March is a very important month ~ so much happens! It’s obvious, even though I have posted only a portion of what they wrote, that the letters were many and really long.
Before starting with the March letters there is a correction I want to make after talking with cousin Elizabeth. Apparently Ruth had two close friends whose names are very similar: Catherine Meyers, with whom Ruth taught in Allen, and Cathryn Miles, who was a close friend from Nebraska Central. I identified Catherine Meyers as the girl that dated Ralph and years later married Ralph after John played cupid and got them back together. After talking to Elizabeth, we determined this is incorrect. It was Cathryn Miles that Ralph dated and married late in life. We think Cathryn and Ralph dated while he was in grad school in Lincoln. She left Nebraska and moved to Richmond, Indiana where she later married Clarence Chase. A newspaper clipping from their wedding is in Ruth’s scrapbook. An honest mistake. When Mom told of Catherine coming home with her on weekends when they were teaching, she said how well Catherine and Ralph got along. I think Uncle Ralph got along well with all the ladies. the handsome devil!!
Do not hesitate to ask for a position for me in Monroe if there is a chance for me to get one. I like to teach and would just as soon – would rather under the circumstances, but I wanted you to know that I would just as soon keep house for you. The chances for me to get a school are so slim that I wanted you to know I wasn’t counting too much on that. I want you to settle things, but I’ll do anything you want me to do to help you. I have done and said a lot of dumb things, but I am not so dumb that I can’t see the reason why I should work if I can get a position.
Kruse brought the contracts around to be signed last night. I turned mine in and told him nothing. He won’t talk to me decently anymore and I’m not breaking my neck to get in his way. He is down on the whole gang and so are we on him for the dirty deals he has given us the last few weeks. None of the high school teachers want to come back if they can get other jobs. He wants a gang of new Wayne teachers just out of school anyway who don’t have so much mind of their own (meow). I could say a lot of things but I won’t.
I was glad to find Mrs. Heizer much better this week than last. She said she hadn’t been able to give some of her lessons. Since the closing of school work will soon be upon us, I am thinking seriously of giving up my lessons as much as I dislike to. Then it will leave Saturday free for other things. I will be needing that time you know.
You certainly get yourself involved in things I never saw anyone to compare to you. You seem to have arrived at the place where you most run the town. You are always telling about some new thing you have begun. Will there ever be an end to it? I am jealous of your time.
I get a funny feeling when I realize other teachers are coming here after my job A girl from Waterbury was here today and learned I am not coming back. I thought I wouldn’t mind a bit giving up my work here, but I do. I wouldn’t change plans for anything because I want to be with you too much, but I don’t like to hear about those who are coming in. Selfish I suppose. If you stay at Monroe I rather hope I can teach too. My opinion keeps changing you see, with new developments. Do whatever you find that you think best. Thank goodness someone in the family will be level-headed and sensible. I’ll trust your wisdom so never mind my chatter.
In my box this morning I found a letter that I have read and re-read many times. It is indeed heart balm and sure cure for heart ache. You are a darling sweetheart and I adore you.I wish you would not take on so much work. You will wear yourself down – I speak from experience. Remember what I had last year? I know you love to do the things you are doing and I am proud to know that you are capable of doing them but I also want a strong lover husband.
Another new pupil began her musical studies with me last evening. I thought she was going to be very dumb, but she began very nicely. I haven’t gotten very far in my own practice this week The lesson seems extremely difficult for some reason, but I assure you I don’t mean to get stumped on the last grade.
After correcting a few papers I went over to the school building and watched play practice. I can’t say that I am wild about the play – too much family quarreling and meanness. Even though it is only a play, I dislike it very much. I vow in my heart I shall never talk to anyone that way and above all others my husband. It would be a dreadful way to live. There will be differences and plenty of them but we must remember to settle them peacefully.
Only nine more weeks of school In many ways I regret it for I dislike to lose this group of splendid youngsters I have this year, but I probably wouldn’t have them again anyway even if I did stay. More and more I am having to catch myself from dropping into day dreams. It would really be too bad if I began to neglect my work.
