Howe Letters - 1947-48

[On O. H. Nichols, Tewksbury, Mass. stationary]
May 5, 1947 [Danvers to 10756 Sarah St., North Hollywood]
My dear Dorothea -- [from Oda, perhaps the last letter we have before her death.]
What a treasure you sent me with your last letter (in itself a treasure!), all those snapshots of those darling children! It is a true portrait of Mark, depicting not only a lovely boy but an individual with character, a personality! He has passed from babyhood to boyhood, just as lovable. As for Catherine, who will be Cathy to most of us for some time to come -- she is a wonder! A bit of woman, with all her charm, so happy, so alive; it seems incredible that at less than 7 months, she shows such maturity! It would be hard to choose the most winning picture but perhaps I can agree with you in selecting the one in her baptism outfit, sitting so straight in the go-cart. Your account of that event was so interesting, and Mark's attitude, showing his thought and decision, remarkable in one so young.
It makes me happy to know he and his sister are so congenial; the picture showing Mark peeping between the bars of Cathy's crib is sweet. You and Bob are blessed in those 2 children, and they are also, in being in a home where they are so loved and cherished!
How in the world you were able to arrange and carry out that "tea" I can't imagine, and it must have been most successful, even with that large number present. The nursery "exhibit" was fascinating, unique for a reception! Think of Bill and Pat appearing and the latter so soon to bring her baby into the world! Now I have not heard yet whether I have another grandnephew or niece! The grandfather wrote in haste to announce the arrival! I am glad this baby came before Margaret leaves. There are so many "ifs" in all our plans these days, that I was not much surprised to hear that with Ben's difficulty in getting a car, my visit from the family may be delayed, but not given up entirely I trust.
Evidently little Steve must be what you all seem to agree in thinking -- an adorable baby! Even his mother thinks so! And his grandmother wants him in her arms at the least excuse! Bessie Koebele spent last night with us, leaving early this morning for Tewksbury. When she comes I make her go to bed early, for she sits up late usually and is always so tired when she gets here.
[Bessie Sawyer Koeble would be 66 in 1948]
Probably Bob has little time for reading, but I wish you'd tell him that when he can, to read "One Who Survived" by Alex Barmine. About Russia of course.
We've had 3 days of rain, cool also, while you have been having 90°, 92° and even higher! Spring is still struggling with us, but it is coming.
I really must stop and have this ready for the postman, soon due. My love to each and all, and thank you, dear girl, for your thoughts.
Aunt Oda

May 5, 1948; Wed. 8 pm
Dear Dorothea, Bob, Mark & Catherine --
We rec'd your two letters Dorothea and am so sorry that Mark and Catherine had that horrible diarrhea and with
the vomiting it must have been pretty terrible -- poor kids! Poor Mama and dear Daddy. It's bad enough to have one sick but with two it must have worried you both and here we thought what a swell time you were having Sunday sailing with Spauldings and what a disappointment it must have been. We hope you are able to go next Sunday!
Steve had a touch of diarrhea yesterday but Margaret has been careful today what she fed him and seems to be OK. He is so cute and yes I am spoiling him again. He likes to be picked up so he runs to me and he likes to sit in my lap and rock in a rocking chair., and while we rock he "humms"! He takes one good nap a day and sleeps from 7 to 7 that night. While awake he is on his feet running and getting into something he shouldn't. But if you call to him to stop he does. He minds very well. We are having a hard time trying to decide what to do with things. Oda saved everything. Every drawer has a conglomeration of stuff nobody wants, so much of it we are dumping or giving to the Goodwill. Margaret is taking the set of Havilland China. There is a set of blue and white Wedgwood (looks old-fashioned to me) and we wonder if either you or Bill & Pat would want it. It isn't the Wedgwood that is raised. Pat & Bill want silver and I guess there is quite a lot as Dad says he put some in the bank when he left and we will leave it there until just before we leave. What would you think about the Grandfather clock? I suppose it would cost quite a little to send it. I don't know. There are only 2 rugs -- Turkish in parlor 10 x 14 and the one in the front guest bedroom upstairs 9 x 12. If cleaned they might look pretty good. We will send the inlaid mosaic table if you want it. The top comes off. There is a music box for Catherine and I will ask Alice tomorrow about the marble game for Mark & wagon. Here is a list of books Margaret thought you might want: --
1. Thackeray-10 vol. Beautifully bound
2. Sir Walter Scott-10 vol. Small print
3. Hawthorne's works-8 vol. cheaply bound
4. Macaulay's misc.-essays 5 vol. " "
5. 1 vol. Whittier's Complete Poetical Works, nicely bound and a set, 7 vol. Poetical prose works -- nicely bound.
