Thursday Feb 24 – 5 P.M.1938

March 24, 2022 § Leave a comment

Jump ahead a few years, Elvin is travelling and he appears to be in Kansas City, Mo. Let’s see what he has to say.

Warning. Elvin uses two Ethnic slurs later in this letter. I didn’t write them out, but I think it is clear what he wrote, and though I could chalk it up to “Well, that is just how they talked in 1938”, it wasn’t right then, and it isn’t right now and I don’t want to provide any legitimacy to either of them. Prejudice is a learned behavior, and both Elvin and Vivian learned their prejudices from their parents and their peers.

Dearest Tootsie1,

It was nice to call you last night and to speak to you even though you sounded like you had a flat tire or something.

I’m sorry you lost your voice and that you have been having the difficulties that you have since I left home. Believe me I want to get home as soon as possible myself. I don’t enjoy this traipsing around the country any more than you enjoy staying home alone.

Today I just roamed around Kansas City looking over the town and had a haircut among other things. I also bought a little radio for $12.00. It is a nice white one something like the one we have only it is better as it was listed for $19.95 and I got the fellow down to $122. It is a Fada. It has a nice tone and all I’m hoping is that I can get my wardrobe case closed. Yeah I know I’m a sucker but the evenings are long3.

By the way Perc is coming here tonight to spend until Monday here with me as I’ve given him Kansas and Wester Missouri instead of Nebraska and Colorado. The reason was that Philo Hillyer who had this territory went to California to live. And I asked Perc if he he would rather have it than the one he had. He said “Yes!”, by telephone of course and his is coming here tonight on the Rocket. By the way that Rocket train is one of the smoothest trains I’ve ever been in. Each of the cars has a radio and the ride is so quiet that the radio can be heard very comfortably4. It is all streamlined and is a beautiful train. The observation car has a very modernistic bar in it. It is extremely modern throughout and each seat is adjustable.

I just tried to put that radio in my wardrobe case and it fits! Three cheers!!!

Send Mr. Hains a letter and say that the lack of heat gave you a cold and that you just wish to send him the doctor’s bill for $6.00 and tell him that you just can’t see you way clear to assuming this expense which was caused by the use of inferior and improper oil in the apartment heating system5.

Yes the convention, in my mind, was and is going to be as successful as any. If we had just accomplished the result of making the officials of the National Association aware of the potency of SEC Cleaning and its future, I would still say that it was successful6. However, I am almost positive that at least fifteen sales are going to result from the convention directly.

I’m going to send some sort of remembrance to both Mrs. Bystol and Mrs. Roush. They were awfully nice.

I telegrammed Al Ennis7 today to see if my Auto Insurance covered cars rented by me from Drive Yourself places and he answered that I could get that protection for $1.00. I understood that he was having it covered. Will you check with him and see that he does, please?

I called Burrill last night and told him to put $200.00 in my account at the back today as the convention cost me a little more than I expected. Will you also check with him and see that he does?

You see I’m going to rent a car for the next couple of days as I think that is the easiest way to get around and also the most inexpensive.

I8ve8 I’ve been reading Mathematics for a Million and am getting there slowly.

I’m glad the _____s finally got some of the ___s anyway9. I hope that the raids are more successful in the future.

Give Kent a nice big hug for Daddy and let Kent kiss his Mummy for me. Say hello to Hazel please. I’m going to go down and get my supper now. Goodnight darling. I’ll write again tomorrow.

Your loving tootsie,


1 Already we have a new address.

2 It must be a great radio if the person selling it was willing to let it go at a 40% discount!!

3 I bought a pair of Cowboy Boots (Still own them) when I was in KC MO in the early 90’s.

4 No Walkman, No Smartphone, No IPod, No Internet, No Nothing. Just the radio.

5 1938 Elvin and Vivian are renting on Franklin St. in Bloomfield. Building is still there. There was a friend of a friend of mine that we used to hang out with, that I could swear lived in the same building in the 70’s.

6 Obviously the 2nd WW is still a few years off and what Elvin is referring to is that Star Electric Motor Company has an associated spin-off called Star Electric Company (SEC) Cleaning in which the company has been developing Dry Cleaning machinery.

7 You may recall from the other letters that Al Ennis is Elvin’s Brother-in-law as in Al is married to Vivian’s older sister Bernice or Bernie as we knew her.

8 The apostrophe was above the 8 on a typewriter?

9 I think it should be clear what ethnic slurs were written here and I decided not to write them out at all (other than the pluralizing ‘s’). Clearly Elvin harbored some hurtful phrases for two societies of the Asian community. My apologies to anyone offended by these terms. For anyone who is not aware, Japan was an aggressor against mainland China in the mid to late 30’s committing atrocities there that rival the atrocities of the Nazi’s that were already in power in Europe and soon would be on the march. China was poor and was no match for the mechanization of the Japanese armed forces, but they had a lot of people, and I guess they must have put some hurt into Japan at some point.

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