Saturday, December 31, 2011

Letter 19, from Rosie

23 March 1950
Well I tried to write every day but Sat. I went to Waltham and I came home wed which was yesterday. I didn't have much time to write so I figured I'd wait until I came home. I hope your not mad + you don't think I am not keeping my word because I am. I'm going to write every day as I said.

Nothing much has happened since I wrote you last except that my cousin Tiny got married Sunday. She had a very large reception. Glo came out there with me she only stood until monday + left she hates Waltham she said its like a morgue. I agree with her the place sure is dead. Baby you said you were going to write every day and yet I haven't received one letter not one whats happened.

What's happened don't you care anymore do you want to call it quites or what? There isn't much more to say except that I hope you believe that I've changed.

Well I'll sign off now hoping to hear from you. Rosie

p.s. Have you heard from Joyce?
Write sooner than soon

Here's where I admit that the letters from Rosie are the main reason I started this blog. She is so scattered and, well, kind of crazy! But I bet she was a beauty! Here's a couple of photos from Waltham in the 1950s, so you can see the "morgue."

Monday, December 12, 2011

A letter to Sal from his mother, translated from Italian: Letter 18

           Waltham Mass 29 March 1949
Dearest son I answer immediately your letter that tells me that you are well. Greetings and I can reassure you that Gioseppina said that I wanted news from you: sure I want them, because a mother that longs for her son far away is always eager to get news. So I was happy about this letter in Italian that I read with my eyes and I thank the person who wrote it for you. I see that you go to the cinema and the boys do all those evil things but you are a good boy and I hope it is really so: do not look at the girls that do wrong things, but only to good and honest boys, understanding that honesty always prevails. Bad boys one day or the other find themselves in bad troubles and you have to be watchful [inintelligible words]. I seem unable to write correctly, instead of Antonia I write Antonio as if I was a man instead of a woman, if afterwards you wrote Antonio not them but your brother but if the name is amended write A not O is it clear? Enough now. Please let me know about your health: are you always nervous or are you better? I would like to see you always in good health, because when you were here you were quite weak, and I worry that you may not be well. You should know that we have a new Corricolo*. Your father bought it and he goes to school and now I am happy that he has the Corricolo. Please let me know whether you are coming for Easter. Let us cut now, this has been too long. I send you my very best wishes and kisses. Best regards from your brothers and sisters, from your father and again from myself. I am your mother Antonia Coraccio. Please send my very best regards to whoever wrote your nice letter. See you soon. (Hope to get) good news and a timely answer.

*A Corricolo is a kind of tilbury: a small, light horse-drawn two-wheeled carriage designed to seat a single person.

This letter, which is the background image for the Letters to Sal blog, was also received in the stack with the other letters. I have been trying to find someone to translate it, and finally that goal has been accomplished. I am happy to discover that the letter is affectionate and amusing to read. Antonia was wise to the ways of the world! Her personality shines through this letter, which is filled with news, worry, advice, and love.

Antonia was always worried about Sal's health -- he described himself as "the runt of the litter." She often fed him a medicinal elixer that Sal later realized was mostly alcohol, much to his amusement. "She sent me to school half drunk!" he used to joke. As it turns out, he listened to her advice to look after his health, and was able to live until the age of 80. Too young for those who loved him, but still much older than many sickly children. After his time in the US Navy, Sal returned to live with his mother until the age of 32. He never once said a negative word of her, and I don't think a son could love a mother more.
Antonia with her husband Salvatore Sr.

Special thanks to Claudio Di Veroli for kindly translating this family treasure!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Letter 17, from Rosie

[no envelope]
Monday 23, 50
Hi Honey
I hope you will forgive me for not writing sooner. But you see it happened like this. Our mail was being kept at the post office. Because we had no lock on our mail box + they will not leave any mail in a box unless it has a lock on it, for there have been too many checks, and other mail stolen, from mail boxes in this neighborhood.

So Sal not knowing this until this morning when we received a notice from the post office letting us know we had mail + the reason it was being kept at post office I taught you weren't writing.

So honey thats why you haven't been receiving any mail from me + all the time I taught you weren't goneing to write. Gee hon I hope you believe me because its the gods honest truth. Gosh Sal but I miss you something awful.