6. Les Miserables 4 volume
7. Jane Austen novels 6 volume beautifully bound
8. John Ruskin 24 volume beautifully bound.
9. Longfellow 7 volume
10. Emerson 7 volume
11. Goethe's Faust beautifully bound.
12. Romola -- George Eliot nicely bound.
13. Vicar of Wakefield
I will try and remember the things I have asked you about and from time to time will ask more. It is a tough job to work out and in time we hope to do it satisfactorily to all, but there is a great deal that is old and I know it wouldn't go with what you have. So far we don't feel that we have accomplished much but it will get easier. Today I was in the attic looking in the trunks and there is very little if anything there you could use. Alice says that Oda saves everything and like Dad hated to part with old stuff. The Putnam Rest Home will be glad to take any old dishes we don't want and I guess they are hard up. So far as I know Dad hasn't done anything about selling the house but he talked it over with you Bob so as soon as he can will see Stanley and talk it over with him.
It rained most of our trip up from Wilmington but the trees are blossoming and leaves coming out however it will be more beautiful later. Rec'd the Davis check today which I will enclose. Have had no nap today and am pretty tired so must go to bed. Hope to soon hear that you are all OK again. Tell Catherine Mema would like to take a walk with her! We will have to have a picnic at Griffith Park when we get back. I think Ben and Margaret will stop here on their way back from Canada.
Love to all, Mema
Thanks for sending my pen Bob. As we have said many times "What would we do without Bob". Will write Bill in a day or two.

Pepa writes on old "Howe Joint" Northfield Vt. letterhead dated 186___
May 5/ 48
Dear Folks:
We arrived at Danvers yesterday at 3 PM after a fairly comfortable trip up from Wilmington. It rained most of the way to N.Y. but from there on it was fine. Luckily we found a good auto court near Hartford after the 230 mile run. And the 130 miles from Hartford here was thru beautiful country.
At Concorde & Lexington we stopped at a few historical shrines & had a nice dinner at the old Wright Tavern (200 yrs. old).
At 11 Peabody Av. everything in good shape. Alice well & glad to see us.
Bless you dear ones for sending Mother's pen & my tobacco pouch. I did not think I would take the latter, but have since wished I had it. And that nice letter from you, Dot, telling of the run-off of Mark & Cathy. what a tough experience!
I enclose your 20 shares of Lehman stock and 14 shares of Penney company from Aunt Margaret's Trust. Margaret rec'd her 30 Monsanto direct from the transfer agent & I hope you did too.
Must stop now. Love, Dad

May 7, 1948, Friday 7:30 pm
Dear Folks.
We rec'd Dorothea's letter today and what a time you have had! What does the doctor say it is and what causes it? It would happen when we were away and could be of no help. Was it contagious? When you wrote Dorothea Bob was in bed. Hope by now you are all back to normal. Poor Jerry how she must feel and we do hope that it wasn't too serious. Bob is such a swell fellow and no doubt with two children she has had plenty to worry her. Let us know how he is.
