4229 Berwick Avenue
6th November 1946
This is my letter to give you details of all my doings, that you heard of in passing in my a.m. letters. Since I wrote my last letter to you at the weekend answering your letters I’ve had another one from you posted on ? But I’m not going to answer that now. ^By now I’ve had lots! 17th Nov.
I’m going ‘way ‘way back to 11th Oct. which was Til’s birthday. I had arranged with Vida and Fraser McCartney, who have the flower shop, to send some flowers to Til on her birthday, and I paid them for them. Unfortunately they came on the evening before- 10th- but it didn’t really matter as I was in & when Til came in later I gave them to her. They were in a great big box (not cellophane, I was sorry to see) and tied with ribbon & inside a sheet of red roses & little button chrysanthemums – they call him just “mums” here which tickles me! Til was delighted with them and we arranged them in two vases, and they lasted quite a nice long time. On her birthday I gave her a card & Lois gave her a very smart black suit, & Bill sent an electric blanket. We couldn’t celebrate that day because Til was rehearsing every night for a concert, so Lois & I went to see Ginger Rogers in “Heartbeat” while Til was rehearsing. 12th Oct. was Saturday so I slept quite late & then went into town to shop. I know I must have bought something but I don’t remember what, so I don’t think it can have been very important! One thing was a pink cotton blouse, I remember now – it was very cheap and plain with an ordinary shirt neck, but I can wear it with my navy suit and with my brown pinafore for work. I had lunch in town & then went to the pictures by myself to see Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart in “The Long Sleep” which was quite a good murder-mystery type.
13th Oct. Til had a Children’s Concert to play in, in the afternoon, but straight afterwards she & Lois & I drove to Lois’s sister Ruth’s. Ruth was going giving a birthday party for Til, & besides us there was Ruth & her husband Ernie (a lawyer) the two children David & Mary L. (short for Lois) and Lois’ other sister Mary with her husband Bob. They live in Indianapolis & were with Ruth for a little vacation, so it was the first time I’d met them, but I’d heard a lot about them. Apparently about 12 years ago Lois’ father was alive & Mary had been going about with Bob & they wanted to get married, but the father objected because he was about 15 years older than her, was divorced & drank. So Mary quarrelled with her Father & left home & Lois went with her & they went to live with Til. After a while Mary & Bob got married & they are a very devoted pair (no children). Bob joined “Alcoholics Anonymous” & gave up drinking, & now helps other people to do the same. Last spring they went down to Florida for a vacation, & while they were there Mary was filling Bob’s cigarette lighter with lighter fuel in the bedroom & somehow the fluid got alight & exploded the bottle & her legs got most terribly badly burned. She was very seriously ill, & Lois went down to Florida & stayed there for a month while she was in the hospital when Bob had to go back to work, & then Lois brought Mary up to Ohio on a stretcher by train to a hospital up here, & she was in the hospital from March to August before she could go home. They thought she wouldn’t be able to walk again, but she is fine, although not very strong & her legs are like the worst “fire-burnt” parts of yours all over. She is a dark, slim pretty girl – not like Lois yes blonde – & I liked her, but Bob is a big handsome man over 6 ft., a bit conceited and facetious and jokey for my taste! Ruth is tiny & dark – even smaller than me – & I like her very much & her husband seems nice too. The dinner was lovely – roast chicken & all sorts of things to go with it, and afterwards “Angel Food Cake” with ice cream. We all washed up the dishes, & Til had a great pile of presents from all the others- soap, a compact, a blouse, pyjamas etc.!
14th Oct. Til was rehearsing again, so as Lois was working at the Airport by herself during the evening, I went with her & she taught me to work the adding machine & I had great fun punching figures for her.