This town has gotten to be just like Waltham dead, thats as far as I'm concerned. There was lots to do before, such as, going dancing, skating, to the show, aboard different ships, swimming down the Y + so many other things. But none of them interest me now that I've met you. And now to top things off the doctor gave me a nice long rest, six months to be exacte, now I'll really go crazy nothing to do all day no money to go any place. I guess next time I'll know better and stay in the house and I won't keep such late hours + get all the rest I need. Now it's me and my radio if you ever hear that song think of me.

Hon since you left I have been out only four times, to the show twice and once out with the girls to the c.y.o. Bowling club and once with Sonny Hayes.

I still get phone calls to go out but I don't Eleanor will tell you when you get home.

Well hon enough about me. How are you? And how is the pencil pushing coming allong.

The pome was very cute. And about that good offer, I had plenty, but they don't interest me. There is only one I love and thats the way it will stand unless you want it any other way.

Your dream was a lula and about another picture with freckles I don't have any, But I'll see as soon as I get some money what I can do.

By the way what dose I.S.L.Y.F.E.A.A.D. stand for?
Well Honey I have to go to the store now for Eleanor.

So until I hear from you I'll be Yours Until Hell
Freezes Over

What does I.S.L.Y.F.E.A.A.D. stand for, anyway? I'd like to hear your best guesses! And what do you all make of our new letter writer, Rosie? 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letter 16, from Rosie

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the readers of Letters to Sal, and say that the best letters are yet to come. This letter will introduce you to Rosie, and I have to say that these are some dramatic writings. For maximum effect, read Rosie's letters aloud in the most enthusiastic Acting 101 voice you can muster!

[no envelope. Rose stationary.]
16 March 1950
Hello Kind Hearted,
Received your letter this morning and I was a bit shocked at some of the things you wrote, not that I blame you. I guess I never did do anything respectful to expect any respect from you. Honey what did you mean when you said my mom + dad had troubles when I was a kid + I was shipped out? And Hon I never let anyone take liberty of me, that's one thing I can control. When I did go out and met fellows, Sure they called again, but just too go out and have a swell time in a desent way. As far as Frankie is concerned he has made plenty of pass's but it never got him anywhere I just couldn't take to him.

And then there is Sonny I went steady with him for over 7 months he never laid a hand on me. He'll always be around to admit it too. I also have met plenty of other guys that were swell + I met guys that did try to make me put out, but they never did succeed. Sal I wouldn't put out for anyone unless I loved him + he loved me + I never met anyone I loved enough. Yes Sal I have one half decent girl chum that doesn't go in town or out with other guys she's going steady with a solder, who's away until June of 1951, so she and I are going to novena on Monday nights to the show Wed, Fri + Sun,. Monday after novena we come home to my house and watch telly, that's T.V. Tuse. Thurs. + Sat. the same. From now on I want to be a one man's girl

that's if you'll have me? Honey please send me a picture of yourself? So I can show her. By the way her name is Gloria. + she lives three streets down from me.

Tell me something Hon did you really mean it when you said as far as you were concerned it was me that was being fooled? + when you said you half expected to hear what I wrote you. Hon you say that all the guys in the navy are out for one thing, and you said you were the same, if so Sal why didn't you make a try at me? I know why because your not like the rest of them and there all not alike, am I not right?

Sal it seems as though I'm always the one who ever says how much I miss you and how I feel about you. You never once wrote telling me how you felt about me. Please Hon do in your next letter so's that I know where I stand + don't say on my feet.

Honey Eleanor received some coupons in the mail from Kays, its to have pictures taken, if you still want one. I'll send it but its a large one 9x5. Well Hon that's just about all I can think of right now so until tomorrow when I write my second dayly letter I remain.

I love you
p.s. Please write every day this is my first letter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Letter 15, the last letter from Joan aka "Dusty"

As I post this last letter from Joan "Dusty" Marin, I want to make an appeal to anyone in the Waltham area. Help me find Dusty! All that's known about her aside from her name comes from these letters: She lived in Waltham and graduated in 1949 from Waltham High School, which means she was born in about 1931 or so, making her about 80 years old today. Google searches have not produced any results, but given the fact that she likely got married and changed her surname, that's not surprising. But I'd love to find Dusty! So all you Waltham-ites, ask around!

June 9, 1949
Thursday Nite

Hi Sal:
Well, I'd just about given you up for lost when I got your letter. It was good to hear from you again.

