St. Petersburg Adventure (8) – School Grades – March, 1935

 

It’s March of 1935 and Biss is writing to her Dad in Trumbull. She has been staying with her Aunt Anne and Don and Gwen, Anne’s children. When her mother died she was having a hard time at home in Trumbull so she went to Florida to live with her Aunt. The adults in the family hoped that this move would make a difference in her life..

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (1) 3.1935

Blog - Life in St Petersburg - School Grades (2) - March, 1935

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Please Read to Yourself First

Monday afternoon

4:51 PM

3/11/1935

Dear Dad

You make me feel like crying – I realize fully what a thoughtless child I have been and I will try to mend my ways. Here after I will write at least once a week and maybe twice. I have not only neglected you but everyone else to. I will write to Parents Magazine and thank them for they have been very prompt and I barely have time to finish one before the next one arrives, for I wait a few days between each article to let it sink in.

To answer your letters I am glad I came out now ahead of the boys – (Biss had bets with her three brothers that she would get better grades in school)/ don’t tell Ced or any of the others what I am about to say tho’ – but I do hope Ced comes out ahead in the end for I love to see him happy and it would make him so proud to come out ahead. Do you think Ced’s marks are improved this year? From one pencil mark to the other is the part you should keep under your hat – if you have no hat on, then keep it under the gray hair – excuse the last remark but your hair is gray. Here after I think I shall enclose the things I want kept quiet in pencil or between pencil marks. /

Do you think ”Peck’s Bad Boy” is worth going to see? I hope Rusty is beginning to get a taste of Fame for the poor dear has waited such a long time for it. I am sorry the Kermode’s are having such a hard time however I imagine the business will pick up soon. Is he out of work?

Thank you very much for the money, it certainly comes in handy. I come out about two weeks short each month so your money is always doubly welcome – I am so glad Dave has become interested in something and I hope it will be a raving success. How has Dave been? Tell him I miss his spoiledness immensely and I hope there is no trace of it left by the time I get home. I miss all of you very much and I am looking forward to coming home but I hate to leave St. Petersburg because I have made a few friends down here – one – two weeks ago – and I have gone out with him once, believe it or not! I also am going to miss this weather very much – it is never too hot and never too cold. The sun is always hot but there is always a very cool breeze blowing so that it is quite cool – they say it will get better and then get cool and be cool all during the summer. I am anxious to see the gang though and am quite thrilled to think that I am going to see Barbara Plumb. Has the office paid all of its debts? Saturday our club went to the beach and a storm (wind) came up so that we had the beach to ourselves. The waves would dash against the seawall and send the spray up over the wall – we ran along the seawall and were soaked all the way through to our skin but we certainly had a lot of fun – we ate (there were 8 of us) three dozen tangerines besides about five sandwiches each – 2 pounds of cookies and a bowl of potato salad. Some fun – hey what?

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to her father (Grandpa) back in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (7) – Report Cards (2) – February, 1935

 

We’re catching up with Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. It seems as though she has stuffed all her letter writing for February into one envelope. It also looks like she skips around in who she writes to when, because these are not all in chronological order.  This is the second half of the letter Biss wrote in February, 1935. The pictures are of Aunt Anne’s children, the ones Biss is helping with.

Dave

              David Peabody Guion

Sunday evening

8:29 PM

Dear Dave:

This envelope is so fat already that I will just be able to write a short note to you because I’m afraid it can’t hold much more junk. Don and Gwen were both put ahead, Gwen to 3A and Don to 5A. I passed all subjects and so don’t have to repeat which I think is quite nice and also quite unusual. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

It is now Monday afternoon at 5:46 PM I got my new guitar today and I am thrilled !!!! It certainly is worth every cent I paid for it.

We had a Chinese man visit our school today and he told us a lot about China. Maybe if you remember it and remind me, I will tell you when I get home. I have a lot of things planned for when I get home and if you and Dick learn to get along well, I feel sure we will have lots and lots of fun together. Be sure to answer this letter for I love to hear from you. I’ll send you a picture of the speaker we had. You will see that he is quite nice looking. I had expected to see a yellow faced looking man with just slanty slits for eyes and what a surprise I got! Well I have to go downtown and get Don for he went for his music lessons about an hour ago. I am expecting to hear from you very soon.

