Grandmother Berg was born Augusta Wilhelmina Katharina Jox on August 10, 1859 in Kirchayn, Wisconsin. Her father was a Lutheran minister. The family moved to Logansport, Indiana in 1865. That's where she grew up and met her husband Frederck Berg who also became a Lutheran minister. After a few early moves, Augusta and Fred moved to Beardstown, Illinois. Beardstown was called home by the children.
Augusta loved Beardstown, but in 1911 Fred resigned the pastorate and accepted a call to become president of a Lutheran college in Greensboro, North Carolina. The college specialized in training young black men to be pastors. This did not go over well in the very Southern atmosphere of North Carolina. The family was ostracized, and Augusta was very unhappy. When Fred lost the presidency, they lost their place to live. He took a job as a professor in the college, but had no living quarters. Augusta moved to Tampa, Florida to be with several of her children who had moved there earlier.
It was during her residence in Tampa that she wrote many letters to her son Albert pouring out her love, and her anxieties. Albert treasured those letters and kept every one. The following excerpts capture the time and circumstances of Augusta's life in Florida in the 1920s.
Augusta Berg Family - 1911 Albert
Sep 1920 - To Albert in Asheville, NC - "Last Sunday night I saw a queer sight. I had just retired when suddenly the sleeping porch was all lit up. Looking out I saw a fiery ball about the size of a child's head with a long fiery snake attached to it moving westward in the sky. Walter saw the light on the porch too, but he thought it was lightning. It may have been a meteor, but I did not see it fall. I saw it move westward. I don't think the whole excitement lasted longer than half a minute."
Sep 1920 - "I have a very easy life here in Florida. This place is so easy to take care of. I never have to exert myself, since washing and ironing is done. And my kitchen isn't hot at all, I can bake and hardly feel there is a fire in the oven. Never did I dream I'd ever have a stove like that. It's certainly a treasure. Do you remember how hot our kitchen in Beardstown used to be when the oven was going? And just think __ our gas bill last month was only one dollar ... and all you have to do when you want hot water is turn on the faucet."
4 Sep 1920 - "It is still very hot here. Suppose Asheville is getting cool already. Our house seems quite empty after the crowd we had last week. Martin went away this morning and Papa left to go to Asheville. But I'll soon have plenty to occupy my mind. In a few weeks we'll have to move again. The rent has been raised to $70 for the next year. I like this place, but it's not worth $70."
17 Sep 1921 - "Darling, what can I do for you to help you out of that trance. It's not your true self. I'll not sleep unless you and your poor sister are reconciled and the same good pals as before. You must never forsake your sister ..."
10 Oct 1921 - "... just received your letter ... is that going to mean new trouble to you? What would it mean if you would lock up the place? Would you lose furniture and all? Our new place is real attractive, porches all around it. We moved Tuesday ... I never see the boys from early morning to late at night, so you may have to wait till they get time ... It is so pleasant to sit on the porches at night ... there is plenty of porch, even if Lenchen and her shrimp occupy one to themselves. O, if I could only release Lenchen of her nightmare. How can she love a shrimp like that!"
15 Oct 1921 - "... O, if I think back of my life full of disappointments, grief and sorrow from all corners ... Walter always leaves here to get to work by 7 and its most always after 7, nearly 8, when he gets home ... and Martin surely gets a taste of work now too! He leaves here before 8 and gets home close to midnight. Saturday night it was 2 o'clock ... he didn't even come home for lunch ... just lives on sandwiches all day long ... no shenanigans with him any more ... Do you remember how Theo, when he worked for Armour, had to work many nights till midnight ... and Lenchen, well she never finds time for anything any more, but what she wills herself. She found plenty of time to carry a dozen plates to the Woman's Club, but she can't to save her soul find time to bring them home."
22 Oct 1921 - "Now about that dress ... I wish you wouldn't spend so much for me ... I really don't need them ... all the same I thank you very, very much. So tomorrow you'll be the organist ... suppose you'll have to do some practicing up. Had a letter from Lyddi ... she is well and seems to like it there (Cuba) ... well, it looks like we must move again. This place was sold a few days ago ... We are surely up against it now ... Poor Walter, he just worries something awful ... if only we had a little money, he could build. Walter was so discouraged the other day. He is not well, has a terrible cold, gets such awful pain in his eyes sometimes, that he has to dope himself with aspirin all the time. He gets no rest, even on Sunday any more ... Yes, and Martin too, thinks he'll be laid off next week. They told him it was very uncertain whether they could keep him on or not ... Martin never comes home before midnight ... trouble, trouble, trouble ... but the Lord will see us out ..."
30 Oct 1921 - "... that was some storm ... I never want to see a worse one. At times I thought the house would go ... it rocked back and forth. The storm howled and screeched as if Satan took his imps out ... Grand Central and Beach Place were under water ... the shipyards were all under water, and many homes ruined, one house was torn away, and not a piece of clothing left ... I don't think there was a roof in Tampa that withstood this rain. Our place leaked too, but it could have been worse ... Walter says that all the oranges on his lot in Seminole are on the ground. I didn't expect anything else ... Martin is working yet, but he don't know how much longer ... there are only two now, the head man and he ... had to work all day today (Sunday) ... won't get to see Bunny today ... once in a while he grumbles, but otherwise takes it pretty calm ..."
14 Nov 1921 - "... and how is the outlook at the sanatarium? How many patients have you? Nothing good to report? I'm almost afraid to ask ... well, we have to move sure enough. Walter got our walking papers. We are to vacate this place by the first of December ... now all the worry and expense over again. O, how grand it would be if we wouldn't have to move any more. I am looking forward to that so anxiously. No one has the least idea where we are going ... haven't heard a word from Lyddi for weeks. Don't know what to make of it ... Lenchen got your letter."
20 Nov 1921 - "Walter asked me to write and ask you if there was a possibility for you to get that thousand for him right away. If so, he would begin to build at once. I hate to worry you, but conditions are deplorable here. Two weeks from yesterday will be moving day, and where? Walter says that if he was sure he could build, he would try to persuade the landlady to let us stay here for two more months, and he would offer her $75 .. so far he paid only $60. He thinks in two months the house would be ready to move in ..."
29 Nov 1921 - "I'm awful sorry we put you to all that trouble ... Maybe its just as good that way. The children found a place today for $60 ... our next address will be 308 E. Ross Ave. (Tampa). Lenchen says its a right nice place ... 6 rooms and a sleeping porch. I hope we can stay there until we move into our own ... Everybody advises against building at this time ... they say that everything is too high and will surely come down before long. They say things are going to take a tumble perhaps in the next 6 months ... I don't want Walter to do anything foolish ... we'll wait now and see. Perhaps by then he can get the thousand. He did manage to sell his lot for cash, but only for what he paid for it. Business is very bad here, no work ... Martin is still working, but he thinks only till Christmas ... You don't ever mention Strawberry Hill conditions. How is everything? Getting more patients? Did Dr. Stevens cause any trouble for you? No outlook at all to shake the place? Poor Boy! ... Heard from Lyddi last week, just a few lines ... says she's up and about again, but always has so much headache ... had a nice Thanksgiving ... after dinner Walter and I went to Seminole. It's just grand out there. Papa spent Thanksgiving at Theodore's."
Dec 1921 - "... I can't do much baking, I've been working, working, working ever since we moved in ... Papa writes that he will be here next Sunday ... We all join in wishing you a Merry Christmas ..."
28 Dec 1921 - "... a thousand thanks for the gifts ... I see from Walter's letter that your place is for sale again. I do hope that you rid yourself of it very soon ... Sometimes the clouds seem awful dark over our heads ... I know one ought to look beyond the clouds, but I guess I'm just too nearsighted and weak. I would like to see you all prosperous and happy ... it's a very carnal wish and the Lord knows best ... Charlotte writes they had a big blizzard in Logansport ... she hates to think of going back ... Papa will leave for Greensboro next Sunday ... We had a Christmas cable from Lyddi. That's all ... don't know a thing about her ... I'm afraid she's sick ..."
8 Jan 1922 - "I'm waiting so anxiously about your affair. I surely hope you can sell. Yes, I heard from Lyddi. I'd send you the letter but Papa was so anxious to hear from her, I sent him the letter. Not good news ... she seems to be all in, poor child ... Ossorio had hemorrhaged all day Christmas day and is in a very weak condition ... the doctor says its only a question of time ... and the old mother too is so childish and nervous ... business conditions there are getting worse and worse. They are expecting the final crash very soon. She is putting her feelers out about some occupation in Tampa. I believe she is tired of Cuba. Please forget your grievance with her and write the poor girl a few words ... don't be hard with her ... if you can't bridge over those troubles and ease her burdens on that line, then honey, cut me out too ... forget your mama as you do her ... I get so discouraged ... my ideas of right and wrong are sneered at ... I'm told again and again that I am 50 years behind times ... Lenchen's case too is still alive ... I tried to dream it away, foolish woman that I am ..."