I guess I expected to see you more than I did too, but, you know how the saying goes, every man to his own taste. (that goes for sailors too)

Last Thursday was a big day “Graduation.” It was really nice to see. Too bad

you couldn't have been here. Yesterday was another big day (yep I'm now 18) quiet, I am not getting old. Here I am the inefficient office secretary (I mean efficient).

Say Sal, we never did get to take our walk did we? It's been kinda cold here the last coupla days. I don't think it will ever warm up enough so I can go swimming. Ya know what? Sometimes I get so disgusted.

I got lotsa nice stuffs for graduation. Beautiful pearls, a pendant and bracelet set, money and other things.

Woolworth's is coming along pretty good. They have most of the skeleton put up. They say it won't be done till around November though.

By the way it wasn't Mr. Huff I shook hands with it was The Mayor.
Before I fergi, have fun at the dance. Now, now, don't give me that. You

can dance a little can't you?
Too bad I won't be there to see Louis Prima. I've never seen him. Oh well he don't interest me much anyhoo. Well Sal, guess that's all for now.
As Ever

It's no surprise that this is the last letter from Dusty. The spark just seems to have gone out! It looks like Sal got leave for a bit to visit home, but the flirtatious tone in their letters just didn't translate to real life. And it appears that they don't have a whole lot in common, what with Sal's interest in "hillbilly" music like Louis Prima, which I can tell my readers he held for the rest of his life (with good reason). To the question, "You can dance a little, can't you?" In the 70s, he took Disco dancing lessons with his wife. They practiced in the living room to 45s like "Beethoven's 5th Symphony" and "If you want my body and you think I'm sexy" and let me tell you the practice paid off. But then disco, as we all know, had its demise. Sal later said in his dry tone, "The only dance I ever learned how to do, and it went out of style."

As a side note, the Mayor of Waltham in 1949 was John F. Devane. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Letter 14, from Joan aka "Dusty"

Hi Sal~
Sorry about that Sally business but I just couldn't resist the temptation.
So, you finally got the table did you? Well that's good because I was just about ready to come over there and fix that guy.
It's beautiful out today. The sun is shining and the sky is nice -n- blue.
Have you seen “Take Me Out to the Ballgame?” It was swell. We saw it Friday nite. Honestly it was the best picture I've seen in a long

time. We laughed and laughed.
By the way, just when are you coming home? The only place I can think of to go is to the movies (seeing that I love the movies so much)
I'll have you know, Mr. Coraccio that my mother is not 6'4”, and she is not a wrestler. She is 4'11” and a very pretty girl. So there.
Why should I tell my boss we graduate the 2nd? I'm not getting any vacation as it it is.
I'm afraid you'll just

have to get used to popular music as I don't like that hill billy style.
Now, Sal you don't better make yr ms wait so long for an answer from you. Thas not nice.
Have you heard “You're so Understanding” by Billy Eggstein? (I don't know how his last name goes) It's nice.
I was going to answer your letter yesterday, but I had to go to the doctors. Somebody slammed my hand in the car door and he thought it was broken. It isn't though, just badly bruised thank goodness.

Hope you can read this letter.
My mom is using the table, and I'm in the parlor writing on a book.
Well, see ya soon.
As Ever

It's funny how you think of popular culture like songs and movies as being so important and epitomizing of a moment in time, but in reality it may not carry over in history the way you expect. Joan really likes Billy Eckstine's version of "You're So Understanding," and clearly it was a radio hit, but trying to find that version of the song, or any other version, was a challenge! Below you can listen to Dean Martin's version and try to imagine what it would have sounded like in Billy Eckstine's voice:

 You're So Understanding by changela
Most of us know the song "Take me out to the ball game," but it's funny to imagine the time when the movie from whence the song comes was a new release. Here, you can view a number from the film:

On a personal note, having had an aversion for popular music myself, I was amused to discover that Sal clearly had a disdain for the hits of his day, and preferred a style that Joan refers to as "hill billy". I do wonder what she meant by that! This letter reflects Sal's dry sense of humor -- clearly he wasn't afraid to make jokes about his sweetheart's mother!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Letter 13, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[5 of 6. Written April 15, 1949]
Friday (before work)
(Hide this pic before anyone sees it)
Hi Sal,
It's Good Friday, and we haven't any school. Got your letter this mornin and thought I'd answer it right away. Gee, I wish I didn't have to go to work. We have no school all next week, but my boss found out so I'll be working all next week too.

