A Strange Pet

22 Feb

1926 ruthy ;etter

South Hadley, MA
April 7, 1926

From: Ruthy E Gray, Mount Holyoke College
To: Ruth (Barrell) Gray, Box 21, Oklawaha, FL

Dearest Mama:

You’re probably interested to know how I spent the last days of vacation so I’ll tell
all I can think of and jot down in distracted moments during the day. We woke this morning
to find a blanket of snow (about 2 inches) on the ground. It has been raining all day but not
enough to melt the snow, so we still have a slushy white landscape. And here it is
supposed to be Spring! Also I spent some valuable minutes yesterday packing away my
arctic and heavier winter things. It certainly has been a slow season — not a sign of a
flower or blossom at home. I remember that last year the forsythia was blooming when I
was there.

Uncle Dave and Aunt Helen seem to be enjoying life down at 249. I dropped in for a
little while on Thursday afternoon and again on Sunday night when Billy & Ed were there.
Hester is having a gorgeous time with all the books. Aunt Helen was pleased with
Edward’s radio. Mrs Naftzger seemed to have grown quite attached to Ed & didn’t want to
give him up. She spoke of him Sunday as “my son.” Kay & Alan & I went to church
Thursday night to see him join. It was a very nice service and the place was thronged. Not
anything compared to what it was on Easter, however. Then, they had to put folding chairs
in the aisle before they were through. It was fine to be home for Easter for a change.

Everything about church was lovely — music and flowers included. We could hardly have
ordered a nicer day, either, although there was a pretty nippy breeze blowing. Kay looked
stunning in her new gray & blue ensemble (gray cape-coat, blue dress & hat) which we
shopped for in N Y on Wednesday. I treated myself to a few new things, too, namely a
dress, a hat, and smaller accessories. I paid for everything but the dress which I charged
($27.50) at Wheelers. Its chief color is a burnt orange, and it also has green, yellow &
black in it — sounds wild but is really quite becoming. The hat is a soft orange straw to
match, trimmed simply with cute little quills in different colors. 

On account of less sewing and housework, this vacation seemed a little longer than
usual, giving me a chance to do more things & see more people Sunday night supper was
spent very pleasantly at the Butler’s on Overlook Road. Phyllis Abbott was also there. I got
really acquainted with Mr & Mrs Butler for the first time. They are very nice people, I think.
Mrs Butler has a hobby for flowers & plants, and the house and grounds show it. They
certainly have a most attractive bungalow. Dorothy intends to take up landscape gardening
as a profession.

I don’t believe I mentioned that Mrs Irving Sr and Graham came around one
evening. They hadn’t heard from the Texas sojourners yet. Also we were invited by Dot,
her mother, Oren & “Kim,” who was very cute with his bright pink cheeks, blue eyes, and
playful ways. We were impressed by the change — in size and looks — since we had seen
him last.

I also got to see Miss Jones, for which we were both glad.

Our evenings were very quiet and peaceful. Willis came over one night and we
played bridge — but nothing strenuous.

On Tuesday morning I visited the High School to observe an English class (it
happened to be Edward’s) and to see Mr Bartholomew. He said I’d have to start out in a
small school, of course, if I wanted to teach. Thought I might get in a place like Chatham.
English & music was a good combination. I’ll probably look into it and other near-by towns.

We had a strange pet living under the front stoop at 55 Tulip St. Kay will probably
tell you all about him. A “native” of the Salt Brook section said he was probably a water rat,
since there were a lot around there. He was the size of a good-sized woodchuck, had very
rich brown fur, quite long & thick, and a long spike of a fur-less rat tail. He would wobble
down to the gutter on his short low legs and forage around, apparently for acorns — letting
cars and people go by him. If you came too near he would get scared and wobble back to
the front porch again. Alan called him the “possum” and many were the jokes cracked
about him.

A young friend of Alice’s who teaches 8th grade & studies at N Y U came back
with us to visit the college, so in our spare moments we entertained her. If the weather
improves we seniors will probably have a pretty good time with the cars that some of
the girls brought back. Kay Salisbury urged me to make use of hers whenever I
wanted to — that she probably won’t have time to use it much. Neither will I, for that
matter. Her brother is driving up with it today. I don’t know what kind it is.

I’m so glad Kay can come up for commencement. Have you heard? Alan must
go to Denver at that time, and alone, so it is a fine chance. You’re coming up, and Papa,
too, isn’t he? If you want me to make any reservation, be thinking about it.

Work presses, so I must close.

With much love to all,


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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Family History


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