Aug 202011

Notes and Transcriptions of Letters

This is all my notes and transcriptions of the letters as it stands at the moment. I have read all the letters through March, 1917, quite a few from later in 1917, most of 1918 and a few from 1919, and the summary was based on that. I have taken notes on all the letters through July, 1915 and a fair number from 1917 and some from 1918. I will fill in the gaps as I get a chance.

This is a very long post (25,000 characters), but I wanted to make it available to anyone who is impatient. It will help to read the summary posted earlier before you read this. I am marking recently added letters with an *, so if you just want to see recently added stuff, do a Find command in your browser for *.

1st letter – Sept. 8, 1913 Fr. Dallas to D. in Mineral Wells, TX
Verne was 19. Dorothy was 18.
Sat. noon

Dear Dorothy,

I am mad now! The next you time you address me a postal, just leave off the little formalities.

I received your card yesterday night and all I could do was to _read_ it as I was in for the night. Why didn’t you make it longer so that I could have kept busy for a while. I don’t like these short impersonal cards. WRITE a letter.

Night before last I spent my time in the Oak Lawn Park and last night I went downtown but the old place isn’t the same.

Say by the way if you can get home early enough and you are willing we will see the Majestic. Let me know. However, you needn’t say “yes” or “no” but we are going to Kirkland Park Friday.

Write by return mail

13 letters June 26-July 9, fr 3730 Travis Ave., Dallas to Sweetwater, TX c/o N.M. Rogers
V. is 20. D. is 19.
Thurs night June 25 [postmark June 26]

Dearest Dorothy,

This is an awfully bum excuse for a phone call I must say, and by the way that name which adorns the introduction, doesn’t sound the same on paper as it does over the phone; that is it doesn’t to me, I don’t know about yourself.

Don’t be surprised when I tell you that this the first letter, with the exception of one to Jim Cheek last fall, that I have written this year and as far as I can remember is the first since I wrote you last fall.

I got a card from Marie today (I hoped for one from you) and she asked me what I was going to do without Dossy. I told her I didn’t miss her very much but if Dorothy didn’t come back I wasn’t very sure that I wouldn’t drink something real dangerous (a Coca Cola perhaps.)

I was joking with Marie but I can afford to be frank with you and tell [you] that this suspense is terrible and I am not sure whether I will give my permission for you to go to Michigan when you come back. I think I will not.

Listen Sweetheart, I tried to get to the train but arrived after it had left. I felt awfully sorry about it too.

I don’t know whom is out to see you tonight or whom is due out to see you tomorrow, but I’ll tell you before you write me about his looks or his qualifications that I don’t like him. If you don’t like him then I’m mad because he came out; on the other hand if you do like then I’m madder still. Whoever takes my night next Sunday is, you may tell him [that he is] “a lucky dog,” but if I ever meet him he is in danger.

Well darling I am sleepy and it is late so I’ll close. You must excuse my handwriting as I was terribly rushed by time, but if you write me a long “sweet” letter and tell me how much you really love me, still, (if any), I’ll promise to write you a long letter Sunday night. It’s useless for me to tell you how much I love you. I’ve done it so often, and I fear that I do it worse every time.

Yours affectionately,

Verne Garrison

[p.s.] Remember that poem I told you of.
Fri. night June 26 [p.mark June 27]


“Cawn’t say old chap” as how I was overjoyed with the extreme length of the letter that I received from you this afternoon. I like to receive long letters but not chaptered novels.

Well, I’ll excuse you this time if you beg hard enough. But you must write more next time, you promised to write me a l o n g one (get my metaphor)

I haven’t seen much to tell you and I have heard less. My present vocation in life limits me to the gossip of kitchen mechanics, and as I am not extremely interested in that, I don’t take the trouble to gather much. I found out today that my job (accent on the job) was not to expire on the 26th as I had expected but that I am employed until next Wensday [sic].

My route today covered the entire side of north Oak Cliff and perhaps you think that I was not and am not tired. Tomorrow and Monday I will work Trinity Heights and Crescent City. Perhaps Sunday I will read the churches. It seems that my time is well taken up doesn’t it.

I met the young lady whom you forbade me to call my fiance in town today, and she actually spoke to me in my working clothes. Didn’t think it of her. Now I suppose you think that I made a date with her, but if so you are wrong.

It’s getting late now so I’ll close now. Save your films for me to ruin and then I can lay it on the camera again. Write me a long _”sweet”_ letter this time and forget the cards. (I wish I knew who gave them to you “anyway.”)

Lots of love and as many kisses,

Your Verne

[p.s.] Gee but letter writing is lonesome, and if I have to do it much longer I’ll get angry.
[He did it for the next 5 years.]
Sat. night June 27 [p.mark June 29]


I am slightly if not somewhat more than peevish. I offered to exuse the first card, but the second is unpardonable. This makes three letters that I have written and I’m sure that if I can find the time to write, you must be able to. You told me that if you received any cards from me that you would be awfully mad and would not answer. Perhaps I’ll get to tell you the same.

I am awfully time and I believe that if I have to repeat today’s work Monday, you will have to find someone to write to, while Mr. Ed C. Smith takes care of me. I hope however that his services will not be necessary. You’ll have to excuse me now as I have to do a thousand and one things.

Your Verne

Sweetheart please don’t send send another one of those ____ ____ ____ cards. If you do I’ll be real mad. Think of me a “whole lot.”
Mon. night June 29 [pm June 30]


I am awfully tired tonight and possibly my handwriting shows it. Yes, my job is good until tomorrow at noon, and then I will be free until the next time. I am sure glad that it didn’t last longer for I am sure that I would not have been able to have stood the strain.

When I get through I will be able to write some long letters and incidentally will be able to take some pains with them.

I got through with the book I had today at twelve o’clock and this afternoon I helped Hartwell take some freak pictures. One picture is of Hartwell chasing himself around a tree and the other is of him kicking himself. Tomorrow we are going to take a picture of him in a whisky bottle.

Sweetheart I want you to go to Michigan and enjoy yourself, but you don’t know how I miss you. Last night I spent at the park and thought of where I had spent my previous Sunday evenings. Sweetheart I don’t know but things don’t seem the same. You will be gone all summer and I will have no one to see. (I don’t want to see anyone else.) I hate to think of it.

Well, my darling, take good care of yourself and remember that if you write and ask me not to forget you it is needless for I am sure that I think of you more than you of me.

“Lives of great men all remind you
As o’er their leaves we turn
Never parting leave behind us
Letters that we ought to burn”


Remember me often.

Lovingly yours,


[Poem as found on the internet:

"Lives of great men all remind us
As their pages o'er we turn
that we're apt to leave behind us;
Letters that we ought to burn"

I'm glad she didn't burn them.]

Notes on letters with some transcription:
Tues. June 30 (pm July 1) -scolds her for sending cards instead of letters. His job (something temporary and strenuous) finishes.
Wed. July 1 (pm July 2) – says he went to play tennis with a Adeline at 5:30 a.m.! and later worked on someone’s car and got it running, took a joyride; mentions a previous fiance, whose name D. does not know. Is nervous about a Presbyt minister who is visiting D. and says she can see him while there, but he is not allowed to correspond after she leaves. Says he thinks he has given up smoking.

[He didn't actually do that permanently until he had a heart attack around 1950.]
4 letters postmarked July 6:

Thurs. night July 2 – Scolds her again for not writing, not keeping her promise to write every day. Had played tennis with Jim Cheek. They met 2 girls who were stood up by their young men, so they helped them eat the lunch that they had brought. Then went to U. Dallas campus and took pictures of the city through a telescope there. They plan to put Jim’s telescope on Verne’s tripod in the future and take some pictures. V. is clearly nervous that D.’s attention is wandering from him.
Fri. noon July 3 – V. has received a letter from D. and is clearly relieved. She thinks he is angry with her. (He was, but he can’t stay mad if she writes.) She thinks there is a girl that he is spending time with. Her assures her that there is “no such human being.” He had been out with Mr. Miers to show him how to drive his car. Then went “Fording” with a friend. They drive through Highland Park and get arrested and released.

[Some things don't change. The people who ran H.P. in 1914 were arrogant rich jackasses and it is still true today. O.k., they gave me a ticket. AND forced me to drive 2 round trips to H.P. (200 mi altogether) to take care of it. See what I mean? Nothing has changed.]

She is apparently “peevish” at him for not writing longer letters! He suggests they forget their “scraps.”
Sat. noon July 4 – D. has asked if she should burn his letters. He says he doesn’t care, she can use her own judgement. He says he will continue to burn hers, since his mother had found her first card in his drawer and read it. He is going to see Mrs. Potters and in the evening he will see Gayus, and they will play tennis in the morning.
Sun. afternoon July 5 – Says he was surprised at Mrs. Potter’s to be introduced to Mr. Ross Bell Jr. Something about Mr. Bell Sr. and Eugenia. (No clue who these acquaintances were.) He and Gayus had not played tennis, but ended up sleeping instead (V. after fighting off a mosquito.) Gayus had intended to go to confession but slept too long. Says Gayus had wanted to play tennis Sun. afternoon, but V. had declined knowing that D. objected to his playing tennis on Sunday. Only had planned to play on Sun. morning because it was the only time that Gayus could. He is hoping to get a position before the meter reading starts. His mother wants him to do something outside for the summer.

Says he envies whoever is coming to see her Sun. night and doesn’t feel that he is breaking a commandment in doing so because the person is not his neighbor.

“Another thing I wish to know from you is who the gentleman you are going north with is, and how old he is, and if he is married, in any case I can’t say that I feel tickled with the prospect. I believe your father wants to make me angry, anyway. I know that you wanted to make me jealous, because you failed to give me the desired information in the letter you wrote me. You knew at the time you wrote that I was going to ask you who he is, etc…”
Mon. afternoon – July 6 [pm July 7] 1914


“Don’t get peevish at me for not writing, for I am sure that you will find that I have written every day with the exception of Sun. a week ago.

“Well, Sweetheart, I am certainly glad to hear that you are coming home soon and if I remember right you asked if I would meet you at the train. Can a duck swim? This old burg will seem like Dallas for a day or two anyway.

“No I didn’t break my date with you last night. I wondered if you had broken it with me. That was the only reason that I didn’t call. Hartwell and myself developed and printed pictures until the wee hours of the morning. Aunt Daisy wanted them and so we stayed up nearly all night to get them for her. She took the pictures at 3 ‘o clock yesterday and we returned them at two this morning. With the pictures incidentally we presented her with a bill for $2.35 which we have received no remittance for as yet.

“Yes it was extremely generous of Dorothy Newton to let me call to see you when you return. I hardly credited her with that forethought. For myself I am glad she did for it would have been extremely embarrassing for me to have come out without her permission. However I would have felt that her feelings in the matter would have been of minor importance.

“I just told mama that I knew how I would have to spend the summer. I have to learn how to write again. Every time that I quit writing for any length of time I find that I have to learn all over again. This will make the third summer that I have spent in learning to write. Perhaps before the summer is over I will be able to write a legible letter. Notice I said perhaps. It is doubtful. [In reality his script is very good and easy to read.]

“You said that you are going to Michigan with Mrs. Mason and her family. Is she the wife of the Presbyterian minister?

“Well, you may be assured that I will meet you at the train Sat. and I don’t want you to decide to stay over an extra day to go to a party with the Presbyterian minister or any other of your numerous new acquaintances. It is far more important that you be in Dallas Sat. night. I have not seen you in two weeks and they have had a chance to see you every day. Really I mean this and I’ll be awfully peeved if you do decide to stay.

“…if you are here two nights you may consider that you have two dates with me regardless of whom asks you if “he” of she may come out on one of the nights…”
Tues. night July 7 (pm July 8 )

He didn’t do anything but study some pictures that Jim Creek took in Austin and study photography materials. Printed some pictures of Turtle Creek with Hartwell and studied some winning pictures from a Scottish photo contest held by a magazine. He is impressed with nature photos taken early in the morning with mist and soft focus. He is thinking about both technical and aesthetic aspects. The Lancers are planning a picnic but he won’t go because she isn’t there to go with him. Hartwell has come over to play chess, so he has to go.
Wed. night July 8 (pm July 9)

D. thought he was angry because he had asked again about the Presbyt. minister and Michigan, but he says he was only joking. She asks the name of the girl that he played tennis with, but he says that he didn’t find out her name. He found out that he lost his job at the gas co., but he is not really sorry. Says he will get to “read Skips” every day for a few hours, which he will like better.

He is looking forward to her being home, but dreading her leaving for Michigan. He admits to being jealous of the other boys she sees. He again asks her not to stay over for another day.
[This is the last letter he sends before she comes back on Sat.]
44 letters to D. in Devil’s Lake, Mich. from July 17 – Sept. 1; letters pm-ed Sept 2, 4, 4, 4 and 5 were forwarded fr. Mich back to Dallas, the first to 400 Jefferson, and the others to 4624 Columbia Ave, which I think was the Logan home at this point.
Thurs. July 16 (pm July 17)

He has not gotten a letter that she was supposed to mail in St. Louis, but expects it the next day. Talked to a friend about the rental agency business. Took some of his records and played opera selections for friends on Jim’s new Victrola. Heard “Rebecca of Sonnybrook Farm” music and was very taken with it. Apologizes for leaving the train station before her train left – had to go back to work at Gas Co. and write up stuff until midnight. Played chess with Jim who has gotten better while away at college, but V. still wins 4 of 6.

“Well, write me every day and don’t let your mother change your mind as to the frequency of the letters which are to leave Devil’s Lake enroute for Dallas.”
Fri. night July 17 (pm July 18) 1914

“…Yes, you are going to be away for a long time but perhaps it is for the best. I know that I love you more when you do come back and I’m sure that I’ll be just as glad to see you as I ever was before. Your mother, too, may change her mind by then and find that you are in earnest…” She asks if he knows Ruby Knight. He says he has known her since first grade at William B. Travis school.
Sun. morning July 19 (pm July 20)

He had had to do a day’s work on Sat. that another boy had failed to do at the gas co. and was tired. His mother is talking about going to Arkansas and buying a farm in the fruit belt. He says he is willing but doesn’t think they will do it. He says he thinks he will go to see Anna and go to church with her on Sun. night.
Tues night July 21 (pm July 22)

Notes that her father’s company had bought another company.

“You said that probably you wouldn’t have to go to school against your wishes. Before you make a final decision I want you to consider the matter from another standpoint. If in the future you and I have a mutual disagreement and decide  that it for the best that we stop going together, would you then be sorry that you had not gone to school when you had the chance. You know that it will be as hard for me to give you up this summer and next winter too, as it will be for you. But at the same time we must make allowances for such contingencies … until we are finally engaged.

If you think that you would be sorry, as I am afraid you would, I think that it would be best for you to go. If you do go you can always look back upon your college days, even though they have been only one year, and feel a certain degree of satisfaction, if not pride… I want you to consider this and leave our present feelings out of the matter, and I don’t want you to think that I have begun to think less of you or that I am anxious for you to go… talk it over with your mother, for you know, Dorothy, she is the one best friend you have on earth and probably the only one who really understands you…don’t forget that if we are married much of our future happiness depends upon our mothers…
Wed. night July 22

“…I didn’t get the expected letter today but I don’t know whether to attribute it to the mail service or to your mother. In any case I will continue to write you as often as possible until I receive word from _you_ that my letters are simply a waste of paper. I will then do it reluctantly…”
July 23-24 – nothing of interest
July 25 -

He had gone to the Times Herald office to follow election returns. Wet candidate won and submission of prohibition rejected. He is already strongly anti-alcohol and for prohibition.
July 26

Fixed a car for Mr. Miers.
July 28

Says he came home and started to make another enlarging camera. He is trying to get in Baylor U. for the first year of chemical engineering – it is up to the chemistry professor and he is out of town. [Is this Baylor in Waco or something in Dallas?]
July 28

D. is concerned that he is getting interested in Anna. He reassures her that he isn’t. He had read the gas meter at D.’s parents’ house that day and said that he saw “Lady Jane number two and she caused quite a disturbance when I went in” [the dog, no doubt]
July 29 – nothing of interest
July 29

Hartwell had sent D. a picture of V. in his work clothes and he wants the letter back unopened so she won’t see it. He had met a Seventh Day Adventist lady while reading meters and she had pressed him to read some literature and insisted that he couldn’t get to heaven if he didn’t. Somehow he got out.
Aug 1

Aug. 4a

He had been sleeping at Gayus’ place and when they awoke they slowly realized that someone had broken in and stolen some trowsers and watches, although not V.’s.
Aug 4b

His mother is talking about moving to either Arkansas or New Mexico. She wants him to go, but he will not make a decision until fall when D. decides whether to go to college
Aug. 5

He doesn’t think that Baylor will allow him to take chemistry in the fall, and he doesn’t think he will try to go elsewhere to school. His mother wants him to go with her to New Mexico [presumably to homestead]. He thinks he would enjoy it, but whether he goes depends on whether D. would enjoy living on a farm. He will leave the decision to her.
Aug. 6

He says that she has misunderstood him when he said he didn’t like to come home at night. He says home life would be ideal with her, but without her he only comes home to read her letters and articles on photography and chemistry.
Aug. 6 (pm Aug 8)

He jokes about the amount of time that Mr. Mason is spending with D. He says he keeps his Sunday nights for her (he doesn’t see anyone else, but writes her a letter) but he thinks that she may not keep Sunday nights for him.

He had talked to a young Italian nun while reading a meter at the Good Shepherd Home. She had just taken the veil, but said she didn’t know why she had. He found this strange, which he supposed was an American point of view vs. Italian. She had traveled the world before becoming a nun, and he thought it strange that someone who had done that could settle down to being a nun. He enjoyed talking to her, but was sort of pushed out be an older nun who thought the conversation had gone on too long.

[Early in the summer V. is very nervous about D. forgetting about him. At this point he jokes with her and feels more secure that she is in love with him. He has no doubt that he is in love with her, and he was right, as the next few years showed. But they spent so much time apart that you have to wonder how well they really knew each other, ever with all the letter writing.]
Aug. 8 (pm 10th)

“…By the way don’t blame me for the mailing of them because I leave home so early in the morning that I don’t get a chance to mail them myself. Papa usually takes them to town with him and mails them at the post office. I suppose sometimes he fails to mail one and then mails it the next day along with the other one…”

[seems that Papa was not considered all that reliable. However, I have not seen any evidence so far that he was a drinker, which might have accounted for V.'s strong tee-totaling.]