9 Feb 1922 - "God bless my Allie boy. O, I do hope and pray that your life now will be running a little smoother once more. Bergs weren't cut out for business anyway ... please tell me what you did with the piano ... but if it's gone, we have to make the best of it ... I haven't heard any more from Lyddi. ... just stop and think ... wouldn't you be just as ashamed of your sister if she would leave a dying husband as you would be of your mother if I would doll up to make Hartman green? Lyddi did a foolish thing when she married him, but one foolishness must not beget another, one worse than the first. Lyddi is now doing the right thing and the Lord will see her out ... you don't mean from the bottom of your heart what you say ... you are all young and don't look at things as older people do. The Lord has a purpose in all his dealing with us poor sinners ... You were lucky to get a position so quick. In a business college you never have any vacation do you? I wonder if Mrs. Ruth still lives in Raleigh."
27 Feb 1922 - "Now, I want to tell you a little from Lyddi's letter ... She still has Katie ... is raising chickens and pigeons ... and also has a little pig ... she is doing all her own work, as the niggers carried away everything they could get their hands on ... She is feeling good tho ... if only the mosquitoes wouldn't be so bad ... Walter's thinking .. he might put up a small building on the back lot, facing the other street ... for 15 or 18 hundred and it would serve us very well. Later on, if he can afford it he can put up a better building ... it wouldn't throw him in such deep debt ... some of the best trees will have to come down ... are things getting any cheaper? Lenchen is about to lose her position too ... so little doing at the shipyards now ... positions are very scarce ... much unemployment ..."
8 Mar 1922 - "No, honey ... I can't make the trip to NC now ... money is too valuable and scarce ... Martin is out of work since Christmas, and Lenchen's work at the shipyards is at an end too. She has accepted ... a position as a stenographer in a law office. ... a position that one of her friends vacated ... Martin got $20 a week at the packing house, and he worked from early in the morning until 2 or 3 at night. He got to looking mighty bad, but he would have stuck with it, but they cut him down to $18 and he quit. Salaries are dwindling down to almost nothing ... and prices seem to be still holding their own. Lenchen too will be working for much less ... conditions are deplorable all over ... everything is getting ripe for the day when the Lord will throw his thunderbolt on this Babylonian confusion of capital and labor. I hate capital for it spells selfishness in the most cases, and I hate that arrogant new ... labor too. Selfishness is ruling both. I am so glad you got a position as quick as you did. Hold on to it, even if things are unpleasant at times ..."
29 Mar 1922 - "... I wonder if every mother is condemned to suffer that anguish I have been suffering from time immemorial! And the worst of it is, it benefits nobody, neither myself nor those I worry about ... but, I can't help it ... Martin has no job yet ... he is nursing one boil after another ... Lenchen gets along alright, but she has to work pretty hard ... never comes home before 8 o'clock ... Papa writes he did not get to go to Theo's after all ... don't know why ... not a line from Lydia. Yes, today is Lenchen's birthday ... Walter comes home a little earlier now, so we eat a little after 7 ... waiting is my occupation ... but I ought to be ashamed to even mention that. I ought to be thankful they have work, and I am ..."
5 May 1922 - "... So you are in Asheville again ... well, hardly anything surprises me any more ... yes, I believe one thing would surprise me ... if Martin would get a job! ... Lenchen ... suffers terribly with rheumatism in her back ... The other day she came home at noon, almost frantic with pain ... She went to bed and I rubbed and rubbed ... finally she quieted down ... Emanuel College will close the 12th of May, then Papa is going to Theo's for a short visit first. Papa writes Theo was not so well. He had the flu and I suppose that still clings to him ... Nothing from Lyddi ... O, I love Florida ... yes, honey ... we would very much appreciate the vacuum cleaner ..."
2 Jun 1922 - "Just a line to let you know ... how much I appreciated your willingness to give us a little lift ... I feel a little ashamed to bother you now when you have your own debts to pay ... well, thank you very much ... I hope Walter will soon be able to pay you back ... Papa too will help some, but can't before July ... I hope in the new home I will get a place where I can draw back and write at my own convenient time ... it is now midnight before I have a chance to be alone ..."
30 Jun 1922 - "... Lenchen is surely delighted with her new dress ... We all thank you so much for the vacuum cleaner too ... They haven't really started on the house ... just hauling materials now ... I think its going to be a very comfortable little place ... 5 rooms and a sleeping porch ... a closet in each bedroom, and on the sleeping porch ... built-in book cases ... built-in buffet in the dining room ... a linen closet in the bathroom ... and a nice long pantry in the kitchen ... a garage to store things at first till we find places for everything. The house will cost about $3,700 ... extra for piping it for gas and water, laying the sidewalks, etc. It's contracted to be ready to move in by August 15th ... Nobody can realize what that little bungalow means to me ... the future looks cheerful ... now if only Walter stays well ... in 4 or 5 years it will be paid off ... I look forward to the good water out there ... this city water is terrible ... we pay 10 cents per gallon for drinking water, but can't afford to cook in that ... What about the piano? It ought not arrive before the house is finished ... about 6 weeks ... use your own judgment, but don't send it too early ..."
12 Jul 1922 - "... Well, the house is making very good progress ... Tomorrow they will begin the plastering ... Walter thinks there is a real possibility the house will be ready by August 5th ... I think Walter has as good a location as there is in Seminole ... We went out to look at it Sunday ... the whole surrounding makes a good impression on you, and I'm sure that when the house is finished, it's going to be the dearest spot on the globe for me ... Lenchen had a real bad attack of backache again yesterday ... it's so fierce, it reminds me of the agony I used to go through ... She went swimming Sunday and I'm afraid she caught cold ... this afternoon she trotted off to work again, looking more dead than alive ... many people here are down with the dingus fever, a tropical fever much like yellow fever ... Walter came home feeling awful bad this evening ... probably the fever ... Martin is nursing a boil again ..."
20 Jul 1922 - "... The house is getting along just fine ... we are having a rainy season just now and that's slowing progress a bit ... Martin got a $1 a week raise and seems to be getting along fine ..."
11 Aug 1922 - "... I'm a little shakey ... just got over the dingus fever ... Papa is in bed with it now ... it just makes one awful weak ... If everything goes well we will move a week from tomorrow ... this time it is going to be a happy move ... Martin took me to the shoe store ... I got some real comfortable shoes ... he paid $8 for them. His girl was at Tallahassee to summer school ... came back last night. Martin was a changed boy while she was gone. Somehow, I don't like that girl, but he thinks ..."
Aug 1922 - "... I thank you so much for your willingness to help beautify the place ... yes, I am happy ... I think we all are ... I think this home will bring us all nearer together ... and I think it is just the thing for Walter's health ... he has something to interest him ... and he is getting some exercise ... Lenchen too likes it out here ... Papa left Friday noon for NC ... Seminole is the best spot in Tampa ... more and more people are coming here ... we have the corner lot and always have a breeze ..."
22 Aug 1922 - "... O, Allie, I can't tell you how glad I am that it's finished. I fear the strain was too much for Walter in his condition. Everybody is sick at his place, and it seems as if he shoulders most of the responsibility. And just now they are doing a rushing business and only he and the boss in the office. Of course, a few girls, but they don't amount to much ... At Martin's place there are only 3 left out of 15 that don't have the fever ... but it seems he gets along ... Thinking of my Allie boy ... my pal ... yes, you were my pal from the time you drew your first breath ... when you were a tiny wee baby ... I sat for hours at the cradle ... after my morning work was done ... Yes, I know that a mother's love, a mother's wish, goes a long way with her child ... at last all obstacles in the road will be removed and a mother's wish concerning her child will conquer, I did hear from Lyddi last week ... she keeps her trunk packed ..."
Aug 1922 - "... Papa is still here, but I think he is going this week. He has been working a good deal around the place, and I think his back is much better ... Today Walter put up the dining room curtains. Lenchen got them from Sears and Roebuck ... I can't half straighten things till Papa's duds are out of the way ... next thing, Walter wants to build a chicken house ... his own self ... What about the piano? ... I wish it could be sent ... Lenchen would enjoy it so much."
31 Aug 1922 - "... Walter looks like a candidate for the grave ... Lenchen though is doing nicely now ... Mrs. Vincent brought over a bottle of cough syrup, and made him (Walter) take it every time he coughed, and it did him good ..."
