Monday, June 14, 2010

The hosiery shortage in Atlanta, and the girls learn a poem

Here is another fine letter from Frances reporting on the home front.  The last half is especially touching for me, since Frances tells of the poem "The Coin" that the girls learn, which my mother (Monty) subsequently taught us.

Pop was a shoe and leather goods salesman, and, as you will read, he planned to visit Chicago for a convention.  It's not quite the "leather convention" we would probably envision nowadays!

Feb. 28, 1946

Dearest Angel Pie,

You surely made a terrific impression around here with your birthday package to Pop, Mother 'Cile and Margaret.  The package arrived yesterday in fine condition.  Today Margaret took her box, doll and owl to school to show around.  She insists the box is a lunch box, just like Emily's and Monty's lacquer box.  She put her lunch in the box this morning.

Father is going to Chicago Saturday to a leather convention.  He is delighted that he can wear his new socks and take the handkerchief along with him.  Mother is delighted with the hose and scarf.  By the way, any time you can get hose, please send it home.  It is extremely difficult to get any in Atlanta.  The nylons come infrequently and the stores hate to stock up on rayon for fear of being caught with it if the nylon market opens up suddenly.  The old cigarette queue has turned into the hosiery queue.

Rich's published a coupon in the Constitution and one in the Journal, for one edition.  It was to be filled out and mailed before midnight of the next day for a pair of nylons.  The city mail was tremendous.  It swamped the post office worse than an unexpected Christmas mail would.  Several of our friends have received their nylons, but we haven't yet.  My one and only is the pair you sent me.

I learned that Singy's father is home on leave and expects a shore assignment afterwards. 

Col. Unger called me from Washington last night.  He seemed very nice.  I liked him especially because he said such lovely things about you.  He seems to be smart enough to appreciate you and your ability.  Thanks for having him call.  It was next best to talking to you.

Emily says that her teacher at school is wonderful because she knows how to teach teach Emily arithmetic.  When Emily first arrived, she made "average" on tests."  Now she makes "excellent" and "perfect."

The teacher takes the children to the library each Monday after school and helps them select interesting books.  On Wednesdays she gives extra credit to the children who bring their library books to school and report on them.

Every week she has the children learn a poem.  Sometimes it's short and sometimes it's long, but Emily learns them and enjoys doing it.

Last night Emily, Monty and I learned "The Coin" by Sara Teasdale --

Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor thief purloin.
O better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned ring
Is the safe kept memory
Of a lovely thing.

Monty said that Sunday School in Robles was one of her "coins."  Emily treasured the memory of the snow in Chicago the night we went to the Christmas pageant at the University.  Other memories of theirs were autumn on Cape Cod, the fine falls at Yosemite, spring in Charlottesville and California.  They are such sweet darling children.  I am so very glad we have them.  I hope it will be soon when you can be with them again.  They miss you almost as much as I do.  You are a definite part of their lives. You are a friend and a companion to them as well as a daddy.

We enjoyed the letter about the earthquake and the native song.  Emily said she'd heard the story dramatized over "Let's Pretend."  It was an old friend to her.  Please try to get recordings of the songs.  Write us the stories, too.

Darling, you know we love you every minute of every day, and we all want to be with you again.


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