Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dear Mother

I've been using all my spare time (at least what's left after stuff like the full-time job and facebook) scanning hundreds of old photos, and I like to try and put things back together... like a jigsaw puzzle. I came across a letter that my Mother had written home to her Mother in 1937. She would have 17 when this was written from the big city of Chicago back to rural Southern Illinois.

This letter had to put a scare into her Mother, but no more than the previous couple of years of her escapades -- running away and living like a hobo, riding the rails and falling in with bad company -- then being retrieved against her will. I guess this time her folks decided to let her go. Might as well. I don't know if this photo was taken in that year, but it looks like a possibility. I kept her spelling and punctuation intact.

Jan 4, 1937

Dear Mother,

I got here O.K. Kabella's came for me in their car. Jim didn't come to meet me. And I'm glad of it. He told Kabella's a bunch of lies about me. He told them that I slept in the woods two nights with two boy's he has got to prove it. You know what he told about getting letters every day or every other day from Francis Kabella and the girl upstairs. He denied it. He said you was telling a lie and I don't mean to call it cussing I don't mean it that way but he got mad and this is what he said "You and the whole God-Dam family can go straight to hell" and he told Kabella's that in our country there was two classes of people, the low-down and the higher class. He said my family was the lower class. I got mad and told him he couldn't talk about my family and get by with it. He told me to shut up and started to hit me and Mrs. Kabella's brother told him he'd better leave me alone. Then he told Fritz to shut up and they almost had fight. Jim drew his knife on Fritz but didn't cut him he told them he knew how to use a knife if anyone got smart. He has to leave here they are tired of him. I'm not afraid of him. You have to have license to carry a gun here. He's just blowing. He's gone now. I hope I never see him again.

He said the reason he didn't meet me at the depot is because I knew too much about him. See he was afraid I would hear about the things he told there. He couldn't face me.

Well I'm sleepy so I had better. I didn't sleep last night cause he had his knife + a gun borrowed. If he gets back and acts too smart I'll call the cops everybody is on my side they don't like Jimmy.
All the news this time I guess. Good Bye and answer soon.

Your Daughter

I worked upstairs today. I'll see about factory tomorrow. We lock bed-room door. I'm not afraid. Don't worry about me. he will get the worst end of it. You know how he is.
Big windy.

My Mother was in love with a man in Chicago, and I learned from searching out the 1940 Census forms that they lived in the same building. It was not the infamous Jimmy from the letter or anyone else in it. I won't list his full name, but she called him "Cooney." He was married. Had to be a heartbreak in there somewhere.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your Mom was a wild child alright. Glad for her sake that Jimmy was all talk and no action.

Professor Chaos said...

Your mom sounds totally cool!

Blueberry said...
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Blueberry said...

I wish I was capable of writing a book about her - but even if I had the time and talent, there are so many missing pieces of the puzzle.

Lily Allen said...
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cloneclaude said...
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Eva Wilson said...
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