Mailboxes and Old Barns: Letters to Rosebud, January, 1926

wheat, folk drawingToday’s MBOB is the transcription of the letters my Dad wrote to Mom during January of 1926, three months before their wedding.

These four were written in English, and there is a fifth  January letter, written in Danish,  which has not been translated.

He was already settled into farming on the old homestead one mile north of the eventual site of our family home, and she was working as a mother’s helper in a town about 45 miles away, quite a distance to drive in the 1924 Model T.

letters 9

Neither of them attended school beyond the 8th grade one-room school houses that dotted the prairie.  Both of them spoke and wrote Danish and English.

Their wedding photo is included below.

letters 6

Jan 3, 1926

Dear Love:

Now look what that new pen did. (there’s a splotch of ink on the original letter…) I guess it’s just a spell and it looks to be recovered already.

I have so much time on my hands tonight, that I want to have a little visit with you.

Next Sunday I’m going to see you in person unless the roads happen to block. In that case I will phone you at 2 P.M. Saturday. I was in town yesterday. Got a box of apples and other articles to consume. Also got some dandy calendars. I’m letters 10leaving them right in the envelopes, so you can hang them up when you move in.

I am certainly glad and thankful that you are coming soon. I wouldn’t stand this batching and loneliness much longer.

Walter came down last night, and hauled me along home for supper.

Helped him cut up a quarter beef, so I got just the steak I liked for supper.

Am planning on taking a load of wheat in tomorrow. The roads are not very good just now but they may not get much better, and I should have all the wheat in by Jan 25th. There is too much snow for wagon to run easy and not enough for the sled. I always did manage someway, and I guess I will do so again.

Had a card from your father last Saturday. It came together with your letter.   I know how cases stand. I know we are heels over head in love. At least we show the usual symptoms.

I am just trying to clean up the last of my Christmas nuts tonight. Hope I succeed.

Have been rather busy in your woodpile the last few days, and it is growing. I guess everybody knows who I am chopping wood for.

Yes, dear Edith; we can begin with Jesus. Remember to pray for our future, then there won’t be any tragedy in our case. He is our best friend always.

Love from your

Immanuel

Will be down for church next Sun if I can get up early enough.

 letters 6

Jan 13—1926

Dearest Rosebud:

I have just come from Y.P.M. at Walter and Nina, but as this is Wednesday I must let you hear from me.

We got home at 6:30 and everything was in fine shape. I unwrapped all the stuff and put it in the front bedroom. We are letters 1certainly going to have a nice home when the rest comes, and we get painted and papered and everything set in place.

I guess you will be the last to move in. That means I hope to have everything in place before our wedding day. We surely have a lot to be thankful for. We have one another, which is the most important, but then we can also enjoy the other pretty things.

Today I had washday all around. Also scrubbed floors, so I am as ready for visitors as a bach can be. That new wall paper catalog didn’t show up yet. I hope it comes before the 24th. That is the day I am coming south again, if it don’t snow; which it won’t when I go visiting. I don’t mind the windy weather we are having as long as it is pushing the snow off. Now there isn’t much left out here.

That dresser top is 18 X 40 inches, so you won’t need to go down to Dies (?) if you haven’t been there yet. I’m just as satisfied as I can be about everything now. I was a little worried about spring, before we made that change, but now all my troubles are ended. I want you to be glad also that it will be sooner.

Just think, in three short months we will be together all the scan0008time, to share our joys as well as sorrows, and both we can share with our Father in heaven. I’ll be busy nearly every day till spring, and am glad of it. That makes the time go quicker. I guess you won’t be idle either.

Work and pray together and life will be “lyst og lykkeligt” was what your father told me. When I come down again, I’ll rob the bank for you, so you can spread out a little. It’s only 1 o’clock yet and I have a chapter left in a book, so I’ll get done yet.

Love from

Your Immanuel

 letters 6

Jan 17—1926

Dearest Rosebud:

Rec’d your letter yesterday, and as there are going to be great changes I’ll write tonight. Enclosed you will find a check. Just present it at the Sidney National and get your dough.

