Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love me until Clarence comes back

We haven't heard from Mamie for awhile. She tends to write one letter for every two or three of Ernest's love notes. Either that or her letters are missing. Maybe they are tucked away in the jacket pocket of the clothes he's buried in. I wouldn't be surprised. He epitomizes lovesick. My heart bleeds for him because we've all been there: You are away from the one you love either because of distance or circumstance, and you think about that person every second of every day, and you ache because you can't be next to the object of your affection. It's a painful, yet obligatory experience. A rite of passage. Necessary torture. Typical.

The next letter is something I need to ask my grandma about: Who are the people being discussed? My guess is the writer, Sarah, is someone in Ernest's family, as are the others she mentions. I just don't know how they are related at this time. My favorite line comes toward the end of the letter. You'll know it when you see it. It makes me want to scream, "Too late!" It's a done deal. Ernest is in over his head.


Los Angeles, CA
October 18, 1918

Dear Ernest:

I wrote you a letter last week and failed to mail it. Isn’t that a fine thing to do?

Did you see Agnes? She hasn’t come home nor written so we don’t know anything about her trip. She went to Santa Ana Sunday, phoned Mama from there that she was going to stay a few days and we have not heard from her since.

Alex quit his job and came home Wednesday. He would like to get in the army as a flyer. He inquired about it and was told to report for physical examination Saturday. If he passes his examinations here, he will be sent to Berkeley. He also is thinking of going in the Signal Corp instead of waiting a long time for a commission in the aviation. He isn’t just settled in his mind what to do, but he’ll decide tomorrow.

Fred has been reinstated in his city job. He started work this AM at $125 a month.

We haven’t heard from your dad. He had a sore hand when he left here and that and the influenza epidemic has Fred worried about him.

Aren’t you ever going to give us a Sunday anymore? Please don’t fall in love with the other fellow’s girl!!!!

Dave is recovering from a very bad attack of influenza. He had a temperature of 104ยบ for several days!

Come see us soon, won’t you?

Love,
Sarah


A $125 a month! Times have changed. Can you imagine surviving on that in Southern California now? That's slightly more than a third of my car payment.

Here's a juicy one from Ernest to that "other fellow's girl" around the same time:


Aero Sqdrn A.
October 1918
Riverside, Calif.

Dearest Darling of Mine…

Rec’d two of the loveliest letters from the dearest girl. There I won’t say any more or you won’t love me anymore. O girlie I just love you oodles anyhow, anyway and then some.

No, what you said wasn’t that I’ll tell you about it when, when I see you again dearest. They are talking of lifting the quarantine at the end of the week. But one can’t figure on anything in the army. But here’s hoping! I’d sure shout.

Dear, when you spoke of me loving you till Clarence came back, I didn’t understand you honey, either. I thought you meant we would have to part then forever and dearie, it just made me feel like saying I don’t know, and then some.

Yes! You did make me feel worse, since you are engaged and I love you sooo. I knew if I were to go allll the way and then lose you, O how awful awful punk I’d feel afterward. But dearest! I just want to see you now and just go all the way. Sure was glad to hear from you and that you feel scrumptious and spiffy.

Dear! Let me get one of those things for you. Haven’t you got another birthday now? Xmas is almost here too. Won’t you girlie? When a fellow does want to get something, it’s generally something useless and he doesn’t know what in the Dickens to get. Gee, I hope we get off this weekend.

This is only a short letter but will write another tomorrow and if I don’t mail this right away, it won’t reach you for another half day.

So with lots of love and I’d love to kiss you O sooo tenderly right now. Night! Dearest girl of mine.

And don’t forget where I live.

Ernest


Whoa! Slow down there, Ernest! "Going all the way" with another man's fiance is probably not a wise decision, even if you love her. I wonder what he means by "one of those things" he wants to get her for her birthday. The most telling line of this letter alludes to Mamie wanting him to love her in Clarence's place until he comes back. Where is he? How can she justify Ernest as merely a placeholder? I'm not in her position, so I don't know what's going on in her head, but it does seem as if she's just toying with Ernest. Does she really love him? Does Clarence have any idea there is someone else? So many questions.

For those of you playing along, "Gee, I hope we get off this weekend" refers to him not working. Get your mind out of the gutter.

More to come,

The Grammar Nazi

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