It's too bad you can't be home for Easter. Everyone is going to be all dressed up (That is if it's nice) I'm just praying. If it is nice, I'll take some snaps
and send one to you so you can see my outfit for yourself, but I'll explain it to you in the meantime. My suit is navy blue, my blouse is white nylon (very very pretty), my shoes are navy blue also (high heels okay?) my hat is white with blue trim and I'll wear white gloves and carry a navy blue pocket book. (disruptive enough?)

You really make me feel bad about not sending you a graduation picture. I'll see what I can do there are still two left and still about seven or eight promised
What am I gonna drew?
I saw Joyce in school and told her to write to you.
Did you see the eclipse? It was really beautiful. We watched it for quite a while. When it was completely shadowed it turned the prettiest color.

Woolworth's is still going to be Woolworth's except that it's gonna be a new streamlined Woolworth's with a nice big sody fountain.

Sorry I forgot to kiss you goodnight but after all you said you hardly knew me
so it wouldn't be very proper would it? I just don't go around kissing every boy goodnite you know.

Excuse me while I look for a snapshot. My brother dug up this one (quiet, it's a chance to show off my fur coat) Honestly sugar plum, it's the only one I have that isn't too blurry. It's not a very good pic, but you can use your imagination can't ya. I'll send another as soon as I take one, and you can disregard this one.
“Happy Easter” As Ever
---> belated Dusty.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Letter 12, from Joan aka "Dusty"

Thursday Nite
Hi Sal:
How you all?
I got yr letter yestiday and I'm out here sitting on the porch answering it. If you find the penmanship difficult to read, you'll know why.

So you all went to that dance hey? Glad you had a good time. Keep it up and – Arthur Murray will have to take lessons from you.
My Mom is listening to the radio, and the enchanting melody of “Some Enchanted Evening” is sailing out the door right over to me sitting here on the porch. I just love that song don't you?
Did you see “Mr. Beldevere Goes to College”? We saw it last week and honestly, Sal we laughed and laughed. All that guy has to do is stand there and you can't help laughing.

You don't have to address me as Miss Morin. Shaking hands with the mayor didn't go to my head.

Before I forget, Jack Dadonna

was picked president of the Senior Class.

Never mind mentioning my beauty. Eighteen is the starting of my career as a woman. So they tell me, but I never believe everything I hear. I certainly don't feel any older.

My, my, Sal, you certainly seem to be mixed up, if you don't know what your taste is. Well anyhow, maybe we'd better drop the subject altogether, hey?

Too bad you're not out of the service now. My

boss was looking for a fellow for the office.

It's nice out right now. It's kind of hot, but there is a little breeze.

I haven't been swimming yet, and, by the looks of things, I don't think I'll ever go.

Bea went to the hospital today. She is going to have an operation on her back tomorrow. That poor kid. Well guess that's all for now.

As Ever

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter 11, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[2 of 6]
Wednesday morn
Hi Sal:
It's only me Dusty Marin. We have all this week off from school and seeing that I don't have to go to work till two, I thought I'd answer your letter right away. I'll mail it on my way to work. (See how good I am to you?)

It's beautiful out today. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it's not too cold. Beautiful day for a nice drive in the country, and I had to go and let

the chauffeur take my convertible.

I have the radio on right now and they're singin “Tulsa” have you heard it? It's cute.
Pretty soon I'll be a grad of W.H.S. My how time flies. I'm getting old. I'll be 18 pretty soon. It's pretty tough.

You tell your bunkmate I said to let you use the table, after all we can't have you all knotted up ya kno.
Did I tell ya that Moran's Market burned down? Well

anyhow, there building a new one right around the corner from my house. In fact it's all built. It will open around the 28th. Real sharp.

Right now they're playing “The Mood I'm In.” And I am too. I think I have spring fever or somethin.
Went to the tote last nite to the Newton Fireman's Ball. It was pretty good. They had some nice entertainment. I was going to sing for them but I didn't feel like it. They had one gal there that

played music on some cocktail glasses. She was really wonderful. “Just Reminicin” (I don't know how to spell it.) That's what they're playin now.

So you're bashful huh? Well, well, so am I so don't feel too bad.

When I take some more snaps I'll send you another one so you can get rid of that one you have. We couldn't take any Sunday because the sun wasn't out.
Guess that's all for

As Ever

I'm going to post this one with no commentary. This time, I'm going to let other people comment. What do you think of this letter from Dusty?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Letter 10, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[no envelope. Group of letters written in May 1949]
[1 of 6]
Tuesday Nite
Hi ya Sal:
How's you? I guess I was wonderin wha happin to ya. I kind of figured you did somethin like that though. Of all things.

