Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'The Worm Has Turned'

This past weekend, we celebrated my grandfather's 86th birthday. I asked him about Granny's parents (Mamie and Ernest), and he mentioned that Mamie and Clarence continued to see each other even after Granny was born in 1926. They'd go on picnics with their kids, without Ernest. I will always wonder if that arrangement was merely friendly, or if it was something else. My grandparents are suspicious. My grandfather said a few days ago, "She really was in love with both of them at the same time." That reality is no more evident than in the letters to Ernest below.

The thought has crossed my mind more than once, and more so now, that I almost didn't exist. Really. It was so close to never happening. It's a miracle that I am here writing this blog right now. My existence is, among other reasons, was at the whim of a young girl in love with two men. Imagine if she could have imagined the chain reaction of her decisions. Imagine if we could all foresee what our decisions would cause.

Up until now, I have been frustrated with Mamie's indecision, but these letters below actually made me angry. If I were Ernest, this is about when I would have given up, but I'm so glad he didn't because I would never have been here if he would have walked away like any other crushed man would have.

February 4, 1919

Dear boy, don’t get your furlough yet, please. “The worm has turned” and we will have to wait – indefinitely. Clarence wants another chance and says he can’t give me up. So dear, let’s wait for awhile. Pa won’t concede yet. I’m sorry, dear, as you are. I am up town now. “C” is down home helping Pa with the cesspool. I got your letter today and was sure glad. I hope “sis” is happy. Maybe you better not come tomorrow, dear. I’m crazy to see you, but wait till I let you know how things are coming out. I’ll try to be as happy as possible and same to you, dear. I hope to see you soon tho. Heard from Wallace and Mable too. Gee!

We’ll say bye bye now till later. I am yours.


February 8, 1919

Thurs. Night 10:30 at Home

My Ernest Boy!

How you must be hating me, dear. If I could only see you, I could explain things and then pray that you would not despise me for what I have done. My heart aches for you heavy and I could go and die rather than to break your heart. But, the folks are behind all of it – telling “C” not to give up, etc., and of course he really didn’t want to give me up, but would have done it if I chose you after he had had another chance to win me back. Oh! I can’t write it all! I’ve got to see you some way! And the folks have forbidden me to see you again. Isn’t that unfair for you tho?!!! They are so mean now-a-days. They say sarcastic things all the time, and I go nearly crazy. Clarence is awfully good to me tho. He treats me like a queen and is so glad that I have given him a chance. He went to LA today and brought me a sweet little diamond ring. Not as large as yours tho, but his whole love is behind it anyway. He hasn’t much money now. Will have to go to work soon. Dear, I’m too slight to write anymore tonight, and I have lots to do tomorrow. I hope dearie that you are not too broken up that you would cease loving me because you know that it isn’t my fault and that I still love you as a husband. Even tho I shall probably have to go to Clarence after all. Oh! Oh! Oh! I will have to return your beautiful ring too, and oh, it will hurt me and you too. I want to visit you soon tho. Night dear and with lots of love, yours.


My question is this: Why do Mamie's parents want her to choose Clarence and not Ernest? Why don't they see him as a viable mate for their daughter? At first I thought maybe it was money, but then she even says he's broke.

So many questions! She is feeling serious pressure from all sides, but why would she tell Ernest about Clarence getting her a ring and treating her like a queen? Unknowingly cruel little girl.

Now I'm really curious how she's going to turn things around and marry Ernest after all. The back-and-forth just never seems to end.

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