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Monthly Archives: December 2013

I Shall Choose You Fresh Every Day Like a Flower

Will gave up his position as Mayor of New Providence when The Grays moved into this nearby Summit home in 1920.

Will gave up his position as Mayor of New Providence when The Grays moved into this nearby Summit home in 1920.

Ocala, FL
March 2, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My dearest Ruth:

This morning I received your letter of 27th ultimo and this afternoon, three redirects
from Crystal River. They were dated Feb 23rd, (must have gone astray), Feb 25 & 26, the
latter having a half sheet written on the morning of the 27th. Irrespective of the proper
sequence, they were all very acceptable and gave me quite a feast of sweet communion
with you. I have been going over all your letters and you make no mention of one I wrote
you on Washington’s birthday, or was that the first letter I wrote from Crystal River?
However, it makes no difference, anyway. I have your letters all open before me, running
from Feb 15th to Feb 27th, not a day missing.

This was another cool day here. We went out to play golf this morning and found ice
¼ inch thick in the boxes at the tees, something most unusual for Florida in March. The
day was beautifully clear and warmed up so that the sport was most invigorating. After
lunch we returned to the game and didn’t stop until 5:45 P M. A month of this would make
a new man of me.

I saw and picked a couple of dandelions for Charlie, there were other wild flowers,
the names of which I do not know. One has a very sweet smelling little pink flower which I
am enclosing. Also, a nasturtium, and a feather I picked up on the course. In our play we
came upon a flock of quail and there were many birds of different kinds, and squirrels
skipping from tree-to-tree. The big oaks on the link are beautiful, draped with moss as they
are.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Family History

 

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Back to Earth Once More

Ocala, FL
Feb 29, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My Dearest Ruthy:

I am feeling lonesome tonight and wish I could drop in on you and see some folks
that I really know. The hardest part of a situation like this is being away, alone, without an
occupation. My thoughts keep turning to you and home and by comparison, Florida loses
all its attractiveness. Of course, if you were with me, it would be different. Then again, the
day has been cold and dreary, raining most of the time. Just like a March day in New
Jersey.

Arrived here from Crystal River about 2 P M, then came to this room #322, and after
unpacking some things from my grip, laid down with the intention of taking a little rest. It
was 7:20 when I got up and I had hard work shaking the sleep out of my eyes.

After eating a light supper (all my meals are light these days), Mr Massey dropped
in and we spent the evening chatting and he has just gone.

Mr M is talking about what we are going to do all this week, but I don’t see how I can
remain over next Sunday.

I haven’t taken care of the company’s income tax report or my own and both have to
be filed before March 15th, so I ought to be in New York Monday week.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Family History

 

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Your Silly Willie

Crystal River, FL
Feb 29, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My very dearest Ruthy:

Don’t know as I ever wrote a note on Sunday morning before or on the 29th of
February.

We are all packed up here waiting to leave on the only train to Ocala today, the
11:10. So as I didn’t write you last night, I want to send you this morning message.
The week was no good for fishing. Think I could have done better in the Passaic
River. But the weather, tho cold, was fine and I enjoyed, and I think was improved by the
outing. My face, neck and hands are burned to a crisp by sun and wind.

Was raining heavily this morning on arising and continues to rain, so it is a good
day to get out. I will make plans for the return trip and write you from Ocala. I hope to see
you by the end of the week.

Until then, Sweet heart of mine, can only send you love and kisses. When I return
the message will be more to our liking.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Family History

 

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In Trouble from the Start

Crystal River, FL
Feb 26, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My Dearest Ruthy:

This is the hotel’s best pen and I see I am in trouble from the start.

I received your Washington Birthday letter this P M, and it cheered me greatly to get
such a sweet happy message and to know that in the midst of your ceaseless toil you can
be happy and have a good time in knowing that others are having one. This is a spirit
found only in certain mothers — of this I am convinced.

Mr Isgrigg just loaned me his fountain pen, so I can now slide along again in good
shape.

