Archive for June, 2009

WWI Austin Letters: Jan. 1 to Sep. 27, 1918

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Included in this set of letters are some of the addresses and names of a number of the girls that wrote Mac in response to the ad in the Lone Scout Magazine courtesy of his brother Raymond.

CAC 7 Co., Fort Amador, Canal Zone Jan 5, 1918
To Pvt. Mortimer M. Austin, F Co., 11 Inf, Chattanooga, Tenn
Dear Old Mack:
Well this is the date you get a little older and tomorrow I do the same.

Did four hours guard this morning. It is pay day and I go on pass this pm so will have time to write no more. Drew just $13 yesterday. That is all that is left after my four liberty bonds bills, $.25 wounded soldiers fund, collected from loans, $1.65 which left me just $8.40. When I went to town, I spent $5.20 for little odds and ends.

While in the city, I made up my mind to see the place. You talk of slums in New York, London, Chicago, but believe me they cannot begin to compare with the city of Panama. It is only in sections that the other cities have slums, but all Panama is just one great slum district. [a long letter] Yours, George R. Sidwell

Vandervoort, Arkansas, Jan 1918
Kind friend,
Saw your address in Lone Scout. Thought I would write you a few lines. Hope this will find you OK. How do you like the army? I have several friends who have gone to the Army. Oh it is so lonesome and makes me so sad to see them go…Miss Jewell Hamilton

From Peerless, Indiana, Jan 4, 1918
Dear Soldier Boy:
I saw an article that your brother had published in the Lone Scout magazine in which your name and address was given. Although I am only a school girl living in a small town, I would enjoy corresponding with you and if you will write I will prove to you that us country girls can write as interesting letters as our city cousins. Sincerely yours, Ottie Godsey

Peerless Indiana, January 13, 1918
Dear Mr. Austin,
Thank you very much for writing me such a nice letter. Now you said you preferred the country girls to those from the city…Ottie Godsey

World War I in Austin Letters 1917

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Both Uncle Raymond and Uncle McKinley (Mac) were in WWI, though in 1917, just Mac had enlisted. There are a number of letters from this time frame. Thank you to my mom for sharing with me Uncle McKinley’s and other Austin letters that are in this post.

Barryville, NY, January 15, 1917
Dear Friend,
Received your letter last week. We were glad to hear that you were still in America. We haven’t any horses this winter, so I hardly ever get to Eldred or in fact anywhere. They had a box social in the fall and another one around Thanksgiving, but it was while I was in Brooklyn, so naturally I did not get to that one.

It certainly has been a very cold winter. 30 degrees below zero some of the time, but we really haven’t much to kick about in that direction as we have plenty of wood.

I have a cousin who is a major in the Aviation Corp…I have not heard since where he went. Ruth

Feb 7, 1917
Dear friend McKinley,
Received your letter some time ago and really intended to answer it before, but was busy the last couple of days keeping warm (or trying to, haha).

Monday certainly was a terrible day. The wind blew about 50 miles per minute. You speak of mud. I don’t believe that I would know what much looks like. Aunt Noval said that there were several Sundays when there wasn’t anyone except the minister and Christine that ventured out to church…Every cold day, I make a new vow that I will not stay here another winter, but I suppose that I will not have courage when it comes to the pinch, to get a job…
Belle Mills is teaching here now. Went to visit the school the other day with Anna and it surely was a circus. I never saw so many methods of “spit ball” throwing in my life, but well, I guess she is about as good as the average teacher. Your friend, Ruth

Mrs. Prindle

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I am continuing to work on the Austin/Leavenworth book. At this time it is 600 pages long.

Here are a couple of poems and a newspaper article I though you might enjoy reading.

The Austin’s loved poetry and copied numerous poems, usually poems others wrote, but Great Grandma Mary Eldred Austin, her daughter Emma, and son Lon wrote a few poems of their own. I couldn’t find any reference to Mrs. Prindle on the internet, and I think perhaps Emma Austin may have written it. I did find the author of “I Locked it in”. The last piece is a newspaper article from Great Grandma’s Scrapbook that I typed up. Thank you to cousin Melva for loaning me Great Grandma’s Scrapbook.