3 Sep 1922 - "... Well, honey boy, accept my best wishes for your coming birthday. God bless my darling boy ... that is my daily prayer ... even our little temporal worries and anxieties are in the hands of the Lord ... he will turn and twist everything to our best. Hasn't he dealt kindly with me? Who would have thought 8 years ago when I was worse off than the man without a country ... who could have thought of this great blessing the Lord had in store for me ... I am so happy ... sometimes I feel as if it's only a sweet dream. But it is a sure enough reality. He has brought us so far .. He will see us through ... and He will lift all those heavy stones that yet are weighing us down. I say he will lift them from us and cast them away. How and when? That's not my business ... This is such a pretty comfortable little place ... I cant see how it could be more convenient for our needs. The living room has a fireplace and built-in bookshelves ... just big enough for a family library ... and my darling kitchen! I can even have a rocking chair in it ... This is the first place since I'm in Tampa, that has sufficient light ... Papa will only be here a week yet. He still has a sore back, but I'm afraid he never would get over it here, he has too much time to think about it ... Lyddi writes that Ossorio is always spitting blood, but otherwise seems a little better again ..."
7 Sep 1922 - "... My thoughts travel back 28 years ago. I guess Lyddi remembers those times very plain yet, when (Papa) told the children to look under the cupboard ... he believed they would find a baby there ... yes, those times are past, and worry has taken the place of play and fun. But through it all we travel step after step to our real home. My, but won't we be happy when we land there ..."
10 Sep 1922 - "... how time flies. I can't realize that my helpless little babies are men and women now. God bless them all ... was thinking of you yesterday on your birthday ... No, don't think so hard of Lyddi ... I guess she suffers more than enough ... and don't you ever think that she does not love you any more ... some day everything will be straightened out again, and we will all be happy once more. I think Papa has attended to this last one too. Last year at this time I thought that I could not live through the agony that was poured over me ... but the Lord has soothed me ... and has opened Lenchen's eyes to her foolishness ... and He will set everything aright again. The time will soon come when we will all be happy again ... Martin did get the fever after all, but he is getting over it better than anyone else. Walter worked on the place this morning ... he was awful weak at first ... looked so ghostly ... saw him a few times lean against the house, but he kept on, and I believe he is feeling better already ... he needs outside exercise ... Whichever way I look at it I think this home is a Godsend ... it's going to be a blessing to us ... I think Papa will leave this week for NC .. he dreads the trip ... his back is still sore ... but I really think if he could get his thoughts off of his troubles, he would get over it quicker. Now he has absolutely nothing to do but to smoke and read and think about his back ..."
1 Oct 1922 - "... it's not grand and pretentious, but it's the darlingest home I ever saw. Now maybe other people might not think so, but to us it is ... it has such a peaceful homelike atmosphere, it seems
every nook and corner in this little place breathes peace and rest. I know you are going to like it. I only wish our Allie boy could enjoy it with us ... Walter and I put in a little strawberry patch ... about 100 plants ... he says we might eat strawberries by Christmas ... Walter is picking up fine. He has such interest in the place and I can see that he is proud of our little home ... Went to church today for the first time since we live here ... Martin took me ..."
8 Oct 1922 - "... Now listen, I'm going to send you back these last two checks. I really don't need anything personally ... I certainly appreciate your affectionate gift, but I don't need a thing right now ... please don't send me anything for a while ... some good news about Martin ... he got a raise again ... $23 a week now ... he was told that he was giving satisfaction and to stay with them and he wouldn't be sorry for it. Walter says it's a good company to work for. Martin likes it fine ... likes the work and likes the people ... he comes home very early now .. even when he goes to see Bunny ... I've got everything just about the way I want it in the house ... now, I must put my attention to the outdoors ... tomorrow I am going to plant flowers ... the strawberries are not doing so well ... that scorching sun."
15 Oct 1922 - "Walter said he sent you some pictures of the house ... well, how do you like it? We sure get many compliments on it ... I'm glad people think that way, it is so encouraging for Walter, for I think he was aggravated to the utmost with the carpenters. Now, if he hears those compliments on his little place, it makes him feel more satisfied and makes him feel real proud ... I think it'll take almost a year before the yard will do full justice to our work, but in due time it's going to be a beautiful spot ..."
22 Oct 1922 - "... Honey, why don't you write to Lyddi once? I think she would get it all right, and it would mean so much to the poor girl. I want to keep my hands out of it, for it might give the appearance as if you had unloaded your complaints to me ... I never mention the trouble to her, for fear I might make a wrong step. But ... you write to her once ... try it anyway, please, please! ... Martin thinks he can get our chickens next week ... that would be another step forward ... Martin said today, this place surely looks like home ... It seems to me as if the Lord has poured his blessing over our darling home ..."
1 Nov 1922 - "Martin got his chickens now ... 10 pullets and a rooster (Plymouth Rock) ... next Spring I am going to buy some Ancona eggs for breeding ... then we'll raise Ancona for laying and Plymouth Rock for the pot ..."
7 Nov 1922 - "... Yes, you are right ... aimless social mixing doesn't give any returns for your investment, for you invest all that's in you for the time being, and get nothing out of it. Here too, I guess people consider me too a freak, but I don't care ... Never hear a thing from Lyddi ... don't you want to write to her? I don't think your letter would be confiscated. I know it would mean so much to her. She wrote in her last letter that she was so thankful to you for all that you did for her, and she hoped that some day she could show you her appreciation. Poor child! ... not quite 7 weeks till Christmas ... will we have the piano by that time? ..."
14 Nov 1922 - "... Christmas is drawing near, and it would be so nice if it (the piano) could land here before ... O, won't it be a grand Christmas in the sunny South? Aunt Dora thinks snow and Christmas must go together ... not me! ... but Christmas and my dear ones belong together ... I can very well miss the snow ... the chickens are looking fine ... but so far none are laying yet. Eggs are 60 cents a dozen ... I think they'll begin to lay very soon ... they are singing and jabbering all day long ..."
22 Nov 1922 - "You are complaining about dirty Asheville ... well, I wish you could see how clean we live ... absolutely no dirt whatever. That sounds like a lie, but it's the truth ... I never dust ... Lenchen, of course, dusts on Sunday, but it doesn't need it bad, even then. It's the cleanest place I ever saw ... We had to do without so much so long, but it seems as if now, blessings are showered on our heads ... and it all began at the same time ... Lenchen's affair was taken off my shoulders, Martin got work, and good work, and Walter planned to build ... and I know whatever other troubles are still gnawing on me ... in due time I shall be relieved of them all ... Had a letter from Lyddi ... she is talking about a canary for me ... now I catch myself planning for 2 birds ... now isn't that absurd? If she (Lyddi) could only be with us Christmas ... Martin is a happy boy ... Mr. Jackson told him ... he had a future with him ... he thinks he is going to get another raise again very soon ..."
Nov. 28, 1922 - "... O, Allie boy, how can I ever thank you for that darling little bird ... love at first sight ..."
5 Dec 1922 - "... Birdie sings a great deal now ... some days more than others ... Last Sunday you ought to have seen Martin's face when Birdie was on the stage ... the children are just crazy about him, even Walter ... Walter seems to be feeling better now ... I don't think he regrets his somewhat daring undertaking ... he seems perfectly contented and satisfied, and in his quiet way, very happy ... Martin is raising a new crop of boils again. Something ought to be done for him ... but what does the average doctor know about anything .,.. I haven't any more faith in the average doctor than I have in the average preacher ... no piano yet! ..."
12 Dec 1922 - "... Piano arrived last Saturday ... I know it will give Lenchen a great deal of pleasure ... and maybe Martin too ... Last Sunday Martin sat himself by the piano in his noisy way, and hit those keys till I thought the house might fall over ... so I said, Martin, Martin, that gets on my nerves ... O, he said, you just don't appreciate good music. Saying that, he began to sing and hollered at the top of his voice ... then you ought to have heard Billy ..."
3 Jan 1923 - "... I miss my Allie everywhere ... it just seems as if we flew through the last week. But we were together once more and had a happy reunion ... the tree is still standing ... Papa went yesterday ... the boys are busy as ever ... Walter hardly ever comes home before midnight ... Martin the same, but he seems to stand the strain better than Walter ..." - "... Lenchen's salary (is now) $30 a week ..."