Love,

Biss

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

 Richard Peabody Guion (Dick)

Monday evening,   8:16 PM

Dear Dick,

Boy, what a “D” that is in ”Dear”, hey what? I am going to get orange juice in a few minutes but I am going to try to finish it before I go. Tell Dad that the fruit man’s son, who broke his neck, got pendicitis (acute at that) but that he pulled through and is now at home for he did not enjoy the hospital. Tell Jane that I will write to her as soon as possible.

I told Dave that I felt sure all three of us (or four if Peggy will come back only I’m afraid I have lost her for she seems to be so happy where she is) but I will try to take her place and play with you more and go out into the woods, we could have lots of fun and I will have lots and lots of stories to tell you and you will have lots and lots to tell me, I hope. Well, we can tell the stories while doing our work and it won’t take long at all to do it.

I am getting more and more anxious to see Trumbull again. I passed everything and am I glad! Those two hour (each) exams were nightmares!

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

Donald at last has a new friend so he doesn’t have to go around with Billy so much anymore. He still goes around with him somewhat though. Save the football and baseball until I get home. Do you still have skiing? How is skating?

Tell me all about these things in a letter to me and make it snappy! Donald and I tried playing some duets on the guitars and they sounded quite nice. Gee, if I don’t give the guitar any rest it will be all worn out before I can show it to all of you up there. Be sure and not tell anyone about it and I miss the family again.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Hurry up and write!

P.P.S. I couldn’t write two sheets because the envelope is too full!

I think this is a second – or third – installment – to her letter to her father, but since she doesn’t address it to anyone, I’m guessing.

Friday – 4:36 PM

I received your letter yesterday, and the check, and the letter from Parents Magazine, and the news from Trumbull, and Dan’s second installment. Are you going to have my magazine a free installment? I would like it, if it is all right with you for then I would have no fear of its expiring at the end of the year the way I have been and next year I will be able to ask for “Good Housekeeping” instead and thereby get the two magazines I like best. I wanted “Good Housekeeping  this year but felt that you didn’t have the money for it so I didn’t bother to ask for it.

I got my geometry report today and got 85 – my average is only 76%. It looks as though Ced has the upper hand. I am getting my guitar either Monday or Thursday so you will see me with a guitar when I get home. I am going to put on 3 3-cent stamps so it should get there O.K. There is something wrong if it doesn’t.

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Gwen has “water on the knee” and Aunt Anne took her to the doctor today. I think one thing but my hand keeps writing another – I was going to say doc tonight instead of Doctor and today my hand wrote correctly where as my mind didn’t think as it should.

Don has a steam engine just like Alfred’s steam boiler. The one we fooled with so much last year. Well I want to reel off a number of things to Ced so I guess I’ll say goodbye to you for, if I keep on going I won’t stop and then I can’t send the letters for I’ll still be writing and I’ll starve because I’ll be writing instead of eating and then the letter will never be finished because I’ll die of starvation and fatigue before I finish it – soooo, goodbye until the next time.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter from Biss to the folks back home in Trumbull.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1939. Lad and Dan are working with their Uncle Ted Human building a road from Caracas to Maracaibo in Venezuela.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (6) – Report Cards (1) – February 4, 1935

 

Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. It seems as though she has stuffed all her letter writing for February into one envelope. It also looks like she skips around in who she writes to  and when, because these are not all in chronological order.  The pictures are of Aunt Anne’s children, the ones Biss is helping with.

