November 1929

The bank saga isn’t over, but events this month surely took me by surprise!

Ruth 11/4/29 (After John’s visit to Allen)
Sunday morning when you came up the stairs you looked so dear I just wanted to run and kiss you, but didn’t dare. Your eyes were so sparkly and shining and I knew they were for me, although you were nice to the other girls as well. That is another thing I admire about you. You are always so cordial and kind to everyone. Meyers has quite fallen for you, but that doesn’t worry me. After what you said Sunday, nothing will ever worry me.

Ruth 11/10/29
Am I proud of my sweetheart – just a little. I don’t need to ask how you are getting along in the community. Your place seems to be made. I’m glad for you. Sometimes I rather think it would be better for us to stay in Monroe next year if you have your work again. I can even imagine me keeping house for you and not trying to teach myself. I guess I’d be happy any way you plan things just so I’d be with you.

If it depended on me saving money in order that we might be married, I’m afraid we’d wait a long time. Last Saturday I sunk a good deal of my money in some musical encyclopedias. They are wonderful, but I’ve been having some misgivings over it since. I decided I wouldn’t get a new coat and buy these instead.

Ruth 11/12/29
It snowed all day in a blustery way that makes me realize winter is upon us. I have felt mean today, but I don’t know why. Even though they are nice youngsters and I like the group as much as I could like any group, they still get on my nerves. Children tire me to death. When I get away from them I am all right.

I can’t think of you as a teacher in school dealing with the general run of high school students. It seems such a small, petty thing for you to be doing. I can more easily picture you in those things that you call your outside activities. I see you working with men and big things – if you get what I mean. I can imagine you as a college professor, but I can’t get you connected with high school. (Rachel’s note: Good call, Mom! John went on to have an illustrious career as a professor of political science at Penn State, wrote text books, served as Secretary of Administration for the state of PA and various state commissions, was a partner in a consulting firm, his list of accomplishments goes on and on.)

I read an article that says girls today are too independent and are trying to avoid their natural duties. Interesting, but I firmly believe in birth control. I am glad you are well versed in it or woe to me. My poor unfortunate cousin, who evidently doesn’t believe in it, has had a baby in her arms ever since she was married. She began nine months after she was married. The fifth one came last month. Poor things!

Ruth 11/17/29
As usual I had the most interesting time at Mrs. Heizer’s Saturday. When I arrived two Catholic sisters were there. I talked to them a little. They were very nice. Before I left a little negro girl came for her lesson. She was a cunning little thing and does quite well in her music. Mrs. Heizer had to answer the telephone so I sat down and played some duets with the little girl. She thought it was great sport and would grin so big. She counted her time so very carefully that it was almost funny.    However, this is the best of all: Mrs. Heizer asked me to come into the city on the 26th to play on a program she is sponsoring.  It in’t anything  big, but it is a chance for me to try out. This program is an annual affair given at the home for “misguided” girls. Dale will come and take me in if he can go to the Orpheum while he waits. Catherine will come too and go to the show with him. I thought Mother would disapprove, but she seemed to think it was quite fine.

You certainly are a busy man. I don’t see how you get so much done and grow fat on it as you do. So many things would make me nervous. I guess I use my time like my money – recklessly.

The book I’ve been reading has made me think about many things that I know nothing about. The author’s remarks about the Ford plant are interesting. I know nothing about industrial problems of a large city. My life has always been well sheltered and I have lived comfortably. In fact I admit I like to live comfortably. I wonder sometimes what you actual thoughts aboutme are. They can’t be very bad or else you would not still be thinking of making me your wife.


John in front of the high school in Monroe where he is the principal.

John in front of the high school in Monroe where he is the principal.

John 11/4/29

I’ve just returned from a committee meeting held at the Evangelical parsonage with a group of businessmen called together to consider the situation in which our town finds itself in view of the bank failure and to arrange some method of relieving our situation.  After a long conference that I enjoyed greatly, we decided upon a program.  We’re inviting all of the depositors of the bank to a meeting to be held this Friday evening.  At this time three speakers will appear.  The purpose is to create a spirit of confidence in Monroe.  Out of the conference I inherited the task of securing either Mr. Gray, president of the First National Bank at Columbus, or Mr. R.B. King, manager of The Hord Company at Central City as speakers.  I greatly enjoy the opportunity to take part in such affairs of the town.  In fact, it’s just what I want.

John 11/6/29

Our community committee met again last night about generating community spirit.  All the depositors of the bank have been invited.  It has fallen to me to be master of ceremonies.  I don’t know how I will fare with such a large undertaking, but I must try.  Another invitation has come to me that I scarcely know what to do with.  I’ve been asked to give the address at a community Thanksgiving service to be held on Thanksgiving Day.  Of course I’d love to do it if I felt equal to the occasion, but I’m like you are when you’re asked to play.  I feel so insignificant.  I haven’t accepted the invitation yet.

There appeared in the paper today an article, so I’m told, that will be of interest to you teachers at Allen, no doubt.  It was to this effect: a certain lady signed a teaching contract last year that said she should not get married during the year.  She was married at Christmas time and consequently fired.  She took the matter to court and the verdict that was given was that such a clause in the contract was an unjust restriction of personal liberty and consequently illegal.  The school board was further forced to pay her the salary she would have received had she been allowed to teach from Christmas until the end of the school term.  Maybe someday people will be rid of their “foggy” ideas about the teaching profession.

