Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Howard & Bernadean pt 4

Sep 26, 1933 postmarked from Tulsa Okla

Dear Howard:
I hope you won’t mind my using this kind of stationery and the typewriter. I only have a few minutes and couldn’t began to write a long hand letter in that time. I’ve just come to work - this being Tuesday.

The picture is great! Really - I like it so much. think I’ll have it framed with the title “This is Howard” and carry it around with me. I like the pose, too. You all look so exactly as I think people should look. Also - am glad you said what you did about the picture I sent you. If you’d said you liked it I’d never have spoken to you again. I procrastinate so about everything I do that I knew it would be useless to wait until we’e get some taken. You don’t know how extraordinary it is that I get your letters answered so soon because I usually write to my very best friends once every two or three months. However, if it is a nice day Sunday I think Barbara and I will take some pictures early in the morning. So much for that!

Your letter came at noon Saturday just before I left for Barnsdall to spend the week end with my mother. I took the picture along and told her about you. Even my step-father made favorable comment. Sunday was Mother’s birthday and they are still events at our house. We used to always, if nothing else, dress for dinner on each other’s birthday and have a party of our own.

We are simply melting. An overcoat sounds preposterous as even now when it is threatening rain its very, very warm.

Last night was the first fall meeting of the Tulsa Business Girls Club and as I am editor of the paper I feel that I have to go to the dinners. Last year was president. Went to dancing class afterwards and then had to come back to the office and work until ten o’clock so I felt I earned my half-day this morning. When I came down at noon my boss thanked me for coming back and said next time I wanted an extra day for something just take it. Nice, isn’t it?

Your dance sounds good. Makes me wish I belonged to the Cashiers Division. Or some division. The drinking party of it sounds very natural. They have the lousiest dances in this town anyway and its just a matter of taking your choice between which brawl. It didn’t used to be that way.

Believe it or not - Tulsa is going to have a stock company here all winter. It will be the first time we’ve had legitimate shows in about six years with the exception of perhaps two or three a year.

My sorority had a dinner and swimming party at the University Club the other night and then went to the theater afterward. Had a good time, tho nothing to get excited about.
Last Sunday afternoon I went to a tea and all but about two or three of the girls there had been to Chicago and we certainly bored the others to death talking about it. Funny thing, too, none of us seemed to see much of the same things or do the same things yet we all think we had the best time. I’m positive I did.

I should think you would be very anxious to go to Florida if it is possible. . . if what you hear about it are true. I have a friend who spent about a month there one summer, though, and he says never go to Florida unless you can stay because you will hate so badly to leave it will spoil the trip. That might be a matter of opinion but he was certainly sold on the place.

Just as I was on Chicago. Not only me, though, but most of the people I know who have been there. You’ll probably fool around and be in Shanghai or some such place by the time I come up there again which shall be next summer. Barbara and I have definitely decided that unless the most unexpected happens we are leaving this place for good next summer and we both want to go to Chicago. She has lived there before and visits frequently. She will probably be up there Christmas. Sunday Mother was talking about my sister being so far away from home - in St. Louis - and her eyes became a little misty. I asked her what she was going to do when I went to Chicago and you should have heard. I can tell there will be much, much opposition. But I’ve had it before.

I certainly hope something happens to make it possible for you to come down here this winter. I should love seeing you and, as you say, getting better aquainted, but it certainly wouldn’t be a very interesting trip because this is a dull place. You can either go to a dance or a show. That’s all. Nothing to see. I don’t mean to be running Tulsa down. For a town its size it is keen. There used to be lots of money here but not so much any more with the oil business in its present condition. They have good schools and all that sort of thing. Nice place to rear a family but no place to spend all your life. And, of course, having lived here for about ten years I’m tired of it.

Odd things happen on vacations sometimes, don’t they. Something nearly always does on mine - that’s the reason I so look forward to them. But this year was the best of all. However, what I started to say was I was out to a friend of mine’s house the other night and his roommate had just come back from St. Paul And has become a Hermit You couldn’t quite appreciate that unless you knew him but he’s one of these fellows that dates about twenty five different girls and not the same one twice in a month. However, he met THE girl in St. Paul and he has not been out in over two weeks. Some quick change, huh? It doesn’t sound real to me.

I suppose the Don in the picture is the one you told me about. He certainly looks great. I should like to have met him but the one on the floor is the big attraction.

You know, I was just about to tell you that I was learning about you all the time from your letters. Little things, of course, but they often tell more about a person then definite traits. And everything I find out I like better. However, if that works both ways you certainly don’t get much of an opinion from a rambling letter like this that has absolutely no sequence and not much thought. My intentions are good, though, Howard. It seemed such a long time between your last two letters that I was afraid perhaps there weren’t going to be anymore.

My boss will be coming back from lunch shortly and he may not think he’s paying me to write personal letters. Especially when I’ve work stacked all about me.

I might explain, Howard, that I don’t type like this all the time but trying to think and type at the same time is somewhat of an ordeal for a one track mind.

Honey, I shall be looking forward to another letter and hope it will be real soon.