15th Oct. was the day of Til’s concert. She belongs to a Society called the Friends of Music which give concerts during the winter. They have a conductor from Chicago to train them etc. & they are all chosen musicians, but have other jobs too. Til is the 1st violin & everyone says she is very good. There are about 50 people in the orchestra, half women, & all the women had just had dresses made alike- fine black stuff – long, gathered skirts, bishop sleeves, and peter pan collars- Til hated hers & it did make them all look sort of fat, & very plain & black. I tried to console her by telling her that all the others looked just as bad! With Lois & I at the concert, were Elsie (the girl with the paralyzed face) & her Mother, & it was held in the concert hall of a convent- (a big hall too) & up in one corner were a few nuns sitting listening to the music & enjoying themselves! The concert was very good, but the music was a bit deep for me – however I enjoyed it.
16th Oct. I stayed after school & talked to the Senior Friendship Club about England! They were quite sweet & interested & I stayed about an hour.
17th Oct. I had a nice, quiet night at home. I forgot to tell you, that on the 16th I had a date for dinner & a movie with Joyce Cole – the girl from Texas. Then I got a letter from a teacher on the faculty (staff) of a Teacher’s College in Bowling Green- a place outside Toledo – asking me to go & speak at a faculty meeting. So I wrote & said I couldn’t go & then Joyce rang up & asked if I would mind cancelling the date!! That wasn’t all though – since then, the same Bowling Green woman has written & asked me to speak at their Annual Banquet – the most important function of the year she says!- on 15th Jan. & I’ve had to refuse again as I have that date booked too! The funny thing is I have just have “Talk” written down for the date & I have no idea to whom or where, but I know it’s something!
18th Oct. Til & Lois & I drove to Ruth’s. Til had a bottle of champagne given to her for her birthday so she took it along, but besides Mary & Ruth (the husbands were away on a hunting trip) quite a few of Ruth’s friends were in, so we had to wait till some of them went before we could even share it round! Ruth’s friends belonged to a Garden Club & there was a big Flower Show in Toledo, & all the Clubs were sending in hats decorated with flowers, berries etc. so they were doing theirs & of course I had lots of fun helping. It was a plain straw hat with a brim & we covered the brim with waxed autumn leaves & made a huge wreath to go round of corn, cranberries (red) acorns, bittersweet (orange) & all sorts of things, & put a few other leaves across the crown & it looked lovely. Lois took me in for a very rapid glimpse of the Flower show next night- it was crowded with people so we only rushed in & rushed out, but we saw the hats & ours was definitely the 2nd best. The very best was cut out of a dark & pale green melon & was a sort of toque with cascades of green & purple grapes! After we had finished the hat we all sat around the kitchen table & drank champagne & were quite hilarious on about 1/2 a glass! When we came away Til said I’d been a great hit with the Club ladies & that it didn’t do any harm to use my charm once in a while! That charm again!
19th Oct. I shopped at our local stores in the morning & in the afternoon Til & Lois decided that we would have a little party to ourselves that evening. So we dressed up & they took me out to dinner at a very nice place in town that I hadn’t been to before & then we went to a movie “Rage in Heaven”. Afterwards both Til & I confessed that we’d seen it before, but it was ages ago & neither of us realized until we saw the beginning. However we didn’t mind & we had quite a lot of fun.
I forgot to tell you when I was talking about Til’s dress for the concert, she took me with her to when she went to have it tried on one day, & the dressmaker’s name was Mrs. Niggermeyer!! I met Mr. N. & Mrs. N. & Son N. & they were all fat & Pop & Momma very talkative & intrigued with me as they’d never seen my ilk before! Son was fat & podgy & 28 & had been in the Navy & had been to College before & was an engineer. When Til went back later to get her dress Mrs N. asked her whether I would go out with her son, as he’d been so taken with me & wanted to call me up & have a date with me! Til nearly exploded as we’d both said how dull & awful he looked & said I how busy I was etc. & I’ve never heard anymore of it!
