Saturday, April 26, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 7 of 7

(Letter to Grandmother, December 5, 1941)

Dear Choo-Choo-, 

I can't say whether all this excitement is going to come to anything, but it looks as though I might actually be going to Iceland Monday. By the time this letter gets to you, if I am going, you will have had a telegram, but anyway, I know you will be interested in how it all came to happen, or not to happen. 

Thursday morning Mr. Atkinson came into the office and said to me, "Miss Duncan, can you take it?" So of course I said I could, and he told me that five secretaries were being sent to Iceland, but that I couldn’t go because the age requirement was 28 and I'm a good ways below that. So I sat and swallowed lumps the rest of the morning, trying not to burst into tears and show how really young I am. 

Then it occurred to me, for goodness sake, who makes the rules? I asked Mr. A., but he didn’t know, Mr. Bondy is the top man in Military and Welfare Services, and he's the boy who has the last word about who is going. Mr. A. doesn’t get on well with Mr. Bondy, but Mr. Krick, who also works in this office is my and Mr. A.'s friend, is on very good terms with Mr. Bondy. (Now don't get discouraged; I know this is contem-plated, I mean complicated.) So, Mr. A. started working on Mr. K., to prove to him that I was just the girl to go and that really I am so mature that it would be much safer to send me than some flighty creature of thirty. So Friday morning Mr. Krick went to see Mr. Bondy and convinced him that the Red Cross has a wonder girl in its midst. Mr. Bondy called Mr. Sayer who has charge of hiring all stenographers for the Red Cross and who is an old friend of mine, told Mr. Sayer to see if Mr. A could be influenced toward letting this phenominon (!) out of his office to go to Iceland. 

Mr. S. called Mr. A. and Mr. Atkinson, all surprised and horrified at the idea of losing me said he would think it over, but believed my work too important for me to be released. Ho-ho. Then he sent me over to see Mr. Sayer. He sent me to be interviewed by Mr. Dinsmore, whom I had seen in connection with going to Panama so he knew me. Then Mr. D. sent me to be interviewed by a Mrs. Thornton, who had been abroad during the last war. Mr. D. was selecting 15 girls, Mrs. T. was going to narrow that down to 8 by interviews, and 5 of them could go. 

Well, Mrs. Thornton was very nice, but I was so excited that I burst a bra strap, for the first time since I was at prep school. When I told her I had a Smith degree, she got pretty excited. It seems that during the last war Smith and the other colleges sent units out to do work in Europe, relief work, I suppose, - and the Smith Unit was very much better than any of the others. 

"Smith girls have such a practical approach," she said. Then when she heard I'd been to Scotland, well, nothing was too good for me. She talked at great length about her experiences in Scotland and by the time the interview was up, she was My Friend. She asked me how old I was, and when I said only 23, she deplored the fact because she had been very firm about insisting on 25 as the very limit, and she said everyone would laugh at her for being so inconsistent, but that my service would be worth a laugh. So she gave my name as one of the 8 to go. 

I was a total wreck by this time, of course, and so puffed up with compliments and good advice that I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I had lunch with Rosalind and we exploded at each other for a half hour. Then I came back to the office, looking very Mature. 

Finally Mr. Dinsmore called Mr. A. over to his office to help him weed out the five from the eight to go. Much heavy discussion about how did I get on with boys and would my family let me go and have I any horrid diseases and would I get homesick. At last Mr. A. come back and shook hands with me very solemnly and said I was one of the five.

Nancy Duncan reading in Iceland.
Now the only hitch is we have wired the Red Cross workers, or perhaps it’s the Army, asking if they have rooming accommodations for ten more workers, 5 stenographic and 5 special workers. We go as soon as they say they have the space for us, which can't be long. There is some kind of transport leaving from New York on Monday evening. Perhaps N. Duncan shall be on it. 

It is really a beauty of a job. The salary is $135 monthly, and I am getting $120 now. Also the Red Cross provides transportation and maintenance, ie. food and rent. Also, we have to wear uniforms all the time, which means that they provide clothing as well. What does one spend one's salary on? I don’t know what the uniform is, but on top we are going to have tremendous fur lined coats and perfectly ridiculous fur hats and mittens with gloves inside. Another good thing about it is that I will be going with a group of other girls, all older than me, of course, but still better than Franny's act of just up and going. And I will have the best medical care. If I get appendicitis, the Red Cross has to pay for it. And there is no better protection against international incidents than a Red Cross uniform. - And it's part of the agreement that I stay a year. 

