Tuesday, October 13, 2020

July 8, 1944: Voluntarily without Coercion


Letter from Opa to Grandmother


July 8, 1944

Dear Margie,

How anybody can voluntarily and completely without coercion chose Kansas as a permanent living place is something which my feeble mind cannot understand. It's about 95 degrees now, and the sweat runs down my chest, back, and legs to form a swimming pool around my feet.

We can't work today because some of our trucks broke down again, so this is considered more or less as a holiday.

Last night I moved. One of the boys was transferred to another party, so I took his room, a castle compared to my basement hangout of last week. Here, I have a first-floor room with private entrance, private bedroom, three large windows, and lots of closet space. The whole thing for $4 per week. The room is conveniently located, too: right at the main square; half a block from our garage, one block from our office, and one block from drugstores, pool halls, etc. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that two rooms in tis house are rented to girls...

IfI don't get that damn typewriter pretty soon, I'll divorce you. My poor little hand is getting worn out from the unusual task of grinding a pen, even a Parker 51.

I assume your trip to Baldwin was very interesting, especially your tete-a-tete with Miriam. The awkward subject was probably painstakingly avoided by both of you.

What do you mean there are more profitable ways to spend my time than playing poker? In the first place, you never played it. In the second place, what other kind of entertainment is there in which you make money instead of spending it? (Don't worry, though, for I don't care much for playing myself.)

Naturally, this postponement of wedding for the reason of two weeks vacation or any other reason is completely out of question. If you insist on changing the date, we may change it so it falls into August, but no other way. I mean that, too!

I saw a strange show last night, called "The Curse of the Cat People." A little gruesome and mysterious, but not bad.

For some reason or other, I can't remember your birthday. Is it August 14? Anyhow, I herewith most formally invite you to spend the weekend 12-13 and as long as you can afterwards, here in St. John; invitation includes travel expenses, etc. If some other week end suits you better, tell me, but don't postpone it. We will have to get together somewhere around that time anyhow, to make final plans for our wedding.

Write soon if and when you accept this most formal invitation.


P.S. Please return the clipping; I want to send it to Eileen.

Opa seems like he has more days off due to equipment failure than days on! The good news is that he is more certain than ever that Kansas is not a state to choose for long-term living, and the fact that he continues to live there shows his deep and abiding love for my Grandmother! 

He now has a much better living arrangement, and can now invite Grandmother to come visit. For her birthday that he can't quite remember. He's trying to set down roots, making friends locally and getting his typewriter now that he has a real room. 

Opa is used to being in between things and never quite settled, but this period of time feels particularly transient. He's not seeing Grandmother as often as he'd like, he's working at a job that can't quite promise where he'll live from one month to the next. And Grandmother keeps pushing their wedding date back and back. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that her parents were not yet on board with her relationship.

Opa is trying to make a steady life. I can see why he would be so anxious to set a wedding date and get married: to have one thing solid would be nice.

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