I only found the one letter Jim wrote to Mary during the month of January. In fact, it is the only letter I could find from him until the end of April. My mother recently came across another bundle of letters. A few from Mary postmarked 1930 but most of the envelopes are dated much later. Just a reminder that it is really rather remarkable that so many letters were saved to begin with, and even more remarkable that the existing letters didn’t get lost somewhere along the years and the many, many moves to the homes where they lived.
This is a short letter from Mary, who is in St. Louis with her mother to visit her aunt and good friend Frances at the beginning of February.
Postmark St. Louis, MO
February 6, 1930 6 PM
I received your letter this afternoon and was glad to get the date bar recipe. I’ll try my luck soon.
If nothing happens I think I can come over for the dance the 28th. Larry will drive over I’m sure with me. Will they dress formal or not?
Frances-a girlfriend of mine went all over town with me tonight-just acting silly. So she took me up. We ate everything Crown offered. We bought Valentines and then Frances got real serious and bought some pillow cases. She plans to use them in her old maids apartment.
I am going to a bridge party tonight. I am so dirty and tired am afraid I’ll never get fixed.
Mother and I will probably stay in St. Louis Saturday night-if her sister insists. You send my special here though and I’ll be home about 4:30 p.m. I’ll send yours from St. Louis.
This will be a big weekend for you. I hope you will enjoy it.
Jim if I send letters so you will get them where you room on Monday, Wednesday, Friday is that right? Tuesday and Thursday at the Lambda Chi House.
Well you will get a long letter soon from me-even if the last two have been short-honest.
Girl trip! I picture Mary and Frances giggling at the counter of the Crown Candy Kitchen eating a grilled cheese sandwich and drinking a strawberry malt, then sampling the heavenly hash. My grandmother loved that candy concoction of milk chocolate, marshmallow and pecans. It was her very favorite candy, and Jim made sure that she always had a box of it!
Crown Candy Kitchen is vintage St. Louis. The soda shop opened in 1913 by two best friends who came to America from Greece. The Crown Candy Kitchen Challenge since that time is that anyone who drinks five shakes or malts in 30 minutes gets them free and their name on a plaque in the store. The challenge was attempted on the Travel Channel’s Man Versus Food Series in 2009. Locals and visitors still line up to have lunch and buy the hand dipped chocolates for themselves or their special someone. We’re left to guess if Mary also bought Jim a Valentine while they were there.
I can also envision the girlfriends browsing the shelves of Famous-Barr Department Store for linens to go in Frances‘ “old maid apartment.” Famous-Barr is now Macy’s. Seems like all the department stores I remember from the different places I’ve lived are now Macy’s. Don’t get me wrong, Macy’s is great; I especially love to visit the flagship store with its wooden escalators in the heart of Manhattan. Definitely a girl trip destination! But I long for the local department stores where Mary shopped. The kind where sales clerks would have selected dresses off of the rack to show her; also help her choose which one to wear to the dance.
Special. Speaking of special…Mary and Jim are about to send each other “specials” for the first time. What’s a “special?” And, I want one!