Letter 7

“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!

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Fort Lupton, Colorado
May 13 1918

1

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

2

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.

3

(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.

4

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.

5

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

Letter 6

“Say the next time you take a ride in that new Hup, just think of me”

In letter 6, we learn that Georgie may or may not have a side chick…what! Also, why was he trying to kiss other girls? Come on Georgie, obviously Lillie is a catch. Hopefully he gets his act together.

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The other fun piece in this letter is discovering what a “Hup” is. “Hup” is apparently short for “Hupmobile” which was an automobile built from 1909 through 1939 by the Hupp Motor Car Company.  It must have been a blast to ride in one based on Lillie’s comment about it. She sounded downright envious that Georgie got to ride in one. Golly!

 

 

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“sealed with a kiss”

 

X

Fort Lupton C.
April 22 – 1918

My Darling Sweetheart got your letter today. The one you said you was coming and had some time to write and that I had ought to write when I had time.

Say you had better leave that girl alone up there or there might be a little girl mad down here (Ha. Ha) (“Don’t Worry”)

Say Hon you didn’t tell

XX

me what you done the other day you said in your letter you done something, but you couldn’t tell me in your letter and would tell me what it was when you seen me, see if you can’t tell me in your letter. Well Honeyboy I guess I will have to go to bed. Papa has gone to bed and Herman is going home & Mama is going to bed. Aunt Lillie is going to sit up with her tonight, Mama sat up last night. Well Goodnight Sweetheart for now

XX – and good ones

XXX

Well Sweetheart, Here I am again, had some more tests today and had to bring some home, just got them finished.

Well it is snowing and raining and blowing tonight, wish you were here tonight.

Say Honeyboy I just don’t believe what you said about the girls not letting you kiss them, because any girl would let a

XXXX

nice little Boy like you kiss them, I know I would if I get a chance or if you would do it. Say the next time you take a ride in that new Hup, just think of me and make believe I am there too and then write and tell me about how much fun we had (HA. HA.)

Well Darling I guess I will have to get to bed if I want to get up in the morning. Think of me often and I will do the same.

So Bye Bye Darling, with lots of love from your Girlie. XXXXXXXXXX (lots of them)

Letter 5

“Say Hon the next time you have an ice cream soda you just send a couple bites down here to me.”

Letter 5 is pretty short and sweet.

I love that she used “punk” as an adjective. I researched the etymology and around this time, “punk” could have mean “weak, or unwell.” Sinclair Lewis wrote in 1922 in his noval, Babbitt,  “I feel kind of punk this morning,” he said. “I think I had too much dinner last evening. You oughtn’t to serve those heavy banana fritters.”

We also have more evidence that Lillie’s family were farmers, with the introduction of Molly the Hog and her brand new piglets.

The mention of a few old fashioned treats, an “ice cream soda” and “chocolate caramels” make my mouth water! I worked at an ice cream store for nearly 8 years, and I am thankful that my Boss once told me how to make an ice cream soda. They are simple to make and quite delicious. Follow the recipe below if you’d like to try:

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  1. Take one scoop of Vanilla ice cream and scoop it into a tall glass.
  2. Squirt 2-3 pumps of real chocolate syrup on top of the ice cream
  3. Using a metal spoon, stir the ice cream and syrup together until it makes a creamy, chocolate liquid.
  4. Pour seltzer water over the chocolate mixture and then gently mix with a metal spoon
  5. Top with 1-2 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. Voilà! An Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda (At least how I was taught).

 

I also did some searching and found a recipe for Chocolate Caramels (circa 1908). Check it out here: Chocolate Caramels

If you have a different recipe or try either of these out, let me know or comment below! I might have to make an ice cream soda today, now I’m craving one…

 

 

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Ft Lupton colo.
April 15 1918

X

My Darling Honey Boy

Just got your letter today, sure glad to get it.

I feel all right now. I felt rather punk last night but I guess it was because I didn’t see you, don’t know what else it could be.

Say you just tell those folks to stay away and not bother you when you are writing to your Girlie.

XX

Say talk about thunder and lightning, we certainly had our share of it Sunday. We have an increase in our family, our old Molly hog has got nine of the nicest red and black piggies, and by the looks of the cats and dogs around here we are going to have some more increases too, but mamma is alright. (Ha. Ha.)

Well I guess I will close for this time, have to do some work, so Bye Bye Darling. From your Sweetheart.

XXX

Well Sweetheart just got your card today and thought I would finish this letter. I don’t have much time now to write or do much of anything , but I have to take time to write to my darling. I have been working day and night lately on my lessons, because we have our final exams next Friday (26) so keeps me pretty doggone busy, we have a test about every other

XXXX

day. We had a test in Geography and I got a 94, not so bad isn’t it?

Well it is snowing and blowing terrible now, has been all day. The Red Cross women were supposed to meet up at the school house today and I come home at noon to take Mamma and Aunt Lillie up there in the car and it was blowing so hard and

XXXXX

was so cold that Mamma had called all of them up and told them that we would wait till next Thursday and so when I got home I stayed home and didn’t go back, except teacher thought I played hooky but I don’t care if she did.

Say Hon the next time you have an ice cream soda you just

6

send a couple bites down here to me. Say just tell that Boss (as you call him) to write if he wants to. Oh!I mean if you don’t care.

