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.
In the eighth letter in this series, Grandpa seems like he's making up for not coming home the previous weekend. It's the first four-page letter in the series, and he discusses what he did while he stayed in town.
With Otto, he visited Nay Aug Park and the Everhart Museum, which looked like this at the time:
Nay Aug Park is the largest park in Scranton, which features a gorge, a museum, pools and an amusement park. It also had a dancehall in the '30s and '40s and had once had a zoo. What was there when he visited?
The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art was founded in 1908. Its collections include zoological displays, Northeastern Pennsylvania art, ethnological artifacts, fossils, and American folk art. What exhibits did Grandpa and Otto view during their visit?
Grandpa also went to the same theater he mentioned in a previous letter. He saw the screwball comedy, His Girl Friday, which premiered in New York City the previous month.
I've also been researching the specific work my grandfather did. I know that it was in a textile factory, and knowing that he had previously worked in Paterson, I'm assuming that it was in silk manufacturing.
Paterson, New Jersey has tremendous falls, and manufacturing came to the city to utilize this power. Mills manufactured many things over the years, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so much silk was produced that Paterson became known as "Silk City." Two major strikes involving the silk industry in 1913 and 1935 brought Paterson to the national consciousness. I wonder if Grandma and Grandpa were involved in the last strike. One of the reasons that these strikes were unsuccessful was because of the competition of similar firms in Pennsylvania... most likely the mill that my grandfather was now working in.
I love labor history (a.k.a the people who brought you the weekend), so I will continue researching on this subject. For now, let's move on to his letter:
Feb. 4, 1940
1002 Columbia St.
I am very sorry I had to dissapoint [sic] you by not coming home this past week-end. It started to snow here Thursday afternoon and continued until Friday night. When it stopped there was about 3 inches of snow. When we got to work on Saturday the truck from Paterson was there and the driver told us that most of the roads were clear and that there was more snow around Scranton than he saw on the rest of the trip. If we had known the roads were not so bad we probably would have come home, however as it is I am looking forward more than ever to seeing you again this coming week-end.
I went to the ten o'clock mass this morning and as I am writing this letter a mass is being broadcast from St. Peters Cathedral in the center of the city. Jack, the young man from Boston, who has the room next to mind, has it on his radio.
I got my first pay check here on Friday morning which I cashed and deposited a part of on Friday noon-time. They do not make any deductions for State Unemployment Compensation in this state. The employers are the ones who have to pay for it. They have to pay a certain percentage of the payroll to the State.
Yesteday [sic] afternoon I went shopping and bought myself a pair of brown shoes, a pair of socks and two shirts all of which are different from which I usually buy. Later in the afternoon Otto and I went to the Public Library and then to the Museum in Nay Aug Park.
Though the Museum is not very large there were some interesting exhibits in it, which helped to pass the time away. In the evening after eating a spaghetti supper we went to the movies at the Strand and saw Cary Grant in "His Girl Friday." It was a very fast moving picture with many good laughs and some drama. This theater though it is not as large as our Fabian in Paterson is very nice and is the best in Scranton.
Wherever I went and whatever I did yesterday you were constantly on my mind and I would sooner have had you in my arms than do anything I did yeserday. However things being as there [sic] are we we will have to wait until next Saturday to have and to hold each other again for a few short hours.
It is now 1.15 P.M. and I will have to be getting dressed soon as I have to meet Otto at 2 c'clock and go out for dinner. We have been invited to dinner today at 2.30 o'clock at the home of one of the office workers and her husband the warping foreman.
Even the prospect of what might be a good meal cannot make me forget you because down in my heart I do not want to forget you for even a short time.
So in closing I want to say to you again and again, I love you, I love you, I love you.....
With all my love, I remain very truly yours.
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