14 Jan 1923 - "... I got one (letter) from Papa too ... he has an invitation to Beardstown for the 75th Church Anniversary ... wants to know what I think about it ... now, what could I think about that ... I know what I would do, but Papa must be his own judge ... he doesn't think about things as I do ... I'm outdoors a great deal again, always planting and transplanting something ... and of course, a new plant always needs a little attention. When you come again I hope we'll have a beauty spot. I'm aiming to make this a pretty place without much expense ... Mr. Fleagle is going to get me some roses ... I hope my foliage will do honor to their creator by the time you see them again. You ought to see my nasturtiums ... they are beautiful ... Chickens are coming alright ... got 6 eggs yesterday ... only 4 that don't lay now ... Now I want to talk something over with you, but don't you ever let Lenchen know that I'm meddling in this. Well, she had herself examined by a doctor and he says ... she sits too long in the same position ... and that is all that is wrong with her back ... he said she should change jobs, but I don't think she has the least idea of doing that ... I thought you might help me think it over, but never write anything that I had a hand in it ... it almost kills me to see her suffer ... Booker is more inconsiderate than ever ... she can't (stand) him ..."
24 Jan 1923 - "... Billy is singing so sweetly ... when Lenchen plays the piano ... I am so glad we have the piano ... Lenchen plays for hours in the evening ... now I want to do my part to give this place a home like appearance ... My highest aim is to have a perfect lawn ... just now I'm picking weeds ... flowers only show off on a carpet of grass ... yesterday I got 8 eggs ... now we don't buy any more ... last night Walter said to me, 'You didn't know I became a millionaire today, did you?' I said, 'no' ... well, he said, 'I bought one million German marks for $70.' I said, 'Walter, you are going to lose your $70 ... only a miracle can save Germany' ... don't say anything about it, I wouldn't want him to know I broadcast it."
31 Jan 1923 - "... Walter fertilized the lawn again, and I am watering all day ... so the fertilizer can take effect ... I want a nice lawn and am willing to do my part towards it ... last week I pulled weeds all week ... few minutes at a time ... can't stay at it long ... too hard a job for an elephant."
8 Feb 1923 - "... we have the loveliest weather ... Every day I thank the dear Lord for bringing me to this glorious climate. I haven't had a sick day since I'm here ... and just think of the misery I went through in NC ... some day I hope that you will agree with me that Florida is the dearest spot ever ... This is fair week ... Martin is busy at their booth ... Walter went last night ... won a 8 qt. percolator, an aluminum pan, a wedding ring, and some cuff buttons ... he must have a lucky streak in him ..."
15 Feb 1923 - "... Walter is planning to get a Ford ..."
19 Feb 1923 - "... Walter sold most of his marks ... just kept a few ... he will get his Ford for $480 ..."
28 Feb 1923 - "... Martin's neck is causing him a great deal of trouble again ... he went to a doctor, but they treat it like an ordinary boil, and that's all ... they don't study the thing ... any old woman can treat a boil ... Cold weather drives every inch of pep out of me ... I never, never want to live up North again."
6 Mar 1923 - "... I'm so glad you wrote to Lyddi ..."
21 Mar 1923 - "... How could they let a woman teach a confirmation class! What does Papa think of that? ... and the members? I thought the laity of today are boasting of their independence and of being able to judge for themselves ... I am standing here religiously dizzy and sick to my stomach ... what is the Reverend doing? ..."
27 Mar 1923 - "... My nasturtiums are almost restored to their old glory ... picked oodles of them today again ... I have the prettiest marigolds you ever saw ... nine rose bushes now ... there is still a poinsettia blooming ... I'd rather work in my flowers than do anything else ... we have two hens with biddies now ... one has 11 and the other 8 ... I just can't bear to touch a chicken ... always wait for somebody to catch them for me ... I don't mind feeding them as long as I don't have to touch ..."
7 Apr 1923 - "... Billy is singing, singing, singing so sweet already early in the morning ... but just wait till I get the carpet sweeper going ..."
22 Apr 1923 - "... Martin is going to get me one of those lawn sprinklers. They throw water 5 feet in every direction ... we had an awful stink around the place today ... It was unbearable ... this being Sunday, it was Walter's lot to crawl under the house for an inspection ... he found an old dead cat under Lenchen's room ..."
2 May 1923 - "... I can't come to NC this summer for several reasons ... just have patience a little yet ... for one thing, I couldn't leave and let everything die ... secondly, there is a possibility of Martin getting married in July ... he always said September ... I consoled myself, 'there's many a slip between the cup and the lip', but July! ... that sounds alarming. Well, after all it might be the best for him ... if Bunny is the good girl they say she is ... I'm hoping Walter will find the companion he deserves ... then I can travel ... as dearly as I love this little place, I would gladly give it up if Walter would find a life's companion that is worthy of him ... I am glad you are working your way out (of debt) gradually ... and hope to see the day when you will be happily married to the sweetest girl in the world ... for my days are getting less ... soon I'll be at the end of my journey, and I would like to see all (my children) happily married before I go. Maybe I had better not grumble at Martin's daredevilishness. But I do wish Bunny was no Christian Scientist ... I haven't got no use for that religion, and I know she will try to influence him after they are married ... haven't heard a word from Lyddi for ever so long ..."
11 May 1923 - "... Papa is disgusted with the NC weatherman. I think he prefers Florida ... Florida climate beats them all ... it is never disagreeable and is almost always luffly ... Sunday, Martin and I are going to the greenhouse and get me some palms and other plants ... Seminole Heights belongs to Tampa proper now ... it might have its advantages, but also its disadvantages. We were all satisfied to 'paddle our own canoe' ... Thoughts are not bound to any expression, thoughts have a language all their own."
16 May 1923 - "... Papa will leave for Theodore's tomorrow ... he seems to be more disgusted than ever ..."
27 May 1923 - "... Time is flying with our baby ... I think the wedding is a settled fact ... if only Bunny is the good girl she is said to be ..."
4 Jun 1923 - "... just had a card from Papa ... he's on his way to Logansport. Lenchen's vacation is in sight ... she will be with you long enough to air some of her petty grievances and irritations ... there is something wrong somewhere ... in the first place, she is a too willing horse ... everybody (at work) throws their burdens on her ..."
10 Jun 1923 - "So Mrs. Durant's class was confirmed last Sunday! Lord have mercy! This is a time of woe for the church ... the preachers of today are made, not born ... and it's not only so in our church ... the so-called church is losing out ... my heart aches ... I am losing interest in the church. This is a troubled time in the church as well as in the state. Satan is moving more and more forces into the battlefields ... I am finishing up the flower beds, and with that done, I am planning the next move ... but I know not if Walter will sanction it. I would like to put two palm trees on the west side of the house, about the middle of the porch ... it seems to me they would look very impressive when they get big ... one tree I would call Albert and the other one Lyddi ... then every time I look at them, I'll think of my one time gold dust twins ... I'll first have to get Walter's consent ... he doesn't like palm trees ..."
13 Jun 1923 - "... it's a perfect picture ... so natural ... a perfect likeness of both of them ... I can see myself again in the days of long long ago, living and loving together. Grandma (Mother) was always so dear and sweet, so patient and forebearing, but Grandpa (Father) was the soul of the family. Grandpa was such a strong character ... strict with himself and others, but he always practiced first, before he preached to others. But with all his sternness, he was the most sympathetic soul you'll ever find. I feel his influence to this day. If we had such men as he was at the steering wheel today, methinks the ship of the church would run in a different direction. You couldn't have please me more (with the picture) ... poor Lyddi! I'm going to write her tomorrow. If I only had the money, I would send her the means to come home ... if I could only talk to her once ... she's always on my mind. But, how foolish for her to want to get to the Beardstown school ... I'm going to write Papa to call that nonsense off ..."
22 Jun 1923 - "... now I am going to tell you some news: Walter has a car! ... brought it home last night ... it's a Ford ... much easier to ride in. He paid $700 for it ... bought it from a fellow that only used it two weeks ... it cost $900 new ... He's a little shakey about it yet, but Walter will pick it up. Who would have thought it! The dear Lord has been so good to us ... Martin is working hard ... works every night ... is perfectly contented ... he is going to be married on July 27th ... he'll get the full benefit of his vacation ... they are going to spend their honeymoon at some nearby beach ... he already has the promise of the little house they are to live in. How I will miss that boy! If only Bunny is the girl she is bragged to be ... so you are organist again! ..."
28 Jun 1923 - "... Walter sure is proud of his car ... I am so glad he gets some pleasure ... he has another hobby now. Every Friday night he goes to a prize fight ... Papa is in Chicago now. I am looking for him about the middle of July ..."
8 Jul 1923 - "... got a card from Papa ... he was leaving Chicago for Decatur, Illinois ... says his whole vacation was one continued picnic ..."
31 Jul 1923 - "... Martin looked awful pretty ... did not blush a bit ... was real calm and white. Lenchen and I sure miss our baby. I guess they are having a glorious time at the beach now. I believe I forgot to write you last week ... when Papa is here it just seems as if everything is (topsy turvy). I can't see how in all the world I stood that nervous, uneasy life for 40 years ... a few days of it now wears me out. How I do love calm and quiet!"
