Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Calvin Smith to HH & JBU

A great letter – entertaining and funny, yet informative and complimentary from HH's long time childhood friend, Calvin Smith.  More about Calvin in a future post.  Transcription follows.

2258 Bryden Rd
Columbus [Bexley]
14 March 1949

Dear Jean, Harold and Catherine,

It was such wonderful news which the little card brought to me when it announced the new arrival in the Uible family; and it made me very, very happy -- both to be a pseudo-uncle and to know that your joy must be overflowing.  Congratulations to the parents and the new little Clevelander!  (Regarding the piggy bank, I was afraid for awhile that Catherine would be graduating from high school before I sent her gift; but one day I decided that I had waited long enough for even me, the Great Procrastinator.  I hope she will make use of this little animal constantly, though I doubt that her source of income will be the Cincinnati Enquirer.)

Before I forget it, too -- I thoroughly enjoyed the letter I received from Papa [HH] a week or so ago, since I know it took a part of some very precious time to write it.  Mrs. Stith is still most willing to rent you a room; and the quality of the room will depend on how many students she gets who plan to stay all summer.  Of course, they have priority since they will be here longer.  However, since there are not too many who go to summer school, I doubt there will be much difficulty on that score.  I asked our business manager about your eating at the Refectory; you may do so, but it will have to be on the individual meal basis -- 40¢ for breakfast, 60¢ for lunch, and $1 for dinner.  If you decide these are good enough prices you may take your meals at Cap (food guaranteed to be much better during the summer than during the winter!).  I'm looking forward to your being here in June; and provided I can find a job for the summer, I shall be around to welcome you.  [HH reports he stayed in the room while taking a cram course for the Ohio Bar test.]

I'm extremely glad to hear, Jean, that your husband is proving himself such a good father.  Although some years ago I didn't realize that was one of his great potentialities, I had every faith in him that he would rise to the occasion.

Incidentally, Catherine is to be congratulated upon a very wise choice of parents.  -- And how do you find the task of being a mother, Jean?  Of course it is ten times more interesting than any other occupation in the world, I should think; any sleepless nights, yet?  Or will the sleepless nights come when she gets to be sixteen or so?

Work is progressing -- I shan't say satisfactorily -- but is progressing here at school.  The big thorn in my flesh this semester (even including Latin! -- under Miss Young's old prof) is the yearbook.  It is the sort of task in which one has to depend upon the faithfulness of a lot of unfaithful people; and I must admit it is turning me into a dour cynic as regards human nature.  Our photographer -- a most important link in the chain of production -- consistently fails to come through on time; and I have always the feeling of beating my head against a wall.  During the early part of the year, this frustration was threatening to do me permanent injury, but now I have regained a somewhat even keel and blithely go about my futile job with something akin to resignation.  The studies are negligible, since I'm carrying only 14 hours this semester; all the studying I do is done in, I suppose, three hours per day.  The hours I spend in the Capitalian [Capitol University Yearbook] office, however, are almost innumerable.

You may be surprised to know that I am now possessed of an automobile, Harold; it's a fairly respectable '38 Dodge which my brother and father purchased for me a couple of months ago.  It had been owned by only one person -- an old woman; the 50,000 miles registered on the speedometer I take to be a fairly accurate count of the mileage, and the old trap works beautifully.  Of course, I'm finding it expensive -- but the time saved and the general satisfaction is wonderful!  It's a single-seater coupe like yours.  Even with the car, though, I don't get home often because of working on the yearbook; but I do plan to go down this coming weekend.  I, too, am looking forward to spring vacation and seeing you.  We get off the 8th to the 18th, but I shall be home only from about the 13th or 14th, if I make it then.  I hope you'll be there about then.  [Easter in 1949 was April 17.]

I must now return to school for dinner, so I'll close with another Congratulations to you three.  Drop me a line if the opportunity ever presents itself; be assured it gives me a great deal of pleasure to hear from you.

Sincerely, "Uncle" Calvin

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Items from Uible photo album