The weather here hasn't been too bad. We had a couple of real hot days then it sort of cooled off.

I heard “Gee but It's Cold Outside” I think it's really cute.
Looks like I'll have to come down and take care of that bunkmate of yours. You tell him he'd better

watch out or I'll come down there and take care of him.
TIF.S.R.LH.H. Means this is for Sal, rush like holy heck.

Can't say that I like that there hillbilly music. Give me popular or light classics any day.

I didn't take any pics last Sunday. I just keep putting it off.
Aha. So you might get home next month. I don't know about sendin me folks out. Besides my mother is only a little girl 4 feet 11. Nothin to worry about.

I think the prom is around the twentieth or the 24th. I'm not sure.

We graduate the third. Class day is the second. Just 14 more days of school. Gee Sal all the homework we get. It's awful honestly. I have practically no time to myself at all, but, as you would say, what are ya gonna drew?

My boss asked me today when we get out of school. I said around the sixth. So he said good you can start work full time on the

seventh. Isn't that awful?
Well Sally I guess that's all for now.

As Ever
        --- alias

p.s. What happened between you and Joyce?
What does G.W.T.S.G.L. mean?

What happened, indeed! There seems to be a lull in their correspondence (March to May), but we may never know what happened to cause it! Was it problems with the bunk mate? Was it being moved from boot camp? Was it being on the ship? I love Joan's feisty spirit, and I bet she was (and probably is!) a lot of fun. It sounds like she knows just how to get around pushy teenage boys who want to get her alone!

This is a short letter, but it sure does bring up a lot of questions. I mean, what does GWTSGL mean, after all?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Letter 9, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[5 of 5. Written on March 19]
Howdle de do,
Guess what!!! We had another snow storm. How do you like that? Here is the first day of spring (so called) around the corner, Monday to be exact, and we have another snowstorm. It makes me so mad.~

Went to the show last night ~ “The Wake of the Red Witch” was playing. It was okey but nothing to really brag about ~ Naturally I got scared stiff when they showed the octopus ~ In fact I was practically underneath the

seat ~
Just +5 more days till we graduate ~ My how time flies~ It seems it was only yesterday we started school, then it was Christmas, and, after Christmas, the time certainly flew by~

Seeing that we haven't met officially, I shouldn't even be writing to you now should I? ~ I thought Jack introduced us, but I guess he must have overlooked that little article~

Woody was home again last Sunday, and naturally Vivian was in her glory ~ He must be stationed right around here huh ~

Before I forget, I'm sorry for calling you Mr. But gee whiz snooky you never put S.N. on your letters. How's I supposed to know?~ I put Mr. cause I didn't want to be impolite. I'm sorry, sorry, sorry ~ Forgive me?

Now about your rubbers, I'm still looking~ are you positive you left 'em here? ~ Maybe it was over to Gloria's house you left em huh? ~

You know what you can do for me? ~ You can send me some snapshots of you, if you have any handy.~

Too bad you can't be home for Easter, but if you're taking a leave a little later on maybe it would be silly. ~ Are you by any chance coming home in May to take a certain person to the prom?
Well Sally oops scuse me Sal Guess that's olly for now ~
[shorthand writing]

As Ever
    “The Girl with the Green Hair.”

Well, I finally decided to look up when "rubber" started to be used as a slang term, and wouldn't you know, it began in the 1930s. In this letter we realize that neither one of them could have left their rubber boots at the other's house (seeing as we learn here that Sal and Joan haven't officially met in person), so therefore this back and forth about the rubbers, well I'm sure you can agree that it's good old teenage humor at work! We think of kids from the 40s as so wholesome, but I think we can safely say that kids throughout history are up to mischief. But I do wonder what leaving one's rubbers or losing one's rubbers is supposed to be a euphemism for...

Wake of the Red Witch came out in 1948, and featured John Wayne and Gail Russell:  "Captain Ralls fights Dutch shipping magnate Mayrant Didneye for the woman he loves, Angelique Desaix, and for a fortune in gold aboard the Red Witch."
  Click here to see a clip of the movie (spoiler alert!).

I was interested to read that WHS seniors in 1949 would be graduating in late March. That's awfully early, isn't it? I assume that the rest of the school went on until summer, wouldn't they?

