Anna and Rosie 2 (based on letters from my mother to her sister)
Letters from Anna (aged 17) to her sister Rose (aged 25) and talking about her various brothers and sisters, Alex, Andrew, Jack, Eddie, Ceal, Gertie, Mary and Cornel, and current or prospective
sisters and brothers-in-law, Agnes, Rose, Alice and Ceal, Julius. Their father remarried a widow (Martha) with two sons, (Frank and Ernest) and they had a new daughter, Leona.
My own Rosie,
I am so lonesome for you, I must just relieve myself and gab with you awhile. You should see me, lazy did you say? Sprawled all over the bed and just more than comfortable. Pa, Jack, Eddie, Gertie, Ernest and I were at church today. Mrs. (as we call her behind her back) got dinner. We had quite a feed too, roast ham and gravy mashed potatoes, corn pickles, swell bread, salad and lemon pie. The kids said they wished Easter could come oftener.
Our Easter vacation came Wednesday noon. I took the train from the Academy in Jamestown and Pa came to Pingree to get me. Jack is going to take me to Fried and I will go back with the mailman. That is what I plan on anyway. Ceal, Jack’s girlfriend, is bound and determined that I go to the dance at Clementsville with them tomorrow and go back the next day but the nun told us when left that if we didn’t get back in time we’d forfeit all privileges until June so if I stay (much against my will of course, ha ha) will have to get busy and make up an excuse of some sort.
You know honestly Ag, Alex’s wife, makes me so darn sore sometimes I could croak and yet she’s good to me but I can’t help but have the idea she talks about me behind my back just like she does
everybody else. One time, not long ago when I was over there she started to talk about Jack. Just ran him down to a fare thee well, said he was two faced and everything else and when she got through I said, “Oh, I don’t care. Jack may have his faults same as everybody else but in spite of it,” I said, “in many ways I like him much better than I do Andrew.”
And if the woman didn’t turn aright around and say, “Well, yes, I do too. You know one always does like somebody with pep in them.” Gosh it kind of tickled me the way she suddenly changed her views.
But woman alive, if I was to dare breathe half of the darn gas she’s told me about half of the people around would die in disgrace. She says horrid junk about everyone to me and she hates the Mrs. as much as ever and when she talks about them to me I’d just like to let loose and tell her to dry up.
Just before Phil left he asked me how my sister was managing married life or something like that. I said, “Oh, I hear from Rose occasionally. She seems to be happy and enjoying life.” Phil with
the purple suit and tobacco bespattered face was in Fried today too. Guess life didn’t make him any better looking or his ears any smaller.
Oh Rosie, why do you think you can’t come for our play because it’s too early? Bet you could if you just wanted too. Really I think it would be almost more worthwhile coming for it than for graduation if
you wanted to come to either. Did I tell you I am valedictorian of our class? I have to give a little speech and I am scared spitless thinking about it. Land o’Liberty only two more months of school.
Too good to be true.
Just simply must quit. My feet ache tonight. It’s after 12 and I’m darn tired too. Goodnight.
Love you, Anna.
Pingree – August 30th 1919
I’m awfully tired though so if my letter sound kind of out of sorts blame the threshers and not me. Ding-bust their hides, they’ll be here a week Monday and gee its such hard work slinging hash and
washing dishes for the whole mob of them and they don’t care if Annie’s tired.
How’s your health? How soon is your little baby due? Really, I had quite given up all hopes of ever hearing from you again when I received your letter. It was quite an agreeable surprise.
School time again – I kinda wish I was going back again at that. I hardly think my six weeks of teacher training at Valley City Teachers’ College this summer was enough to make me a proper
teacher, but that is the way it is. I guess I will learn on the job. I met someone there, Alice Coone, and she is going to teach Cysewkski school again this year – darn her – for $10 per month - not far
from Colgan. Ag's brother Ed recommended a school near there and I have applied for it. Haven’t the contract yet but expect it any day. The boarding place is only a half mile from the school. I received a letter from the lady and she said she was sure I could get the school if it wasn’t taken. From her letter she seems very nice – said I’d have a big furnace heated room and they have a piano and I was welcome to the use of it if I played it. From her letter I judge she is very nice and refined. Used good English. They pay $80 a year, so there – not half bad for a nut like myself Maybe I’d better wait till I get it before I start crowing about it.
Alice went out to Ag’s with me before threshing and we did have the best time. The two of us pretty near ran Andrew’s poor Ford to death. August 15th there was a big dance in Pingree so we got an
inspiration we wanted some gaudy blouses to wear to it so then we cranked the Ford and went into town. The only goods we could get were altogether too tame so we got some wide green ribbon to tie around our tummies and a big bow in the back. We wore them to the dance dressed alike, hair combed just the same, the “Skin twisters” were so popular and it was the new blouses that did it all too.
Alice and I went to Jimtown one day too and I got a fall hat for $12.75. Really it’s just plain though kind of a plushy thing with stickups but hats are so ungodly expensive.
Went to the dance at Lees last Saturday with Ag's brother Pete – yes sir – his pa even let him have the car and my pa even said he didn’t give a darn where I went so between the two pa’s it made
things rather nice.