He had played 42 with mama, papa and Carl after finishing her letter. Carl doesn’t usually play, but plays well when he does.
Aug. 9 (pm 10th)

He has been with Jim and Jack to watch Fatty Arbuckle in a Keystone Comedy and enjoyed it very much. His friends have joked that he should file for divorce on grounds of desertion, but V. jokes back that he thinks he will forgive her if this is the only time.
Aug. 10 (pm 11th)

“…I don’t know whether I am getting old or not, but there is something wrong with me. When I went to the park last night it was the first place that I have been, with the exception of Hart’s and Mrs. Potter’s, in a long time. It used to upset me when I had to stay at home at nights, but now I am getting so old that I get mad every time someone mentions going somewhere. I haven’t seen a show at the Casino this year and I haven’t  seen the inside of the Hippodrome or the Queen since long before you left. Perhaps, however, I’ll grow out of this in time and enjoy them after a while…

“…There isn’t enough happening in Dallas to keep my mind well stimulated. I don’t ever read the war news anyway. With lots and lots of love,

Aug 10 (pm 11th) 1914

“Dearest Dorothy,

I received two letters from you yesterday, but I must admit that you seemed quite indefinite whether or not you would go to Arkansas with me. Personally I don’t think there is much cause for worry, for I haven’t said or decided whether or not I am going. I may, but it is improbable…”

He said he found out that he no longer has a job with the gas co., but he is not upset about it. He was the last hired, first to be let go. He has played some tennis and printed some pictures for her using a new glossy finish technique and played some 42. [Sounds like a nice lazy summer.]
Tues. Aug 11 (pm 14th)

nothing of interest
Wed. Aug. 12 (pm 14th)


…You asked what kind of a farm I intended to get. I must confess that I don’t know. I have been joking mostly about going out there myself, but I think that Mama is serious about going. She is real anxious since she found that the govt. is letting out an immense tract to homesteaders in Arkansas. If she decides to go in spite of all we can do, I will, of course go and stay with them for a year or two anyway.

Perhaps if we go I will take up a half section of land myself, and that will necessitate my staying there seven months out of each year for three years. The only thing I object to is leaving you, sweetheart, because I feel like there is a danger of my losing you if you go to school and I go all the way to Arkansas for three years. I am afraid that you wouldn’t like to live on a farm and I am sure that I wouldn’t have you go if I wasn’t sure that you would be happy. I think if I do go I will stay out my time and return. Well, let’s don’t get worried because I am not sure that I will go. I may stay here even if Mama does go…

…Well, sweetheart I will have to stop because Mama has started talking farms again and I suppose that I will have to get into the argument and show off my ignorance in the matter.

Write me a long letter and tell me a whole lot. With bushels and bushels of love from your dearest friend on earth,

Aug. 13 (pm 14th) – nothing of interest
Fri. Aug. 14 (pm 17th)

Lancers club met and argued about whether to put on a dance and decided not to. V. went to Hippodrome for first time in months and out to O’Connor’s dairy farm. Had to walk 3 miles in deep mud.
Sat. Aug 15 (pm 17th)

Worked very hard all day at dairy, which he says actually belongs to the U. Dallas. Four of them feed and milk 67 cows, the milking a first for Verne. It really tires him out and he prefers carrying 80 lb buckets of milk. He likes the dairy business. His friend Bill O’Connor wants him to go in on a dairy farm with him. He says he will if doesn’t go to Arkansas or find a better position.
Aug 16 (pm 17)

He confesses to not getting up for church after the long day before. Talked to his mother and she is not as keen on going to Arkansas as she had been. Delivered some prints to a girl. Went with Marie Rigg to the park, but the film was almost over and they just went back. [He doesn't hide anything.] He is staying at Hartwell’s place while Hartwell is out of town for 2 weeks.
Mon. Aug 17 (pm 18) 1914

D. has gotten the impression that V. would give her up if he could find someone who suited him. He reassures her that that is not what he meant, and the only change he thinks could happen is that he might love her more, but he doesn’t see how he could. “In case I did find someone who suited me, I would hardly drop a friend whom I know and have confidence in her friendship to take up the acquaintanceship of a practical stranger. [Verne has found his "friend" for life and he's right, but I'm not sure if using that word during a long separation is the best choice. :) ]

“Now Dear in the future if you think that I am peeved, just attribute it to the way in which you read the letter and be sure that I did not mean it to seem peeved. It was probably an attempt at humor.”

[With all those letters and causes for misunderstanding, I'm surprised that the smiley wasn't invented back then.]
Tues Aug 18 (pm 20 )

Not much. He is printing in sepia as well as black and white.
Aug. 20 (pm 21) Not much.
Fri Aug 21 (pm 22nd)

V. has played poker with his friend Jim and won $.50, but he insisted on giving it back because he knew that D. would want him to. Says it has not been a very hot summer, with only a couple of really warm days.
Sat. Aug 22 (pm 24th)

He has somehow consented to choose a dozen sheets of dance music for a certain Miss Turtle Albright, (Hartwell’s sister no doubt,) and it took him awhile, as he didn’t feel very competent to do it. He asks, out of curiosity if D. is saving his letters. [We have the evidence. Do you think either of them ever had a thought of a descendent reading these almost a century later?] He reassures her that he has no interest in Miss Rigg.
Aug 23 (pm 24th)

He jokes about having a date with Miss James Cheek. Says he is invited to a dance but doesn’t want to go without her. “Now dear if you were only here we could go and probably enjoy ourselves (if _not_ the dance). Get my metaphor?” [Those old Presbyterian rules that my dad chafed under in his youth.]

Says that he and Mr. Mier drove out Preston Rd. turned and went to Richardson and came back on Greenville Rd. Then they went to Ft. Worth and back. About 100 mi!  [The auto was still new and fun. I could probably drive to San Antonio and back in my Civic on the gas they spent.]
Aug. 24 (pm 25th)

Spent his day going downtown and waiting hours to see someone and then teaching Mrs. Miers to drive. He continues to print pictures from film that D. has sent him.
Aug. 25 (pm 26th)

Played 42 with Gwyn and her friend and papa and has been learning many versions of Solitaire. [That's what the Presbyterians should have forbidden. The pre-television way of mindlessly wasting time. :) ]
Aug. 26 (pm 27th)

Verne reports quite a lot of sleeping in these notes, which I generally take no note of. I guess that it was the pre-air conditioning way of dealing with August.
Aug 27 (pm 28th)

Some instructions on how to set the Brownie when shooting in bright light.
Fri Aug. 28 (pm Sept 1)

nothing much
Sat. Aug. 29

Got rehired by the gas co. and had to read meters on all the churches. Couldn’t get into East Dallas Presbyt. (D.’s church) and teases her about the co. having to sue the church over the gas bill.
Sun. Aug 30 (?) (pm Sept 4) [from this one on they were forwarded back fr Mich. to Dallas. I can't tell for sure which Sun. this letter was written on, because V. dated it Sun. Sept. 4, but the 4th was actually a Fri.]

Had been to the dairy again. Describes taking some people riding in a car, including Helen Eaton, who had grabbed a letter from D. out of his pocket that he had neglected to destroy. The group played keepaway with the letter and teased him about it, evidently, but finally gave it back.

[During this time, V. knows how to drive and fix cars, but no indication that the Garrisons had one.]
Mon. night Aug 31 (pm Sept. 1) 1914

Had a lot of work that needed to be started at 7 am, but foreman neglected to call him until 10:30 am to tell him.
Wed. night Sept. 2 (pm Sept 4)

Had been to dairy again. Had driven on freshly oiled roads and slid off into ditch 3 times.
Thurs. Sept. 3 (pm 5th)

His friend Jack Craig is off to the Missouri School of Mines. V. doubts that Jack will study hard enough to make it, although he doesn’t doubt his ability. Then admits that when he was in school that he didn’t study hard enough either. He went on the milk route, then went to talk to real estate agent about buying a small farm. He is expecting to go look at a farm with Bill O’Connor and his father, who will be able to tell if it is good land. [We don't find out how it went - D. returned and this is the last letter until Oct. 5.]

V. and D. had an agreement to only write once a month during the school year while she was at UT. This was almost certainly at the insistence of D.’s parents.
Oct 5

Says he has been irritable for 2 weeks – something that hasn’t happened before.
Oct 26 (pm Nov 4)

He is still working at the dairy farm. Says only has a “date” with D. once a month – not clear if this a date for each to write a letter or to make a phone call [did they have long distance Dallas to Austin in 1914? I don't think so.] Confesses that he has not been to church as much as D. would like him to. [This is alluded to frequently in the letters.]
Nov. 24 (pm Nov. 25)

Had accompanied his Aunt Daisy to a bridal shower and walked the street waiting for it to be over. Says he likes the idea of running a dairy farm, but doesn’t think D. would like it. He made an offer on a place, but the man backed out. Is now looking for a larger piece of land to do both dairy and crop farming. Says he received a letter to a Miss Vernie Allen Garner (mistaken for Verne Alfred Garrison.) On opening it turned out to be a love letter and he sealed it up without reading it and forwarded it. He is still working for the gas co.
Dec 17, 1914

Genevieve’s [friend? relative?] baby died unexpectedly and he has been offering support. [Genevieve is part of Mrs. Potter's household. I haven't figured out how they know her household so well.] Says they will discuss the dairy when she comes home. [But shortly after this the decision to go to AZ must have been made, since W.O. and Verne  left in early Jan. for Arizona.]
Dec 28, 1914

This is a letter to D. from a relative, also named Dorothy, who lived in Cleburne. Addressed to 4624 Columbia Ave. – apparently where the Logan’s lived at this time (?). It’s a few blocks from the Swiss Ave. house they moved to shortly thereafter. (First letter to 4822 Swiss Ave is in June, 1915.)
Note: Arizona implemented state wide prohibition on Jan. 1, 1915. As V. notes below, this was undoubtedly due to the fact that women had the vote in AZ already. New Mexico was still wet, and San Simon is only a few miles from New Mexico, so the phenomenon of border saloon towns (Rodeo and Lordsburg) was prominent.

Jan. 5, 1915

Writes from El Paso on the way to AZ. Stayed there to buy supplies. They had had several train breakdowns, and during one of them he talked to a girl from Dallas who said she knew D. I think they came out on the train – on the Mar. trip he thinks it worth noting that he took a car for the last leg of the trip. While in El Paso he took pictures and visited Juarez. Went to the casinos, where he said it seemed to be the American women who played the most roulette.
Jan 9, 1915

Has arrived in San Simon, AZ and met up with a Mr. Reagan that they had known before, also out to settle. [In a later letter he says he has known the Reagans for 20 years.] They had arrived in the middle of the day, and unable to do anything else, had gone hunting. They are staying in a tent and there is a small shack where they can gather. He describes the valley as 100 mi long and about 60 mi wide where they are, and surrounded by mountains. They are about 12 miles from a town, presumably San Simon. He says that he is very pleased with the look of the country.

He has already talked to a man about buying 320 acres, and thinks he can get a well put in and some kind of place ready for her by summer. However, he is not sure she would like it, since the place is very sparsely settled at this point.

One of the other boarders with Mr. Reagan makes the joke that the Sears Roebuck catalog is the equivalent of the family Bible, since that is what everything is ordered from.
Feb. 9, 1915

The month-long interval between letters is seeming very long to V. He complied with her request and burned her last letter, but now can’t remember what questions she asked to answer them. Promises that in the future he will keep her letters locked in his truck until he answers them.

Every day in San Simon V. becomes more infatuated with the place and says he is forgetting how Dallas looked and “perhaps if I stay another month I will forget what car to take to get to Travis Ave. [The Garrisons lived on Travis Ave. in Dallas.]

“All that you can see when you first get into San Simon Valley is some grassy spots here and there in a forest of greasewood and mesquite thickets. You can see as you come through the Stein’s Pass the whole valley and the surrounding mountains…

“I have seen some of the crops that are grown in the valley and I might say that they are fine, much above average. I have also helped in irrigating some of the land, and I now understand the operation. There is one thing I like about irrigation, and this is that it is always interesting. As a result of my helping Mr. Anderson with his irrigating work, he gave me two of his smallest pumkins, which weighed between 50 and 60 pounds…John Dunn, one of the boys we are living with, threw a watermelon rind out and without cultivation or irrigation got two watermelons which weighed about 45 lbs each.

“Mr Reagan is now drilling his well but he has had the toughest luck I have ever seen. When he had gotten his well about 500 ft deep, he dropped about 12 ft of railroad rail in it and had to drill another well. When he started the second well he broke one of the pump arms and had to stop work while he made anothe arm. After going to 125 ft he broke the pump base and had to wait 3 weeks to get another one from San Francisco. Today he got to 200 ft and broke a wheel. I am waiting on this well and two others so I suspect it will take some time to get to my well. In the meantime I can clear my land and build a shack.

“Papa will build about 5 rooms in his box house, but I will only build one in mine at the present…My land is a mile long and half a mile wide…My shack will not be a prepossessing affair and I should not be surprised if you should select a residence on Gaston Ave. rather than my house here.

“Saturday I went over to Lordburg, N.M. to see if I could buy a plow and wagon…When I got there I found that about all one can buy in Lordsburg are cigars and whiskey. I bought some cigars, stayed out of the poker games, walked aroung the saloons and left. I had to spend the night there and I met a Mrs. Marshall who knew mama and a good many of my relatives in Texas, so I stayed over at her house until pretty late. After this I met a photographer that I knew in Texas and he insisted on my spending the night with him…I went to sleep at 2:30 am and woke up at 6:30.

Now my usual sleeping hours here are from 9 pm until 8:30 am, so you may imagine how sleepy I was when I got off the train in San Simon at 12:30 pm. I laid in the wagon all the way back here and then slept until supper. When papa awoke me he accused me of just getting over a big “skate” (more commonly called a “drunk.”) I must admit that things must have looked peculiar, but as I had never before had anyone to tell me that I was drunk, I immediately “flew off the handle,” and since that time we haven’t spoken a civil word to one another. I might have said one or two things that I should not have said, but nevertheless I know that he knew that I had not been drinking. This scrap may last until mama comes. I wonder what your verdict would have been. By the way women vote in AZ and naturally it is a dry state.

“Well Darling, while I am awfully well pleased with AZ you don’t know how much I miss you and I am sure that if I had you here to decorate my farm it would be prettiest one in the world as well as my being the happiest person on earth. However Sweetheart this is an awfully rough life at the present. There are no very pretty cottages in this valley and although much to my surprise most of the people here are refined and are much above the average farmer in their ideals, they are resorting to the simple life for the present, until they realize something from their land. I like it, but I can’t make up my mind that you will, and for this reason I am ashamed to tell you how much I want you to come out here.

“By the way, I made a trip to the mines in the mountains and got some samples of the ores. I am going to send you some of the specimens to show you how rich in ores the San Simon valley is.

“…With lots and lots of love, I am the one who loves you more than anyone else on earth,

Your Verne”
Feb. 19

Sends picture of himself (which is still in envelope) and others which aren’t.
Mar. 11

A brief note from El Paso as he is on the way to Dallas. Asks her to take her time to decide and “answer my question,” and mail it to San Simon. [He thought he would only be in Dallas for a week - turned out to be 3 weeks. The letters don't reveal what the question was.]
Mar. 31

Note from El Paso on the way back to S.S. Had been out with “two or three girls” while in Dallas, but had found it a waste of time. Was lonely in Dallas without her. Evidently didn’t go to Austin.
Apr. 9

He is back. He and Carl had come from El Paso 80 mi to S.S. Verne had driven. Was very glad to get there and feel at home. They had had Easter dinner in a tent with some cowboys who were installing a cattle tank.

“I like the west more and more every day and by the time I’ve been here a year I don’t believe I will ever want to leave. There is one thing that I miss however and that is your face.

“I think of you every day, and I never see anything beautiful that I do not associate with you. Sweetheart the beautiful music that I sometimes hear would be absolutely meaningless without thoughts of you. You are in fact the sunshine of my life and the sweetness that seems to await me in life. Darling there is there is nothing on earth that I would rather do than make you happy and if providence does not intercede I will strain every effort to accomplish this end. The most beautiful part of Arizona is the thought that someday I will have you here to see it with me and if God permits I will show you I want and love you…”

“…During that 3 weeks stay in Dallas I went out with about ten girls and some of them 2 or 3 times, but each time I came home disgusted and each time I knew the reaon why (she was not the right girl.) In fact Dallas seemed empty without you…”

His horses were broken by the time he got back and he has giving them plenty of work, “trying to do about 10 things at once.”

Since getting back they have gotten his father’s well down to about 70 ft., but they are having trouble getting the “tool” stuck. When they get it done, he will be able to work on his own land.
Apr. 27

D. has said in her letter that she feels “blue” writing and he says he feels “blue” reading her letter. She asks if he remembered San Jacinto day on the 21st. He says he had intended to remember when it came but he was busy and didn’t think about it. She asks if he recalls a tennis date on April 21st, and he does and recollects a Junior – Senior dance that they went to on the 21st [so they must have dated in high school.]

D. is involved in a Shakespeare Pageant – V. says he doesn’t care for S. because S. was crammed down his throat in school, but yes he would like to have a picture of her in Elizabethan costume.

As to the trouble with Mexico and Germany he doesn’t think that G. will come to a settlement with the U.S. – thinks that the U.S. has little to gain by it. ["Germany had long sought to incite a war between Mexico and the U.S., which would have tied down American forces and slowed the export of American arms - Wikepedia" - in 1917 it became clear that they were, with the Zimmerman telegram.] It had been reported that Pancho Villa had been killed and someone has his body. V. says he doubts it. [He was right.]
May 12 1915

He was very glad to get a long delayed letter from her. Doesn’t know whether he will be able to get back to Texas during the summer, but doubts it as he gotten a very late start on his place.

“…I want to get my place to where I can collect a dividend on the first of every Jan. You know as no one else knows just what this means to me. I expect to be able to make some money next year, but I can’t see how it will be possible for me to make anything this year. We got such a late start that I am afraid we will have to be satisfied to just raise a small garden.

“I expect that I will get my well started in the next week or two and then it will take from two weeks to two years to finish it. Of course I don’t expect to be 2 years on it, but Mr. Reagan was at least 4 mo. in finishing his, while other wells in the neighborhood have been finished in 2 or 3 wks. After finishing the well I intend to put in a pumping plant…if Mr. Reagan’s proves to be a success…There is one thing sure and that is that it is too late for me to leave AZ. I have spent some money here and I am not going to leave until I get it back. And if I do get it back there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to make more…”

He would like to ask her to come out this year, but he knows that it will be the hardest year and he doesn’t think it would be fair to ask her to come out, when he couldn’t offer her anything but lots of love and lots of hard work. He reminds her that they only agreed to the limited writing schedule while she is at school, and when she gets home he wants to write much more often. When she comes out he will build a tennis court, although he hasn’t played in so long he probably couldn’t hit a ball.

His mother and Gwen and Carl came back with him to AZ. Carl is the only one who dislikes the place, but he thinks that is only due to the lack of girls. He had thought Gwen wouldn’t like it, but she seems to be satisfied there.

She asks what he will do with the land. He isn’t sure, but thinks he will grow milo maise, kaffir corn, sudan grass, peanuts and peas. Most of it will be fed to chickens, hogs, cows and horses. Next year expects to have 30-40 hogs, 7 or 8 cows, and 2 horse teams.

“I am afraid that you will not like AZ after wearing your New York clothes. There is nothing much more than calico here.”

He is starting to work on his “shanty.” It will only be 12 x 14, so he expects to leave most of his large things outside, but the automobile will be inside with the tires taken off.

