Read other letters first.
Dearest big sweetheart.
I received that precious little ring case this morning. I just love it so, because it was just typical of you. I appreciate it more than I can ever, ever, ever tell you. Thank you so much, dear. I’ll give you a very sweet one (????) when I see you. the postman is my friend. He looks real downcast when he shakes his head and says “no mail for you.” He feels most as bad as I do. However, he usually grins each morning for Thurs I got a letter, Friday another letter, Sat a letter, and a telegram , then today he picks up a bunch of letters (of mine) and gives me a postcard from New York. Then I start in and say “How long does it take for a package to get down here from Washington?” He looks sorta stunned and says about 3 weeks. I exclaim on the rottonness of the mails, and he asks me whether I mean Wash state or Wash D.C. and we both laugh and he says it takes about a week and I say I’ve been waiting for a package since last Tuesday, and he says I’d get it soon, and walks off the porch. Then as I got back into the house, he calls me, grins all over himself and says he forgot something and fishes out that adorable souvenir of the place where Freddy boy was! And I bless him out, and crack a finger trying to open said package, and there all covered with 5 lbs of paper, and 6 tons of sawdust, I unearth the capital, all safe and unhurt. Thanks, dear boy, I love it. and I need it pretty bad. My jewels have outgrown 2 jewel cases! But they’ll never outgrow this one!
Freddy boy, I just swore to myself that I’d write you tonite. I played Mah Jong all after noon, and promised myself I’d make myself a date with you, and write you a long letter, but the Seamens called and begged me to go riding with them. I didn’t have any plausible excuse. so
8:30 a.m. Tuesday
Well, the phone rang, and ruined all my plans again! Finally, however we ended up at the picture show, and Freddy boy, I saw the Pathé News of the Olympics and Cambridge. Saw the high hurdles, pole vault, and the 2 mile run, and saw Scholz beat Charley Paddock. I searched the picture for you, but of course I didn’t see you. Big boy, a lump rose in my throat, as I thought how heartsick and heartbroken you were at not placing. Your letter did not say much, dear, but I could read between the lines. I had just gone outside to get the mail when your special came, and then I had 4 letters from you Monday, at least a card from N.Y, the package from wash one letter written just before the meet and one after. Big boy, the contrast of those letters made my heart ache so much. Two sentences especially ring thru my mind “Just before the battle, dear, just before the battle.” and the other was “Today was final for me in track.”
Fred, dear, I wish I could put my arms around you and soothe away all the disappointment and heartache. I wish you could lay your head on my shoulder, and let me tell you things that would make you forget (like your mother used to) that you had been forced to take the bitterest disappointment of your life. I can’t do those things, so I’ll try and write it, but words are so empty, dear that I can’t say half I’d like to.
Remember how you came to me after the Rice-Texas meet, and you were so sick over Dayvault winning. Dear boy, it’s so wonderful to know that you need and want me.
Fred, are you disappointed at not getting to go across? Are you hurt because your highest ambition was not entirely realized, because you got only to the next highest ring on the ladder of Sports? Are you sorry that your 7 years of training did not carry you to the top? Please don’t take this as a lecture, dear, for truly it is not meant as such, but I’ve learned lots of lessons this past year, and perhaps this one will help you. We can’t all shine in this world. We can’t all climb to the top of the ladder of our ambitions. But we each must work and shine in our own individual way. We can’t be just the best there is, and often at critical times we lose our step, or our way, and our regrets last forever. Fred dear, of course you’ve been aiming at the Olympics a long, long time, and I’ve done my best to help you along. We’ve been pals, partners, and winners together, and I’ve stuck by you and loved you thru victory or defeat. I’m still sticking by you, dear. Listen, I don’t blame you for being so sick at not placing when you could have. It was surely within your power, but listen, dear, you couldn’t conquer the world and claim that distinction. You have conquered the South. Didn’t you win first in the N.O tryouts? Don’t you hold the T.I.A.A. record? They’ll chunk that for a long time before it’s broken. Don’t you hold the S.W.A.C. record, and can’t you better it next year? Aren’t you the best in your own individual way? Haven’t you conquered the South? That doesn’t help now, tho, does it, big boy. You wanted so badly to win at Boston and for your sake, dear, and Rice’s honor. I wish you could have won.
Are these words sounding half so empty and stiff to you as they are to me? It seems I just can’t express what is deepest in my heart. I can’t give my big boy the sympathy and love on paper, as I could were he here. Somehow, these words sound so meaningless compared to what I want to say.
Dear boy, I know you haven’t forgotten me, and I do thank you for the letters you have written. They have been my hopes and the one bright spot of the day and I adore you for writing as you have. I can never thank you enough for your thoughts.
