Living miles apart from your loved ones in the 1930’s a letter was a great way to stay connected. University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science faculty member and author Jennifer Burek Pierce is the guest for episode nine of Historically Yours and reads a fun conversational 1938 letter from Marjorie McVicker (Sutcliffe) to Bill Sutcliffe catching him up on the ins and outs of her daily life telling tales of everything from the weather and pesky lamp miller moths to funny tales from the people in the neighborhood and an account of the circus that came to town.
Listen to the podcast
Jennifer Burek Pierce
Marjorie McVicker (Sutcliffe) to Bill Sutcliffe, 1938
Judith Sutcliffe Papers
Box 16, Folder “Marjorie to Bill, 1938”
Iowa Women’s Archives
Just came home from the circus. It was a perfect evening. Sheldon was a clown in the band. Robert danced in the May Pole dance. There were educated elephants, giraffes, bears, ducks, Indians, cowboys & cowgirls, a merry-go-round with the cutest little horses made out of cardboard – of course the kids were in them for legs – but gee! Was it fun! They had a bazooka animal too, the only one in existence. A Hays City Wells Fargo stage big enough for a little boy.
Something has animated this pen until I can’t seem to control it. Don’t know whether ‘twas the circus or if ‘tis this lamp miller you wished off onto me. Anyway I’m all prepared & have tried twice already to put an end to it. The first time it accidently flew under the blanket & I didn’t know it was there until I got up for something. Every time I take a bite of Hershey it deliberately stirs up a dust and I don’t like that sort of powdered sugar on my candy. Then I swatted it under the bed and had about one minute of peace. Now it has come back and is “two” instead of one. Can’t you invent something practical enough to rid homes of such pests? You’d have more than a “path to your door” if you did.
Have you no imagination? This was a Hereford ranch – and they had only two cows to milk – there weren’t enough cows to go around – so that’s where the “half” came in.
Such vicious looking canibals – and such an idea for a hair dress! If only I had known, I would have saved the thigh bone of my fried chicken (Sunday at Feller’s) and re styled my hair. Wouldn’t a wish bone be prettier tho? That tree looked none too comfortable and those knives! Oooh! Wow!
Bill, I’m so glad you have your router – does it sound like a dentist’s drill? If so, I bet you have goose flesh & chills when you work it. This housecleaning cartoon looks as if they didn’t have enough ink or pressure when it went to press. I wonder if a heaver press would make it darker. I looked for a paper at the college library but guess they don’t get it. However, I saw a Grainfield on there. I don’t want you sending me your clippings for I’m afraid you may need them.
On the radio ad did you draw something beside the lettering? I suppose you have been sketching Roscoe’s parents and getting a lot of interesting features for the big day & the big issue. Pardon, the familiarity of first names but I couldn’t recall anything but that – However, I now believe it was Coberly or something similar.
How is your wheat, etc? It was 28 here Sat. Nite and froze tomatoes, etc. However, Swanson doesn’t believe it hurt any wheat except possibly some Blackbull that was headed out – though he doesn’t fear even that. He had all varieties in his plots and so far has seen no damage. Some Russian thistles turned black. I do hope your watermelon didn’t suffer, and your poor strawberries – I’m going to have to knit them some boots & bonnets.
I planted my pansies on May 7 and so far only one sprout is noticeable. It was a seed that lay on top. Sheldon had to help me, so one box is his planting. Don’t worry I caught the sand burrs when I sifted the dirt thru my fingers in filling the boxes. Mr. Barry has been sitting up, but is still in the Hospital. May come home this week.
It’s raining here again. Just as the circus ended at Washington school it began to sprinkle and was raining quite a shower by the time I walked home. I didn’t have a horse either – nor any cows to lead the way.
Speaking of horses – “Celly” came to town early Sunday morning when Edmond came after me – and Celly was to ride one of Major Cook’s high class mares and lead the other one out to Feller’s pasture. They both have colts. At 12:30 he hadn’t arrived so JD & Ed went to see why. They found him only a short ways from starting point – in the middle of the road (not highway) he was pulling, pushing & !!!***??? Ed said: “You Fool, why didn’t you tie them to a fence post and go to a telephone & call us?” Celly used some words I can’t spell & replied, “Year, a fence post within 10 feet & telephone in 100 yards – but do you think I could carry them to a fence post?” Well, results were that we wimmin’ folks waited till 2:30 to eat that fried chicken dinner – and I hadn’t had any Sun. breakfast! Major Cook, you know is the Cavalry man at St. Joseph’s. His horses are superior & well trained.
Went to the Star theatre last nite to see David Copperfield. They had a short on cooking – and I learned if you pour salt over the hole in a broken egg the innards won’t boil out in the water. Also if you pour boiling water over tuna fish in a colander the fishy taste and odor is removed. I can hardly wait to see if it works on herring too. There were several other practical things in the picture. I just wonder if they’ll work.
Well, I took your advise & plinked down 16.50 for a pair of owl eyes – no joking, the pink linen wiper that came with the case has an owl printed beside the motto or slogan.
But am I having fun trying to remember to look through them instead of at them. And she told me I was far-sighted – so I’m expecting to hear you say “copy-cat.” They make me look quite sophisticated – only I can’t draw my picture.
In order to see how good they were I made myself a new blouse – all by hand – and found the cutest little white button with tiny flowers painted on them. I’ll put in a scrap of material. Would send a button but am afraid you’d lose it.
Bill did you ever watch a magician – if so, perhaps you know – there can be no magic unless someone waves a magic wand. And that’s what you have done.
This morning a mocking bird sang outside my window to awaken me. Then as I went to breakfast one sang as I walked down the alley and when i went to work – another was outside my office window. Could it have been the same one – or is all the world filled with melodious singers.
Did the little turkeys pick the dandelions for you?
P.S. The pansies sprouted over night + are coming up this morning. It didn’t rain much last nite but is awfully cloudy this morning.