“I am going to come back for you as soon as I can get you a home… whenever you are ready I am going to let you name the place, and we will call it our farm. Every one in this country calls it a ranch, but I can’t conceive of a ranch which consists of only 320 acres.”
June 5 (pm 6th)

He got her letter earlier than expected and would have answered earlier except that the day after he got it he got his fingers run through Mr. Reagan’s pumping engine. He at first thought he was going to lose his 2 middle fingers, but they are doing o.k. and there may not even be a scar. This is the first letter he has tried to write.

He is disappointed not to be able to come to Dallas, but he isn’t making any money and it would cost him near $200 as well as the time to come. “I am awfully anxious to get my farm started so you can come out before you decide otherwise.”

Since hurting his hand, he has been having his land cleared and he has 5 acres cleared. He wants it plowed and ready to sow by the beginning of July when summer rains begin. This will feed the animals until spring when he will be ready to irrigate more.

He is not very happy with Mr. Reagan’s pump, which is getting only 100 ga/min vs. the expected 400, but he thinks it can improved by sealing air leaks. He has received the only Tamworth hogs in AZ, which he is proud of. He may go short of bread, but he should have plenty of bacon. [This sounds like him - he always wanted the best "equipment."]

His mother has made their first 35 cents by selling a dozen eggs. He has finished his shanty and he is living there. He explains that he got the car in El Paso. He saw a man that he knew in El Paso and took the car as surety on a loan of $150. The man defaulted on the loan, so he has the car, a Cadillac racer that he figures is worth $800. He doesn’t expect to drive it any time soon as long as he isn’t making any money.

In a postscript he says maybe he will call the place Farewell Farm, since it seems to be appropriate.
Sun. June 13 (pm June 17)  1915

He has gotten her letter and is glad to hear that they are in their new house (on Swiss Ave.) He has just gotten back from church and is wondering what he can accomplish this week, as his fingers are still sore. He is somewhat concerned because he needs to get his well in and pumping equipment installed. He has not been to San Simon for a week (must be a church closer that S.S.) so he hasn’t any news. There was a story that some Mexican raiders were in one end of the valley, but he thinks it is just a rumor.

Wed. night

He expects to go to S.S. on Thurs. and mail this – they don’t have rural delivery so the neighbors take turns taking the mail to town. Says they had a spectacular sunset, which he struggles to describe, finally settling for saying that it was better than a Remington sunset painting. Carl has organized a dance at the schoolhouse on Fri. night, and, as his phonograph will be used, he will probably go.

“Darling, I sometimes think it would be almost criminal to bring you out here. I know that you are happy in Dallas and I can’t conceive of anything or any reason why you should like it here. I know you would be lonesome and although you might not admit it, I would always feel bad. Now sweetheart don’t think that I don’t love you any more, for I do, and every day I long to see you and wonder when I can arrange for you to come out. Sometimes I want to write to you and ask you to forget me and then I feel like there is nothing left in the future for me… Dearest, there may be some who will have more to offer you in luxuries, but there is no one who will love you as much as I do. Darling, do you love me as much as you used to?

With bushels and bushels of love,

Your Verne

I know that my letters sound like a farmer’s already.”
June 23,  1915

He says that by now she knows why his last letter was so late. “No darling, I have neither forgotten you nor forgotten to write to you.” His hand is getting better, but he has had another finger nail removed and so can’t put a glove on yet. Still he got some stumps removed anyway. [Remember, this guy only has one arm!]

“Well, Darling, I am afraid that your mother may not like our writing too often, so I will close.”
June 27 (pm 29th) 1915

V. had not thought he could get started on the well for a week, but he in fact was able to start already. However, they had not gotten far before the driller decided he needed to replace some pipe. V. was also more than annoyed to find out that the driller expected him to supply the drilling water. V. does not have the teams to haul the 20,000 gallons a day that it takes, so he set about getting a surface well drilled to supply the water. This involved some additional frustrations, but he got it started and thinks that they will finish quickly and be able to move on to the deep well.

He hadn’t had a great time at the dance, but somewhat interesting. The girl he took was visiting from Tuscon and couldn’t understand why anyone would live in such a remote place. She had spent a while talking about how dull San Simon was, to which V. replied that he rather liked it.

“Oh, but you have never lived in a city like Tuscon where you can have a good time.”

“I had to admit that I had never lived in one like Tuscon. Now Tuscon is a town of about 2 or 3 thousand people…something like Arlington. After some time she asked me if I had lived here only a few months… and then she asked me where I came from and I told her Dallas. She then took an interest in me and allowed me to ascend to her level by asking me if I could drive a car. By this time I was rather peeved and told her that I had never ridden in one but in Dallas they had over ten thousand. Sat. I met her in town and some way she found out that I had a car and asked me to bring it out. I now see that automobiles can make friends for a person even if they are good for nothing else.

“I never thought of it any more until tonight I found that Carl had been out to see her 2 nights in succession. This morning he told me liked her fine. Now you see that although she is too good for me I may get her for a sister in law. Quien sabe.”

[I would like to know if this was Nina, whom Carl married 2 yrs later. I doubt it.]
July 7, 1915 (pm 29th) 1915

He has gotten a letter from D. complaining about the “tone” of the last letter, which he says he expected. He explains that he had to finish the letter up quickly because a neighbor had come by and told him he was leaving for town.

“Now Darling you know that I do love you, and there is no use in your saying that you fear I am joking when I say that I do. However I sometimes feel that I would like to get an answer when I tell you that I love you. I ofter wonder how long you remember it.”

She has learned to drive and he is glad to hear it. He has gotten a letter from Lordsburg, N.M. asking him to enter his car in some races in August. He answered that to do it he would have to be able to pick the driver and be guaranteed a hundred dollars and a $250 purse for the first race. He later wrote them that if they would put up a purse of $350, he would drive it himself and do it without the bonus. He doesn’t think that they can raise the money, and he doesn’t really like racing for money anyway. “I have the only racing car in the country and I’m not anxious to break my neck for a few lemonades.”

He has been working on the surface well for a week and keeps having problems with mud clogging it up.

Evening – He thinks maybe they got the well done, but he doesn’t want to speak too soon.

He had gone to Wood Creek Canyon for the Fourth with about 25 people, about 8 of whom were near his age. The young people had explored all the surrounding mountains and then explored a cave which was about 300 ft deep and branched off in about 10 passages, all of which they explored. He has been told of a much larger cave a few miles away with a large lake in it, which he intends to explore if he can. The large cave also contains a large river, which he speculates may be the source of their artesian water. The well drillers say they drill through underground rivers. He thinks this means that their water supply may be inexhaustible.

On the fifth he had been to Lordsburg. During the day there was nothing to do but drink and play poker and “as I never did drink and have sworn off playing poker, I didn’t enjoy a thing except the dance.” Because most of the people at the dance had come in to town just for it, there was a “sober crowd of boys. I met some awfully nice young women from the northern part of AZ and NM. Now Darling, don’t think that I’m associating with a bunch of gamblers and drunkards. Even the best people among the cattlemen gamble and on holidays celebrate by drinking. It is just as much a part of their lives as face paint among the Indians. In the San Simon Valley we see but little of the cattlemen and more of the farmers. There are however two gambling halls in San Simon.”

He reassures her that he does love her and that he will do everything he can to get the place ready for her by the following spring. Having noted that the letter was 13 pages long, he added a postscript so it wouldn’t stay at 13 pages.
July 26 (pm 29th) 1915

He reassures her that he waits for her letters just as eagerly as she does his. He postponed a trip to town until he thought that there would be a letter from her, even though he needed the supplies. He had to stay in town because it started raining and it turned out to be a big rain. So he can now plant some crops, although it will have to be things that grow fast because it is late to plant.

He says that yes he would like another picture of her, but it should be a large studio print where he can see her face. He promises to get one taken of himself as soon as the local photographer is back.

D. has asked about his aunts Emma and Daisy. He says Emma is in Chicago and he thinks Daisy is in Montana. He asks D. to send a postcard to his Aunt Emma. He knows that Emma likes D., but suggests that Emma is a little hard to read for someone who doesn’t know her well. He says Emma has been working hard for the summer and will stay for next winter at… The University of Chicago. [O.K. now I want to know something about Emma. I think she is Beall's sister, and Beall was known for her intelligence and strength of personality. Hmmm.]

He says that he does’t know where Alleene is. He went to see her in Dallas in Mar. and talked on the phone once, but he thinks that she quit school early in the spring. “I am afraid that Alleene and myself have long since ceased to be friends and that each of us were awaiting an excuse to so express ourselves… No, you may speak of her as often as you like. She is neither a sore nor a scar to me.” [Sounds like she was the former fiance.]

He sends his regards to D.’s sister Marguerite and to her parents.
**Aug. 15, 1915 (pm Aug. 16 San Simon)

“My Darling, it had never occurred to me that I would ever be too tired to read one of your letters, but such was the case last night. I had been in the saddle for 2 days and when I got home last night I was too sleepy and tired to eat. (Now this is some tired.)

“I rode up to a ranch in the mountains to see about buying another team of horses. I left San Simon at 8:00 and got to the ranch which is about 26 mi. at 2:00. Then I rode over the mountains all the afternoon hunting horses. The next morning I spent in hunting horses and at 3:00 I started home – you may imagine how I felt after a ride like this especially since most of the riding was over mountains.

“It is awfully pretty in the mountains since the rains started. The grass is green and looks exactly like a mown lawn. The cattle eat the lower limbs from the trees and leave them exactly like the shade trees in a park. To tell the truth the place where I was was more beautiful than I ever expected to see.

“While I was there I bought 2 more horses and made arrangements to buy a dozen cows. The cattle however will not be delivered to me until November. You see if I don’t starve in the meantime I will someday be in the stock business as well as being a farmer. My well has risen some more so now I think the farming part of my business is assured.

“We had a dance at the schoolhouse last Wed. night and we had a fairly good time. By the way we had a Dallas visitor there. Her name is Miss French and strange to say she lives within a very short distance from you: 4609 Swiss Ave. If I remember correctly this is the block above Annex.

“Well Darling I haven’t done a thing since I last wrote you except go to the mountains of which I told you. One of my horses has been sick and I have been handicapped. We have planted, however, all the crop that we intend to get in this summer. I will plant some oats and stock beets this winter and in this way I will be able to pasture the stock over this winter. This will save me at least a hundred and fifty dollars.

“Well Darling I have to go to town now so I will close.

“With worlds of love from your dearest friend on earth,

Your Verne

p.s. No Sweetheart I have never said anything about your going off to school again because if you really want to go I see no reason why you should not. My only objection was to your ever starting to a co-ed school but since you have already gone one year I do not object any more. If you really want to go back to the University I hope nothing will prevent. However I would like for you to get back in the women’s building in case you do go.
Aug. 18 – there is an envelope but no letter
**Aug. 23, 1915 (pm Sept. 4 San Simon)

“I received your letter last Sat. but as I left early for Paradise I haven’t had a chance to answer it.

“Well, all that I can say for Paradise is that it is situated in an awfully pretty place but the town isn’t more than a wide place in the road. I consists of 2 hotels, 2 stores, a restaurant and a gambling hall. All of these seem to be a necessicity in towns in AZ and NM. Of course you understand that the restaurants and the stores are not imperatively important, but the people here seem to shirk from naming a town which can’t support a gambling hall. Although one can’t say much for the town of Paradise, the mountains are no less than beautiful. I wish that I could take you there once for I know you would enjoy it. When I go back in the mountains in October I am going to send you some pictures and if possible give you an idea of how the mountains in AZ look.

“I spoke of going back to the mountains. Now let me explain. The deer season opens on the first of Oct. and a friend of mine and I are going to spend a week or more there hunting. I do not say that I will kill any deer, but nevertheless I intend to try.

“So you have fully decided to go back to school this fall. I hope that you enjoy it as much as you did last year. I think perhaps that next summer I will start to the Univ. of Ariz. at Tuscon and take a course in Agriculture. Of course I can’t finish this in one year, but I can probably learn something in 3 mo. time.

“I don’t believe I told you that I had bought a new team. I remember telling you in my last letter that I had been to a ranch in the Chiricahua Mts hunting horses, but I did not find just what I wanted. I bought a team of chestnut colored mares from a neighbor and I really believe that without a single exception I have the prettiest team in the valley. They are large and when not working to a plow will make the best buggy team I ever saw. To tell the truth I have lost all interest in automobiles since I came out here. I had rather drive a team of fast horses to a light buggy than the finest automobile I have ever seen.

“You spoke of getting the other watermelon promised you. Well, we have eaten one melon from our garden, but it weighed less than ninety pounds.

“Yes, I will have my picture took as soon as the photographer comes back. He has been away for several months, but it is nearly time for him to return. He has been away on a visit for several months.

“I haven’t gotten my pump installed yet, but I expect to get started on it this week. I will let you know how I am getting on with it in my next letter.

“I received a letter from Irene Murrill, a girl in Dallas with whom I have been corresponding occassionally saying that she was going to be married soon and would move to Paris, Texas. It seems that nearly all my acquaintences are moving to this so-called state of matrimony. Well, it really doen’t bother me unless I should receive a letter of the same description from a certain Miss Dorothy Logan saying she intends to be married. (To the other fellow.) It seems to me that nearly every one out here is going to be married or is afraid she or he won’t be married soon. This reminds me of an incident which happened a few weeks ago. I asked a girl to go to a dance with me and I received this answer, “No, I can’t go with you. I heard that you were engaged to a girl in Dallas.” I then took another girl and a few nights later I met the first girl and she told me that Addie Kidwell, and whom I had been out to see once before, was visiting at her uncle’s who lived about half a mile away. I suggested that we drive over there and she declined on the grounds that Addie would say that we had driven by just to show her that I was with her.

“I then found out that to call on a girl twice in San Simon Valley and then not marry her was sufficient grounds for a breach of promise suit. Since then I have gone to dances by myself. I was told not long ago by the father of a very loving daughter whose name I have not and will not mention, “Young man, men here do not select wives, but take whoever they can get. I replied that in that case I would, when ready and able, import one of my own choice. I didn’t tell him however, that my greatest anxiety was whether or not this this young lady of my choice would be willing to come when I was ready to bring her.

“Well, Darling, I will close now, as it is awfully late and I must go early in the morning to help break my new team.

“I must remind you however before I close that I love you more than I can really tell you and is there was any way to see you before you went to school this year that I would take advantage of the opportunity. Darling I sometimes feel that I sometimes can’t wait to see you and I will have to admit that I am often affected with a disease called daydreams in which you are the principle character. Well, Sweetheart, there is one consolation and that is that if you were really intended for me as I feel sure you were, neither time nor distance can separate us forever. You have marked a change in my life that I can never forget. To me Darling you are a model of the sweetest type of girls and to [me] a perfect one.

With worlds and worlds of love from

Your Verne
Sept. 3, 1915

short letter
**Sept. 14, 1915 (pm Sept. 14 San Simon)

“My Darling:

“Your letter came last Sat. but as I was then leaving for town there was no way to immmediately answer it and I was busy in town until 10 pm unloading my plant. The following morning we brought it out and Mon. we will set it up at Mr. Carr’s place to test his well.

“I have been working enough to enjoy my meals and to be able to sleep all night without any insomnia. It seems that I will never get through work. I suppose that we will finish the well pit today and will get the pump installed the latter part of this week or the first part of next. However, this will not be all that I have to do. In fact I am just getting started to work.

“No, Darling we are not very far from the Mexican border, but I hardly think that we will be bothered with any raids from them as this country is too thinly settled to make a raid worthwhile. They would have to go too far inland to get much and then they would never get back to the border. We are about 35 or 40 mi from Mexico, so we are not in much danger.

“It is too bad that your eyes are troubling you and I really hope that you don’t have to wear glasses. I do not believe that I would care to see you wearing them.

“No, we do not get the news here, but we take the Times-Herald and through this I read of the beauty contest. I also knew Mildred Mabry and read of her death but I can not recall her face.

“I’m glad that you enjoyed your trip to Sulfur Springs and am awfully sorry that you did not get to go on the camp you expected to be on. I am, if nothing happens to prevent, going on a hunt but cannot stay for over 2 or 3 days as I must be back to work as soon as possible. I wish that I could stay for a week or more so I could see more of the mountains, but I suppose that I will have to wait until later in the winter when I won’t have so much pressing work.

“I do not know whether Jack Craig is going to marry Millie Mae ? or not, but I think that if he is, he is foolish. I hardly think that the victim will be Jack as I don’t believe that Jack is very anxious to be married soon.

“Well Darling, I must close now because it is getting near dinner time and I must mail this letter…
Wed. Sept. 22 (pm 23rd) addressed to Dorothy at Women’s Building, Univ. of Texas, Austin, Texas, as are following letters

“…Today is the first day in 3 weeks that I have a chance to rest so as I had nothing to do, I slept nearly all day with the exception of a few hours this morning when I built a corral. It seems like I haven’t had time to think lately. Sunday before last my pump came and I had to bring it out and last Sunday the windmill refused to pump so we had to pull out all the pipe in the well. This took all day Sunday and Monday we replaced it. I think that after 3 weeks work I was entitled to one day’s rest and I took it without a guilty conscience.

“Well, I haven’t installed my pump yet, but we will begin Sat. and will probably get it placed by next Wed and I am going on a deer hunt regardless of my other work which might present itself. I can’t be gone over 4 days as I must get back to plant some oats for winter pasture.

“I received a letter from Hartwell Albright and he asked if you and I still corresponded. He also said that if I had ceased writing to you that he would call on you in person and offer you his sincerest friendship to replace that lost. I think I shall write him to attend to his own business and to spend his leisure hours at 3927 Cole Ave.

“I also received an amusing letter from Maxime Guillot, an old friend of mine, who is now married. I always thought, until _I_ met you, that Maxime was the biggest “nut” over the girls of any boy that I knew. I have received several curtain lectures from him about the blissfulness of married life. This was of course prior to his marriage. Since then I think that he has had some family troubles, but to his credit he has “stuck” to it through thick and thin. To quote a sentence in his recent letter seems somewhat a contrast to the lectures I used to receive from him. “I hope that you are happy and contented and will remain so. I have come to the conclusion that ‘happy’ and ‘contented’ can only be found in the dictionary.” When I read this, especially since it came from Maxime it reminded me of a passage in Campbell’s Pleasures of Hope which you have probably heard.

Thus with delight we stop to survey
The promised pleasures on lifes unmeasured way

“I am enclosing a bit of philosophy on homesteading which Maxime sent me.

“Well, Darling there is nothing new to tell you except that there is to be a dance given at one of our neighbor’s next Friday and if nothing happens to prevent I am going to be there. I do not know whether I will know how to act however. I am supposed to take a girl, but I haven’t been to see one in nearly three mo. now and I might feel rather out of place.

