Death of a Blythe Spirit


The Letter

First Sib Meeting

Dreams of Love

Family Origins

The Making of a Batterer

I Care for Him!


Keeping Company

What Price Love?

Wedded Bliss?

The Honeymoon


The Honeymoon's Over

The Babies Come

Home Sweet Home

Moving Again


Other Mat'ls

Thoughts on Mother's Poetry

Mother's Essays

Penny's Vampire Chronicles

Gina's story fragment


Site PDFs

Death of a Blythe Spirit
(web contents)

Cars Hate Me!
(letters '46-'57)

New York Diaries
(life in the 1930's)


Camille's Diary

Vampie Chronicles

The Honeymoon’s Over


In 1937 all three phases of the battering cycle are evident. Mother once told us that early in her marriage she contemplated leaving but “going home to mother” would have been a humiliation. She said she had “made her bed” and now must needs lie in it. In the late fifties she would write this amazing self-analysis:

I may as well face it, that starry-eyed dream of twenty years ago always was just an illusion I've built up to bolster my own insecure ego. I've built my life around this obsession (and I can now call it that callously) this obsession of wanting people to like me and all this self-less 'goodness' on my part was all directed to this aim. I have had always to prove myself. For goodness sakes WHY?  Pat me on the head and I was your friend for life, but any unconscious or conscious criticism, fancied or real, threw me into a blue tizzy. One part of me is so very independent it's almost a fault, and another part of me clings to approval at whatever cost.

1937 Diary, Excerpts

Love smiled on me and all the world is joyous
and Rapture stabs me with a thousand thrills

Frances Casagrande 1937

January 1
Went to Mt. Vernon. Had a perfectly grand time at Harry's upstairs. They're really very nice people when you get to know them. I'd rather be together with intelligent people like that then at a rip roaring party with a crowd I have nothing in common with except a drink.

January 7
Well that was a fine way to start the new year, wasn't it. Had a nice new year's eve and then lay down with a touch of flu. Fever, sore throat, cough, was languid and wanted nothing but sleep for three days! Poor Jere spent a very miserable time. They dosed me with all kinds of things [like] raspberries to make me sweat, butter medicine, ugh, and by Sunday I was able to sit up and take notice again. Dot and Jules came to see me but I wasn't overjoyed. I wanted to lie quiet and rest.

January 9
This morning cleaned the house and was just about through, as a matter of fact I was putting the [finishing touches] on the [stove], when Dot and her mother came. That was a surprise, but I was awfully glad to see them, even though I looked like something left out in the rain all night. They got a [family] room and Dot will make [at] the plant; won't we have fun though!!! Had [drinks] in the kitchen but such fun!!

Jere went home on Sunday night. But I got so lonely for him that by Tuesday I couldn't stand it any more. I wanted to go home. Mickie was still with me, I put her in a box and weak as I was I started for home. Jim drove me down to Liberty Street. He's a nice fellow. Went to his place first and I had a drink to brace me up. As it was I was just able to make it. Got home and had just strength enough to crawl in bed. Stayed in it all week.

January 10, Sunday
Got up quite late around 12. Just straightened up a little and loafed all day. Read a little, typed a little, and was bored to tears. Jules popped in later and we went down to talk to the St. Armond's in the car. It's been pouring all day. My [precious] love promised Jules we'd be over to see their new place. I didn't really want to but it's been so dreary all day! And I felt miserable.

They've got a nice room. Went out for a soda later, though we'd much rather have had a drink. Had a grand time. Played "Ghost" and we managed to make Jere "it" in spite of himself.

January 11
Dot and Jules came for breakfast. It's lots of fun having them. I do hope Dotty gets a job at the plant. It didn't work so well this morning. But look at all the trouble I had getting reinstated. To the devil with CD. I lost all interest in my job. We came home and Dotty had made supper. Nice, isn't it?

Later we went out to hunt up a tavern. Went all over town and finally ended up in Tony's.

Had about three dollars worth of [fun]. Got home around twelve and dog tired.

January 13
Well I must say I'm disgusted. For two cents I'd heave those condensers at somebody. For 26 cts an hour I must be a technical engineer, no thanks, I'm a tester and nothing else. And Jere tops it all off nicely by saying I should have known better. I just blew up. I'm afraid I made a scene but I couldn't help it. My nerves are all shot to pieces. I could have torn my hair and chewed nails. Jere took me to a show to cool off. We saw Shirley Temple in "Stowaway." Nothing extra but a good sedative. Got home awfully late and I was so weary.

January 14
Thursday morning
I feel just like a limp dish rag today. Have an [atrocious[ headache and am tired as a dog. I'll certainly go to bed early tonight.

January 15
There you see! And again like a light!!! Around two o'clock yesterday I couldn't stand it any longer, went to Harold and asked leave to go home. Got as far as the ladies room in the office and had an honest to goodness collapse. Dottie came, that good angel, and bundled me off to the first aid where they plied me with aspirin [ I felt water bottle]. Jere came with [Gwig] and took me home in his car. Got as far as the door and throw up until my insides ached to come out. Home and to bed. Jere was so sweet. Dot and Jules came at night. Dottie made some kind of a supper. Me they gave toast and tea. Bah!

January 16
Rain, rain, went to the show in spite of Jere's protest. Saw "Winterset" with Margo and Burgess Meredith. Very, very good. I'm glad I went. Problem play, Jere called it. I think it was excellent.

Early supper and reading in bed till late in spite of any good intentions to go to sleep early.

January 17
Had Dotty and Jules for dinner. Played the usual game of [Rumba] after Jere and Jules consented to call it a day in the workshop.

Dog tired. Why? and still it rains. Went to the library after Jere had washed the dishes. He's such a sweet lover.

January 23
The price of this morning’s entertainment—a bump on the forehead, one (1) bloody nose and swollen! One cut and swollen under lip. Was it worth it!!!!

What if one does forgive a moment later—the damage is irreparable. Mrs. Smyth came up after he left to see how I was—and here I was sitting in a bloody mess. I was never so ashamed and mortified in my life.

Went out for drink at night with Dot and Jules—straggled all over town and finally landed in Tony’s again for spaghetti and a good time.


It appears that Father lasted 2-1/2 years in Phase I, but finally he exploded. Dutton writes that ..."the rage is out of proportion to what triggered the action...it feels as though one's identity is undermined." Unfortunately, he adds, it becomes addictive.


February 5, 1994

Camille: I think it’s kind of sick to be thinking in terms of… romantic things between men and women have to be violent? Yes. Yet it doesn't surprise me.




Some guy’s going to murder you and claim you wanted him to do it!


I remember, I don’t remember why I was sleeping with mother, I couldn’t tell you why I was in the bed, but I know I was in the bed and I was sleeping in the bed, when mother and father’s bed was in the same room, the twin beds? His was over on this wall and hers was on that wall? And I remember she got up and, and she still thought I was asleep and there must have been a big fight, knock down drag out the day before, because I remember she dropped her nightgown and he was hugging her naked and I thought to myself, how could she do that?




He, he hit her and yelled at her and, and threw her around and now she’s letting him touch her?! I was just incredulous, I couldn’t believe it.


I had a Libra friend who hated her husband and loved the sex. Mother was probably the same way.


I, I’m surprised, I didn’t think they ever had sex.


Oh yeah.


I was amazed hahaha


Well, didn’t you walk in on them one time?


No, I did.


Yes, you did because I remember you told me.


I did?


No he did, he told me. They were on the living room sofa…


living room?


Living room sofa, and you walked in and said “Oh” and then you left, you told me. You don’t even remember what you tell me.


Bob--your brain cells! Jesus.


If it happened yesterday it’s history.


Well, mother told me they were even doing it in their 70’s. Oh, she didn’t want to, she didn’t want him to help her in the bathtub because it inflamed him and he wanted...


That’s what she told me, remember, she had her surgery, and she had her arm I the cast and everything, and she couldn’t NOT take care of herself, and she called me up and said would you please come and take me to your house and give me a shower, and I said can’t dad help you do that, and she said I don’t want him to because he gets turned on and he won’t leave me alone, and I said, hahaha, okay, I’ll be right over.


January 24
Stayed in bed and read till most one o'clock. Dot and Jules came and invited us out. Made lunch and just sat around. Felt very cranky and irritable. Couldn’t help it--guess we both acted a little mean.

February 4
Was just so peeved all day yesterday and Jere was no help at all. Very unresponsive. Came back from lunch so angry I banged my bag on the table and "crack" went my glasses. Sweetie pie came afterwards to bring me a peace offering and I told him. He was awfully good about it though.

February 6
Went to Mt. Vernon to go to [Scadrm's] for my glasses. Poor mother was so very glad to see me it was pathetic. I should go home oftener. Went shopping together and I ironed for her. Tomorrow we'll go to Long Island .

February 7
If I'm not the perfect [ninny!] I managed to get away from Long Island where I had a perfectly beastly time anyway, [came home] early, and caught the six o'clock. express to Plainfield and what must I do but miss the station. Was scared silly when the train finally slowed down in Trenton. Oh my gosh. But the conductor was really nice about it. Got the next train back, and I'm [around] fifteen minutes late and arrived home safe and sound at eleven. Poor Jere had gone for every train and was most anxious.

February 12
Had to skip an [hour] this morning to finally get my glasses from the post office. I wanted them so badly to go to the show tonight. Ray was a little peeved.

February 14
Jere made breakfast this morning. Had a valentine all tucked up for me. The darling. The rest of the Sunday as usual.

February 20
It felt nice, didn't it, to be in sole charge of the "Returned Material Dept." I always wished for a position of responsibility--but I fear I shall pay the price of many blunders and some heartache.

Got a new permanent this afternoon--and feel like a different woman, a [mischievous youngster] to be exact. It does look nice and well worth the seven dollars.

February 21
What a lazy lazy day this has been. Rain outside and ceaseless monotony in the house. But it was not as crushing as it might have been--my darling can be such a [sweet] sweet lover when he takes the trouble.

February 26
My gosh can't we ever sit down to dinner in peace. Such a to-do about a couple of [drops]. Later went out to Tony's for Ravioli and drinks.

February 27
It seemed the longest week and the shortest weekend. I hated to work all day today. Was very irritable when we got home. When I finally got out to go to the cleaners, they were closed already, drat 'em. Staggered home loaded with bundles.

See--I hate to have anyone ask me about [them], it makes me feel so guilty and I'm not really. It was just a case of the best one [missing] [out] all.

February 28
Got up very early, felt uneasy about that dirty house and started to clean bright and early at half past eight. Had a pleasant lunch. Dotty and Jules came after a while just as I got Jere pitched to go out to the show. I so wanted to see "The Thin Man."

March 2
Went to the library while Jere washed the dishes. Met Dotty and Julius just as I was coming out. Gee but I'm tired today. Went to bed and read awhile.

March 3
Felt terribly cranky today. I [suppose] I treated my poor darling shamefully. Just wanted to be left alone.

March 4
Well and that accounts for it. We, that is I, had a quarrel this morning about a couple of dirty dishes. I was so mad I wouldn't speak to him all day. Felt simply miserable and neglected and stupid. The day was too damn long. I like my work though it never really loves me and Ray seems to be satisfied with me. I'm glad. I like to be appreciated.

March 5
Well we made up gloriously last night. Felt grand all day.

Got a letter from mother. Only she might as well not write if that's all she has to say. Just scold scold all the time. About this that and the other. As soon as I can I'll see to it that I owe her nothing any more ever.

