We Had a Little Excitement

22 Jan

1925 House with Amityville Windows

Summit, NJ
Feb 6, 1925

From: Katherine Gray, 249 Boulevard, Summit, NJ
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, % Donald Irving, College Station, TX

Dearest Mama,

I feel so lazy this afternoon that I haven’t the ambition to do anything, so I shall start
this letter. It is so warm to-day, 64 degrees by your thermometer in the bright sun. The
snow is melting by gallons. I guess it must be spring fever that I have. I do hope that spring
comes early this year. I saw two blue birds yesterday. I never remember seeing them
before March in former years, so I’m hoping it’s a sure sign of spring.

We were so glad to hear from you yesterday, and your newsy letter has been read
and reread by all the members of the family over the reading age. It must be really
wonderful to sail the south seas o’er, especially in January. I’m so glad you were able to
enjoy the latter part of your journey in comfort, as that is probably the nicest and most new
to you. And now I suppose you are enjoying June weather in College Station. How I wish
we could have a little of it too, but if it stays like to-day till the snow is melted, I won’t mind.
I am just dying to hear all about Ethel and the new grandson and who he looks like, etc. I
bet he’s a wonderful baby any way.

All are fine at home, and I manage to keep up with the routine all right. I’ve tried
various schemes in the evening and have found it almost impossible to get the youngsters
in bed before our dinner, especially since the afternoons are longer and they like to play
out till 5:30. Then it is about all I can do to give them their supper and prepare and serve
the dinner, and then go for Billy. Now I send them up to undress by themselves while I go
to the station and they play in bathrobe and slipper till I can come up after dinner and
finish them. They seem to like doing it and it gives me more time. 

We had a little excitement here yesterday, which delayed me a little. Joe walks
home from school every day, and it was about time for him to arrive when the phone rang.
It was Mrs Holden who said that two German police dogs, owned by the woman who lives
in that new house next to Nelsons, had attacked Joe and knocked him down. She came
running to the window at his screams, also several other neighbors. Mrs O’Reilly ran out
and picked him up but was unable to keep the dogs away. The owner then came out, and
even she couldn’t keep the dogs from jumping on him as soon as he started on again. So
she (I think her name is Mrs Kenny) had to bring Joe nearly all the way home. Mrs Holden
went on to tell me what an awful nuisance they were to the neighborhood and asked me to
report the case to the police. It seems that the owners are trying to get a kennel license
and the neighbors are all up in arms against them. The dogs have bitten several children
who had to be treated by the doctor. Joe came in just as I finished talking with Mrs Holden,
all excited and tears streaming down his face. I soon quieted him and on complaint of his
leg hurting I found that he had a scratched place above his knee that was raw and looked
like a bruise around it. I doctored it up and then proceeded to call up the police, as I was
worried besides very indignant to think that a child couldn’t walk down his own street in
safety. Fortunately the dogs were muzzled or it might have been lots worse. The police
man was very glad that I had reported the case. I told him about the scratch on Joe’s leg,
which I thought was a claw mark. He said that there had been so many complaints about
these same dogs, that at the last meeting the council decided not to grant them a license.

Charlie, Joe, and Ed in 1925

Charlie, Joe, and Ed in 1925

He said that he would see to it that the dogs would be kept in the yard. Joe didn’t seem to
mind the scratch so much but I was a little worried. After lunch, Mrs O’Reilly called me up
to ask how he was and thought I ought to take him to a doctor. She said that the muzzles
were no good and that the dogs easily loosened them. She said that they were both on top
of him when she first saw him, and she thought he was gone. She certainly has it in for the
dog owners, and she had her Irish up yesterday all right. Then Alan called up, and he said
not to take any chances, so I called up Dr Falvello. I explained the case to the nurse in his
office and she said she would call me if the Dr thought I should bring him up. I didn’t hear
from her again, but along about 2 o’clock there was a knock at the door and there stood a
familiar looking person who said she was from the Board of Health and had come to dress
up a dog bite on a little boy. Mrs O’Reilly had reported it. Do you remember Miss Manning?

She recognized me right away and asked all about Charley and you, and was much
interested in the new grandson. She was the head nurse on the floor where Charley was
last spring, and the one that we liked the best. She fixed Joe all up and thought that it was
only a scratch from a claw or from his falling on the ice. She advised me to watch it and
told me how to dress it and said to keep track of his temperature. Joe thought it was all a
big joke, and he certainly couldn’t have looked any better. When I took his temperature,
which was normal of course, he said, “Gee, you’d think I was almost dead!” Alan saw the
Dr last night and he said he guessed it was all right.

