I have had the impression from both my father and Howard that my great grandfather W.O. Garrison was kind of a quiet man, overshadowed by the strong personality of his wife. He may have been, but this letter gives a different perpective.

The U.S. had declared war on Germany on April 6.

Mon. Apr. 16, 1917 Apache, AZ

“My own little Queen,

“I was surprised to receive a letter from you yesterday and I was still more surprised to find another one this morning. Of course I was glad to get both and enjoyed the letter yesterday, but as it was Easter and I was so busy and too tired at night to answer it, I put it off until this morning. The most pleasant surprise I know of is a letter from my little Queen and I am always eagerly awaiting for one from her.

“Well the entertainment [Easter program put on by his schoolkids] is over and I fully believe that I acquitted myself in thorough accordance with the latest approved rules as to how a baby elephant should conduct himself in public. The only thing that I learned from this entertainment is that I am never going to do it again. I never had anything worry me half so much and it was certainly a burden lifted when it was over.

“You should have take advantage of the opportunity to see thru the Brown Cracker and Candy Co. because I am sure you would find it interesting. I was thru once and I was surprised to find such a common industry so interesting.

“I believe I shouldn’t care if one of the girls in your club was a German for I would surely tell her as well as anyone else just what I thought. I am strong for Old Unkle Sammy and if the bloomin’ Germans want to see things their way they can go to their home across the sea. I believe we are entirely right in what we are doing and I think that we have stood much more than most people would have taken. I am not anxious to see the men go to France, but I suppose that it is best, for the French need men badly.

“Yes, I thoroughly agree with you that my handwriting is easily recognized anywhere because I do not believe that I ever saw one which was nearly so bad.

[There was a great deal of emphasis on good penmanship in those days, and it persisted into my early school years in the '50s. In fact V.'s handwriting is excellent and almost always easily readable, although a few of the letters are so faint as to be very difficult to read.]

“Your speaking of your father’s education reminds me that my father, who is, I believe, on of the best generally posted men I know and who can do any kind of work in arithmetic and who has at the end of his fingers a world of technical data which would astonish a good many college graduates, has had only two years schooling in his life. I was surely surprised when he told me this for he writes a good letter and he never forgets anything that he sees or reads.

“What was more astonishing was that in my study of chemistry I found that he was fairly well posted in the elements of the subject and he has never had any use for it and I know, has learned all he knows from disconnected reading. He can tell you what nearly every pharmaceutical compound is used for. He can also explain the manufacture of steel and iron and show a clear understanding of nearly every subject you might ask about.”

“No, I don’t think that I will become tired of cooking very soon because I like to be by myself [reminds me of Struther Martin in some movie] and I am especially glad to get Mrs. Miller away as she and I were always near a break. I never liked her because she was too illiterate to have around and she was always angry when I wanted to read or write and wouldn’t talk, and she thought it funny that I wouldn’t talk about people. She was the greatest gossip in this country and I was surely glad when she went. There is no one here now but Sam and myself, and as Sam can’t cook it falls to me.”

[Anyone who has read about C.S. Lewis' life will be reminded of Mrs. Moore. Lewis had to put up with her for many years, and Lewis had a lot more reading and writing to do than Verne.]

“I made a bunch of doughnuts tonight and I would have sent you one but I failed to get enough sugar in them and they aren’t sweet enough. I will try again soon and I will send you one. Yes Darling I am sure that you could do my cooking to suit me for I know that I wouldn’t make fun of your biscuits even if they happened to be bad once. By the way, I may send you one of my biscuits some time soon. You needn’t eat it, but can see that they are not the kind which are used for paving streets or for throwing at dogs. You may be sure Sweetheart that there is nothing on earth that I would rather do than to have you here to cook for me. I am sure that with a little coaching I could be a help to you in the kitchen when you are tired or in a hurry.”

“I can see right now that I wouldn’t like Porter because he when he thinks he can “boss” my little girl he is wrong and is presuming quite a bit.

“Well darling, I must close but write a nice, long, sweet letter. Remember too that I love more than anyone else on earth. With worlds and worlds of love and kisses for my little Queen I am as ever,

Your Own Verne

Preston G.

Retired biochemist. One of 16 grandchildren of Verne Garrison and Dorothy Logan Garrison.

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