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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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Big Things Happening

A month has passed.  No letters to be found written from Jim to Mary. What few letters from March 1930 are written from Mary to Jim.

It seems that they are spending more and more time together.  Jim visits Mary at her home in Jefferson City.  Mary attends a dance with Jim in Columbia.  Big things are happening!

Mary has her hands full teaching school.  She has 32 energetic students in her class!  This leaves her with little energy to make date bars and fudge or attend her bridge club.

Jim is studying hard.  Heat Machinery and other classes have been giving him headaches.  Mary worries about this.  Henry worries Mary, too.  He’s been telling her Jim’s parents are worried he is “going too much.”  Now she is worried that Jim’s folks don’t want him to come over to Jefferson City very often.  Big time worry!

Worry for nothing, it seems.  Among the news in this letter is that Jim has been inducted to Tau Beta Pi, the second oldest honorary society (Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest) and the only honor society for engineers.  Buzz Aldrin (astronaut), Frank Capra (movie director), Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are notable members. Guess he must have come out alright on that quiz!

Postmark Jefferson City, MO

April 4, 1930 6:30 PM

Tuesday 2:30 PM

Dear Jim:
It looks as if I can’t ever get time to write a good letter.

I’ll try to take my recess period for it this afternoon.  Some one will just about get their nose hurt or fall down.  That always happens when you don’t want it to.  

The school board is supposed to visit this afternoon.  I guess they will land some time soon.  My children will probably act like wild animals for them.

I had a grand time last night and I got to ride out in a new Packard Sedan.  The car really is a beauty.  It is so big and the engine is perfect.  Lillian Tweedie drove it.  It belongs to her father.

I am thrilled over Tau Beta Pi.  I guess Henry won’t say you didn’t study from now on.  He just used his imagination too much along some lines.  He took a girl to a dance Tuesday night.  She is just an infant and I have always thought her rather fast at least she has that name however she is cute looking.  Henry is sure hard for me to figure out in some ways.

Mother and I are going to be busy tonight getting linens and spoons and things ready.  I’m glad we only have this once a year.

The little boy that was hurt is getting along fine.  He will be back Monday.

I am having my club next week on Wednesday night.  I am going to a party Thursday night, I think, so I’ll be real busy.  This week has been rather quiet.  It is almost five minutes past my recess.  I must quit for now.  I’ll add some to this after I get your letter this afternoon.  I. Miller sent me some grand shoes but the heels didn’t match.  I can’t imagine why.  I had to send them back.  They were real pretty.

5:00 PM

It will be alright to come over Saturday night Jim.  You can call me about six.  I think the folks will all be gone by then.  You could stay at Henry’s until then, couldn’t you?  We won’t have dinner at home I’m sure but you understand why.  So it is alright to call me and if they have gone soon enough maybe you can eat dinner over here but I doubt we can get through in time.

Love,

Mary

This letter is full of big news.

Big visit from the school board.

Big ride.  A 1930 Packard Sedan…

Big honor for Jim.

Big date for Henry!  Although, it sounds like the girl has a pretty big reputation.

Big party to prepare for.

Big mistake with the shoes.  Mismatched heels might lead to a big trip up.

Big weekend coming up!

Even bigger Spring ahead…

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