Big boy, my heart is so full. I can’t put in writing what I really think. I’ve loved you more every minute since you’ve been gone, and I’ve been glad that you are getting the glorious trip. I too wish I could have gone with you. I know that you would have thrown that discus out of sight if I had been there, but I wasn’t. Friday wasn’t “final” for you in track. Don’t feel so hopeless. Perhaps you may go to Paris some day. Maybe not as one of the Olympic team – but – oh, I can’t – simply can’t tell you what I want to.
Your mother left this morning. I wish I could have seen her. I wasn’t with her at all. She was out at Florence’s and that was so far off. I’ve been in bed most of the time, too, at least I haven’t care to go anywhere or see anyone. My side started up its chatter last week, and my eyes hurt. Mostly, however, my hand was the worst. Sis and I were playing ball last week, and I didn’t have any glove. When I caught one ball, it hit my hand wrong, and I think broke one of my veins running into my middle finger. It began to swell, and get blue and the blood looked as if it was running all thru my hand. It frightened me nearly to death, for it was my right hand, and it pained terribly. After about 3 days it began to sink, and get normal. It’s still rather stiff, and hurts quite a bit, but I’m writing muscular movement and that doesn’t make it hurt as badly. But for a while I could hardly use it. That, of course, made me rather sick, and so with the dance Tuesday and Mah Jong nearly every afternoon, and the picnic Sat. and just everything I didn’t get to see your mother. I’m just beginning to get back to normal, now, altho I still feel darned queer and achy.
There is a letter at the P.O. Gen Del at Kansas City for you. I wrote it Sunday before I got your address, so you can go get it. It’s a humdinger and there’s something real good in it.
Fred, what do you think of your Florence as a boy? Do you like me better as a boy or as a girl? And do you notice your watch fob? Boy howdy, but I strutted it around! I’m too much of a girl to be a boy, tho. One can tell it in every position. One who has been a girl 18 years can’t suddenly change over nite and become a boy. I’ve never learned the art of kissing my elbow. Sis took laps in her pants to make them fit and me! Great honk, I had to pull half an hour to get them on, and I didn’t have any too much room in them. And that hat! Say, I wouldn’t take a fortune for these pictures, but I think more than a fortune of you so I’m sending them along with the love of Bobby Powars.
“To Freddy from Bobby,” They called us Bobby and Billy Powars! The Powars brothers. Now you’ve seen your own little darling as a boy, and so you’ll know whether you want her as your own darling sweetheart (girl) or your old pal (the boy) (Shhhhhh I believe I’d take the first)
Well, big boy, I’ve run out of material besides I expect the postman at any minute so I’ll have to cease.
I’m sending you more love than you can possibly have use for, and all the best thoughts and wishes in the world. I love you, Fred dear, and only you!
Your very own,
Came out fine in Rice
2 in history
2 in French
3 in math
3 in English
5 in Physics (too bad, but couldn’t be helped)
10 a.m. Tuesday, again
Gee! I’m all smiles this morning! The postman just came and I was all prepared not to get a letter, for I was sure you wouldn’t write. But there on top was a letter to me from Boston. That old negros black face grinned all over itself and his teeth were as white as snow. I nearly forgot myself and hugged him. I told him he was the sweetest human I knew. He had just been too good. He grins and says it’s a long one today. Then he says “He’s a long way off.” And then he gets ready to talk some more and I tell him to beat it, and I sit down on the steps and read that adorable letter. Fred. that’s such a huge thrill, Freddy love Florence? Florence love Freddy? More with every breath! And I’d hate to count the number of breaths each day.
Listen, my big boy, I shan’t start off on “I told you so” but some day maybe you’ll listen to your girl. I told you to take along your track sweater, you could have worn it under your coat. You even refused to take your raincoat, and I don’t guess you took any heavy underwear. I hope you don’t freeze, and I’m sorry your joints got stiff but some day you’ll learn to listen to good advice! Now, will you stand corrected? If not, sit down. Now bally right, I am, am I not? Like the Chink say “Sling bloke. Go like hellee allee samee!”
Yes, dear, we’ll soon be together again. Of course I’m not the least anxious to see you. When I do I’ll rush at you. As a cat does at a dog when he sees it, then when I’m safe in your arms, I’ll purr like a little kitty and we’ll be all so happy!
Say! Wouldn’t it be glorious to go to Europe on a honeymoon. And wouldn’t it be tragic to have planned to have gone, then not to have placed in the Olympics at Boston. Say, I’ll whisper a little secret to you. I’ve got my heart set on going to Europe on my honeymoon. If there’s a man who could possibly endure me enough to get hitched! But for several years, I’ve planned on that. Said man will have to be rich! But that’s one of the dreams of my life – to go to Europe with the one I love enough to marry. Hartranft is fortunate in making the Olympics and in being able to take the one who has promised to “love, honor and obey” him.