I guess that's all I can tell you now. Nothing is definite. Before we go, we shall have to be inoculated, get our uniforms fitted, get passports in order, and take care of many personal items like fond farewells and warm underwear. 

If for any reason I can’t go, it will be all right and I will just be able to bear it, but if I can, it will be straight clover. They ought to tell me tomorrow morning. 

Love and Kisses,

This letter was mailed Friday, December 5, 1941. On Sunday, December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On Monday, December 8 a record 60 million people turned on their radios to President Roosevelt's speech before Congress. The five-minute speech gave only a few facts regarding Pearl Harbor and called for a declaration of war against Japan. Within an hour the Senate declared war. A half-hour later the House concurred. The one dissenting vote in the House ended the political career of Jeanette Rankin of Montana. Source: David Brinkley, Washington Goes to War)

Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Friday, April 25, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 6 of 7

Letter to Mother, October 20th - [1941]

Dear Mother,

A very busy week. Libby has had an ex-pupil of her father's visiting, so Monday night we went up to her apartment to hear him play the piano with some other friends of the Uptons.

Tuesday evening I went out with Chuck Lockhart, which happy occasion ended with my having to say 'out of my life.' I was very sorry because he is one of the few down here I have really liked, but he does not love me for my beautiful soul or my intelligent mind. He has always been a gentleman about the whole business and made no fuss, but the answer is always no. I have been feeling gorgeously pure all week.

Wednesday I saw Helen Hayes in Candle in the Wind and was disappointed in it, not nearly good enough for her. Besides, her skirts were too long. 

Thursday David White took me to see some colored slides at the Parish House of St John's, which sounded deadly but turned out to be quite fun. It is the Rev. C. Leslie's church, and full of attractive young people. The pictures were taken by the man who was the official photographer of the King and Queen when they were in this country. Home for cider and doughnuts. 

Friday Molly's Uncle Junior Almy came to dinner and regaled us with tales of how awful is this administration. He is trying to get some priority stuff through OPM and can’t get anywhere because every time he comes down there’s a different man in charge of the division he's interested in. Afterwards Molly and I went up with our beer mugs to a party Libby was giving for numerous friends. Delectable shrimps on toothpicks. I met and conversed with a very presentable Gentile, Mr. Parhurst, Williams '34, and was thinking what a happy little conquest I was making when Mrs. Upton came up and said, "I'm so sorry your wife couldn’t come. How soon do you expect the baby?"

* * *
. . .When a 248 came through showing the resignation of a secretary at the Naval Base there, I called René, found out I could afford to pay my own way there and rushed over to converse with Mr. Dinsmore. He said sure, to write to the Field Director, airmail, ask him to hold the position open and that I would be right down. 

Then, just to be sweet, I pulled the one about little me with my father so far away, what would you advise, Mr. Dinsmore. He made a big song and dance about the effect of the tropics on the moral fiber of young and attractive girls and the general degeneration of standards, etc. Asked Mr. Atkinson and he said it would be lonely, and interesting, and hot. Talked further with René and he got out a lot of travel stuff about it,very discouraging, so finally I went home still undecided, with an airmail letter all written and ready to be sent. 

Washington looked pretty sweet and my little apartment looked even sweeter. The gist of it all is that I tore up the letter. The next morning when Mr. A. heard that I had turned it down, he asked whether I would be interested in the office that is being set up in the First Corp Area as liaison between the ARC, OCD and the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety. It would be for the duration and in Boston. I thought about it for a while and finally turned that down too. I will never be in such a good position to be sent anywhere, and to waste that opportunity on Boston, the only advantage of which would be to save rent, seems a little dumb. The other side of all this is, though, that I may not be able to be so fussy. Perhaps I ought to grab whatever I can get, like the Canal Zone. These chances don't come along too often. Besides, I can see myself already digging the Governmental Rut along with the Federal Spread.

Which is the extent of what has happened to me.
                                         * * *
Letter to Mother, Oct. 27 - [1941]

Dear Mother,

This proposition may break yet. Mr. A. told me this morning that the head of Services to the Armed Forces had asked him didn't he want to go (to Iceland). He emphatically does not. But in discussing it he found out that the Army has turned over the whole recreation program of the Post to the Red Cross, which will mean that we must send several more people up there. Mr. A had a chance to mention to the Vice Chairman that I want to go and he said he didn’t know yet whether they would have to send a secretary. But with this new program opening up, there is more of a chance than before. I have seen all the people there are to see about it here. When I turned down the Canal Zone, I wrote Mr. Dinsmore a memo saying I was holding out for Iceland. So maybe -- but I am not counting on anything. Everyone continues to say I am crazy to want to go. . .

