This letter starts casually enough but very quickly gets rather serious. I can only imagine my grandmother freaking out when she read it. I say freaking out because I know I would be if I were in her situation; even if I didn’t know more of the back story. On the surface, I see a pregnant wife with two other children with a husband far away from home. If anything happened to my grandfather, what were the options for my grandmother in that day and age as a widow? It is one thing for your husband to get killed in the service of his country, but to be killed because he was the passenger in the car of a drunk driver is something completely different (and unexpected).
I am impressed by the clear thinking of my grandfather and his ability to not cave to peer pressure. Forgive the expression, but he had some balls that night. My grandparents were not drinkers. What I mean to say is: they had an occasional drink now and then, but they weren’t habitual. My grandfather did keep a stock of hard liquor in a special cabinet in the house. My father can attest to that. When he was in college (I believe), he snuck his first drink from that cabinet. That’s a funny story. I’ll have to get him to write it down for me again. But I digress; my grandparents weren’t drinkers because they knew the risks of drinking.
By the time my grandmother was 15 years old, her mother had kicked her father out of the house for good. One of the reasons I was given was because of my great grandfather’s drinking. I don’t know the exact year that this occurred, but sometime between the 1910 and 1920 censuses. I know very little about my great grandfather’s life. He eventually ended up in Pennsylvania. I know this from his obituary and a letter I have which was written to my great uncle Jim. I have yet to locate him on either the 1920 or 1930 census, but I’m pretty sure the man I found on the 1940 census is him. He was living alone in Erie, Pennsylvania. He gives his place of birth as Illinois and his age as 70. These are both consistent with the other sources I have. He was working as a gardener for a private home. He also gives his marital status as married. I don’t think my great grandparents ever got legally divorced so this would also be correct.
So when I picture my grandmother reading this letter from her husband, I know the role alcohol had already played in her life. I think I also have a pretty good idea about how she felt about drinking. I also appreciate the apparent honesty in my grandparents’ relationship. He felt comfortable enough telling her about this escapade and was able to (hopefully) reassure her that it wouldn’t happen again.
Just finished reading the paper and thought best to write now and maybe finish later on in the day. Dr. Lentz is playing golf but I don’t believe I want to start that now or because that’s one habit that grows and I don’t want to buy clubs etc.
Don’t forget to send in the next Income tax installment before June 15. Guess they wouldn’t throw me in the jug but it would mean lots of red tape. Then some day when you have lots of time you can total up the Jan, Feb, March, Apr + May income for next year it should be simple from then on.
Haven’t seen or heard of Jim. I don’t believe you gave me his correct rating because the CK doesn’t mean anything. SK would but the CK seems to be foreign.
I had a little trouble last night. My roommate drove over to 2 other Dr’s rooms and they started
(page 2) hitting the bottle. Then they wanted us to go along to get something to eat which was agreeable but the driver was half tight – drove down the wrong side of a two land highway + honked + wave at everybody, finally when we got near the YMCA I said I wanted to see if there was any mail there and when I came back I told them to go on without me. Where upon they seemed much put out and coaxed etc.-but I got sore and told them I didn’t like their carryings on, and walked away from them. Lentz came in about 1:00 AM and seemed a little ashamed of himself, said he wanted to get away also and the one of the other Drs. Wanted to get out also, but the driver of the car was the one who caused the uproar. He is a bachelor and doesn’t care what happens etc. Has no relatives etc. but from now on I’ll stay out of his car. So much for that. I took care of myself in that situation so don’t worry I can do it again if necessary.
I’m going to ask for leave in a couple of weeks. It’s a little soon but they can’t anymore than turn me down.
(page 3) I guess you have enough money to go one for a while- I thought some of sending home some but I’ll have to buy a blue suit ($45) 2 or 3 more whites $8.50 each and I have about $45 charged downtown so if I keep what I have I can almost clear that up by the June 15th pay. After that I’ll have an allotment sent home each month.
Kate Smith is supposed to be around here someplace today but those programs are mostly for recruits. There is always a small portion set aside for officers but they sorta frown on too many going. They think we can pay for our entertainment.
After today when we go out in the Eve, we are supposed to war only white uniforms. Even if we go out to eat, but those things get dirty very easy. Anyplace away from the base white is supposed to be worn. The K. is only for work. The overalls so to speak. I’d hate to think what a white suit would look like after I’d ride the train home.
Mark wanted some pictures of the peers etc. Those don’t seem to be available. There are cards with army guns
(page 4) but nothing of anything along the coast. Maybe I can find something to send them again today. We may go out driving this P.M. but only with Lentz and if he gets to acting funny I’ll get out and walk again.
I just happened to remember you asked me the charge on the Henderson baby, it was $30.00. You might let me know the amount of the Bank acc. of course less the first of the month rent which they take out. When you get the bills ready to turn over to Cliff, send me a list of them first. And did you get that old bit you had on that pink sheet of paper. There may be one or two good ones there-probably not. Did you ever write to Shell Luce in Clinton about(the accident. case)? Do you know if Jim or Joe has gone yet? It seems like ages since I was there but its less than 2 wks. So really I guess not so much has happened since I left.
Well, my space is limited. I’ll not sign off just yet however-Guess there is nothing more so [this is written in a different ink]