(Will and Ruth are visiting daughter Ethel and her husband Don in Texas, for the arrival of their first grandchild. I will post several letters between them and the kids, as they describe a lot of what is going on for Will and Ruth during this time period.)
Jan 30, 1925
From: Katherine Gray, 249 Boulevard, Summit, NJ
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, % Donald Irving, College Station, TX
Just a few lines to let you know that all is OK at headquarters. I have just left Joe at
school for the first time this week. He is such a slow-poke that I hadn’t been able to get him
ready in time before today. The five brothers are all on perfect behavior (for them). Ed
seems to feel more responsible and more grown up, and Jack of course the usual willing
plodder, while the two small ones have been very good. Last night Billy and Eds did all the
dishes together for me as a surprise. I’ve succeeded so far in getting the children to bed
early, and when Billy doesn’t some home (which is every other night) we all have dinner
together at six, and I’m all through my work at 7:30.
You and Papa missed another young blizzard yesterday. It was dark and cloudy in
the morning and started snowing a little before noon. The snow lasted until night, when it
turned to rain and sleet, freezing as it landed. So this morning we woke up to find
ourselves ice-bound. It is a beautiful silver world as I look out now. The sky is a clear blue
with an occasional fluffy white cloud and the whole landscape sparkles as though it was
covered with diamond mesh. I suppose you are looking out on a scene just as beautiful but
I just had a call from Wilberta who is in Summit. She is also anxious to hear the
news from College Station. She asked me to send my love to you and all the Irvings at
I’m all through with the dentist now, and I certainly do feel rich around the mouth.
He put on the porcelain crown yesterday, and no one yet has been able to tell which tooth
it is. It is nice to be able to eat in comfort again, and to chew without being afraid of biting
too hard on a sensitive spot.
Joe has been too cute with wanting to write to you. The very day you left he was busy filling up pieces of paper with the usual _________ and an occasional CAT and JOE inserted between the lines. He explained that he was writing to you and telling you that he was going to be a good boy all the time, etc. I shall enclose it as he keeps asking me every few minutes if I have mailed his letter.
Also, I’m enclosing two for Ethel, which might amuse
her. If she is good at cross-word puzzles she might be able to dope out Joe’s.
Well, I must get busy or I won’t catch up with myself to-day. I hope you have had fine weather all the way and are thoroughly enjoying a change and rest. I only hope you decide to stay longer and make it a real visit.
Tell Papa that all business reports are good and that Billy is taking things more seriously, is getting to work on time and retiring earlier in the evening. I think this change won’t hurt any of us in the least. Billy has been considering staying in all week and coming out Saturdays (a suggestion of Bobs) to make things easier for all hands. However, we’re all fine and they seem to be thriving under my care.
Lots of love to you and Papa and an extra big hug and kiss for Ethel, and love to
Don and the wee Don when he gets there.
Monday, A M
As I have not yet mailed Friday’s letter, I shall add a few words to make it up to
date. The laundry is all ready and I have yet to do the kitchen work and make the beds
before lunch so I can tarry a moment with you. I was up at 5:30 this morning and Billy had
time to eat a big breakfast and drive slowly to the 6:20.
The boys walk to school and take their lunch, so I don’t have any trips to make for
them. Joe is my particular problem just now. It is very hard to make him eat his meals and I
often have to feed him if I want him to get anything at all. However, by various strategies I
manage to get down enough to keep him full of pep, for he surely is that. This morning I
set his breakfast before him and then ignored him altogether, and it seemed to work fine,
for everything was cleaned up, slowly but surely.
The boys all seem to like my cooking and their appetites are keen at meal times.
Yesterday we had ice cream and chocolate cake which of course tickled them all. I have
decided to have it every Sunday as it is so little trouble for me to make, and there is plenty
of freezing material right outside the door. I couldn’t make Sunday School yesterday and
doubt if I can any Sunday. I would rather have dinner by 2 o’clock and have a little leisure
time in the afternoon than rush around to get off to S S in the morning.
Billy brought home a whole hind quarter of mutton and I thought we could never use
it all up, but you’d be surprised to see what a measly little end of the big leg was left after
I must keep the house in good order this week as there is a chance of callers to see
it. Jobs – Beck & Co advertised it especially yesterday, and so there might be some
response. We didn’t get a paper, so I don’t know anything further about it. Alan told me
that they had told him they were going to do it, and asked if there was someone here that
could show people around. However, I don’t think you will find us moved when you get
home, so don’t have any high hopes.
You are now way down on the south seas where it is sunny and warm. I wish we
could have just a little more sun. It has been thawing, damp and cloudy for the last two
days and now I must close and get back to work. Everyone is fine and you can stay away
as long as you like and have a grand old time. We all miss you and Papa like everything
and will certainly be glad to see you again, but you won’t have to do any work as I’m so
used to managing things already that I’ll be able to keep right on when you get home. It’s
not hurting me in the least, and who knows but some day I shall have my own family of six
to take care of. Then there will be more kind of pots than one to wash.
Lots of love to your dear self and our dear Papa from all the big Grays and little
Grays at 249. You will probably be a real honest-to-goodness grandma by the time this
reaches you, so give lots of love to the little grandchild from
Uncle Billy Uncle Jack Uncle Charlie
Aunt Kay Uncle Ed Uncle Joe