Too much cold and wind today for good fishing. No luck to amount to anything.
Tomorrow we go to the Withlacoochie River, about 13 miles from here, and expect
to have a real fishing story for you. We go in a Ford auto over very rough roads. I
understand the scenery is very tropical and you are apt to run across any number of
alligators. Of course, in the weather as cold as today, they will hide in the warm places.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Family History

 

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I Wish I Had You Here

Crystal River, FL
Feb 25, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My dearest Ruthy:

Will write you a short note tonight as I must get to bed early and get the benefit of
the outing. At Ocala I could sit in my room and write until midnight, as the rising hour was a
matter of convenience. Here you have to be at breakfast at 7:30 or lose it.

Today was chilly and there was a cool breeze coming in from the Gulf and in
consequence there was no fishing worth talking about. It is quite a gamble coming to a
fishing place like this for a week only. It might be an off week when for some reason or
other the beggars are not biting and this seems to be what we have struck. They tell
wonderful stories here of great fishing but I have seen no evidence of it.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Family History

 

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You Know Mama and I Have Always Been Very Much in Love

Katherine and Joe

Katherine and Joe

Crystal River, FL
Feb 23, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My Dearest:

My first day’s fishing was not a great success from a fishing standpoint. The day
was cloudy and it rained part of the time. I enjoyed the outing but did not land any fish.
This is not strange however, because I fished for Tarpon only, the tackle and bait being
too heavy for any of the smaller varieties. Imagine for a bait, a piece of a fish called mullet,
large enough for a portion for any human being if broiled or fried. Tarpon run anywhere
from 75 to 200 lbs in weight. There is a picture of one on the envelope. Tomorrow we will
try for Tarpon again, and if no luck, will try for some of the smaller fish with which the river
abounds.

I received your letter of 19th and one from Katherine of the same date this evening
at dinner time. Katherine enclosed some pictures which I was glad to get.
Mr Massey has retired, worn out from the day’s exertions, and I expect to follow him
shortly.

This is a typical fishing joint without much of the romantic about it unless a fellow
has his wife with him and was on a honeymoon, first, second or third. There are several
old sports here, some having their wives along. The latter are now busy playing “bridge” in
an adjoining room. A Mr Norton who is here with his wife, sits opposite me at a small table
(kitchen size) writing a letter. He resides at South Orange when at home. I showed him the
family pictures and after saying what a fine family it was, allowed he had one son, married
and 3 grand children. I guess this is the reason he can be here.

Tell Katherine I am grateful for her letter and will try to write her, but the conditions
here for writing are not conducive to easy flowing thought.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Family History

 

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The Greatest Living American Woman

Will and Ruth, 1920

Will and Ruth, 1920

Crystal River, FL
Feb 22, 1920

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, New Providence, NJ

My Dearest:

I do not want good old George Washington’s birthday commemorative of our
greatest American to pass, without writing a word to my wife, the greatest living American
woman.

This has been an odd Sunday in my career. It started with me in Ocala, a breakfast
at nine and then a trip to the Post Office where I found 2 letters, yours and Edwards.

We had planned to come here by train, but Bernie Conlon, Overland agent, said he
would take us down by auto and spend a couple of days fishing himself if he could get
matters straightened out. He finally decided to go and he borrowed a Premier car which a
widow has for sale and we finally got off about 6 P M, landing here about 8 P M, a trip of
over 40 miles over some very rough roads. We passed through a phosphate mining town
named Dunellen and phoned from there that we were on our way and to have something
for us to eat and they did, the finest roast turkey I ever ate.

The reason we were so late starting is that just as we were about to leave Ocala, a
chap came along and wanted to look at an Overland touring car. Conlon had one left,
which he was going to take on this trip. The prospect had a Buick 4 which he wanted to
trade in, and after a few minutes dickering the deal was made. That’s why we came here in
a borrowed car. While Conlon was busy at something else, I had to teach the man how to
run the new Overland.

The trip was very pleasant and I arrived here with a fine appetite.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Family History

 

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