Cealie's staying with Ag now since Wednesday but she says she doesn’t like it at all any more. That Ag, honest, she’s the limit. They started threshing there on Friday and she only had two strange men from then until Sunday evening so that made six for her to cook for. The boys and Pa came home for supper every night. About 6 o’clock she sent Alice over to ask if we were getting supper for the threshers – and if we weren’t, I should come over and help Alice cuz she, Ag, was sick. Say maybe I wasn’t sore. I was darn tired having done the biggest washing all alone, Mrs. and Gertie both in town in the afternoon. I cleaned the clothes room, pantry, helped wash dinner dishes, mopped the dining room and scrubbed the kitchen and had just gotten through them.
Course Ag maybe didn’t feel good can’t blame her for feeling that way, still she’s not the first woman pregnant and whose life may not be very pleasant for her. She makes it so darn unpleasant for
everybody else. And as for making such a fuss over two extra people for meals, no wonder it makes me sore.
Of course, then we got supper and maybe we didn’t have to hurry – no bread, no potatoes not anything prepared. The threshers have been here ever since - that’s six days –That’s 22 of us to cook for and she doesn’t seem to be sorry for us and she has Alice helping her all the time. It sure made me sore – haven’t seen her since.
Next evening after Alec brought me home, Andrew had gone to the engine to fix something and he drained the gasoline tank on the engine on the ground as there was some water in it and it caught fire from the lantern. He was under the engine at the time. It seems a miracle that he didn’t get burned to death. Jack was just coming from Fried when he got near Al’s house, he noticed it. The bunch of them ran out and threw dirt all over the engine – Andrew was all in fighting it before they came if they hadn’t just noticed it the big tank of gasoline near it would have gotten heated and destroyed the whole thing. As it was, it only burned the paint off the engine I guess and stopped threshing for awhile.
I believe I’ve darn near told you everything cepting that Maggie’s tail got cut off in the threshing machine this afternoon so now Cornel says he has another horse. He seems to adopt all the cripples.
Must go to bed cuz must be near time to get up.
Dec 2, 1919
Received your letter yesterday after waiting for it so long. I couldn’t quite realise it a really from you. I noticed it was written the 9th of November. I wonder where it’s been all this time. I suppose that grey head of a postmaster at Alfred mislaid it there. I received several other letters that were written a long time ago and I’ll just bet anything they’ve been at that post office for some time.
Well how it that blessed baby? I do want to see it so bad. The time we were snow bound over at Andrews and everybody at home thought we had quit our schools and didn’t know where we were, Jack said, “Well it sure would be just like that crazy nut of an ninny to quit that school and run down to see that baby the first thing.” I didn’t go then but believe me I’m coming.
Where did you spend Thanksgiving Day? Well you know Alice and I did want to go home so badly but there seemed to be no chance. The weather was so cold and horrid and the roads not very good so we had just about given up all hope Alice asked me to come over to her house so Thanksgiving Day in the morning Vilie, the son of the people I room with, took me over. When I was dressing that morning I looked at some snaps I had stuck in the glass on my dresser. They were those of
you and me looking rough. You had on those old yellow scrubbing pants and eating out of the tip trough and Anna fetching in the slop barrel etc. and they pretty near made leaks in my eyes cuz I remembered they were taken last Thanksgiving Day when you were home n’everything.
Coming back to my story, Vilie took me over to Alice and stayed for dinner – Alice made some apple pie – it was good but that nutty woman Mrs. Novak had warmed up potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Alice says she always cooks a great big kettle full to last her for a few days and then keeps warming them up – three meals a day.
After dinner we made candy and played cards until half past two. I felt so restless and unsatisfied cuz I did want to go home so bad till finally I told Vilie I’d give him half a month’s wages if he took us to the train. He wasn’t very crazy about the idea but was too bashful to refuse. Alice came near hugging him and the poor man was blushing scarlet.
We got to Windsor just in time for the train. Andrew met us in Jamestown and we went to Ceal’s in the Ford. From there we drove a team to the dance in the new hall at Clementsville. The crowd was so large I didn’t have a very good time. Then too neither Ralph nor Pete was there. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have such a very good time.
Friday I dragged the kids out of bed and crawled in myself long enough to thaw out. The kids went to school so Cornel and I kept house alone. About 1.30 I was so darn sleepy I said to Cornel, “I’ll
lay down on the lounge for a while and when the clock strikes two times you call me” so he said he would. About two minutes afterward he set up an awful howl. It scared me and I hollered “What’s the
matter. Did the bull dog bite you?” He said, “No, I was just scared.” He has a great big white bulldog and he has him in the house all the time loaded down with overshoes, mittens, skates and
everything else he can pile onto the poor dog.
Oh I like the teaching part even those it’s pretty hard to crawl out of bed in such a cold room early enough to hike a mile and a half to school, but it’s the darn lonesomeness of the country that gets
me. As far as your eye can reach in every direction about all you can see is prairie and hay stacks. I’m glad I’ve only five months left. Rather a horrid way to feel about it but I just can’t help it. It’s beginning to snow to beat the cars – such is life. Just one darn thing after another. If Alice wasn't near here I never would stay. As it is, we’ve been chasing home so much.
Christmas only three weeks away. Doesn’t seem possible. This cold weather gets on my nerves. Had only four pupils in school today – as you say it's pretty soft for me to practice on someone that
doesn’t know anything but believe me these people sure know enough to kick if they don’t know anything else.
I have had a little trouble here with one family but I told him what was what and no monkeyshines with me.
Say this ought to be enough gossip for once.
Must go dear. Write.