Genealogy #OffTheGrid

Grandma & Grandpa’s Love Letters (Part Two)

The ending of part one of this series portrayed Grandma returning to her home in Stokes County, NC and Grandpa continuing to his home in Kernersville, Forsyth County, NC. They promised each other that letters would be written and they kept this promise. These letters continued from late autumn of 1933 up to June of 1936. I want to personally Thank my grandparents for sharing with me their love for one another. As the words are read one by one, you begin to travel back in time to those days. The Great Depression was still affecting the entire nation, yet these two young people were anxious to start a new life with each other. It proves to us the real power that love carries in this world. No one holds the key to the future, we can only make the best of what we have and not take it for granted. I like to think that my grandparents were successful with this.But, I especially want to Thank them for sharing with me a part of themselves, a priceless treasure.

Letter writing during 1934 was similar to chain letters of my former school days. Each letter begins the same such as the one from Grandma dated July 25, 1934. It reads as the following:

Dear Joshua,

Will try to answer your letter today. Wonder what you are doing these hot days? Working I guess. Sure have been some hot days this week. Have you all had any rain this week? A cloud came up Monday evening, it rained here some, but not very much.

Guess you have threshed wheat by now. They think maybe the machine will be ready to come back by the last of the week to thresh the peoples wheat who did not have their wheat up when they came around.

Have you all primed any tobacco yet? We may prime some the last of the week. Several of the people up here have already primed some tobacco. They say the leaves are good for first primings. Some of our tobacco is rather small.

Did you get there in time for service Sunday night? Hope you had a large crowd.

I’ve been awful busy this week, seems like we had so much work to do at one time. Guess I’d better close. I don’t know any news.

Your Friend,

Mary

I have posted a photo of the 1920 threshing machine above. I don’t have Grandpa’s first letters from this time period but Grandma’s next letter from August 8 of 1934 yields clues from Grandpa and quite an adventure for Grandma.

Dear Joshua,

Wonder what this will find you doing? Working I guess. I sure have been working since last Friday. We suckered tobacco all day Friday and Saturday until dinner. We also primed all day Monday and Tuesday till dinner. And since dinner I’ve been making a dress for one of my girl friends.

Have you all had much work to do this week? Sure is a working time up this way.

Yes, I think it rained some up here that Sunday, but it didn’t wash anything. If the rain did any damage here, I don’t know it. We haven’t had much rain for the last two weeks up here.

Do you think the picture looks like me? That was not a good picture. I’m going to have some more pictures made some time. Can’t you send me a picture of yourself?

Yes, I guess that I’m enjoying myself all right eating watermelons. You ought to be up here and eat some melons. Have you all had any ripe melons? We had company Sunday to eat watermelons.

I went to preaching Sunday night but sure did have bad luck. Mr. Carroll and his wife and daughter were here Sunday. We went with them to church and coming back his lights burned out. He couldn’t get home. So, Mr. Southern and his wife brought us home. He was driving fast coming around a curve. I was sitting on Ella’s lap and the door came open and I went with the door. I held to the door till he could stop. It didn’t hurt me much. But sure did make me nervous for two or three hours. Guess I’d better close. Excuse bad writing.

Your Friend,

Mary

To the average reader, a point is missing about the watermelons in the above letter. My grandparents always got together when the first of the watermelons came into season. We would gather outside underneath the Black Gum tree talking and laughing with each other. It appears that such a gathering took place during the summer of 1934 and I like to think that Mary and Joshua possibly shared a kiss or a special joke about the gathering.

The first letter I have from Grandpa to Grandma is dated November 27, 1934 and it is a card stating, “Thanksgiving Greetings to One I Love. Because you are ever so precious to me, My heart’s fondly wishing this glad day may be as golden as sunlight in blue skies above and bright in true blessings for someone I love“. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two were together on weekends and letters were either not written or I don’t have these among my collection. The next letter from Grandma is dated January 31, 1935.