Mrs. Prindle’s Soliloquy
It kind-o-seems to me tonight
While darning these stockings by candlelight
That I ain’t quite the woman I used to be,
Since I let old Prindle marry me,
Because I was so much afraid
Of living, and dying an old maid.

I always used to dress so neat;
My hair was smooth, my temper sweet,
I have learned to be cold, seldom brush my hair,
And don’t care a pin about what I wear.
And wonder that ever I was afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

How loudly that Prindle to snore contrives
Was man ever before so great alive?
It really, sometimes appears to me
He means to be hateful as he can be.
But then, I no longer need be afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

He smokes and chews and has many a trick
Disgusting enough to make one sick.
And it used to me, and among the rest,
He dotes on onions, which Idelest.
But perhaps, that’s better than being afraid
Of living or dying an old, old maid.

And then the young one, such graceless imps,
Tom squints, Jack stutters, and Enoch limps.
On two club feet, they fight and swear
Throw dirt, tell lies, and their trousers tear.
Oh no! I shall never more be afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

Perhaps if I’d married some other man
My life in a different course had ran
But what could I do when my other beaux
All wailed and wailed and didn’t propose.
And I was getting so much afraid
Of living and dying and old, old maid.

Sister Sally is forty-five,
And just the happiest soul alive
With no stupid husband to annoy and perplex,
Or quarrelsome children to harass and vex
But Sally was never one bit afraid
Of living, or dying an old, old maid.

How she kids me! But it makes me mad,
For well I remember how grieved and sad
She was when she told me that all my life
I’d repent if I did become Prindle’s wife
And I told her I was more afraid
Of living like her, an old, old maid.
The End

I Locked It In
by George H. Westfield
I took my grief and I locked it in.
And bolted and barred the door,
And told myself it had never been,
And never should be no more.

“For life goes on and must go the same,
For Months,” I said, “and for years.”
A man and weak, it were scorn and shame,
“Let woman give way to tears.”

But lo! in the night I heard a sound.
I woke with a start and cry.
My grief stood there, with its withes unbound,
and looked with its awful eye.
It took my hand, with an icy chill,
And said, with a mock and jeer:
“Your bolts were strong, but I haunt you still.
You thrust me out: I am here.”

I seek the crowd; but it follows there—
I cannot drive it away.
The forest wild; it is in the air,
It gnaws at my heart all day.
And at midnight it comes—the ghost!
And it mocks beside my bed.
Oh! hopeless moan for the loved and lost.
Oh! hearts that break for your dead.

Street-Car Etiquette
A few hints, boiled down, the observance of which will tend to promote the comfort and welfare of that large class of fellow-sufferers who are obliged to spend from thirty minutes to two hours of each day in those necessary evils called street-cars.

Gentle hint No. 1 and of importance first:
Always chew tobacco when riding. If you have not acquired that most elegant habit, do so at once, or you will thereby lose one of the best opportunities of showing your independence and utter disregard of the decencies of life, and of your neighbors’ clothes.

No. 2 Never give up your seat to anyone, especially to ladies, thereby showing that you were brought up with a proper regard of your own importance and comfort. Should you have a weakness in that respect, however, and should you wish to give up your seat to a lady, be particular that she is young, good-looking and well dressed, and always select the time when some poor washer-woman or tired shop-girl has been hanging on the strap in front of you for half an hour or more. you will thus show that you have a proper regard for what is due to the different classes in society.

No. 3 When standing, always take the first seat vacated. Never mind the ladies; they can do the same. You know your rights; take them. Sit down like a man, and if you have a paper become immediately absorbed. Take no notice of any little mean remarks that may be made by those around you—you might get kicked out of the car if you did.

No. 4 Should a good-looking girl be seated anywhere near you, that is alone, (Be particular about that,) stare at her—they like it—and it may lead to—personals in the Herald, which object and end should be your highest ambition.