Big boy, you speak of wanting me. There hasn’t been an hour in the day that I haven’t cried for you. And each nite I just long for a chat with you – either on the phone or here. And I think about 11 o’clock that this is Fred’s time – Only 10:30 was usually the time for you were training! No more training! You can eat what you d-m please and do as you want! Oh, man, and you blew in $1.45 for breakfast. Grub hound! But I don’t blame you. Gee, we’ll make candy when you come back, and have picnics, and go to Galveston and oh, have so much fun! And no training!
I guess from force of habit I’ll be refusing either a dance or something because you’re training. By heck, I’m going to work you to death, making up for the fun I’ve missed because you were training. Watch out, I’m bad when I get started.
So! Suppose I get real hard boiled and refuse you all these [see drawing]s that you are expecting! Suppose I refuse to come to your [drawing] as you want and expect! And suppose I refuse all except the goodnite [drawing of lips] that you usually get. Now, just suppose all that. Will you be so anxious to come home? You know, I’ve acquired lots of musch since you started me in P.T.! and I’m capable now of taking care of myself! and what’s even more. You’re going to get soft not that you’re out of training, and your muscles won’t be the steel bands that have nearly crushed me! Besides, I’m ‘most a boy now, and I can fight you! Ha Ha. Anyway, I’m boss and you can’t make me do anything! Now! so you go jump in the nearest lake around there! and consider yourself spanked. Oh, never mind! don’t jump in the lake. I guess you’d freeze. I wish I had some of your coolness down here. Man, it’s been 94 every day here. I’m under the fan now and believe me, it’s no cool place under it. Oh, it’s awful! And you’re hurrying back to help enjoy the heat. Hoot, mon, send a special big box down here, and I’ll come up there by express! It’ud be a darn sight cheaper!
I’ll crate me all up and when I come, why you’ll get the surprise! By heck, I’d do must anything to get our of this heat. It’s awful!
Fred, you’re going to help me celebrate my 18th birthday after all. I’m so glad. Then after that I’m going to San Antonio. Are you sorry? You know I want a holiday, too. Perhaps I shan’t stay long, or perhaps I’ll be gone til school starts. I do not know, but I expect I won’t stay too long. I intended going right away, but I can’t since you’re coming home.
It’s so different, big boy, to know that each day brings you nearer to me. It was awful to know that every hour carried you back to Houston. It seems like you have been gone months, and it hasn’t even been 2 weeks. Gosh, man, love’s grand, but –it’s a mighty queer condition to be in! It is so wonderful to know that you can go almost to the furtherest end of the earth, but there is always one at home who is waiting, and who remains true. True? I couldn’t be any truer, Fred dear. I’d love you only, no matter where you were. There’s never been another to take your place, or to even equal you. I don’t want another, I want only you. And that’s why I’m true. There is only one for me, and only one. Fred in the world! And I’m more than satisfied with him! He loves me, too. Freddy love Florence? Boy howdy. Perhaps this time next week, you’ll be home. Wonder of wonders! And then perhaps the summer will fly swiftly by, and then Rice again!
I simply must cease this chatter. I started yesterday, then I began this morning at 8:30 and it’s now 11:30. Man, I’ve been writing to you nearly 3 hours. Great Honk! So much for this. I’ll have to pay nearly a whole dime on it for postage and I’m flat broke (Dad says that’s my natural state) then I must send it special just on general principles, and there’s 2 dimes, and that’s nearly two bits. And I’m using up this paper so fast I’ll have to buy some more soon, and I’m flat broke, at least badly bent.
As the Chink says Flat bloke! Sling bloke, Go like hellee allee samee!* Ha Ha. Anyway, I guess you’re broke too. I’ve still got a street car ticket I can lend you. Ain’t I kind?
Well, blain bloke, so I guess I’ll ring off. Be sure + let me know just when you’ll get home. I think I might manage to meet you.
Loce you just the same as I did when I ceased the second installment of this an hour ago!
The same old
Pal – ???
Don’t forget that letter at the P.O. It’s the tadpole’s adenoids! coo-coo!
Ok, it has been bothering me for a few letters what in the world Florence was talking about when she keeps referring to what the “Chink” says “allee hellee samee”, so I turned to the trusty people at Google and I found this reference in The Railway Master Mechanic which contained a piece by Louis Brentnall titled The Master Mechanic as an Inventive Genius. In this piece, there was a paragraph which reads:
“Just think of what has been accomplished in this direction in the outside world during the past few years! Edison has given us the electric light and phonograph. Marconi perfected that little instrument which in a minute made known the disaster of the Titanic and brought the Carpathia at full speed. A Chinaman once said of the electric street car. “No pushee, no pullee, allee samee goee like hellee.”… I can only interpret this to read “No push, no pull, all same go like hell.”
I am assuming that it is Florence’s recent Mah Jong addiction and fascination with what little she knows of the accompanying Chinese culture that keeps inspiring such random inclusions in her letters.