March 6
Why oh why do people make it so hard for me to be good. I know that all during our quarrel he held himself the injured party. He, being my husband and very much concerned about my health, feels I ought, nay must, go and gargle my throat. He asks me nicely. No sale! He takes my book (I begin to feel imposed upon!) he yanks the cover off me, he [fools ] with the lights, he shoves me, in fact, he tries all the petty annoyances at his command to make me move. By that time I'm about speechless with rage and all choked up, but he doesn't see the danger signals. He becomes very much annoyed, then angry. He hits me and in sheer anger throws the book at me. I [decknate] him at this point by saying he can do his damnedest, gargle I will not. So he gets up and leaves me. I awaken much later and find him still gone. I think it's a shame to let these things happen and he ought to be in bed where it's warm. The outcome of that is many bitter words. (I should have known better than to awaken him. The more he raves the more he feels his sleep has been unjustly taken and it [turns[ him in a [frenzy[. A slap is the ultimatum because I can't be quiet. And so back to bed, [alone]

March 8
I think that was a silly thing to do, quarrel over a gargle! Gargle of all things, but damnmit, I can't anymore help being stubborn about it than he can slapping my face. It's going to break my heart, but we shall see who'll be the first to make up now. I've swallowed my pride and tried to coax him to be good again...but if he will act like that than he shall suffer for it too. He knows he has only to lay a hand on me and look at me to have me melt like wax. Yet he can repulse me and [shut] me out of all [normal] reactions. I'll not be bullied and [frud[. I've tried to understand [him] and [cvan] his words accordingly but he's too much of a "man of brains" to do the same for me. I must bend to him at his convenience, oh but never, never.

March 9
I will not be [cowed]. Never. I grant it was a deal too much my fault. It was such a small act to go and gargle, but what drove me out of my senses was his ceaseless annoying and teasing and exposing me to the cold. That was the last straw. I clouded my reasoning so that I lost sight of the issue. I would rather have died and my love die with me than give in.

It was sweet to feel his tenderness when he first woke up and the aftermath was all the more shocking because I was really concerned about him and anxious to smooth things over. But no he must try to make me do the very thing I [tried so hard to avoid], make my efforts seem futile and my misery a mockery.


Because of his insecure attachment (infant-mother), control is vital to the abuser, and in the above, it is clear that Father has already begun exercising control. Dutton writes:

Borderlines blame their partner when things go wrong in intimate relationships. And things are always going wrong, because they set impossible standards and double binds for others. As the tension mounts, the need for perfect control in an imperfect world generates inevitable failure.


March 10, 1937
Well we [splurged] some today. First lunch at the cafeteria. At night I felt too sick and weary to face supper so Jere took me to Tony's to dine. It was nice. On the way home we stopped in some little out-of-the-way grocery store for coffee and went off with the most [unique] table lamp. I like it. A globe for base and a lovely shade with the map of the world on it. It's very attractive. I sat on the couch and just absorbed our little [house]. I think it the [precious] and nicest little house and I have everything.

My but we're getting busy back here. Up to my neck in paper. I was just told I had to work tomorrow--all day and I really don't want to. Had a bite to eat with all the fellows in the lab. They're going to some radio station to see the wheels go round. I shall go to a show.

Went to the Strand. Saw "On the Avenue" and Kay Francis in "Stolen Holiday." The picture of a softhearted young woman trying to be ambitious. etc. etc. I somehow don't enjoy movies [alone] anymore. I miss my beloved. Stayed up till near twelve waiting for him. He came at one. And I was too sleepy to talk.

March 15
Wasn't a bit tired today except when I got home felt too lazy to budge.

Oh my sweet sweet darling!

March 16
One thing I'm very grateful for--the time just flies these days. Before I get started the day is done. I really do like my work. That's something just cut out for me. Never any friction [and] I've got sense enough to know what has to be done and brains enough to do what I must without too many mistakes. And Ray likes the way we work together and is satisfied. So am I and so what more can I ask.

March 19
Went and bought a hat for Jere. Had dinner at Topper's, you know, flowers, dim light atmosphere. Saw "The Plough and the Stars" with Barbara Stanwyck and "The Girl from Paris" with Lily Pons.

‘'Twas a lovely evening.

March 20
I was furious about them taking a dollar out for the union. So working this morning to make up for it. Wasn't so bad. Had lunch with Jere in the cafeteria when I could have gone home with Guy. Oh well.

March 21
Had a marvelous ride on our bikes.

April 5
Same old grind only more of it. Made up my mind to go on a liquid diet. Took no lunch and Jerry forgot his. He as mad as a wet hen about it and said it was my fault. Went out to lunch and managed to spend 35 cts. All our worldly possessions and now we're destitute, oh boy!

April 10
Shucks, I had to work today! Went home at half past eleven, just made the bus. Had to go to First St. first to pay some debts. I'm sure glad that's over now. Went to Mt. Vernon on the 1:18, it got awfully cold. Got there about 3:30. Mother and Dad were awfully glad to see me.

Went to the show at night with Dot and Jules. Saw "Sea Devils" and another picture with Ruby Keeler. It was nice but not too good. Went to Kelley's after for drinks. Home at 2 o'clock.

April 13
That was the narrowest squeak I ever had. And here I was going so blithely along enjoying riding the bike and bingo a car smacks into me. I turned a somersault and landed on the sidewalk. Picked myself up a little shakily and tried to assure everyone I was all right. My bike wasn't!! Walked home a little unsteady and anointed the cuts and bruises, cut in the foot, scrapped shin and hand a bruise on each knee. The knee seemed ackey--elbows hurts, shoulder hurts, as a matter of fact I hurt all over.

April 14
I'll never forgive Jere for his behavior last night, never. And more than anything else will I change the humiliation of being struck in front of my friends to his account. That I shall never forget. If that is all he thinks of me--to treat me so brutally at a time when all my nerves are [upset] by what might have been a serious accident, when I ache all over--no, that is unforgivable. I don't know what will happen but I do know this can never be erased, it will ever smother away selfish feeling in me for I am not a saint though I do love him desperately.

April 24
Met Jerry for lunch again with Winkie. We had [some] outing Winkie and I. All over God's country but God's country is a little barren right now. Was looking for [inlets] but there aren’t any yet.

April 28
I'm deeply disappointed in Jerry--don't know just why, but it affects me so much. Why didn't he tell me about it. There is no need to be ashamed with me. I hate to have other people tell me these tales.

Friday, June 23, [19kk]
I don’t know just what to say about Walter, I really don’t. I guess though, I’d better use [much more] discretion than the situation might warrant. There’s no denying the fact he rather likes me, and what’s the use to play with Jere. Not for myself, good heavens. I’m [someone] to him, but it’s true I do like him; he is German and so much like Joe. To me it’s a pleasure to have him around but not at the expense of his and Jere’s friendship. His and Jere’s friendship—[how] are they friends? Certainly they were, and if they aren’t I must honestly say it isn’t all Jere’s fault. He knows how he is, he’s been with us long enough, so it’s either [that he is really] too [long or he’s gonny weed] of him. Which I hope not. My darling is such a sensitive nature, it would hurt him very much. But I [know] just as soon as I know how it is one way or another, I shall see to it there’s a clean and complete break.

(That damned fool, does he think I’m so hard up for entertainment that I could ever remotely think of going out with him!! He must think me a complete ass. The poor stupid fool.)

[Typed entry glued into July 13]

July 1937
Well, you must admit my intentions were strictly honorable; was it my fault that fate conspired to make it sort of difficult to settle down to a lengthy report of my doings?

To begin at the beginning, I've had a most marvelous time up at Lake Hopatcong. You know we had the innocent intention of cycling up there---but, though my spirit was willing, the flesh remembered the head and the hills, oh those hills [drawing of large M] and balked. I'm ashamed of my flesh letting me down that-a-way; just think what it would have meant if I could boastfully say "We cycled all day, and what a day it was." But that privilege is now denied me, and a still small voice says "Thank the Lord."

Anyway, we packed our suitcases and our poochie plus blankets and ourselves in Lester's rumble seat and went up there Monday night. We lost a whole day that way, but what the heck--I spent the day lying on the couch storing up energy. The drive up was beautiful, truly beautiful. Cuddled up with Jere and Winkie hanging out as far as she could, we watched the marvelous scenery unfold itself. The very minute we got up there I jumped into my brand new bathing suit and--no, I did not jump into the water, I guess I'm just a coward at heart--I let myself gently in and had my swim. And I really had my swim, you've just jolly got to in that lake. The water's quite deep right at the dock, no bouncing up and down in the wavelets, swimming is serious business at Lake Hopatcong. But the water is warm and utterly delightful.

There was only one fault to find, I might go so far as to say there was a mosquito in the ointment. How those pesky mosquitoes always manage to find me is quite beyond me. If there are five people within reach of their bloodthirsty beaks, whom do they settle on? You've guessed it, ME. In short, they made a night of me.

Tuesday morning we got up late, had breakfast and proceeded to enjoy the sun, the water, the air, and had a most enjoyably lazy day.

Wednesday Jere went to Philadelphia to see Philco, but there's nothing definite. As luck would have it, it rained all day long, a fine dreary drizzle. Simply maddening. I spent that day curled up on the swing reading everything readable, which included the three books I'd brought for just that purpose. I only uncurled myself long enough to go down to the "Main Drag" between raindrops for something to eat. The something being a hamburger and a cup of 'cawfee.' In the afternoon someone knocked on the door, I went to see who on earth it could possibly be. There stood a young man asking if this was where Lester Laban lived. All the time his face wore a look that should have gone down in history. I kept a poker face and replied in the affirmative, I told him that he would not be home till about eight, however. He said he'd wait. So he waited--and his face spoke volumes, as plain as if he'd spoken I could see he was thinking it was deuced odd, a girl, A GIRL in a bachelor dwelling, (and I did not look like a charwoman, either, in my playsuit). My! My! that Lester, I didn't know he had it in him. Tsk, tsk,--I kept him in suspense all afternoon until the fellows came home with Jere, and he kidded me fondly and introduced me proudly as his wife. I sometimes wonder if he was disappointed. Thursday was practically a repetition of Wednesday as far as the weather was concerned, with this difference--Jere was there and he was not there. That is to say, he was there in the flesh, present and accounted for, but playing, of all things, chess. Chess!!!! Pray do not lose sight of the fact that we came up here to be alone, at least during the day. But it seems things never turn out as you'd expect them. Here we had exactly one day together and then we found ourselves obliged to entertain a perfectly strange young man. The only thing in his favor was his car. That saved the day at any rate. When said Thursday looked so gloomy and we found ourselves at our wits end trying to find something to do to pass the time, we finally hit on the plan to drive to the nearest town and hunt up a motion picture place. We drove miles and miles around in the country till we got to Dover. They actually had two movie houses there, both no damn good. Only matinee and evening performances, and this was half way in the afternoon, or about the middle of the picture. So we were faced with the difficult decision of either seeing only one picture in its entirely or waiting for the evening performance, or go home again and sulk. So we stayed and saw "The last Train from Madrid." It seemed as if the whole population of Dover and vicinity had come to see the last train leave Madrid among the hoots and cheers of the very young. It was fierce. After the show we hunted up a place to eat, and incidentally had a pretty good inspection tour of Dover's Main Street. Had an atrocious dinner and then went home again. Bought some detective thrillers on the way and when we got back settled down to an evening with Nick Carter.

