The letters between my Grandma and Grandpa are fascinating me. I'm pretty sure I have to transcribe them all and put them in order because I want to read them from beginning to end. They show my grandparents falling in love and anxious to marry, while living apart. It's so sweet. There are also letters from after thier marriage, when my Grandma was home with small babies and my Grandpa was away working, but these early letters when they were falling in love are amazing.
Here is the transcription of a letter dated August 25th, 1942. It is to my Grandma Iris, from my Grandpa Eddie, nine months after they met. Iris is almost 19, living in Calgary and attending secretarial school and Eddie is 24 and living in Hilda working with his Dad on the Farm.
August 25, 1942
I should have written to you long before this, not alone by virtue of my promise to write soon, but because just now I'm keenly anxious to hear from you. It may be that I'm somewhat spoilt in this business of expecting letters. Some of the letters I received from you while at Innisfail, though, did things to me I should never ordinarily attribute to letters.
Got home okay, and since then have done a little of everything to pass my holidays. Took in a branding session and played cowboy for a day. Killed several rattlers a few days ago, kept the rattles and have tacked them up in the car as trophies. The country down here seemed especially barren for a few days after I was back—secretly I'm a bit homesick for Innisfail, and all the little wonders that make it such a place.
Had an offer to go down to Estevan to work as assistant manager for the YMCA, but with a salary cut of ten dollars per month—so didn't accept. This was to have been only a temporary placing until another position comes along as before. Didn't feel like going to work anyway. But just now I've agreed to run one of Dad's combines at $7.50 a day, which isn't going to be too bad until something better comes along with the Y.
I may get the urge to come to Calgary sometime soon. One of Dad's trucks is in Calgary every other day—a likely route if I wished to take it, without being ------?------. Had another tire blowout—didn't walk this time—and got the tire vulcanized. This was strictly on business though.
I miss you terribly Iris—please write soon. With this letter I am blowing a kiss and may reminiscence grant the enchantment I felt when I gave them otherwise.
With Love, Eddie.
It's that lovely and sweet?! And I love how my Grandpa is showing my Grandma that he is a bad ass with the rattler tails hanging in his car. Awesome.
If I do transcribe them all, it will be quite a task. There are about 70 letters from my Grandpa, including telegrams and all in their original envelopes. There are at least twice as many from my Grandma, and hers are much longer, though not as many in envelopes. I guess my Grandpa kept only the letters.
Oh, this is exciting! I stopped writing this post to see if I could quickly find my Grandma's reply to the letter above. I was lucky and I found it right away! I can't believe it. It's a long one! Eight pages, so I'll just transcribe a few parts here.
1206 - 4th street NW
I've wanted to write to you so much—but not knowing your whereabouts I just had to be satisfied and wait for some word from you. I felt like a dish rag when I came into the house tonight about 7, saw your handwriting staring me in the face and it changed my feeling in a jiffy. Mrs. B had it set up in plain sight in front of the clock and as I soon as I came in she said 'the letter you've been waiting for'. She knew it was from you. I don't feel the least bit peeved, though somewhat neglected. I felt low coming home every evening and finding no letter. But I knew you would write, of course. I've been teased about your having another one down there, but I can laugh up my sleeve, because I know something they don't know.
<six paragraphs follow about what she has been up to in Calgary, including detailed descriptions of games played at a school picnic.>
It may do you good to get back to nature again. I wish I could—I'd love to be back on the farm for a while. The life you've been living may tend to make you an old softie. But with all this harvest labor shortage you've probably happy you can pass the time away doing that. As for the rattler business—I don't mind your having the rattlers for trophies but please remove them if I get the chance to ride in the car while you still have a fancy for them. As I've said before, I hate reptiles—even the tail ends of them bother me. I did spend the day among all the handsome prehistoric animals but they were quite unlifelike.
Wish you were still here so you could be in Innisfail next weekend. It will hardly seem the same happy holiday without you there. I miss you too, Ed, and would be so happy if you should come up this way soon. It's probably too much to expect you to be posted close to Calgary but I'm still hoping. You seemed closer at Bowden because I knew I'd see you before long even when you never wrote. But up until now I hadn't any idea, whatever, where you were and you did seem so far away.
I could scarcely control myself the first Sunday after you left. I was down at Vie's. Auntie Hazel was telling me she and Vie had had their teacups read. The reader said Vie was going to be very unsettled for a time. That's true, since they are giving up their place and Bert's going in the army. She told Auntie Hazel she was going on an unexpected trip and also that she was going to hear of an engagement and it was to be a long one. Auntie Hazel teased me and looked at my 'third finger, left hand.' I laughed about it, but secretly 'bubbled.' It won't be so hard to tell her as I thought it might be. She likes you a lot and that helps considerably. Today down at Vie's Grandma said it's funny Eddie hasn't written to you, then remarked to Vie that you were one of the nicest lads she'd ever met. That's the second time she's said that in my presence. I wish I could have had you at the house more often. The family have all given me their opinion of you—good from all stations. I don't suppose it's good taste to tell you all this but I just want you to know that I'm proud of you and love you with all my heart. I've always wanted to please the family, but certainly wouldn't do it at the cost of my own happiness.
<More about her family, and her Dad being sent away again and worry about him going into real battle.>
If you should come up to Calgary soon and it's during the week and during school hours, leave a message at the school by phone or come to the school and don't feel shy about it. Otherwise of course phone the usual number. I'd certainly love to be able to take you home next weekend. I'm repeating myself, I know, but that's how much I'd like to have you with me.
I must get ready for bed so I'll be ready to hop in when they come. Tomorrow is a busy day. Bet my feet will be cold tonight. One night I had to wrap my housecoat around them they were so cold. Wouldn't you like to keep them warm for me?
Don't wait too long before you write again, will you? I feel so happy tonight every time I read your letter. Now I'll go to sleep with a nice taste in my mouth.
Lovingly, Iris. xxx
Wow, right? Iris was a firecracker, setting Ed straight about the rattler tails in his car and being all flirty with her cold feet. And apparently they were secretly engaged! Right? That's what it seems like to me at least with her hinting at something she knows that her friends don't and her feelings about it being easier to tell her Auntie Hazel than she thought. They wouldn't be married for another year and two months, so it would certainly be a long engagement for that era.
Now I really have to get these letters in order and read from the beginning. And I really hope Eddie writes to her more, don't you?