I went to the play given by the Junior Aid here in town. It was very well given and very entertaining. Catherine certainly made the most of her part. Her reputation as an actress is well established. Dramatics of all kinds are interesting and now I wish I had taken more of that sort of thing while I was in school. When I think of my college days now I wish I had done a good many things differently. If I could have known then what I know now I would have planned my work more advantageously. Perhaps even yet I shall have the opportunity to make up those things I would like to have taken.
How interesting that our minds should have gotten together on the same date for the important event. I just told Mother this morning that I had finally made up my mind to the date and we were looking it up on the calendar. Considering all things, I think June 10 will be the day. (Rachel’s note: June 10 it was, and I was so surprised to discover that June 10th was a Tuesday!)
The possible state of affairs for next year seems almost too good to be true. Do you suppose it will really work out? I am not so anxious about teaching two grades again but with so few it might not be so bad. Dear me, I would scarcely know what to do with such a few pupils What salary would I get You should insist on a raise in your own salary. Let me know if there is any chance for work and I’ll be right down. The children are beginning to find out that I am not coming back. They make it so difficult for me. I tell them they will have a better teacher next year I wish the year were over now.
Your father is to congratulated upon his promotion. It is splendid for him but distressing for the family to have to move again. It will be sorry if they move, providing we are in Monroe next year. It would have been the next best thing to being near my own home. I will miss Mother dreadfully. These last two years have spoiled me again. I do like to be home.
The problem that distresses me now is a popular one – money. It isn’t a question of how to get it, but what to do with it. I haven’t much, but what shall I do with that little that I have? I think I told you that I have been putting it in the United Savings and Loan in Lincoln. You’ve seen what has happened to several loan associations and one in Lincoln too. Mine is alright as far as I know, but is it safe after all? If I did draw it out, what would I do with it? Rumors have it that the Waterbury bank is near collapse and I’d be just as apt to lose it there.
A peculiar idea has come to me so I’ll pass it on to you. I might draw out the amount and you could use it to eradicate you indebtedness, It would be paid back later, you know, in the things I’d ask you to get for me which I otherwise would probably not ask for. Isn’t that a bright idea? I am sure you would be a safe investment. I suggested some such thing to Ralph, but Mother put a stop to that. She said my money would be too much tied up and it would be too long before I could get it again. That, no doubt, would be true with Ralph, but with you – you would be at my mercy and able to pay back whether you felt so inclined or not.
I mean to talk it over with Dad when I go home. Mary Elis lost a good deal of money in one of the concerns that closed in Lincoln. I also heard that Mrs. Newlin lost in the same loan company. It really is serious and is enough to make anyone worried. Please advise me.
Now on to the old subject of what to do next year. Your board is really trying to make it worthwhile for you to stay at Monroe it seems, but what about me? I don’t want to complain, but I would rather not consent to live in one or two rooms with no outside work to do. I would be a raving maniac and you would find it necessary to put me in chains before the year would be half over. I would have to have something to do to keep me busy and keep me out of mischief. Either I’ll have to have a permanent job or a house to keep. I know what a task it is to find a house to rent in a small town an when you do find one it usually isn’t much with no conveniences. How can one live decently without a bathroom in the house? I perceive, lover boy, that when we are married our problems have just begun. Such things as finding a house, furnishing it ad keeping it in running order will not be so easy.
Apparently we are not lacking for opportunities to work. What do you think of the offer from Philadelphia? I have not been able to think of anything else since I read the letter that came Friday. I’d give a good deal to be able to talk to you about this matter. I will be so anxious to get your letter telling me what you think about it. As I think of it, I come to think more and more that it would be quite the work for us. I don’t know just what the work would be, but it might be interesting for a year anyway. You would have the opportunity to go to school part of the time if you wanted to. To me it seems to be a great advantage all around. Perhaps it wouldn’t be preferable to work at Monroe if we can both work there, but is that going to be possible? Naturally we must think of financial gains in view of the future. I thought perhaps you would be particularly interested in this wok because of school advantages. The final decision is for you to make. I am sure you will think it over carefully and make the wisest choice. You may guess from what I have written that I will be willing and satisfied if it seems best to you that we should go to Philadelphia. (Rachel’s note: at long last!! I began to worry that the letters were going to end before they heard of the opportunity in Philadelphia and then I would never know the details of how that came about!)