“Well, Darling, I must go down to my shanty now, as I will have to get up early and build a water reservoir. The next 2 days I will have to spend cutting fence posts…
Nov.? 1916 – pm Apache

V. has visited San Simon and while he was there had gone to Bowie, which is 24 mi west of S.S. He rode back to S.S. and got there at 11 a.m., then left at 3 p.m. and rode to Apache (45 mi). The last 25 mi he was riding into a gale and it was dark so he had to face forward. Got in at 2 a.m. Thinks he will skip future trips to San Simon. He has several options for next summer. Will probably spend it in San Simon (he didn’t – he was in Apache.) He may go to Mexico to buy a cow. It isn’t really as dangerous as everyone thinks to go down there.
Note: On March 1, 1917 the Zimmerman telegram, a German diplomatic message that attempted to induce Mexico to make war on the U.S. and was intercepted by British intelligence, was made public by Pres. Wilson. It produced widespread outrage in the U.S. and, together with the German resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare on Feb. 1, it turned U.S. opinion away from neutrality. Congress declared war on April 6, 1917, and the draft began in early June.
Sun. Apr 1 (pm Apr. 2) 1917

V. has been to the mountains with some people and enjoyed it but wished that D. had been with him instead of the girls that were. Someone had handed V. a cigar and he had smoked part of it, but since he hadn’t smoked in over a year it made him sick. He had mentioned it in a letter to Julia Paul in San Simon and she had replied scolding him and telling him not to do it again. V. was peeved by her assumption that she could tell him what not to do.

V. began today as the cook of the ranch, as Mrs. Miller has left. He cooked beans and rice.
Mon. Apr 2 (pm 3rd)

D. is lonesome to go back to UT. V. sympathizes and says he would like to go to school too, but doesn’t see how he will ever be able to do it. “I am just now beginning to really want an education.”

He has not read “When a Man’s a Man,” but several people have it and he may read it. His papa and Carl have read Zane Grey’s “Under the Light of Western Stars,” which is set in the same country where he is, but he has not read it.

He says it seems to be a habit of the girls where he is to boss the boys around. He notes however that when men are bossed around by their wives other men call it “hen-pecked,” but they have no special name for it when they beat their wives and curse them. V. doesn’t think you can be happy if either spouse is bossing the other around.

D. wonders if the people in AZ will dislike her because V. marries her instead of Julia. He says they will just have to get used to it.
Tues. Apr. 3 (pm 4th) 1917

V. explains that for lunch he walks half a mi from the school to the house, builds a fire, cooks, eats and walks back, all in an hour. D. has gotten a letter from her “other sweetheart,” (Pat). He teases her and says that he will write Pat and ask her to be his other sweetheart too.

“I have always loved you and in fact I loved you before I met you because I had been looking for you. I have felt all the time that you loved me, but until I saw you Xmas did not feel sure that you would not change.”

He is arranging an Easter Entertainment and will have an egg hunt on Fri. He will do this with Miss Reese, who teaches at the school north of his, and this will make it more enjoyable for the kids.

D. mentions bowling and he recalls that he learned to bowl over Xmas in Dallas. He thinks that he likes the game, but he likes tennis better as it is more exciting. He wants to finish teaching D. to play tennis and build a court when she comes to AZ.

[Later in life Verne owned an interest in a bowling alley on the east side of Ft. Worth. I bowled there once as a kid, and my brothers bowled some games there with Roy Rogers (yes the cowboy movie star) during the filming of "MacKintosh and TJ," a movie that my father invested in. The movie was a flop, but my dad made it into the movie as an extra wearing a cowboy hat standing next to a fire during a barbecue.]

[Verne's bowling alley struggled to make money for a long time, but eventually did o.k. and after Verne died in 1967 it was sold for a large profit.]
Thurs. Apr 5 (pm 7th) 1917

V. is in a bad humor, but doesn’t say why. He is working on an “Easter Entertainment” with the children and thinks they will do o.k.
Sat. Apr 7 (pm 8th)

V. had smoked a cigar and Julia Paul got peeved and told him he shouldn’t. He agrees with D. that she has no right to tell him what to do, but D. also objects to him smoking, so he says he won’t do it again. Sam’s sister Mrs. Wheeler has made her weekly visit to see that they are eating well and cook for them. V. is usually the cook which is o.k. with him, but what he cooks is fairly plain.

One of his school trustees was caught bootlegging and will probably be sent to the penitentiary. V. is sorry for his kids [somewhere around 10 of them] who are good kids. He doesn’t think the father does anything to support them but bootlegging. His oldest daughter, who goes to the “normal” is a religious fanatic who is practically a preacher. [V. teaches the elementary grades.]
Tues Apr 10 (pm 12th)

V. is cooking in the boarding house and he says he had to prepare some more food for a woman who came in late to breakfast. V. says yes it looks like there will be war and trouble with Mexico. He isn’t worried about an invasion as it would stopped at the border, but he is concerned with the violence that will done by Americans to Mexicans in the states. He thinks it will be a problem where he is.

D. is enjoying a watch with a gold plated case that he gave her, but it needs fixing and he will take care of it. D. has been to town to see a film with Marguerite Clarke, and V. wishes he could have gone, but D. is prettier than the actress and he would have been looking at her.
Fri. Apr. 13

V. says that the egg hunt went well. He says that yes, Miss Reese is the atheist girl from an atheist family. She is reading up on Christian Science. He thinks that she has the personality to be religious but has never had any training.
The U.S. had declared war on Germany on April 6.

Sun. night Apr. 15, 1917 (pm Apr 16 – 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 taken 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, one 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, being a professor at Oxford, Lewis had a lot more reading and writing to do than V.]

“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 [Porter is the fiance of D.'s best friend Pat] because 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 you 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
Mon night Apr. 16, 1917 (pm Apr. 17 – Apache, AZ)

“… Yes, I am satisfied with being my own cook for I don’t like to be around most women. I didn’t like Mrs. Miller but since you mentioned it in your letter I will have to destroy it for as soon as the kids come home they will look thru my trunk. This is one thing I dislike about living here because everyone feels at liberty to go through my “stuff.” I must not say anything because I am a school teacher and should not have anything which they they [sh]ouldn’t see. Then again your letters would be an exceptionally tempting morsel to such inquisitive minds. Mrs. Miller was just as bad as the kids.

“… I am going to the mountains in the morning and I surely wish that you could go with me as I am going by myself. I know you will be with me for I shall think of you all the time but then I would like to have you visit me in person.

“My school has been closed on account of the measles so I will have a little vacation for a while. I wish that I could spend it where I did my Xmas vacation [Dallas], but I have so much to do that I couldn’t get away. I will have plenty of work to occupy my mind thoroughly. I may not be able to write regularly however as I will not be in Apache so very much of the time. I may go to San Simon for a few days as soon as I can get up some of my work here.
Tues. Apr. 17b, Apache, AZ

“… I wanted to go to the mountains yesterday, but there was a sandstorm and the wind blew in a gale. The wind has been blowing for 3 days and again this morning it seems that it is going to try to blow the grass off the ground.

“… Yes it seems that we are going to have serious trouble with Germany. I suppose, too, that if the conscription bill passes that Carl will have to go as it will take all the young men between 18 and 25. As soon as school is out, I may, if I don’t change my mind, offer my services. They can use me as a truck driver. Mama may raise such a kick however that I won’t offer. Don’t say anything about it however for this is one of the things I hate to talk about until I decide what I am going to do. It would be a means of putting an able bodied man in the field…

“No I don’t think that we will have any trouble with Mexico for it wouldn’t take very long to put her where she couldn’t bother us. I can’t see where it would help Germany in the least to get Mexico into the trouble for then she would have no supply bases for any submarines because the first thing we would do would be to make them turn over the sea ports such as Vera Cruz and Tampico. If Mexico remains seemingly neutral she can supply the submarines with oil and food supplies. I believe tho’ that with the pressure that will be brought to bear Mexico will remain strictly neutral. To declare war on the U.S. would probably get her into trouble with the S. American countries. However, I am not worried about the border at the present…

“Speaking of patriotism, one town in AZ requires by law that every house, whether residence or business, must fly an American flag, and failure to do so will be punishable by both a $200 fine and 200 days in prison.

“Every school child in the state is required to salute the flag on entering the school in the morning, at noon, and on leaving the grounds. To show any discourtesy to the flag is sufficient reason to be knocked down by anyone near. If requested to salute the flag by a stranger it is best to do so rather than get in any trouble.”

V. had finally gone to Rodeo, N.M. [just across the border on the train line between San Simon and Apache] and had found nothing but a few saloons and a bunch of drunks. He took a freight train home rather wait for a passenger the next morning.
Fri. Apr. 20, 1917 – Apache, AZ

Yesterday he had gone to Tex Canyon which is 20 mi [presumably to cut wood.] Today he is going in a wagon to Douglas, which is 40 mi south on the border. D. spoke of warm weather in Dallas, but they have had frost lately in Apache, so it probably is not good fruit country after all.
Tues Apr. 24, 1917 – Apache, AZ

V. got back from Douglas the night before. He had met a few girls down there, but it just made him lonesome for D. “for none were near as beautiful and sweet as my little girl in Dallas.”

She has misunderstood him to think that he dislikes Marguerite Clarke [the actress] for he agrees that she is entirely harmless. He has not had time to work the puzzle [that she sent?] but he will try it later.

“By the way Dear, do you remember much of your trigonometry? I have been reviewing mine but I have found some problems which I can’t see thru. I suppose I will have to work harder. I can’t work a problem (cosA – sin2A in a right triangle. Do you know how to work it and find angle A? If I can’t see thru it I will write Aunt Em.”

[So I was right - Aunt Em, one of his mother's two sisters, is also a bright one and a mathematician. She had been at the U. of Chicago recently.]

“I am going to Rodeo tonight or in the morning. I want to see if I can’t get some Mexicans to work for me. With the trouble brewing with Mexico I am afraid I am going to find it no easy job to find men…

“…with millions and millions of kisses for her also. I am as ever B4, [yes, V. wrote B4]

Your Own Verne

Wed. Apr. (?) (pm Apr. ? – El Paso) 1917   “Apr” can be read in the postmark, but not the date. Letter is marked Wed.

V. apologizes for not writing but says he has been away for several days. He had been planning to write her but 3 officers came and asked him to help them chase bootleggers. They patrolled all night and chased one but did not catch him. The officers have just come again, but he told them he has to write some letters before he can go out with them again.

He had mentioned joining the army and his mother had protested severely. D. had said that she didn’t think her opinion would matter, and V. tells her that her opinion would matter more than anyone else. He thinks that if “Uncle Sammy” needs him he would have to go. He says people are expecting that Mexico will try to invade quickly and capture Texas, N.M. and AZ, but V. thinks that if they do it will be a disaster for Mexico, that hardly any of their soldiers would make it back alive.

V. had spent a day in Rodeo, N.M., which is just over the border. N.M. is wet, AZ is dry, and V. says Rodeo and Lordsburg are full of saloons and are degraded by whiskey. Lordsburg has 3000 people and no churches. Someone told him that if AZ stays dry in ten years he would teaching for $30-$40/mo but V. replied that in Missouri where Busch makes Budweiser, teachers get paid almost nothing.

Mrs. Wheeler is there and he has been interrupted to get wood, cook, eat and go to town and has played 2 games of pitch while writing the letter.

May 30 1917

V. is teaching school in Apache and getting ready to go to the mountains.
May 30b, 1917

D. concerned that V. might be drafted (draft starts in June), but V. says he most likely would not be accepted. If he is and is posted to an eastern city, he will take her with him. He is thinking of taking a correspondence course if he teaches again next school year.
Fri. June 1, 1917 (pm June 2)

This was the last day of school teaching for the year for V. He indicates that he had been teaching all year in Apache and expects to teach another year.
pm June 3

D. is sewing and V. thinks that would be conducive to sleep in the summer. V. has received a letter from his friend Julia Paul in San Simon saying that she doesn’t want to see him anymore. He had made clear from the beginning that he was in love with D., but evidently Julia had held out some hope that he would fall for her. He has a lot of respect for Julia. He will write her just once more. V. is living with Carl in Apache. He thinks Carl is writing to too many girls.
June 4

V. had been to church – the preacher was a Pentecostal who was convinced that the war in Europe would end in the battle of Armageddon. V. says maybe, maybe not. [I wonder if the preacher had any idea how many wars have provoked that prediction over the centuries.] D.’s cousin Jane is having trouble getting married to Johnson since Johnson doesn’t think that he should marry and then go to war. (V. expresses the same belief elsewhere.) V. thinks the war will last at least to the next winter. He says his mother doesn’t seem to care if he goes to the front, but doesn’t want Carl to go. D. has made up her mind to take a business course and V. is o.k. with this.
pm June 5

V. has registered for the draft and claimed no exemption, but doesn’t think he will be taken. A family is staying with them and the wife is cooking for them, but she is an extremely sarcastic and unpleasant person so V. is eating outside with Carl.
June 7 (pm June 8) sent to Madelene Murphy at UT Austin, where D. was visiting

V. is doing some work for a man that involved hoeing all day and he is very tired. He hasn’t gone to the mountains yet and doesn’t know when he and Carl can get free to go. He wants to teach one more year to make his certificate good. He really would rather tend a herd of goats, but knows that that would mean a hard life for D.
June 8 (pm june 9) sent to Madelene Murphy at UT Austin, where D. was visiting

D. has been selling tickets to some Univ. event. Feels like she is not accomplishing anything. V. reassures her. He has been hoeing all day again and is very tired.

Mon. June 11 (pm June 12) sent to Madelene Murphy at UT Austin, forwarded to D. at her friend Pat’s on St. Louis Ave. in Ft. Worth

V. was in Rodeo N.M. (about 10 mi. NE of Apache) over the weekend. V. has gotten a letter from a Miss Reese returning the couple of letters he had sent her and he says he will return a ring that she sent him. [Sounds like Miss Reese was rather confused.] V. says he would like to go in the army so he could get some experience in chemistry.

He encloses a note to Pat teasing her that D. calls her her other sweetheart, so he doesn’t see why she shouldn’t be his other sweetheart too. He tells Pat not to tell D. about the note or she will get peeved, but the note ended up in D.’s letters, so Pat ignored this advice.

June 20 (pm June 21)

V. is leaving for the mountains (Skeleton Canyon – southeast of Apache in what is today the Whitmire Canyon Wilderness study area) and won’t be back for several days. His Aunt Emma is expected in San Simon.
Wed. June 27 (pm June 29)

V. went to the mountains, but not to the expected place. As they were leaving they were recruited by a forest ranger to take a group of Mexicans to the Chiricauhua Mts. (northwest of Apache) to fight a forest fire. They went in by wagon as far as they could, then hiked 15 mi. to get to 10,000 ft altitude. They then ran up down hills and fought the fire along with 200 other men for several 20 hr days. [This sounds impossible to me now. Oh, to be 23 again and firing on all cylinders.] The fire was not out yet and not expected to be out until the rains came.

V. had found the scenery in the mountains magnificent, with high peaks, waterfalls and huge trees.

For a bunch of pictures taken in the Chiricahua Mts click the link. It is not what you expect for southern Arizona. There are some amazing balanced rocks, among other beautiful stuff.

“It is needless for me to say that these things all brought a determination to show them to you for I realize how much more would be added to the peace and quiet and solitude to have you with me.”

He shifts immediately to explaining that the reason the handwriting of the address on his last letter was different was that Carl had been standing there with a pen and he had let him address it.

“Yes, Darling, I fully agree with you in believing the Bible in that God will make us as white as snow if we but _accept_ Christ but I feel that there is something that most of us have missed. Have we really accepted Christ? We all believe, but I fear that a good many have not accepted him.”

D. had visited with some soldiers in a saloon but the outing was chaperoned so it was o.k.
Thurs. June 28 (pm June 29)

While waiting to go back to fight the fire, V. ruminates on getting a herd of goats, and, if D. comes out, her
raising a flock of turkeys. He thinks it would be inexpensive, profitable and not much work. As always though he doesn’t think she would enjoy the rustic life with a sparsity of people around, and he can’t stand the idea of bringing her into a situation where she would be unhappy.

V. notes that he has 800 acres of land in San Simon (half a section) and his father has a section. V. also has the chance to acqcuire another 320 acres of land that he could use to run goats or turkeys on.

D. has said something about hats and V. notes that his mother is an expert milliner and makes hats for his Aunts Em and Daisy (“Dick”) when they are with her. He says his mother is also an expert dressmaker, but it is hard to get her to make dresses. D. would have to cook and clean for several meals to get her to do it.

“You are evidently amused about my not liking women in general, but still it is the truth. You also know that you are not in this class as you know I do want to be with you and also that I will not get tired of having you near me. As I said in my last letter, the reason that I dislike most women is that they fall so far below you and there is no reason why one cannot cultivate ways which are agreeable to others.”
Fri July 6 (pm July 7) to D. in Sulfur Springs c/o Mrs. Bart Pate

V. has been fighting the fire for a week, thinks the he won’t have much more fire fighting to do as the rains have come in the mountains. He got caught in a hailstorm without his coat and had to walk 5 mi uphill with an inch of hail on the ground. Says he walked 35 mi home from the mountains. He got so tired that he lay down in a field at 11 pm and slept until 4 am when it became too cold to sleep and he got up and finished walking home.

He had been camped on top of Chiracauhua Peak and could see towns a hundred miles away. The fire had left blackened mountains with only tall trees left. The govt had spent $50,000 and accomplished little in the way of controlling the fire which was only accomplished by the rain.

V. notes that in a week it will be 4 years since their first date [not counting high school], and they have been apart for 3 yrs of that time.

“Still it seems that I have known you forever. I can also say Darling that every day of those 4 years you have grown sweeter to me and that not once have you ever fallen short of what I expected of you but have always lived such as would make you my ideal. You have grown nearer and dearer to me until now my whole life and future is tied up in you and you are the only person I care to live for. I did not realize at the time I met you how much of my life you were to become, but Darling you are the one person who makes life really worth while. I realize that with all the riches in the world I would still be poor without you for life would lose all its color. The hope which makes the future bright would be lost in darkness for you are truly my Queen…

“…for until within the last year I did not consider we were really engaged. While I have loved you nearly ever since I met you still I did not claim your whole heart until last fall. Now Darling I have given wholly to you and in return I claim your heart and love and in fact I claim you in body and soul. You are mine and you yourself can only break my title.”
Mon. July 9 (pm July 10) 1917

Verne and Carl were called to fight another fire over the weekend but it was a small one and not very difficult. He says that it has been suggested to him that he might be able to get a job with the forest service. He says it would mean settling for a salary with a nice home, but he would be away a lot. He would still like to get some goats but can’t find any for sale.

He agrees with D. that it is almost always best for a young couple to live by themselves, but suggests that if they did live with or near his parents that his mother would not be inclined to criticize Dorothy, and he thinks D. would get along well with Gwen, who is mature for her age (now about 15). He considers Gwen his other “Queen.” His mother has said that she would not want to live with a daughter-in-law, and in any case
D. will be in charge of her own home and she can decide how much she wants to see of his mother and Gwen.

They are having a bad electrical storm at the present and he thinks it will flood too, but they are not in any danger, although the noise is bothering Carl. V. hopes D. enjoys a camping trip she is planning, but says he has had enough camping to not be too excited about it. He says that he has learned to cook well enough on a campfire to for camping to be more pleasant. He has cooked for 30 men while in the mountains.

