I'm continuing my series of scanning, transcribing, and annotating my grandfather's love letters to my grandmother leading up to their marriage in June 1940. The letters are chronologically organized and preserved, using the methods I discuss in detail in my book, Creating Family Archives: How to Preserve Your Papers and Photographs.
The 15th letter in the Grandpa's Love Letters series raises some questions.
First, what was the arrangement of the rooms in the boarding house? I had originally thought that Ray, Otto, and Fred had separate rooms in the same house. In this letter, though, it seems like Grandpa has the single bed for the night. What were the other options? Perhaps there was a double bed too, so sleeping alone was a treat that was rotated among the three of them.
Also, what caused Grandpa to apologize for the kiss he gave Grandma? Perhaps he could tell that she was embarrassed that her stepbrother, Joe, saw it.
Here's a picture of my Grandpa and Joe together in (I'm assuming) Paterson. I'm dating this from the 1930s because of the ages; Joe looks like a young teenager here. A number of these images have remnants of black paper on the back. I'm assuming that these pictures were originally pasted into my Grandma's scrapbook, and she later removed the pictures from it.
Scrapbooks can be an archivist's nightmare. Often they contain mixed-media (paper, photos, ephemera, newsprint), use glue and adhesives, and are made of non-archival materials. Despite their preservation problems, scrapbooks allow creators to make their own narrative, to arrange photos in a meaningful way, and to provide captions. I really wish my Grandmother had kept her scrapbook as is. I wonder why she decided to remove the photos later on?
March 4, 1940
We arrived safely at about 7.30 P.M. We made very good time between Paterson and the Deleware Water Gap Bridge but had to ride slowly from there on. The roads were in a better condition than we expected them to be in. At the top of the mountains the trees were covered with ice and some of them especially the birch trees were weighted to the ground by the ice.
When we got here we each had a chicken sandwich to eat. Fred brought them along from home. Otto brought his old radio up with him and Fred brought his guitar along.
They have been practicing on the guitar for almost an hour now and it seems to me that they are getting along alright. Otto and Fred hooked up the radio; it sounds better than the one the boarding mistress has. It is hooked up in one of our rooms.
It is my turn to sleep in the single bed and I do not mind it at all even though the room is colder than the other room. While they were practicing on the guitar I was putting some of my stamps in the loose-leaf binder I have for them. I have all the U.S. stamps put away.
I hope I did not put you in an uncomfortable spot when I kissed you good-by in from of Joe. I just could not leave without one more kiss.
Did Joe bring the umbrella to my house.
Speaking of the umbrella it rained here all night and most of to-day. In Closing I remain as ever, your ever loving sweetheart.
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