Is it me or does our friend Joan seem a little more interested in this letter? After all, she does ask for a photo of Sal. And is that a hint there for him to take her to the prom? 

The end of this letter features short hand. Since I transcribed the letters and don't have scans, I am not able to get the short hand symbols translated. Perhaps in a later post!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letter 8, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[4 of 5. Written March 19, 1949]

Saturday Morning
Hello honey bunny,

How you all? Got yr letter (as you can see) and thought I'd write this morning before I do my shopping.

My Mom is sitting here racking her brain trying to do a puzzle. She says it's the craziest thing. Scuse me while I look up a word in the Webster.

Okay, here I am again. There was a dance last night at the High School sponsored by the Commercial Club. It was pretty good. We had loads of fun. Joyce was there too. Next time I see Woody I'll say

“hi” to him for you.
Now about those rubbers, honestly sugar foot I can't find neither hide nor hair of em. You won't be needing them anyhoo now that Spring has sprung, the grass has riz I wonder where the flowers is. (I had to put that in. corny huh)

If yr havin troubles with yr face, Woodbury won't help. In fact it will make it worst. I can't use anythin but Ivory on my face. Those Woodbury Cocktails taste like anicette. It makes you sick. Bea gave me some once. I'll never drink it again. Oh! Horrors. Anyhow,

Sal don't worry too much about the pimples. They'll go away in due time. The only thing you can do (here's some nursely advice) is to drink lots of milk and water, cut down on sweets, and get plenty of fresh air and especially sunshine. The sun dries them up. (I'll send you a bill for services.) Try it though, I'm sure it will work. (I think)

It's really beautiful out today. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and everything looks grand. It's really nice and warm. These are the kind of days I could just walk and walk and walk especially in the country.

Know what bamby, I think me is getting spring fever. Nothin to worry about though. I gets it every year.

Now Sal, don't go saying things like that after all you hardly know me. How can you all be interestin in me?

The girl I had in mind as a “certain girl to the prom” was Joyce of course. I thought you were going to take her if you got home. I don't know if she's been asked yet or if she's accepted.

Bye for now honey-bunny. I could read the shorthand perfectly. Youse is pretty good at it ya know.

As Ever

Attempts to discover what the "Commercial Club" was have failed, so if anyone reading this knows what they were or what it was about, please comment! I also tried to find any sort of image from a Waltham school dance in 1949, to no avail!

Woodbury was a brand of soap, founded in 1870. Their wikipedia entry states that, "In 1936, Woodbury soap was the first product to use a picture of a nude woman in its advertisements." They had a product called Woodbury facial soap that was very popular, and though I couldn't find anything online about a tonic or medicine that one might drink, they were indeed "brought to court for practicing medicine without a license" so maybe that's the anisette-tasting cocktail she refers to.

But all that is not to be confused with Woody. Woody's given name was George, and he hung around with Sal's "gang" (as he called it).

Again with the rubbers talk! I think he may have actually forgotten his boots. But still, I suppose it could be an inside joke. What do you think?

As I suspected, it appears that Sal might have been a little more sweet on Joan (aka Dusty) than she was on him. And notice that she doesn't ask him if he would like to take her to the prom! But yet, she is sure laying on the affectionate terms. But she broke her promise not to mention Joyce again.

One thing I learned is that (at least at one time) Sal could read and write shorthand!
In the previous post, I couldn't find a photo of Woolworth's and the surrounding stores. Well, here you go.

Woolworth's in 1909:

And in this photo from the 1950s you can see Parke Snow:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter 7, from Joan aka "Dusty"

[3 of 5. Written March 18, 1949]
Friday Night
How you all? I'm fine now thank you. You can't keep a good man (I mean girl) down.

You should see Moody Street now. It looks sooo funny. They tore down Woolworth's completely and Parke Snowe's and Bell's look lost now. They're supposed to rebuild and from what I hear, it's really supposed to be somethin.

We haven't started graduation songs yet, but we are going to start next Tuesday.

We graduate June 2. We're supposed to have outdoor graduation. Mr Huff says he really wants to make it a big affair. We'll be the hundredth class to comgradulate ya know!

Guess what? We had April showers here today. It really poured and then the sun came out.

Excuse me bunny but I have to get up awful early tomorry so I'll finish this letter in the morning after I get home okey?
Good night now.