Don Stanley

Don Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Gwen Stanley

Sunday evening

5:39 PM

February 4, 1935

Dear Dad:

I’m awfully sorry I haven’t written sooner but I have been having exams so that I couldn’t have told my head from my feet – I can’t anyway. Each subject lasted for two hours. The first exam was from 8:30 to 10:30 and then the second from 10:30 to 12:30. Then we got out of school for the day. We had the last test Friday – they were more than tests – exams! I will send my report cards home for the first half of the year and you may keep them for we get new report cards for the second semester. As for the not newsy letter, I don’t do very much so I couldn’t very well tell about an incident that didn’t happen – but here is one. Today when I got my report card for history I was very much surprised to find I had gone up and one of the boys remarked that he must have been asleep when he marked mine. So during lunch I went to him and said “Mr. White, are you sure you weren’t sleeping when you made out my report card?” And he looked questioning for a moment and then he said “Oh! No, I wasn’t asleep but I thought for a long time before I put that mark down.” I then told him he was a lifesaver for that kept my average the same for I had gone down so far in French.

We had a new heater put in this morning and we are very thankful, for it is the first time in about a week that we have had warmth in the house for we have bad weather, cold snaps. I imagine you have been expecting and hoping for this letter for quite a while and are quite disappointed you haven’t received it sooner. I had to pay three cents on that letter so now we are even. If Mary Dolan happens to come up again tell her the great renowned Miss Lizzie is waiting very patiently to hear from her and her family but as yet has not gotten a note and as far as I know – is still waiting patiently with folded hands.

How is Rusty getting along? Has he had any work to amount to anything as yet? I am going to try to write Dan for he said he had to find work that I am hoping to catch him before he leaves. I will put two or three other notes in with this letter so I can once more begin hearing from different members of my writing family.

I hope you haven’t mentioned our guitar lessons to anyone yet. Please don’t. Don couldn’t take his lessons this afternoon because his teacher, Miss Bradley, is sick.

I have to go and do the dishes for the maid didn’t come this afternoon. Oh, that is right, of course. You didn’t know that we got a maid, for Aunt Anne felt that she couldn’t go on, for that work tired her so. I certainly am giving you enough news to make up for the last and for two or three in the future, besides. We all have had quite a mania for solitaire lately so Cedric’s cards are getting plenty of use. Have to go and do the dishes so finish this later.

Tuesday

Saturday I went to the dentist and had my teeth cleaned. The dentist said my teeth were very good and that I didn’t have a single cavity.

I didn’t take my geometry test today because I didn’t feel like it and I was tired. Mr. Mead told me to come in and do it tomorrow.

Gladys the maid didn’t come again tonight so we have to do dishes once more. You see we have the breakfast and lunch dishes for her to do so we have all the dishes of the day to do in the evening. She was supposed to do the wash today also and I’ll have to wait another day now before I can wear my white pants and my white suit. Well I want to write to the rest too so I’ll say goodbye for now.

Love,

Biss

P.S. I would write more only I am afraid it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of this letter.

Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more letters written from Biss to her Dad .

On Monday I will begin a week of letters written in 1939. Grandpa has started writing weekly letters to his two oldest boys who are in Venezuela, working with their Uncle Ted Human, helping to build a road from Caracas to Maracaibo.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (5) – My Birthday – January, 1935

 

It’s 1935 and 16-year-old Biss in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping to care for her children, Don and Gwen. Christmas, 1934, has come and gone and Biss is back in school.

 

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

Wednesday afternoon

4:31 PM

January 16, 1935

Dear Dad:

I sent you a letter already saying I got the check and thanking you very much for it. It was a surprise to get it for I hadn’t expected an allowance for this month. I had a very nice birthday. I am sorry to say that Dan left two days ago (Monday) although I imagine you know that by now for I expect he has sent you a card. (This is the only mention of Dan making a trip to Florida to visit Biss.  How long did he stay? How did he travel? Did he travel with anyone else? I have no idea.)

I am glad Dick has improved in his school work. How about Dave? It is very nice that Paul (Warden, living in the apartment with his wife) has at last gotten the job.

We ate at the “Gypsy Inn” as a special treat on my birthday and after we got home they had a surprise ready for me by way of a special treat, ice cream and cake and plenty of presents. It was a double surprise, for I hadn’t expected a thing seeing as how I had got one present last year and then to add to that by you coming down for this year. I didn’t see how I could get any.

