Verne’s letters to Dorothy around Xmas 1917

Posted by Preston G. on August 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm
Aug 292011

**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
Sat. 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.]

Preston G.

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

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