Love and kisses, 
Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 5 of 7

Letter to Mother August 18 [1941]

Dear Mother-,

Washington, D.C., 1941
 . . .About last week, - a good deal seems to have happened. Monday night Molly Bidwell came to dinner. Tuna fish goo in your little baking dishes. We all got on very nicely. After dinner Ed Bernett, Libby's little man, appeared, conversed, and took Libby out. Then René called, appeared, conversed and took Franny out. Then little Chuck called, appeared and conversed. Molly looked them all over, and I could see her deciding our house is a Social Center, Nice Young Men etc. So she is very anxious to room with me, and I suppose we will really swing it. Franny has given notice on her job for Sept. 15 and is planning to leave for Hawaii on the Oct. 2 boat if no job breaks here meantime. Of course I am dying to go with her, - she has a friend there who reports the place is full of jobs, - but it costs $160 to get there and we probably wouldn’t want to stay more than a year, which would mean coming back sans job, a condition which my bank account does not let me face with equanimity. But Franny's job here isn't going at much of a sacrifice and she is borrowing funds to a perilously large extent from her family, about $200, I think. I wouldn't wince in the least, asking Papa for money if I needed it, but I can’t quite see asking for it to whip out to Hawaii on. Anyway, she's going, full of talk about living the abundant life and gathering rose buds (to me, Washington is still full of a good many rosebuds ungathered) and enjoy yourself while you're young.
Red Cross secretary, and new Smith College graduate, 
Nancy Duncan is selected to serve on the advisory 
council for Glamour, "the fashion mag for career girls."

. . .Thursday we went to a cocktail party at the Willard [Hotel] for 25 successful business girls who have been carefully selected to serve as an advisory council for Glamour magazine, the fashion mag for career girls. They got our names from the Smith Quarterly. Free subscription, free drinks, pictures taken for the magazine, questionnaire, circulated on things like - How do you keep your boss cool? Ye gads. 

. . .I have gone into most doldrumish depths about my job. I don’t see how anyone can be so stupid. I honestly do try but am simply hopelessly untrained and inadequate. It's all very fine to talk about how lovely is quick promotion, and I am still 'dignified, discrete (discreet) and mature.' But so what? I'm still a lousy stenographer. But everyone, particularly Mr. Atkinson, is very gentle with me. Still, I know without being told, what a second rate job I'm doing. . .

Love and kisses, 
Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 4 of 7

Letter to Mother - April 21st [1941]

Constitution Hall
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mother:

Guess where I am now. The jolly old Red Cross is having a Convention of about 5,000 people. I have been assigned for the week to the registry desk where I am expected to slip little cards into big badges, file identification cards, and answer innumerable questions. 

The doors don't open until a half hour yet, and I have been locked in, posted by the telephones to tell people we are sorry but no exceptions can be made, while policemen guard every door against the mob of too hot but beautifully dressed delegates. Most of the Washington public is expected tonight too, because Franchot Tone is to be here, and Conrad Thibault, and Burgess Meredith.

This afternoon Franchot was rehearsing and we took turns sneaking in to gawp [sic] at him. Looked pretty normal to me, and a bit healthier. I always thought he was the sort of wistful type. The trouble with this organization is that the whole country is a member and you can't turn anyone away or even be snappy.
Even Mr. Leverenz noticed my sunburn today when he came over to get a badge for young Neil. And he introduced me to his wife. I am truly a secretary, when I meet the boss’s wife. Anyway, I was driven down to where Dick and Bill Stix keep their boat, in an open car in all the heat and got quite a burn, but becoming. Dick got an A 2 - or is it a 1 B rating - on the draft, which means that he won't be called until they have taken all the physically fit. The big accusation against him is that he is "underdeveloped." So we are writing a song about My Underdeveloped Husband, still in embryonic form, of course.
Rosalind and Dick did really see Mrs. S. last week. But it was necessary to threaten that Dick would never darken her door again to make her do it. Dick has never been so happy and they are planning a June wedding. R. will probably give up her job by the middle of May and concentrate on furniture and a trousseau. The issue of the minister still hasn't been met and I think that meeting the lady is only the beginning, but they are in a very optimistic mood just now.