20th Oct. was the day I went to Church with Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins, & in the afternoon I finally met Joyce Cole & we went around the Museum together & had tea afterwards. She is a nice girl but I never seem to get any further with her – she is sort of calm & placid & she doesn’t laugh heartily at my wisecracks, but smiles politely instead, so I don’t feel that we’ll ever get to be more than passing acquaintances! Anyway it is her turn to call me, if we were to go out together again, so I’ll just leave it at that.
21st Oct. was the night of the P.T.A. at school. Mr. Nauts asked me in the afternoon if I’d “say a few words” at the meeting, so I didn’t bother to think of a thing, but when Lois & I went into the auditorium that evening & I saw all 1500 people sitting there, I nearly had a fit! I told you about speaking & dodging the mike, but I felt pleased because I made them laugh at least twice! I quite enjoyed meeting the parents afterwards but I went on too long!
22nd Oct. I went to see “Caesar and Cleopatra” by myself. The local cinema is just at the bottom of our street, & opens at 7 p.m. & you get in for 35¢. Everyone eats popcorn (except me) & the smell of it is awful!
23rd Oct. Til & I went to the Tea where the man talked about the New York theatres & then later I went to the “Rollercade” where the Home Ec Club was having a skating party. It was very boring really as it was a public rink & the kids just went in & skated round & round. I helped collect the money & pay the affair’s debts at the rink & then was glad to come home.
24th Oct. I went to town after school & bought a new hat & new shoes that I think I told you about – I like them both – especially the shoes. They’re dark brown- high heeled – with a bit across the front & just a heel strap – you can hardly buy a shoe here that has a filled-in heel!
25th Oct. was the day off for the North-Western Teacher’s Convention. It amused me to bits to see notices in all the shops, buses etc. “Welcome Teachers of Ohio “! I didn’t go to any of the big meetings but just to the Home Ec one where I spoke. I was quite scared about it, but when I was there & heard the other speakers, I thought, gosh, if I can’t do better than that I should be shot! In fact the more I hear of other speakers, the less ashamed I am of my own efforts! They were talking on “Home Problems” – one was a buyer in House things in a store – she wasn’t bad; – a housewife, who was ghastly; – a high school girl – the best of the bunch; & a health worker – boring! Then I came on!
Afterwards I met Pam & another teacher from Fostoria & we had a nice afternoon having lunch & shopping & going to see a picture “The Killers” which was good. Then we drove to Fostoria, about 40 miles, across very flat, rather poor farming country. Fostoria is a fair – sized little town & like every little town you see in American pictures! Pam lives with an old, kindly couple, the man semi-invalid, used to be a train driver. They were very nice to me & said I could come anytime. Pam is a nice lass- very open-airish, no make up & a bit puppy-fat looking! She has straight brown hair, my colour & fresh colour – but she has the “Ince” mouth- droopy! We got along fine – she has quite a nice room – not as nice as mine! – with a double bed. I inspected all her photos & she showed me all her clothes & we talked! Then we went out to dinner & to see Walt Disney’s “Make Mine Music”. Next day we slept late, then got ready & went to see the town. We went in nearly every shop & it was great fun & I bought my nice red shoes there. After lunch we went back to the house & by then I was foot-sore & weary, but Pam dragged me out again to go & see the Dean of Girls at her school, who is sister to a teacher at DeV. It was she who was burning leaves & Pam helped but there was no rake for me & I stood & froze while they gaily chattered, & you know how unhappy I get when I’m cold! I’m sure the lady thought I was a nasty bored individual, & so I am when I’m cold!
After dinner, I was to get the Greyhound Bus back to Toledo, but it was ages late & Pam & I waited & waited outside her house for it. We tried to stop a truck once thinking it was the bus, & a man offered me a lift & when I just gawped at him, he drove around the block & came back & asked me again! I said no thank you, I was waiting for the bus! When I did get the bus, we wooshed along & it was very comfortable & but all the lights were dimmed so you couldn’t read. It was nearly 11 when I got into Toledo, so I treated myself to a taxi home, & Lois & Til were so pleased to see me, that it was lovely getting back. They admired my new red shoes & I took Til a tiny baby cactus in a wee little pot from the 5 &10¢ store & she was most tickled!
