Tuesday, June 10, 2008

July 7, 1927 - New York City


New York July 7, 1927.

My dear Jeanie: -

I have received your
letter, and you win (as usual) which
means that you are absolutely one
hundred percent right [when] you are too
lazy to write
, with so many beautiful
natural surrounding and other attractions
I am inclined to believe that there
isn't much time for writing,1 especially
in your case you have to write to
a number of people, and I suppose
I'm getting my share, and besides you
are writing so much all year (on the
typewriter) that this vacation may
keep you busy with anything but

As you see I'm trying to find



some excuses to justify your action,
and I'm not just jesting either, but
I am sincere.

I've been hoping against hope to
be able to talk to you on the phone,
I have tried all week, but it is
utterly impossible to get a connection
with Hurleyville exchange on account of
heavy traffic.3

All the central operator could
promise me was to try to connect us
around 1. a.m. and at that time
my dear I would not want to wake
you from your sweet slumbers,
To call you by day, I don't think
you are at home then, so it seems



that I'll have to wait to hear
your sweet voice until Sunday.

I called at your home Tuesday
night at Sallie's invitation to be
present when you would call up
we waited up to about 12 o'clock
but the call did not come, I
suppose that you experienced the
same trouble trying to get a
connection with N.Y.

By the way Jeanie, Mother
asked me to write to you to come
home by train only, I think she is
right, but pardon me I'm not
trying to advice you for I know that
you can always use your own

There is no news at home,
excepting that at this time Rose
ought to be in the country, Sally is
expecting to leave Sunday after your

So dearest nothing else to
write now, I hope that you are
enjoying fair weather (it is raining
hard here now).

Please excuse my blots and funny
script, this is the first time I'm using
a new fountain pen, but it don't work

Looking forward for the pleasure
of meeting you [on] Sunday. I'm
as ever

Your Harry.


1 - Having privately decided to marry my grandmother, and having spent the previous two-and-a-half years courting and catering to her, Papa was clearly insulted and dismayed by the indifference evident in her infrequent and spare correspondence. In his last letter, he tactfully but unmistakably reprimanded my grandmother for saying she was "too lazy to write" in response to his frequent requests for more and longer letters. I suppose her response was none too contrite and made him even more nervous than her lack of communication; in the opening paragraph of this letter, Papa appears to be trying to calm her down with a "yes, dear, I don't know what I was thinking, of course you don't have to write if you don't want to."

2 - My grandmother worked for many years as a secretary to a lawyer named Louis Richman. Perhaps this reference to her "writing so much all year (on the typewriter)" means she had started her secretarial career by 1927.

3 - Hurleyville was (and still is) a hamlet in the town of Fallsburgh, New York, where my grandmother vacationed in 1927 at a Jewish resort called the Roseland Hotel. It wasn't far from such legendary Sullivan County spots as the Concorde Hotel and Kutsher's Country Club. Alas, while it's easier to place a phone call to the area nowadays, it's almost impossible to find a trace of the old "Borscht Belt."


  1. What amazes me is that, despite her "indifference," your grandmother seems to have saved so much correspondence from your grandfather, whereas you don't seem to have any souvenirs of his. But he may not have as much storage space available.

  2. Harriet makes a good point. Why did my grandmother save so much of Papa's correspondence? Was he the only one writing her such letters? Did she feel more strongly for him than she let on even though she kept him hanging on for six years?