Questions come to me of course concerning the work. Would we begin at once or in the fall? If at once would we go to the conference as pre-arranged and then go to Philadelphia at once? If not until fall, what would we do during the summer – be east or in Nebraska? You see I hadn’t planned to be so far away from home so suddenly That is the only objection I have to it at a Mother said right away “Oh, that’s so far away”. However it isn’t as if we’d never come back for years. We would surely come back in the summer for our vacation. Mother thinks it is a splendid opening for us and advised us to go and for you to go to school there. I’m glad she talked that way or I should have felt dreadful about it and might not have formed my opinion as I did. You know I would rather be nearer home than that, but since we would be going east sometime anyway it might as well be now. We will be prepared to come back that much sooner, for we are coming back to live in Nebraska are we not? I would so much rather live here permanently if your work will permit. (Rachel’s note: when I read this I felt so badly for Mom. Sorry Mom; you never get back to Nebraska except to visit.)
Last week Dad painted the interior of our house. Mother says that much is done toward the wedding. The house is all topsy-turvy now. It wouldn’t be so bad if this would be the last of it, but it will probably be done over again before June.
You will think me very foolish when I tell you what I have just about decided to do. It is something I have always admired and wanted, but is not necessary at all. I want a fur neck piece. I can’t decide whether or not to put the money into it for all the real value it would be to me. If I don’t get it now I know I never will because there will always be too many other things. Things for the house, you know. Everything in my wedding outfit must be of the most exquisite and most beautiful things. (Rachel’s note: she does get the fur and that fox will appear in the photos from Philadelphia. )
The suspense is rather hard on the nerves. This week has been one of real struggles for me. I’ll be glad when more information arrives and some decision is made.
You thought of the same thing I did in connection with schools and Prof. Peters. It would be interesting to see him again, but I think it would be better not to. There again you are too liberal in your attitude. We will let the past rest in peace, shall we lover boy?
I have had a terrible cold since Friday. Another thing I must tell you but don’t worry about it – I have been directly exposed to scarlet fever. Last Thursday afternoon one of my little boy was quite sick with sore throat and headache and his face was so flushed. We had no way of getting him home, so he had to wait until the wagon came in the evening. The next morning the doctor quarantined the family for scarlet fever. Now the whole room is exposed, myself included, because I took care of him.
I am anxious to read the letter I know is waiting at the post office. I’m eager for more information. You must relay it as soon as anything comes to you. I talked to Mary Way today about this work. She says she doesn’t recall this particular work or organization. When she worked in Philadelphia she was not under the Friends supervision. She reminded me that we mustn’t think we’ll get rich in the east. Living expenses are much higher there than here. She advised making very sure of where we were to live before going there. Conditions are not always so favorable. Mary told me something else that interested me greatly. She has been offered work as assistant hostess at the new school being established in Philadelphia. She has not decided what to do about it though she is considering it seriously. As soon as she got my letter she wrote to Philadelphia asking for more information. The possibility of our going there too made her more interested. I would like it immensely if she would be there.
I have finally convinced Mrs. Heizer that I am going to leave her at the end of next month. I shall regret it very much but it must be. She thinks she is going to get me in with some music teachers she knows there. She said she wished I could go to one in particular, but she knew it would be too expensive. Out of curiosity I asked her how much she charged. Her reply – twenty dollars and hour. Now if all teachers charge accordingly, I’ll not be studying piano next year. Perhaps I won’t anyway.
Only April and May left, dear. You aren’t forgetting, are you?
We made a good start in the basketball tournament by defeating Shelby, but our finish wasn’t so good. We lost yesterday afternoon and again last night.
Some interesting things are happening here in Monroe just now. We are planning a series of Hi Y meetings in which lantern slides will be used. I brought a lantern from NCC which we are going to use. A week from Thursday will be our first such meeting and then we shall show the slides at the church on Friday for the missionary society. Our Sunday school is progressing nicely. We have secured a new register and a lovely blackboard. Our attendance reached 90 last Sunday but dropped a bit today because of the weather. A week from this Tuesday the upper department of the S.S. is having an oyster stew to provide social entertainment. Something else: the aid society is putting on a pancake supper to purchase a cabinet of maps for the SS. The materials – flour, syrup, coffee – are being provided free by advertising firms.