Friday and Saturday was lovely again. We went out with the canoe, and explored all over the lake. Jere and I went way out into the big lake and I thought surely we'd have to swim for it. Whenever the motorboats went by they left such huge breakers that if they had caught us sideways they would surely have swamped us. I confess I was a little afraid. Jere was undaunted, he loved it. Thank the Lord he managed to get the canoe around each time so we rode with the waves. We went quite far out and up the lake once, where all the large places are, people have such gorgeous houses and boathouses in the lake. It was fun.

Sunday the fellows were there and we couldn't use the canoe anymore after all, they have only one day and it is their boat. Went for a walk and climbed all over the mountain with Winkie. Came back and lured the others with me, where we took some pictures. Lester's brother had come too, and we went home with him because we did not want to go the next morning to the plant with all our belongings and the dog. Lester's brother didn't go all the way to Plainfield however, he dropped us near a bus station at Springfield. Here we were with two suitcases and a box for Winkie. Oh, Lawsie me! We got off at seventh & Division, thank God, and safely landed home.

August 13
Rainy again, of course! And so cold and chilly. Went home with Guy. Al came up at night and he and Jere played chess.


[Glued in typed]

August 20 Letter to Dotty

Yours of the 16th inst. received and duly noted. In the name of the Casagrande Clan--I thank you. And now let's begin the business of the day. I give you all the hot news right off the griddle, and do the explaining afterwards.

Well, it looks as if the marriage license bureau is getting a right busy time hereabouts. Last Saturday Gert and Kay took a deep breath and plunged (the Lord have mercy on their soul) And this week Helen Katula buttonholed me and told me all about her engagement and coming marriage with graphic illustrations in the shape of a nice little ring. All cattiness aside, it IS a darn pretty ring. By now she has told the big secret to everyone who will listen, even Jere had been told. Ah, Love's young Dream! And the stork has been busy, he brought John Munn twins. Isn't that something? Several other blessed events are reported by various members of great C.C. of A. Every place you go to, expectant fathers are wracking their brain thinking up names for their coming offspring.

Ray had been away for a week, and left me to hold down the fort. Just between you and me and the lamp post, the wonder is I'm not a raving maniac now. All would have gone beautifully if things that had been on ice for months hadn't broken just then. First Beyer called up and wanted to know why in tarnation certain orders weren't put through. And I had to hustle and get all the information from scratch and muddle along as best I might. And muddle I did. (Aside: those durned Emerson Electric, wished they were in hell) And then the fun commenced. Every time I laid the receiver on its hook, the darn phone rang again. I think the word went round that I was boss for a week and people just shoved a lot of extra work my way. I answered letters and out of town calls. I called up people and arranged dates for orders. (Delivery dates) And if I hadn't been so busy I'm sure I'd have suffered from swelled head. I know there is one call that will linger in my memory forever, something to tell my grandchildren about. It seems Radio Station WOR sent in three large mica condensers to be inspected. They were found to be OK and I was told to get in touch with them and tell them to call for those condensers again. Well, I called the number given me and asked for a certain man, at a certain extension, and started to politely explain about the situation. Blank silence on the other end of the wire. Then "One moment, I will transfer this call for you", buzz, buzz, buzz. "Hello", "This is C.D. calling, blah, blah." Only to be told that they were sorry but they knew nothing of the matter and would transfer the call. To make a long painful story short, they transferred me to about eight different extensions none of which was the right one. I got the Music room, the library, and God knows what else. But then I was hoarse and beginning to froth at the mouth. I gripped the telephone firmly to keep from shouting and going stark staring mad, and with my last gasp I got the Engineering Dept. And just as I was sinking fast, found someone who spoke my language. I can honestly say, by that time I was ready to be wrung out and hung up to dry! It was such an awful week, too, a storm a day on the average. One night coming home we were caught properly by the oncoming storm. It came down in buckets, and we were both soaked to the skin in no time at all. Branches and small twigs came crashing down, and the rain drove with such force I could scarcely see out of my glasses. It was simply awful. When we got home we undressed in the kitchen, right down to the skin, every stitch was soaked, you could just wring it out, the kitchen was flooded by the time we got through.


August 28
Went to Mt. Vernon. Wasn't Pop and Joe surprised when I walked in. And Mom. Good ol' Mom! Went shopping together and had a jolly reunion.

September 2
Why do I quarrel so much lately? I'm all nervous and irritable. Went to the BCC Thurs. morning and didn't get to work till half past nine. Ray made me very angry. What has he in mind when he says he wants a girl to take [Wilber's] place. There is no need for another girl. We need a fellow not a girl. If he thinks I'll break in a girl for him only to get tat grand bum's rush--he's sadly mistaken. He can do his own dirty work.


[Typed letter glued in]

439 West Sixth St.
Plainfield, NJ
October 29, 1937

Friends, Romans, Countrymen!

The ax has fallen, the blow has been struck! The unbelievable and incredible has happened to me. I've been transferred. Last week they laid off quite a number of people, all over even in the stockroom, inspection and receiving dept., even Margy, the girl that got married recently, was one of the unlucky ones. My helper is no more either. And now Ray has met his Waterloo too, I don't mean he's fired, but the nearest thing to it. He is not in authority anymore, Weasel is. And may be you know what a hard one he is. Anyway they’ve remodeled or rather torn down all we've stood for, and gone back to the old style of handling returns. Orders and credits etc. go through the production department now of which Ted Wessel is in charge, drat his ornery hide! Therefore and thusly it was decided there would be no need of a girl, would Ray need an assistant to help him open packages? And that is what the job amounts to, now. So when Ray came back and told me the bad news I was really prepared for most anything, mostly the gate. But it seems it pays to have a husband in the lab, because he spoke to Mr. Bailey and Mr. Reid so I got a summons to appear in the dry electrolytics Monday morning and take up where I left off a year ago, namely testing. Well, that's life, here I spent all my time trying to get out of the factory and find myself right back again, and frankly I don't like it one bit. But in modified Kipling "A job's a job for all that--" I only wished to goodness Jere would make twenty-five a week and I'd gladly stay home and take care of Winkie.

All kidding aside, the plant's in an awfully bad shape, as slow as could be, some days the paper and mica departments are as deserted as a playground at night. It may be only their usual slack month but just the same it looks bad.

About Ray, you know, curiously enough I was the first one to know about it, quite by accident. I went to Miss Jaeger about some business and while I was waiting for her to make up her mind about it, I happened to glance down at the desk at a letter idly as you do sometimes, and saw that it was a letter from Mr. Beyer to the effect that the service dept. was now in the hands of Mr. Wessel and R. Steckel to refer in all matters to Mr. Wessel etc. etc. etc. I went back and asked Ray about it and he was quite thunderstruck and wanted to know in detail what the letter was about and whether it contained something about two weeks notice. But after the first shock it didn't seem to faze him a bit. I know it would just have broken my heart if it had happened to me, because it amounts to a demotion and can only mean that the work wasn't satisfactory to the "higher-ups." Practically everybody in the place knows it now, but Ray doesn't care and goes blithely on his way, frankly I couldn't do it, I'd get out before I'd get kicked out. But--that's his business, and I'm not connected with the service department anymore, so why should I worry. But I know he's going to miss his Girl-Friday, now that he has to do all his own dirty work. Any maybe I can regain all the pounds I lost in chasing from our place to the office and back. But I, I shall miss the free and easy time I had, I shall miss my daily trip to the cafeteria and the talkfests I held with all my friends, being a tester lets all that out, you test and don't do anything else but. They claim you make much more in bonuses and that, but I don't know, I have to be shown. And I'd much rather have an easy time of it and make only twelve-fifty a week. Oh well, those days have gone forever. Alas poor Yorick!

Jere did me the honor to let me wait for two whole hours and thirty long minutes tonight, I had a magazine and read it through from cover to cover four times while he gallivanted off someplace with Greenberg. So I had to get even and made him take me to Tony's for spaghetti dinner. Not much else that's news. Went to the show last night and saw "100 Men and a Girl" Diana Whateverhernameis [it was Deanna Durbin] is cute and sings marvelously well for a kid her age. And the music they had in the picture was right up Jere's alley. Had Guy up for lunch last Saturday. It seems funny having somebody to eat with again, gee I'd gladly make a whole bushel full of French fries for you if I could have you two up for dinner again. Everybody I know lives so far away. In all the outlying districts like Islin and North Plainfield. Say did you read that girl got off scott-free? Gosh, it isn't safe to play with these Islin girls. They can shoot their lovers and get away with it. By the by, they haven't quite forgotten you, Dotty, every once in awhile somebody will ask about you.


November 15
Got my permanent Saturday and what a dreary rainy day it was too. Went to the library yesterday and got one of those sick spells again. I wonder what the matter can be? Felt too sick to move but when [Harvey] and Ann came I raised myself and went out after all. It did me good. Heard a lecture on "Spiritualism" but it turned out to be just another [séance]. I would like to go Wednesday [though. Flat night to be aground].

November 21
Went to the concert with Jere and [Myron Baxter]. It was beautiful and that harpist could play. Was dreadfully timed though

November 23
Inveigled Jere to take me to see "Lost Horizon." I thought it was [expertly and superbly done]. But my darling did not think so. We almost quarreled over it on the way home.

December 6
"Fools names and fools faces are always seen in public places." That's pretty good...I am about to see Ali Baba Goes to Town and I think I'm pretty much of a fool myself. It's probably awful. The typical Cantor picture. But I don't care. I want to be amused. It's lonely home. The [raining] doesn't make it any better. It isn't any fun to putter around the house when it's so dreary. With Jere away the evening will be so long. Got a card from brother Joe. Wish he'd come this Sunday. I like to have him and he comes so seldom.

December 13
Jere called up this afternoon to say he was bringing Myron up to dinner. Had to rush out and buy a nice juicy steak. Dinner was good. Went to hear [German's] play after and he was marvelous. Had a cup of hot chocolate down on Front Street after. My, but it was cold out.

December 15
Jere dragged me off to the Greenberg's tonight. They're good-natured people and all that but I feel I haven't anything in common with them. Why do people [bore] me so much? Made a date with her to go skating and regretted it immediately after.

Read that damn book Gone with the Wind until after one o'clock. Any then couldn't go to sleep for thinking about it. Women are such queer creatures!

December 24
Went to Mt. Vernon on the 9 o'clock. train this morning. Helped Mother wrap packages all afternoon, then we went shopping together. Jere was there when we went back, the poor darling was pie-eyed and oh so sick. Mother and I trimmed the tree, it looked just beautiful.

December 25
Had Tante Rose and Uncle Lawrence also Eddie for dinner. W[ere any gumm,] it was [lost] after dinner gave out the presents and wasn't Santa Claus good to me!! 3 pr stockings, silver for 6, slip, nightgown and skating set. Jere got shirts, pajamas, scarf, and sox. Played bingo and it was fun. Everyone went home early so we went to be and read. Had oodles to drink and a lovely time.

December 26
Ten for dinner again. Jere made me angry--dashing out like that, he always has to spoil things. He doesn't care about my feelings.

Big Edmund and his son dropped in in the afternoon. I'm awfully sorry for the poor man, he lost his wife. We had a hilarious rip-roaring time, the wonder is I didn't get sick, drinking so much, but it made me feel good. I even danced the hula-hula, everyone thought it was marvelous. Joe kind of spoilt things with his crude talking.