V. has been offered a clerical position in Panama that would pay $2500 a year, but he is not inclined at all to take it.
Thurs. July 12 (pm July 13) (I think – pm not clear. This letter may be later, since the Bisbee deportation took place on July 12)

D. enjoyed her camping trip – V. says he would have liked to be along, but mostly for the company. D. is worried about V. fighting fires, but he explains that most of the time the fire is just a grass fire on the ground and easy to manage. It is only when it becomes a crown fire way up in the trees that it becomes dangerous because it moves so fast and you can’t get close to it to fight it effectively. He had almost gotten caught by a crown fire, but it changed direction away from him.

He mentions the miner’s strike in Bisbee, AZ, west of Apache, and says that the strikers had been put on a freight train and taken to Rodeo, N.M. where they fought a battle with the guards. Verne thinks that this was all instigated by Germany because most of the miners were foreigners and members of the I.W.W. and were making outrageous demands.

[From the Wikipedia article on the IWW: "The IWW was founded in Chicago in June 1905 at a convention of two hundred socialists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists." The avowed goal of the IWW was the destruction of capitalism - hence Verne's assessment was probably largely true.]

[The battle between the strikers and the guards in Rodeo, N.M. is not described in the Wikipedia account of this event, but the account is written from a strongly pro-union perpective, so it may have been left out purposely, or it may have only been a rumor.]

“I realize now that the only true happiness is to love and be loved and outside of this all the worldly pleasures are nothing…when I can look back in old age and say that you have grown dearer and sweeter to me every day, and that I love you and admire you more than ever, I will feel that life really held a golden treasure for me.”
July 17 (pm July 18)

Verne discusses the possibility of being a forest ranger ($1200/yr). He thinks that he might be restricted to office work because of his arm, but they are having a hard time getting enough men, so he might be able to be a ranger. He is also interested in being a railway telegrapher, although they also have a physical exam, but he thinks he might be able to get around it. His main reason for doing an office job would be the opportunity to study. He really wants the education, even if he couldn’t use it in rural AZ. He also considers goats again, thinking that it would have better financial prospects, at the price of a few years drudgery.

He had applied for the telegraphers position and the forest ranger position the previous year and been turned down, but he thinks his chances are better now.

His main worry at the moment is his parents and Gwen. He would like to get them established in something that would give his parents a good living for their old age. He doesn’t say so, but it may be that he has been sending them money to help keep them afloat while his father develops the homestead. He says that if it was only himself, or just himself and Dorothy, that he thinks he could get a livelihood established easily, so I’m pretty sure he is supporting his parents and Gwen.

V. says he knows it must be surprising to suddenly hear him talking so much about his business ideas, which he rarely does, but he happened to be in a humor to discuss these things. He says that he inherited this tendency to not talk about his plans, since his father is the same way. It saves a lot of trouble to not discuss things that you are not sure of yet.
July 18 (pm July 19)

D.’s friend Ida has lost someone in her family, and V. agrees how difficult it is to know what to say to someone in those circumstances. He says he knows what it is like to lose a family member (his older brother Ray died at about 16 in 1906.)

He sympathizes with some boys who were plagued by mosquitoes on D.’s campout. They don’t have mosquitoes in AZ, but they have “centipedes, tarantulas, ants of all descriptions, spiders without number and ‘vinegaroons’” and many other unnamed pests. [Vinegaroons are a scorpion-like arachnid which has no poison, but sprays a mixture of acetic and octanoic acid that smells like vinegar.]

“Still, one learns to just sleep on in peace, and if one should come in the bed I merely move over and give him room for on the whole, when one is by himself, they are better company than none at all.”

He says that he is afraid he can’t teach D. very much about using a pistol, for although he uses one quite a bit, he has never gotten very good with it. He says that while out here he has been shot with a pistol, so he is a little afraid of them. He has concluded that they are a weapon of defense and very few people are very accurate with them. He did hit a jackrabbit at 40 paces with his once, and he has hit jackrabbits at 220 yds with a 25-35 high powered rifle. [Remember that V. only has one arm.]

D.’s brother Gordon has resolved not to smoke, and V. says he knows from experience that that is a good decision.
July 20 (pm July 20) very faint, almost impossible to read
Mon. July 23 (pm July 24)

Just a note, as V. is headed to the mountains.
Sun. July 29 (pm July 30) 1917

V. had intended to answer D.’s last letter, but didn’t have any stationery in the mountains, and had lost the letter out his pocket while trying to ride a wild burro in the corral. When he realized it was missing he went looking for it and found the last page disappearing into the mouth of another burro.

They have finally had rain, and a lot of it. V. had gotten caught in a downpour and had to take refuge in a small canyon from the lightning. He had started out to find Carl, but a lightning strike very close had made up his mind to let Carl look out for himself. As the storm slacked off he started across a canyon, but saw a wall of water coming which began about 3 ft deep and rapidly became 8 ft. deep.

V. tells her that he thinks she should be able to learn to shoot a light rifle. The only thing he doesn’t like about them is the noise. He says that he probably will not be inclined to take the duty of cooking from her because he doesn’t much care for it and doesn’t cook anything fancy.

He has sent the ring back to Miss Reese, but she returned it by mail and apologized for her earlier letter. She has sent some information about teaching, so it may be that she is someone he encountered while teaching.

V. says that as soon as he starts work, he will want D. with him, so it may not be a good idea for her to start to school, but he remains uncertain what he will do.
Mon. July 30? – letter to D. from her friend Pat who lives in Ft Worth

Very gushing girlish letter. Pat is evidently finishing her nursing training and looking for a job in the coming year. Her fiance Porter is trying to get in the army, but hasn’t succeeded.

Tues. Sept. 4 (pm 5th Apache)

Both V. and D. have hurt their hand. V. cut his while cutting grass, and then it got stung by a bee and his hand and arm have swelled up. V. is anxious to leave Apache, as is Carl, but the wood business is making good money if they can just keep their Mexicans around.
Sept. 5 (pm 6th)

“Mi Regina Chiquita,”

V. has gotten a telegram that his Aunt Emma is leaving San Simon, so he and Carl will miss seeing her. V. wonders out of curiousity if D. has let Pat read any of his letters. Pat has accepted a teaching position in Pecos and V. thinks it is a good opportunity for her. He believes in the opportunities that the west offers to young people.
Sept. 6 (pm 7th)

V. agrees that the war offers happiness of no one, but if were to go in service he would do what Porter is doing and try for the aviation corp. If one is going to risk one’s life, might as well have some excitement. D. is working in a local prohibition campaign in Dallas.

V. is making good money in the wood business, but it is uncertain and he doesn’t see any future in it. He says teaching was not pleasant in Apache because nearly everyone is illiterate or close to it. He says the big problem in teaching is keeping order – he was able to do it but Julia Paul and Miss Reese both had a problem with it in San Simon.

V. has tried to get Carl to help improve his telegraphy by sending to him so he can learn to decode, but can’t get much help from Carl. V. wants to learn it now, because he says that it gets harder to learn after age 25. V. actually worked as a telegrapher in Dallas when he was 16, but says he wasn’t very good and has largely forgotten what he knew. So he ordered a machine that will send messages for him to decode. V. says his good memory is a problem in learning to decode because after he receives a test message a couple of times he has it memorized, so it doesn’t help him learn anymore.

He had taken a 6 mo. stenography course in high school and finished it in 3 mo. He can still read the steno notes that he took in class 6 years ago.

Sat. Sept. 8 (pm Sept 11 from Douglas, AZ) from Skeleton Canyon

V. is helping the ranger straighten up his paperwork for an inspection. (The letter is typed.) They had tried to drive a car to the station and had gotten it through a narrow spot in the canyon, but near the end the slope was more than the car could handle. The ranger was afraid that they would have to just write the car off, but after he left Verne backed the car down and got it out.

The ranger was amazed and said that he wanted to tell two other rangers who had doubted that V. could do everything necessary as a ranger with one arm. He also wanted to bet them a $100 each that neither of them could do the same thing, so long as V. would be available to get the car out after they failed. Nonetheless, V. had already heard that he would not be allowed to take the exam to be a ranger. He could be a clerk but isn’t really interested since he would inside all the time.

[Don't you just love the damn government? Nothing has changed. The IRS is harassing me as I write this about "income" that I paid taxes on years ago. The idiots can't tell the difference between a retirement account and an ordinary mutual fund.]

V. wanted to raid a bee tree near the station for some honey to send D., but probably won’t get the chance.

There follows a great deal of the placing on a pedestal that V. does with D. at this point, and some sense of realization that she may not be able to live up to this worship, and a sense that he can’t live up to the same standards himself. He is feeling the frustration that they have waited so long to be together and he still can’t see when they will be and he wonders if this long waiting is just because he has failed to ask God and believe that he will receive.

[And he doesn't know that it will still be over 2 years more before they are married.]
Mon. Sept 10 (pm 11th?) (letter only says Mon. and postmark is Sep – I think this is the right date.

V. did not stay in the mountains – had returned sooner that expected. He explains that the bee sting was not painful for long but the swelling was extreme. He had shaken hands with a girl who visited their camp in the mountains and she had said “My, what a fat hand you have!” He didn’t bother to explain.

V. hopes that Helen will have to do without D. at UT this year, because he hopes to be able to bring her to AZ in 3 mo.

V. is staying at the ranger’s home while he is away in Douglas. It is raining and the roof is leaking like a sieve. The ranger has just moved in and has not had time to fix things. V. must milk the cow, cook, eat, wash, feed the chickens, water the horses, etc.
Sept. 11 (pm 12th)

V. thinks it would be good for D. to visit her friend Dorothy Newton, who has moved somewhere close to where V. is, but he doesn’t think he will stay in the area long. He is obviously restless and lonely in Apache and trying to figure out what to do next.
Thurs. Sept. 13 (pm Sept. 15) [typed at Skeleton Ranger Station, N.M. and, amazingly, put in an official business Forest Service envelope inside a plain envelope. Amazed that V.'s scruples would allow him to do this.]

V. is at the Ranger station to do some more work for the ranger. He asks D. not to refer to him in the salutation of a letter as her “boy” or “little boy.” He won’t explain why at this point, but evidently it recalls some very unpleasant experience.

He is very lonely and missing her a great deal. He makes an interesting slip, saying the he wants her as his “pardner” in life. Maybe he has been out on the frontier too long.

V. has pretty much decided that telegraphy is the way for him to go, and he is waiting impatiently for the machine he has ordered. “I do not mind railway telegraphy on the grounds of confining work, for quite unlike commercial telegraphy it is not very confining, and if I secure a position where I can work at night, I can in all probability have you in the office with me most of the time if you care to be. Then I will have a great deal of time for study if I wish, and you know that I am looking forward to the time that I can take up my studies again. Still such a position would mean that I would have to work…ten to thirteen hours a day. To be with my little girl is by no means a small inducement.”

Dallas has voted to go dry, the largest city in the U.S. to do so at that point, so D.’s efforts were rewarded. V. says that the “whiskey interest” has built quite a large part of Dallas and it will no doubt feel the effects for a while, but “as I am so thoroughly biased in the matter of prohibition I am in hope that she (Dallas) will be a monument to the success that will come from it.”
Sun. Sept. 16 (pm 17th)

V. is idle because the machine still hasn’t come, he is through with the work at the ranger station and Carl has taken a horse and gone to San Simon for an unknown reason. V. is consequently very blue and lonely.
Sept. 21 (pm 22nd) 1917

Verne has been to San Simon briefly, to see the family, but did not see any friends. It had rained the whole time he was riding a horse there and all the way back.

Dorothy had been to Ft. Worth to see a cousin and to see Pat. While there, Pat’s fiance Porter made some kind of teasing or stupid remark about kissing Dorothy (not clear what was going on) and she asks Verne what he thinks about it. V. is not amused and says that if he had been there he would have been strongly tempted to knock Porter down.

Both V. and D. are obviously feeling the separation acutely and he says he hopes that they can be together by the following winter.
Sat. Sept. 22 (pm 23rd)

While V. was in San Simon a trustee of a school in a nearby town had come looking for him in Apache, wanting him to take a teaching position for the year. V. had walked 25 mi. round trip to see him, but the job had already been given to someone else. V. is not too concerned about it, because he has decided that telegraphy offers a more promising prospect for him.

V. is still waiting for the ordered telegraphy machine so he can practice, and he is quite frustrated that it is taking so long.

“What you said to me [at] Christmas in regards to a marriage vow not really making a marriage in the eyes of God was a new way of thinking to me, but I heartily agree with you and I am sure I will never marry another because I can never love another. I have always agreed with you in a way, but until then it was not as forcibly real to me. I know Darling that I do love you and I am equally sure that I can never love another girl.”
Mon. Sept. 24 (pm 26th)

Spent most the day fixing up a wagon bed to carry wood. V. is anxious to leave Apache and doesn’t expect to be there much longer.
Sept. 25 – from Douglas, AZ

Sent a handful of postcards in an envelope but no note
Wed. Sept. 26 (pm 27th?) – Apache

V. had gone to Douglas to look for some Mexicans to cut wood for him but didn’t have much luck. He did visit the Calumet and Arizona smelter and had put in an application to work there in the labs. Everyone was very pleasant to him and he was shown around by the superintendent. After seeing the labs, he withdrew his application, apparently because he saw that the pace of work was so fast and he thought that without special equipment for him he could not keep up. He says that the way he was treated was in contrast to the Copper Queen plant where they would not even give him a pass to go in. He thinks that this may have been because he wore a blue shirt and khaki trousers (this may have been taken as a sign that he was a union man or even I.W.W.)

[When I went to college in California in 1969 I found that the fashion on campus was the same, blue work shirts and khakis. I had no idea that this came from an idea of socialist union solidarity. The fashion had been adopted on our Christian college campus without most of us having any idea what it was supposed to mean. If I had been at Berkeley I would have found out, I suppose.]

When he goes to Douglas (much bigger town than Apache) he misses D. more because there is entertainment available (movies) but she is not there to enjoy it with him.

In a bye-the-way at the end of the letter he tells her he is leaving in the morning for Douglas to work for the Douglas Assay Co. as he had applied there and has just received a letter accepting him as an assistant assay chemist and to report as soon as possible. He hopes never to return to Apache again.

[Douglas wasn't all that big. An address of Verne Garrison in Douglas, AZ was sufficient.]
Sept. 28 – Douglas, AZ

V. has arrived in Douglas and started work. He likes the work, but won’t like living in town.
Sun. Sept. 30 (pm Oct. 1 – Douglas)

V. is very pleased with the work and likes the people he works with. Says he gets to be outside some and he isn’t tied to a desk so it doesn’t feel confining. He will only be paid $60/mo at first but should have a chance for advancement. He worked Sunday morning but got paid $7 so it seemed worth it for looking up some assay records and typing them.

He says yes Carl knows that D. is going to be his sister, but when V. talks about what the three of them should do in the future, Carl teases him that first “we” have to save enough money to marry D. This is because he and Carl have been basically partners for the last 6 mo., sharing whatever money either one of them made.

He says it is his mother who isn’t sure who he is going to marry and keeps asking if he will marry Julia Paul or Dorothy, but she should figure it out now that he didn’t see Julia at all on the last visit and she hasn’t written him in some time.

He admits that he as a hope box collector he is failure and he will have to wait for D. to spend his money on things for their home.

He says that when he was in San Simon that he saw Dolly, the mare that had wandered off when he first went to Apache and she now has a beautiful rhoan colt.

V. says he likes his new position better than anything he has ever had, but he hesitates to bring D. out there on the salary. Although they could live on it, they wouldn’t be able to save anything or have much in the way of extras.

Verne tells how his demands on life have decreased since living for so long in small spaces. He says that Carl referred to V.’s shack in San Simon as the Palace of Culinary Arts.

He wishes that D. was with him so they could go to Sun. night church together and realizes that it has been 3 years since they did.

He reiterates that although he likes his new job, he would rather live away from town. [Howard says that V.'s ideal position was to live out in the country with Dorothy and have an undemanding job that paid enough to support the family and left him enough time and money to pursue his "research" - the things that interested him. I don't know if he ever realized that if you isolate yourself from people with the same interests that it severely limits what you can accomplish. Even Einstein, who was perceived as a loner, knew that.]
Note: Curiously, Cyndi’s data has Carl marrying Nina in Sept. 1917, but V. makes no mention of it in any of his letters. Don’t know what this means.
Oct. 2 – Douglas

V. says that he likes Douglas and the work and his the chemist is very happy with his work since the other assistants have been idle. Now the chemist is getting done at 3 p.m. and he thinks V. should ask for a raise. He will, but he wants to wait long enough to prove himself.

V. says he is eating too much, but he thinks if D. was with him it would be easier to eat sensibly. She thinks he misunderstood the incident with Porter and he concedes that maybe he did, but he has lost any desire to kiss anyone but her.
Oct. 3 – on Douglas Assay Co. stationery, typed, in co. envelope

V. is enjoying the work. He goes and weighs cars of ore coming in and presumably takes samples for assay. He says he can work a lot or a little, but he is lonely for D. and so he occupies himself with work. He says Carl (who is still in Apache) has talked about joining the Army as soon as he can “see his way clear” to do it, but V. doubts that he will. V. says he wouldn’t mind the Army except for the “environment” (presumably drinking, gambling, etc.) that it would put him in.
Oct. 4 – Douglas

V. doesn’t have much to do at work at the moment. A group of draftees are leaving on the train for training camp, and the whole town will turn out, but V. won’t go. He is still very lonely. He thinks that if he was with D. he would want to talk and listen instead of just looking at her as he often has in the past. He asks if Frank, whom D.’s sister Marguerite had married in Aug. 1917, has left for the war yet.
Oct. 5 1917 – Douglas

V. likes the work and it is much more interesting than telegraphy, but he will still learn telegraphy in case he needs it. He wants to take a courses in metallurgy and chemistry. Carl is still in Apache, and probably will be for a while to finish the contract they had. There is only enough work there for one, as they have Mexicans who do the work in the mountains and Carl delivers the wood to the railroad. The telegraphy machine has arrived in Apache and Carl is sending it to him.

He has to write a letter to his mother. For some reason Carl told her that V. had broken off correspondence with D. and she is concerned.
Oct. 5 – Douglas 1917

D. wrote that Pat is going to Galveston to be near where Porter is, and V. wishes they could arrange something similar. V. has been doing a rather boring job of watching train cars of ore be unloaded and making sure the men collect samples correctly. Possibly also making sure they don’t take any ore, because some cars contain gold and silver ore. One car had had gold at $20,000 a ton.

He asks what she has heard from Dorothy Newton. She has moved to somewhere in AZ close to V. and he and the chemist have talked about visiting the town. If they do, he will try to pay her a visit.
Sun. night Oct. 7 (pm 8th) – Douglas 1917

V. has just come in from church. He went to the “Christian Endeavor” at the Presbyt. church and later to the regular service at the Methodist church.