16 Aug 1923 - "... those records arrived ... they carry the soul out of this carnal world for the short moment it lasts ... they seem to be sung in the old original melody ... that is my music ... it appeals to the soul ... I like classical music too, but that only appeals to the elevated mind ... the sacred music goes right to the soul ... when I'm alone again I'm going to stand before Grandma and Grandpa's picture and play those beautiful songs, and ... dream ... As long as Papa is around, one can't allow themselves a treat for soul or body ... he is so disagreeable this summer ... everything makes him mad ... I'll be glad ... well, you can finish the sentence ... I believe he would like to blame the heat on me. I think he was spoiled on his trip ... Papa can't stand (not) to be made over ... he accepts (it) as his rightful share ... Martin was here ... he says they cut out meat ... only have it on Sunday ... they eat bread and vegetables and fruit. I believe Walter was just as glad to see him as I was."
4 Sep 1923 - "... I long for the time when I am alone again. I shall write you more in a few days. I think Papa will leave this week ... We all were at Martin's for supper ... Bunny is a fine cook, and she does all her own serving ... I guess Martin could have done heaps worse ... best of all is, they are so happy! ..."
12 Sep 1923 - "... At last I find a quiet moment to write you ... I am feeling better now, these last few days. If I can only get outdoor exercise ... during the time Papa was here, I did not go out much ... it seemed to make him mad when I worked outside. He was so mad at the many plants I had ... said they were only a nuisance when it comes to mowing the grass ... I always took care of my beds and plants before he came and did not want him to do it at all ... but he would, and all the time while he was working, he was fussing to himself. This outdoor life with my plants and flowers is the first real pleasure I ever had in my long life ... besides my children. And why begrudge me that! This last year was the happiest of my life. To plant things and watch them grow is like seeing the almighty Creator at work. This little place of Walter's is my paradise ... and why begrudge me that! Well, Papa is in Greensboro now ... hope he is happy again with his books and pipe ... family life bores Papa ... he never found it interesting ... if Papa would have had his books and paper rags here, he would have been perfectly contented ... (but) he saw there never will be any room here for that ... I guess that's what made him so cross. I can't see why a person that has been in the Work the greater part of his life, must (dwell) on the same subjects year in and year out ... I am happy in spite of it all ... the good Lord makes up for what Satan takes away from you ... much better that way ... it would have been bad to have been a happy woman all my life, then in the evening of life have my children turn their backs on me ... Martin is on the road again this week (every other week). Bunny goes with him. They seem to be only happy when they are together ... hope they will always, always stay lovers ..."
18 Sep 1923 - "... So you are principal of the school now! Does that mean a better payroll for you? I hope you won't find it too hard ... congratulations ... I was out all morning in my little paradise again ... put in nasturtiums and sweet peas and narcissus and some other plants to root ... I'm having right good luck rooting plants and it's so interesting ... they will droop a little at first and for a while I live between hope and fear ... sometime they look as dead as a door nail, but all of a sudden, life will conquer ... it is such a lesson to me ... last week somebody stole our lawnmower ... Walter paid $16 for it ... I reckon it's punishment for our carelessness ... we left it out by the front porch ..."
2 Oct 1923 - "... Walter had most of his upper teeth pulled last week ... I hate it so bad ... hope he will get a good fitting plate ... Lenchen's appetite is picking up a little. She looks so well ... such a change from last year this time! ..."
20 Oct 1923 - "... Yes, Albert, you are right ... most all of Papa's troubles are in his mind only ... I don't put much stress on his complaints any more ... if he is relieved of the cause of one trouble, he'll find another. And work? Well, Papa complained just as much when he had but one sermon a week ... no matter how much he complained of work, that he could not take hours off every day for his nap ... and go to bed early in the evening too ... regardless of sickness or even death in his family ... never did Papa lose an hours sleep for all that sickness we had in our family ... Don't ever encourage him to resign ... for then what ... then may God take pity on poor me! ... Papa has never learned to forget himself ... that's the key to his misery. 'Self' is always the uppermost thought in his mind ... maybe he doesn't realize it though ... I'm sorry, but I can't bother with him anymore ... the last summer finished me ... he either was crazy, or he was wicked. I think Papa would like to go to Ridgeway, as they need a man who can handle the German ... well and good, if he can make it alone ... I don't ever want to leave Florida again ..."
25 Oct 1923 - "... Walter is under terrible expense with his teeth. I wouldn't be surprised if they'll cost him close to $200 ... Mac would be welcome Christmas with every one of us, but ... you know how congenial Mac and Papa are ... after what I went through last summer, I haven't the courage to urge it ... it would be an unpleasant Christmas for all of us, Mac included. I haven't quite regained my peace of mind yet. Wait till next year, honey ..."
2 Nov 1923 - "... I wrote Lyddi to try to be with us Christmas ... yes, I think Providence has pointed out Lyddi's way, and if it would be for nothing else as to bring her to our States again ... I think Lyddi will be able to get along with Papa as well as anybody, and I think he'll be careful how he treats her ... as far as that goes, he'll treat all of you children well now ... as for me, he never considered me anything else than a nigger anyway ... If only Papa declines the honor of being peacemaker in any family quarrel ... if Papa would have kept his hands out of the Davidsmeyer trouble, he probably could be in Beardstown yet ..."
9 Nov 1923 - "... I can't thank the Lord enough that he brought me here ... and to think of it ... how that move affected me at the time! I am most heartily ashamed of it. My heavenly physician had to give me that bitter pill, to get the wanted results for me. These last few years the dear Lord has showered upon my head and also on the heads of those I love, all his mercy ..."
16 Nov 1923 - "... Well, honey, don't think of a dog now yet ... it'll take a year or more before I am ready for him. First I want my chickens in a paying shape, and my yard fixed up so that most of my plants will be permanent, and won't need so much care ... if I have everything well established, then I'm ready for a dog, a Collie ... I haven't heard a thing yet about Lyddi's plans ... I wish she could be with us Christmas ... baked a fruitcake yesterday ... if I keep well, I'm going to bake plenty ... Martin arrived here the 7th of December four years ago ... now some little news ... Our son, as Lenchen calls him, is going in business for himself! Now that sounds fishy don't it? But it's this way ... he told Lenchen and me the truth, but says no other soul must know it, as he was cautioned to keep it secret by headquarters. Not even Walter darest he tell ... He is going to open a branch of Jackson Grain Company in St.Petersburg, supposedly in his own name. Maybe now you can put 2 and 2 together? ... if only he can make good now! By the first of December he is going there, and Bunny goes to her people till things are ready for her. Bunny is happier than ever since Martin was promoted ..."
11 Dec 1923 - "... We've heard nothing from Lydia ... but I'm still looking for her ... if only we had her over here in our States again. Everybody says Martin is a born salesman, but it takes more than a salesman to run a business successfully. But, I'm not going to worry. I want him to make good so bad. After all these years of agony I went through on account of the boys not seeming to be able to put their feet on solid ground. What a change! ... Tillie is expecting! ... she is not in too good condition ... says Theo is so good and sweet to her ... if she is down, he does all the work, cooks things for her as good as a woman ... that sure sounds good, don't it! ... let's hope and pray that the dear child will be spared for Theo ... I'm looking forward to your visit next week ..."
15 Jan 1924 - "... almost as long since you left as you spent here ... but let's hope ... I'm dreaming of being together all of the time. My, but won't that be nice! ... still, you must be in Asheville ... If you like those Pfeffernuesse so well, I'm going to make you some more ... nothing yet from Lydia ..."
24 Jan 1924 - "... I haven't heard a thing from Lyddi yet ... Lenchen and May went to St.Petersburg on the boat a week ago last Sunday ... saw Martin and Bunny ... Walter had a business trip to Orlando ..."
30 Jan 1924 - "Walter and Lenchen retired early tonight, so I thought I would write to you so that the children could take it along and get it off with the noon mail. But just as I got ready to sit down, about 9:30, I saw a car stop, and lo and behold, it was Martin and Bunny, but they could not stay long, had to get back home tonight again. He had to come (to Tampa) on business. It is now eleven, and they are on their way home. He expects to get at building very soon. I guess he finds it harder than he expected. It's going to be a man's work. Poor boy, ... is getting another boil ... and has to drive 60 miles yet tonight. But he seems happy. O, how I want him to succeed! And he will. Martin is getting fatter all the time ..."