Dear Joshua,

Will now try to drop you a few words in answer to your letter I received some time last week.

Wonder How this will find you feeling? I sure feel lots better than I did last week. I stayed in bed all the first of last week. Guess I had the flue, most everyone of us have had the flue. Certainly has been a lot of the flue around up here.

Well, I guess you have been going to school lots more this week. The weather hasn’t been so awful rough.

Yes, I guess that I’ve been sitting by the fire most of the time. The weather is a little too cold for me to walk about much.

Wonder why you didn’t come Saturday night? Were the roads too rough or were you sick? The roads have sure been rough. You said something about coming first Sunday if it was alright with me. It will be o.k. with me if you want to come.

Guess that I had better close.

Your Friend,

Mary

Grandpa’s reply includes a popular radio show that aired the evening before he wrote the letter. I was able to locate the original broadcast and have it listed below. Grandpa’s reply is dated February 5, 1935.

Dear Mary,

Will try to write you a few words in answer to your letter that I received last week.

Wonder what this will find you doing this cold weather? I have the sore throat now. Guess I will have a cold after everyone else has got over with the cold. This is the first cold that I have had this winter.

No, I didn’t get to go to school but only one day last week; on the account of having my foot mashed. I have got so that I can go back again but have a hard time keeping my feet warm in those cloth shoes. If it keeps on improving like it is now, guess that by Sunday I can wear my regular shoes and how glad I will be.

Brother and I set up last Monday night until 11:30 and listened to the radio. It sure was good. Lum and Abner had the craziest program. Abner was playing like his arms had been broken but sometimes he would forget and Lum would call his attention to it. Lum would have to light Abner’s pipe, it would go out every little bit. Lum got upset at Abner and was about to bless him out.

We are getting along good. Music over the radio every morning but the “fuss” interrupts me from hearing part of it.

No, I was not sick or the roads were not too rough the other Saturday night. The reason that I didn’t come I could not walk. Please look over this bad writing and answer soon.

Your Friend,

Joshua

The “fuss” that Grandpa states in his letter above is the actual static on the radio that was preventing him to enjoy the music that he loved so much. My Mom would often tell me that mornings always began with music in the house. Grandpa loved folk ballads, bluegrass, blues, gospel what ever happened to be playing, Grandpa loved it. The next letter was from Grandma dated March 1, 1935.

Dear Joshua,

Will write you a few words in answer to your letter that I received Tuesday.

Yes, I guess that I feel very well. I took a little cold about the middle of the week, but I’m lots better now.

How are you by now?

There has been right much of colds around since that the weather has been so cold and rainy. Yes, the wind sure did blow hard and cold for a few days up here. I really hope the weather is not so rough during March.

I don’t know where I’ll go to my cousin’s in Yadkinville for my birthday or not. I don’t have much idea that I’ll go as I’ve been talking of having a birthday party for myself at home, but I’m not sure that I will.

I may wait until the week before Easter and go up there and spend a week with her as she has been wanting me to spend a week with her.

Joshua, I think that the Holiness church is going to Winston Sunday night to sing over the radio.

Guess that I must close for tonight. Please excuse all mistakes.

Your Friend,

Mary

I will end this segment of the letters with the onset of spring in 1935. I hope to share more of these letters in the coming months. I have only touched the surface with this two part series. Pictured above is Grandma on her wedding day. The Blue Ridge Mountains can be seen behind her. This was one of their favorite spots to visit. I want to Thank my grandparents for sharing with me a part of themselves, a priceless treasure. I miss them greatly and think of them often.

Look through the attic, old boxes and more. You just never know what treasures you may find. Wishing you all amazing new discoveries from the past. Enjoy Your Journey !!

3 replies »

  1. Love these old love letters..  I have one my Dad wrote to Mom before they were married.  So interesting they they wrote too. Hope you are all doing ok with the present pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

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