Wednesday May 29th – 5:45 P.M. 1935

January 30, 2022 § Leave a comment

Two more days pass and Elvin is at his writing table again. This time just before dinner, or maybe just after? Who knows what kind of dinner schedule existed in the Hollander household in Arlington, NJ.

Dearest Darling,

Greetings dearest. Tis the day after our ninth month anniversary of August 28th last. We have nine days more of this waiting business before we again get together. Summer has arrived in these parts and all one does now is walk around in shirt sleeves and perspire. Believe it or not, it’s been so hot my face is tanned without having gone out in the sun. My right arm is responding rapidly to energetic exercise and is yearning to swing into action. I hope it doesn’t go stale from over-exercise by June 7th. I have every hope though that it will be in the pink of condition for the test.

I can scarcely wait to get into those little discussions-to-come:- what color bathroom; what color the rest of the house; where are we going to live; twin beds or a double bed; white, blue or pink (I hope not!) sheets; maple or walnut furniture; four five or six rooms; and I don’t know how many more topics. I know, darling that we won’t back ammunition for discussion for quite a few years to come let alone enough for this summer. There’s something about planning to get married that gets into your blood. One develops a sort of a kindly feeling for all people that are in the same position and for those that have gone through it. Most of the poor people lose that human outlook after a period of time but darling give me a good kick in the ribs if you see me losing it because I want to keep it.

It rained like the very dickens at five o’clock this afternoon and before I could get to the car to close the windows, the inside of the car was soaked. It’ll dry out soon I hope.

Darling, I have $280 saved up and by the time I leave for Canton I’ll have about $350. Not bad eh, for a young fellow1. Eight days from tonight I’ll be picking up the RING and all the luggage I can gather up at your house. By the way if you need any spare luggage to carry home your belongings, let me know and I’ll bring it along.

When you get this you will probably be studying for your last exam. Good luck darling and if it helps remember I love you and am always

Just Yours


1 This is 1935, just less than seven years into the Great Depression, but Elvin seems to be in really good shape. He is the son of a successful business man whose business might have taken a hit, but had survived, and maybe even thrived. For reference, Gary Cooper earned 330,000 in the mid 30’s. Share croppers were lucky to earn $500 a year. We know from a previous post that Elvin asked for and received a raise to $55 a week, and he lives at home.

Monday May 27th – 4 P.M. 1935

January 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

We see in this letter the first mistakes that I have seen in the letters so far. That is to say mistakes that were missed by Elvin. There were corrections, and I didn’t note them, but these were uncaught, and I think deserve mention.

Also, we see in this letter a definite dialog in answers to questions that Vivien must have posed in a letter to Elvin. Too bad I don’t have those letters!

Another note here is that when Elvin finishes these letters, sometimes it seems like he walks right over to a mailbox, or the Post Office, and deposits the letter. The postmarks are sometimes very close to the time these letters are written. This one in particular. He starts the letter at 4pm, and it’s postmarked 6:30pm the same day!

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Thursday May 23rd 8:25 P.M. 1935

January 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

So, I dug out Vivien’s birth certificate and she is officially Vivian, so I don’t know why Elvin insists on writing to her as Vivien. Maybe he used to accentuate the “en” instead of the “anne”. No one can say today.

Dearest Vivien,

I have to write your Sunday letter tonight darling because tomorrow night I’ll be bound for Philadelphia for the night and Saturday night too. Then on Sunday I’ll be on my way to Washington for Sunday afternoon and night and I’ll be returning on Monday afternoon. Altogether I’m looking about 600 miles and more right in the eye again. I guess my title will be the “Globe Trotter” after a while. I certainly should be in shape for that Canton trip when it comes along – shouldn’t I darling?