P.S. Do your friends mostly call you Howie? I remember Lil did and the fellow she introduced me to while waiting for you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

habits of cows

Early this morning, just before 5 a.m., I was awakened by thunder. I got up and went out on the back porch to take a look. Within 10 minutes there was hail, and a pounding, drench-you-to-the-bone, rain with resounding thunder. This rain was straight down, and splashy, the kind of rain a friend once described as "a cow pissing on a flat rock." While I stood there breathing in the fragrance of fresh rain, lightening and thunder clashed again. I noticed that the thunder here in the mountains is different than the thunder in the flatlands. There after a loud clap, thunder wanders away into the distance. Here the thunder just reverberates off the mountains, rumbling on and on. While I pondered I couldn't decide if I should be concerned about the 100 ft tree 10 ft from my house being struck by lightening. Eventually, I dismissed the tree and just enjoyed the rain. There was no wind, which was lucky for me since I don't care for it (especially next to the tree) and because I would probably be very wet. Inside, Mike the cat, was staring forlornly at me through the door. I just love my back porch. I've spent many very relaxing, peaceful moments out there and amidst the thunderous pounding storm, I still found it once again.
Now it is storming again and the house is reverberating with the rolling thunder, encouraging me to slack up on work and curl up with a good book.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Role models

I have been thinking . . .who were my role models when I was growing up? Like any good student I can rattle off the handful of names that the public school system offer to girls. Helen Keller, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Betsy Ross. But as a young girl, none of them actually inspired me. I admired what they did, but rejected them as role models. I didn't want to fly a plane (and never return), I didn't want to be a nurse and care for wounded men, I never wanted to blind blind and deaf and hoped to never be so. I wasn't interested in sewing a flag, even one that symbolized our nation. I wanted to be Daniel Boone or Captain Kirk. I can think of many men and boys that I truly wanted to be, not because I wanted to be a boy, but because they did things that I wanted to do. In the movies, I wanted to be Katherine Hepburn in the African Queen but never wanted to be a princess or to spend my life searching for the perfect man to complete me. I think part of what I wanted was wrapped up in the casual strength of men. The role models for boys always show men of action, strength and integrity. Where is the female counterpart? As an adult, and with the changing times, I see many women who I admire. I am wondering how many of these strong, confident women are actually talked about in schools. I have racked my brain.
Taking another tack, I realize that part of what I enjoy about riding a horse is, on horseback I feel like I am strong. (As long as I focus on Gambler and work with him) Yes, horses also have a casual strength. I never actually thought I was capable of accomplishing even a minimal amount of confidence on horseback. Thanks to J and to the wonderful calmness of little Gambler, I did it! In a perfect world I guess I would ride off into the sunset (on Gambler) in the wilderness (even if it was just on a holo-deck) and having tamed my portion of it I would build myself a log cabin and write about my amazing life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


While watching the news about the horrors in Japan and researching books, I came across a beautiful little gem. It is a book published in 1908 written as the diary of an American woman working as a kindergarten teacher in Hiroshima. Here is a quote "Fairy-land, real true fairy-land that we used to talk about up in the old cherry tree at grandmother's! It's all so, Mate, only more bewitching than we ever dreamed. I have been in little villages that dropped right out of a picture book. The streets are full of queer small people who run about smiling, and bowing and saying pretty things to each other. It is a land where everybody seems to be happy, and where politeness is the first commandment. . . In the afternoon, we wandered over the island, visiting the old, old temples, listening to the mysterious wailing of the wind bells, feeding the deer and crane, and drinking in the beauty of it all. I felt like a disembodied spirit, traveling back, back over the centuries, into dim forgotten ages. The dead seemed close about me, yet they brought no gloom, for I too was dead. All afternoon I had the impression of trying to keep my consciousness from drifting into oblivion through the gat of this magical dream!
How would you enjoy it all, and read its deeper meaning, which is hidden from me. But even if I can’t philosophize like a certain blessed old Mate of mine, I can feel until every nerve is a tingle with the thrill.
It is so surreal that I had to pause - so much loss. There are almost no words that seem adequate.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Veni, Vedi, Vici

I started the day before dawn. Waking up in the dark usually means rolling over and going back to sleep for me. Yesterday, instead, I got up and made a cup of coffee. I put my coat on and cup in hand I went out to watch the sun come up. The world is quiet and every movement I make seems like a whisper. I listened as the birds began their twitters and trills. There are mountains to the East, so at first I was staring at black masses with blacker shadows. Slowly, the sky above the mountains began to lighten and the trees became grey streaks with white highlights of snow. In the distance I heard a dog bark and mentally named him Rooster. I felt as if I owned the world, being the only human inhabitant. There I could stand, and be me, no one to criticize, no one to consider but myself. What would I do with this day? As the sky began to glow pink I offered up all hidden darkness inside. Dragged shivering and exposed, those old fears and hurts evaporated and shrank. I smiled at my own melodramatic scenario but the truth is, it was a new morning and I had started it by taking charge of me. I could smell the wood smoke as someone stoked the morning fire. The cold was invigorating, the coffee was heavenly and the cigarette was divine.