Went for a very romantic walk with a young Southerner at the Red Cross on Sunday night, all around by the Lincoln Memorial etc. Sweet summer night, soft breezes, and all that sort of thing. Spring. Doesn’t seem to add up to the right answer, though. A good time was had by all. Particularly not the tall Southerner. We came back and ate at our House. Ye ghads, but it has been hot. Too hot for my suit a couple of times. On Sunday I wore my new red seersucker. The wind blows up the full skirt something higeous.

To dinner last Wednesday with that radio person, and - of all things - golf afterwards. We went to one of those places where they give you a pail of balls and a target and set you to it. I got a blister and not a little enthusiasm for the game. Not at all expensive when someone else pays for it... R. was overcome with joy when I told her, after all her hecklings in St. Andrews to make me play. And the blister was awfully convincing.

Things are pepping up here and so Igudda start being polite again. Have a lovely time.

Love and Kisses, 
Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 3 of 7

February 10, 1941 

Dear Mother --, 

Perfectly blissful weekend - absolutely nothing to do. All of Q Street [group of single men, many of whom are Jewish and work for the federal government] has gone home to celebrate the Passover, so I am left in pleasantly Christian solitude. Yesterday after meeting Rosalind at the Allies Inn for lunch in my new suit, I went back to the office and worked until after six all alone.

We have been quite swamped these last few days. The State Department doesn't know whether it's coming or going and we have to keep straightening them out. We finally got the complete list of all Americans waiting in Lisbon for passage to this country - about 300 of them - and we are trying to get together all possible information about them to send on to Sadie. This entails no end of red tape with the Passport Division, Division of Account, Special Sections, and various other parts of the Department of State. Quell mess. 

My suit is a Constant Joy. I have worn it twice without a top coat; it has been that warm down here. Rosalind is still faintly green. The other two are all hemmed, pressed, and put in a dark corner to await the real heat. I haven't got around to the cherries yet, though.

Nancy's Friend, Harold Leaventhal, 1941
Saw Blossom Time with Harold on Thursday night. It seemed a bit tacky, or maybe I am developing Harold's sophisticated attitude, or maybe our seats were too good. Fun, though. Friday night dancing at the Madrillon with a boy named Mauer who works in radio somewhere. All I really know is that he isn't a lawyer. A couple of very pleasant luncheons with Frank Newman of the R.C. Practically all in my suit. 

Rosalind and Dick have left for New York and the Salant residence today, the ultimatum having had some effect. I am on the old pins and needles to hear the results. No word on his being drafted yet. 

I have been so industrious this morning. I washed all the Venetian blinds for the first time in the history of Robduncanbuck Digs. Also all shelves, the kitchen, and the icebox. Then I made orange jelly and poured it into the egg shells that I had blown empty for my scrambled egg. Or did you see that stunt in the Ladies Home Companion too? I kept some of the extra juice so I could taste it when it jelled, and just had it for lunch with - I blush - whip cream. 

A really marvelous letter from Donald: "and then when they hear that they must go to Washington for the duration to work on defense housing and defense and bombs and bomb shelters - they say oh hell and they are a little torn because of other things - then they loose the chance on account of they were too slow to chuck their ideals into an anti-aircraft shell." (I guess that he’s been reading a lot of Dos Passos again.) Lord, I hate to think what his setting up residence in Washington would mean. . .
Harold and Nancy, 1941
Rosalind has finally decided that if she's going to get married she ought to know something about it, so she went and borrowed a Marriage Manual from one of her friends who's already practicing amalgamation of the races. Silliest book I ever read. It says it's for beginners, so we thought it was the right one for us, but ye ghads, where do they think we have been all our lives? "Since the female is more slowly aroused than the male, she must be stimulated by the loveplay, which should precede intercourse. (No!) The erotic senses are centered in the lips, the lobes of the ears--" Blah, blah in ten easy lessons. But we didn’t know all about contraceptives, except that nothing is as good as it's advertised, and the diagrams are lovely. 

I am enclosing $6. The other $5.50 which I still owe you will come after pay day next Tuesday. I haven't a penny to bank this month, but at least I'm holding my own. Also the communication, I mean commutation, ticket. Your India scarf will arrive shortly, too. 

Well, have a Happy Easter and think of my Venetian blinds. 

