Jan 12, 1926
From: William A Gray
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, 249 Boulevard, Summit, NJ
My dearest Ruthy:
Left Jacksonville this morning at 8:40 and arrived about noon, ½ hour late. The train
was a long one and I, in the last car, had to get off about 500 feet north of the station with
my two bags, out of sight of any porter because of being around a curve. I only had to
carry the grips a short distance when I was able to hail a porter who conducted me to a
jitney, and thence to this hotel. This is the second best of 2 hotels in this place and the
best I felt I could afford after the stinging I got in Jacksonville. It is an old barracks built by
Flagler 40 or more years ago, and must compare very favorably with some of the soldiers
quarters in Africa described in the memoirs of the French Legion. Was assigned a room
@ $3.00 per day, overlooking the back yard littered with all sorts of rubbish. The room has
a bath, but no heat and the temperature is much too cool for comfort. Didn’t spend very
long in it and sauntered forth and almost immediately found friend Massey holding
converse with some acquaintance on the street. He was on his way to lunch. He was
expecting me since last Saturday, having received then mail directed in his care. He went
back to his office for my mail and gave me yours and Ethel’s letters, also one from Harry
and Sunday’s Tribune. I then returned to the hostelry to read your letter, after which I went
out and dined sumptuously in a cafeteria for 64 cents (soup, vegetables, roll and butter).
Hadn’t been back long when Mr Massey called for me and took me around in his Ford
coupe to show several new developments going on around here. There certainly has been
a wonderful growth here since my last visit and Massey says most of it has been within the
Mr Massey is going to try to get me a nice room in a private house and I think by
tomorrow I will be located more comfortably and with less expense. The money I brought
with me melted fast between Savannah and here. Just think of paying $8.00 for one night
in a single room in the Hotel Mason. Last night I finally found a room in a 2nd rate place,
“Royal Palms,” @ $3.50 but I might as well have paid $8.00 in the Mason considering the
time, wear and tear, and cost of taxi lugging my grips around, finding the other. Even my
modest meals cost minimum from $1.25 to $2.00 per with tip and it seems almost
impossible to get anything but white bread altho I did get some kind of a coarse corn meal
roll at the cafeteria today.
Now that I am here I will get a line on the situation within a few days and we will talk
more of our plans of having at least you and Joe down here! If we could manage Ed and
Charlie also, it would be the thing to drive down and I might skip back for that purpose. I
have already found that places are crowded even here and thus is not particularly a tourist
town. However more of this anon.
To be down here without an auto is no fun at all. You can’t go anywhere by R. R.
without consuming a lot of time and much money. I wish I had the little Nash and then I
would be independent and get the lay of things in short order.
It is 6 o’clock and soon Charlie will be laying the table for supper and you will be
sitting down with the boys 4 square. Wish I could join you. Will write again tomorrow.
Love and more love to all.
P. S. I did forget to pack clothes brush. If you send it also some pipes as I feel I
must have the comfort of the noxious weed in my lonesomeness! Much easier to quit
smoking at home than here. Pipes I want are new one in case, Bob’s Christmas present
and rough one on glass shelf in sitting room. Many thanks.