6 Feb 1924 - "... You remember when I wrote you last week when Martin was here ... well I felt awfully worried seeing them go back at such a time of night ... I just couldn't sleep all night ... and do you know ... his car acted up for the first time and refused to go any further ... they had to pull into the woods and lodge there all night ... they say they slept alright ... and it was cold too. But they weren't any the worse off for it ... Tillie writes that Theo is getting along just splendid with his new business. I am so glad ... if only now Tillie gets over all right ... I do believe that Martin's foolishness is going to be his salvation ... down deep he is not as foolish as he pretends ... but that outward foolishness makes him everybody's pet ..."
16 Feb 1924 - "... Bunny calls Martin's belly, 'Strawberry Hill,' because he eats so much strawberry shortcake ... not a word from Lyddi yet ... You have quite a few letters here ... do you want me to destroy them. I never like to let old letters lie around!"
2 Mar 1924 - "... Yesterday we were all at Martin's in answer to an invitation for a birthday dinner for Walter ... and some dinner it was ... amongst other goodies, chicken and waffle-iron strawberry shortcake ... some good, let me tell you. Bunny is a fine cook. No wonder Martin is getting so fat. She had a devil's food cake on the table with candles. It was the first time Walter was there. I think that was so nice of them to remember him that way, and he enjoyed it ... but the weather was awful raw. As we left the house the sun was out and it wasn't cold at all, and Walter took no overcoat, which he need badly. We were outside on the boat, for Walter needs all the fresh air he can get. As we were nearing St.Petersburg it got pretty cold, but we soon warmed up at Martin's. Then we had a feast good enough for a king ... and off we went again in the car. Lenchen and I did not feel the cold so much, we had warm wraps on, but poor Walter! By the time we were leaving, he shook like a leaf ... I was awful worried ... I was afraid he was fixing for a chill again like he had some time ago ... the boat was so jammed with people, you couldn't move an inch, and Walter had to go down in the engine room to get warm. He doesn't seem to be any worse off today ... but he looks so bloodless. Tomorrow he is going to get his birthday dinner with us ... chicken, of course, but no shortcake. I'm going to have his favorite dessert, cheese and preserved figs. He eats less every day. I'm going to have roast chicken with dressing, mashed potatoes, fresh peas, cake and dessert, coffee ... How I do wish Walter would get married and be happy like Martin is. I am old, and my time is limited, and anyway I am only a poor substitute. Martin sure is happy. You ought to see him slip Bunny's apron over his big belly, and pitch in to help her. Who would ever have thought that Martin would help in the kitchen. O, yes, and he carves the chicken too ..."
12 Mar 1924 - "... Papa writes that his acceptance of the call (to Ridgeway) depends on Lyddi ... I hardly think he'll accept ... I can't understand what benefit Spanish would be to you ... I hope you are not planning to leave this country too! O, dear, No! ..."
26 Mar 1924 - "... How does it feel to be a grandma? ... human words cannot express what I feel ... to be a grandmother is great, but to know Tillie is out of her misery and spared for my boy, and the baby in spite of all is sound as any other ... that feeling can't be clothed in human words ... I guess from now on, Martin will have more than his hands full ... beginning to build today ... some responsibility for that boy ... but he will make it alright ... it will make him a strong man ... yes, he is just as foolish as ever, and he is getting fatter every day ... can't button his underwear any more ... maybe the building worry will take some of the fat off. Lenchen calls him Bunny's little fat man ... Mrs. Meinhardt writes that Tillie and the baby are doing fine ... the baby looks just like Teddy ... that little baby is going to bring out his better self ... I wish I knew just when you will leave Asheville ..."
3 Apr 1924 - "... just think what they are going to name the baby ... Patricia Beatrice ... the poor little innocent! How can one call a sweet darling baby Patricia! But don't say anything about it ... maybe they'll change it yet ... Papa will go through there on his way to Ridgeway ... maybe they'll have it christened then ... but that's supposition ... Papa writes that he is going to Ridgeway for first time since January ... I suppose the question about Ridgeway will be settled next Sunday ... only wants to accept for one year, if he does accept ... says he is aging fast. When he resigns for good, I want to be safe at home. Last summer taught me that he is incurable, a maniac ..."
14 Apr 1924 - "... I just heard from Papa yesterday ... he did not accept ..."
23 Apr 1924 - "... don't believe we can depend on Lyddi's coming too much ... I advised Papa against a hasty resignation ... I told him to think it over well before breaking off the bridge behind him ..."
2 May 1924 - "... Things are beginning to grow fine now ... I believe the flowers from New York are a pretty expensive thing. The Marshall Neil is not yet getting green ... neither is the one that they named Columbian ... the one that is green looks to me like a blackberry bush ... but the Chinese Lanterns are growing nice ... am anxious to see them bloom ... tulips are blooming now on the bed under my window ... and one of my hydrangeas is blooming, and another is budding ... yes, even a few flowers on the bougainvilleas ... you ought to see Mr. Fleagle's arch ... it's just one solid red ... he fertilizes and fertilizes ..."
13 May 1924 - "... coming back from St.Petersburg Sunday on the boat, the sunset was the grandest I ever saw. The whole sky was colored and it did not take much imagination to think yourself looking at the New Jerusalem. I will never forget that glorious sunset. When you come we'll take the boat trip again ..."
22 May 1924 - "... Well, Allie boy, I am glad to say that I, and I dare say every Christian, shares that belief with you ... that in the end ... all our disturbing problems will be smoothed out according to the wishes and longings of our better selves ... it's faith and trust in God's love and almighty power to fulfil his promises ... Mr. Meinhardt surprised us with a visit last Sunday ... he was on a business trip ... you may know we talked 'baby' ... says the baby looks just like Teddy ..."
11 Jun 1924 - "...Walter hasn't been well at all for the last few weeks ... a terrible cold and fever ... he looks like a ghost ... but always on duty ... Aunt Dora is in a very serious condition ... the doctor seems to fear a hemorrhage of the brain ... Aunt Mary keeps me informed ... Lenchen wants to bob her hair ... what do you know about that! ... don't let her know I told you ..."
20 Jun 1924 - "... Walter had the awfulest cold ... had continual fever for almost 2 weeks, and coughed as if he had TB. I am always worried when he gets the cough ... it wouldn't take much to throw him into consumption ... he ought to see a doctor ... he ought to take a vacation ... but he is only happy when he can bury himself in work ... I haven't heard from Lydia for a long time ... I wonder what Papa will do about his resignation ... he never expressed himself after I advised him to go slow ... If he could find some work here that would take him out of the house during the day, it wouldn't be so bad ... O, Albert ... Lenchen has her hair bobbed! How I dislike bobbed hair! I think she looks awful ..."
Jul 1924 - "... I read in the paper that some scientist said the sun was splitting in two! Wonder what next? ... Yes, if I were you, I would attend those lectures ... it won't do you any hurt to hear them ... and maybe it'll do you heaps of good. It's a new thought, that seems to gain more and more ground ... material things hardly affect me any more, even if they worry me a little ... I am planning on a month stay in NC in the fall ... I will spend the biggest part of the time with Theo ... I am just aching to see the baby."
Jul 1924 - "... guess what, guess what! ... just heard from Lyddi ... she says they are having such a time with the strike ... trains were just beginning to run again ... she said the strike upset all their plans ... but she still promises to come ..."
Jul 1924 - "... if I don't write you today it might be a month before I get another chance ... just want to let you know about Walter. Poor Wallie! ... but the doctor says he has a chance ... and I'm sure going to do my part to pull him out ... He must stay in bed at least 6 months, and then some more ... dare not even sit up to eat his meals ... eats lying down ... must not read much either ... very little company ... the doctor says it is a case of years standing ... and here the poor boy had to work like a horse up to the minute the doctor put him to bed ... Walter takes it very calm, like he takes everything ... he is a good patient ... never cross ... I have nursed him out of many sicknesses already, and the Lord will help me pull him out of this dread thing too ... but I have a job on my hands ..."
Aug 1924 - "... There is not much change ... I wish I could talk to you ... I could find out a good deal about that kind of patient ... for instance, the doctor doesn't even allow (Walter) to sit up for eating ... but how can one eat cereal and soup lying down ... so I prop him up with pillows ... I wonder if that is all right ... I haven't had the heart to ask the doctor for fear that he'd say 'nix,' but I don't feel easy about it either ... how did your patients eat? ... another thing is the bed making ... I can't make the bed with him in it, so I move him just a few steps away in a rocker while I make the bed ... it only takes 10 - 15 minutes ... I wonder if I am doing the right thing ... the doctor says he must not shave himself ... but I'm such a coward ... so, I get his face ready, rub the suds in ... then he runs the razor over ... I hold the glass for him, so he does not have more strain than to move the razor ... yet, it is some effort ... what to you think? ..."
