Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bright Young Things, Sad Young Things

Marion Nicholson (second from left)and friends get picture taken in 1905 at Normal School. She writes about in in her Normal School Letters, which I included in Biology and Ambition, the follow up toThreshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.

Biology and Ambition is in the epistolary form, which  can be fiction and non fiction and include documents. Biology and Ambition is both fiction and non/fiction, for I write some letters myself and stick stuff in others.

It has a few documents, like the picture above.

Marion Nicholson had many friends all through her life, male and female. I guess she had charisma.

The girl friends (from the letter I have) appear to be bright young things. Some of them are unhappy, or unhappy at the time of writing.

I just transcribed this letter and included it in Biology and Ambition. A fellow teacher is sad Marion left to work in Montreal.

This morning I saw on the Census for 1911 that this Gorden N. Edwards Marion liked in 1905/06 had a family in the furniture business and in 1911 the Dad was making 5,000 a year and this GNE 3,000, at 26 years of age as a salesman.

Contrast this with brother Herb's first job out West in Saskatoon for the CPR working 10 am to 10 pm for 50 dollars a month! At the same age. GNE was too wealthy to marry Marion, whose family had no money, just a nice house in a nice area of Richmond and lots of respectability.


Sunday Night

July 4, 1909

I got your letter the morning you were leaving. You must think me terribly rude but I have been in such a rush since I got home. 

Got the telegram. I would have loved to have stayed with you. I was so sorry. Not to have seen you anyway. The martyr came as far as Richmond. He was on his way to Montreal.  And 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 prospects. I am going back to Sherbrooke. And Saturday, I suspect, 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 damndest use for her in the days when we were youngsters.

Believe me, the winter that stretches before me will be no pleasant one. Perhaps it may be more than commonly  unpleasant. Anyway, I dread the very idea of school, and unless things change in a way not common to everyday life, I’ll not stay in Sherbrooke another year.

No Marion, things are not serious with me in the ways that you imagine. I really think he is awfully nice, but we are just friends, see. And I’ll miss you so much next year.

I hate the thought of it without you.

You are the only person I ever talk to. And I am quite sure you won’t miss me as much as I miss you.

Bess Hume and I have reviewed the barren future and the dreary past in a most searching way. We’re both getting old and I fancy will both continue to get old. And I see myself a teacher Old Maid. I cannot get on with or understand mankind and I feel the desire to do so is lessening.

I am beginning to take a most active and intellectual interest in the Pension Fund. 

Fancy me growing up into Miss Michelson. 
I could be nice and tall and angular. I wonder if I could look so cross.

I am making a new kimono and it is hideous. I am reading a book of Scott's called the Abbott and it is stupid and I am going back to Sherbrooke and that’s the limit.

So tell me what is to come of someone so bereft of humour and sympathy.
You really must write to me Marion, you must. This letter is so horribly blue.
I hope you don’t think that I am silly and put a wrong construction on it. 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 as I have shown, have good reason for it.

I am to bed. I hope you have a nice summer. Write me soon. You will have a perfectly nice time in Montreal.

A merry jest was on her lips although her heart was sad.
Florrie J.P.

She is likely one of these women. She goes out West the next year because she writes a letter saying that you are not an Old Maid out West until 35.