At this point in time, Lad is the only one of Grandpa’s children who isn’t at home and he misses his oldest. With the money Lad is sending home to help support the family, Grandpa has hired a man to help fix up the old house and he gives Lad all the details and shows his appreciation in this letter.
September 10, 1939
This has been somewhat of a hectic week. The house, at least that part of it which consists of the front hall, the upstairs hall, the living room and the music room, has been very upset with Mr. Smithson removing wallpaper, painting walls and woodwork, and the upstairs floor, and moving all the stuff into the spare room from the upstairs hall, and the living room and downstairs hall stuff piled into the music room, the smell of fresh paint, the cleaning up afterward and the replacing of most of the stuff. It is not all straightened out yet, as the bookcases in the living room are not yet dry enough to put back the books. Last night I waxed the downstairs hall and living room floors.
Aunt Betty is visiting us and yesterday I received a phone call from my cousin Clara, telling me that her daughter, Sylvia, my other cousin Tizie and an old sweetheart of Clara’s with whom they have all been staying in Norwalk recently, were coming up this afternoon. We all got busy and tried to get the house in some sort of order. In between times I got busy early with the dinner, roasted the veal, made apple pie, etc. and at about four o’clock they showed up. It had been about 35 years or more since I had last seen my cousin and we had quite a visit with all the family to catch up on. Just to give you a little background: my father had a favorite sister whom I called Aunt Allie.she married an Army officer, Major Kilbourne, a surgeon. He came within an ace of being assigned to Custer’s famous Regiment that was wiped out in the Indian massacre of historical fame. My Aunt had five children — the oldest, Clara, married an English army officer and went to India where their only daughter, Sylvia, was born, the same month and year that you saw the light of day. My Aunt’s second daughter married a West Point American army officer, had two boys, both of whom are married and have children. Later, because he became a drunk she had to leave him. The third of my Aunt’s children, Helen, married Gen. Hugh Johnson. My Aunt’s fourth child was also a West Point graduate, Harry Kilborne, and the youngest was Guy (Guion), who was lame and nearer my age. Perhaps you may remember him, a lame man who visited us one 4th of July at Dell Avenue when we made some bombs. When Clara was in her teens my father and mother invited her to visit us in Mount Vernon. She was very popular with the young folks in the neighborhood, one of whom, George fFish, fell in love with her, but because he had a reputation of being too fond of liquor, she turned him down when he proposed to her. His wife died recently, and when Clara recently came from England, he invited Clara, his old sweetheart, who had lost her husband many years ago, her daughter, Sylvia, and Tizie to visit him at Norwalk. These were the four that came up this afternoon.
Quite unexpectedly, also, my sister Elsie decided to pay us a visit today and telephoned from the Bridgeport (train) Depot that she had arrived this morning. So we had a very busy afternoon, all in all. They have just left, and as you surmise, I have resumed my regular Sunday afternoon routine of writing to my absent “highboy”. (That was quite a long paragraph, wasn’t it?)
Tomorrow I will post the rest of this letter – most of which was written by Aunt Elsie.