You may be sure I’ll be there on Saturday if the roads are open which I hope. Now another thing: I want you to move with me down to the folks on Saturday so we can get a good start Sunday morning. Can you manage it? I’ll call at Parson’s some time after noon, or you can still drop me a line this week.

I can’t say I’m sorry that you are going home now. That will give you plenty time to get ready for the wedding. No pale or thin girls go around my wedding you know. Hope you gain about 10 pounds.

Today I was up to Fred Frylings for dinner. Of course they wanted to know when the big bang was coming off. I told them; sometime before the next presidential election. That’s in Nov. 1928. They seemed to doubt it all, and looked very wise. However, they didn’t make any cracks about a truck.I wonder where we were when Rev. Nielsen saw us.We saw Mrs. N. but that was before we had anything loaded.

I sold a batch of wheat the other day for $1.60 (per bushel).

letters 5I got that new wall paper book, but it is worse than the old one. I’ll bring it anyway. I’m writing to the folks tonight so they will know what to expect. Hope everything will be nice for another week. Don’t you think we are having a most wonderful winter?

I suppose you are staying at Parson’s until the end of the week, otherwise you will surely get this letter anyway.

Am rather short of news just now. Hauling wheat pretty steady. Have 2 more loads to haul to make up the 500 (bushels) I sold. Then I may not haul more till next week. If you have anything to special to write about you might try to get it in Wednesday’s mail, so I can get it on Thursday even if I don’t go to town. See you Saturday P.M. or telephone to 8.1.

Goodnite Dearie.

From your true love,

Immanuel

letters 6

Jan 31—1926

Dear Love:

Well here is the last evening in January. I rec’d your letter yesterday and of course was glad to get it.

Friday I was in after the Buffet & table, also ordered your sewing machine, and a bunch of dishes. Say, we are going to have a swell place, but I suppose we will be almost broke when its all over; still, I’m still within my original figures, so it’s not so bad.

I got the buffet set up, and do you know it is very nice. Even has a small ledge over the mirror which I wasn’t looking for. I don’t expect to set the table up until the room is papered, as it will not pass thru an ordinary door.

I had my dinner up at Willie’s today, but came home rather early to warm up the house. Next Sunday I hope to be up to see you if it don’t snow, but all the roads are broken again. I know for sure that I can make Coalridge if the weather stays decentletters 4, and then I can walk the rest of the way if necessary. However I won’t come until Sunday morning. Do you realize that we have never missed a visiting Sunday yet? I don’t think we will miss next Sunday either, but it all depends.

I told you last time that my back was better. Well it was but not much. I have done a tap of real work yet but tomorrow I begin. It is really very near well by now. I’ll rub a lot of liniment on tonight and will be as limber as a snake in the morning. That long sack is standing right here behind me yet, and every so often I give it a piece of my mind, but that don’t seem to have helped my back any; no, I guess liniment is better.

Willie drove in with the truck to get that furniture, so I got another ride, and saved lifting.

I may be able to mail this letter tomorrow, as I am going up to help Willie fan grain, so you can get it Wed. and let me know all about the roads in your country. If the mailman up there comes in his car yet, then I can follow his trail from Coalridge to the church. However I won’t worry more about this now. Time will tell, and we will soon be together for keeps, but it certainly would be a real calamity to miss one single visit, wouldn’t it?

Hope you are enjoying good health as your lover am.

There are so many things I would like to talk about, but they will have to wait until I see you.

Love from your happy

(future) Hubby

letters 6

letters 3Many of you  could pull out letters and share memories identical in many ways to these.  Please free to transcribe into the comments section some of  the precious writings from your family members that are perhaps in some nearby drawer.

