Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drown Your Sorrows in a Piece of Candy

November 1918

Aero Squadron A.

So darling girlie –

Well I don’t know very much to scribble. Only that I miss you and O how I wish I were with you dearest, and I love you more than ever. The boys have been playing the pianola all evening, but it does no good. There is someone missing. You you you!

It seemed to take the stage an awful long time to get there Sat. evening – and then only a few moments and I had to leave. See I don’t think eternity would seem long at all…with little…dear little you.

Made another trip today dear to Hemet. O why wasn’t it Ontario and the only visitor we had was a young lady? A very modest one. Reminded me of the picture I have of you in overalls. She must have come half a mile but wouldn’t come up to the ships. About a hundred yards is as close as the dear would come. When we took off she waved and we circled and dove right down and waved.

Oh boy why wasn’t it Ontario – and different. It was pretty cold coming back and is pretty cold here. Now again I wish somebody was here and with cold that I could keep warm and lovely. Hope dearest that you get a good place at the Hot Point so your time will not be so miserably chopped up. And so full of unhappiness (what a very big word and how very much it means), huh! Was just going to the canteen a bit ago to drown my sorrows in a piece of candy when one of the fellows in my section sprung a box he just received. It’s g-gone now – (the candy is).

Mc. Jimmie (?) just asked, was I writing you? Said he rec’d a letter from mgnt (?). Hope it is lifted by then. On top of his four days of grace after quarantine, he is in charge of quarters Sat. evening. Poor boy – he said he was going to be away if he had to see the General. If he gets away with it, I’ll see the General too.

Dearest, that was just the most lovely treat to be with you darling and to leave so quickly just a wave and gone. O sugar! (but then – sugar is sweet, isn’t it?)

And Mamie. That is some chum you have. And please Mrs. Cod, don’t g-give Mamie the dickens the next morning.

Everyone is going to bed to keep warm, so goodnight deardeardeardearest girl! Hope you are well. Lots of love,


And remember I wouldn’t take anything for a Hello from you.

Wait, they are going to bed because it's cold? They are in Riverside, CA. How cold could it possibly be?

Ah yes, the pianola. My grandmother has a player piano we kids used to torment the family with at every gathering. We'd pull scrolls out of long red boxes, slide the wood panels open in the front of the piano, hook the paper to the player and spend hours pedaling for dear life, while we watched the keys go up and down like the ghost of Beethoven was at the helm. The braille-like pages whizzed before our eyes, and we got such a kick out of it. I will always have a fondness for ragtime piano music because of this. I'm sure the songs we "played" were much like the ones Ernest refers to here.

That he has a photo of my great-grandmother in overalls makes me smile. I used to wear overalls all the time.

I want to know what Hot Point is. Sounds steamy.

He's going to a canteen to drown his sorrows in candy. Sorry, a piece of candy. Not whiskey, not gin. A piece of candy. So Adorable and innocent.

Here we finally hear something quite substantial from the lady in question, and it comes just one day before the end of the war:

Sunday night, 11:30

Nov. 10, 1918

Dear, did you have a good time today without me? I hope you didn’t get lonely. I did. We got all ready for that blamed company and they never came. We were pretty well disgusted. My brother and family were out tho. Dear Ernest boy. I haven’t the heart to write a decent letter to you tonight. Know why? I’m so miserable. My heart aches so and there is no cure for a long time. I can’t answer your sweet letter either. I want to talk to you instead. I’m tired and sleepy and it’s late too. I wish you didn’t love me so desperately and both ways because it will be so hard to say goodbye to each other when the time comes. I hope that time never comes tho. Oh Ernest! I’ve got to be true to Clarence! My love and life means the world to him he writes, and he is so happy and proud of his little sweetheart. (So true!) Oh Ernest! If he knew how I love you it would break up his whole life. And I can’t do that after being engaged for almost three years and almost as close at times as if we were married. I mean mental and spiritual and – never mind. I can’t say it now to you dear. But you can guess. He loves me that way, but if he knew that I loved someone else better than I did him he wouldn’t hold me a minute, but would tell me to go to the man I loved and be happy because that is what he wants me to be – happy. Oh he is so unselfish and good. I ought to be too.

Side note - Yes dear I could trust you to be good to the end of this world!

Another side note – 2:00 Monday morning – Oh Ernest! It’s come really and truly this time. Peace is declared!

He is coming … soon … not far away and we will be married. But there will be part of me that belongs to you and he can’t fill the empty space in my heart. I ought to be happy with him and I will try to be for the sake of being as brave as he.

I am afraid that the longer you and I know each other, the more we will love each other and I can’t bear to think of us parting. Can you? We ought to be engaged right now – the way we love, etc. But a girl can’t be engaged to two men at once can she, dear?

Clarence wrote me a beautiful letter and I received it Friday. It was a love letter right from his very soul and heart. And it made me feel like following him on my knees all the rest of my life.

I will admit that Clarence knows more about me than is right for him to know until we are married, but we have acquired a great and beautiful understanding thru any passionate love. I can’t write about it to you. You might misunderstand me and think me a bad girl. I am not, dear. I believe I could tell you all about it safely. But I can’t write it.

Don’t feel badly now. Maybe I’ll mark off this spell in a day or so and be willing to give myself all to you. I don’t know which love I love best - yours or “C’s.” They are so different yet so beautifully sweet. Good night dear and write soon, and I’ll see you soon and we can talk things over. I love you dearly, dear. Your Mamie.

It's no wonder he continues to pine for her when she's engaged to Clarence. She provides him with so much hope in this one piece of correspondence. She says it will be impossible to say goodbye, but she must because she is going to marry Clarence and be true to him. However, she then says she loves Ernest more than Clarence. Then she says she loves him differently. She's one confused woman. What does one do when she loves two people at the same time? No, really. What does she do?

It appears Clarence is overseas and will be home soon because the war is over. (Now I understand her request to Ernest to love her in his place.) I wonder if Ernest ever felt inadequate as a stay-at-home soldier, while Mamie's other love was actually fighting, if indeed that's what he was doing.

Mamie has shared three years of engagement with Clarence and he "knows" her more than he should. How is that supposed to make Ernest feel? Why is she so open about this with him? Is she trying to hurt his feelings or make him jealous? If so, it's working I'm sure.

The engaged one ends her letter with "your Mamie." The word "your" signifies belonging. One last way to hang onto to Ernest and not have him walk away just yet, not that he would. He's in this for the long haul, until she walks down the aisle with Clarence, whom she wants to follow for the rest of her life, or does she? The Queen of Mixed Signals has spoken and befuddled us all. What's next?

My head spins,

The Grammar Nazi

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