We are all nearly going crazy "dividing and subdividing" from morning until night with little rest -- yes, Steve gets a little attention and amuses himself pulling out of boxes things we have put in so I guess he is having a good time. I go around with my shoes off part of the time as my feet hurt. Margaret and Ben wear bed slippers and say their legs ache. Dad sits over papers most of the time but stays up until after 11 o'clock at night. You know the stairs and before the end of the day we can hardly pull ourselves to the top. Ben has carried many boxes full of things no one wants to the incinerator and back again to refill. I don't know what we would have done without him. Alice said that Oda brought all her stuff from Tewksbury besides what Aunt Margaret had and we find many things with the price tag on that has never been used. I hope all this is a lesson to Dad to quit accumulating!
We have the marble game for Mark. Haven't been over the barn yet to see the wagon but Alice says the handle is broken. She thinks someone stepped on it. Do you want it just the same? We sent Pat & Bill's silver today by express. We have quite a little more to bring. There are two tea sets -- pretty but not sterling and no trays. The one we sent Pat consisted of teapot, creamer & 2 sugars (loaf & gran.) The one we will bring for you & Bob has teapot, coffee pot, creamer & sugar. -- no trays for either set. Hope you like it. We will pack the rest of silver in a trunk and you can take what you want. There is a dozen forks, spoons old-fashioned and quite a little other silver. Oh yes a large silver pitcher if you want it. Margaret has a 9 x 12 rug not oriental which she can use in her bedroom and I wrote Bill that there is the Turkish rug 10 x 14 not oriental which they can have if they want it. I doubt if their dining room is large enough for it. Alice will take the dining room rug here which I know neither of you would want. It is not worth sending. There are no more good rugs. After Margaret gets her dishes out -- they are trying to get a packer -- I think there will be some cut glass and odd dishes you might like. We wrote Pat there was an old-fashioned blue & white set she might like. If they don't want it I think I will send a plate or cup to you to see if you want it. I know both you and Margaret have better dishes than Pat. There will be some chairs to send. I would like a rocking chair for the children's bedroom and an old-fashioned chair for my needlepoint. I wrote you about the radio but Alice would like it. There was a chair Margaret wanted (upstairs -- a rocker) but dad found a list tonight that Oda had left giving it to Alice. It is hard to know what you would want for a new house if it is a farmhouse style and if you have any ideas let us know. We could send things crated by freight and it wouldn't cost so much. Do you remember the 2 chairs in the front hall downstairs? One that I can hardly describe. Dad tried to draw it which may give you an idea. He says it is a dark stained wood with high lights. There is the high-back carved chair also in the lower hall but it is formal looking and heavy. Also a smaller one similar but doubt if you would want them. I wrote you about the drop leaf table in the hall. Everything here except dining room & bedroom sets are in dark wood. The bookcase I mentioned is not dark -- about the same wood as dining room set if you remember. We won't send any of this stuff until just before we leave so we have time to think about it. I will write more later. Hope you are all well enough to go sailing this Sunday. It is 9:30 now and must go to bed. Margaret Ben & Steve are having pleasant dreams, I hope, as they have been in bed for some time. Steve went to bed before 6 tonight as he had his nap before noon today. Tell Mark I rec'd his cowboy Mother's Day card today. It was nice of him to think of me. When I get time will try & write him a letter. How is your Mother Dorothea?
Loads of love & hugs, Mema
Would Catherine like to take a walk with Mema?
Don't lose any more weight!!!

[On O. H. Nichols, Tewksbury, Mass. stationary]
Dear Bob:
I suppose the Taylor property was in Oda's name. She acquired it years ago -- details are in "Loan Register" in 2nd drawer from top left side of desk. Look in index at back of "loan register" for the numbers of loan. (Taylor was originally a trust deed). The page may be at the front of the book or at back, as I shifted many of those that were "close".
You may find information in the "Taylor" package in the box in my bedroom or under the desk.
Anyway I don't see why I can't give a deed if the property is in my name.
Have a first-class realtor to sell this. Gave him 2 weeks exclusive, 6% common. His estimate was between 18,000 & 30,000 but will try for 35,000. Ben & Marge are wonderful help & have made great progress in getting things in shape.