And Harold liked my suit. (He just better!) 

Love and kisses, 

Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Monday, April 21, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 2 of 7

January 7, 1941
Which brings us to the job. Of course I was terrified when I pattered into that great big marble building all by myself on Monday morning at 8:30. I remained terrified all day. Old Gwin started me off with ten letters, and I spent the rest of the day typing them up, with numerous carbons. But today things solidified down a bit. I am part his stenographer and part Mr. Leverenz' secretary. The idea is that eventually I work only for Mr. L. He is the Assistant Director of Civilian Relief. (The first letter I typed for him I signed as the Civil Relief, and it didn't go over so large.) That means that he corresponds with all the local Chapters about what they are doing for the relief of people whom the other authorities can't take care of, like people who move to new places and can't go on relief because they haven't got a residence.  

Red Cross HQ, Washington, D.C., 1941
The biggest thing that they are worrying about now is what to do with a lot of Americans who are coming back from France. They are mostly people who have lived over there all their lives and resent having to return, and they haven't any money at all and probably very few friends in this country. The idea is to apply pressure on the civil authorities to make them be a bit more lenient in the residence requirement for relief, and to get them jobs when possible, and to lend them enough money to get to friends who can take them in. I imagine them all as disgruntled Henry Jameses. 

The work itself is pretty darn hard and I'm not too good at it. I'm dreadfully slow and about the best that can be said for it is that I haven't made the same mistake on two different days. I came up with a whole new batch this morning. Mr. L. is very gentle with me, but he uses such dreadful words; he came out with 'expatriation' and 'rehabilitation' in one sentence, and even in my wildest dreams I never saw those two in shorthand. But I seem to get along somehow. Mr. Gwin's secretary is very nice to me and helps me out and explains things twice for me. Taking letters from J. Blaine (Gwin) is a snap because they all say the same thing. 'We're very sorry that we have nothing to suggest just now, but we will file your application blank for future reference and if anything should come up etc.' Lord, I'm glad I never got one of those! But I typed two telegrams for him today, asking people to come to Washington at his expense to be interviewed. 

Rosalind Robb and (fiance) Richard Salant
So you see I am making out. We are still as enthusiastic about our house as in the first letter. It really is perfect, except for a few small technical matters. I would like to somewhat revise the list of requests, though. Frannie's father brought us andirons, but if you had that old Cape Cod fire lighter lying around, I bet we could remember to keep it full. Our table is 2½ by 5½ (kindly admire fractions; I have a ¼ -sign too, not to mention * and ^) when it is all open out, meaning when Rosalind's Dick and Frannie's Otto come to dinner, and we haven't one single table cloth. Also how about a half dozen of those colored napkins that don't need to be ironed, for best? Any old bureau scarves? Dish towels? The china is adequate and we're making Rosalind buy the silver to use in her kitchen after she's married, so that's all right. We do need candlesticks, though. And how about a blanket? The one that is provided on my bed has a label guaranteeing that it is at least 5% wool, but that isn't much wool. 

We are hoping that Papa is still planning to come down here sometime this coming weekend and that he will have dinner here. How funny, me inviting Papa to eat dinner in my house! Which brings me to the Bad News. We had to pay our January rent before we moved in, and the bill at the 18th Street place came to a bit, so I am at present fairly flat broke. No one has mentioned when pay day rolls around. So, unless you want me to starve after about this Friday--. Of course I have a roof over my head, which is something. 

Really, Mother, you should have seen us getting breakfast this morning. We set the alarm for 6:30, because Rosalind insists that she have fifteen minutes to get up strength enough to greet the new day. Then we all leapt out of bed, and I put the coffee on and we all squeezed oranges while dressing. But now we are going to squeeze the night before instead. We were all dressed, beds made, and breakfast on the table by 7:15---porched [sic] eggs, toast, juice of the orange, toast, (sorry) Shredded Ralston, and coffee. We decided that it would be more economical to eat a good breakfast and dinner, and then have only a 20¢ lunch, than to leave off the eggs for breakfast, and we have such a nifty little porcher [sic] to porch [sic] them in. 

Oh, I forgot to ask for a cook book. That's one thing we really need because we refuse to always eat out of the frying pan. Do write and give us some suggestions for what is cheap and easy to get and fairly substantial. 

Come visit us and sleep on our day bed and eat our porched [sic] eggs. Also admire our gate.

