“This here world that we’re livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat. I’ve a thorn for every rose, but aren’t the roses sweet.”
One of the things I love about Lillie’s writing is that she always includes some sort of rhyme or saying in addition to her colloquialisms. The “Kaiser Bill” ditty is referencing Wilhelm II (1859-1941), the German kaiser (emperor) and king of Prussia from 1888 to 1918, who was one of the most recognizable public figures of World War I (1914-18), and who may have caused the war with his policies. I have to wonder how much Lillie understood the war and politics being 16 years old, but it clearly impacted her life as shown in her friends and sayings.
The rose rhyme was written by an American lyricist, Frank Lebby Stanton. He was actually the poet laureate of Georgia at one point. The poem that Lillie quotes is one of Stanton’s most popular works and is inscribed on his tombstone today.
One new piece of information, this “Sylvia” is Lillie’s big sister! After some researching, I found that Sylvia Jackson (Ballinger is her married name) was born in 1898. This means she would be about 20 years old, 4 years older than Lillie. Since Sylvia lives away from the family, she could be newly married or off to college. Hopefully we will find out more about this mysterious big sis soon!
Fort Lupton, Colorado
May 13 1918
My Dear Honey Boy,
Will write a few lines tonight although it is pretty late, 10:30, pretty late isn’t it? (for me.) Say Kiddo how do you like this — Kaiser Bill went up the hill to take a look at France, Kaiser Bill went down the hill with bullets in his pants. Ain’t that going some?
Well Hon I am getting kind of sleepy but will write some more. George and I went over
To the other side of the lake after you went home last night and got a ten pound pail about half full of crawfishes, just their tails, it would have been about full except if we had of left their heads on and we took half and he took half of them and I sat up until about 11 o’clock cleaning the ding-busted things, some job believe me!
Say Georgie Boy, I still love you, it’s kind of strange, but it is true and I ain’t lion either.
(I am just girl, Ha. Ha.)
This here world that we’re livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat. I’ve a thorn for every rose, but aren’t the roses sweet. There’s another one for you. (take this for a kiss)
Well Honey Boy it is 11 o’clock and mamma is in bed and that means for me to get there too, so will quit now, will write more tomorrow night maybe. So Goodnight Darling XXXXX for you.
Hello there sweetheart, how is you?
My I shore am some lazy kid, but I just can’t help it, this is Thurs eve. and I started this Mon. eve. Tues we went to town after school and didn’t get back until late Wed. We went to Boulder & didn’t get back until 12 o’clock and to-day we had that Red Cross doings up to the school house nd Mamma and I had to go to Lupton this morning to get something to sew on this afternoon for the Red Cross.
Say I’ve got a piece to speak the last day of school that is as long as your foot, now you know how that is.
Gollys! But I’m tired to-night, feel like I have been working but I guess I haven’t. We were up to see Sylvia yesterday and she seems to be getting along just splendid and we expect to bring her home next Sun.
Oh say Kiddo what do you know about it? Neal Ballinger is home come home last Tues eve, only got off for 15 days and it takes 8 days o come here and go back so that only gives him 9 days at home.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX just lots of them
Well Sweetheart I will have to quit now and get into bed so goodnight from your Girlie X