Only three months remain until our wedding day! Can you really believe that to be true? It is hard for me to imagine just how it will seem to be with you continually. I can’t understand it all now – all I can say is that I know it will be wonderful. As the time for our marriage approaches you’ll need to remind me of any things that I should care for. I’m prone to overlook details occasionally, but in this event nothing must be overlooked. You won’t let me go off on our trip and forget my shirts or socks, will you? I’m absent minded enough to do such a thing.
I’ve just returned from Bellwood where we played our last basketball games. This team put us out of the running at the tournament last week, but we defeated them tonight 20-19. Two of my men were disqualified because of fouls and I only had six along so we played the last six minutes with only four men to their five. They kept creeping up on us with this handicap, but the game ended in our favor. We feel real happy over this victory.
I’m dealing in automobiles again. A man out in the country wants to buy a car just like mine and willing to pay for it. I have another car in view here that I will buy if I sell mine. I am a little disappointed in Merl’s car and have a chance to make some money on it and yet have a good car. You’ll think me a regular gambler in Fords if I don’t stop. Well, it’s interesting to do and puts my business ability to a test.
Sweet and happy memories have been a part of me ever since I left you yesterday. You are so lovely you make my heart fill with joy and pride. Your eyes speak of the love that you have for me and that is sufficient for me. If I can’t make a success with the inspiration of you then I’m impossible. We arrived home at exactly 10 o’clock without having any trouble at all. I had trouble in keeping awake but succeeded after a fashion.
I’ve been interviewing different ones tonight in preparation of my speech tomorrow night. One of them was a man who will open the bank here. He is quite certain that the bank will open this week. I need my money that is tied up.
The other morning we were arguing at the table about marriage, love, home life, etc. Simmons always is casting doubtful remarks about the happiness of love and marriage, and of course I dote on arguing with her. Finally she said , “Well, John, I have perfect confidence in the success and happiness of your marriage” because you and I are “different”. Do you suppose others feel as she does?
I’ve just returned from our meeting held at Marion Hoare’s school. Again I had to speak. Believe me it is no easy task to prepare a different speech each week on the same subject.
Mr. Kotas told me that before I decided whether or not to come back that the board wished me to state my financial demands for their consideration. Mr. Kotas told the board of my plans for the summer so it will soon be public gossip that I’ll be married this June. I don’t care now who knows, do you?
So much have I longed for you that at noon I got out a small calendar and looked up the dates we were suggesting last Saturday. Better than we thought. Tuesday of the second week in June is on the 10th. It will be for you to say finally whether or not if that date is to be honored by our marriage. If it is, then not even three months remain.
One huge regret I have as we look forward to June is that my finances will be meager. I would love to give you all your heart might desire but it won’t be possible. However, ere many years pass we shall have enough. I hope you will be patient with me because I have done and shall do the best I know how.
More reason why I feel happy today. I have just returned from a visit with Lester Kelly, president of the school board. They want me to return pretty badly next year, I learned. I proposed the proposition and what do you think he said? He said he thought that it could be arranged for you to teach here if there occurred a vacancy. He has a healthy opinion of you (how could he have any other kind by getting his knowledge from me?). Now I feel quite satisfied that we both can work here if there is a vacancy. I told him that I would be able to consider the same salary next year if they hired you. I worry a lot about next year even though I haven’t said much about it. I want us to go on to school so badly and it would be very hard for us to do it soon if only I teach. Indeed I wish you wouldn’t have to work – just take care of me.
I’ve been wondering where we could stay if we teach here. Hollingshead’s have some nice rooms which I think we could secure. She is a good cook and they have a piano. Suttons have a room upstairs that we could get. It is always warm and it would be a good place to board. I suppose our hopes shouldn’t be set too much on this matter because there isn’t a vacancy yet.
