Joe Is Excessively and Painfully Egotistical

02 Feb

South Hadley, MA
Nov 30, 1925

From: Ruthy Gray, Mount Holyoke College
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, 249 Boulevard, Summit, NJ

Dearest Mama,

An unusually dull education lecture gives me the opportunity to start this letter. I’ve been
very much on the go ever since getting back at 10:30 Friday night. It was altogether a very
enjoyable Thanksgiving, and I had a chance to get much better acquainted with our New Haven

…. When I arrived at Willow St, Aunt Lena was having a Harper hair treatment & wave. Bill
was home from school with a bad cold — had been out all week. We talked & played cards till
dinner time at which Joe graced us with his presence. He actually said he considered his society a
great privilege which the family was apt to under-estimate. The other boys quite frankly showed
their lack of appreciation of this great privilege. The main difficulty is that Joe is excessively and
painfully egotistical. As long as you flatter and oh and ah over him it’s all right, but that grows

After dinner Professor Longwell and his wife came down and we played bridge till
midnight, the Professor and I beating the other two. Mr Longwell said, “are you the Miss Gray I
took to the movies some years ago?” — he was thinking of Ethel.

Herb arrived about half past one in his Ford special. It had been snowing and raining all
evening, but that didn’t seem to bother him. They had stopped at his friend’s aunts in Norwalls and
had a regular Thanksgiving dinner about midnight.

Thanksgiving Day was beautiful. I took a walk with Bill and Richard to the top of East Rock
and all around the park. …. 

Joe allowed us about two hours of his time that day, including dinner time. He wouldn’t eat
his turkey because Aunt Lena said she saw a blue spot under one wing. I’ll admit it wasn’t as good
as what I’m used to at home, but we certainly had loads besides to eat. I’m sure they spend more
on food than we do. The boys have simply inexhaustible appetites, over a quarter of a pumpkin
pie apiece, for example (two pies for six people). They but camp-fire marshmellows in those huge
round wholesale cans, and it doesn’t take them long to get rid of them either.

That night while we were waiting for Dot Lull to come over for bridge, Herb and I had a
good time dancing. Jazz dancing certainly is one of his strong points and it was lots of fun to learn
new steps & follow his lead. Friday I was looking forward to sporting around in the fliver but it
dawned a most miserable rainy day and kept up without intermission till after I had gotten back to
college — so I spent the morning reading and fooling around the house.

In the afternoon Herb took me to the movies — we went back to another big dinner and
then he came down to the station to see me off on the 6:50.

Herb is a nice boy, I think. His chief aim and line of talk is a thrill every minute, action at all
times, etc, but fundamentally he’s good-natured and gentlemanly (polished manners on the
surface, too). He’s awfully nice to his mother and to Dick, whom he calls “raw-bones,” and who
worships him. Just now Herb wants to go to Florida, next summer its Montana and next year it’s
around the world, etc.

As you said, I think Herb is the most promising all around and sensible of them all. I like
him a lot and feel rather sorry about his environment. ….
I started this letter early this morning but it is now well on the ways towards midnight.

Loads of love and kisses,


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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Family History


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