“Yes, Sweetheart, I must confess that I like to be put in debt by receiving letters from my little girl. But then it might be counted as settling a few debts because if you will remember I have written most of the extra letters. Yes, Sweetheart I have other things to do, but I always try to find time to write my little girl a few lines, because as the chemist said this morning I am sick when I do not get them.”

V. is hesitant to ask for a raise, because he had made some mistakes that he felt badly about.

D. has asked about how expensive it is to live in Douglas. V. says it is a bit high, but salaries are high too. The chemist makes $115/mo, but the man who has it now has been with the company for 11 years. Some chemists in town make as much as $400. Day labor is from $3-$7. V. says he can live on $30-$40/mo.

“Sweetheart I do not think that you need ever fear that you will not get all my kisses for there is no one else that I care to kiss. But then Sweetheart, kisses are nothing within themselves, nothing. What I really want is every bit of your love…As far as Porter’s [Pat's fiance] kissing you, there is nothing in that, for if he were to do so, I don’t see that he has robbed you of anything or that you have committed any sin. What really counts with me is your love, and that is all that your kisses mean to me…

She asks about how they would manage money, and V. says his preference would be to let her manage it, although, if he was starting a business he might have to manage it until the business was established. [Howard says that when they did share a household that V. had a tendency to do what he said he would, ignore the finances and pursue his interests.] “I always believe that it is best that a man leave the expenses of the home to his wife, unless he has an exceptionally extravagant one, in which case he had better get rid of her…

“My little girl is too much a part of my life and I will never be happy without her. Even when I have her with me it is going to make me unhappy for her to want to leave me for even a few days. The only objection, Sweetheart, that I have to children is that I have noticed that they always separate the husband and wife. The affections of the two always center on the children and their interests. His duties become to provided and she busies herself with the physical wants of her family and so while both are working for the same end, they grow away from each other.

“There is no one who can be as sweet to me as you, and anything or anyone who separates me will make me jealous…I had much rather have you interested in my affairs than to be burdened with a family for then in a true sense we could be partners in life, and that is what I want above all other things. If I loved you less, then it might be different…

Your own Verne

p.s. I believe it would not be a bad idea to destroy this letter as soon as you answer it as someone might not understand it if by chance it fell in his hands. [Well, it fell in my hands, but I think I understand it. :) ]

Don’t forward my letters to box A. Will explain later.

[The last paragraphs of this letter remind me of someone I saw quoted as saying, "I remember when I first realized that at the moment I was conceived, my parents were not thinking of me." I think it is fairly common that men have little idea in advance of how much they will love their children once they arrive.]

*Oct. 8, 1917 (pm Oct. 9 – Douglas, AZ)

V. is very lonely and missing D. “…This is one night that I feel blue and I can’t explain why. I feel like I would like to pass out of the world and be forgotten. All that I have that I really do care to live for, Sweetheart is you and without you life would indeed be dreary.

“No, Sweetheart, I could hardly expect you to be content with a one room house, but as I said two rooms are as much as I would want for myself if I were taking care of them. I imagine that if I would cultivate a habit of putting my things in their correct places that a five room cottage would not be much bother. I had just as well live in the mountains in a tent as anywhere and if I were free to do as I wished I might spend a great deal of my time there.

[If I can be forgiven for inserting a bit of a song here:

I got a list of all these things that I'm fixing
I'd rather burn the place and sleep on the lawn
Our cozy home looks like a perfect picture
Only when I've been away too long...

from Plain View by David Wilcox]

“Your saying that a person would have to offer you a much better salary to get you to give up work that you liked so well reminds me that 30 dollars isn’t such a bad raise. Then too if I were a railroad operator it would be much cheaper to live as I would be furnished a house of some description and board would not be over 30 dollars as compared with $45
here. Of course as I said the work is not so interesting but I could save more and that is quite an item. If you could be happy I could be just as happy there as in town. I could buy a few cows also. I like to be where I can have a few milk cows and chickens and two or three hogs to butcher every winter. Still I have not made up my mind yet but will wait until later.

“Yes, I suppose that I will keep the black colt for you, but I had better see how he acts after he is broken. If the roan colt is anything like his mother he will hardly be safe for anyone to ride. Still I have not had much trouble with her except that she ran away with me twice and pitched once. I have very little trouble with any horse, but when Carl gets on May or Dolly he is always afraid. After seeing May pitch with me the last time he won’t ride her unless he has to. She won’t stand for him to mount her but I never have any trouble. I am afraid tho’ that the black colt won’t be very gentle at the beginning. Big Horse will be the only real gentle one, and if she is like her mother, she will be gentle enough to let children ride. I have three more, but I haven’t any idea what they will do. The Duchess, May’s colt may be gentle like her sister Teddy or may be like her old “ma” and paw the moon every jump she makes. By the way you had a picture of her, but she is a full grown mare almost now and nearly as pretty a piece of horseflesh as Dolly. You can see from the length of this paragraph that I am interested in my horses.

“If I had a million dollars I would probably buy horses with it and if I turned them all to mama she would trade them all for a setting hen or something else because she hasn’t any use for horses. They are not ready cash like cattle, but there is more money in them when a person does sell and I like to handle them…

“Sweetheart, do you realize that it will not be very long until I will be 24 and not very much longer until you will be 23. It won’t be very long until both of us will have passed youth and will be over what is considered the flower of our lives and will be on the far side of the divide. Of course from 28 to 45 are the years in which people become really settled, but then Darling I hope it will not be very long until we can be together and can spend the few years left of our youth together. I am beginning to feel old for I realize how quickly the previous years have passed and now, forty, which used to appear so far in the future seems only within the reach of a short time…

Your own Verne
*Tues. night Oct. 9, 1917 (Oct 10 – Douglas, AZ)

“… You need not worry about being missed, Sweetheart, for if Douglas were 3 times as large as it is and there was some form of amusement at every door, it would only make me miss you more.

“I too wish that we could have dates on Fri. and Sun. nights, but more than that I would like to have a date every night and one of the kind that would last.

“I am sorry Sweetheart that I could not be with you to see the pictures, but without you I do not care to go to the picture show. I believe however that I could enjoy one with you. As it is my time is well spent in writing to my little girl and on the whole that is not an unpleasant piece or work. I like Douglas Fairbanks, but Fatty Arbuckle is not one of my choice players.

“No, I have no desire to get into any mischief, but that is merely an expression. However, I notice a gentle reminder in your letter as if you were not sure. Still, I do not object to being cautioned.

“I imagine Sweetheart that I will be willing to go home more regularly when you are with me for there is no place that I go that I would (not) rather be with you. If I were going to be downtown late, I would want you with me.

“I imagine that being a man’s second wife would not be as pleasant as it might be. I am sure that I could not love a widow. I would much rather feel that she was all mine.

“Sweetheart, if the church succeeds in raising money by having a Rummage Sale, let me know and I think I’ll try it. But putting all foolishness aside, I hope you are successful.

“I am awfully tired tonight, but I should write a letter to mama. However, I imagine that I’ll go to bed.

“Well, little Sweetheart, I imagine that by the time I mail this letter, it will be pretty late, and then I must take a bath before getting any sleep.

“With worlds and worlds of love for my little Queen…

Your own Verne
*Wed. Oct. 10, 1917 -Douglas, AZ

“… Don’t address any more letters to me in Douglas for I won’t be here after Sat. I had an argument with the Boss and you may imagine the rest. This is the first position I ever lost in my life and I hate it on that account but I still feel that I am largely in the right. As a matter of fact I quit but I would have been fired so it amounts to the same thing. There is no use denying that the thing hurt me and I can’t say I ever felt as disappointed over anything in my life and yet I know that I am not altogether to blame. I am sure that I am almost altogether right.

“Well Sweetheart this happens to be all the paper I have so I will have to close then too. I am not in a humor to write. Do not write any more until you hear from me…
*Thurs. night Oct. 11 (pm Oct. 12 – place unclear)

“My own little Queen,

“Your letter sure came at an opportune moment this morning for I was awfully blue. Losing the job did not worry me because of the loss of the salary, but it hurt me awfully that I could not hold one regardless of why I lost it. However tonight I am in a fine humor with myself. The “boss” said that I did not seem to know what I was doing; that there were three cars that were at the smelters which he knew were in and I had not reported and that such negligence was enough to fire anyone. When I asked what they were, he gave me their names and one he had never mentioned to me so of course I could not be held responsible. Another he gave me the shipper A.G. Welty and it should have been the Dos Cabasos Gold Ridge Mining Co. I accidently found this by diligent study through the railroad books yesterday morning before we had a quarrel and had given the report to the chemist and this morning I turned it over to the “boss.” The third car was shipped in his name but was entered on the smelter books this morning in the name of another company here in Douglas. Two of the mistakes were his and the other the smelter’s.

“When I showed them to him his only comment was “That is funny.” I told them that it wasn’t so funny when he bawled me out about them. Then today he called me in and asked me why I couldn’t work simple arithmetic with the remark that I must have gone to night school because I couldn’t read in the daytime. I sat down to correct my weights as he had found three mistakes in them. I couldn’t change my figures so he called me over to show them to me (but he couldn’t.) However, I said nothing and acted as if I were awfully sorry he had made the mistakes in calculation. Tonight he gave me 5 checks to pay the gas, water, and light bills and I brought 3 of them back because he had made mistakes in figuring. I remarked pleasantly that he had been rather extravagant in his subtraction.

“I became suspicious that he did not like me and the trouble was personal so I asked the chemist and found out what the trouble really was. We received an oil pump yesterday and after putting it up it would not work so he asked me what the matter was at least asked me what I thought it was. I have a habit of answering rather abruptly and told him after looking at it that it was in a hose connection and not in the pump and that the pump was pumping air instead of oil. I should have said I think that that is where it is. Anyhow he said that that wouldn’t affect it and then I remarked that I thought he would find the trouble there. He said I didn’t know what I was talking about. I got rather peeved and went on to the smelters on my work. When I got back the pump was still not working so he told me to fix it or take it down. He had been working all day on it. I took a wrench and tightened the hose and the thing worked. Of course I was rather peeved and when he asked me what was the matter I rubbed it in a little and he did not like it much.

“However, notwithstanding this I made 2 or 3 mistakes last week and this is what hurts. If I had not made them I would not feel so badly but I can’t get over them. Two of them were in copying numbers and I found both of them and called his attention to them. The other was that I forgot to leave a letter at the Copper Queen Smelter. He said nothing about them, but if he had I would not have defended myself because they were careless mistakes. However, I don’t understand how it happened for usually he is a man who never says anything cross and is generally very pleasant to be around. There is no use denying that no matter how it happened it hurts and makes me wish I had never seen the place. I know tho’ that I can get a recommendation from him tomorrow for because he said at the time that he had never had anyone who was as willing to work as I had been nor anyone who worked harder. On the whole there is some about it that I do not understand and it looks queer to me.

“As I said, do not address any more letters to me… I don’t know where I am going, but in the end I will stop in San Simon as I want to stay on my homestead a while or I will lose it. I will be there for a few weeks, but before leaving I am anxious to hear from you.

“A railway telegraph operator makes $90 a month in AZ and the chance for a raise isn’t very good after he makes $100. Commercial work pays less to start on and a person who is an expert operator can make $175 but these operators are not that numerous and I do not believe I could make one. They are press operators and send from 65 to 75 words per minute which is absolutely impossible with the usual code. An operator who can handle 30 words/min is worth $125 or perhaps more. However there is more money at $90 a month in the railway stations located in the country than at $125 in the city. Living in the country is less than half as expensive as living in the city and again personally I prefer living away from the city…

“Little Sweetheart, after what has happened I do not feel like telling you how much I love you and miss you and if I tried it is more than I can tell. Perhaps Sweetheart I should not write to you so much until I go to work some place and “make good.” I don’t know what to do. Perhaps you had better decide for me. I feel like I am doing you an injustice.

“Well Sweetheart I must close, but remember that no matter what you may think I am unchanged toward you and you are still the same little Queen among all womankind that you have been to me in the past and will always remain so.

With love,

Oct. 12. 1917 (pm Oct. 13 – Douglas)

Just a note as V. is wrapping things up in Douglas.
Oct. 15 (pm Oct 16 – San Simon) 1917

V. has quit his job in Douglas and moved back to San Simon. His boss actually had decided to keep him on, but V. has decided that there really wasn’t any opportunity for advancement, and he needed to spend some time on his land or he would have to give it back to the govt.

He says that just as he was getting on the train to leave Douglas a boy told him that Carl had hurt his hand and perhaps lost a finger. He hasn’t heard from Carl, but thinks he may need to back to Apache to take care of the wood business until Carl is better. Turns out the Douglas Assay Co. is going out of business. He could have gotten on with another assay co. but it wouldn’t have been permanent and he wants to finish learning telegraphy.

D. mentions that the a group of ladies at the Gaston Ave. church in Dallas wants to give her/them $600 to set up house. Not clear what this is about.
Wed. Nov. 28 (pm 30th) pm Rodeo, NM

V. is away from San Simon at Charlie Hall’s place helping him with some pump engines. They have worked on 2 engines and Charlie’s Ford without getting any of them to start.

He notes that when he was in El Paso that he went and told the draft people that if they were going to take him he would like to go now, but they said there was very little chance of him being called up.

He says he has gone about as far as he can in learning telegraphy with the machine that he bought and needs to go somewhere where he can get “wire” practice [I think he means taking real messages over the wire.]
pm Sat. Dec 1 Paradise, AZ

Still at Charlie’s. They have been fixing a windmill and it is done, but the wind won’t blow and they are out of water. He is being paid for his work in calves.

“I won’t be long before I have a bunch of cows if keep up as I have lately but then I’d hate to wait another year for my little girl and I can only say that I am miserable without her. Darling you can never realize how much I love you and how much I want you but then things have turned out so much different than what I expected. But then Darling if you do not lose heart I cannot be discouraged for I know I’ll get settled soon. As I said I do not intend to give up telegraphy but am going to finish it as soon as possible because I believe it offers me the best chance for arriving at what I am considering. I may leave S.S. as soon as I go home. I can’t say, but if I knew where Carl was, I would try to get him to go with me to El Paso, Bisbee or some place and take up telegraphy.”

He has to leave to get the letter to the post office in Paradise, which is a 7 mi ride.

[Paradise was disappearing even at the time V. was there. It was on the northeast side of the Chiracauchua Mts. about 2/3 of the way from San Simon to Apache, not far from Rodeo, NM.]
Mon. Dec 3 1917 San Simon

V. had just gotten back to S.S. Mon. morning. They have gotten 2 windmills working as well as the Ford and 2 engines, but the third engine he had failed to fix.

V. doesn’t expect to be in San Simon more than a week or two more. He had hoped to have a job somewhere by this point. He is waiting on some mail [probably answers to some job inquiries.]

He recalls the previous Xmas when they had been together. She had opened the door and told him that he hadn’t changed at all. They are both feeling blue about the prospect of not seeing each other at Xmas.

V. wonders if D. knows when the next round of the draft will be. Everyone in S.S. seems to have a different opinion on the matter.

He had been in a bad humor about the difficulties he had in getting the engines fixed.

“Then there was a house full of children there that night and it fell to my lot to entertain the whole bunch while their mothers gossiped. I simply smiled when they crawled all over me and anyone would have imagined that I was the best pleased person on earth. I can play all night with a bunch of them when I am in a good humor and none of them are spoiled but if one of them is spoiled I can get peeved sur’ nuf’.”

Been to El Paso. Turned down for the army. Wondering when the next draft round will be.

“…Darling, you are just as sweet and beautiful to me as you ever were and if, when I am worried and impatient to be doing something, I fail to tell you these things, you must not think that it is because I do not love you for you are still the same sweet little girl and guiding star to me. I know we can’t be kept apart forever, for I know that I am not dull mentally and I have perseverence, and it can’t be very long until I can have you with me. I have a handicap to overcome but then i _will_ overcome it and I know that if I have your love I can succeed. But little girl without your love I don’t know what I would have to live for. The future would hold nothing for me.”
Thurs. Dec 6 1917 San Simon

V. explains that he went to El Paso to see if he could find a telegraphy school there, but didn’t find anything suitable. He now thinks that telegraphy is his best bet for a permanent position.

“No, I guess that Howard [D.'s youngest brother - 13 at this point] must not have seen me, but then when I do go to Dallas I will try to remember to shave off my moustache.” [Wish we had a picture of that.]

D. will have a lot of company for Xmas including her cousin Jane from Lexington and Marie (not sure about her.) V. would like to meet Jane and see the other company but he would rather see D. when she wouldn’t be so busy with company.

V. is tired because he visited the Paul’s the previous night, and as he walked, he didn’t get back until 2 am. He thinks that Julia will get married soon, but he didn’t talk to her. V. has not met the young man, but does not like what he has heard about him. However, he figures it is none of his business. He goes to talk to the rest of the family, especially Mrs. Paul, who remains interested in him. Julia doesn’t tell him anything about herself any more. [It always seems a shame that maintaining friendships between men and women is so difficult if one or the other or both have felt the pull of romance with the other.]
Sat. Dec. 8 ? 1917 San Simon

V. is hoping that Charlie Hall will come by and take him to Rodeo, NM, as he wants to go to Apache. [Rodeo is on the way to Apache.] He had hoped never to go back to Apache, but apparently he needed to make one last trip. He also needs to go to Bernardino [a little town between Apache and Douglas] for something.

Contrary to D. he has not been busy, and it seems that nothing is happening in San Simon. He is restless to start something new.

He sends his best wishes to Marie, who has evidently decided to get married. He also sends regards to “the fat boy” (Gayius) [Marie's brother?] whom he has not heard from in a long time, but after writing this he recalls that D. doesn’t like Gayius.

The letter of Nov. 28 that was mailed from Rodeo, was mailed by Mrs. Hall who went there because Mr. Hall was there shipping cattle on a train. The letter from Paradise (Dec 1) V. had mailed himself. Paradise is just about dead now. It had been something of a boom town, but the mines had played out and V. figures it will never come back. He was right.

[V. is feeling restless and gloomy and the sight of an incipient ghost town seems to have fit his mood.]

V. is anxious for the next round of the draft to be over, so he can find out whether he will be called for any class of service. He will have to go to Tombstone for it, and he wants it behind him.
Sat. night Dec. 22, 1917 pm Dec. 25 San Simon

“My own little Queen,

“Well Sweetheart, I have done the deed, but as to whether it is done to your liking, I cannot say. However, I did the best that I could, and you must accept it in good faith. Next year you are going to have to select your own present, tho! Still Dear it is not the present which I am anxious to be appreciated but the love that goes with it. The reason I selected The Light of Western Stars is because it is laid in this country, and you will be surprised to hear it mention Rodeo, Apache and Chiricahua…

[read it for free -]

[Verne didn't yet know something about D. that I remember about my grandmother. She didn't believe in people picking their own presents. She thought you should go through the process of finding something they would like. As to Verne' gift, I remember when I used to stay with them when I was kid that there was a framed print on the wall of the bedroom that had been my dad's and Howard's, of a Western scene at night, probably a Remington. I had no idea at the time of its significance, but I remember the feel that it gave to the room when you went to bed.]