Mother & Alice holding up amazingly.
But we sure are sorry to hear how you all have suffered. It must have been harrowing. Almost like a bombing experience. I do hope it didn't last long.
There are stacks of picture postcards here of Japan, & souvenir books of Jap scenes. Would you like 'em Dorothea?
Raining, so I must close. Dad

May 11, 1948
Dear Bob: --
Well we have had a busy day. The antique man came this morning told us what he would give for various articles -- dishes (a few) tables, old tool chest, metal frames, chair, statue, large painting in parlor, glassware etc. etc. a total of $644. Many things he didn't want. He and helpers came back this afternoon and took the things we decided we didn't want. He will come later for other things if we want him to and I think we will. He offered $250 for the grandfather clock and said to ship it to California it would have to be taken apart and might not get there then without being broken. If you think best we will sell it to him. Ben thinks he might even give $300. He will give $100 for the Turkish rug in the parlor, the rug I told Bill he could have but I doubt if he could use a 10 x 14 rug. You might tell Bill to let us know when he comes back from his trip. Before we leave he will come for other things and could get it then. The antique man gave us $50 for Austrian bowl (I think it is) he listed it just as bowl. It is a duplicate of the one we have in the living room with artificial flowers that Pat gave us once. [assume Pat gave them the artificial flowers, not the bowl.] He will give us $50 for that if it can be packed properly & shipped. Remember I had it on the gate leg table near the door going upstairs. Aunt Margaret gave it to us but I never realized it was valuable; in fact neither Margaret nor I care too much about it. Perhaps Barker's or someone who knows how would pack it for $2 or $3. What do you think? We did not sell the little round stone mosaic table that you wanted. He offered us $40. We have 2 sets (don't match), one has 8 cups 12 saucers demitasse, the other 12 saucers 11 cups, coffee, for you if you want them. The demitasse set is Havilland. The coffee cups set English China -- both lovely Margaret says. I don't know what we would do without Ben. Dad thinks he hurries him too much. It would take us months to dispose of things if we didn't have help. I am sick of the job already as there is so much to look over and not much we care about. We think we will get in a 2nd hand furniture dealer to see what he wants. I think we should sell if we get a fair price but they can unless there is something you & Bill definitely want and then divide the money. Alice thought Margaret's set of dishes was a complete set but when the packer packed them yesterday we found it was far from complete.
Thanks for the pictures of the kids. We all enjoy them so much. We have spent evenings looking over pictures, hundreds of them. Some we took out of the frames as the antique dealer would buy metal frames and some caned frames. Will have loads of pictures of the family to bring home if any of you want them. The same man offered $12 for 10 volume Thackeray, 7 Whittier Ebbers and 7 Jane Austen nicely bound but we think that is very little. Do you want any of them? They are the only books he wanted mainly because of the beauty. After we hear what you want we will either sell some if we can and give or sell the rest to the library. Tell Dorothea we will bring about 2 pieces of cut glass which are very nice also some small china pieces. She can have some of my cut glass.
We had a letter from Alma & Emmett today and will answer as soon as I can. The Nichols family have dropped in several times, Bessie Koeble was here one afternoon and it all takes time. Alice isn't used to getting up much of a meal due to Oda eating so little and she doesn't eat much herself, so we have to plan that as well. We do our own washing by hand with no machine but send out the flat work. Am glad you are all well again. It sure was a queer sickness. Today Steve has been fussy so we discovered he had a temperature, took it at the night time and found it to be 104. We thought it must be his teeth as he has been biting his fingers a good deal but when we found he had such a temperature Margaret & Ben took him to a doctor whom Alice recommended. He said that with that high a temperature it was something besides his teeth. He found sore throat and told them to watch any indication of trouble in his ear. He prescribed 2 kinds of medicine -- one every 4 hours. If he is sleeping they must wake him. Margaret & Ben planned to leave Wed. or Thursday for Canada now they will postpone it until Steve is OK which may be in a day or 2. The Dr. said to phone him Thursday morning. We thought tonight his temperature had gone down some.