I am glad (in a way) that they have been busy down at the office for that should certainly be a good sign if anything is. We took Dan about 5 miles beyond Brookesville. (Perhaps Dan (19 at the time) was hitchhiking?)

Well, I want to write a letter, I mean finish a letter I started Friday to Marie P. and send all three tonight, although they won’t go out until tomorrow, I don’t believe.

I will send a Coquina shell up in this letter to show you what they look like when fixed up.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Tell Alfred that I am hoping to hear from him,and also from Dick and Dave. I’m writing on the bed in leisurely fashion, that is why my writing isn’t very plain.

Biss

It sounds like Biss had a special surprise for the holidays. It seems that her brother Dan made the trip to Florida to see her. I’m sure, with her birthday being January 6th, she probably got short-changed over the years.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (4) – Thanksgiving Was Awful! (2) – December 6, 1934-

This is the rest of the letter written to Grandpa on December 6th about a Thanksgiving Biss just could not enjoy. I’m sure she was homesick for Trumbull and was having a difficult time adjusting to this new life.

Art Mantle, Biss and Alfred (Lad) 

The next day we started for St. Pete at about 10 AM and we got back around 11. I drove about halfway. Then we changed into our bathing suits and went to St. Pete Beach. I stayed on the beach for about an hour then went up to the car and took a nap. We came home about six o’clock. I think we went into town for dinner.

The next day Mr. Bailey and the Farmers came and stayed overnight and we went to the beach the next day. I stayed for about three hours then got in the car and took a nap. In other words every weekend we go to the beach and I get into the car. That last one was a mistake. I got into the car and stayed for a half hour just thinking, when they came up after me and told me to come fishing with them. We fished for about two hours and caught eight fish.

Then we came back and ate on the beach. Mr. Bailey had brought some steaks. We didn’t cook the fish there because it was late and would take too much time to cook.

Is the furnace fixed? I gather that Alfred is the caretaker for the furnace?

I should think you would have saved some money by buying your overcoat now instead of dyeing your spring coat – seeing as you have to buy one anyway. That was like saving $.50 and spending a dollar. Aunt Anne does realize what you are up against because she’s up against the exact same thing.

She suggested $10 and I just added more and didn’t have room to explain the whole thing. That ten was for all my extra expenses including dental work. I have all the books I need at present. Later on I have to get another book for English and one for French.

I will see about the Chamber of Commerce – you know we have no phone, otherwise, I would have given you the number long ago.

Tonsillitis is catching so I don’t think it wise for David to play with her or else you’ll have another doctor bill on hand. It rained a few drops last evening. Cloudy half the day today.

School closes the 21st and opens the 7th. Don and Gwen like anything that Dick or Dave would – Anne – you know. I don’t know what I want although I would like a Hawaiian guitar, fairly good – if possible.

Love,

Biss

Tomorrow I will begin posting the last few letters in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. All five of Grandpa’s sons are helping Uncle Sam win the War. Both Lad and Dan are in France, Ced is in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is in Okinawa. Jean (Mrs. Dick) and Marian (Mrs. Alfred or Lad) are helping Grandpa keep the home fires burning while waiting for their husbands to come home.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure (3) – Thanksgiving was Awful! (1) – December 5 and 6, 1934

 

Having had a New England Thanksgiving dinner her whole life, Biss can’t quite accept spending the day at the beach. It just doesn’t feel right!

Elizabeth Westlin Guion and Mack

Wednesday, 3:45

Study Hall

December 5, 1934

Dear Dick,

You forgot to tell me about the Shrine Circus your teacher took you to see. What is your teacher’s name? I am still in seventh period. I was half a minute late yesterday so I

Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

have to stay one whole hour. Isn’t that the dumbest luck? I have been writing all afternoon and my hand is tired. That is why my writing looks so funny.

What became of that hut out by the playhouse? What were your marks in school? Marks close Friday down here, I think.