What do you know. Dad has been transferred to Omaha. He will be road master over the railroad yards there. He doesn’t know whether to like it or not. It is a promotion and he will receive more money. I think he will get $260 or $270/mo. Mother doesn’t like the thought of moving to a city. The poor folks have moved about so much that they know almost everybody and nobody at all. The family will stay in Columbus until school is out. Dad is to be congratulated on his success in view of the fact that he has practically no education. Isn’t it foolish for you and me to worry about the future in view of the advantages we possess because of our training. If we have the stuff in us that our parents have we ought to succeed in proportion to what they have. I’m afraid we lack the simplicity and courage to meet problems that they have had. We want too much to begin with.
We shall probably keep our present car because the proposed deal fell through. It will be good enough for us in view of our circumstances.
First of all, I want to ask you about the suggestion made by Bess Marsh (Rachel’s note: this is the same person who offered John the opportunity to come to the Young Friend’s Conference in Toronto) concerning our work for next year. She said she was sending a copy of the letter to you, so I assume that you understand the situation to which I refer. Can you imagine doing such work? I can very easily. I like the prospect and have written telling Bess that we were interested (I thought you would be) and wanted to learn more about it. I think it would be the wisest step for us unless we could both teach here in Monroe – even then it might be wiser. I think so for these reasons: we would both be profitably and, I think, happily occupied, we would earn quite good wages – more than if only I teach, we would form contacts in the east which we must sooner or later do, we would have the opportunity of going to school part of the time. This would enable us to get established so we could study full time another year perhaps. The experience would be good for both of us, and your ability to instruct music would be a very great contribution to such an enterprise. If we could start to work in July or August the question of summer employment after the conference would be solved. I shall anxiously await your letter telling me what you think of the affair.
It is hard for me to wait until I hear from you to learn of your reaction to the suggestion made by Bess Marsh. I’m afraid that if you leave the matter to me and we are acceptable to the people in Philadelphia, we will undertake the work in preference to anything else which is prospective. The opportunity strikes me as being a very fortunate one for us in view of our qualifications and circumstances. Now you may explode all such thoughts when I get your letter but nevertheless I shall consider arguments both pro and con.
Yesterday I took a Sunday school class of boys to the river for a picnic. They showed me a good time. After supper last evening I had to go to play practice and following that I stopped at Sutton’s and visited with the “old maids” (school teachers). We felt silly so we passed the time spinning yarns, making up poetry about each other, etc. One thing I have missed greatly this year and that is real companionship with young fellows of my own age. Often would I have given much to have Ralph, Kenneth or Guy here.
Perhaps in view of the conditions of banking institutions it’s a good thing I don’t have any money to worry me. I haven’t thought about the problem you face before now, but I share in your fear. If money were in a local bank, and you knew something about that institution it would be different than having it in a “foreign” institution. It isn’t a job for me to decide what you should do with it; it is your own. It would appear rather selfish of me to suggest that I use it. It would be too bad to lose that which you will need badly sometime. If you should feel that it should be used to pay some of my debts that must be your own action.
You are a game little sweetheart. I can imagine some girls insisting on staying near mother or desiring all without giving much. Not so with you. You attitude toward our work makes it easy for me – or comparatively easy. (Rachel’s note: is this where granddaughter’s Sarah and Amanda get their independence??)
I’m awfully anxious to hear from Philadelphia and I expect to again within a day or two. If the people in Philadelphia will hire us we’re hired as far as I am concerned. Indeed, I should like to go to the Univ. of Penn or I might possibly attend the new Quaker school. (Rachel’s note: He is refering to Pendle Hill outside of Phila.)
Do you know for certain whether Penn State College is the same as the Univ. of Penn? It occurs to me that we might get to see and be with Mr. Peters again if they are the same. I would enjoy that. No, I hold no thoughts of jealousy or hatred toward him. I blame myself and you, not him. I always admired and respected Mr. Peters and still do. (Rachel’s note: first mention of Penn State! Apparently Prof. Peters was teaching at PSU. You’ll remember that Ruth and Ted had a bit of a fling while at NCC.)