I can't remember how much of our trip I have written about and guess I haven't written much about Steve. He is certainly a cute kid and runs to me about as much as to his mother. They will stop here a couple of days at least on their way back from Canada. If it is too cold they may not stay over 2 or 3 days at Québec.
It is now 10 o'clock so must turn in. We will send the wagon by freight as the handle is only broken a little at the end. I think dad said the cross piece is only broken. Steve loves to ride in it. You surely have been most generous about writing and we love to get your letters. There are at least a dozen or more trunks here and hardly one in good condition but all filled full of stuff to look over and decide what to do. I sometimes feel as you did Bob when we moved to Brentwood -- "throwing everything in the incinerator without looking".
Enough, So Long. Mother

May 16, 1948
Thanks for the pictures of Catherine & Mark, I see Cathy is going to be a gardener like her Mother.
Dear Bob, Dorothy [sic], Mark & Catherine
We had a little sunshine yesterday afternoon and this forenoon but now it is raining again. Will Nichols and wife stopped in this morning before going to church then offered us their Ford to use for a few days, so after church we went with them to their home near Hathorne and then brought the car back stopping at Turnbull Inn for something to eat -- lunch, dinner, or what ever you might call it, just fair and only 4 men eating all truck drivers so you can imagine the atmosphere. Jesse White and Carter had eaten there before they came here one evening but Alice did not recommend it.
[Jessie Carter White (Alden Perley White) son Carter (Jessie White Howe wife of Malverd Abijah Howe)]
This afternoon we sold the sewing machine $25. Ben had put an ad in the Boston Herald. It has been nearly 2 weeks since we gave the realtor the exclusive for selling the house and no one has been to look at it so we will start Wednesday giving it to others if we can find them. This realtor took a picture of the house and said he would advertise it in today's Boston and New York papers so we may get results but it is not like California.
Then, Margaret & Steve left yesterday for Québec and I hope they are finding warmer and sunshiny weather. They expected to reach Portland Maine last night. Margaret and Ben have been a great help and from now on maybe things will get easier for Dad. We can sell the clock for $250, Turkish rug $100, refrigerator $65, stove $50 and odds and ends of dishes, just junk I would say for $25. The men paid down $5 on the dishes and will call for them and pay the rest tomorrow. When we hear what books you want will try and sell the rest but they won't give much for old books. Margaret took a few. What we bring for you will be sent by freight to 1622 Martell, but there isn't much that would go in a modern home. Margaret tried to figure out furniture for old-fashioned bedroom but there is no bed she wanted so she had crated 2 pieces with drawers and a table rather light wood which was in one of the small bedrooms (corner one) upstairs and will use it with their mattress bed no foot or head which she bought at Barkers. I have tried to pick up a few things which I can get in the trunk and if you want them OK. Have some bedding for Pat & Bill and sent them their silver. I wrote Pat yesterday, also Ella & Edward. Suppose Bill won't get home until the 22nd but hope he decides as soon as he can about the rug.
There are no pictures any of you would want and we have tried to sell the frames but no one wants them. The antique man bought the 2 large paintings one for $35 and the other for $50. Let us know if you want the bookcase or clock. Will have one of the pink satin chairs and the mosaic table for you crated & sent by freight. The chair would go nicely in the bedroom. There were 2 and Margaret took one. There are 4 old-fashioned chairs -- small & black walnut which we won't sell. Margaret had one sent and I want one for my needlepoint. Perhaps you would like one of those. 2 of them are worn but would be OK for needlepoint. Alice left yesterday for the weekend and will be back tomorrow morning. I think she has been having Sunday off. I will ask Bessie when she comes.
We have written for our absentee ballots so when you get yours and know how to vote let us know. I wrote Alma & Emmett last week and sent them checks for their birthdays -- May 21 & 23.
