Before she was married, Gladys worked as a stenographer. After she married Roscoe, she continued to work as the family’s secretary. One tool of her trade was carbon paper. This is a term that has quickly gone by the wayside. Who uses carbon paper anymore? And based on some of the articles I came across while researching the origins of said paper, our youngest generations have no idea what carbon paper even is. For myself, I learned to type on a good, old-fashioned manual typewriter. When I went away to college, one of my going away gifts was an electric typewriter, not a computer. I didn’t get one of those until I was out of college, left graduate school and had been married several years. But I digress. By virtue of the fact that I know how to operate a typewriter, I know what carbon paper is and have used it on many occasions. Although not recently, and probably not in this century.
Gladys made duplicates of all her correspondence using carbon paper, except (as she mentions on November 6th) not the letters she wrote to Roscoe. We have it so easy these days with photocopiers, except of course when the machine is broken and then the world stops and everyone is screwed. Ever been in a teacher workroom, during recess and had to make a single copy for a class in a pinch before recess is over, only to discover that the copier is down? It’s not pretty. Over the years, Gladys used carbon paper to make duplicates, a practice that was passed down to her sons. This weekend as I was going through some of the OTHER folders of family correspondence, I chanced upon a particular letter of my father’s. In the 1970s, my father wrote a weekly letter to various family members and friends. At the end of that letter he wrote,
“I will continue to write my weekly letter. The original will go to my folks in West Lafayette, with copies, as usual to…”
And how did he manage this feat without a photocopier? With our trusty friend the carbon paper. For a little history on carbon paper, read here.
Nov 6 – 1942
Rec’d one letter this AM – the one telling me you had one letter dated Oct 9. If I had kept carbon copies I could send you duplicates of all the intervening ones, but what about your commission. I sent it air-mail as you directed. If I could remember some of the things I had written before. I also sent pictures – do hope you get them – Also hope you get your Christmas box – there are some good snap shots in it. I’ll mention your laundry again. I put something in besides laundry. I want it to be a surprise so if you get your laundry and there is anything else in the box you can let me know. If not you won’t be disappointed. It wasn’t anything of value but I thought you would get a “kick” out of it. I was glad you specified 5 to 7 oz a week weight gain for David. He has been doing about that – he still seems so tiny but makes a steady gain – takes his formula, cod liver oil and orange juice. He hasn’t too hearty an appetite but probably will get hungrier when he grows a little – “according to the chart” he should take 4 to 4 ½ oz per feeding every 4 hrs. He usually takes 4 oz – sometimes 3 ½ but he is so good – sleeps all night except for the 2 AM feeding and sleeps most of the day too. He is good when awake so surely he isn’t hungry and his stools indicate his food digests. His birth weight was 6-11 but he lost the 11 oz while cursing the breast. At two weeks he was 6-3 ¼ and at 6 weeks 8-2 so that shows he is making progress. He seems slow because Funk’s baby weighed nearly 13 lbs at 2 months (He was 8 – ¾ at birth) Helen & Carl Koon’s baby is another “overweight.’ He looks so fat and so much larger than David. The present formula is 10 oz carnation 18 oz water – 2 tbsp Dextri-Maltrose. That makes 28 oz for 24 hrs but he never takes the 28 oz. If he takes more than 4 oz at a time he throws up so he probably takes all his stomach can digest. I suppose when he develops more he will take more. He was on a 3 hr schedule but that was too often and he didn’t take each feeding as well as he does now. He is getting Mead’s Oleum Percomorphum (In case you don’t get the letter I told you about it) The bank balance is 825 and if I pay Physicians (30⁰⁰) Massengill (8.99) – Aloe (21.70) & Fa David 15⁰⁰ – will reduce it to 748 – that bal. includes my birthday gift. I haven’t had a chance to do any shopping since receiving it, but I haven’t been in a hurry to shop – I have been so busy taking care of David and trying to get house cleaning done and things back in the “groove,” I feel about normal again. I am still taking Liver & Vit B shots but think I’ll need them yet for a while. I am cleaning house with the help of John & Mark. They each have a bond and also David has one. J & M now have 25¢ stamp books and are to put a stamp in a week. Mother went to Cosmopolitan Club with Mrs. Zell this afternoon. She gets ‘blue’ if she doesn’t hear from Jim every so often. I told her she shouldn’t feel badly – at least he is where she could get to him if necessary and he is still in U.S.A. I don’t think she should go back to T.H. and be there alone – what with traveling being curtailed and gas rationing. It will soon be so one can’t travel by train or bus without a priority rating – that is the talk now and some of the busses have been taken off. But I will let her decide for herself.
[page 2] Seems I was too long winded for one sheet so will finish on this half. I am so glad I have kept the “Daily” letter habit. Someone said they couldn’t see that is did any good but if I hadn’t maybe you wouldn’t have gotten that one. The boys just came home from school and are gathering the clothes. They didn’t want to just now but it is getting damp out – and they won’t dry any more. It has been alternately sunny & cloudy today but the clothes didn’t dry well. Soon have to hang them in the basement. I got a perm. yesterday and while in the beauty shop one of your patients came in who owes 22⁰⁰. She didn’t seem to know me. I had just sent her a statement reminding her I wanted some money but haven’t had a reply – probably won’t get one. I sent out several statements last week but so far “no go,” (as Mark says). John brought home the script for their stunt so I will have to read it. After I read it maybe I can write you what they are going to do. That boys has a sense of humor that is “precious” – like his Dad – where as Mark is more like Floyd – his is the more obvious type – if you get what I mean. He still imitates radio characters with quite a relish.
I haven’t given you any outside news today – been too busy talking about us. You should be getting the Enterprise. Bart sends it – I got your “white poppy” just a little too late to put on your Christmas & Birthday boxes –
©2013, copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/06/10/carbon-paper-gladys/