John 11/10/29

Today following dinner Nuremberger showed me how to play the piano.  You know what kind of “music” I produced; but I did enjoy it.  She showed me the bass notes and I practiced real industriously for about an hour.  I can “squeeze out”  “Silent Night” and one or two others.  How I wish I could play as you do! But not so.

Our community meeting held last Friday was all we had planned and hoped for.  The speakers had the desired effect on the audience.  I greatly enjoyed my task.  We are hopeful that our bank can reorganize.

We’re now planning a father and son banquet.  I seem to be having more success than I had hoped for.  On every hand I am asked to do things, be it Sunday school teacher, church preacher, play in the band, and general “flunky” for community affairs.  I’m glad for opportunities to serve.

John 11/12/29

Of course you’re coming to see me Thanksgiving.  If convenient connections cannot be made, I shall meet you at Norfolk.  We can be together all day Thursday and some of the time Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Now that you’ve purchased your books, forget about the rightness or wrongness of the deal.  I’m glad for your sake that you bought them.  Perhaps you would have waited a long time to get them had not you done it now.  I’m anxious to see them.  If we continue to buy books we’ll have a library before we know it, won’t we?

John 11/14/29

Last night we had basketball practice and, of course, today I have been stiff.  I’m well pleased with the basketball prospects; we should win most of our games.  It is interesting to watch the boys – they think that I must be a “whiz”, so to speak.  It’s a good thing they don’t know all about me and my abilities.

Self-analysis reveals a driving force to accomplish what I wish that might ruin us.  Teaching history only adds fuel to my desires.  I’m hoping that we shall not need to wait longer than one year before we go to school.  I’m quite well decided now on what I shall study – history, government, and diplomacy.  (Rachel’s note: There you go, Dad!  You got it right this time.)

John 11/17/29

I’ve become pretty well acquainted with Mr. Smith, representative of the state department of trade and commerce, who is here in charge of the bank.  Last Friday I stopped in to the bank and had a long talk with him.  He told me many interesting things about the banking business – some things that enable me to understand how to deal with a bank as well as how a bank should be run.  Among other things he told me that his experience had taught him that school teachers and preachers were the poorest customers a bank could have.  The thought rather startled me – not about preachers – but about school teachers.  I went on asking him questions about the matter and he said the reason is because they live beyond their means.  I know that is true, too. I’m not criticizing you because you do quite well, but I do criticize those who are gullible enough to buy so much that they have to borrow money to pay for it and then fail to pay the bank.  They, in my estimation, are betraying the confidence that people have in them as public servants.  One thing we shall always do is to take the proper care of our honest obligations and live within our means. (Rachel’s note: And so they did.)

I’m going to Columbus this afternoon to see the folks and take in my laundry.  Mother told me to ask if there was anything special you wanted for Thanksgiving dinner.  If there is she will fix it for us.  Chester has learned several little poems and stories that he wants to tell “Sister Ruth”, as he calls you.  He told me them this afternoon.

John 11/19/29

A sad thing has happened in this community last Monday morning.  Mr. Pollard, a member of the school board and a highly respected man in the community, committed suicide.  Since the bank’s failure there has been an underhanded rumor that he was the one who caused the run on the bank.  The rumor seems to be unfounded.  Mr. Pollard was a faithful worker here in the Union church.  In fact he sang beside me at church Sunday morning.  No one suspected that such an act was possible by him and some folks wouldn’t believe it.  His wife was away visiting a home here in town into which death had come to a little baby. When she went home Monday morning her husband was gone.  At about 10:00 a search party was formed.  They found his car by the river bridge and later found the body in the water with a large cement block tied to his neck.  Of course the whole town has been up in the air.  That is all people can think of and talk about.           (Rachel’s note: this story just took my breath away when I read it! I’ve read about the wall street suicides in 1929, but this personal story of a small town bank tragedy really struck me.  I felt history come alive!)

John 11/21/29

You’re not much different than other if you desire for comfort.  It is fundamental.  It is true, though, that your life has been well sheltered – more so than mine – though I haven’t suffered greatly.  I hope you shall always be comfortable and happy – to that task I dedicate myself.

School was dismissed this afternoon for the funeral of the man who committed suicide.  It was surely a sad affair.  I don’t like such things at all.  Now, I hope tale about this event will cease

John 11/24/29

My boys are working industriously on basketball now – so much so that I dread to have to the let down during Thanksgiving.  I’m anxious to see the boys in action against an opponent.  My material is certainly promising and the boys will work for me.  The girls have offered us a supper and a cup if we win two-thirds of our games.  I believe we will do it too.

More work!  Last night I was invited down to the minister’s home.  He told me many things about what had taken place between him and his friend Mr. Pollard.  The more I learn about the affair the more complex it becomes.  Well, Mr. Pollard was Sunday school superintendent.  Mr. Stewart said that he had been requested by several of the church to ask me to be superintendent.  What shall I do?  I’ve almost decided to undertake the task provided it doesn’t necessitate my joining this church.  Until we get located permanently I want to keep my membership at Central City in the Friends Church.

Something has just been said that made me think of a reason why two of us might live as cheaply as one.  It costs four cents to write one letter – 12 cents a week for us – multiplied by fifty-two weeks makes $6.24 apiece.  Now, you see we spend about $12.50 a year for postage and stationery.  No, I don’t regret a bit of it, it’s just an interesting item.  Then add to that the amount we spend getting together – maybe we could live more cheaply together.  We’ll see next year.  Talking about money – within fifteen minutes after I had gotten my check for $133.35 I had spent about $110 of it.  I’m beginning to see the end of my indebtedness.  I’ll be glad when I’m through with that.


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