Monday, March 23, 2009

Amanuensis Monday: Consoling a daughter on her divorce

Below are two letters from my maternal great grandparents. They were trying to console my grandmother, Myrtle Van Every, on the end of her first marriage. All signs indicate it was a brief marriage, and all I know is that the guy's name was Jack.


Sunday Evening

Darling Baby your dear little blue letter came a few days since. darling I know how you feel about your divorce but dear it seems it cannot be helped you will have to wait with as much grace as you can and don’t fret keep just as sweet and cheerful as you can. don’t think about it so much you know it is a long lane that has no turn.

I am just sick about your dress and just to think I am to blame. I am heartly sorry but that don’t buy you a new dress. dear I had a real good time while I was with you what better did I want than to look forward to my baby coming in and being with her the rest of the evening and besides I had such a good rest I feel like coming back.

I really think it’s mean of them not to of giving more than five dollars raise. I know you are worth much more than you are getting. Daddy told me to tell you to come home and stay if you would like to as he thinks it best. I really don’t think Minnie and Aug are in with Jack although he was here Tuesday and today also. Well as it is time for Sunday school I will say goodbye. Write just as soon as you get this,

Loving,
Mother

***

Letterhead: The Texas Honey Producers Association
Office of ME Van Every
Producer of Pure Comb and Extracted Honey

Sunday June 8, 1919

Dear Machen: -

As I did not get to see you Tuesday when I was in El Paso, I will write you a few lines. I was very busy with the Reclamation people and did not get out until after your noon hour.

We are about as well as usual, except myself I am suffering from a severe attack of lazyness.

Say Jack is out here every week and twice the past week, and he is here again to-day, I can’t account for it without he is expecting to catch you here and kill you and himself, as it is the “fad” now-a-days. Kind of keep your eye on him as there is no telling what he may do. I would come in after you Saturday if I thought he would not hurt you.

Say this ribbon on the typewriter is about gone, if you have another you have throwed away, save it for me.

Have not sold the cotton yet, at least I have not received the “dough.” If you need the money before I got it let me know and I will “dig up” some how. I have just paid half on a cow for Minnie as they need milk so bad.

[...]

Best Wishes, Dad.


image above was edited as I decided not to share the entire letter.


I'm guessing the 'five dollars raise' referred to a job Myrtle had before getting a job with the QuarterMasterCorps in El Paso. She began her job at the QMC in August of 1919, and I have a record of her career after that.

I hope my great grandfather was exaggerating, or at least not being literal, when he talked about Jack's potential for violence.

Next week: A letter from one of Myrtle's male friends, before she married Jack, trying to stop the wedding with a proposal of his own. Unfortunately, he didn't sign his full name, nor did he put a date on it.

2 comments:

Apple said...

So many clues that just lead to more questions! Why did Myrtle think Minnie (her sister?) would be "in with Jack." Why would her father mention the possibility of murder/suicide, he sounded like he meant it. What happened to the dress?

John said...

Not having the letters that my grandmother sent her parents is frustrating as there is often an element of hearing only one side of the conversation. Though I am thankful she saved their letters.

Minnie was my grandmother's sister, the eldest of the siblings, and about 15 years older than Myrtle.