Dad has been contacted for the sale of the business1. This, of course, is absolutely confidential. The first important moves will be made tomorrow and we’ll know definitely what’s coming of it by the time I come to Canton. I wish they could sell for a good figure. We have the foundation for a tremendous business but it needs two or three times more capital to bring it to where it could be. If they sold, I’d still have a job with the business more than likely and a much better salary and the family would be well set with plenty of that well known but little seen medium of exchange – Cash in all its verdant glory and green richness. This job would materialize so much faster. It would mean that quite a bit of money would come my way which would be socked away for the income only and the principal wouldn’t be touched. Maybe – who knows darling – we may be somewhere yet, I hope.

My Dad is leaving Saturday on a trip to Cleveland, Chicago and other points. He will be gone about a week. Mother is going with him in the Nash. So there’s another part of the family on their way.

Last night Esther2 asked me to look at the fuses for the lights in her room. I found the one that was burned out and put in another when – flash! – went the new fuse. We went into Ester’s room, pulled all the plugs and made sure that everything was disconnected. I tried another fuse and that blew too! So we went back to Ester’s room again and with the aid of matches we started to try to put a plug in a wall receptacle near the floor and it would in!! We looked a little closer and there was a nail pressed into the receptacle. Only one answer darling – Barbara3!!!!! The next fuse we tried was all right. What a child, what a child!! Just a little taste of the prides, trials and puzzlements of parenthood.

Everybody down here except me as far as I an ascertain have been dabbling in chain letters. They’ve been passing around one dollar chain letters! I’ve heard of some people cash in in but I don’t know any of them yet. I’ve still got “our” dollar darling and I’m going to hang on to it even though people are saying that I’m closer than the original Scotchman4. As far as I’m concerned, economy drives don’t permit speculation and every dollar in hand is worth one thousand somebody else is reputedly getting. I’m so close these days, the buffaloes are howling and the eagles are screaming. I’m not doing bad though – when June 7th comes around I’ll be $350 ahead of what I was April 1st. Not bad, eh darling?

I forgot to tell you. Your Father liked the polish job I did on my car so well that he asked me to get him some for his car. The Ford actually looks like new.

Thus darling you can see that your hopeful husband – to – be is doing his very very best to insure the happy event scheduled tentatively for that distant month of September. These weary eyes will indeed refresh and brighten when they gaze into those brown eyes of their owner’s bosom pal and companion, his betrothed. Those blue eyes will kindle with extreme rapidity the deep blue fires of the Nordic when they gaze on the September dawns and those to follow5.

They’re having an awful nutty program over the radio as I write this. Some fun!!

You needn’t worry about the ring anymore. It is fully insured for its replacement value which is $400. The pokey is made out to you. I got it through Al6 but he’s keeping mum about it. I didn’t want to go that distance with it without insuring it and I didn’t want to give the business to anybody but Al.

Two weeks from tomorrow darling and there’ll be a big day in food old Canton, N.Y.

Goodnight Darling.

I love you so much,


1 This is news to me. Star Electric Motor company. This is 1935 way before the war effort, and some 20 years into the company’s existence. Emil used to wind motors, as I am told, working in a factory with other Swedes in Belleville, and he and Petersen, teamed up and started their own company. Their first product was an electric fan.

2 Ester is the youngest of the children born to Emil’s first wife Amalia Carlson, and was quite a sharp tack. I visited her when she was bedridden in a Nursing home in Oneonta and the staff there loved her because she was so alert and smart and engaging. A far cry from what they were used to with other residents.

3 Elvin’s niece Barbara, Ray’s daughter who was pretty young at the time.

4 Haven’t a clue what this means.

5 Laying it on thick there.

6 Alton Ennis, Vivien’s brother-in-law. As it so happens, Al was Jewish, and so perhaps had family in the jewelry business. I recall stories about the “Issue” when Bernice married Al, but I don’t think that was an “issue” for long. Clearly Vivien and Elvin were fine with it, and since Bernie and Al were living in Florham Park, I can only surmise that Harry and Edna were okay with it as well.

