Monday, February 26, 2018

Mail Call: 26 Feb 1936 (George)

" don't look like that,
altho it may resemble you in some details"

Charcoal, Alphonse Bare, 1935
see below for artist's details
From George Potter in Cabool, Missouri to his daughter Mary Potter in Washington, DC.

Cabool has a new cash-only grocery store, so the cost of credit built into Fielden's Grocery prices becomes visible.  Nothing to be done, George can't get ahead.

The chickens, too, cost more in their feed than their eggs (and themselves) are worth.

George has "washed my hands of the whole affair" of Dorothy Potter's anticipated engagement with a much older man with one (or more) exes.

Marjorie Potter is bored to the point of counting "dog dumplings" in the yard....38 in total.

"He who laughs last gathers no moss...David"

"John" is John House, his "ranch" is near Houston, MO 
"Roy" is neighbor Arch Brooks' son; with wife Mildred in Wash. DC

"Dora" is George's sister in E. St. Louis, and "Walt" Bremerkamp is her husband.
The charcoal portrait of Mary was signed by Alphonse Bare (1916-1992)
who was a 20 year old art student in 1935 and,
with Mary's boyfriend Art, a recent graduate of Huntington, NY High School.
The portrait was probably started when Mary visited NY over Christmas, 1935.

The portrait in the photograph differs from the finished work in that
the rough-worked areas away from the center have been filled in.
I suspect the bad influence of an art teacher in the in-filling,
since Mr. Bare's later work in pastel portraiture
is most similar to photograph.

Mr. Bare had a day-job career as a "comic book" line artist and inker;
"comic book" taken broadly to include romances and other non-superhero genres,
as well as the humor magazine "Sick."


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Mail Call: 10 Feb 1936 (George)

"...killed of those Bill Hart
gunmen like we have here"

Motion Picture Magazine,
June 1917 cover
Fair use claimed.
From George Potter in Cabool, Missouri to his daughter Mary Potter in Washington DC.

Page 4 excitement:  one of Dorothy Potter's beaux is shot in a roadhouse by a "deputy sheriff of the hill bIlly type" ----------------->

Dave gets a suit; some tailoring required as "Dave has a sort of a short neck".  Marjorie walks to Sargent School, while Florence takes Cabool High seriously, is "sort of like you used to be, sort of half mad all the time."

George's high blood pressure gets mentioned again, perhaps a repeat from the last letter, perhaps a fresh visit for ear wax.  "...if I had the ambition of a dozen wood cutters I am at the point where I have to go easy, which by the way I am, and will have to watch the rest of the world speed by as my speeding days are past."

"Emma" is George's sister Emma Potter Parker back in Corry, PA

"plugs"...earwax, which I inherited.  Costs $20 now co-pay, probably billed $200

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mail Call: 23 Jan 1936 (George)

From George Potter in Cabool, Missouri to his daughter Mary in Washington DC.

"A Mild Diuretic" detail, credit Smithsonian Museum, fair use.
Gladys is taking Doan's Pills, while George has extremely high blood pressure (as he did years before) and is told to "be careful about too much exertion."
"Mrs Brooks" is neighbor Arch Brooks' wife.
The "borrowed" paper is used here rather prodigally, written on one side only!
Mary's new job (Securites & Exchange) is permanent, the Agriculture Dept temporary.

"John" was John House, a much older suitor for Dorothy.

"that Jane" is presumably another of John House's amours.
"Your trip" is probably still Christmas in NYC, the Opera not perhaps counting as "thrills"
"Mrs Fielden" co-owner of the grocery which runs a tab for the Potters and others.

"Emma" is sister Emma Potter Parker in Corry, PA
"Art" is Mary's then boyfriend.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Mail Call: 7 Jan 1936 (George)

Metropolitan Opera Program Cover

From George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary Potter in Washington, DC (who was recently visiting New York...and attending the Opera.  Wish her letter had survived!)

Gladys is feeling better;
 "on the go chasing dirt and knocking over dishes and making lots of noise."

"Eat Waffles...They Fill Your Face"  (no electricity...such would have been made on an iron in/on the stove.)

"I expect you felt real up(p)ity at the Opera; didn't you see lots of Janes in low neck & men in full dress.  I never went to one.  I have a notion I would like to see one, altho they are a little hibrow for me."

A reminder not to waste a dime on Special Delivery as there is none out by Sargent, Missouri.
"Art" is Mary's then boyfriend, Art Stewartson
"Long Island" i.e., where Art was from, Mary had visited there over Christmas
"John" is presumably John House, ex-suitor of Dorothy Potter

"ears blowed out"....drat, that's whence I get the earwax problem!

"Emmy" is George's sister back in Corry, PA
"Opera" as in Metropolitan Opera, NYC.  See below.

The Metropolitan Opera Program centerfold, 26 Dec 1935
Tannhauser...with Loritz Melchior, no less.
(I assume Mary and Art were in the cheap seats, if not the standing room in back....))

No supertitles back then....and the libretto is in German/English across pages.
Even the stage directions are given in both German and English!
But...the libretto included a piano reduction of choice bits to play at home!

Monday, December 25, 2017

25 Dec 1926: Christmas Greetings (from Quay, OK)

Christmas Greetings, 1926
from Quay, Oklahoma
addressed to Mary Potter

An odd, elegiac tone for a Christmas letter, but then
neither the Quay schools
nor even Quay itself

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mail Call: 24 Dec 1935 (George)

Mary Potter, December 1935
From George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary in Washington, DC.

Christmas presents for all are appreciated by all; pants for Dave that actually fit, a doll for Marjorie ($1.98 in the Wards' Catalogue) and imported socks, "the snakes' hips", for cash quickly gone for the most part to the Land Bank.

"Tell Roosevelt that we are for him out here and hope he stays in.  Did you ever see him?"

"Merry Christmas, and don't eat too much turkey."

"Soph" is daughter Elaine in St. Louis
"Dorothy's friend" is probably John House.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mail Call: 5 Dec 1935 (George)

George, Cow and Dogs in 1930s print
thanks to Doc Pugh.
From George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary Potter in Washington, DC

Includes a story of David Potter's troubles driving his sisters to school:  the third flat of the day leaves him fixing the tire by the light and heat of a "small bonfire" near Sargent, MO.

Mary is advised to have the boarding house serve her liver twice a week to offset anemia (which also affected George's mother, Mary Hasbrouck Potter; a blood test would "be a good plan").

An extended version of the demise of "Betty Cow" suggests that George had a very close call; the cow nearly collapsed on him. "and nothing but the devil looking out for his own saved me."

A good dinner was had on Thanksgiving in spite of it all; "chicken, pie etc."

Dog lovers should avoid the tale of Pat the Dog's puppies on the last page.  Plenty of ill luck for the cow and dogs.

"Art" (Stewartson) is Mary's current boyfriend,
"Gregory" must have been the previous model, not much favored by George, Elaine or Dorothy.
No picture of Art, though.