Thanksgiving was awful! We went to see Mr. Bailey but I don’t like him and then he took us to the beach. I don’t like the beach either. I saw a peachy collie at the hotel where Mr. Bailey stays. Mr. Bailey is going to spend Christmas with us too. Darn it. If Alfred would come down, which he wants, it would be all right for us kids and I suppose we must make the best of it because he likes Aunt Anne. She is going to see if Uncle Fred won’t come down. I only have 5 minutes of my seventh period left. Aunt Anne is going to call for me and then we are going to the movies. Dave can tell you what one we are going to see. I am sorry my reply has been so tardy but it takes time to write to each one of you and answer your letters. I want to glance over your letter and it is at home – please don’t call me Bets. How was Dick and Mrs. Boyce. Methinks I better write to them.

Love,

Biss

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Thursday, 4:20 PM

December 6, 1934

Dining room

Dear Dad:

You certainly wrote a letter and a half. I will try to answer it fully. Right now Don and Billy are out in back playing marbles. Billy is a little boy who lives across the street. Gwen is out riding on her bicycle. Aunt Anne is over in Tampa at the Farmer’s. She is going to stay overnight so I am chief cook and bottle washer.

I wished that I was home for Thanksgiving. It didn’t seem at all holiday-ish to me. We got up early – 8:15 AM – and got the work done and took baths. At about 10:45 AM we got into the car and drove over to Tampa to Mr. Bailey’s hotel. We arrived at 11:15 and got into our bathing suits.

Then we drove over to the Farmers and waited while Mrs. Farmer and Mr. Bailey got ready. We waited there for about 15 minutes then went down to pick up Mr. Farmer who had to work at his office for a while. We then went to Clearwater to swim. Mr. Farmer changed into his bathing suit there. No one went in until Mr. Farmer was ready for everyone was tired and wanted to rest.

We stayed there until 5:30. I stayed on the beach until 3:30 and then went to the car and took a nap. I don’t like salt water and I don’t like Mr. Bailey so I had more fun in the car.

We went back to the hotel to change and Mr. Bailey took Mr. and Mrs. Farmer home and they changed. They got back in about half an hour. We then ate dinner – which was pretty good considering where we ate it – down in the dining room of Mr. Bailey’s hotel. In the middle of the dinner an old man came in with a collie and stayed for a minute – that was the best part of the whole meal.

By then it was about 7:30 PM so Don and Gwen went to bed or at least lay down on Mr. Bailey’s bed. They all went up two stories and had a get together. I stayed until 10 then went down to the lobby where a girl was sitting. I talked to her for a few minutes and then a boy came and took her out – thank goodness.  At 11 Aunt Anne decided to stay over so we registered and went to bed.

Next Saturday I’ll finish the letter Biss is writing to her Father concerning other happenings in Florida.

Judy Guion

 

St. Petersburg Adventure (2) – Dear Dad – The Lion And Football – November 14, 1934

 

My Aunt Bissie has been in St. Petersburg for about a month now and seems to be getting annoyed at the boys – and girls – who promised to write and haven’t. She starts her letter to Dick by trying to sound like a Southern Belle but gives up on that rather quickly. I guess it just wasn’t her style.

               Gwen Stanley

November 14th, 1934

Dear Dad,

I had too much ink on my pen. I ran out of paper so I had to buy this new paper so now I ain’t got no sense (cents) left. I am glad to hear that you will soon have your jury work over with although I suppose you will miss the money that you have been getting. I am glad Dick had a chance to go to the circus.  Gwen insists that there is a lion around here running loose because she heard it roar – it sounds to me like a cow in distress. She heard a dog yelp and has told everyone around here that it (the lion) ate the dog up because it stopped yelping.

Are all of you going down at once or into groups the way Mrs. Burnham suggested? I am sorry the well isn’t anymore, I thought it very picturesque and pretty. I’m sure if I had been at home I would’ve kicked up a big fuss so I think it’s just as well that I am down here.

