Your cartoon on the envelope was sure cute. FJS
Port Arthur, Tex
June 13, 1923
My own Dearest Florence;
At last it has arrived. Do you know I had almost thought were about to forget about a person whom you know so well, oh so well. But maybe I was just a little bit impatient. I had expected a letter yesterday so much that it really made me feel bad when I got home and none here. You know it was a whole week between the two. Every other day or so forth Jesse received one from his best in El Campo and I didn’t. So how can you expect me not to feel blue. He had gotten four. I had gotten one. Ratio of four to one. But ole Dear I don’t think the affections for one another can be more than ours. Do you. I did feel awful bad, but gee Florence when I did get that most precious letter today whoopee. Paradise. When I got here Jess was sitting in the swing and he said come over and sit down. So I did. But before I did I asked him if I had any mail. NO He said. Then can you imagine how I felt. Well I can’t explain. But that’s not all, can you imagine how I felt when I saw it on the dresser. Then I began to feel happy. 3 letters. One from mama and one from my aunt.
Maybe Thomas will come down here. Aunt Jeannie wrote me and I immediately got him work. I wrote back. I hope he does come. I met another boy from home here tonite we went over to his room and met several other college men. Nice fellows. I see somebody every day that I know or meet some new ones.
You say you don’t like my working hours. Well I don’t either but I am here and am going to make the best of it. They are pretty good people. My foreman is a fine fellow. More protestants that _(___) I can’t say I like your hours much either. But it’s just temporary. I am sure.
Tell mw about the mysterious reason why you were late in selecting your bed time hour. when the truth party. It will not make me mad. Really. Please, I want to know, Florence.
Say Florence ole Dear I’ll tell you about when I could see you if you come down here. Which is the most wonderful thing I have heard since my arrival. Now I work from 7am to 3 pm for two weeks. Then 3pm to 11pm for two weeks after this shift. June 25th July 6. Then 11 pm to 7 am July 6 to 20 then July 20 to Aug 3, 7am to 3 pm. But any day Dear Florence I have four or five hours spare time. Gee, when are you coming. Soon? That will sure be a glorious time. I can’t imagine anything any better only me being in Houston and nothing to study. No book worries. Oh Dearest how wonderful it would be. I sure get the blues when I haven’t anything to do. Only think.
Say little girl, won’t you do something for me. It won’t hurt you, in fact it’s for your benefit. Please don’t run around so much and rest a little. You will probably laugh, but really Florence, I am serious. You will be sorry in the Future. If you laugh, someday I want you to think of what I have said. If you care for me Florence my Dear please cut out a little bit of it. These late hours so often are not so good. Just think a little bit. Imagine you were in training. Yes Florence when I look at the stars it reflects memories to my mind, as the Dorine reflects my dearest to her eyes. All the little fairy stories all well at hand.
The day is drawing to a close. 9:20 and all are in bed so I expect I will have to join them.
Before I close I want to again remind you that you are in my dreams, my thoughts and all. I just can’t help but think of you so much. You’ve been so dear to me. Your friendship is so precious. Don’t forget I want many long interesting letters from my little girl what is thinking of me much, just like I am of her.
Jesse and I watched a medicine show last night. Five niggers* playing. Sure played, too. One nigger had a clarinet stuck in a bucket, with bucket between his legs, drums, banjo, etc. Oh if we only had the lunch at Florence’s house with that music. Oh Florence.
I have just got to stop or I’ll rave on forever, but I can’t help it, tho’, I have it bad.
Your own Fred
How is scatter-brains Don Quiote. You can appreciate the last part until you know the story. Have someone tell it to you. It fits the case. Good nite my Dear.
* I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to address Fred’s use of the “n-word” in his letters. It crops up a few times that I have seen, but I have yet to hear him use it in a blatantly derogatory matter – just as a descriptive. Fred was raised in small-town Texas in the early 1900’s and had learned that African Americans were called the “n-word.” I do not condone the use of the word – in fact it was not so easy even typing it – but I want to transcribe the letters as they were written without adding any commentary or editing, no matter if things might be offensive today. My grandfather, at least in my observations, was never outright racist. I hope that you, as readers, will consider this in the context it was written and not let it deter you from future visits to this collection. ~Sheridan