December 27
Cleaned up for Mom. See I got up a quarter after five this morning to get Jere and Joe up and make their breakfast. Talked a while, then mother came too. Went back to bed at half past seven and slept two hours. Soon, I was tired, had a headache and no wonder left at half past four to get the six o'clock. train. If course I missed it. Got home almost eight o'clock. And so to bed. Felt kind of irritable. The long trip and all these suitcases and packages.

December 28
Cleaned my own house today. Good. Waxed the floors and dusted up. 'S funny I didn't get any Christmas cards this year, what's the matter with everyone?

December 31
Had intended to go early as last week but Jere promised to come home at noon. So I cleaned the house and dressed leisurely. Noon passed and no Jere. I was all ready to start and not hide our nor hair of him. Called the plant and Ann said he was out to lunch. Oh I was furious! Had a bit of lunch myself and around two he turned up. Took the 3:18 into New York with Wayne. Got to Mt. Vernon around half past five. Mother was angry but I placated her by going shopping with her. This business is getting me down. I almost wish I had no family. They're such a drag on me. Smoothing things over--first with mother and then Jere and sitting as if on [dispauite] is wearing me thin. I can't stand it much longer. I love my mother, but I love my husband more. Either one or the other feels slighted all the time. And I cannot and will not jeopardize my marriage. Jere always comes first. If I could only get him to realize it. He always claims I say so but my actions don't show it. Heck, perhaps I do prevaricate a little, but I have to. How else can I keep them from flying at each other.


1938 Diary

Saturday, January 1, 1938
New Year's Day

Well this New Year started with a bang!! Mother and Dad left for the movies, and Jere and I went at it hammer and tongs. I didn't mean to hurt his feelings. I just wanted to be left alone. And he made me simply miserably unhappy about the whole unfortunate experience.

I have never know him to be like that so so [furiously] passionate. I suppose it was those cartoons, they did tricks to me, too, but it worked the other way, they disgusted me, [so that is love].

January 2
Had a nice dinner. Afterwards everyone fell asleep and Jere, and I retired to the backroom, the dog house I should say, and read awhile. Then went out for a soda and a walk. But we had fun! It was almost like old times [humming] every step of the way. I'm sorry he went home so early, I missed him so. I love my darling ever so much, still and forever. Though he seems to forget sometimes that I do. To be in love must we be "one soul and one thought"? Always?

January 3
Well, this is a happy new year. I certainly never expected such a joyous and hearty welcome. So what am I supposed to do--grovel at his feet and beg his pardon abjectly. I'm quite sure I don't understand him at all anymore and I really don't know what to do about it. I'm certain I never said I'd be home at six and if I had and did show up at 7:15 that's nothing to make such a row about. And I'm supposed to forget and forgive anything that's offered me. Like heck I will!!!

January 4
We had a good heart to heart talk and finally straightened things out. My little love is a queer duck and made up of some queer complexes. I suppose I have to watch out for it, to keep him happy. Though why he should be jealous I don't know, perhaps it pleases me just a little too.

I wonder if there will always be this tug o'war between mother and him. I can't seem to make him understand---he's simply stubborn about it. I do love him more than anyone, more than mother; he is first, last, and always.

January 5
Got up early and met Jere for lunch. Got into S.P. at half past eleven and stopped in the receiving dept to talk to Tessie and Ray. It was fun, wasting time talking and not having to bother about work. Jere was glad to see me, the honey. Went to the bank with him.

Took the bus clear into Plainfield and shopped. Managed to get rid of most of my money. Went to the library and a pesky dog followed me and barked every step of the way and tried to [yank] on my [book]

January 6
Wayne and Guy came up for dinner tonight. It's fun having company, we had a good time.

Had ham, but oh, the hole it made in my budget. I just love to entertain, but I have such little money these days.



January 7
Forgot to mention we resolved not to smoke anymore and so far we both succeeded. Jere's appetite improved and I believe he gained a few pounds. He does get terribly irritable at times but I think that will blow over. My own sweet darling. Time just flies and yet seems to stand still. I love him passionately still and somehow more than ever. Can't look at him without a catch at my heart.

January 8
Got up with Jere and walked him part of the way until somebody picked him up. Promised to meet him at noon and did. It got very cold though--the ground was mushy and a foolish dog followed me all the way to S.P. My darling was uncomfortable on he way back but it was fun. Afterwards took out the bike to get my bit of shopping and Peggy (Peggy!) followed me all the way to the store barking every step of the way. But I couldn't be mad at him, he looks so wistful, poor doggie.

January 10
It really isn't fair to Jere to snap all the time. I see him only a few hours at a time. I should think I could humor him and spoil him a little. I love him, and I have the whole day to myself, so surely I can afford to be as lovable as I know how to him when he is with me.

It's [snowing] this morning and darned cold.

It's funny it's the tenth day without cigarettes and I don't miss them at all. I only hope Jere stays firm.

January 11
Nothing particular. Cleaned house and messed around with the stamps. We were absolutely dead broke. No coffee, no money, no sugar, no nothing. That must not happen again. It snowed beautifully all day.

Jere went to Greenberg to play chess. I walked part of the way with him and went to the library. Winkie and I had fun in the snow. Found some good books on housekeeping. Am going to study them carefully. Sweetie pie came back early. I was glad. Made hot chocolate.

January 12
Walked Jere to Randolph this morning. In spite of my resolution we had to scrap first. Oh dear, I don’t think it’s me. Met him for lunch, too. We did have fun, at least I did. Went to Ben Franklin market and things are marvelously cheap there. The only trouble is one has to carry one's purchases home and oh what a time I had. Half way home the bag burst, and I had to leave one package on somebody’s doorstep while I lugged the other home and then hurried back for it. I should have taken the bus. We’re going to Harry’s tonight to see his trailer.

January 13
We had loads of fun last night at Harry’s. Their trailer is adorable. It was snowing beautifully and we had a lovely drive through the swirling snow flakes. It made the most exquisite scenes. After supper tonight I coaxed Jere to undress and sure as shooting Guy knocked at the door to ask J to go to a handball game. He went. Ten minutes later they came back for me. And I went. And I enjoyed it immensely. We were there over two hours and it seemed like no time at all. Had a snow ball fight too.

January 15
Morning as usual. Jere had a haircut and of course I trotted along like a good lil’ wifie. Did my shopping though first. Played together all afternoon a bit rough, but we can take it. It was fun, surely, and I love being married--to Jere.

January 17
Felt, oh so sleepy, after last night. Heard the laundryman knock but didn’t bother to answer. Felt too drowsy.

January 18
Got up with Jere and walked with him almost to the SP line. It was terribly cold, I felt it at first. But I think it’s always fun to walk with my darling even if I do freeze a little. There’s a lot of snow on the ground and very slippery. Winkie had a grand time though playing through the snow. Washing and hemmed curtains. Nice! Sat with Jere in the workshop and straightened out my scrap book.

January 19
Jere came home for lunch today. It was nice, sort of something to break the day, something to wait for. Got the laundry this morning and spent all day ironing. Just rushed out at 4 o'clock. to buy a few things. Damn it, I spent all I laundry man every bit of it was for a necessity. What am I going to do? Jere’s going out after, he would! I’d like him to say with me. Went out to the library, stopped in for J on the way back.

January 20
Got very, very angry at Jere for calling me such nasty names. Didn’t speak to him at all anymore. He really is a trial. I had made a bet this afternoon with him--and lost. Now I’m supposed to do everything he wants me to without so much as a flick of an eyelash. I did do the typing he asked me to. And now I’m mad at him. But I suppose I’ll have to be a good sport and still do if he asks me to.

January 21
Didn’t speak until he came sheepishly up to me to say good-bye. Kissed him, but didn’t say a word. He came home for lunch though, and we made up.

January 22
Listened to the opera and then went shopping.

January 23
Stayed in the workshop almost all day. Just as usual--went out for the paper and read. Had a swell battle with my dear one after we went to bed. He was too hot and said so. That wasn’t all, he yelled and kicked and I was mad as hornets.

January 24
Always battling--! If it isn’t one thing then it’s another. But he came and was so tender and gentle I couldn’t resist making up. Jere came home awfully late for lunch, thought for a minute he wouldn’t come at all. Fixed a cot in the workshop, now it’s a little more comfortable.

January 25
Went to Ben Franklin on the bike cause it was kind of nice. It would be my luck to have to start to rain on my way home. And who do you think I saw! Max Blerd and he [waved] to me. My my. Just made it to the library too. Got The Goryms Hussy. It’s a most interesting book. I like her. Walked to see Wayne who’s supposed to be [sick]. Peg the dog went with us. But he wasn’t home. And it was so cold. burr. But we had loads of fun.

January 26
Jere got his little ol’ microscope out and is playing with it. I think it’s fun too if I could get near it! Golly, its got cold again. I started to sew up mother’s blouse. Uff!! It’s almost time.

January 27
Did not get dressed today. Aren’t I lazy! A salesman for milk stopped by this noon and didn’t we have a talk-fest about milk. Betty came up later and joined us, too.

January 28
Went out to get coffee before Jere came for lunch and then he was late after all. Poor lambie, the [felm] missed him and he had to walk all the way from the City Line.

January 29
Sweetie pie came home way past two o'clock. I’d just about given him up. Listened to the opera awhile and then went shopping. Betty came up and we had quite a lark. We’ve been having fun these past few days with the microscope. Jere woke up in the middle of the night and made quite a scene. I got awfully angry too and yanked off the curtain but he came and made up to me later. He was smart, mentioning that article “letter to my dead husband,” he knows anything like that melts me like wax.

January 30
We had a glorious time riding the bike today. It was so nice, almost like a spring day. Riding was exhilarating. We visited Gert and Kay and got home just in time before at dark. Boy were we tired.

January 31
Didn’t feel so good today, that awful headache all day. Went to the grocery store before noon, tried to be back by twelve and my precious babe had to be late.

February 1
Washed clothes all morning didn’t feel very good after. Of course--there was a reason. Jere called up and said he wouldn’t be home for lunch. Felt terribly lonely. Went to the library and brought back a batch of nice books. Betty was home with a cold and she came up for awhile.

February 2
Had a fierce stomachache all day. Went shopping this afternoon and took the dogs. Should have taken my bike, I hate to carry all those heavy packages. Wanted to have spaghetti as a surprise for Jere. But it seems the sauce wasn’t right. He was awfully sweet about it though. When I opened it to see what it was, I accidentally got that hot steaming sauce right in my eyes. Not hurt though. Later we went out to try to buy the right sauce and it was made with clams. Tasted simply awful. So we had a very meager supper of bread and butter. Too bad!

February 3
Woke up this morning out of a deep, deep dream [daunbed] sleep to hear Mr. S. calling me to the phone. Sweetie pie said he wouldn’t be home for lunch. It was raining too, a steady drizzly downpour. Went back to bed, had a headache. Didn’t get up til three. Betty came up. I wasn’t very pleased, but it was just as well. Oh yes. Tessie called me up today. That was a surprise.

February 4
What happened last night seems just like a bad dream. But you can’t explain the ache and pain away!! Why do we quarrel like this all the time. I don’t want to, I’m sure.

February 5
He was home this morning. Slept til almost eleven. Went for a ride and got his watch. Everything was fine til this afternoon. He got a [call] again and this time I walked out from under. Went to the show. Saw “Mr. Deeds goes to Town” with Gary Cooper. I liked it so very much. Heard it on the radio once, but the picture is excellent. Came home and things are neutral. Very well. I couldn’t help myself, I had to break the silence. Doggone it I do love him so much.