1 Sep 1924 - "... O, Allie, you ought to see Walter ... he never looked so well since he was a little boy ... has real red cheeks now and is filling out so nice on his body ... Martin wears great big horn glasses now ... his eyes suddenly acted up on him ... Martin has picked the best flower ... Bunny deserves respect ... Papa's school will begin the 10th of September ... haven't heard him say when he'll leave ..."
3 Sep 1924 - "... Mr. Fleagle says he lived in Florida for the last forty years, but never saw a summer as hot as this ... Mr. O'Berry was here last evening ... he said the doctor told him Walter was his best patient ... I wish you could see Walter's full moon face ... so far, Walter has been getting his regular pay envelope every week ..."
5 Sep 1924 - "... Walter is doing fine, but he is very restless this evening ... he is that way quite often now ... but I guess that is natural ... it's not fun to be in bed so long ... once in a while I catch him setting up in bed and looking out so longingly. Poor boy! ..."
22 Sep 1924 - "Such a surprise! Who would have thought that ... the trip from Tampa to West Palm Beach takes almost as long as the trip to Asheville, but it doesn't cost as much ... I am so glad you are to be near us again ... I just wonder how you arranged the Strawberry Hill business ... Walter is getting fatter every day ... looks just like little Walter used to look ... such rosy skin ... he has not had such color in his face since he came home from Ft.Wayne ... Had a letter from Lyddi Saturday ... the first one in months ... the old lady is sick since the first of July and Ossorio had an awful sick spell again too. Poor girl! Well, the time will yet come when she too will be with us again ..."
25 Sep 1924 - "... Walter never complains, but he is getting awful restless. It is no fun for a young person to lie in bed day after day, and month after month ... he reads ... reads all the time, but that doesn't seem to fill the bill any more ..."
14 Oct 1924 - "... Walter sat up for 45 minutes today ... tomorrow, a whole hour ... I hope the biggest part is over now ... we can never thank the dear Lord enough ..."
23 Oct 1924 - "...tomorrow he is going to get his first haircut since going to bed ... his hair is awful long ... he's been down now almost 4 months ..."
30 Oct 1924 - "... good news! The doctor was here today and loosened up some more ... Walter can walk around a little now ... also he can sit up for two hours in the morning and one hour in the afternoon ... today is the first day he's been off of the sleeping porch since the first of July ... his eyes were moist with joy ..."
15 Jan 1925 - "I guess you are anxious to hear about Walter's condition ... Well, it's over ... he will soon be pretty much himself again ... O, I can't tell you how thankful I am it's all over ..."
21 Jan 1925 - "... Walter is doing fine ... goes out every day for his walk ... he is very much interested in the building that is going on in the neighborhood ... that helps to pass his time ... and he gets to see and talk to people ... the other day he went to see Dr. Farrar, the one that operated on him, and I suppose he looked around a little in town and met many old friends for the first time since his sickness ... some did not know him and all had a good time off his figure ... he isn't a bit sensitive about his size ... laughs along with the rest ... it cheered him to meet old friends ..."
1 Feb 1925 - "... getting plenty of fresh eggs now ... eggs are still 65 to 70 cents a dozen here. Guess I got about 2 1/2 dozen last week ... at 65 cents that would be about a dollar and a half ... I don't think that feed costs over a quarter a week ..."
4 Feb 1925 - "... We are expecting Aunt Mary and Aunt Dora tomorrow ..."
24 Feb 1925 - "... Walter is out in his car ... he now takes his car out every day a little ... Allie, can you imagine how I felt when for the first time that car held out at the same old place with the same old Walli again? ... words cannot describe what I felt. I just had to cry ... The mail service to West Palm Beach is almost as bad as to Cuba ..."
4 Mar 1925 - "... Walter intends to go over Gandy Bridge this afternoon. The doctor gives him a long rope now. Last week he lost a pound and a half. The doctor said he could start on his trip to NC mountains soon after Easter ... he wants to go in the car and the doctor seems to sanction it ... I don't like that, though ... it would be useless to try to talk him out of it ..."
16 Mar 1925 - "... How is the real estate business on the East Coast now? Somebody told me the northern money men were taking their money out of the Miami banks ... is that so? ... well, those madhouse doings could not last ... today is Patricia's birthday ... Are you remembering Papa's birthday? ... Lenchen is having a touch of flu. She is working, but feels awful bad ..."
27 Mar 1925 - "... The palm is looking fine ... I'm so proud of those palms. Now I have the two palms that I always was wishing for. They remind me of my 'gold dust' twins ... I'm going to give them the best of care, and someday my real 'gold dust' twins will be reunited again with me ... since I'm master of my own time again, I am going to try a few schemes on the lawn ..."
12 Apr 1925 - "...surprise ... I'm going along with Walter on his trip to NC! ... I hate to leave Lenchen alone, but she'll get some girl to stay with her ... I will be glad to see Theo again after such a long time, and Tillie, and the little darling ... you will have to change your laundry arrangements until I get back ... Walter thinks we can get to Theo's by next Saturday ... Last Thursday, Lenchen's friend was invited here for supper ... how affectionately they talk of Bunny! Yes, she certainly is worth our love and affection, too. I often ask myself where would Martin be if she would be a flapper ..."
Apr 1925 - "... Well, here we are! (in NC) ... we had a real good trip ... Theo, Tillie and the Meinhardts want us to stay here ... but I don't know what Walter wants to do. Papa will come Sunday, then we'll talk it over ... Tillie is as sweet as ever ... O, Allie, you ought to see our darling baby ... she looks like an angel ... great blue eyes ... and the sweetest little mouth! There was never a prettier baby. Theo is crazy about her ..."
10 May 1925 - "... We are still at Theo's. They insist we must stay. Walter thinks his boil is getting better. Don't know what our next move will be, but hope to let you know in my next letter. It all depends on Walter. Papa came yesterday and will stay this week ... How much longer will you stay in West Palm Beach? I am glad you found a way of doing your washing. Next year you can send it again ..."
May 1925 - "... Papa was here ... came Friday afternoon and left yesterday. Papa's face is getting littler every day. I do wish he would wear his teeth ... Baby is beginning to walk now ..."
Jul 1925 - "... Papa left for Ridgeway yesterday ... will preach there today ... Now, honey, concerning our discussion regarding Biblical doctrine ... I just want to say this ... I don't want you to change your conviction, if conviction it really is (which I refuse to accept), but I beg you to prayerfully and devoutedly study your Bible ... O, Allie, my own dear Allie, take the Bible truth of the person of Christ away (call it doctrine if you will), then the whole Bible is worse than shenanigan. Our salvation rests in the one doctrine: Jesus Christ ... true God, and true Man ... born of the virgin Mary ... O, Allie, I wish I had the gift of speech and could argue, but it isn't given to me. I put it in the hands of the best lawyer ever. He himself will argue my case with you ... I'll not worry ..."
6 Jul 1925 - "... We are having hot weather here ... just as hot as Florida ... the heat doesn't seem to be hurting Walter any ... he feels just fine ... just a year ago now when he as put to bed ... now, what a change! ... We were at Theo's yesterday and left Papa there for a little work in the garden ... it'll do him good to get a little exercise ... Baby is the dearest little angel. She walks bare footed now ... Guess Martin is in Tampa now ... had just a few words from Bunny ... she is ready to move to Frierson Ave. ... I know Lenchen will be happy to have (them) with her ..."
15 Jul 1925 - "...Teddy and Walter are working so hard now, getting ready for peach shipping ... Teddy is looking thinner every time I see him ... worries so much ... he is a pessimist ... They were out every day last week trying to secure peaches for their shipment. Walter seems to stand it very well ..."
21 Jul 1925 - "Walter intends to be on his way back on September 1st ... I think he probably has a reason for it ... Walter is having much trouble with his car ... it is very doubtful if that Lizzie can make the trip home ... He has been using his car buying up peaches. They are shipping now ... been shipping two carloads every day for the last few days ... it might last another week after this ... they'll make good ... after peaches are over they want to ship watermelons ... this might be a pointer as to Walter's future work in Florida ... but he would have to work on the east coast. But I know nothing ... just guessing ... Walter is going at it from 6 am till almost 10 at night ... had a letter from Aunt Mary today from South Hampton, England ..."
28 Jul 1925 - "... only five more weeks here! Walter is very busy ... today they shipped four cars ..."
5 Aug 1925 - "... time is getting short ... Walter wants to leave here the 27th to be there on first of September. He wants to give O'Berry a lift for a month ... then in October he intends to go to Miami to ship vegetables ... I can't say I am pleased with that O'Berry business ... I will insist that he go to Dr. Adamson first ... He seems to have plenty of pep ... peaches are all over now ... they are shipping watermelons, but there is not as much in it as peaches ... probably Theo will go to Miami later too ... I guess there is something in that shipping business. If Theo comes to Florida, Tillie and baby will come too ... Martin and Bunny are living in the house now ..."