Monday May 20th – 10:30 P.M. 1935

January 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

Elvin is back at his desk the next night at 10:30 to write his Vivien once again. A shorter letter, let’s see what’s inside.

The first paragraph pops out! I guess Vivien has a family dog named Chang what must have bitten a neighborhood kid, or Junior. Junior who? Pick any Junior from 1935 W.O. I don’t think you would see this play out today the way this did. Junior’s Mom said Junior must have provoked old Chang, and therefore deserved whatever consequence was meted out by Chang, and so Chang got to live another day, and perhaps a full life.

“Dutch”. So, the story behind this is an obvious one when you know that Elvin was born Elvin Hollander. Yes, I am Eric Hallander, and the story goes that Elvin E Hollander changed his name to Elvin E Hallander, so that his office mail wouldn’t be confused with his father’s mail Emile E Hollander, or E E Hollander. Anyway, Someone started calling him “Dutch” and I guess it stuck.

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Sunday May 19th – 10:30 P.M. 1935

January 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

We are getting into the final weeks before Vivien’s graduation, and Elvin has stepped up. Maybe, all the letters between these end of May letters and the beginning of April letters weren’t worth saving. It’s hard to say, as here Elvin talks about polishing the car. Good stuff yes.

Elvin passed away in 1967, so I wasn’t all that old, and so my memories of him are pretty slim. Images mostly, no real memories of the soul of Elvin, but reading these letters breathes quite the personality into him. Let’s remember he is 26 (March) in these, and Vivien is not quite 21 (July) yet.

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Friday May 17th – 8:45 P.M. 1935

January 28, 2022 § Leave a comment

Whether there were, and I am sure there were, more letters between the last one written up, and this one I don’t have them. It’s implied in this letter that Elvin wrote every Friday night for a Saturday post, and potentially a Sunday read? I guess the United States Postal Service had weekend delivery in 1935. I, of course could be wrong, and maybe it takes a whole week to get to Northern NY, and Vivien gets these posts a week later. Until I come across a letter from Vivien to Elvin with some kind of acknowledgement, we won’t know.

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Tuesday April 2nd – 6:15 PM 1935

January 28, 2022 § 2 Comments

A shorter letter that contained some “snapshots” from a visit that Elvin and Ray made to St Lawrence College to see Vivien. Now, is that one of Vivien’s classmates on Ray’s arm or did they travel up together? I do not know. The golfing shot is also an “I don’t know” Did he throw that in to be cute? It seems warm for that part of NY in March, and why would he travel with golf clubs? I think he is just hamming it for the camera.

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Friday March 29th 7:00 PM 1935

January 27, 2022 § 1 Comment

What follows, and what will follow as I transcribe them are a series of love letters my grandfather, Elvin wrote to my grandmother, Vivien while she was in her last semester of college at St, Lawrence College (now St. Lawrence University) in 1935. They had just gotten engaged, and as you will read, Elvin Emile considered himself very lucky to have wooed one Vivien Elizabeth Kent of West Orange. The wedding date was set for September 14, that year, and Elvin was 26 at the time and working in the family business: Star Electric Motor Company in Newark. The business was a joint partnership between the Hollanders and the Petersons, both Swedish immigrants who worked together winding motors in factories they gained employment in upon immigration.

The letter goes into some details that include what kind of budget they will operate under, and just how “nice” the family (and Elvin) find Vivien, and how excited everyone is with the engagement.

I believe Vivien had also just gained initiation into Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi’s) Sorority, and was now living there on campus, so her address was: Miss Vivien Kent, Pi-Beta-Phi House, Canton, NY. and there was no zip code. In case you are wondering, yes Canton NY is way the heck up there in the cold barrens along the St Lawrence River North East of Lake Ontario.

