Thursday, January 26, 2012

A close call on the way to a recital

Today we hear a more detailed account of the dance recital that Emily mentioned in the previous post.  It's interesting to note that neither my mother (Monty) nor Emily remember much about the car episode, but they both vividly remember performing at the recital.  In fact, my mother can still do some of the dance steps, and all my life I heard stories about "On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe."  The letter is quite a testament to Pop, who, whether consciously or not, was acting as the girls' father while Maj. Gillham was away.  He always had a cool head and a sunny outlook, and valued family above all else.   

May 25, 1946

Dearest Darling,

Yesterday the rail strike went into effect.  With another coal strike pending, everything is shutting down.  I surely hope that by the time you get home things will be getting better.  If there is any change, it will have to be for the better.

The other night Mother and I went out to Agnes Scott to hear Dr. Niebuhr speak.  His sister-in-law was the Mrs. Niebuhr in Knoxville who took metal work from me and also took copper from me without paying for it.  He is a very brilliant man.  It was interesting trying to keep up with him.  It was like listening to Dr. Kelso in La Jolla.

Last night the girls were in their first stage performance.  They were excited and all in a flurry for us to leave in time for them to get there early.  Father thought that he'd better take us as the place was twelve miles beyond Tucker and he knew a shortcut.  We were driving along Briarcliff Road when Father's clutch slipped and the car wouldn't stay in gear.  I went to a house and telephoned to Mother to come and bring my car.  All the time it took for me to call and for Mother to get there, the girls were having fits.  Of course, it didn't take very long, but the time seemed like a century.

Mother picked up Webster somewhere along the way and he took care of Father's car and Mother, while the rest of us drove on to the performance.  "The show had to go on."  Father said as we drove along that generally when he came that way, he reached Tucker before he could draw his breath good, but last night it seemed as though we'd never get there.  The miles seemed endless.

Pop and I were sure that Emily and Monty showed unusual talent.  We felt that they were outstanding in their performance.

All my love,



Below is a YouTube video of a newsreel from May 23, 1946, two days before Frances wrote today's letter.  President Truman had threatened to have the military take control of the railroads, yet with three minutes to spare before his ultimatum was to go into effect (3:57 p.m. on May 25th), the two railway unions agreed on a contract.

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