Did it snow hard? I got a letter from Aunt Betty in answer to the one I sent her and have  written another one to her. I’ll have to look up the actors and actresses as I don’t know any. My brain isn’t working today anyway – which isn’t anything unusual. I have just finished giving my room its weekly cleaning and Aunt Anne now has to vacuum cleaner and is doing her room. As soon as I finish this letter I have to peel potatoes for the potato salad tonight.

I got your letter about 10 minutes ago, just before I finished my room. I sat down to answer it as soon as my room was finished and expect to have it start out for Trumbull in about an hour or an hour and a half. Tell Mr. Laufer to write to me and to tell Erwin to write to me. I got a letter from Si yesterday and I can’t think straight now – at least that’s what I told Si. I still think he is my favorite of the whole gang because he gets into so much mischief.

Love

Bissie

P.S. -I am going to the football game this afternoon. I hope we win.

Dear Dick – (Ricardo)

Ah have decided ta rest mah weary bones by sittin’ me down and writen ya a lettah. I pardoned ya pencil for I realize that may hap you haven’t any pen, Hey what? Or was it because you couldn’t find it? I’m very sorry you didn’t write sooner and I hope you will answer this one in record time. I am actually writing this the day after instead of the same day. I can imagine just how busy you have been lately. I didn’t cut on the dotted line like you asked me to but I showed the letter to him – what on earth took you 10 minutes between the time you wrote me and the time you wrote to Dan? I am sorry about your finger if you are but otherwise I didn’t worry. Has Ced built-up the snow house yet? I suppose you will help him with it – Dave too.

If you think I am nuts – I know you are NUTZ and seeing  as you demanded who won I won’t tell you !! So there— the score was Hillsboro: 13 and St. Petersburg: 7. We went to see another game but I don’t know what the score was. I just know that we lost. This Saturday we might go to see another game. Last night we were invited to tea by Cmdr. Berry of the Trenton – a cruiser (you know – next smallest to the battleship). He had a special motorboat sent over to get us and we ate in a little private dining room. I had both lemonade and tea. Gee, they were good – what crackers they served! Boy! Oh boy!! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! We also had cinnamon toast and little sandwiches. I’m writing this letter to you instead of doing my homework like I should be doing. I ran out of paper (writing) so I am using this school paper for you. I am in sixth period (study). Ask Mary if she got my letter and if she did, give her a bawling out for me. Show her this part of the letter or the whole thing if you want to.

Love,

Bissie

P.S. – I noticed you had a great deal of trouble with your P.S.’s. Tell Art, Irv, Irwin, Eddie, Nellie and Elliot that they are either afraid of me or are bashful. Also tell them that they promised faithfully to write to me – before I left they told me that. So tell them I am still waiting patiently and getting gray-haired while waiting. Tell the girls to write again too.

Biss

Tomorrow, another letter about Bissie’s life in St. Petersburg. She seems to be adjusting quite well. We’ll be checking in on her every weekend.

Judy Guion

St. Petersburg Adventure – Biss Leaves Trumbull – 1934

 

My Aunt Biss was 14 years old when her mother died and she took it rather hard. Her father talked it over with her Aunts and it was decided that she would go to St. Petersburg, Florida to live with her Aunt Anne and help and with Anne’s two children, Donald and Gweneth. In her first letter home to her Dad, she also enclosed separate letters for her brothers.

             Elizabeth (Biss) Westlin Guion

October 16, 1934

 

Dear Dad,

I promised myself I would write until nine o’clock tonight and then go to bed because I am quite tired. I am going to start high school tomorrow morning and the hours are even longer than I am used to, 8:30 to 3:30, with an hour for each period. We have no gym down here though. At least they didn’t put it down on my card. We have a cute little cottage about seven blocks away from the school. It is quite a way from the noise of the city and yet it is quite close to the city. The name of the school is the million-dollar school because it cost $1 million to build it.

Gee, what meals they served on the boat. You will most likely hear me rave about them for the rest of my life. After we mailed the letter in Charleston, we went into the heart of the city and I bought this pen for a quarter and I swear it is almost as nice as my old dollar (but not quite).

I imagine the household is being run much better than it has been for a long time.