27th Oct. I had a lovely quiet day doing my washing & writing letters.
28th Oct. was the day that Lois and I sat at home and spent the evening making pumpkin lanterns for Hallowe’en. I made mine like this – very happy & rather drunken looking with one tooth, and Lois made hers like this-very prim and disapproving looking! When Til came in we had the candles in and lit, and the lights out, & we told her to say who had made which, & she said that I must have made the prim one as she’d never seen a pumpkin looking like that before – it must be the English style! I told you that we’d made popcorn & drank cider – the cider is sort of home made, although you buy it at farm stalls & is in big jars & is non-alcoholic. But we left the jar in the little back porch & two nights later I heard a great bang & thought Lois had fallen out of bed or something. However, I didn’t hear anything else, so I went to sleep again but next morning we found the cider jar had exploded & there was a cider and glass all over the porch!
29th Oct we went to see Elsie & took her the pumpkins. Since the night she was at Til’s concert with us she had taken ill, and she has got worse if anything since then – weaker & attacks of nausea & headaches. She is convinced it is a brain tumor, and the nurse who nursed her before came to look after her & they made an appointment at the hospital in Boston where the specialist is, and just tonight they have got a compartment on the train & the nurse is taking her to the hospital. She seems to be desperately ill and Lois and she wondered if she’d ever come back.
30th Oct. I went to see Bob Hope in “Monsieur Beaucaire“.
31st Oct. was Hallowe’en and I went to the Pun’kin Prance at school & I think I told you how bored I was! How the teachers can bear to go and sit there and chaperone I don’t know – if I ever did it again I take a book, except that you’re stuck away in the darkest corner!
1st Nov. was the night Til & Lois & I were supposed to go to Bowling Green to see a “Water Pageant”, but it was pouring with rain & looked foggy too, so instead we all decided to go to the pictures & we saw Ingna Bergman in “Notorious” and it was lovely –a murder!
2nd Nov. I Christmas shopped & had lunch in town. It was crowded & rainy, but I got quite a lot of things & came home for tea. I shall enclose a list of what I sent to people so that you will know all the things I got. I wrapped up 11 parcels, & sent them off on Wednesday, so I hope they get there in time for Christmas. The parcels looked so pretty when I sent them – I hope they won’t get too battered & torn up.
3rd Nov. I went to tea with Davida Bailey & her Father, and they were both very nice & kind. He reminded me so much of Uncle John or one of those, with his Belfast accent, but she is a queer looking thin woman about 40, with glasses & a long thin red nose! The English wives that were there seemed quite nice, but I don’t know if I’ll see them again.
4th Nov. I went down to the YWCA & spoke to one of their clubs – the World Fellowship Interest Group. I think I told you about teaching them a song, & talking about Guy Fawkes. Some of the kids had made a Guy but he wasn’t a bit like our kind, – a sort of frame of pieces of wood & covered with newspaper. However we went out & burnt it in an open air grate in the “yard”, but they aren’t allowed to have fireworks or anything, so it was really wasn’t at all like Guy Fawkes.
6th Nov. was the night of the Faculty Turkey Supper & I think I told you most about that. There was nothing very exciting happened – I wore my red wool dress with the short sleeves.
7th Nov. I went to speak at Mrs. Nauts’ sorority. It was rather funny because Mr. Nauts said I must come to dinner with them beforehand & then Mrs. Nauts came & arranged the time to collect me & never mentioned dinner, & then later Mr. Nauts said something about when would I be ready & he was horrified that Mrs. Nauts hadn’t asked me to dinner, but he couldn’t get in touch with her then as she was out! So I had dinner at home! I wore my blue, long sleeved woollen dress, & I think I’m getting fat or something because it’s getting awfully tight, but everyone is very complimentary about it. It is also beginning to wear a bit at the seams at the back of the armholes, so I’m afraid it’s not going last very much longer. I’m sorry because I like that dress, but I shall try to patch it up and make it last. I talked about N/C & Cambridge that night, & told about the Roman Wall & Wallsend, & the Castle & the Cathedral & the docks & everything I could think of in N/C & then about Cambridge & the Colleges & the river & Grandchester & so on & they all seemed to enjoy it very much.