Regarding finances in Philadelphia, I would receive about the same as I do now. You would get a bit less. I would get $100 plus board and room and laundry; you $80 plus room. In other words we would receive about $150 a month clear of our expenses. I think this would be enable us to do some of the things we desire, don’t you?
Hurrah! Our bank is going to open this week or so it appears. the whole town is feeling better because of it. We shall get only 30% of our deposits to begin with, but that will be a great help. I can use this money just now very nicely. Especially in view of the fact that the church at Central City is calling for some assistance. I feel inclined to help a little at least.
No word het from Bess, though I have been expecting to hear every day. The time is passing and I must know what I am going to do within the next two weeks. I don’t want to give up my work here when everything else is so uncertain. Surely I shall hear about the work at Philadelphia tomorrow. The questions which you ask are real, but I can’t answer them for you until I hear further word from Bess. It will be great fun to actually work out details, won’t it? When I come up again we will have so many interesting things to talk about. Your folks will be interested too, no doubt.
Needless to say I’m very anxious to see Guy and President at Central. While I’m visiting with President I shall propose the little job which we have for him. Won’t that be fun? Don’t you wish you could be a little mouse in a corner?
John 3/30/30 This is the letter with details of the jobs in Philadelphia as social workers with the Friends Neighborhood Guild.
I’ve had a wonderful weekend. Before I left Monroe I received a letter from Bess which greatly interested me. She said that she had gone out to see Miss Lang and had talked to her further about us. She explained the work a bit more in detail. Both you and I would have charge of the spiritual, thought, and recreational life of the guild. Two other women would be on the staff. They have a dental and children’s clinic, which require some other helpers, I presume. The Cottage is a two storied brick building. We would share this building with Miss Lang and another lady. We would have our own room – a large one upstairs – and then have access to the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, etc. The place is well equipped and nicely furnished. We would have no cooking to do – doesn’t that please you? A maid is there to take care of all the routine work. I naturally suppose that we would have some minor obligations about the house. Bess said that the hours for my work would be between two and five in the afternoon and then again after supper for two or three hours. She didn’t say anything about your hours but I presume they would be similar to mine. This would allow us to go to school in the morning if we chose. Bess suggested that Miss Lang would like to go on thinking in terms of our coming and that I should have some recommendations sent.
Consequently, I have written Miss Lang and have asked four persons to send reference: Mr. Kotus, Dr. Stewart, Guy Solt, and President. I read Guy’s recommendation – he was certainly generous to us. I suggested that they mention your music abilities as well as your many other qualities. Guy’s letter made me jealous he said such nice things about you. Now all we need to do is await an answer to all this. I believe it will be in our favor. The folks at Central were all agreed upon the wisdom of our decision. They feel that it is an opportunity which will open many larger things in the future. You can’t realize how startled I was when Guy said what he did today: he said that the only reason I had not been asked to take Bess’s job as Young Friend’s Secretary was the fact that I have had no experience with Friends outside of Nebraska. Gracious! I didn’t imagine I could even be considered as a possible candidate for such work. (Rachel’s note: I just knew Guy Solt was involved with Dad getting to Phila. Now I know how.)
So much for school and work! Mr. and Mrs. Carrell were both present when I asked them if they would drive to Allen in June. They said they couldn’t miss such an event – thus another question is solved satisfactorily. We talked some about the ceremony but he said he would arrange that after you and I had talked about it. Let’s talk with your folks when I come up.
Mother hates to think that we may go so far from home – in fact she says I can’t, but she knows I will if the chance comes. We will no doubt get homesick, but that can be overcome and we can probably come home next summer. At least let’s plan that way – then it’s more likely to get done.
Thank goodness I can see the end of my indebtedness to the bank at Central. Next month will square me with them. What other debt I have, save for my Ford which isn’t entirely paid for, can be cared for when possible. Believe me, I’ve worked hard to manage things this year so that I would not be worried to death because of finances. I’ll be happy when final word comes from Miss Lang. Believe me, I’ll be disappointed if this whole thing “blows up”. Let’s pray that it won’t. It is trying to be so torn between conflicting plans and desires; especially when we are dependent upon the assistance and generosity of others as much as are we.