“I intended to take time to write a long letter tonight but Gwen came in and wanted to wash my hair, and, of course, I was tempted. Washing my hair is quite a favor and I like to get someone else to do it. When Gwen is in the notion I always take advantage, because I am always willing to let someone muss up my mane, as Mrs. Potter termed it.

“Ruby Reagan came home today, and Jeff and I brought her out. Ruby is a girl just about your size, but while am exceptionally fond of small girls, I don’t think that there is any danger of your being afraid I will become too friendly for I haven’t known her over 16 or 20 years, and as yet I have not lost my heart over her. But that is not what I going to tell. She had a half a dozen girl friends on the train, and it seems that every one of them knew of me through Carl for you see he met them while he was in Duncan (AZ) last fall. Carl has more nerve than he needs for I can’t see how he meets all the girls that he does. He met all these in a restaurant while in town for one day…”

V. expects to be blue on Xmas, being so far from D., and he had hoped to be gone before Xmas, but now sees no prospect of that. He is waiting on some mail, and has a few things to do.

“I would go back to Dallas, as it has the only school of telegraphy near here, but you probably know the reason why I do not. My extinguished friend L.C. Robinson owns it, and of course a scholarship there would terminate in a hospital bill for one of us and a criminal charge against the other. I have already paid for a life scholarship there, but of naturally I can’t safely try to use it. If it had not been for that, I could have spent Christmas with my little girl and would have undoubtedly done so. It is peculiar, isn’t it, that the only real enemy I have in the world should be the cause of my not going to Dallas. When I enrolled in the school I did not even know him and as a matter of fact never met him until 2 yrs later. Then he immediately began to play his part as the villian. Quite interesting, isn’t it?

“Sweetheart, there isn’t a thing of interest to tell you, for nothing interesting ever happens here [how wrong you are Verne], but I can tell you that I do love you and too me you are the sweetest, prettiest and most lovable little girl in the world.

“I am wondering again if I am going to be called in the next draft for I see they are drafting me for civilian service, and it may be that I’ll get in it. Mr. Reagan, who has a brother and nephew who are officers in the army, said that more than likely I will be taken in some work, but he said not in the next draft.

“Carl is 21 today, so I suppose he will get to go soon. [There is still no evidence in the letters of Carl having gotten married - did he hide it?] That reminds me Sweetheart, I’ll be 24 years old in 2 more days. I am beginning to feel like an old man already. I’ll soon be gray-headed. Twenty-four is awfully old to be unsettled as I am. However I trust it will not be long until I will be.

“Well, Sweetheart, I must close as it is late and I must get some sleep…

Xmas day, Tues, pm not readable

V. is sad that he can’t be with D. on Xmas, but says Xmas eve, his birthday, was the most pleasant day he had had in a year.

“Sun. night John and Julia Paul [John is Julia's brother, I think] came over and John and I hitched Big Horse up and gave her the first ride to a buggy. Later we took her over to Paul’s place where I spent the night and next morning John left me and came over to see Gwen. I was to follow later, but Julia insisted that I wait until dinner and I did. [Xmas season tends to thaw things and make everyone friendly.]

“She and her mother made me a birthday cake which was fine, but I know it put them to a lot of trouble. However, we had a nice time later in the afternoon. Of course, John could not go home until I took his horse back to him, so at 6 o’clock when I finally did get in, he was waiting patiently but suggested that we have a dance, so he took the buggy and went after some couples, while I took the cart and went after his sister Eva who is a friend of Gwen’s. Julia and Mr. Kealing (?) [the fiance?] came over so we had quite a crowd on a very short notice. Gwen had cooked 2 big cakes so we enjoyed life, altho’ I had eaten so much that it made me sick even to see anyone eat cake. But we had a fine time.

“But little Sweetheart I was not happy by any means for I had a thousand times rather been able to sit and talk to my little girl than to have had a week of birthdays. There was not one time I was not thinking of her and thinking how nice it would have been if I could have had her here.

[You have to be careful with these girl creatures - you don't want them to think that you are very happy without them, even if it was only for a little while.]

[V. goes on with the mush for another page, and, no Cyndi, I am not going to type it in, but I will note that he had to hurry the end of this letter because the postman was there to pick up the mail ON CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON, on one horsepower, 12 mi from the post office in San Simon. Oh, ye U.S. Postal Service, to what depths you have sunk in one short century.]
Xmas night, pm Dec. 27 San Simon

It is Xmas night and V. is lonely for D.

“We had Xmas dinner at Mrs. Reagan’s and had a right nice time, or at least a right nice dinner. [The Garrisons have known the Reagans for 20 yrs.] Ruby and Mr. Reagan are home and it seems like home again, but the whole neighborhood is broken up now as everyone is going to leave. Jeff Reagan is going to the army soon, Ruby and Mr. Reagan will be gone again, John Paul is going to Bisbee and I don’t expect to be here more than 2 or 3 days, but as yet I do not know where I am going…

[V. would never again live with his parents, but he takes no note of this in the letters. I took no note of it when I left town after graduating from high school - I guess that's just the way we are in youth.]

“This afternoon Ruby R. played several selections on the piano and you know how fond I am of piano music and as I have said “whenever I hear music it makes me lonely.” One piece she played was “My Little Grey Home in the West,” and that made me lonely, for if I remember correctly it was a year ago today that I first heard it played and you don’t have to guess where I was a year ago tonight…

“Yes, Sweetheart, I hoped last Xmas that we could spend every Xmas in the future together, but then dear I was with you and I could not realize how hard it would be if I did miss this one…

“I look back, my little Queen, on the year that has almost passed, and I can’t recall ever having spent a week which was as lonely as the whole of the year of 1917. There was but one happy day in it, and that was the first one, and even that was sad because I knew that I was leaving the sweetest little girl in the world. I am hoping tho Dear that 1918 will bring many days as happy as the Xmas in 1916, or even more happy for us both.

“Ruby R. played several classic pieces today and Sweetheart I simply can’t stand classic music any more because it always makes me lonely. I had to leave while she was still playing, altho I love good music of the right kind. Perhaps tho Sweetheart someday I can have you with me, but I would give anything if you could play. Still we can have a phonograph and still have good music even tho it won’t be half as sweet as if my little girl played it.

“Sweetheart I was speaking of happiness, but Darling you don’t know how happy I could be tonight if I could just be with you a few hours and could talk to you and could look at my little blue eyes. Perhaps Dear your eyes are sad, but to me they are joy and life. To me they are purity and strength of character, together with everything pure and admirable in womanhood…

“Well Sweetheart I must close as it is late and I must go to bed, but as I do I must say that as this year closes I hope and pray that God will make the next one a happy one for you. I trust that each day He can help you forward and upward toward which all His children, true Christians are working. Thru Him we can both find the real happiness and I hope that every day we can look back and see something gained.

“Be sweet little girl and remember a little boy in Arizona who loves you more than he can ever tell and more than you can ever realize.

“With worlds and worlds of love and millions of kisses for the sweetest little girl on earth, my own little blue eyed Queen, I am as ever,

Your Own Verne
Thurs. Dec 27, 1917 (pm Dec 28 – San Simon)

“…Sweetheart, since I am writing, I wish to say something that has worried me for a long time and especially since I have loved you and I know now that I do love you and am sure that you feel just as certain of my love. I realize Sweetheart that children are quite often, and I might say in a majority of cases are the source of a great deal of happiness to a couple, but I also realize that to me children will not bring happiness until I change.

“You know Darling that they are not brought into the world without a good deal of suffering and pain and a possible loss of health on the part of the mother and no child in the world could ever repay me for what it would cost me for the mental suffering I would have for your pain or loss of health. Again that same child will rob you of the very things I love in you. You would soon be burdened with worries and cares, and the eyes I love would be dulled of their luster. Soon wrinkles would show in their corners and the sweetest head in the world would be streaked with grey. All the sunshine and joy that children bring with them could not begin to repay me for these damages nor the loss of your girlhood.

“Perhaps Darling I will change, and I really expect to, for I can’t believe that I am the first person who ever really [loved] a girl, but still I often wonder if I would be selfish in wanting to keep you for myself, for the happiness that I know you can bring me and for the happiness that I can try to bring you…
Dec. 29, 1917 (pm Jan. 1, 1918 – San Simon)

V. is blue and wishes he could write a long letter, but he has to get to town.

“Sweetheart, I hope that the presents were interesting, but then I did not intend to send books, for when giving you a present I like to give you something you can keep and when one has read a book that is all there is to it whereas if it something useful he can keep it indefinitely as a remembrance. However, perhaps the next time I can give you something really useful. I don’t think that I could have helped by going to Lordsburg, because I don’t imagine that I could have gotten anything worth sending from there. Yes, Dear I could have gotten it in El Paso, but I had been expecting you to select a present, and as you know, having never been a girl myself, I do not know what girls want. Even as large as Dallas is, I could not think of anything there.

“Tell Porter that I don’t like the idea of his taking my little girl off while I am waiting for her letters, but then if he will promise not to do it again, I’ll let him off without more than a scolding this time. I know tho Sweetheart that you enjoyed being with him and being with Pat. However, I wish that I could have been with you for a little while at least for I am positive that I would have enjoyed your company more than either of them, even tho’ they might love you ever so much.

[The Victorian age lives on even in 1917 in that "ever so much."]

“Last night, we (the family) went over to the Reagan’s for a while and spent a right pleasant evening. Ruby, Jeff, Gwen and I played a few games of cards (Whist, poker, 500 and Pitch) and I believe we enjoyed it although no one lost anything but a few matches which we returned to the match case. Mrs. Reagan thinks poker it the one unpardonable sin, but still nearly every man in this country plays it or has played it.

“There is to be a dance tonight, but I don’t suppose that I will go, as there are other important things to be done.

“Give Pat my regards, and if I should send any more love than you care for, you might give her a little of that near the ends where it is a bit raveled. I am sending a whole lot more than you will ever know of, and I often wonder if there is any end to it except where it started.

“It has never rained here yet, and I believe that AZ is really a sun-kissed land as the state anthem says. We have not seen a cloud in four months. I never saw a better chance for dry farming, so I suppose that the farmers here will get in a little practice.

“Yes, Sweetheart I am in an awfully fine humor even tho’ I am blue, but Darling if I were with you so you could give me enough kisses to make me glad…

[Last page of letter is missing.]
pm Jan. 7, 1918 Los Angeles, CA

A brief note to let D. know that he is in L.A. Note is in an envelope from Greater Los Angeles Hotel, 227 E. 1st St, L.A.
pm Jan. 14, 1918 Los Angeles

Long letter, but it is in pencil on acidic paper which has browned badly. Will take quite a while to decipher.
Jan. 15, 1918 pm Jan. 16 L.A. return address on env. San Simon, AZ

On good paper and in pen. V. wishes he could have been with D. on New Year’s Day, but he was in Tuscon. He stopped long enough in Yuma to mail a card. [Presumably the train stopped.]

V. is not as “favorably struck” with Calif. as some people. “Los Angeles is the end of the world. There are a million men (more or less) hunting work and every year is the same.

“I am studying telegraphy and the instructor seems well pleased with my work. He said it would only be a matter of a short time until I will be ready for a position. As you asked, I may try to get on as a govt. operator as soon as I can qualify, but then you must remember that it will probably take me to France and I did not think you wanted me to go there.”

His mama has written and said that he has a sweater in San Simon (D.’s Xmas present to him) and she will send it as soon as he gets settled.

At the end of the letter he indicates he is still staying at the hotel.
*pm Jan. 23, 1918 L.A.

“… I must admit that Porter’s reason for wanting to kiss you is a peculiar one to me. Ask him how he would like me to kiss Pat and ask Pat what she would think of it. I might try it, but I am afraid that I would wake up in a hospital. That would be a case of circumstances altering cases. But Sweetheart I am saying all this in fun for you are old enough to take care of yourself and from what I have seen of you, you did a fair job of it before I met you, so I’ll not try to take over the job now for fear I might not do it as well as you. Then again there might be a few difficulties in handling such a delicate matter by correspondence, so you go on and do the best you can.

“No Sweetheart, I do not think that there is any harm in cards but between you and I, I will say something. Poker is the only real temptation that I have and the way to keep out of a game is to stay away. I can’t see a game without wanting to get in it and the worst part is that I am a good poker player. You can see why I am against it. But poker is a game that is uninteresting unless there is money in it. I was raised up with the idea that to play cards was a sin so when I did start I could see no more harm in putting money on the table. I remember once that I was given a deck of cards and they were very small ones but I was anxious to keep them and altho I did not know how to play a single game, I was afraid to let mama see them for fear she would take them away and give me a whipping so I kept them in my coat. However she found them and the worst happened. Naturally when I grew up and played my first game of cards I was sure I was a criminal.

“You spoke of going to the Majestic, but unless it is a different show from the vaudeville that I have seen here I must admit that I am glad that I was not with you. Those I have seen you would hardly call a respectable show. I left the first show that I ever saw in my life and when I think that woman is the better half of mankind I wonder how they can sit in such a show and keep from blushing. I can’t myself.

“No, Sweetheart, I have not changed in my attitude towards California. I don’t like it a bit more and in fact I will be willing to leave as soon as I can. Beautiful California is not nearly so beautiful when one sees it as I have.

“No Darling, I was not surprised to hear that you were going to school, for I have been wondering when you were going to start. I knew that since you made up your mind to go that you would go sooner or later. I hope tho’ Sweetheart that you will not accept a position, and yet shorthand is something that one can forget unless he keeps it up. I suppose you know that I used to be a stenographer.

“Well little lady I must close as it is time to mail this letter…
Sat. Jan. 26, 1918 L.A.

V. is going to school – on Mon, Wed and Fri all day and at night as well and on Tues and Thurs for 7 hrs. [He doesn't say what school.] He says he hasn’t seen anything interesting in Calif because all he does is eat, sleep and go to school. [But wait until you see what comes next!]

“By accident I met Dr. Hillman, a lecturer and scientist at one of his lectures and then found that he was stopping [did he mean staying?] at this hotel, so a great part of my time is spent in talking with him when I am not busy. Thru him I have met several of the scientists here on the coast and have had a chance to see some of the experiments that they are working on in such lines as chemistry, zoology and a number of other subjects. This has alone been worth the trip to Calif., for some of the discoveries are truly wonderful.

“I suppose that Dr. Hillman is the brightest chemist and scientist on the Pacific coast if not in the U.S., altho he is not heard of much. [There was a reason for that.] Some day I will get a chance to tell you some of the things that he has told me and the things that the world has not read of yet and will not hear of for several years.

“One thing I saw was that he had made lime, or calcium oxide from pure water and then turned it into iron. [Now we know why he wasn't heard of much - he was a charlatan.] What would your chemistry teacher say if he were told this? [I have a guess. "Verne - Verne - Verne - Verne - Verne - Verne - Verne! What are you thinking?]

“I also saw him make from Neon, Xenon, Argon and Krypton, the 4 inert gases in the air, a metal as pure and as beautiful a white as the finest china and as well it has a clear bell-like ring when tapped.

“The doctor has discovered a gas called Ethola which is remarkable and is the lightest known substance. Another thing about it is that there is nothing known which will hold it. [What does he keep it in, then?] He, the doctor, is going to take me up to where they are experimenting on the extraction of radium from ores which are abundant here. I expect this to be interesting. [Thank God V. didn't have any money to invest.]

“How are you progressing in your school now? I hope you like shorthand better than I did. I imagine commercial telegraphy would be about as fascinating to me, but I may to take it up if I can’t get on in the railroad work. However, I feel sure I can get work with the railway especially if Uncle Sam takes it over…

[This is the last letter until May, 1918. Arrrrrrrgh. I want to know what happened with the charlatan chemist! Verne G. II tells me that he may have some more letters in his garage. I hope they fill in the gap.]
*June 19, 1918, (pm June 20) L.A.

“My own little Queen,

“I did not receive a letter from you today, nor did I expect one but tonight for the first time in months I was out in the moonlight and I could repress the desird to write you a letter. I have worked every night since I came here to the AP and being locked up in an office I did not realize that the nights here in the summer were as beautiful as they are. I almost made up my mind to give up the place and get one where I can be out in the open at nights. I don’t believe that people were supposed to work at night anyway. However tonight I had to go out in the city on business and it was just 9 o’clock when I caught the car back and the moonlight covered everything. There is one beautiful thing about L.A. and that is that all the streets are lined on each side with palm trees and I never realized how beautiful it was until tonight.

“I don’t suppose that it is necessary for me to tell you what i thought for I have thought the same thing for I have thought the same thing and have written to you before about it but tonight I would have given anything in my possession if I could have only had you with me and we could have walked through the streets. It reminded me of many night that we have walked in from the car and on a few occassions have spent the evening on the porch. It is just cool enough to be pleasant and reminds me of the days in AZ when the sun has been red hot all day and at night the breeze starts and the whole world changes. I wonder if there was ever such a day in Texas and as long as I was there I can never recall such a night, for the country is still hot and stuffy even after the night falls. I imagine tho’ that this is an exception with Calif. for I have never seen another day like this one.

“Some of the nights in AZ just before a thunderstorm are beautiful beyond compare, but every moonlight night there is like this one and I would like to spend one of them in Safford. I believe that I told you what a pretty little town Safford was. I imagine that it is imcomparable on nights when the moon is shining. I hope that someday we can spend a few years there (in Az) but at the same time I hope that it won’t be after we are too settled to really enjoy it.

“Well Sweetheart it was late when I started this letter and I can’t say that i have really told you anything but I can tell you that i have missed you more than you will ever suspect and you have no idea what a surprise like the one you spoke of would mean to me. If you could come out here, I would give up my job and spend a few of these nights with you but then I imagine that I would spend a few with you if it were not here and I imagine that the night would not have a great deal to do with how much I enjoyed myself. I think that I could find enough company with you even if it were in a thunderstorm and very disagreeable outside.

“Be sweet little girl aand send me every bit of your love and you may be sure that I am sending you all mine in return. If I could only see you I’m sure that I could make you realize how sweet you are to me and how much I love you. Kiss my little blue eyes for me the next time that you look in the mirror and kiss the hands that I love a thousand times every night for me. I hope that it won’t be long until I won’t have to ask you to do this and it is so arranged that I can relieve you of the trouble by doing it myself.

“With worlds and worlds of love and millions of kisses for the sweetest little girl on earth I am as ever

“Your own Verne
**Aug. 13, 1918 (typed)

My own Little Queen,

“Your letter came yesterday but as I had to write to mama last night on some stuff that she asked me to let her know as soon as possible so I did not get to answer your letter on time. I received another letter from mama today but as I did not want to delay yours any longer I wrote her a note from the house this afternoon. By the way it was the first letter I had written with a pen in a long time and I was surprised to find out that I had not forgotten how to write.