Making up is the third phase of the battering cycle. The batterer turns into Mr. Hyde, he is all sweetness and light, he "works on his wife's guilt." Mother begins to collude with her abuser "in denial."


February 6
Gee, didn’t we have fun today. Went out for a ride and it was grand. Came home and read all day. Mrs. Smythe sent up an apple pie, yum-yum it was good. She is really and truly nice. Yesterday I went on an errand for her and she sent up a grapefruit. I’d rather she didn’t, but I do think it was nice of her. It solved my dessert question anyway.

February 7
Well, well, the larder is quite empty. This is terrible. There really isn’t anything in the house, not a thing. I bummed from Jere so we could eat. Why can’t I keep back some money, but somehow I never have enough one way or the other. And things run out when I least expect them. I greatly fear five dollars is not enough anymore. I hope its the prices that have gone up and not my managing ability that has fallen down on the job.

February 8
I got mad at ol' man Smyth I did. Jere and I were fooling and I fell out of the bed ,and he opened his door and started to scold as loud as he could. He makes me sick. I wish we had a house to ourselves. The old nuisance.

February 9
Went out on the bike--shopping. Got caught in the rain again coming home. Gee, I never can reconcile my needs to my income. The budget simply won't balance. I buy the groceries and pay my bills and am broke for the rest of the week.

February 10
Went out on the bike for Jere’s watch. Wasn’t ready yet. That wristwatch is beginning to give me a pain. Forgot mother’s package, so went out again with Betty. It got awfully cold and sharp, and Betty just didn’t want to go home. I was so cold I could hardly hold on. On the way back we found a lot of Collier’s Magazines lying around, took some home.

February 11
Got up early and cut out a valentine from the Collier’s, made a real pretty homemade valentine heart for Jere, now I can take that money and buy a pair of suspenders. I did and who d’you think I met, Marge! of all people. Poor kid, it seems her marriage didn’t turn out so well. It’s a shame, she deserves a little happiness. She came home with me, and we had some coffee and wept on each other’s shoulder, so to speak. I feel awfully grateful for my husband, he is so sweet even with all his faults.

February 12
Went to the show last night. Saw “The Life of Emile Zola” with Paul Muni. It was simply excellent. Went shopping with Jere this afternoon, that is we went as far as Park then he went home. I bought a pair of red slippers for my valentine. On the way back saw a table I wanted. When I got home found a red heart candy laying on my dresser, the sweetheart. We went out and after much dickering he consented to the table but we finally did buy a better one. Cost $8.00 Whoa, I have to make that up and don’t know how. But it’s a nice table, and I like it.

February 13
Slept all morning in the work shop til Betty came up. Got dressed and got the paper. Went to library Read!

February 14
Felt awfully flue but had no money to go to a show. Was restless and my ear ached me, have a little [but] and it wouldn’t let me sleep.

February 15
I made a pie--such a pie. I wish I had a picture!! We laughed and laughed and I for one haven’t got over it yet. Jere felt blue and wanted to go somewhere so I went down and borrowed the missing quarter and went to the show. And of, was it swell. “The awful truth” with Gary Grant and Irene Dunn. Oh dear I laughed so much, my sides ache. It was funny.

February 16
Laura sent us a letter and some pictures. She’s a sweet kid!! Went out shopping. Was I loaded, didn’t think I’d get home. Looked up Marge and got her to come over. Had quite a talk fest. Went to the show again. Saw “Navy Blue and Gold” over twice. But it really was swell entertainment. I like it very much. So did Jere.

February 17
Almost overslept this morning. Got up after eleven. Wrote to Laura and his mother. ‘S gotten dark. Wonder if it’ll rain or snow again.

February 18
Don’t know what’s gotten into Jere lately--can it be Spring fever? He wants to go to a movie almost every night. Went to the Oxford tonight. That was the only show left we hadn’t seen yet. There were three pictures, all mediocre. I didn’t like that movie house at all. It has the oddest smells. Went to the “Del Mont” for an ice cream. Had loads of fun.

February 19
Was a bit tired this morning. Didn’t wake up till eleven. Had to hurry to give the house at least a lick and a promise before Jere came in. Went shopping late in the afternoon. Took the bike but it got almost too dark by the time I came back. Has been raining all day. Listened to “Lohengrin” with one ear and read a most interesting book on medicine. Jere gets the oddest impulses at the oddest times doesn't he?

February 20
We were very, very lazy. Didn’t have breakfast til half past eleven. Went back to bed and lolled until three. Got dressed and went out for the paper. Had a nice little supper and afterwards Jere dressed and took me to see "Tovarich" with C. Colbert and Ch. Boyer. We hiked all over town for it. Thought it was at the Liberty but it played in the Paramount “80 cents” tsk tsk we are ]surely] extravagant. “We stand for a lot but when we once break there is no stopping.”

February 21
Jere called up to say he’d not be home for lunch. Went in on the bicycle. Had a cup of coffee with him on the way home looked up Ann Woodall. Gosh they’re very out in the woods now. Had an awful job finding them. But had a lovely visit. Went to the show again. Can you imagine!! Saw [“Twanch”]. We looked all over town for it. I’d forgotten at which theater it played. It was the Paramount. How on earth are we to pay the rent?Kate Miller

February 22
Slept til half past ten. Made breakfast and we were just having it in bed when Ann came! Promised to come over this afternoon. So hurried and washed the dishes and cleaned up, also starched shirts and hung the wash up. At two I went out. We had a nice ride, went all over, it was fun. Felt too lazy to cook, so bought some delicatessen stuff, and we had that in bed too as it was gloriously lazy. Jere stayed in bed all day and read Mutiny on the Bounty.

February 23
Rainy today. Jere didn’t come home for lunch so couldn’t go shopping. [found] for awhile then tried to type a letter to mother. And the typewriter broke. So I took it down to First St. to have it fixed. The robbers want 25 cents. Met Margaret on the way. She’s keeping house for Harold Steufer. Walked part of the way home with her. In all this rain, but shucks, had nothing to lose. Got a letter from Laura too.

February 24
Went shopping this afternoon. Got my typewriter. Cost me 50 cents. I missed my bike to take all the bundles home. When I got back there was a note on the door from Ann. She’d been there and of course I was out. There was some commotion downstairs at half past ten tsk, tsk.

February 25
Got up early and worked a bit. Wrote to Mother. Jere came awfully late for lunch. Thought he wasn’t coming and put the things away. Luckily the soup was still hot--Ann came again in the afternoon. We went for a walk looking for a “cheap” used bike. Nothing doing. Walked her almost all the way home. Got terribly cold! She invited us for dinner Sunday.

February 26
Met Jere on the bike at three. We went to Liberty St. to inquire about “Poodle jumpers.” Jere’s been daydreaming all week about ‘em, so we went to find out some particulars about ‘em. Discussed it over lunch and went all over town looking for some information.

February 27
Harry came over around twelve to say that Ann wasn’t feeling well, etc. I wasn’t sorry. Bed was a very nice place to be on a day like this. It was very dreary and drizzly. We both stayed in bed all day long. It was a nice rest.

February 28
Cleaned house thoroughly. It was fun to [dust] all [our] furniture and [lg]

March 2
Went shopping after lunch. Rode back with Jere on the bike with the dogs in the basket. Came home through the woods. We had fun. Had a letter from Dot “special delivery” to say they’ll be out Saturday. That’ll be nice, I thought they’d forgotten us.

March 3
Oh gosh, but it was cold. I met Jere and after lunch rode back with him, and I almost turned into an icicle. I’d just gotten warmed up when Betty asked me to go downtown with her. She wanted to change her tickets. So we did. And it was still cold. After supper Jere decided on a movie again. We saw “Lady Believe” with Sally [Eillers] and another Charlie Chan, this time on Broadway. It was entertaining.

March 4
Didn’t expect my sweetie pie for lunch and was quite surprised when the gate slammed, and the dogs ran to meet him. Was just cleaning up the workshop. Had to run out on the bike to get coffee, and because I was in a hurry, I had to wait for 30 minutes. Gosh, I was flustered.

March 5
Woke up at seven this morning to let the dogs out and it was snowing. Later it rained and thawed and turned to slush. Isn’t that luck. I expect the Kodes at three, hope it’s nice then. They came around four o'clock. And oh what a jolly time we had. Though I must say I made an ass of myself. I can’t understand how it happened, I only had a few glasses of wine and I went out like a light. Don’t remember a thing about last night. They told me they had an awful time putting me to bed. I’m ashamed of myself but I still can’t explain it. Woke up this morning and was deathly sick. I've never been so sick in my life. I only wished I could die. My stomach was terribly upset. Couldn’t keep anything down. Got dressed, and we went for a walk at noon, and it made me feel better. Read the paper and played “Rumba” all afternoon. It was fun, really. Had supper and listened to the radio. Took ‘em to the station at 9 o’clock. Had an [viewvan] and so to bed.


I'll bet this is the story Mother always told about having no tolerance for alcohol, how she had had one glass of wine and passed out under the table.!


March 7
Got up early and gave the house a good and thorough cleaning. The floors were a sight. But it was fun having company.

March 8
worked hard all day ironing.

March 9
West shopping in the afternoon with the dogs. Met Betty on the way home and went to the library with her. Also paid the rent, and Mrs. H. made me so mad! Always this allusion to the “little dogs.” I’m sick of it. After supper Jere felt restless again. Went to the Oxford. Saw three mediocre pictures. Came home at midnight. Sorry we went.

March 10
Was terribly tired this morning. It was cold and gray. Woke up again at eleven and it was snowing hard. Snow in March!!! Jere didn’t come home for lunch. Loafed around til three. Went out to the Park [Stomes]. [snow] was most gone til then.

March 11
Was nice today--snow’s almost all gone. Got up early, cleaned the house and went to meet Jere on the bike. Took Winkie with me in the basket. Somehow or other she fell or jumped out and cracked her poor little head on the concrete road. I was so sorry. She doesn't seem to be hurt though. Just finished washing my hair when Ann came. She didn’t stay long. Promised to come over Sunday afternoon.

March 12
Jere came home around 1:30, had lunch. Went to First Street with the dogs. It was glorious weather. Came back and inveigled Jere to go for a ride. It was swell, we went all around over to and then back to Hillside Cemetery around to Harry’s and landed in Netherwood, then home along 6th St. Spent the rest of the day in the work shop reading.

March 13
Got up at nine. Jere said Harry would call for us at noon and I wanted to be ready. It started to rain and looked terribly dreary. I began to get bored. Wrote to mother and idled around til two o'clock. Then Harry came in his car. We had a jolly good time there. After supper went to the lecture again. All about the Philippines and Japan and 2 reels about [mother] ‘o Life. Oh but I hated to give my last quarter!!! Harry bought ice-cream on the way back, and we ate it in our house.

March 14
It still rained, harder than ever. And all day. Started to read and listened to the radio. Got very restless, got out my letters and diary and browsed in the past. It was fun. I like to do that. But when I try to interest Jere it’s just no go. He doesn't care. Made me feel a little bad. He was hard at work in his workshop so was wise enough not to bother him.

March 15
There was a knock at the door this noontime, and when I investigated there stood a blue uniform with shinny buttons asking to see my dog license. Had none and told him so. He said he’d be back tomorrow. Oh well, I guess I must get one. It’s still raining. Will it every let up, I wonder.