This next week Dad will go into Boston and see about getting reservations for coming home. It complicates things somewhat stopping in Marshalltown, anyway we will get to California as soon as we can. How is your Mother Dorothea? I hope to write her soon. Have had letters from the Owings and also Helen Francis which I must answer as soon as we get the reservations. Yes, tell Mark the wagon will be crated and the other day Ben found the little wooden seat that sets up in front. Also have the marble game. Hope you are all well again and have been able to go sailing with Spalding's. Did I tell you that Will Sullivan said Bob that you were the best client he ever had. He said you understood what he was trying to tell you and didn't have to ask a lot of questions. I am so glad to hear that Bob Bowlus is much better. It must have been a scare for you all. I would like to have been with you when you took Mark to see "Jack and the Beanstalk". I can just see him sitting there taking in every move Jack made. What fun it must have been for you and it won't be long before Catherine will be just as intrigued! I wish you all could see Steve. He is quite an entertainer. The house seems terribly lonesome without him. I hope they have no trouble finding night accommodations.
You surely are some letter writer Dorothea. Think of writing two long interesting letters to us on the same day. You surely lead a busy life but if you have gained back your weight I won't complain. Haven't heard from Bill since we left but no doubt he has been busy preparing his speech etc.
Love to all, Mema
[Letters from the Owings and also Helen Francis – Marshalltown?]

May 18, 1948
Sent some Kodak pictures (old ones) today, also letters of Bob's.
Margaret, Ben & Steve left Sat., all fine.
Dear Dorothea:
This will be short but wanted to give you a list of the sets of books we have and let us know what you want. Nobody seems interested to buy old books altho one man offered $12 for set of Thackeray (10) sets Whittier (7) & set of Jane Austin (5). If you want any or all let us know and we will pack them and send them to you. If there are any books at 1622 that you want you can have them & leave them there until you get more room. We have sold around $800 worth now which does not include clock $250 picture $25 refrigerator $65 stove $50 and rug $100 if Bill don't take it. I rec'd a letter from Pat she would like the rug. I thought I wrote her the size 10 x 14 and don't see how she can get it in her dining room or in fact any room. It is quite a pretty oriental with reddish background and blue design. Dad says we might ship it anyway to 1622 and decide later who gets it. I could use it probably in the dining room, put my dining room rug upstairs in the mahogany bedroom and let Bob have the Bokhara to go with your living room Oriental. Would that be satisfactory to Pat? This trying to divide things evenly is some job. Margaret took a 9 x 12 rug which was upstairs. Nobody wants the dining room set or the carved chairs in the front hall. We have had quite a few men here, used furniture men & antique men, and the best things except what we will ship are cleaned out. The rest go to Putnam House and Goodwill. Possibly the auction man who can sell just ordinary things will come back. We sold the sewing machine yesterday, Sun., for $25 and odds & ends in dishes for $25.
Alice was away over the weekend but came back this morning. Do you want a long tablecloth Dorothea? This is the list of books.
Thackeray 10; Scott 10; Hawthorne 8; McAuley 5; Whittier 7; Les Miserables 4; Jane Austin 6; Ruskin 24; Longfellow 7; Emerson 7; Romola.
There are loads of single books and wish you could go over them. We'll wait and see what Bob says about the clock. Another antique man said he might give $250 or $275. A man (antique) came Sat. and gave $5 for a broken small round table. Really I would have said it was worth a nickel. Dad said when he seemed interested he thought he would ask $3. I said what will you give for it and he immediately said $5. Said he would have to make it over. So you see how much we know about antiques. Still raining & had thunder storm last night -- "bum weather".
Love mother

May 28/ 48 Friday
Dear Dorothea, Bob, Mark & Catherine.
I intended writing you a long letter (long for me but not for you Dorothea) this afternoon and now it is after 5 o'clock. Bessie has been here and just left and we have been trying to get 2 chairs, one a rocker, into her car but the rocker we couldn't get in.
