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A letter from a friend in December 1923. The letter is hard to read – I’ve tried to translate as written.

To remember when reading this:

1. It was from a fellow classmate at the orphanage

2. Peter  and Max are Bessie’s brothers, who also attended the orphanage

“Modest” as described is interesting.

Sunday Dec 30, ‘23

Dearest Bess –

After not hearing from you for such a long time, I wrote to all the girls in Cleveland – requesting them to send me word of you, or better still, your address. You can imagine my surmises – when not one girl even mentioned you or your whereabouts in her letter. I sure thought you either married  – and didn’t want anyone to know – or dead – and no one wanted to be the one to tell me. I finally appealed to my brother Willie to look Peter up and get any information. He can and a few days after hearing from Willie you were in Chicago – I received your welcome letter.

Yes, I am still in New York. Quite accidentally – the first week I was here – I was just vacating a chair in the Public Library on East 42nd St – I noticed the one approaching to take it looked familiar.  For a moment I couldn’t place him – but when he finally was close to me and was about to seat himself – I asked him if he was Max Rotter. He didn’t remember me either at first. We spoke for quite some time. He told me he was working on a boat this summer – and happened to be in that shipwreck near Chicago. He escaped with his life and landed in Chicago.  He didn’t know any of your people’s addresses so took a train to New York and here he is. I begged him to come to see me while he is here – but you know Max. His answer was that he has too many classmates living in the Bronx – and he doesn’t want to meet them. I gave him the only address I knew of Chicago and that was 2826 Crystal St. Did he write you. He was living at the Mills Hotel – but I can’t tell you where he is now, or even the address of the Mills Hotel.

So you have taken to travelling, too? But you go like a sport – in a machine, eh? What’s a few accidents if you have the comfort of travelling?

As I suppose you know, the two Libbys – Fannie and Ella cam to New York to attend my brother Dave’s wedding. Ella remained here two weeks. Libbys a month and Fannie will remain a New Yorker. She was introduced to a young pharmacist at the wedding – and we are expecting something serious to come of the affair. At present they are out together. But as all things have flaws in them – so has this. Her friend Jack has a mother – ‘nuf said.  Oh yes, I’ll just add that no mother wants her son to get married or thinks much of a future daughter in law.

As for myself – I got in touch with Anna Biglison’s cousin Ted – do you remember him? He took me out several times.  I found tho that he is really taking me because I am Anna’s friend and that he is busy – etc; so one time when he failed to call up  – as per promise – I made up my mind not to go with him anymore. He still hasn’t called but in case he does, I’ll just tell him I don’t want to manipulate his time, etc. When you go back to Cleveland – and if Anna should ask you if I told you that I went out with Ted – don’t let on that I did.  I didn’t tell a single girl in Cleveland –but I suppose Anna and her friends know through him – and I am wondering what he had to say about it.

Both [? Fannie] and I are working. She for a Men’s [?] place and I in an insurance office on Maiden Lane.  Every noon hour I walk through Wall Street – Fulton Street – East Broadway – the Bowery – and try to picture the early settlers upon the arrival  in America. That section of New York is really the most historical.  Can’t you picture maidens with these long pantaloons to their ankles and puffed-out skirts and blouses. – walking arm in arm – real slowly on the place that is now called after them – Maiden Lane ? Or young cavaliers climbing an ivy covered wall to peer into some wonderful garden where shy maidens were supposed to be hidden from view. And now, if only those modest people could come back and peer into the immense buildings and go a little further, look into different offices – and see how maidens and cavaliers transact and actually run business. Their free language and modern dress – they would be thankful for the invention of shock absorbers.

But to return to earth – I am sorry I couldn’t answer you letter promptly, – but you please do mine and write me everything.  Fannie sends regards.



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