March 16
Still raining, damn it. Went out after Jere went back to work, and made the rounds. City hall for dog license, gas bill, 5&10 and finally King Arthur’s Market. Got rid of about 15.00. Oh dearie me! Got mad at Jere about something and wouldn’t draw his bath water. I spoil that fellow, god damn it. Woke up at three o'clock. And he wasn’t there saw a light and thought he’d gone to the work shop. But he was only in the kitchen getting a glass of milk. Anyway we made up.

March 17
Looked for a sign of change in the weather first thing this morning, but there isn’t any. Still going strong. Have had a headache all day. And Winkie is so restless she drives me crazy. Went out a couple of times but it doesn't do any good. After supper Jere and I went to the Liberty. It was still pouring. We saw Irene Dunn in "High, Wide, [and] Handsome" and some kind of mystery story with John Barrymore. My but that man has slipped badly in the last five years.

March 18
It was gorgeous today. A real touch of spring in the air. Met Jere for lunch and escorted him back again. Cleaned the floors and windows and then took the dogs to the library. Came home and saw Betty in the street playing with the kids so I went out too. I had real fun burning the skipping rope for them. Jere and I went to see “Snow White and the 7 dwarfs” and a cuter picture I haven’t seen since "Three little Pigs." It was adorable and comical. Also the Buccaneer with Fredric March.

March 19
Got up at the crack of dawn almost. It was lovely--there sure is Spring in the air. After lunch we took a ride on the bikes and on 8th St. I heard and then saw a red cardinal, by all that’s holy!!! I never expected to have such good fortune. Now I know Spring is here! Went towards South Plainfield and saw a house for rent. Inquired about it and felt very much as if we wanted it. But on sober second thought decided against it. We have a cozy little place so to heck with Mrs. Hubbard.

March 20
Forgot to mention the “Brass-button” came at noon yesterday and asked to see the license. I heard him come and grabbed Princess and stuck him in the closet and left my darling to face the blue menace. All’s well!!!

March 21
Got up and it was so glorious. Went with Jere to SP, it was fun. Met him at night too and for lunch. At five o'clock. we went home the round about way. It was glorious, Spring is here indeed! Went to the show again, didn’t want to go, but Jere bummed some money from Donnie and we went to the Oxford. They gave me a teaspoon, but it was very dear at the price. The pictures were, as usual, mediocre!

March 22
Well, I’m working again! Went with Jere on the bike to work this morning. And when I got back Mrs. Smyth called me to the phone. It was Ray. Would I come to work for a week? Oh well, I might as well recoup my fortunes. That will make me catch up on that last week. Then the going will be smoother again. The fist day was all right, but I don’t like it. Was cranky last night and oh so tired. Now why?

March 23
I lent my bike to Blanch and brought sandwiches and ate them by the brook. Work goes on pretty steadily. In a week I’ll certainly be done. Went to the Park Store for food. After dinner we went to the movies again. Again! I’m getting fed up on mediocre second-rate pictures. Was so tired!

March 24
It got quite cold today--steadily! By the time we went home the wind cut through me like ice. I was numb and of course as cranky as a sore thumb. I wanted to take the bus. Found a letter from Mother. I must go and see her soon. We went out to dinner. It was very good. But somehow or other I [broke] my filling, now I have to go see the dentist again. And oh dear that--the tooth--he always hurts so much with his drill.

March 25
Work about as usual. A little fun, a bit of gossip and writing reports all day long. Ray brought me two Esquires as a token of his appreciation. Dear, dear. Decided to go to the Premier tonight right from work. It was marvelous. Saw "Snow White and the 7 dwarfs" again. Also "The Hurricane." I loved it. After the show bought some cold stuff at the delicatessen and had supper. That was at 10 o'clock. Oh but I’m tired.

Saturday, March 26
Got up with Jere. He helped make breakfast. Cleaned house and chatted with Mrs. Smythe. Got those two letters from Jere’s mother and Laura at last! Was glad to hear from them. Answered right away. I wish I could do something real nice for Jere’s mother. I feel terribly sorry about it all. She has her burden!

Went over to Gert in the afternoon. It was a little windy but otherwise nice. Had a nice little visit with Kay. The going home was hard--we were against the wind! Had supper and I listened to the radio while Jere worked in the work shop. Gee, I hate to think of going to work tomorrow.

Monday, March 28
Well I have the work in the [Semi] Dept almost cleaned up and tomorrow afternoon I shall have to go over to the [Dry Electrolytics] and I just hate the idea. Schafer played me such a dirty trick I simply hate to lay myself open to him again. But then I suppose I can stick it out for two months. We’ve got to have some clothes. If only the girls were a little friendlier--I’m not used to being snubbed like that. They’re all alike--the cats. Ready and willing to cut one’s throat! But I like Therese, she’s a nice clean kid.

Well, it wasn’t so bad. I find it tiresome though to sit still and do one thing all day. And my back hurt me so. It started to rain on the way home.

I must have caught cold yesterday. I felt terribly sick this morning when I got up. Such fierce cramps--I could hardly stand up. Felt nauseous and dizzy. Of course I didn’t go to work. Spent the whole day in bed. Jere, my sweet hubby, came home for lunch, to look after me. Got up and made something, the pain was most all gone, only an occasional twinge. Betty came up and stayed awhile. She’s a sweet kid. Jere told me that Harold took ill with very bad [grave]. Too bad about him.

Back as usual. I’m getting used to it again. Had to work overtime and didn’t get home til after seven. Harold came over and explained--I'm sick to death of his explanations. They don’t mean a thing. I’ll just stick it out til I've the money I want, and then they can all go to Hades. We went out and bought Jere a shirt and some things then went to a show. Came home and was too tired to eat.

Worked a half a day this morning. Had lunch with Here and went home. Went to First Street shopping.

Worked hard all morning to clean the house up good. Jere worked all day on inventory. He came home for lunch though and brought Gert Geissler. Went shopping again in the afternoon with Betty and spent too damned much money. Betty gave me the cutest little jacket. I’ll have to do something for her soon. By the way, we had some ‘swap and trade’ this morning didn’t we!!

April 3
Jere woke me up this morning at half past five--the [lug]. I made coffee and then went back to sleep. At nine he woke me up again. Made coffee and again went back to bed!!! Got up at twelve, had lunch and went to the library. At night went to the movie with Betty. Saw “The Big Broadcast of 1938” was all right, mostly [singing] and comedy but funny enough.

Monday, April 4
It was terribly cold coming home. I was most froze. doesn't it ever get warm again. damn it. After supper, we went to the Liberty, saw “Wells Fargo” with Frances Dee and Jole McCray and “Double or Nothing." Just another musical comedy blast ‘em. We went pretty late and saw only part of the first film, not even enough to make sense. Jack Holt played in it. I think it was “Under Suspicion."

Worked in the Receiving Dept all afternoon. It was fun. Gee I miss that place, and Tessie is such a good kid. I like her better than any girl in the plant. After supper Jere wanted to go out to a show. Saw “Of Human Hearts” with Walter Huston and J. Stewart. It was very very good. Also saw the “Big Broadcast" over again.

Worked overtime tonight and what do you think, it’s been snowing all day. This is awful. I thought Spring was here, and we’ve got a blizzard! Got a letter from Jere’s mother. They’re coming out for a few days after Easter. It’ll be so nice. I always had wanted her to. Answered her letter and wrote to Laura. Am tired now.

Came home a half hour earlier tonight and started to write to Mother. I’d like to go see her this weekend. Went to the [show] after supper.

Went in at nine o'clock. this morning and like a ninny took the wrong time card. By the time I got straightened out the #20 boy went by. Went home and took Jere’s bike. And it started to rain, and I was all drenched by the time I got there. Jere worked late and I went home on the bus. It rained harder than ever. And this is the night of the [coronation[ but we didn’t go. I’m sorry to disappoint Betty.

Sorry I had to work today. Until two o'clock. too. Went home on the bike. Cleaned house and went shopping.

Just lazed all day. Washed my hair and the clothes and cooked duck all afternoon. But it was good. I always have such good luck with my poultry.

Seem to be catching on the work now. After being in the red all week I finally made some bonus on Saturday. Well, well. After a cold supper we went to the movies. Saw Robert Taylor in “A Yank at Oxford” was pretty entertaining.

Ate our lunch with Henry this noon. He’s a good sort. After supper went to the dentist and had my tooth fixed $2.00!!! only. Had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Harris about astrology. Were there until 10 o'clock by golly! But it was kind of interesting at that. But I fear I have very little faith in astrology after all.

Came downstairs this morning and Jere’s bike was gone! Was still gone when he came to work at 10 o'clock. Seems as if it’s really stolen. Can’t get over it! They left mine there and just took his! If that isn’t a streak of bad luck. damn it. Went out after supper to price bikes. Went over to Harry’s friend about that racer. Gee, but those people seem poor. Maybe they need that money. Came up First St. and went to the Oxford.

Went in at 10 o'clock. this morning. Had to go to the B.C.C. Harold came over and asked if I’d mind testing foil. I didn’t and don’t, what do I care what I do. It seems interesting but the [framing] room is terribly hot and steaming. This afternoon they moved me out into the winding room. Much better. Now if I can only get some work to do everything is fine. No work all afternoon, went almost crazy. Went out and bought Jere another bike $10.50. We’re that much in the red now. I hope it teaches us a lesson.

Went home at four o'clock. today. And went back at five thinking to meet Jere. He was awfully quiet on the way home but wouldn’t say anything was wrong until we got home. Then the bad news came out. He, along with the rest of the electric lab, was dismissed. Just like that. I can hardly believe it. It seems so utterly incredible.

Went shopping with Betty. Now I’m broke of course! Oh well, we’ll get along somehow. We always have.

Sunday, April 17
Jere got up and made breakfast and we served each other our [natural] surprises.

Thursday, April 21
Got off at five to go to the train for Jere’s mother. Came home and found a letter from Dotty. Read the letter going to the train and missed it, of course, [so] I’m walking up Park. Had some talk-fest. Mother looks good, and very nice in her new outfit. Am glad Jere’s out looking for a job so she won’t have to know. I want to make her stay as nice as we possibly can

Friday, April 22
It rained all morning in torrents. Jere didn’t get out and had to invent an excuse. Called up at noon to see what they’re doing. Came home and we all went to the Oxford. Was all right. Came home and made something to eat. And so to bed.

Saturday, April 30
Met Laura at the station. Ernest was with her. It was so nice having young people for company. I persuaded Ernest to stay over til tomorrow night. Went riding and walking and down to First Street shopping and had a grand time.

Sunday, May 1
Got up at nine, had breakfast together. Went out to play badminton. Took pictures and went to an empty lot to play ball. Boy did we get exercise. After lunch went for a long ride with Ernest and Laura. Relaxed a while, had dinner and then took E. to the train. And then home and to bed. Was I tired, oh boy!!!

Monday, May 2
Jere started today in Aeronox. I've been thinking about him all day wondering how he made out. He came home so very late--eight o'clock. Laura and I met three trains then gave up. The next one was his. When we all got back, the fellows were there. We had some time. L and E went out later on. I like that kid, she and I could have lots of fun together. Too bad she has to go back so soon.

Tuesday, May 3
Got off at noon to go home and have a little time with Laura. We went out on the bikes and had scads of fun. Went shopping together and then she packed and Betty and I took her to the train. Gosh, it seems such a shame. She had a great time here.

