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403 East Sixth Street
Bloomington, Indiana
January 16, 1919

Dear Esther,

If I could proceed to write to you immediately after reading your letter, or when I have a finer inspiration, then I might be able to write a better and more interesting letter. I suppose that you know about the psychological effect of certain things upon the mind. I do not exactly hate to write letters and in fact look forward to receiving some in order that I may write. Of course that greater pleasure may be derived from the reading. I find quite a bit of enjoyment in hearing from you, and in case I desire a message and one does not arrive, then I just read your last letter. A very simple and expedient way to relieve the suspense. Ha, ha. You know that there is a reason for a fellow desiring the friendship or correspondence of a girl in preference to that of a boy or young man. It is according to laws of youthful life perhaps. If she were not you it would be somebody else.

Yet I do not believe that it is at all a wise thing to confine one's self exclusively to friendship of only one other person. This may apply to both men and women, that is young people. To get the most out of life, the circle of friends must not be too small and narrow. experience and a broad view are valuable assests [sic] and the earlier gained the earlier they can be used to a useful advantage. Youth can not be too serious.

I do not know how long a letter I shall have written if I go on at that rate. Ha. You do not have time enough to read perhaps, with all your studying to do; and teaching. And that reminds me, you ought not get lonesome with so many boys all to yourself at Sunday School; and then that new, good-looking teacher of science at the High School. Interrupting the point I began to write upon; I suppose this new college guy? proffessor [sic] has bumped his head on "something" and "passed away" already. The other one soon "fell by the wayside" you know. Really I am surprised at Tressie. Do you really think it awful for a girl to run right into a fellows arms? By accident, you understand. Now I shall go to Sunday School once more. As our religious views are slightly inconsistent I shall not say much, only that I wonder how they (the boys) all can get their mind entirely upon their lessons long enough to recite.

I have gone to church twice since coming here to this college town. Both Sundays, you must realize. I intend to try a new type of religion next Sunday by going to the Presbyterian, or Christian, or Baptist, or--, there are all kinds of churches here tho, so it is no use to name them all. I went to te M.E. previously.

there is not much doing down here now because of a very strict "Flu" ban on the University. We are not allowed to go to the movies, pool-rooms, ice-cream parlors, have any gatherings or meetings outside of regular classes, go home without the consent of the deans, and worst of all have no "dates" for a period of ten days and perhaps longer. The situation is improving somewhat tho; due, you know, to all these stringent rules. everybody who has not already been shot are to be shot by sunrise to-morrow morning. It is a sad and grewsome [sic] business to attend college.

So you think that a person going to college is in danger of procuring a big-head. Really they do pound all they dare into a persons head. Taking myself for instance, at 8 o'clock they take the mallet (a fabulous mallet having many sides and upon one side Chemistry and another French and so on) and give me a terrific (English 20) blow upon the head. After a ten-minute period they turn the mallet over a little and I get an English 7a blow; and so it goes everyday until 2 o'clock and soon may be 4 o'clock. Is it any wonder if a swelled-head is common in College? Perhaps, since the pressure is lowered, that your new professor will decline. I am inclined, that to some people education (that is a very little) may react in that manner, as you stated.

I, too, can appreciate the "unknown" when it comes to finding it out. Ha. how imperceptible far the affairs of even humans. But I am a cave man. Alas! A mere man.

And I can prove my statement by telling you of my visit to a cave last Saturday afternoon. First of all, I have a (Mr.) House for a room-mate. And I live in a house owned by a Mr. and Mrs. Mayfield. (Aged people; he a Civil war veteran and a good Republican) So, House and I and three other boys from this house went to visit the famous Mayfield Cave. (4 mi. out) It was quite a walk and adventure. With lighted candles we spent two hours in the cave, and after crawling and squeezing our way through openings and mud and water for that length of time you may imagine our appearance upon coming back to town. Of course, it was dark but we came up the back streets just the same. I made my uniform look swell, I may say. Results: A live bat for the zoological department, lot of stalactites and stones, and an expense bill of a nice little sum for cleaning and repairing clothes. Of course the experience was free. I shall write more next time unless I am requested to.

Yours truly,

P.S. Please find enclosed two stamps for postage.


P.S. My formality has suffered quite a bit, has it not? Hence such a letter. It surely does look bad. I try to prevent apologies, but I shall be more careful next time. (Ha?)


[A rough draft of Esther's reply was enclosed in the envelope.]

Geneva, Ind.
Jan 19, 1919.

Dear Richard:

I was certainly surprised when,

"I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. I am well and hope you are the same." Only that last statement is not entirely true for I have a cold right where my voice is made (whatever that is called) and I sound more like a frog than any other thing else. Clark is barking like a dog. So you can see we have quite a menagerie. Otherwise we are ll right.

I hope your other correspondents are a little better at writing letters than I. If they are not I do certainly feel sorry for you. After I write a letter I never want to look it in the face again. I am certainly glad I don't have to correspond with myself. That would be torture unbearable. I, too, sometimes have moments of inspiration but never when I am ready to write. Inspiration flies as soon as I take a pencil in my hand.

You are surely getting to be religious, to think of having gone both sundays. Ha. You have a fine chance of studying all styles of religion. But I imagine you would like the Presbyterian best since it I think it the most formal and you are quite formal. I am afraid there won't be any W.W. class left when you get back for there were only four beside myself in our class this morning--Clark, Menno, Willie, and Harry. There were only twenty-one altogether. Not only at S.S. do I have boys all to myself but at school for two weeks I have been the only girl in the Senior class. So you see I have had my fill of boys' company. As to that wonderful professor, I will have to tell you some things he said. Once he defined Geom. as "One darned thing after another". In Physics class something didn't go right and he said "What the deuce is the matter?" What do you [think] of that for a professor? I suppose he learned that in college. I had worked out the problem part of an experiment and was asked to put it on the board. the answer result didn't suit him but neither he nor any of the others in the class saw the mistake. Later in the day he found it. The next morning he greeted with "Personally, I don't think very much of your figuring." Of course such sayings as these would make him loved by all the pupils. He may not be quite so intolerable after we get used to him. Miss Byerly seems to have suddenly become of great importance since this young man came. One would think she was the superintendent. It makes me "mad" to see her put on airs. Of course part of this may be imagined but I don't think so.

I believe I told you that the next class meeting was to have been at Forest S. Tuesday, but they have the "flu" now so we have postponed it indefinitely. I was over at your place a few minutes this afternoon to see Tressie about what we should do. It seems strange to be at your place and not see Kathryn, Luella, or you. I hope it will not be necessary to keep that ban on much longer with those terrible restrictions.

I was quite surprised when I opened the letter and out fell those stamps. For a little bit I couldn't imagine why you sent them. Those stamps fell off after the letters had started so they came on the rest of the way all right. I never thought of your misunderstanding me. What a time we do have understanding each other! So I am five cents ahead--five cents that I don't know what to do with!

You may write much more as you wish for I can surely find time to read all that you have time to write.

Probably having a large circle of friends will broaden one's mind. However since I am not very adept at making friends my circle is rather small. And my correspondents can almost be numbered on the thumbs of one hand.

I wish I could go ahead and write about nothing (like you do) then I would never need to send any empty space.

E-mail: shelly@cat-sidh.net