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Letter from Vivian

January 27, 2022 § Leave a comment

My Dad’s family up and moved halfway across the country to La Crosse, Wisconsin from Cedar Grove. I am sure that was a big deal for my Nana, and it probably kept her busy for many months, and being the good correspondent that she was, she needed to let many people know what was going on. I found this in her thing that she put together and sent out dated July 21st, 1950. Now, you will notice in the text that they arrived in February, so 5 months have passed, and I am sure she was itching to get the news out. As you read you will notice the reference to the current events of the world, as Korea was just making the news that summer.

Note that I left everything pretty much as she wrote it. I tend to capitalize the seasons and such, but she did not. She also likes the hyphen to continue a thought but introduce a break. I haven’t seen that much, but you editors out there can enlighten me.

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Photo Cullen – Upper Montclair

January 25, 2022 § Leave a comment

The following appeared in a local paper (The Montclair Times) in reference to the rehabilitation of 574 Valley Road in Upper Montclair, NJ.

For years the big building at 574 Valley Road, Upper Montclair was a storehouse for a TV and Radio Co. and looked quite unattractive and neglected. In 1965, however, things began happening – the building underwent a metamorphosis under the skillful hand of Dereck Kipp, Upper Montclair architect. A good-looking back Plaza entrance was cut through with new stairways showing through glass walls and on both sides of the back entrance a pretty shop was made ready for occupancy. Up front on the Valley Road side an extension with great windows on three sides was built. The new owners must love light because other windows were cut in all over the building. A side door appeared which led to office space on the second floor. The ugly, non-descript outside color disappeared and the soft green with white trim which replaced it made the building an outstanding one. Photo Cullen, an excellent photographic center, had come to town!

The name of Cullen as a photography shop is an old one in Montclair. Originally started in Newark in 1882, the business was moved to Bloomfield Ave., in Montclair in 1920. Here it stayed under Mr. George Cullen, son of the original owner, until 1959 when Mr. Elvin Hallander purchased it from George Cullen. Mr. Hallander, who had been in the air-conditioning business all his life and was tired of the constant strain and moving about the country decided to follow his avocation-photography-in his home state. He was glad of the opportunity to buy the Cullen business.

In 1962 the Hallanders saw that the present Upper Montclair site was for sale and they purchased it but did not start making the aforementioned changes until 1965. In March, 1966 they moved in. It is known as The Hallander Building and houses The Record Rack, and The Book Corner as well as many business offices and their own shop.

The Photo Cullen shop is most attractive-lovely blue walls combined with walnut wood. Wall-to-wall carpeting, handsome cases and shelving, filled with cameras and other photographic supplies, make it an exciting store to visit. Mrs. Hallander tells me that they have a full line of equipment, most of which is neatly stored back of the scenes. Following the sad and untimely death of her husband, this fine lady is carrying the business on “as he wanted it”. She is President of the organization and her son is Vice-President. With the exception of their Manager all of their helpers are Upper Montclair people.

Mrs. Hallander is civic-minded and is especially interested in promoting Upper Montclair and its fine shops. She, the Hallander Building and Photo Cullen are an asset to our Town and we wish her well.

Pretty sure the author misunderstood my Grandmother when she gave some of the details. My Grandfather was an Engineering and Wharton Business graduate who oversaw his Father’s family business, Star Electric Motor company, Newark, and then Bloomfield before selling that business after his father died to help set up his mother for her final years. Besides supporting the war effort, my Grandfather oversaw the expansion of the business into the infrastructure side of the Dry Cleaning business where SEC manufactured equipment. His subsequent cancer is probably related to his work in this part of SEC’s business. He did work in Air-Conditioning moving to La Crosse Wisconsin to either lead, or be part of the leading team at Trane, an emerging name in that business, but left a few years later to lead another company in Anderson Indiana. The sale of Star did not go over well with the “Other” Hollanders here in North Jersey, hence the skedaddle off to Wisconsin, but by the mid fifties the realization that Elvin had done the “right” thing settled in and they wanted to get back to Jersey where their roots lay.

The Hallander Building Today from Valley Road.

The Hallander Building Today from the rear plaza.

Published Montclair Times

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