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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mail Call: 21 Nov 1935 (George)

George Potter , Cow and Dogs (*)

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

Mary takes the hint from a previous letter and sends the tax money.

"Betty Lou" the cow died suddenly, and neighbor Arch Brooks and Arch's mules helped George drag the remains into the woods.  There is a more detailed and alarming account of "Betty Cow's" demise in the next letter; it was actually a close call for George himself.

George comments on Glady's Oct 30 rant about Dorothy having gone wild..."a swallow of gin makes any ones breath smell like a distillery and dont take much to set a girl giggling"

"The young people are all wild pretty much but I think they will settle down in time."
"Arch" is neighbor Arch Broooks

"Soph" is daughter Elaine Potter, staying with George's sister Dora in St. Louis.

(*) Note on photo: this was image-processed from a negative, only one of four that I have found.  I will put a scan of an original print up next time.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mail Call: 9 Nov 1935 (George)

George Potter in Cabool, MO to his daughter Mary Potter in Washington DC:

Coat on the way; "try and not see the ghost of the old hen that went to pay the postage"

Follow-up to Gladys' earlier rant about Dorothy gone somewhat wild; she is engaged to a "nice guy" although one much older and frequently married.  Nothing comes of this, eventually.

"You never say what you think about helping us on taxes, etc"

"Can't get in on gov. work as we have a home and cow and chicks etc, have got to be destitute"

"Dora & Walt & Soph & Bob"  Dora is George's sister in St. Louis, Walt Bremerkamp is
her husband and Bob is their son.  Soph is, as usual, George's daughter  Elaine Potter.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mail Call: 30 Oct 1935 (Gladys)

From Gladys Potter in Cabool to her daughter Mary in Washington, DC.

Dorothy Potter's earlier visit to the big city (St. Louis) has given her ideas and much attitude; she has taken up with an older man with a kid somewhere.  Nothing comes of this, of course, but it is a running theme in many of the following letters.

(The original of this letter is in pencil and much faded, this has been heavily enhanced (sharpened) to make it legible here.  I don't usually do anything to the scans, but this one was too far gone for that policy to make sense. The odd speckled effect is an artifact of the sharpening process.)

"Dora" is George's sister in E. St. Louis
"Lillian" was George's niece, daughter of his late sister Bessie Johnson.
Lillian was back with Emma Parker in Corry after a stay with Dora.