We are very much interested in your building a house and the plans with patio etc. seems practical and lovely and hope we can help you out in the furnishings. There isn't much here in furniture that you would want in a new house. The things we have listed are book, savanna chair in Hall, grandfather clock, pink brocaded satin chair and old-fashioned chair for needlepoint, also china cups & saucers and 2 pieces of cut glass. I am bringing some bed linen and blankets also tablecloth & napkins but most of the things have been here a long time and hardly worth sending. Oh yes, the wagon, marble game and music box for Mark and Catherine. Some of the things we will send to Martel and you can get them there but by freight it will take some time. We are sending the Turkish rug and a small ordinary rug to Bill. The others are not worth sending as they are pretty well-worn. Oh I forgot to mention the round mosaic table which goes to you. There is a music cabinet, French type which Bill might want.
Did dad tell you that the real estate men think this will be a hard house to sell and Stanley says it may take 6 months, that it is best not to hurry it, but wait for the right man! Ceilings are too high and the house is difficult to heat in winter. The plumbing is old and one toilet (one out of Aunt Margaret's bedroom) doesn't work and some of the ceilings are peeling. We started asking $35,000 but it looks as though we won't get more than $25,000 unless we find someone who has plenty of money, wants this type of house and wants to live in Danvers.
The yard is beautiful now with the green trees and lawn. The tulips, white and purple lilac bushes, apple blossoms and Dogwood trees and the pond beyond. The vine on the house is now green and tell Mark from my bedroom window I can see a robin's nest with baby robins in it and the mother flying back-and-forth getting worms to feed them.
We will arrive in LA June 19, which is a Saturday I think so we will be looking for all of you at the station. We arrive in Marshalltown at 4:10 PM on Tuesday, June 15 and leave there at 4:10 PM Thursday on a local to Boone, Iowa where we catch the LA Limited.
Ben and Margaret & Steve left Wednesday morning, planning on staying at West Point 2 nights with the Harbechers, [Harbands?] people they knew in Panama. I wish you all could have seen Steve, he is so cute. He has a cute little dance which is a "knockout!" It's too bad he has to grow up so far away from all of us. How they do grow! Imagine Catherine carrying flowers to decorate the living room. And she has her own ideas too. If she were here we could have some lovely walks together down to the pond. Mark would enjoy seeing the fellows fish down there.
Last Sunday we were all invited to Pine Knoll for dinner. Only Margaret and I accepted but we had a good dinner and an interesting time looking at all their antiques. David, Dudley and Stewart were there of course and before we left their cousin Charley who has plenty of money they say asked the 3 Brewster boys, Margaret and Ben to go to Salem Willows for fish dinner. About 6:30 after we came home they came and picked Margaret and Ben up and went to Salem Willows. Alice is never here Sundays so Dad was the only one who didn't have a big dinner. We are having fish tonight -- Friday.
Had a letter from Pat today and she says Annabel and Chris are adopting 2 sisters 4 and 6 years.
It looks as if Bill would be doing quite a little traveling with his new job. I hope he likes it but it's going to be hard for Pat to stay alone so much. She says Bobby now is trying to stand on his head. I bet he is cute. We are getting pretty anxious to get home and see you all and it won't be long. Also we would enjoy a little warm weather. Dad wants to take this to the mailbox so must stop. Let us know any further plans as to building.
