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The House of Mayfield
May 4, 1919
I went out to the rifle range yesterday at 7:30 o'clock and did not get back until 4:30. And it was my luck to have your letter lying there unopened all day long. You may guess how sad, and how glad I was over such a situation. I thought that that would be my predicament. My life is made up of various expressions and emotions caused by all circumstances.
What? My visits not long enough when I stay until after twelve each night! The beginning is not far enough from the end, is it? I shall try to improve, the next time. If it is permitted. Ha.
"The hours I've spent with thee,
Are as a string of pearls to me;
I count them over, everyone apart,
My rosary, my rosary."
[Ed.: From The Rosary, by By Robert Cameron Rogers]
I shall try to think of you this evening in regard to the baccalaureate exercises. Here is hoping that you have a better time than last Sunday evening at those exercises in Geneva. No doubt your class contains better looking students, for one thing. Did you have that Junior reception yet?
This is such a beautiful day, a very good on to remind one of home. I did not go to a house of worship today; but instead went on a more patriotic (pardon me) business, the seeing of a "Liberty Loan" train of war trophies. They had three carloads of guns, planes, a tank, and various other murderous-looking contraptions. Of course I had seen similar exhibitions before; but this was a special Sunday attraction (?).
I had not much work to make up on account of Monday; but had a chemistry examination Tuesday. I had a great time out at the rifle range yesterday, but it would take a volume tot tell about it all. My shoulder is still sensitive because of the heavy recoil of those Army rifles.
I am interested in that proposal. Ha! Doubtless I shall be pleased and interested.
Heartiest congratulations to you, a most honored graduate of Hartford! May success and happiness forever be yours.
[A rough draft of Esther's reply was enclosed in the envelope.]
May 8, 1919.
I was just trying to count up how long ago you were here. So many things have happened since that it seems about a month. I could write all night telling about our doings if I thought you would care to read so much about those things. Wouldn't it have been grand though if you could have been a member of my class and had a share in all the recent good times.
I wonder if the weather behaved at Bloomington last Sunday evening as it did here. The lights went off five times during the last half of the evening. It rained so hard on the way home. It was the hardest rain I was ever out in.
Monday the whole class went to Berne to have our pictures taken. I like that place much better than Portland. Of course I haven't got the finished pictures yet but all the work I could see was good. We got the proofs Tuesday evening. There was the smallest man there. He was not as tall as I am.
Monday night was the Junior reception. I think every one enjoyed themselves. Someone had been changing the clocks at school until no one knew what time it was. I looked at the clock just before going upstairs to bed and it was twenty minutes of four. The principal game of the evening was "Skip to My Lou". It is New to the crowd over there. It worked fine on the school room floor. Do you remember how we used to get out of breath skipping and part of the time we would have no music? Well they over came that difficulty. They skipped to the music of the graphophone. (Rose Moyer had brought her's for our entertainment.) It worked fine (though I can't see much difference between that and dancing except that it was more lively and everyone can do it while not every one can dance.) Those who came back the next morning to decorate for t graduating exercises were tired, sleepy, and cross. So you may know the stage wasn't fixed up as nice as it might have been. We didn't march in but sat on the stage and had the curtain raised. The address by Dr. Rigdon was fine. Every one enjoyed it so much. His home is at Danville a little ways west of Indianapolis. We took him out to the school house and also back to town.
The next day all the seniors were back at school. We had lots of business to attend to. After paying for the speaker, the invitations, flowers, name cars, programs, advertising, and all other expenses we had enough left from the proceeds of the play and Commencement night to give $7.17 to each member of the class. I think that is about as cheap as a person could very well be expected to graduate. After the school house was cleaned up we took some pictures then decorated Tressie's and Clyde Romay's car in the senior class colors (the crepe paper had been used the night before to decorate the stage.) All twelve who were there (six seniors, Tressie, Miss Byerly Clark, Josephine, Russel Steiner and Rose Moyer) filed in and went to town where Miss Byerly treated the crowd to ice cream. We acted up just as silly as we could. The boys were the girls' hats and the girls the boys' caps. We drove over town a little and went down to Miss Porter's and took some more pictures.
I have received a nice lot of presents and all such nice ones. Those handkerchiefs you sent me are very pretty and so dainty. I think I shall have to do with them as mamma does with every very pretty handkerchief she gets,--lay it away. But I did carry one Commencement night. I thought if I were very careful it would be safe. When you come back on your next visit I will show them all (gifts) to you.
You must be more nearly a soldier now than you were while in the army, for you didn't get to shoot then. Do you remember our shooting one day last summer?
That proposition I have to make is this. I was talking with Elizabeth Martin the other day and she said she and Lawrence were going to Indianapolis some time this spring, probably in June, to spend a day or two. She asked me if I would like to go along and have you come up to Indianapolis for the day. I didn't know what to tell her for I didn't know how it would suit you. You might not enjoy it at all or it might be very inconvenient for you. Of course that is the bare structure of the plan. It can be elaborated and changed a great deal or discarded altogether. I have always wanted to see Indianapolis and Bloomington too.