Thursday, March 11, 2010

Teacher Sings the Blues

A drawing in the 1909 Delineator, illustrating a romance printed within. The image is of men saving women... I uploaded this one for this blog, because, well.. read on..


I just 'found' this letter. It has no date, so I kind of overlooked it. I have not posted it on Tighsolas, only just now figuring out that it is from 1908.

It is significant for many reasons. 1) It is from a fellow teacher at Sherbrooke High, who sounds very much like a bright young thing. I will use many of her figures of speech in future installments of Flo in the City, a work in progress, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/.

This woman is also very depressed! The Nicholsons were in terrible trouble in the 1910 era, but no letter survives that reveals any of them to be depressed, not like this girl. (Mrs. Coy, in Boston, is the person who sounds depressed like this woman.) I wonder who she is, I have posted a picture of the Sherbrooke High Teachers on this blog.

She's a woman who has suffered a loss of some sort and dreads being an old maid teacher. In my next installment I will allude to this letter. I've already reached early spring 1909, but I think I can tie this letter in with another event that happened. A young man's body was found in the river. Little is said, but there is a suggestion he committed suicide. Depression or the blues, as they called it: it existed back then, and here's the proof.

Marion had many, many friends all her life. Her life wasn't an easy one, no not at all. But Marion wasn't a dreamer, and she didn't look back. She soldiered on at all times.

Megantic, Sunday Night.

I got your letter the morning I was leaving. You must think me horribly rude, but I have been in such a rush since I got home. I wanted to let you know that I was going to Richmond, but I didn’t know until the very last moment which was I was going. Got a telegram. I would have loved to have stayed with you, and I was so sorry not to have seen you. The Martyr came as far as Richmond. He was on his way to Montreal, but of course his train left ages before mine. What have you been hearing, Marion? Now fess up and play straight. I am consumed with curiosity.You have got the idea all crooked, for no pleasant prospect. I am going back to Sherbrooke next Saturday, I expect by the TCR, I don’t in the least look forward to it. I assure you the Mabel Trosu who is going there is a girl from Quebec and I never had the dimmest use for her in the days that we were youngsters. Believe me, the winter that stretches in front of me will be no pleasant one. Perhaps it may be more than commonly unpleasant. Anyway, I dread the very thought of school, and unless things change in a way not common to everyday life, I’ll not stay in Sherbrooke another year.


Now Marion. Things are not serious with me in the way that you imagine. I really think he is awfully nice but we are just friends. And I will miss you so much next year. I hate the thought of it without you. The Summer has been very quiet. Lal and the Martyr came down. He was on business, of course. A very flying visit. Then Lal stayed a few days later. I wish you were here tonight.

I really miss you very much as you are the only person I ever talk to. And I am quite sure you don’t miss me as I do you. I never really like a person, but 7 degrees of separation. And I have got down to where I kick. I am kicking hard these days. Bess and I reviewed the barren future and the dreamy post in a very searching way the other day. We are both getting old and I fancy we will both continue to get old. And I see myself a ___ Old Maid. For my __, I cannot understand or get on with Mankind and I feel the desire to do so is lessening.

I am beginning to take a most active and intelligent interest in the Pension fund. It really is up to me. I made certain from the Inspector that it didn’t matter whether you got your receipts or not. Fancy me growing into Miss Mitcheldown. I could be nice and tall and angular. I wonder if I could look as cross. I am making a new kimono and it’s hideous. Then reading a book of Scott’s, the Abbot. It is stupid and I am going back to Sherbrooke High and that’s the limit. Now pray tell me what is to become of one totally bereft of humour and sympathy. You really must write to me, Marion. You must. This letter is so horribly blue. And I know that you will think I am silly and put a wrong construction on it. But you know me too well. You will just shake your small, wise head and say “Florrie’s got the blues.” Remember my numerous attacks. But really, I do feel very very blue and I think, as I have outlined to you, I have good reason.


Now I must to bed. I hope you have a nice summer.


Your most sincere and forlorn friend, Florance J.P.
PS.I do hope you are preserving that obituary carefully