Love and kisses, 

Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Miss Duncan Goes to Washington, Part 1 of 7

Nancy Duncan, 
age 22, 1941
Several months ago Curt Taylor asked if I could put him in touch with Margaret Singer. He explained that his late mother, Nancy Duncan Taylor, served with Ms. Singer in the Red Cross in Iceland during World War II. Curt recently shared letters his mother wrote after graduating from Smith College, then Copley Secretarial Institute in Boston, when she accepted a job in D.C. with the Red Cross through an introduction her father arranged with personnel director, "Mr. Gwin." Before starting, Nancy planned to return home to Scarsdale, N.Y. for a brief vacation. Mr. Gwin had other plans. My thanks to Curt and his siblings for allowing me to reprint excerpts of these letters in a series marking National Administrative Professionals Week (previously National Secretaries Week), April 20-26.

January 4, 1941

Dear Moth-er,

What a mess I have done and made of things this time. I was sure the Old Gwin wouldn't notice I went or not and just called to ask his secretary as a formality. But he was overwhelmed with grief and insisted that I stay in Washington and begin on Monday as planned. I really am awfully sorry about all this fuss and do hope that you hadn't changed too many plans irrevocably. That's just what happens whenever you try to do something not quite right -- not morally, Goop. I don't really need a vacation and I ought to start to work right away.
Robbuncanduck Residence, Georgetown, January 1941
(Roommates Rosalind Robb, Nancy Duncan, Franny Buck)
But the big news is what we did this afternoon. When Friend Gwin said I had to stay, we decided that this was as good a time as any other to start looking for apartments. So Rosalind (Robb) and Franny Buck and I bought a newspaper and went the rounds. They were quite pessimistic about the whole thing because they'd tried so many times before with no success. Well, to make a long story short, we found the neatest little spot in the whole of Washington. It's in Georgetown, 29** Dunbarton Avenue (sic), for future use. We are moving all our stuff up tomorrow and sleeping there Monday night. Now I will describe.

It's on the ground floor of a little house and you enter by a little blue gate, go about two steps through a plot of garden, and land at a blue door. You enter right into the living room, which has a real fireplace in the one corner, a double bed that turns into a couch, and a couple of easy-chairs, really easy. Off of the living room is a tiny cubicle which has some resemblance to a kitchen, with a sink and rinse-board-business and numerous shelves and space underneath. Also an electric stove. Folding doors cover it up when not in use, so from the living room it looks like a closet. 

Dunbarton St., N.W. 2014 
Credit: Google (Click)

The whole setup is so neat and attractive, particularly the blue gate, though, that we were sold on the place almost immediately. You couldn't feel much like a K. Foyle [reference to Kitty Foyle book meaning 'typical white collar girl'] in it because it is so individual. 

I do hope you and Papa will approve of what I have gone and done. So much seems to have happened to me in this one week that I'm still a bit limp from the whole procedure. Of course the job was pretty appalling. Personally, I wouldn’t go far for Mr. Gwin. I think he's a pretty sleepy sort of goop and talks out of only about half his mouth and has really no idea of humor. He told me quite seriously that although the Red Cross didn't pay as well as the government, after 65 I could expect a simply dandy pension! He apologized profusely for making me a mere stenographer, but assured me that with my 'educational background,' meaning caliber, I would get to be a secretary soon enough and that the demand for them was so great that they were having to take girls out of the pool before they were ready. He made me take a stenographic test, which was only about 90 words a minute. Fortunately I'd spent most of the week at the secretarial school boning up, so I wasn't the least bit scared.

So I begin on Monday, living in my own snug little apartment and whipping off to my little job each morning. It sounds all right to me and I am feeling pretty pleased with myself and my precious caliber tonight. Granted I can hold the job, everything in the garden will be loverly. Of course I'm scared to death to go in there day after tomorrow.

Isn't it silly? There's Roge and Mary moving into that tiny little room up in Concord and me in such a palatial residence. Ho, the assets of the Single Life.

We have been trying to think of things that we can ask our dear families for. The list so far is as follows:

Table clothes, or singular, smallish Candle sticks, the symbol of gracious living Ash trays, because we don't own the furniture. Have we an old set of andirons or poker etc.? My freshman towels in my chest in the attic.

You could just dump anything into my laundry case under Ellen's bed and send them on down. I do really grieve over this vacation business, but Gwin surprised me.

Love and Kisses,

Copyright 2005 by Curt Taylor