Loads of love, Mema

June 3, 1948
Dear Folks:
It is 9 o'clock and Alice has just gone to bed so I will write you. We have been wondering how long it has been since you -- Dorothea and Mark were here. Alice thinks it will be 2 years this month, but I think it is 3, anyway it was when Bob was overseas so it must be 3 years. She thinks Catherine must be awfully cute from her pictures but she is cuter than her pictures and better looking because you can't really see how beautiful her eyes are and what long eyelashes she has and sometimes her eyes are closed. The one where she is sitting on your lap, Dorothea, at the club swimming pool, she has her eyes shut. Otherwise it is good of both of you. The one of you Bob with dark glasses on and with Mark and Catherine standing in the water is very good. Thanks for all the pictures you have sent. Dad is going into Boston tomorrow to get our tickets validated and pay for reservations so yes there is no doubt but what we will arrive in LA June 19 (Sat) at 10:40 AM on Los Angeles Ltd. we are getting anxious to go. Today has been a lovely spring day with the sun shining all day but the paper says colder. I went with Dad to the market today for the first time. We have felt that one of us should be here just in case someone phones or calls to see the house. So far no luck. 2 or 3 have seen it but it is too big and too much money. Judge Sears, Will Sullivan and Stanley Preston think it should go for a home or hospital. They doubt if a single family would buy it. It would be easier to sell at Marblehead or more aristocratic localities so we will come home and let 3 or 4 real estate firms handle it. I think there are 7 different ones who have been working on it.
[Judge Sears, Will Sullivan [witnesses of Aunt Margaret's will] and Stanley Preston]
We have a recommended packer -- Mr. Wall. He and wife live with Susie Choate who has been a longtime friend of the Howe family. She is 86 and was a close friend of Mary's. Dad and I called on her which pleased her and she has a remarkable memory and is a fine old lady. This Mr. Wall comes June 10 to get the things to crate. Today Dad sold what was left of the books for $15. There is plenty to do and some things we will have to leave in the house. We have decided to ship the stair carpet. It is a good one and I can use some of it on our stairs and halls, upstairs and down, at home, then you could have the one in the upper hall that was Aunt Margaret's. There are no wagon wheels or harnesses for you. I will bring all the curtains that are good enough and probably you can use some in your new house if they are the type you want -- straight and no ruffles, and will have to be made shorter. Pat has mentioned needing curtains. Those in the parlor are not good enough as they would not stand washing. Next week we should get things pretty well cleaned up. Some to Goodwill -- 2 more boxes to send to the church for overseas. Some things to Putnam House, then will contact antique man, secondhand furniture man and junkman. No one wants the safe so will get the junkman to take it. It weighs 1200 pounds and doesn't have much space compared to newer ones, for storage.
A museum man came for the stuffed birds. Dad is tired and has gone to bed. We hope we can help you some on your many problems when we get home. It is fun to build a new house but lots of work, but with Gwen & Joe, Bob & Jerry so well up on all the tricks and advantages you ought to do pretty well. Will enclose a letter from Margaret which came today and then go to bed.
We are getting pretty anxious to see you.
Love, Mema.

Wednesday noon
Dear Folks --
Am using pencil as a pen leaks in the sun & I'm out on the grass in Debby's yard with Steve & Scotty while she hangs out clothes. I have a big ironing if I ever get to it, but Steve just cries & cries if I put him in the fence Ben built him.
Yesterday it cleared up & was warm so when Ben got home we planted flower seeds & bulbs all over -- gladiolas, sweet peas, etc. Hope we get some. His strawberry plants are covered with berries & we had the first ripe one yesterday! Today it is 80°. Have you had any warm weather yet? Sure feels wonderful! Norma had the mumps while we were gone.
Our roll of film of Longwood Gardens came back & shows the profusion of flowers very well. The close-up of you holding Steve outside, Mother, is swell of you! When we take a few more rolls will send them all out to you as before.
Thanks for mailing Steve's spoon -- I thought I'd left it there. Haven't heard a word from Dixie but we have a new mailman who doesn't get here till 5:30 & we think we are getting all our mail.
Steve got a cold the first hot day home & still has it, & now Ben has one. Ben took the cameo brooch in to see about taking the brown wreath off & the man said it would be sacrilege to do it as it's an heirloom & besides it would probably leave a brown stain. He appraised it at $350. In that picture of the whole Howe family Dad's Mother has it on. I'll send my extra picture on to Bill.
That's swell Bob & D. are going to build so soon -- bet they'll have a darling place, but it must be a job at the outset. Must close & get at my ironing.
Loads of love -- Margaret