8th Nov. was Saturday – goody! – & I went & shopped again. I didn’t have many things to buy but it took me quite a while & I had lunch in town. Do you know Sat. mornings in town I do miss so much not having a friend to meet for coffee or even for lunch – it was such a nice pleasant friendly time, & I sat & had lunch by myself & quite felt quite forlorn at not knowing anyone just to chat too. Eventually an oldish dame came & sat at my table, so I talked to her but she wasn’t a very thrilling companion! That evening Lois & Til & I went to see “Cloak & Dagger” & it was quite good.
10th Nov. I washed my clothes & spent all afternoon packing parcels! In the evening I told you about going to speak at the Young People’s Club at the Church & how sweet they were about giving me a corsage etc. & taking me there & back. Then during the week I got a little letter from the Secretary thanking me.
11th Nov. I went to the dinner at the Hillcrest Hotel for the Pi Lamda Theta. It is quite a high class joint!, so I dressed up & wore my new black dress & washed my hair & Til said I looked very nice – & my fur coat on top. Then they gave me a white corsage with white ribbons so it quite completed my ensemble! I didn’t have to make a speech, so that was a change!
12th & 13th Nov. were lovely days – or rather evenings! I just sat at home & wrote letters & thoroughly enjoyed myself!
14th Nov. Mr. Nauts had mentioned something about going to Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, & so I went & asked him again & finally he couldn’t go, but Miss Pasch & Mr. Brown took me & it was really fun- getting a day off too! It was beautifully sunny & the drive was lovely & I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wore my new coat & hat to match!
15th Nov. I went to a tea & talk given by the Consumers Group of the Association of University Women. I only had to eat and listen, so it was quite fun & it was in a lady’s home & very informal which was nice. I wore my old tweed suit, which is very much admired over here – everyone calls it my “lovely English tweed”!
16th Nov. I was invited to go a motor ride with three of the DeV. teachers, a Miss Jacobs – big & tall, but a face rather like Miss Bullen’s, but not quite so nice – a Miss Warner- rather sappy- & a Miss Berwick – very gushy- none of them at all my type. In addition to that it was pouring with rain, so it wasn’t a very lively party! However they were very kind to take me & it was most interesting. I got home about 6, & Til & Lois & I went out for dinner & to a movie to see “Holiday in Mexico” which was nice & light & musical & in technicolor. There was a draw for 12 pairs of nylons, but we didn’t win any!
17th Nov. is today! I washed my hair, washed my clothes, took down the screens outside my bedroom windows all today! Then this afternoon I went to the Y.W.C.A. tea I told you about. I wore my blue wooly dress, new coat (without the fur) my fur hat & my new brown shoes, & Til & others admired my hat immensely. A nice man was there who is on the Board of Education & he was very complimentary & said how much he admired my little speech & that he thought I was a credit to my country! I’m always so pleased when people say that!!
I came home- Kathryn Meyers gave me a lift – just as Til came back from a Children’s Concert she’d been giving, & Lois came in with Ruth & her family from an Ice Skating Show they’ve been at, so we all went out to dinner.
I think I shall have to send this by sea, so I shall finish now, but I’ll enclose a picture of “Dearborn” the Inn we had lunch at yesterday & also a list of the Christmas presents. I shall try & write a letter, thanking you for all of yours, during the week, but this is going to be a busy week I think- three talks!
I do hope that everything goes well, honey & that you’re all well –
Lots and lots of love
P.S. This doesn’t seem a very interesting letter!