In the fall of 1920, George Morris, a tall and handsome veteran of the World War, began courting the petite young girl who worked behind the counter of her father’s confectionary, Miss Mabel Cyr. They had known each other for years but George was ten years older than Mabel, so their budding romance didn’t begin until she was in her sophomore year of high school. While she finished her schooling, George worked where he could find it, which meant travelling between farms and logging companies, picking up any work where he had connections.
On May 25, 1922 he wrote Mabel a letter from one of those job sites. It reads like a poem. Though clearly this is not his way of introducing himself to her, what I love the most (besides the script) is the sense of humor it shows.
George was my great grandfather, though he died long before I was born. Growing up, all I knew of him was what I saw in framed pictures lining great grandma’s walls. Fortunately, she saved a stack of letters that he wrote to her before they were married, so I have a glimpse of the tender and loving man he was. He called her Tootlebug in many of his letters. Seriously…how sweet is that?
So, without further ado, here’s a little something that George wrote to Mabel in 1922:
May 25, 1922
I have been bawled out & balled up, Held up & held down, bull-dozed, black-Jacked, walked on, cheated & squeezed, Stuck for war tax, road tax, excess profit tax, State tax, log tax, syntax, Liberty bonds, baby bonds, Red Cross, green cross & double cross
I’ve been asked to help John the Baptist, G.A.R., the Women’s Relief Corps, Men’s relief & Stomach relief. I have worked like heck & have been worked like heck; I have been drunk & have gotten others drunk. And because I wont spend or lend all the little I earn & go beg, borrow or steal I have been cussed & discussed, boycotted, talked to & talked about, lied to and lied about, held up & hung up, pan-handled, robbed & darn near ruined.
The only reason that I am sticking around now is to answer your few questions, & to see what in the Heck is coming next.
I was born June 9, 1900 at Wamic Oregon.
I begin school at the age of 8 at Smock.
I finished the eighth grade on Smock in June 1916.
I finished the first year of high school on Smock in 1916-1917.
And the other three years I went in Maupin.
Never married & have most of my teeth yet.
P.S. Much oblige for the trouble & keep the change.