January 29, 1919
Amid a series of astounding intellectual blows yesterday, I received your very welcome and interesting letter. College life is just one thing after another, like that Professor Ishmeal said about his Geometry class. Ha. There is enough work always on hand to spoil the pleasure of even writing letters. Today was a very busy day and the pit-falls were numerous, but I have succeeded in saving my life so far. It is now three o'clock. You see I have an hour of English (7a) Composition at nine, which comes however after English 20 (literature) at eight. and of course this comes after I hesitatingly "get up" late and hurry a feeling of blue oppression away. Now going back to the starting point (?), I have French at ten and dinner at twelve. Following this comes Chemistry at one, and Military Science at three on Mon., Tue., Thur., and Friday. We have had two assemblies already. I am a non-commissioned officer ranking as Sergeant Glendenning of Company B. The appointment was due to previous army work. Ha. There are six companies here and the Government will furnish us with new, complete cadet outfits.
I suppose you are still enjoying the rude, unrefined, etc., behavior of those high school teachers. I shall have to ask my sister to explain more about the matter to me. I do not know Mr. Ishmael, but Miss Byerly's appearance is not at all attractive to me. Please pardon me for talking about anyone, (which is not my custom) but I also wonder if she is not a Catholic. Of course you may trust me confidentially; even tho I have no religion.
I did not get to attend any church services last Sunday, because of physical disability. Ha. Do the Presbyterians believe in a pre-destined doctrine? Is we might disagree there, however much I love formality. So you are thinking of joining the Methodist Church at Hartford. Really, I was at first surprised, and then my surprise gave way to mirth to think of you partaking of the Lamb, and the Bread of Life and so on in that particular fashion. I would think no less of you, however; but I might internally injure myself laughing if you should "get it". I have a strong imagination, which might get playfully beyond my control. Would you be joining against your conviction? Or for the sake of the Class and your own? If you "can do it", please do not care what anyone thinks about it. Gee, that is interesting anyway. However what I have said does not mean that I do not reverence religious institutions in my own way.
Do not let those Class Meetings worry you much. You had better have the president put someone else in my place and then I can help you. At present I do not think of anything new, and that ticket business can be worked out by selling two tickets on a certain route to a boy and girl each. Then afterwards, the train is "called off" by the train crier to that certain place. It can be made amusing almost any way.
Yes, I have remembered and thought of poinsettias since "then". I remember how nice an odor they had. They remind me of stones or rocks. Are they connected in any way.? Pardo.
P.S. I have forgotten which picture of the cave I sent to you but I think the one next to the opening is Mr. Henry House. The fellow, away a little farther, is Foote, from Auburn. I have some more films in the incubator, so I may be able to send Mr. House to you.
P.S. I have heard that a letter is incomplete with out a postscript or prescript. You said that if I was there you would be watching for a pair of lights. That sounds tragidical. Who is the other guy? So you run them (dates) on the installment plan now. Ha, ha. Have I misunderstood you again? And I shall not write any more French if my letters are made public in order to be read. Ha.
[A rough draft of Esther's reply was inclosed in the envelope.]
Feb. 2, 1919.
If I say some things that sound somewhat mixed up it is because I am trying to write and listen to a conversation at the same time. Mr. & Mrs. Whitsel are here now.
It is unusual to receive two letters to my one but my last letter was long enough for two so I didn't receive more than my share after all.
So you are an officer already. How long before you will be a commissioned officer? You surely can't be continuing your army habit of early rising. Do you still weigh as much s you did when you left?
Yes, I am still having to stand the terrible actions of that particular school teacher. His last name I have finally found out is Macy or Macey but all the pupils all call him Ishmael Hank. His popularity continues to decrease. The "kids" are planning on having one grand jubilee the day he leaves. Of course this is a secret. Just about every so often he lays down a new rule. It has got to be now so that the only things we can do in the school house is to play cards and gossip.
We had the semester exams Thur. & Fri. I am surely glad they are over with, but I really am afraid to look at my grades. The only thing that was easy for me was physics. I was surprised to find that exam so easy. I guess all the rest of the class thought about the same. One thing that disgusts me is the cheating that goes on. Examination time is the time to learn the true caliber of a person. So many cheat that I would never have suspected of such a thing: every time they get a chance and then are just as proud of their grade if it is a good one as though they had really earned it. I try to be honest at least.
Last Wed. evening I went to a basket-ball game, the first I have been this school year. It was between our school and Berne, with 1st & second teams. Clark is captain of the second team. Berne's second team & Hartford's 1st team won. Elizabeth, Josephine and I went together.
The candy arrived safely yesterday but I didn't open it until to-day. It certainly tastes good. Not having had any for some time makes me appreciate this more. The folks got me the "dot" for my question marks. It makes it look lots better. I think this birthday was about the liveliest one I have ever had, since the folks went to Lawrence's this afternoon. I invited Sprungers and Josi, Lucile, & Lewis Martin here. Almost enough for a party. We tore around in-doors and out until it's a wonder there is any house or yard left.
Mr. Whitsel stopped early this morning to tell me to be sure and stay indoors out of the sunshine. but I am afraid I didn't carry out his command very well for I saw my shadow several times.
I had twelve in my class this morning. Two girls besides myself,--Josephine & Bertha. The class meeting will be Tuesday evening at Forest Shoemaker's. I don't know whether there has been any program arranged or not. I told Alva last Sun. to do what he could about it, that I would be very busy at school this week. I wanted to see him about it after S.S. but he left at once. In fact he appeared to be in such a hurry that I believe he knew I wanted to see him & didn't want to give me the chance. The following one will I think be on Feb. 14.
Mrs. (Fern) Shoemaker told me that Clair was intending leaving this neighborhood and going someplace else to work. Army life spoiled him for farm work. And also that Harry might go too.
Now as to religious matters. I think the Presbyterians do are supposed to believe in predestination. So you don't agree with them in that? I didn't say I was intending to join the Hartford Church. I said they would be wanting me to. But do you know that it is possible (according to my opinion & that of many others) to become just as true a Christian with out any noise or carrying on as with ever so much of it. It is just according to the persons way. You have not up to the present at least met with any other belief than this at Hartford. There are many others who do greatly differ and yet who are just as sincere. (Have they not just as much right to the Kingdom of Heaven). Mr. Snider said something about the same in his sermon last Sun. I never heard him speak quite the same before tho it was no recently acquired idea with me. Perhaps this is enough of a sermon for one letter but maybe it won't do you any harm to read it & may be some good.
You had better read over that part of my letter about the auto lights. How many cars does it take to possess a pair of lights?