history the better I like it.  I can completely lose myself for hours in my study.

You miss a great deal by having to teach in a community where there is so little community life or attention given to teachers.  Here everyone is greatly interested in us – to the extent that we are continually being invited out.  Again this evening we all attended Ladies Aid, at the other church this time. They served us a splendid supper.

John 9/29/29

We had an exciting ball game at Duncan last Friday but we lost.  The score was 2-1, which wasn’t bad.  Now I don’t know whether we will play more baseball or turn our attention to other sports.  I would love to have a football team, but we have no equipment and it’s questionable whether it would be wise to secure materials.

I envy Mr. Kruse his opportunity to play with you.  Sometimes I wonder if you aren’t quite disappointed with me because I’m not musically inclined.  It would be fun to be able to enjoy music as you do, yet of course I prefer my own interests.  With Kruse to play with this winter shouldn’t be as lonesome for you as last winter.


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