Of course the folks in those days had hard times and shed tears, just like we do….I heard this song today as I was finishing this MBOB up, so here ’tis.

kittywedding

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12 Responses to Mailboxes and Old Barns: Letters to Rosebud, January, 1926

  1. ridgerunner says:

    Thanks for sharing these letters from a time when this country was a healthy, sane place. One of the things I am most grateful for is my Dad’s recollections of farm life in Alabama in the first two decades of the last century: cleaing “new ground” and logging with mules, rounding up free range livestock, eight hours of plowing broken midday with a lunch of left-over tomato pie, courting in a buggy. He left the farm at age 21, as was the custom to serve one’s parents until that age, and got a city job. I asked him once what it felt like to go to Birmingham and work a regular job. He answered with an atypical fervor: “It was like being enslaved, like the difference between having been free and becoming a slave.”

    Like

    • skeptiktank says:

      Hi Ridgerunner. I have to admit, I had never before heard of “Tomato Pie.” My father was born in rural Mississippi in 1910. He had a favorite saying for my brother and I, when we whined about how hard our lives were. He would say “You boys need to watch the sun come up over a mule’s ass a few times.” That saying of his, plust the fact that the first song I remember hearing on a jukebox was Frankie Laine’s “Mule Train”, has led to a lifetime fascination with all things about mules. Your mention of logging with mules set me to typing. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Bijou says:

    This is a wonderful MBOB, Sharon!
    Your Dad wrote beautifully. It’s easy to see that he had the ‘stuff’ it took to build his farm and raise a fine family.
    And the wedding picture is stunning. What a fine-looking couple. Your Mother’s eyes! Wow!
    Thanks for sharing these memories.

    Like

  3. Knuckledraggingwino says:

    The language usage has already changed, but the literacy of someone who presumably had only an eigth grade education is impressive. Paper and postage were not cheap backnthen, so people tooknthe time to write something worth while. This is quite a contrast to the result from my banging something out on my IPAD.

    The diligence and enthusiasm with which this batchelor was preparing a home for his new bride is also a contrast to the indifference of many men today. I suspect that he was hoping that she would gain ten pounds so that she would be more fertile..

    It interested me to read the comment about getting $1.60 per bushel for wheat. In modern times wheat prices oscilate but have been this low from time to time. Think of the buying power for th farmer. At this price 400 bushels would buy a new model T. You would need to sell about 5,000 bushels at $6-$8 to buy a car at today’s prices.

    It always fascinates me to read about the transition time between animal power and mechanical power. People had a greater appreciation for the new advantages but were still able to fall back on the old ways.

    Like

  4. Cyrano says:

    Thanks for sharing these letters and pictures, Sharon. In a time when most of us want to lose weight, it is nice to read about a time when a man wanted “No pale or thin girls” at his wedding.

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  5. ottawa925 says:

    The letters were wonderful, Sharon. Thank you for posting them. Brought back memories of my own family.

    Like

  6. woohoowee says:

    How lovely :-). A glimpse into a young couple getting ready to start their life together. What a nice looking couple they were. Raised a fine daughter, too :-)

    Like

  7. 22tula says:

    Wonderful letters from your parents Sharon. Eight grade back than is probably equivalent to a college degree today. Love your Parents wedding photo. Your Mother is Beautiful and the bridal veil is perfect.

    Like

    • Sharon says:

      I still have her dress…it’s such a little thing. It was just a straight 2-layer chemise style that went to about mid-calf. That was a pretty veil, wasn’t it? I think that disappeared early on or perhaps was even shared amongst all the 11 sisters, 9 of whom did marry….

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      • 22tula says:

        Yes, I do love the veil. Well I am glad that you still have your Mother’s dress. Mid-calf. I think they call that, “Tea Length.” In fact your photo, reminded me of my friend Mary’s wedding dress. She wore a “tea length,” dress too. It was simple and beautiful.

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  8. Bette says:

    Sharon,
    The letters you shared were so profoundly endearing. Truly a glimpse into a very special man’s character and the budding love he was so anxious to honor through Christ and marriage. What a wonderful foundation to build upon for your wife and family. I hope you realize how greatly blessed you were to have had such a family that was rich in love and Christian faith. The beautiful memories and the strong values they passed onto you are a priceless legacy. Not everyone has been blessed with memories like these to share. God bless you for sharing yours.

    Like

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