I think you have to pay for all your school things down here. I won’t know until tomorrow. I know Don and Gwen had to pay for their school supplies and they go to the same school. I think I have spent most of my money on stamps. Well, goodbye until next week. I don’t think I can write before then.

Love,

Biss

Dear Dave,

Well, how is the world treating you these days? Are they still just as cruel? I suppose you have had about 10 colds so you could stay out of school, haven’t you?

No license is required for driving down here so when I get home you won’t have to be afraid to go out riding with me. I haven’t driven as yet but Aunt Anne is going to let me before many more days have passed.

Bootsy loves the South just like the rest of the Stanley’s. There are sand burrs down here and they are found all over the ground. When you go barefooted, they are like burrs, only twice as small and three times as sharp. We can’t go barefooted unless we are on the beach, although in the lower grades down here, quite a few of the children go barefoot.

There are a lot of boys down here who wear ankle socks. I told you that because you used to call it too sissyish. There are two boats from the Navy anchored out in the bay where we went swimming. They were there when we first arrived. It seems to me that everywhere you look you see at least one sailor, only there are usually four or five sailors going around together.

Have you found a new girlfriend yet? I think it is about time you changed again. It looks as though it is going to rain and boy, when it rains it pours. Harder than rains we get up there in Trumbull.

Has anyone played the piano since I left or has it gotten rusty from disuse? If you can’t understand any words I feel sure Dad or someone will explain them to you.

Love,

Biss

Dear Ced,

Well, that bet still holds good. I can’t get credit for the first four weeks but I bet I will still beat you by the time the end of the year comes. I’ll know my marks before you for we get out early – in fact I expect to get home before you get out of school. The school here is only two stories high but it is awfully long.

Oh, I was shown the engine room on the ship. I couldn’t go in but they let us look in. They have Turbine motors.

I think the highest point in Florida is only 300 miles (she means 300 feet) above sea level. On the way to St. Petersburg from Jacksonville we went along a straight stretch for 10 miles at least and another place at least 8 miles, not even the slightest curve! Gee, it got tiresome after a while because everything is so low and flat. Everything (I mean vegetables) is stubbed in growth.

While I told Dad I wasn’t going to write after nine o’clock and it is now 9:30 so I think I will leave Dick’s and Dave’s letters until tomorrow. You see, I thought perhaps you would like to get separate letters for once

Love,

Bissie

Dear Dick,

I am in sixth period on my first day of school. It is a study hall and I haven’t any books as yet because we have to buy them down here.

I had plenty to say to you last night but I’ll be darned if I can think of a single thing to say to you now.

How are you getting along in school? Have you been absent from it yet? Oh, describe Trumbull to me. Have the leaves finished falling yet and have you had any snow at all? It’s pretty hot down here, in fact it’s too hot. I think I would rather be up there where it is cool.

If you see Mary Dolan tell her I will write to her and her family as soon as I can but right now I have to catch up on my schoolwork. I don’t have too very much because I can’t make up the first four weeks, although I will be able to pass. I am writing this on the sly. In each class we have, we are allowed a 5 minute period in which we are allowed to talk. We are in the middle of it.

If you can use any of my things this winter go to it, but please be careful not to ruin anything. My ski suit is in the Cedar closet in Mother’s room.

They allow gum chewing in this school! I went swimming yesterday and have begun to get a tan already.

Love,

Biss

P.S. Give my love to the boys – George, Jim etc.

Each weekend, I’ll be posting more of Aunt Biss’s letters home to her Father and her brothers written during the year she was in Florida. We’ll have a perspective from a teenaged girl, dealing with living away from her home and family, and also adjusting to the death of her mother. Her reference to “the household being run much better than it has in a long time” is a direct reference to the fact that she was expected to take over that role and she didn’t want to and wasn’t prepared to, either.

This time period was especially hard on my Grandfather, who had recently lost “the love of his life” to a long fight with cancer, his two oldest sons were working at CCC Camps during the week to help support the family and his only daughter was living in Florida and trying to cope with the whole situation.

Judy Guion