Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grandma's November 1916 letters

Can it really be that I haven’t posted anything since August? Well, sorry about that, although I didn’t get many messages asking where I was or begging for more. That ought to tell me something, I guess.

Still, I’m determined to finish off this letters project, and then maybe move on to other items that a couple of people besides me might be interested in.

So, let’s pick up where we left off, in November 1916.

In her
Nov. 1 letter, Mary reveals that she won’t go to visit a married friend because her husband is “too precise. I’m always afraid of doing something he wouldn’t consider proper.”

Then she writes of the fun she had at the Democratic Party rally, and talks about dancing with “Judge Metz.” If I’m not mistaken, that would be the judge who lived in Basin, where I grew up. I was acquainted with his widow, and I think Neil Lamont’s late father-in-law, Metz Smith (a really good man), was named after Judge Metz. I hope someone will set me straight if I have that all mixed up.

Here next letter isn’t until
Nov. 13. She notes that it was 18 below zero (Fahrenheit, no doubt) in mid-November. That’s one of those details that makes me not miss Wyoming so much.

She also notes that she’s been stiffed so far on payment from the Democratic Party for music she provided – apparently for money – at the rally mentioned in the Nov. 1 letter.

As I’ve mentioned before, some of Grandma’s letters are maddeningly cryptic, and this one’s no different. In the Nov. 1 letter, she says she’ll need to tell him something in person the next time she sees him. Apparently she did, because in this letter she writes,

“I need you, ’cause when I’m with you, I never think of doing some of the foolish things I do when you are gone. I don’t want to disappoint you anymore, sweetheart. I’d much rather have you disappoint me. It wouldn’t hurt me as badly as it does when I’m the cause of it, and I don’t enjoy disappointments, either. I’m afraid I’m a failure in some respects, and I try so hard to be good, too. You’ll have to help me, dear, to be stronger. I can’t do without you; I love you too much to think of it.”

So, any guesses? It does make the mind race, doesn’t it?

Next up is
Nov. 18, and it starts right off with a continuation of the previous letter. She has received a letter from him since her last letter to him:

“You haven’t anything, dear, to be forgiven for. I didn’t blame you one bit for being disappointed. I did do something bad, and it makes me furious to think I’m so foolish at times. I think that must be the trait that you dislike, and I dislike it, too. I couldn’t help telling you about it. I was afraid someone else might before I had the chance. I could never even try to keep you from knowing things like that, Dave. I want you to know my faults, dear, and help me to be better.”

This letter also marks, I think, the first time she actually mentions marriage.

“Carol is busy planning things for me when I get married. I believe she is almost as interested in it as I am.”

Then she writes about things that are certainly familiar to members of our church. It’s kind of interesting to hear it from her perspective, though:

“After the dance last night, Mother and I had a long talk, and she advises me to do just what I told you I was going to do. She would rather have me married in the Temple, of course, but I can’t give you up, dear, because of that. I could never be happy without you, sweetheart. I love you too well. I don’t think you want to get along without me, either. I don’t want you to, anyway.”

If I’m understanding this correctly, her mother wants her to be married in the temple, but since Grandpa wasn’t yet ready for that step, her mother is OK with a civil marriage. The temple sealing, of course, would come years later, just before Grandma passed away – although nobody even knew she might be ill at the time.

In the
Nov. 26 letter, Grandma writes of being thoroughly disagreeable – with everyone, all the time. She claims to have a real problem with her bad moods. I wonder: Was she?

Next week: December 1916.