Good morning. It's nice out today. The sun is (oops it just hid behind a cloud) out. It's kind of chilly out but we can't complain.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and we'll all go to church and get our palms. I hope it's nice out. Then next week is Easter. My, my “how the time goes by.”

Now, the little matter of the picture. I'm in an awful fix. You see it seems I promised more pictures than I had. I had fifty made and I have two left. The trouble is though I've promised about seven more people. Honestly, Sal,

I don't know what I'm going to do. I can't afford to have any more made. How does a snapshot appeal to you? Let's put it this way, if I give you a big picture, it will take up more room, but, if I give you a snapshot, you can just file it away someplace. Now, if it so happens that certain other people forget I owe them a picture then you'll be first in line. Okay?

I can't remember what I wrote in shorthand last time so I can't explain it. As for Joyce, I'm sorry. I won't say another word about it.

As Ever,
Joany alias Dusty

Tel. Wal. 5-6917-M
I almost forgot to give it to you

Telephone numbers sure looked a lot different in 1949! This letter is a little bit of a downer, though I can't quite put my finger on why. Is it the fact that Joan (aka Joany aka Dusty) tells Sal that he didn't make the cut for a photograph? Or is it the mention of Joyce, and ensuing apology? Or perhaps it's the baby talk and the diminutive term "bunny"? What do you think?

Information on Mr. Huff or the 100th graduating class of Waltham High School is eluding me. I would have liked to include some sort of image with this post, but all I have found is this old postcard of WHS:

I also tried to find a photograph of the old Woolworth's, Bell's, or Parke Snow's, but could only find images of what they look like now as a Dollar Store and a Mattress Giant. So if anyone has photos or information on any of the above, I would be thrilled if they shared it. So for now, I 'll end with the song "My How the Time Goes By." I have to admit that I was shocked to see blackface in this video. But it's an interesting (if not disturbing) relic of the time, and actually a good song. The set and costumes (minus the blackface, of course) are also delightful. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letter 6, from Joan

[letter 2 of 5. written March 16, 1949]
Wednesday Nite
Howdy do Sugarfoot:
Here we are down here and we just had a nice big snowstorm, about six inches. The most we've had this year ain't it?

I'm glad you see that my beauty exceeds that of Ava Gardner (ahem, who you trying to kid? Certainly not me, I hope.)

Gee, that was a swell walk we took, weren't it? I never realized Washington was soooo beautiful. I guess we'll never find such lovely places in Waltham, so a walk wouldn't be quite

as nice here. Still, our little city has some interesting places hey what? Anyhow I guess I just love to walk.

How do you know what kind of eyes I have? You've never been that close, and don't tell me you saw me in your dreams.

You know what? I tried wheaties but it don't work. My hair is still just as dull and drab as ever. Oh well, who cares (me) (I mean I)

Saw your brother couple of times as I was shopping.

In fact, I saw him just Saturday.

The mardi Gras was last night, and they crowned the Queen; namely Anna Mula. I understand she is very lovely, but, of course you already know that. I didn't go to that one because I went to the French Mardi Gras (shux I din't win the television)

Before I forget, I left my rubbers up there? Will you bring them to me when you come home? Gee, tanks

I saw Joyce today, and she said that she wrote to you I imagine you have the letter by now. So you can see she's not mad at ya (now you can sleep nights again)

Still haven't heard “Gloria” but “I'll See You in My Dreams”

p.s. Thanks for the tip but I use Revlon.

This letter reveals young Sal's obvious attempts at flattery and flirtation. But I fear that he may have been so over the top that he missed his mark. Joan doesn't want to accept that she might look so nice as Ava Gardner (pictured right)!  And flattering the beauty of her eyes didn't seem to work, either! She really was a tough sell, it seems. 

Still, Joan seems to have made a visit from Waltham, Massachusetts to Washington DC, and they seem to have had a lovely walk. But are you wondering what I'm wondering? Is it possible that leaving their "rubbers" is an inside joke of some kind? Or could both of them actually have left their galoshes at the other's place?

And we get a bit of a glimpse of Joyce again. Clearly, there was some sort of misunderstanding between her and Sal. We may never know what it was, but it may have had something to do with her unceremonious treatment of Vic.

The "p.s." in this letter is also quite funny. I guess Revlon was a popular brand even back then! Now, for the songs. First, here's the sad song, "Gloria," recommended by Sal, followed by "I'll see you in my dreams."