Wednesday, June 8
I wonder why the fellows don’t ever come up unless specially invited. Is it because they don’t like Jere enough or because they don’t enjoy themselves with us? They seem to feel at home and they certainly stay long enough when they do come. They go over to Gert’s often enough. Oh well, I don’t much care one way or the other except for Jere’s sake. And I don’t like to mention it to Jere. He might wonder and feel hurt.

It was terribly hot again yesterday. Don’t know how long I’ll be able to stand it. I do wish something were definitely decided about this position we’re in. I’d like nothing better than to stay here but I don’t want to drag on indefinitely hoping something will turn up. It’s too much of a strain on us. Only a few hours together and always tired. There never seems to be any time for anything any more.

Have got a “16” [tritlon] now. And I've just about had one from each dept. Checked out at 3:15 and went up to receiving, wished I hadn’t Ray can be such a nuisance with his impertinent questions. He doesn't fool me a bit though. Came home at a quarter of four went to the store with Betty and the dogs. Met Jere and we went to the Strand. Saw “Dr. Rhythm” with B. Crosby and B. Lillie. She is funny indeed, also “Test Pilot” with C. Gable and M. Loy. The picture was good, but I think he is overrated as an actor. I [very be mug]

Woke up at nine. Had a little rough and tumble, then breakfast. Cleaned house in the afternoon. Betty and I worked in the garden. I bought some grass seed and fixed the lawn. It rained later and a good thing it was. Was tired but happy about the whole thing. Read until very late. It was terribly hot and sticky. It stormed in the night and how. [Flash cover]-- enough to scare a person under the covers

Woke up mad cause Jere didn’t get me the news. I got over it quick though. Had breakfast in bed. Was too hot for anything so I coaxed Jere to take me to the show in the afternoon. He is such a sweetheart. He got showered and dressed, and we saw “Four men and a Prayer,” the prayer was Loretta Young. It was a nice picture. We both liked it.

Tuesday, June 14
I’m terribly tired this morning and of course as cranky as a bee. Don’t know what’s the matter with me lately--I complain and resent too much. That’s not like me and it won’t do. It’s got to stop. I've got to look at things sensibly. I know it’s impossible as yet for me to stay home. We’ve got to have a bit of money in the bank before we think of [something]. We finally decided it would be best to move back to New York. We’ve got to find a place to move to first, and I don’t know the last thing about the residential places in NY We ordered a map of New York. Perhaps that will help a little

Thursday, June 16
Didn’t have much work yesterday, was finished with the foil at ten o'clock. already. Frankly I wouldn’t have minded going home but Charlie had other ideas so I rolled [anodes]. Good grief, what next!!! Hate that job, its tiresome. Worked til five-thirty. Seems as though most people are pretty nice when you get to know them. I get along nicely with everybody, and I think it’s because I genuinely like people until they teach me not to. But nobody so far has really reached the core of me except Jere. With him I can even be [lurid] and like it. Poor Mr. hips has a terrible [encounter with a big [dumb brute] of a dog last night. I thought he was killed for sure. Poor little doggie, he was so scared he was simply paralyzed with fright. But thanks to our interference there was no serious damage. Just dazed with shock, but he’ll be all right.

Friday, 6/17/38
There never was a such a morning, was all through by ten o'clock. Nothing to do anywhere, tried to get Charlie, but he was always in conference with Denver and Jawles. Hung around the ladies room with Peggy, and we laughed silly with it all. Checked out at twelve went up to the [winery] and had a nice chat with Ray and Tessie. Mostly with Ray while Tessie was reading. Stayed there til three-thirty got my check and finally went home. Got a notion I wanted my permanent then and there and promptly went to the CSS and [they] began, got out at six all beautiful. The ------- What a relief, met Jere and the days sldjf we went to the show at the Liberty. Mldf deljs I was sldj so he ald jdlf Also the as;f ath the butler ljf sWm Powell skwas very disappointing.

Got up sort of early 9 o'clock. Jere went to get a haircut, and I shopped. Wasted all morning walking and foolishly, but knuckled down in earnest and cleaned house in the afternoon. Later we went for a ride and had a scrap. It wouldn't be a day together if we didn't have a few heated words.

Sunday, June 19, 1938
Went to the Strand this afternoon. Saw Bill Parse when we came out. He said he was taking Arnold’s place and Dr. Vogler took Tolmen’s position and that between them everything was running smooth. I told him I understood they had offered the job to Dr. Sfeckel but he poo-pooed the idea. Now where did Ray get that notion and why tell me. Why does he always try to seem important to me. I don’t care one whoop in hell, and besides I don’t believe a word he says even if it were true. He and his raises and his work. I’ll never believe he makes thirty-five or even twenty. The next time he tells me I’ll ask to see his check. That ought to stop it one way or the other.

The "Joy of Living" with Irene Dunn and Doug Fairbanks.


Tuesday, June 21, 1938
Honestly, Ray gives me a pain--! You can’t say a word in that lousy place, and he knows it two minutes later. That place is like a sieve.

I don’t know where he gets his ideas from anyway. What did he mean by that crack that Jere works for Glassman. Mr. Glassman is a specification writer and possibly he has anything to do with the draftsmen. But Jere is not a draftsman. If he were, he would have told me so. He is always trying to belittle Jere to me, and I won’t have it.

Wednesday, June 22, 1938
Slower and slower--checked out at three fifteen today. Just hung on by the skin of my teeth. Was kind of glad though.

Thursday, June 23, 1938
Business seems to get slower all the time. Got off at twelve, stayed with Tessie till one. Sidney told me “confidentially of course” that we’ll have a four-day-a-week again soon. That’s not so good. I hope I can hold out another month at 8 dollars a week. Otherwise I don’t know how we’ll move, and I definitely want to.

Friday, June 24, 1938
Came through the fields again this morning. It was somewhat foggy and the birds were at their liveliest. I love to come early in the morning and watch them. Some are orange colored kind but couldn’t stop to watch it closer. Met Mr. Beyer on the way--he’s a very friendly man and never fails to greet me with a smile. This morning he asked in passing if I’d seen the pheasants. I was so surprised I could only smile and nod.

Tuesday, June 28, 1938
Its been raining pretty steadily since Sunday. It’s too bad---we took Jere’s suit to the cleaners on Saturday, and now the poor lambie has to shiver in those blue flannels.

Friday, July 8, 1938
Merciful heavens is it hot!!! I don’t know how I stand it. Thank God I don’t have to be in that stuffy oven with the other girls again. I won’t like it one bit having to work tomorrow. Got off at five o’clock and went to Front Street to buy mother’s bathing suit. Hope she likes it--it’s a beauty.

We went to the Oxford again. Came home at one o'clock, and I have to get up tomorrow. Damn it.

Monday, July 11, 1938
Got off at 5:15 went down town to look for another culotte dress. Went from shop to shop finally found a nice one in Don Roberts. Spent 3 dollars for it. Now I haven’t got enough money for Jere.

It rained something fierce in the afternoon, and I was terribly worried about the open windows, but Mr. Smythe shut them for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 1938
Got off at noontime it’s so terribly hot I don’t mind. Went home and washed clothes, went to the library and then lay down and fell asleep till five.

Wednesday, July 13, 1938
Came home at one o'clock. again. Spent some time with Tessie first. Tessie is a nice little girl and I like her lots, but I fear she takes herself to seriously.

Friday, July 15, 1938
I just developed the most gosh awful tummy ache. Don’t know what it could be...it’s too early for my period, and it couldn’t be something I ate. Probably caught a cold in my abdomen again. It’s quite cool now after that fierce rain storm we had this morning. I thought it would never clear up in time to go to work...but it did. Came home at noontime, had trouble with the refrigerator and expected Mrs. H. to come. Billy came up for company and went with me to get a dfj. It started to pour and we both got wet.

Saturday, July 16, 1938
Got up pretty early, wanted to make the 9:02 train. Jere got angry about the badminton set I wanted to get and couldn’t. For the sake of peace I offered to go there and try to find the store open a little before nine. The man was so slow doing it all I thought I’d never make that train though I ran every foot of the way. Just made it. Jere & I played the game all afternoon in the boiling sun. I was so tired and hot, but it was fun. I’m worried about Pop, he hasn’t got much work, and he’s so disgruntled and discontented and grouchy.

Sunday, July 17, 1938
Joe came with Eddie and Dick and Dick’s wife and kid. We had a grand time. Left too late at night though, and the traffic was very heavy in spots so Joe couldn’t make good time. Missed the last train and stayed at Dick’s house overnight. They’re both very nice.

Friday, October 7, 1938
There was Jamaica Day today and I went & put my neck.
Saturday, October 8, 1938
Jere put up the aerial, and I sewed myself a new dress. Went out on the bike for some air. Kriy Cullen miraculously cashed a check for me. Jere went away with the bike keys and just didn’t and didn’t come back. I was mad clear through--but never can stay that way. Jere is pretty discouraged with his job. I don’t say anything but do hope everything will be okay

Sunday, October 9, 1938
Went down to Joe. We had to have a quarrel afternoon. Any why couldn’t I buy a magazine if I want it!!! Lotte and Erick came along. Mother was glad and so was I. Had a nice time. Came home in the rumple seat...gosh I almost froze to death. Joe stayed at our house over night. Brought home that beautiful pottery lamp. It looks nice on my table.

Monday, October 10, 1938
Rose came over in the morning to ask me to go with her this afternoon. Had lunch with her, went to Seme’s for my eval--it’s a beauty. Took the elevated down to Macey St. , met Oncle Lawrence. He drove us shopping, stopped by some people (I thought we’d never get away!) went to meet Jere, had supper & went to the show. Tsk, tsk, we spent too much money.



Economics forced a separation in 1939. Mother started working as a maid (or babysitter) for the Cribari family. The Cribari's had a child named Camille. “Mia” to Mother, after whom I was named. Father never seemed to be unemployed in those days. Although laid off from CC of A and working briefly for Aeronox, he started a job with Cornel Dubileer in 1939.


From Jere in Jamaica, NY to Frances c/o Cribari, 395 Westchester Ave., Mt. Vernon, NY

Cedar Manor, LI
Feb. 11, 1939

Dearest love,

          Today the sun ventured out into the big world and at intervals showed his head. Such temerity emboldened me to do likewise, so the "honeybuns" accompanied me to King [Culleus] and to the dairy. Joe didn't come.

          This morning Mrs. Ferrara asked me to pay for the coal when it came and showed me how to open the window. She gave me a $20 bill, and when the coal had been delivered, the driver had no change. Being a born fool and optimist I permitted him to take the money and bring back the change on his way back some time later. An hour passed, an hour and a half, two hours; no driver. All sorts of things flitted thru my mind, mostly recriminations, and visions of what I would have said to you had you done so.

          He finally returned with the change, and I took the dogs shopping. Knowing what to expect on a Saturday, I had intended to go at noon, but it was late afternoon when I got there. Winkie came in three times and I had to abandon Chippie in the "cart" while I put her outside again.

          When we arrived home I fed us and went out again.

          Rose wasn't home last night; they must have gone someplace and forgotten that I was invited over. It was better so, because I heard Orson Wells in the "Green Goddess."

          How are feeling? Are you getting enough rest and quiet? Do you cry any more? Let me know what you do.

                      As every your sweetheart,



The honeybuns send their tail wags.


