June 13, 1924
Cap.n Big Boy – dearest Beloved,
You’re way way up north – way far away from Houston and Florence way up there with some more of your kind. It’s a little different from being down here where people look up to you, isn’t it? Up there, there’s so many good men who are aiming at the same thing you are and it’s merely a matter now of hours or minutes to prove who is best, and my big boy is going to be one of the best to carry away the honors of the Boston Olympic try-outs!! Proud? Fred, I’m already so proud of you that I want to scream to all the world that I’ve got the best, most wonderful pal in this whole universe! No one would argue with me, no, never, for people don’t argue when they know they’ll be beaten.
Freddy boy, come on, let’s put Rice on the map, let’s fight on for dear old Rice, and next year we’ll share the honors. How’s that? Cause what’s mine is yours, you know, and what’s yours is mine? N’est ce pas? But truly Fred, Rice will look up to you more even than they do now. As Doc. Bray said, Rice has never had the opportunity of sending a real good man away and those that they have sent away haven’t proved to be much. Let’s break the record, sweetheart mine. Let’s show the council that Stancliff of Rice. Captain of the R. I. Track Team ’24, ’25 isn’t worthless – they didn’t waste $300 sending him to Boston only to have him come back the same way the rest did, beaten. You’ve never been beaten in a meet that really counted and you won’t be beaten in this one. Come on, hot shot, let’s fire off. There won’t be a second of Friday and Saturday that I won’t be thinking of you and wishing you just the best of luck. So with my moral strength and love, and your physical strength and courage, we’ll get another gold medal and go across!
Big Boy it’s more than hard to tell you all this when my desires and selfishness keep crying “Fred, come back home, come back to me. Life’s so empty without you.” Somehow, my littleness keeps saying “you’ve sacrificed so much for track. It seems that every time you plan anything for your own pleasure, Fred either has to “work out” or go off to a meet, or go to New Orleans or Boston. It’s track, track, track. Is it worth it? At times, Big Boy, I’ve persuaded myself that I wish you were just a nobody like perhaps, Charlie, just one who was content with studying and having dates and a few things to vary the monotony. But, Fred dearest, my heart says I’m wrong, and truly I know I am wrong. I could never learn to love one who was not unusual and useful to the world. It was your track and your glory which made me go with you long enough to really love you. And I’ve been willing to sacrifice my own pleasure and desires in merely knowing that you were doing things that were different and which only a few could do. Would I whom you have known nearly 2 years ruin an ambition toward which you have been working and aiming for 7 long years?
Never, because I love you too much. It’s hard, I admit, to say goodbye for perhaps 3 months, or ven 1 month. I’ve been with you so little in the past yea, and now when I’ve planned days of fun, picnics, trips to Galveston, Sylvan, oh – just lots of things – why, you go off. The little poems which I believe you’ve heard comes to my mind.
“I hate to be cheated, I never would buy. Long years of repentance with a moment of joy and perhaps for years to come there will be picnics, and dances and fun, but perhaps never again will you have the opportunity that you have now, and I love you enough to bid you goodbye, good luck and God bless you. Forget that there was ever a low down feeling in my heart for your track. Forget that I was ever small enough to want you to give up track and training for me to have a good time. That’s a side of your pal which has bee revealed to you only today, and a side which she shall try never to show again. That’s the Florence you knew last June. The Florence who has just left Rice says “Fall to, Big Boy, picnics and dances and busted plans are nothing absolutely nothing compared to the pride of knowing that Fred won in the Olympics. That last Florence is the one you love most.
I’ll be lonesome, and I’ll miss you, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when you so pull back in here next fall or perhaps a little sooner, from a wonderful trip abroad – why, I’ll be so glad to see you. I think I’ll fall on your neck and kiss you a hundred times and refuse to ever let you out of my sight again. See, I’m expecting you to win.
Fred, dearest, I’ll tell you again, as I told you before the New Orleans try-outs, you can win. If you again put all my moral strength and love with your physical strength and courage, you can’t do other but win. Show those men who think they’re pretty good that Stancliff of Rice wins the medal and the trip, and then watch the old Statue of Liberty fade out of site, for you’ll be on your way across. I somehow know you’ll win and listen, may I whisper another tiny secret in your ear? The gypsy says if you can exert all your energy, you can place at Paris. Come on, Fred, let’s go.
I won’t be with you in body, but there will never be a moment in the days that I won’t be thinking and dreaming of the boy who is bringing honors back to the girl he loves, to say nothing of the mother who knows there’s no one like her Fred.
You might never have these opportunities again, you might never have these thrills. So take them while you can. You’ll have me a long time yet, perhaps, I hope, but any way all next year, and there’s never another to take Fred’s place. To the ends of my life. Fred has his own particular place in my heart which no one can ever fill.
I have been writing so fast and furious on this letter that my hand almost ceases to function. It’s abominably hot and cursedly close, so I expect I had better quit.
Please, Freddy boy, if you do win at the meet wire me immediately and if you don’t win, why write me a long letter special delivery and tell me what you did. Please, please, please. And in all the wild scramble, dear boy, don’t forget your mother.
And one more thing, if you should happen to win or place even down to the lowest placing position at Paris please oh please in the name of mercy, cable me, and then I’ll spread the news. But you know how anxious I’ll be, and if you have to spent the last cent you have over there and walk to the “chamin de fer” (That’s French for railroad station) and beg, buy or borrow or steal enough money ro get home on, cable me. I can bear almost anything rather than suspense.
I hope this letter has added the inspiration and will cause the results that my letter at New Orleans did.
Freddy boy, please show me that all my sacrifices (which most girls wouldn’t make) have not been in vain and win for me and your mother.
And remember, you’ve got all the love of my heart with you, and all the good luck and best wishes.
Don’t forget me and win for your very own true blue pal.