12 Aug 1925 - "... had a letter from Lyddi for my birthday ... was so glad to hear from her ... Tillie had a big birthday spread for me ... wonder what you'll do about your trip ... I like it here with the children very much, but now I am ready to go home. We will leave August 26th ... only 2 weeks ... am anxious to see my yard again. Lenchen writes that Pee Wee keeps things looking real nice ... don't know how to thank her ... Papa went to Concord for a conference ..."
18 Aug 1925 - "... guess we'll spend the last week with the children, and leave from there ... Walter is anxious to get home ... he is perfectly well now ..."
23 Aug 1925 - "... don't you really know anything about Frieda's whereabouts? Twice I have begged you for the information, as I wanted to get a letter off to Lyddi so bad before I leave ... and I feel awful to let her wait so long. I feel really hurt ... if you don't know you could have at least told me so. Now I'm asking for the third time ... and it is only you that I would ask a favor of for the third time ... for I can't believe that you would intentionally snub me ... now this is what I beg of you: write Lyddi yourself and at once ... if you know where Frieda is ... almost two precious weeks slipped away since my first request ... and please, tell me when it is done ... Lyddi's address is:
Snr. Lydia Berg de Ossorio
Limonan, Cuba (Casa de Mercedes Ortega)
9 Sep 1925 - "... We're at home ... Walter is at O'Berry's ... was in Orlando a few days to look after the business there ... he is feeling fine. We are all well and living happy together, but a little (crowded). Baby is a 'great boy,' he is no Berg though..."
2 Oct 1925 - "... Martin tells us you are 5 miles out of West Palm Beach. Guess that must be hard on you ... wonder where this (wandering) is going to end. Martin said he had several offers for work ... he thinks he can start Monday ... and he also found an apartment. It will be ready in about 6 weeks ... upstairs ... $55 a month ... Did you know Fleagles are building an apartment house? That is where Martin is going ... the house next door is sold ..."
9 Oct 1925 - "... are you still meddling ... in real estate? Martin did not get anything certain yet ... meanwhile he is trying to sell real estate ... I haven't got much faith in that though ... wish he could get a good salaried position ... Baby is getting cuter every day ... he is such a darling ... thank you for sending the bird tonic, but I sure don't thank the one who sold it to you ... a few hours after giving it to Billy, we came almost to having a dead Billy. He would not move any more ... was lying flat on the bottom of his cage ... Martin said, 'Let me see what you fed that bird, I'm afraid he's a goner ...' He gave him some castor oil and very soon Billy began to drop real black nasty stuff. Then Martin said, 'Now he'll pull out of it.' ... and so he did. He is as happy again as ever. I think it is a sin to sell such stuff ... to kill innocent birds ..."
8 Oct 1925 - "... Do you remember six years ago today? Six long years for our poor Lyddi! ... Baby (Martin, Jr.) is so cute and darling ... he has a little devil that he plays with now. It's a little rubber red devil that you can blow up like a tire. You ought to see Baby get excited about that thing ... he pulls his tail and hollers! ... Papa is back from his Indiana trip! ... Martin has no work yet ... real estate selling is nothing for a Berg ... I wish to goodness he would find something sure. But if it's worrying him, he keeps it under cover ..."
2 Nov 1925 - "... Walter went to Orlando again yesterday ... he was there the greater part of last week ... expects to be there a whole month ... don't know what his work is there ... he keeps us supplied with all kinds of canned goods ... just glanced at the Beardstown paper ... they must have some awful cold weather up north ... the early cold weather is driving a lot of people to Florida ..."
9 Feb 1926 - "... Martin moved today ... Mr. Fleagle lowered the rent to $45 ... this one is downstairs ... Bunny and Baby can get out better from downstairs ... no rain since Christmas ..."
8 Mar 1926 - "... I know I have neglected you shamefully ... but I just can't help it ... I am most of the time so confused that I can't think sharp enough to write ... it's an awful cross to bear ... not to be able to think straight ... you are young yet and your mind is alert ... I know you will laugh at me ... Walter had a birthday letter from Lyddi ... not much ... just congratulations ..."
26 Mar 1926 - "... I'm going to have Lenchen's birthday dinner next Sunday ... Martin and Bunny will be here, of course ... Baby is getting so cute ... he crawls all over the house ... he loves to come over in our yard and sit in the grass and look at the chickens ..."
7 Apr 1926 - "... Walter had an awful cold ... coughed and coughed ... reminded me of two years ago ... Doctor says it's only a cold though and nothing to worry about ..."
1 May 1926 - "... guess Lenchen wrote you that Walter had the roof shingled. Now we don't have to use a tub anymore in the kitchen when it rains ..."
26 May 1926 - "... Papa doesn't know himself yet how the thing will turn out. He would like to retire very much though. Don't know just when he'll be home ... Baby is practicing walking a little more every day ..."
5 Aug 1926 - "... Martin was just here ... he got a telegram from Lenchen ... she will be home next Sunday ... I wonder why she hurries home so! ... she has a full week's vacation left ... guess she is homesick for Baby ... our yard looks very pretty now ... Papa mows it once a week ... I do the rest ... hear nothing from Lyddi ..."
11 Aug 1926 - "... You'll never guess what a grand surprise came to me today ... Lyddi came home today! The mother died a week ago last Sunday. She nursed her to the last. She put Ossorio in a sanitarium in Havana and sold all their belongings. She doesn't have any special plans ... would like to stay in Tampa ... if she can find a settled position, she will have him come over ... he is in bed most of the time ... she looks awful thin and haggard ..."
Aug 1926 - "... Baby is getting so independent ... doesn't want to be led by the hand ... and always makes for the street ... he and Papa are great friends ... Papa gets him over every afternoon for an outing ..."
16 Sep 1926 - "... I didn't know what to think ... thought you were lost or something ... till I heard from you today ... but still don't have your address ... sending this to the high school ... we expected you to come over on your birthday, but no Allie ... Lyddi baked you a cake but no birthday boy ... Lyddi looks much better ... she sure deserved this rest ... we are both enjoying being together again ... we talk and talk and talk ..."
9 Dec 1926 - "... So you'll only have a week at Christmas ... Papa won't have more than that either ... Tillie and baby are coming along with Papa, and maybe Theo too, but Papa wasn't sure of that. I am so anxious to see Patricia ... wonder how our two babies will carry on together ..."
28 Apr 1927 - "... I can't ... write anymore ... too tired, body and mind, to think. I believe my nerves are on strike ... not being able to hear is hard on the nerves, but not being able to speak and express your thoughts in the proper words, is still harder ... gone, all gone... I felt this blankness coming on me a long time already ... but my will power always helped me out and forced itself through that bundle of nerves ... but even that seems to be gone now ... don't ever mention it, but I believe it is Lyddi's case that is wearing me out so. O, how I hate to see her go again! ... the whip was hanging over our head so close, for the 11th of May was speedily nearing ... she hoped, of course, but there was no assurance ... but yesterday, she heard from Washington ... from the Board of Labor ... she has an extension until November 1st ... we are happy about that ... she is working fearful hard ... some time in May she will finish school ..."
10 May 1929 - "... last year this time Lyddi had heaps and heaps of trouble waiting for her ... but she held out courageously in the struggle and will come out the winner ... and, O, Allie, we owe you so much! Without your help she could never have found her way out. The kindness you showed her will reap fruit ... and if she can get a school here at home, she will have a chance to soon pay you back ... It seems as if Martin too has an outlook for a job ... he took his examination with the Purina Feed Co. and made 96. He is promised a job at the next opening. Walter expects to stay in Orlando all summer ... comes home on weekends ... he looks real well, but is getting so slender his clothes just hang on him ... but he claims he weighs 206 pounds ... he seems to be cheerful ..."
22 May 1929 - "... school closing is near ... does West Palm keep the full 9 months of school? ... I sure wish Lyddi could get a position here ... everything is always so uncertain. If I had Lyddi with me and Martin at work again ... what a load would be lifted ... Little Betty is the sweetest angel child ... she smiles and kicks at everybody and when she is left alone she smiles at the angels. I never saw such a darling child ... I am playing in the yard now to my hearts content. All day, time to play! ... Pay us a visit with the first opportunity ..."
9 Sep 1929 - "Congratulations to you ... my thoughts go back 36 years ... it is all so plain ... how happy I was! ... I think it was because little Gustav was taken away that you were so welcome ... Lydia has accepted a position in the Lake City High School as commercial teacher at $125 a month ... she couldn't get anything in Tampa ..."