Monthly Archives: May 2012

She Wore His Pin

At the end of the Spring semester in 1930, Jim finished his final exams and moved out of the fraternity house and into the Senate Apartment Hotel at the corner of Armour Boulevard and Troost Avenue in Kansas City.  He was beginning a summer job working with the Missouri State Highway Department.

May was a busy month for Mary.  A trip to St. Louis for the Fairmount Derby.  The end of the school year class picnic.  A flurry of bridal showers and bridge parties. Before Jim left town, she also made one last trip to Columbia with her friend Helen.  While she was there, she enrolled in classes for the Fall term and reacquainted herself with her sorority sisters at the Tri Delta house on Richmond Avenue.

When she returned home to Jefferson City, her relationship status changed.  She wore his pin.

Postmark Jefferson City, MO

May 28, 1930 10 PM

Wednesday

Dear Jim:
I hope you are getting along all right with your work.  It is really warm here this afternoon.  If you stay out in this long you will get a good suntan.

The breakfast was so nice this morning.  I hate to have to come down to toast and bacon in the morning.  We had strawberries first.  Fried chicken.  Gravy.  Baked Apple.  French fried potatoes.  Jelly and hot biscuits and coffee.

I weighed today and guess how much?  I am 98 pounds.  I’m so proud of myself.  I have gained 3 1/2 pounds in a month.

Helen and I went to the baseball game this afternoon.  It was very exciting and when we left Henry was ahead, that is his side was.

Mother went on a picnic so she came in all tired out today.  In fact we are all lazy.  It must be that we are getting old.

I wore my white dress and blue coat today.  It had your pin on it and several girls saw it and thought it was quite nice.  However they thought I had had it a long time.  Just wait until some Tri Delta sister gets a look at it.  Anyway they can’t collect until next fall.

I talked to Mrs. Lindsey today.  She said she wanted to see you so much.  She is very fond of your folks.

Jim-I surely wish you good luck and I’ll write more tomorrow.

Henry was sick last night.  So guess you did the right thing by going on the first train.  Helen was dead and I wasn’t feeling extra.  So guess it was best but I hated to see you leave.

Love, 

Mary

When a young man gives a young woman his fraternity pin, it is a sign of his affection and a symbol announcing that later they will become engaged.

Jim was a Lambda Chi Alpha.  This was his pin.  The pin she wore.

I happened to marry a Lambda Chi.  He was a member of the same chapter at the University of Missouri.  (He and Jim both served as treasurer of the chapter.) My husband never owned a pin.  So, I never wore his pin.  But before Jim died, he wanted to be sure that my husband had his pin.

Pinning may seem like an old fashioned tradition in the world of social media.  But it is still a romantic notion signifying a change in relationship status.  The biggest difference is that when Jim pinned Mary, he fastened a lasting connection that extends beyond the limits of a timeline.

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I’ll Have Another

This past Saturday was the 138th Kentucky Derby.  The thoroughbred I’ll Have Another won the run for the roses.  The winner of the 56th Kentucky Derby in 1930 was Gallant Fox, who went on to win the Triple Crown.  Gallant Knight finished second and Ned O. finished third.

This is correspondence Mary wrote to Jim on her trip with her Dad to the Fairmount Derby at Fairmount Park near St. Louis.  The winner in 1930 was Gallant Knight.

Wondering if Mary bet on Gallant Knight with Jim in mind?  Either way, she clearly picked the winner and wouldn’t have another!

Postmark St. Louis, MO

May 16, 1930  10 PM

Friday

Dear Jim:
Well, I am about half gone I think-I wrote you a letter today and lost it somewhere.  You get it but again you may not.

Jim-Henry is going home tonight.  He is driving down with some boys.  He has talked to me twice lately.  He will be with Helen alright.  I think maybe Henry is in a good humor now.

Jim-I am writing this while waiting to leave for St. Louis.  

We have a nice big Drawing Room on a special car.  So, we couldn’t be fixed better.  I hope we have as big a time as we are counting on.  Dad and I are pals when it comes to sports.  Mother just looks on and says nothing.

Margaret Enloe couldn’t get a pass.  So she didn’t come.  She sent some money for me to bet.  I am not going to put up much just enough to say.  I have won or lost on the Derby.

I surely wish you were going.  We would have a big time.  Henry wants me to call him tomorrow night and I think he wants to take us for a ride.

The party last night was grand such good food and so much fun.  All the girls were really happy for some reason and it was a gay party.

I hope that you have a grand time at home and don’t have to work too hard at school next week.  I’ll write or send you a night letter for Sunday.  I may send it to Columbia.

Remember me to your Mother and Father and Bill.

Love,

Mary

Postmark St. Louis, MO

May 18, 1930  9 PM

Sunday

Dear Jim:
We are on our way home.  It was certainly a grand trip.  We won on every race a little-but one-it was all so much fun I didn’t mind the loss of 2.00-

It didn’t rain but a little and wasn’t hot either.  The weather was fine for a good race.  I called Henry about 9:00 P.M. also at 7:30 Couldn’t get him.  Finally when I did his father said he had gone down town.

Jim-I am going to a party every night this week I think unless I turn down the one Wednesday.  

Have you heard from Henry?  I think he is alright now-but believe he is angry at his girl-because he wasn’t going to be with her that all.  I couldn’t find out.  Please don’t mention it to him though.

I imagine you will be plenty busy this week.  I’m sure I will.  If you don’t hear it is because I couldn’t get time to write.

This weather today looks bad for May.  Maybe I won’t have to take the children out for a picnic this year.

It’s almost train time so must quit. 

Love,

Mary


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