Miss Manning called up again to-day for further developments. It seems to look
more like a bruise now which I think it probably is. He is feeling entirely like himself (at
least he acts that way). I let him walk home again to-day, though I was a bit uneasy till I
saw him come in sight. He came in happy and said that the dogs were in their cage. I told
him to run into the nearest house if they bothered him again.

Charley was sick at his stomach last night, but seemed to feel all OK this morning.
He just came home from school now with a bad accident in his pants. I suppose I should
have kept him home. So must leave you now and tend to him, also put out the stew for
supper. Haven’t done all the ironing yet either so bye-bye for now. (Pardon me for putting
Charley’s trouble and the stew in the same sentence.)

Inside the Gray home.

Inside the Gray home.

Sat 10 P M

I still have a few minor tasks to do but will try and finish this letter to-night.

Your Galveston letter came this A M. Your trip certainly must have been wonderful,
and I too hope that I can take it some day. You must very seriously consider making your
stay at College Station a little longer, say two weeks. Then you would really skip our worst
weather up here, and also have a little nicer visit with Ethel after she is up and around.

Though we miss you greatly and would love to see you again, you aught to make the most
of your trip and stay long enough to make it worth while. It isn’t every day that you get a
chance like this. And then it should do Papa so much more good to stay in the warm
climate till our alternate cold and warm damp days of early March are over. Judging from
to-day you’d think that this was the beginning of April rather than February. It was so warm
out this afternoon that one could be perfectly comfortable with a wrap. Our streets are
veritable rivers and the whole landscape seems to be afloat. And the paper says warmer
to-morrow. Well, I don’t care how quick the old snow goes. I’ve enjoyed coasting but I
would much more enjoy a set of tennis or a swim at the shore.

I forgot to tell Ethel that I called up Mer as soon as we received Donald’s telegram.

Of course she was tickled, and we both enjoyed a nice conversation together. She told me
a piece of bad news. Frank Holbert has gone into the hands of a receiver and his place
has been cleaned out by auction. She hadn’t heard anything from him personally, but just
what Brandon had gathered in passing. I haven’t heard any thing since. I miss Mer a great
deal, and often wish she was here just for company, but is she were, I should probably be
too busy to see much of her.

Bob came home to-night for the first time since you’ve been away. He expects to go
to-morrow afternoon as he has his usual Sunday “pink tea” to attend. I also get the night
off to-morrow having been invited with Alan to a roast duck dinner at Gibby’s. They are old
residents of Summit and Alan has known them all his life. Ralph who was about his age,
died about eight years ago. They have another boy who is Edward’s age. I met Mrs Gibby
last summer in church. She is a very nice and pleasant person (the motherly type) and
seems to be noted for her good cooking. Mr Gibby goes duck hunting down south this time
of year, so hence the duck dinner. I am planning to serve an early breakfast and dinner
and will try to get Billy to church. You must at least admire my good intentions.

1925 house 1

We all had a good laugh over your description of the beautiful residents on the
shores of Florida. Your field glasses must have been very powerful or else the ship must
have been rocking on the breakers. I have never seen people of low Spanish style
surrounded with palm trees but I shall surely look for them when I go by there. They must
be quite curious. Nevermind, I won’t kid you any longer. Just a slip of the pen is
pardonable. I’ll admit we all knew you meant -ences instead of -ents.

I had a nice conversation with the Chief of Police to-night who called up to find out
about Joe, and to tell me that they were going to compel the woman to keep her dogs in
the yard. Uncle Bob got quite “let up” about it and said he wished he had a little more Jew
in him and he’d have Mr Fuller write them a spicy letter and sue them for damages on Joe.

I am disgusted to think that the woman didn’t even call up and ask about Joe or show any
interest at all in the case. It seems she has been that way with all the neighbors who are
down on her as you can imagine. Joe’s leg is healing up fine and doesn’t even need the
bandage any more. He is a perfect picture of rosy health and seems to grow fatter all the
time. Charley’s “tummy” seems to be all O K again, so we are all fine as I hope is the case
with you and Papa and the three Irvings.

I went to a Y P S social last night where they had a grab bag. Mr Brank grabbed
something that he gave to Alan, and Alan gave it to Joe, and Joe is sending it to his new
nephew. So tell small Donald to watch for a box in the mail which will come soon after this
letter, addressed to his own small self.

Of course, I wrote Ruthy at once about the good news from College Station and I
expect you will hear from her. Has she written you about the $5 prize she received from
one of Mt Holyoke’s trustees for an original crossword puzzle? She sent us the puzzle
which Bob worked out this evening.

Must get to bed now if I intend to work that 8:30 prompt breakfast. Billy is the only
one up now and the usual Saturday evening jazz is coming in strong.

Goodnight, and heaps of love and kisses to all.

P S Please write Joe. He nearly has a fit when each mail fails to bring him a
personal word from you.

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Family History


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