Tag Archives: ring

Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same

Postmark Jefferson City, MO

April 17, 1930  11:30 PM

Tuesday

Dear Jim:

Well, I got along real good today.  The children were rather wild. After a strange teacher  has them they often get some bad habits.

Frances got her ring.  I didn’t go out to see it but will tomorrow.  She isn’t going to wear it until after her announcement party which will be the 26th of April on Saturday.  I can hardly wait because so many people are going to be surprised. Just about four people have been told.  The rest of the girls think she is about to make up with Louis.

My shoes came from I. Miller today.  I guess I’ll keep them.  They fit fairly well.  At least feel good, that’s a lot.

I have been feeling real good all day.  Tonight, however I’m a little tired but I expected that.

Mother and I went to the Missouri [Hotel] for lunch today.  I ate quite a lot for me.

The doctor said I was run down and needed to rest a lot and not have any responsibilities.  Lots of fresh air and sleep.  My tonsils are not all to blame he doesn’t think.  He said he would give me some medicine to take before meals and whatever I do not to work hard.  If I have to quit and forget about it.  So I guess I will mind him, if I can.  He said when I built up he would say whether or not my tonsils should come out.  Must stop and eat dinner.

Love,

Mary

Some things change.  For example, the practice of medicine.  Tonsillectomies were routine surgery beginning around the 1930s.  Mary’s chronic colds and sore throats indicate the possibility her tonsils must come out. But Mary is not at a healthy weight to have an operation.  The prescription?  Fresh air and rest and something to help her throat so she can eat good meals.  Today, tonsillectomies are rare.  Chronic colds and sore throats are still common but the prescription is much different.

Another interesting change is the way things get announced.  In 1930, an engagement was announced at a social gathering.  It was usually a big surprise to everyone at the party.  Frances has been engaged for a few weeks and only a few people know.  Mary hasn’t even seen her ring yet.  Today, when there is a change in relationship status, it gets announced through social media.  My daughter’s friend Kathryn recently became engaged.  She posted pictures of the engagement and her ring just hours after the proposal.

Some things stay the same.  Students behaving differently (or even wildly) for a substitute teacher.  Also, a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes.  Mary ordered a pair of shoes from I. Miller, a shop dedicated to beauty in footwear.  The shoe store has an interesting history.  Israel Miller began his career designing and making shoes for theater folks performing in shows in New York City.  The flagship store was located on Broadway in Times Square.  I. Miller’s fashionable shoes soon became popular with a variety of women throughout the late 1920s until the early 1970s.  Before he became a pop artist, Andy Warhol was a commercial illustrator and he drew advertisements for I. Miller.

You can still buy I. Miller shoes from online vintage sellers on Etsy.  The ones below probably cost less than $10 brand new in 1930; today they are $70 plus shipping and handling.  Oh, and they’re used.

Some things stay the same, but some things change.

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THE Letter, Part Two

No envelope.  No postmark or date, just the heading gives the clue that it was written on a Wednesday night.  August 7 and 14 were Wednesdays in 1929. Mary pens the letter from the train on railroad stationary.  As the Scenic Limited rolls along the tracks through the Rockies toward Missouri, Mary writes that she is on her way home.  Indeed.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad

En Route Through the Rockies

Wednesday Night

Dear Jim:
I am on my way home from California.  We left Long Beach Sunday and went to San Francisco by boat.  I started a letter to you last night and wrote for a long time, but the train was so “rocking” I couldn’t even read it well, and it was so crazy I thought I will try and do better tonight.

You will be surprised to hear from me, but really Jim I have wanted to write you sooner but didn’t have the nerve.  You will be glad I am sure though to hear that I have decided not to ever marry Willis.  He is still sick and when if ever he does get well, I couldn’t think of ever marrying him.  I guess it is all for the best and I’m trying to feel that life isn’t all bad just because I have had hard luck.  I haven’t been able to be myself for a long time and I hope you understand.  I haven’t aimed to treat you wrong Jim.  Perhaps I have been cold and distant but I couldn’t be otherwise.  I have worried and worried over things but now after being away from things this summer and getting my mind off things about Willis I have decided to teach this Fall again and go to the university a year from this Fall.  Perhaps we can graduate together. Willis is at present in the state institution’s care.  He is working there and also being treated.  I haven’t written to him for when I left for the West, I told him goodbye.  He said he didn’t want the ring back but I’ll put it in the bank I think until he is able to take it back.  I really hardly know what is the best thing to do.

I am writing you this because even though I am sure you are not worried as to what I might do, you have always been so true and have understood me so well.  I just wanted to tell you that.  I have never known a boy that had higher ideals than you and in my mind you are surely placed the highest.

I am not writing you this to begin courting or fall in love.  I have had all I want of that for years to come but at least we can be good friends.  I really feel that you got angry at me the last time you were in Jefferson City.  I tried to call you that Sunday to have dinner but couldn’t find you.  I really decided you had gone until I saw you later that week.  I then decided you were off me for life but I am going to send this letter and try and square myself.  If I made you angry I am sorry Jim.  I didn’t want to do that at all.  I just couldn’t get myself together until now.  (This train is awful.)  

Jim, Mother thinks I’m asleep and so does Helen.  We each have a berth so I can stay up a long time.  It was so hot yesterday coming through the desert and this morning the salt beds.  However, it is cool tonight.  I am in my berth with my beach coat on to keep warm.  If you could see me-my face all covered with cold cream and my hair pinned back, I’m a real old mail.

When you come back to school come over and see me or write me some time.

I’ll be coming over to Columbia real often to football games.  Dad always gets season tickets. 

I hope you are not angry with this letter but please forget how I acted in the past year.  I couldn’t be myself.

It is late and I must stop.  Write me when you can and be sure and come over some time this fall.

I have had a grand trip but will be glad to get home and see Dad.  He just returned from England. 

Good night and Good Bye for this time.

Sincerely,

Mary

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