March 28, 1909
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
My own Dearest Wife, Ruthy:
Here it is Sunday evening and I have been away from you eight long days and as
many nights. Well to say that I am lonesome is putting it very mildly. I would give anything
to be able to see you tonight seated, perhaps at the piano, going over some of the old
hymns which have been mingled with all the sweet memories from our first acquaintance to
the present time. Children all to bed after a day of busy activity and a comfortable feeling
that you have done your part and all is well.
I think I wrote you that we arrived here Friday night last. We busied ourselves
looking up trade until 3 P. M. Saturday and finished the afternoon at a ball game. Last
night we went to the theatre seeing Louis Mann in “The Man Who Stood Still.” Personally, I
don’t care about going, but the boys are the most fidgety fellows, and I have to give them
some satisfying diversion, choosing the least harmful. The play was rather funny in spots.
The theme was not a happy one and would not interest you or I.
On account of visiting baseball teams, theatrical troupes, drummers, etc., etc. this
hotel is very crowded and we could not get decent accommodations until tonight. Friday &
Saturday nights we had miserable rooms opening on a court without bath or running water
and the beds were the limit. Tonight we are transferred to better quarters with bath and
writing this letter is the first bit of privacy and comfort I’ve had since coming to this town. I
haven’t seen anything yet that I’d trade the Forest Hill home for house, ground, bed, or
anything else. New Jersey is good enough for me. The weather has been sultry and hot
and fearing my one suit wouldn’t “suffice,” I wired you last night to express my newest 2
piece suit to San Antonio. I can’t wear the suit I wore away from NJ at all here. The
temperature is over 80 and the sun would melt you. The ground is dry and dusty. I also
wired you to send me a group picture. I want to carry this around with me to put out in my
hotel room for company in my lonesomeness. I hope you were able to mail it.
This morning Geo and I went to morning service at the First Presbyterian Church.
The singing was good enough and the sermon much better than you could hear at Forest
Hill and we came away feeling better for having attended. Clay stayed at the hotel to write
letters. After dinner we went again to the baseball field. This is at the west end of town
and we walked back arriving here at six. After supper Geo and I walked outdoors a while.
And now I am back, footsore and weary, ready for a good nights sleep after I have sent
this letter off to you. Tomorrow night we start for San Antonio. arriving there Tuesday
morning. My letter gave you the approximate dates of our various stops up to New
Orleans. We will look up Walter’s friend, Hamilton Savage and try and get some fun out of
our visit to San Antonio.
“Soul of my Soul. Heart of my Heart, Flesh of my Flesh.” I have read and reread
these sweet words. They express a condition and a responsibility which it is the greatest
pleasure of my life to meet, and tho many miles separate us tonight, I can feel a positive
influence reaching out to me, comforting me, and steadying me and giving incentive for
work. This incentive being the goal for which we are both arming, hand in hand,
companions for life and eternity, the goal of a great work safely launched, and a period of
well earned rest safely reached. What fun you and I can have together Sweetheart, when
the time comes, and it surely will, when we can be together, no longer work fellows by
necessity, but play fellows by privilege and right. Our work nearly done and a vacation.
The sum of all those to which we were entitled thru the years, reaching out before us, to be
enjoyed in one long spell of rest & recreation, travel and play, hand-in-hand. Then as
before the nights also will be filled with music. Ruthy, I am sleepy now and my mind is
wandering in a sweet maize of past and future and I am now going to retire, some 2000
miles away from you in the flesh, but, O so close. I can feel you and kiss you and love you
just as if you were right here in this room. This feeling must in part be accounted for
because you (I dropped off to sleep here) you are thinking of me and these same sort of
thoughts. Good night my first and only Love, Wife, Companion, Helper & Playfellow. God
bless and keep you, The Lord cause His face to shine Upon you and give you peace.
P.S. Will probably not have an opportunity to write tomorrow on account of leaving
here and the necessity to write to B. & J. [Berlin & Jones]. I hope all is well at house.
Kindly kiss all the babies from Bill down to Jack and again from Jack up to Bill and give
them some squeezes and hugs from their daddy.