Letter #1: Arriving in Scranton

From January to June 1940, my paternal grandparents corresponded with each other until they were married. I only have the letters that my grandfather sent my grandmother, which have been chronologically organized and preserved in acid-free enclosures, using the methods I discuss in detail in my book, Creating Family Archives: How to Preserve Your Papers and Photographs

For the next six months, I'll be scanning and transcribing the letters on the dates they were posted so we can follow their courtship in real-time. I'm excited to share these lovely family treasures with you!

At the time, my grandmother Ann was working in a textile factory in Paterson, New Jersey, and my grandfather Ray had traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania with his friend Otto to work at a factory there. Ray and Ann had met in Paterson and were planning to live there after they were married. 

 Ray, Ann, and Otto at Rockaway Beach on July 16, 1939

Ray, Ann, and Otto at Rockaway Beach on July 16, 1939

What I love most about these letters is that I get to experience a different side of my grandparents than when I knew them--young, lovesick, and dreaming of their future.

The first letter describes how my grandfather arrived in Scranton, met his foreman, and settled in at a boarding house. From what I gather from the letter, Otto might have already worked at the factory and encouraged my grandfather to work there to make money before his marriage.

I should also note that my grandmother's name was Americanized to "Ann Warren" from
"Anna Varasinskas" and my grandfather's name was Americanized to "Ray" from "Renee." They were both eager to get away their poor, rough upbringings. 

"Newt" was my grandmother's nickname for my grandfather.

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1002 Columbia St.

Scranton Penna.

Jan. 9, 1940

Dear Ann:

Your Newt loves you too. We arrived here at about 230 Monday afternoon after riding for about 3-1/2 hours. During the ride Otto noticed his battery was discharging all the time. He will have to fix it or have it fixed before we can come home. The superintendent of the mill Mr. Minatelli, gave me a very pleasant welcome and settled the problems of who I was to take orders from before I started to work. More about the above when I see you. 

I had no trouble in finding a room as Otto's boarding house mistress gave us the addresses of two places of which I took the first one. My room is about one half a block down from Otto's on the same street. The room rent is $15.00 per month in weekly payments. This will amount to a little less than $3.50 per week. No meals are served to boarders therefore I am eating out. 

As I mentioned on my post card, I do not definitely know whether or not we will come home this weekend. As it no doubt will be a last minute decision I may not be able to tell you in time to expect me. 

Even though it isn't Wednesday night yet I miss you very much already, my beloved. What I wouldn't give now for just one of your sweet kisses. And if I don't see you this weekend heaven knows what I will feel like next week. If it weren't for your picture, I know I would feel much more love-sick. 

I must write home yet before I go to bed so may your dream sweet dreams of us and our future together. 

Good night beloved.

Ray

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