“I must say Sweetheart that I was surprised to hear that you kissed Porter, but that doesn’t mean that I disapproved of it, but that I did not expect you to do it. I don’t know how I would have felt about it if I had been there but I was not and you were the one to use your judgement anyway. I see nothing wrong in kissing him if you feel as you say you do but if I were in his place and Pat in yours I would think a minute before I kissed anyone. I could never see anything wrong in kissing except that it is not generally approved of altho’ generally practised. Someday I will tell you just what i have against kissing and I am sure when you see it from my standpoint you will have altogether a different idea about it. Now don’t think that I am condemning you or intimating that you have committed any unpardonable sin for I do not look at it like that but there is one reason that I am sure that few people realize and for that alone I am biased against kissing. [Did they know about mononucleosis back then?]

“I suppose that you are in a way sorry to see Pat get married, but at the same time I know that you are glad in another way for if you feel that it is for the best and for her happiness you are glad to see them married. As you say you can never be sure about these army men but it may be that Porter will not be called away from Dallas soon and you can see a great deal of him.

“By the way in mama’s letter she said that Carl was to be married in a few days, but I think that it was written a few days ago about the same time that I received Carl’s letter. I suppose that by this time he is married and is a fond and loving husband (if such a thing can happen.) I am not overly enthusiastic over his choice and think that it can only result in a sad end, but let us hope for the best and it may all come out in time. [Carl and Nina were married for 50 yrs.] I know that were I in his shoes I would have joined the navy a long time before he did in hope that I could have gotten out on the ocean before things got too serious. I suppose that I have a sister-in-law by this time, and incidentally the first one, but I would feel lots better if she were my aunt. I know her and she is a fine girl (I should say a woman) but I think that she robbed the cradle. Even I, at nearly 25, would want to call her “mama” and I suppose that thru respect to her I shall have to call her Mrs. Garrison when I see her as it would be a shame to use her maiden name. By the way I might as well tell you that her name is Nina. I know that if I were around her that I could get along with her well but I still do not like the idea of having her as a sister-in-law especially when I am the oldest one in the family.

[Apparently Carl got married a year later than Cyndi's records have it.]

“Well Dear as you are so anxious to see Los Angeles I will try to bring you here as soon as possible. It may be that you will like it, but in a good many ways I am not quite human and only partially civilized, but I cannot say that I am stuck on it. I expect to be away from here in a short time. I expect that it will be less than 4 weeks and except for the beaches I can’t say that I would ever care to come back. I even like the beaches at Galveston better than I like it here. I don’t believe that anyone will say that these are the better. However I have had a lot of fun there and am going back as often as I can. I only wish that you were here to go with me.

“I went to the beach last Saturday as planned and had no amount of fun and good time. Those professional swimmers decided that they would not try to swim around the pier as they said they were going to do. I think that the fact that they found the water colder than expected and the big breakers were worse than usual accounted for the fact that we all arrived home without being brought in in a coffin. I want to go there again next Sat. but I doubt if I can stand the strain as I am going to have to take Ruby Reagan out somewhere tomorrow. She is going to leave in a few days and this is the last time that I will get to see her and her mother for quite a while. Mrs. Reagan is going to Texas and I suppose the Ruby will go back to AZ where she will take up her work in the schools again…

“Darling I do not know a thing to write about except that I am so hungry that I could charter a restaurant for an hour and it is an hour until lunch…
***Aug. 16, 1918 (pm Aug. 18)

“…Now Dear, don’t think that I expect to go out on the road and take a place as a station agent in one of the best stations at the start for I do not. I said that there were such places or I was told on good authority that there are good places on the road and the dispatcher told me that he would give me as large a place as I could hold. I realized that I am going to have to start on a small salary but at the same time I expect to work up if I stay there. I suppose that my starting salary will be $100 and $125 as that is the amount that they usually pay for small places.

“Then there is another thing that one does not usually take into consideration in these railroad jobs. The average operator does not stay with a road long enought to get located and there is not one operator in 200 who will take a station agent’s place for they think that it takes too much brain work. You will find that railroad operators are the driftwood of the world. By the time that they break in at a road they ask for a pass and drift to the next place in search of excitement. There are stations on the S.P. that are begging for agents and they cannot find men to supply them.

“…No Dear, I do not think that I am very stubborn about risking my life, for if I did not feel sure of myself I would not try any long swims. Of course, I sometimes risk my life in ways that I should not, but then excitement is one of the things that makes life worthwhile. I have taken greater risks in getting on wild horses than I ever did in swimming, but the risk is what makes it interesting. There is no excitement in being caged in a safety vault…
**Aug. 26, 1918 (pm Aug. 27)

[Dorothy had been camping in Grandview and there had been a gap in her letters.]

“… Well, Darling there is a lot to tell you this time for I have been very busy since I wrote to you last time. Last Wed. one of the operators and I went down to the beach at Redondo and had about 2 hours swimming. I had never been there before and believe me I had a good time. We went into the surf and then after getting so chilled that we were blue we decided that we would go into the plunge, which is in the house. Here we spent about an hour in diving etc. Thurs I went to a show and saw a picture but like most of the pictures that I see I forget as soon as I leave the house.

“Fri. I went to the school and led the safe and sane life, but it could not last for Sat. I went to a show and then later went to Bimini Baths and had a swim. This is the sad part of it. I had been used to diving in the deep water at Redondo and about 10 min after I went in I tried a spectacular dive off the fountain into water about 4 feet deep (I had done it a thousnad times before) and landed directly on my forehead on the tile floor of the pool. Of course it did not hurt my head much but as I did not have my teeth closed it came very near knocking every one of them out. I then carried a bump on my forehead for 2 or 3 days but other than a few loose teeth I suffered few effects. However, I am convinced that having a solid ivory head has advantages.

“Last night, Sun., was the best one of all. I went out with one of the operators and was not but 7 and a half hours late to work. We went out to the beach and from there to Pasadena and then came back here for supper. When it was about time to go to work we decided that we would take a run up to Lookout Mt. and we did so. That was the prettiest drive that I have ever taken. There is an automobile road running all the way up the mountain and while I cannot say the mountains are as pretty as those in AZ, it was so little work to get there that it was really fine. We did not get in until about 12:40 tho’ and about that time the work was piled up over my head and of course I was wondering what they were going to say at the office. I walked in with announcement that I supposed that they had my time all made out, but no such luck. They told me that that they were glad that I enjoyed myself and supposed the first thing I would want to do would be to go down and get something to eat. I did.

“Today, I led the simple life, but it cannot last for I am going back to Bimini again tomorrow and the next day to the beach. There was but one reason that I was glad that you were not with us as we went up to the mountain and that was because there was another fellow in the back seat with me. There was a girl with me but I need not say that I wanted you. Then, the temptation was not there so I did not mind the other fellow.

“Well Sweetheart, now that I am thru telling you where I have been and what a good time I have been having I will say that I am glad that you enjoyed the trip that you made and I, too, wish that I could have been with you, but Dear, I expect that we will have a great many chances to go on camping trips together as you know that that is one of the things that I am fond of. I hope that we can go in the mountains at home tho’ as I do not believe that there is another place in the world that beats them in some respects. I hope too that we can see Arizona at night in the moonlight, as I am sure that you will agree with me that it is the prettiest thing you have ever seen in the way of moonlit nights. I may like Utah as well and hope that I will but I do not know at the present.

“By the way there is a chance that I will not go to Utah, as I have been offered a place here and there is a possibility of my taking it. It is with the telephone company and if it is what the operators say that it is, it is one of the best things that can be offered me. I have not looked into it yet, but the manager of the company is going to call me on the wire tomorrow and talk to me. I do not know what chance there is that I will take it and it may not be what they told me but all that I know is that it pays $3.25 a day to start with. Of course I realize that this is not much but in the future I would expect to get a much better place. I will tell you more about it as soon as I learn more about it.

“…Now Sweetheart do not think that I was criticizing you for kissing Porter for I was not. I must confess that I am jealous of every kiss that you give away, but I would not say that you were in the wrong and can appreciate the way that you feel…
**Sept 1, 1918

[brief note on a telegram slip, typed. Verne says he has been sick and that is why he hasn't written. He has left the AP and started with the Salt Lake line RR. He will "write as soon as his head clears up to where I can think."
**Sept. 3, 1918 (pm Sept. 4) In the envelope is a scrap of paper in D.'s handwriting with her correspondence list:

Miss Braswell (Aunt Emma)
Little French boy

"My Own Little Queen,

"...I have been sick with the grippe and this was the worst case that I have had since I came to Cal. I was in bed 2 days and the last 2 days that I was with the AP. I could not go a foot further so had to quit and leave them without help.

"I suppose that you are anxious to know about my getting on with the Salt Lake but it is not much to tell. I am not out on the road yet, but took the place to get a chance to work on the wires at the office. As it is I am in the dispatcher's office where all the orders originate so I thought this would be a fine time to learn the work and then go out later. I hated to leave the AP because every man in the office was a personal friend of mine and it seemed very nearly impossible that I would ever find a place where I could get in such a nice crowd and too I was getting all the practice there that I thought I would need. This job paid a good deal more tho' and as I had been working for the AP nearly 5 mo. my appetite was needing attention so I changed.

"I found out tho' that I did the best thing that I ever did in my life. I like the place so far better than the AP in every way and now there is nothing that can keep me from going out on the road as soon as there is a vacancy. I find that I was learning telegraphy of the fast kind which the best railroad operators cannot read and I cannot read theirs. They think that I am a wonder that I can listen to the wires at the AP and tell them all that is going on but I say little about theirs because its sounds so slow that I can't read it without concentrating on it and then a good deal of it gets away from me. I hope that I can get over this but I fear that it will be like learning over again. Of course I won't be very long but I might be here 2 months. I hope not.

"I am afraid Sweetheart that I am not going to have time to write you more than a note as it is late and I must go to sleep. I am working 18 hrs a day now at this new job and it takes up most of my idle time in sleeping.

[I think the long hours were a consequence of the war and the fact that the govt. was running the railroads.]

“…it may be that I cannot write as long letters as I used to for there more work to be done in this new place and I have very little time to write. Besides it is a small office and one cannot write under the same conditions that he could at the AP…’
Sept. 5, 1918 Los Angeles – typed on paper with “United States Railroad Administration” at the top.

“…I suppose that you will be interested to know what I am doing, but to tell the truth of the matter there is nothing of interest to tell about it. I wish sometimes that I could make interesting subjects of some things as others do, but I cannot. I have a job and that is all. I am here about 12 hrs a day and my work is more confining than the work at the A.P. But it is a whole lot better as I am sure now that I can get the real kind of practice on the wires. I am discouraged tho’ because it seems that I will never get so that I can read these wires. There operators may say that they are using Morse, but I doubt it. I can get the stuff at the AP but this stuff is simply “stuff” and that is all. Of course I get most of it but if they would send real stuff I could get it all without the least trouble in the world.

“I received a letter from mama and another from Gwen last night and they both seem to be in good health. Gwen is getting ready to come back to the south but it is possible that she will go to Dallas and spend the winter there with Aunt Em. Mama wants her to go to Tempe, AZ and go to school but Aunt Em wants her to go to Dallas. I don’t know what she is going to do but I think that mama is likely to have her way.

“Mama writes that one of our neighbors in San Simon and in fact man that I stayed with there when I went to San Simon, Jim Rhodes, has died with the heart failure. I was surely shocked to hear that for though he was always saying that he was a sick man he always gave the impression of a very healthy person. He was single and he was working awfully hard to get a start. He had a fine pump and it was on a good well.

“I don’t suppose that I will get to go swimming any more for I suppose that I will have to go out soon and as long as I am here I have such long hours that there is no use in trying to get out.

“Tonight we are going to have some boys out at the house but I doubt if we can find very much to keep them amused. We will get some fruit and spend the night in eating. It has been so long since I went to a show that I am afraid that I would not know how to act…
**Sept. 29, 1918 (pm Oct. 1 – Los Angeles)

“…There is quite a bit of interest in the railroad here about who is going to be the next president and it is needless to say that just about every man in the service of the roads is in favor of McAdoo for it looks like he is in favor of government ownership of the roads. I know that if it ever comes to a vote of the people the roads will never go back into the hands of private owners and it is natural that the employees of the roads would not want them too. However it looks to me as if (it) were a bit of politics that the Democrats are doing at the present for if they get the working man on their side there is no doubt that they will win. All the big unions will be strong in the favor of them.

“I don’t suppose that I am going to have to work the long hours that I have been working for it will be cheaper for the road to put on 3 men where there have been only the 2 working it. I will not get as much money but I will be glad to see it come for then I will have time to do something besides go to bed and work. I do not mean that that is all that I have done, but that is all that I have really had time to do…
**Sun. Nov. 14, 1918 L.A. [Armistice was signed on Nov. 11]

“I am late in answering your letter again, but I hope that this time you will forgive me as it is only one day late. You see I had expecting to leave Los Angeles today [to move to an outlying station?] and there were several things that I was going to do last night and today. However it was a false alarm and I am going to stay here.

“…Frank left me last night and went to the Imperial Valley. He said that he was tired of railroading and that he was going back and try farming again. He was first going to go to the army but the day before he was to entrain the movements were canceled and that left him without a job. By the way Sweetheart I have almost been thinking of going back to farming. There is a young fellow here from Texas who has been after me for a long time trying to get me to go into business with him and I would not consider going into anything here in Los Angeles because my better judgement says that this is not the place to get into business on a small scale. He now wants me to go to Az in the Salt River Valley where they are raising cotton and get a place and go into cotton farming.

“I am now in telegraphy and for that reason I hate to change. I have changed so much that I believe that it is a bad business but if things look promising next spring and if I have by that time made an operator out of myself I agreed that I would go with him. However as I have started into this work I am going to make a success of it before tackling anything else. He says that he is willing to go to northern AZ and go into the stock business, but as yet I do not care to invest any money in $90 cows when the prospects are that they will go down to $60 in a few months. I think that I will go into something with him, but I am going to wait a while before I rush into it. In the meantime he might be out of the idea and it might amount to nothing.

“Yes dear I think that it would be fine if we could have a conversation on the phone Xmas day and if I am here and nothing unforseen happens I will try it. But Sweetheart if the wire is bad and it is hard to hear you I do not think that I will try it for there would be no fun in it. You have to remember that the way that we would have to talk is about the same distance as from (t)here to New York.

“I went through town the night that the armistice was signed and you have no idea how many people could get out on the streets. It took me about 1 and half hours to get through to where I lived and there were people in the middle of the streets and everywhere else. I never in my life saw so many. Every auto had wash tubs, frying pans, kettles, tin cans tied by ropes dragging after it and every means of making noise that American ingenuity could think of was being used. I suppose that Dallas was the same but I do not hardly think that quite as bad.

“I received a letter from mama today and it seems that the flu has been striking that part of the country hard. There have been 3 deaths in the country and one of Carl’s friends who used to be there died of it a short time past.

“Darling I am in one of those humors where there is nothing to tell and I suppose that my letter shows it. I can tell my little girl that i love her and that is about all…
***Fri. Dec. 27, 1918 (pm 28th – L.A.)

“My own Little Queen:

“I received your letter that you wrote and expected me to receive on Xmas day, when I went to the office this afternoon. I was rather late in going after it but I am suffering from rather severe headaches and could not run around as I would have liked to. I think however that I will return to work in the morning as I reported to them that I would be there.

“Dear I was surely surprised to get the telegram from you, and when I did get it, it was only after an hour’s phoning around. It happened to come on the first night that I was away from home and the only thing that I knew about it was that they phoned and told me that there was a telegram at the Western Union for me. I tried to get ahold of it for an hour and then at nine I finally succeeded in getting it by wire. You said to wire you that day my condition so I did altho’ I felt sure that they would have to get you out of bed to deliver it. I would have sent you a night letter, but since the govt. took over the telegraphy systems they mail the night letters to your address and it might have taken 2 days with the mails congested.

“I see in your letter that you at least had an idea that I might be sick even though you had not gotten any letter from me for you said that you hoped that I had not been sick. However, Dear, it took me so suddenly that I did not have a chance to tell anyone that I was sick. I went to work in the morning and at 10 o’clock I had a high fever. I went home and went to bed and stayed there for the first day without any attention and then in the morning I called for a doctor (8 o’clock) but it was 6:30 pm before he got there and he immediately announced that it was a case of flu. He said I would have to do one of two things, get a nurse or go to the county hospital and he did not like to do the latter.

“Luckily I had been going with a girl last summer and her mother was a trained nurse and she lived in the Jean Hotel [the hotel where Verne was living] but was on a case. I been in to see her several times and she seemed fond of me so I left word that if she came in I wanted to see her. Luck was with me again and she came in that night and were she and as soon as she found out that I was sick she gave up the other case and took mine. I know now that it was a good thing for if I had not had a good nurse I would not have been here now to tell the tale for the fever began rising after the second day and finally after the sixth day it was 106.5. I thought then that I was through with the cruel world but did not get excited and the next day it broke as suddenly as it came leaving me with a normal temperature at 2 am Monday and after that it never raised a fraction. However it did get down to 96.5 for a day.

“I was sure lucky to get a nurse for I knew of people all over the city who were trying to get nurses but they were not to be had at any price and trained nurses were worth $10 a day. Several of the officials at the office who had sickness in their families were not able to get nurses at any price.

“Dear I know that you will think that I should have written you more since I got out of quarantine but it gives me fearful headaches to either use the mill or the pen and I have not written but 3 letters since getting up and 2 of those were to you and the other was to mother. I am writing this at the school at night and I hope that it will not affect me as it did the other time but it is just hoping and I know that my little girl will be waiting to hear from me as I did not get to write her very much of a Xmas letter. I am going to try to write one to mother when this is finished but do not know whether I am going to be able to do it.

“Yes, Dear I too hope that the next Xmas and my birthday can be spent together and at the present it looks like it is quite possible for today the chief asked me if I wanted to go out on the road to Moapa and I said yes. He said he would think it over for there is a vacancy there. I do not know whether I will get it as when I go back it may be that I can not copy a message. I hate to say it but I am not all here yet and a final diagnosis I fear would prove that there was no one at home. They tell me that this is the case in every hard flu case but that in about a month one recovers and feels the same. Let us hope.

“Received a Xmas card today from Ruth Virden with your letter and she wants to know if I have been down with the flu as I have not written her in over a month.

“Well, Dear, I suppose that I will have to close now before my eyes get to bothering me too badly…
*Dec. 29, 1918 (pm Dec. 30 – L.A.)

V. discusses Xmas presents – D. had gotten him a belt and he had gotten her a desk set. They still don’t have the gift giving worked out very well.

“Well Dear there is nothing of interest to tell you except that I returned to work yesterday and made the day through although I did get very tired. Today I feel a little better, but it will be some time before I get over it entirely. They say that it takes about a month to get over it.

V. says that he had Xmas dinner with the nurse who was taking care of him and her daughter. In the morning his friend Smith had come over and taken him for an automobile ride. He had also come over later in the evening. Verne says that that was about the time that the headaches were bothering him the most, so he really just wanted a quiet day.

V. says that it has been a long time since he has really answered one of her letters, with the letter in front of him. He does remember that she has written about the need to save up for buying a house. He agrees but says that the medical bills from having the flu have disrupted his intention to save.

He has to stop the letter after a page, because his eyes are beginning to hurt, again an after-effect of the flu.


Preston G.

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

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