[Letter from Frances to Jere]


          Everybody is going out and I wish I could too. Somehow this week doesn't seem to be as long as that first one. I clipped an article out of the Argus, and, sweetheart, that's exactly the way I feel about you. I'm rambling again but that's the way it always goes...I feel I must talk to you and then my thoughts just come tumbling out helter-skelter fashion. I've always wanted an opportunity to be away and write you nice, interesting and amusing letters, the sort The [Koches] and Tessie enjoy so much, but I fear I'm sadly handicapped. I'm root bound so to speak, I go nowhere, scarcely read anything, just do the same old thing in the same old way and live from Thursday to Sunday and Sunday to Thursday. In fact my whole life is bound by 'Jere', east, north, south or west it's Jere-Jere-Jere all the time, and without you I'm like a comet without his tail...a sad sight indeed.

          Well, I've got to confess, my record as "Burner of Prunes" still stands, a shining example to all those who aspire to that fine art. To make my mortification complete there was no hiding my sin in the garbage can, the lady of the house was right there---sniffing with the best of them. Shucks, even the best of cooks spoil a broth now and then, and who am I to say I'm not a good cook? Mrs. Cribari said they're making an Italian out of me before I know it. I've tasted and cooked all kinds of concoctions and strange to say I'm not averse to any...I rather like 'em for a change. I'm afraid my palate will be spoiled for ordinary American fare. But then, I have a stomach like an ostrich (and that helps a lot) besides the simple, uncomplaining [face] of a scullery maid who'd eat potato peeling and consider herself well fed.


Monday 2/13/39

Dearest & Best:-

          Thanks a million for your letter---it just hit the spot. Today is such a lovely sunny spring day it gives me nostalgia. Just can't help thinking what fun it would be to get out our bikes and go off somewhere for a spin.

          Had the baby out for a long walk this morning and came back with my mind full of you and the fun we used to have together. I guess seeing all the kids out on their bikes and roller-skates set me off. Honeybun, please don't go over to Rose's so much. Try to get out of it as much as you can, make up some sort of alibis. I don't want them to say after that they fed you etc. etc. and that you came over uninvited all the time etc. etc. They're the sort of people you can't guess what they think of you and they won't tell you when you're not welcome. Witness: Katie. Mother wrote that they again came uninvited that Sunday we popped in and they had the house full. I don't ever want to go freely to people I can't trust.

          Isn't Elsie a funny little duck? I'm so glad she finally got what she wanted. Remind me to write to her.

          Oh, my sweet darling, you're an old faker and as inconsistent as most males. Tsk, tsk, such trust!!! Why, you wouldn't trust me with a $20 bill. I'll bet you breathed a prayer of thanksgiving when that missing change showed up!?

          Oh yes, I get plenty of rest, Mrs. C. is very much concerned about my rest period, but it isn't always possible. Nevertheless I get lusts of sleep at night, now that I'm a little used to the routine and the bed and sleeping alone. They're all gone and left me this afternoon, so I got myself an apple, a hunk of cake and retired to my room.

          Are you going to meet me here again Thursday? I'll look for you on my way, and if you can't or won't it's okay too though I'd like you to.

          Give my love and a pat to the bow-wows and lots of love and kisses to you my sweet darling from your little monkey.


Letter from Frances to Jere:



Hello Sweetheart:

Waited fervently for the mailman and my reward was a measly "Home & Garden," oh well, tomorrow may be (hopefully)

D'you know I found out why I never can get up enough interest to listen to symphonies etc. at home and the fault is entirely yours. I kept quiet for an awfully long time now; I didn't want to spoil your so obvious enjoyment, but I'm missing too much myself so now I shall rebel....You know darned well I can't listen to the music and you at the same time.

Had such a beautiful time last night listening to Tchaikovsky’s Melody in E Minor (I'm not sure about the title but I know how it goes). I put out the light and beat time, hummed and whistled with the best of them. All of a sudden I had a vision of you, doing the same thing probably. I smiled to myself and enjoyed myself twice as much.

Had the oddest accident the other day, we have the birds-eye matches, you know, and I lit the oven and blew out the match--well, just at that moment I inhaled and instead of blowing out the mach I inhaled flame and sulfur and everything. I tell you for a moment I thought I was poisoned, it gagged and bound my throat at every breath I tried to draw. Oh, it was hours before I could breathe without that gagging sensation in my throat, and I almost coughed my lungs out in the process. But no fear, my days are not yet numbered, and I shall probably die in my dotage laughing at my foolishnesses. By the way did you listen to that play last night, "Lord Savile's Crime"? Oh, it was so funny. And I thought Charlie McCarthy was unusually good.

 I came across a poem this morning that I just had to copy down. Did you ever hear of Thomas Moore? I never did, and I thought I knew all there is to know about poetry.

          And so good night my love, good night et. etc.

          A thousand Kisses


Good Night! Good night! -- and is it so?
And must I from my darling go?
Oh, dearest, say 'good night' once more
and I'll repeat it o'er and o'er,
Till the first glance of dawning light
Shall find us saying still 'good night'.

And still 'good night' my darling say
And whisper still 'A minute stay',
And I will stay, and every minute
Shall have an age of rapture in it.
We'll kiss and kiss with quick delight
And murmur while we kiss 'good night.'

'Good night', you'll murmur with a sigh
And tell me it is time to fly
And I will vow to kiss no more
Yet kiss you closer than before
Till slumber seal the weary sight--
And then my love! My soul! --good night


Note from F to J in envelope labeled 'Best Beloved'

But I long for you today, dear heart of mine, so much so I must put aside all work to saturate myself with this longing. Was it yesterday or years that your arms were around me last and your love a tangible thing that [shivered] and throbbed, [hurt] and soothed. It must have been years, long and empty years since I felt your mouth crushed against mine and your passion hot in my blood--an exquisite flame.

Lover, lover, my happiness lies heavy on my heart. I cannot [carry] such a burden alone. I need you so today, I feel like a wearied and [thirsting traveler] thinking of all the cool places and wines he's known.

How endlessly long the day and so slow when I would hurry to you Dearest, Life is so hard--and so generous. I found you, and the glory of it numbs me, and yet I lose you every day anew. When I would put out my hand for reassurance I grasp nothing but memory. It is such agony to long so for the touch of you, to hear you...see you...and there is nothing but waiting for the day to end.

Beloved, you are my life, my heaven and my hell. I would have heaven so I must take the hell. Without this agony there could be no sweetness in our meeting, but oh my darling let it be soon.


[Letter from J in Jamaica, NY, to F. Casagrande, c/o Cribari,

Dearest lil'doodle bug,

          I miss you so, sweetheart. Our love nest seems like an empty garage. Every piece of furniture, each little knickknack and whatnot that catches the eye, the shadows, the very atmosphere cries out that you're away, asks that the spark which makes [a heaven here] be brought back.

          Your mother has probably already told you I'm working. After having breakfast this morning I went down for the mail, which was a card from Catrina to you, and then went to Harry's. He was just about to leave for here to tell me Dubileer had phoned, so I rushed home, shaved, dressed, lunched, and arrived there at 12:30.

          They gave me medical forms to fill out, but I wasn't able to take the physical exam because the doctor was absent. Probably tomorrow I'll get it and then there will be nothing to fret over.

          At one o'clock. they gave me a button, a pass, and a time card, after punching which I was put to work. It seems that most of my work consists of checking quantities of finished work. Innumerable containers of from a hundred or so to a few thousand condensers must be counted, listed in one of three or four [ways], and passed on. The counting is done by weighing.

          Most of these condensers are oily, a heavy sticky coating like grease, which gets over everything. You can imagine how I felt--in my best clothes, with a white shirt and white shoes, a slide-rule under my arm, put on this work!

          I was threw at 5, to report at tomorrow. I had supper with Harry and Sally, came right home, cleaned [fat] prepared for morning (including alarm set for 5:30) and am writing this in bed.

          Dearest, it would be awfully nice if you could come home. Perhaps we should be glad of the opportunity to be apart, but for me a return to "freedom" holds no allure.

          Much love,




letter from F to J, front side only of paper


Well, sweetheart, now we'll turn prosaic! Are you eating all right--please do, it will worry me if you wear yourself down to a shadow of your former self.

          I'm going to take Mia out for a walk now, so I'll mail this. The durn kid wouldn't take her nap and I'm so tired today for no reason at all. But you know me--I never can get enough sleep. Golly will the day ever come again that I can loll in bed till afternoon!!! Well tomorrow is Sunday and I get more rest. They're going out for dinner so I shall have 'mine ease in mine inn,' no supper to cook nor nutin'. Goody-goody. It seems a shame to waste all that nice space in back, but I really must run. All my love to you, Dearest, and a thousand kisses. (I'd give most anything for one real one!)

          Patiently and forever yours,



[letter from J in Jamaica, NY, to F. Casagrande, c/o Cribari, 395 Westchester Ave., Mt. Vernon, NY]

March 6/39

Dearest love,

          Forgive me if I seem incoherent; the most extraordinary thing has happened. We've (at least me) been accused of being crooks and forgers.

         When I took the dogs down at about 1 P.M. Mrs. Ferrara called me, and expecting to receive mail, I answered. Imagine my wide-eyed surprise to be asked for the rent. I told her I had paid it to [Romeo], and she called me a liar, said [Romeo] hadn't been home. Thereupon I got the receipts and she went inside. When she came out she said I had made the receipt myself. With that I went upstairs. She called me again and we talked and talked and finally she asked me not to tell anyone, and told how she had kicked Romeo out etc. etc. Incidentally, during the palaver she made much of our $30 rent when others were paying $38, and brought in the electricity.

          The upshot of it all is that I want to get out of here. I feel sorry for her, and am tired of having someone feel she is making all the concessions. The heat has been mediocre, the water rarely hot, and very rarely sufficient for bathing.

          Of course many factors exist which must be considered. Please think over thoroughly the whole matter. I'm shaky and angry, and realize that with such people we could never live in a satisfactory basis except by force, which in itself would be unsatisfactory.

         I still love you as ever, Jere


letter from F at 395 Westchester Ave., Mount Vernon>, NY to Mr. Jere Casagrande, 114 West 80th St., New York City


Dearest Love:- it seems as if the French had a word for it. Listen to these old Norman verses:-

Sad, lost in thought, and mute I go
the cause, oh Mother! you know full well:
But see that naught thereof you tell,
for men will only laugh at woe...

Oh Love, my Love, and perfect bliss
God in his goodness grant me this---
I see thee soon again
Naught else I need to take away
the grief that for thyself always
Doth keep me in great pain.

Alas, poor heart I pity thee
for all the grief thou hast and care
My Love I see not anywhere:
He is so far away from me
until once more his face I see
I shall be sad by night and day...
and if his face I may not see
then I shall die most certainly

They have said evil of my Dear;
therefore my heart is vexed and drear:
But what is it to them
If he be fair or foul to see
since he is perfect joy to me.

He loves me well: the like do I
I do not look with half an eye
But seek to pleasure him.

From all the rest I choose him here;
I want no other for my dear;
How then should he displease
those who may leave him if they please?
God keep him from all fear.


If you're coming up Wednesday give me a ring or write me Walter's address. Maybe I can get off. Is everything under control? You could never guess it...but I'm crazy about you, my precious. I was a bit too tired last night to appreciate your company properly. Still...X marks the spot [heart with X in it]

With all my love as ever


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