Say Mamma said she was getting tired of me holding her hand for you but she would like for you to do it awhile (HA). Well sweetheart I made some of the best candy

7

Today I wish you had some but it is too soft to send you any. It is Chocolate Caramel and it is good too! I suppose you would think that was because I made it. I got my mug so full now I can’t talk.

Well sweetheart it is ten o-clock and Mamma and Papa will be going to bed pretty soon so guess

8

I will have to quit. I was supposed to do my arithmetic tonight but write my Georgie Boy instead. Well good-night Darling.

From your Girlie

XXXxxxxxx

All for you, just kissed these

Mamma said Hello

Letter 3

“My Darling Honey Boy (that isn’t half what I would say to you if you were here)”

We find out in letter number 3 that Lillie has been getting over some kind of sickness. Although she’s healthy enough to write, she’s apparently not feeling well enough to write more than a few lines at a time without “getting dizzy.” She’s playing up the Damsel in Distress role but we have to remember that she’s 15 and wants her boyfriend to worry about her.

We also learn that Lillie has a baby brother/sister who they call “Baby” or “Baby Jackson” (Jackson is their last name). He/she sounds adorable and from the note at the end it seems as though Lillie adores him as well. A friend shared with me that the S.W.A.K. inscription on the back of the letters means “Sealed With a Kiss.” Can I start adding this to the end of my e-mails?

Spoiler alert: we never find out if Georgie’s company was “a girl” but let’s hope not!

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Letter 3 was written on two small piece of card stock and a separate sheet of paper
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Jackson’s scribbles and “kisses”

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X
Wed. Night

My Darling Honey Boy (that isn’t half what I would say to you if you were here). Well Sweetheart I am not much better tonight only my throat feels a little better tonight and papa went to Lupton tonight and I didn’t feel like going so George came over and stayed with me. They didn’t get back until 10:15 and it is 11 now. You had better get rid of

 XX


that big head and don’t get what I have got I certainly had the big head (if that’s what you call it) all day today. Now Georgie you rather told on yourself when you said you had company, now what girl is coming to see you way up there,  well I am going to tell you one thing and then I am going to close for I am getting awful dizzy — I love you.

        XXX

Well I guess I can write a little bit more I have been lying on the bed all day. I haven’t ate a meal since yesterday morn. About all I have ate is an orange and some cherry juice, sure have felt bum. Yes Sweetheart I would like to know what you do, so you can tell me in your next letter can’t you Sweetheart? I got your postcard and letter mon. & got your (over)

XXXX

other letter today. Say Sweetheart don’t quit your job. Well I must quit for this time for I want to go to bed, maybe I will write some more tomorrow, so goodnight from your own girlie. Remember that I love you (when will you be down?)

 

XXXXX
Thur. morning

Well I guess I will write a little more this morning.

Say Hon did you get Mamma’s letter? Boo hoo I’m going to get jealous. (Ha.) We thot we had better let you know that I wasn’t able to write so you woudn’t look your eyes out for a letter. Yes, I am going to school now, getting along pretty good nothing extra though. I went Monday and Tuesday and my head and throat began hurting about 10:30 Tues. at school and by the time school was out I wasn’t hardly able to get home, and then to help matters out when I got home the folks were gone and they didn’t get home untill about 7:30, now don’t you suppose I had a nice time here all by my lonesome and so sick I couldn’t stand up. You said you only put a one-cent stamp on your post card, but when I gotit it had a one-cent stamp & a three-cent stamp on it.

No sweetheart your letter wasn’t too strong it was all right, well I guess I will have to quit now until the next time.

So bye, bye from your girlie. XXX

I love you X

 

Also included was a note of scribbles. Lillie wrote on the top of the note:

She says “Here dats from Baby Jackson.” Baby said she was going to write to Georgie too & send him some kisses like you do so I had to send it to satisfy her.

Letter 2

“Here’s to the girl with the eyes of brown, Ask her for a kiss and she’ll turn you down; Here’s to the girl with the eyes of blue, Ask for a kiss and she’ll give you two”

In the second letter, we learn that Lillie is not such a modest young lady. She’s quite flirty and you can guess that “Mamma” was not screening all of the letters. In some ways, Lillie sounds like a typical 15 year old girl, secretly writing to her boyfriend and excited to see her friend. 

One of the places she mentions, “Gailors” does not seem to exist on a map of Colorado, which means it could have been the last name of a family friend. Perhaps “Ella” is the daughter of family friends or a cousin. 

In the last line, Lillie requests that Georgie doesn’t get rid of the letters she sends him. He obviously respected her request which is why the letters were all so neatly kept in their envelopes, dated and kept for over 100 years! Although Georgie kept nearly all of Lillie’s letters, I only have one written from Georgie to Lillie, suggesting that she was not as prudent about taking care of his letters or perhaps they were lost. Either way, let’s me thankful that in this case many letters were saved. Also, she did a wonderful job of numbering each of her pages to keep them organized and easy to read. Thanks Lillie!

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Fort Lupton, Colo.

February 23, 1918 Sweetheart

Thursday Eve

Well my Sweetheart Boy those men are still and in this room too, never went to the kitchen, so wouldn’t have been so nice if you had of been here. Well I waited till nine o’clock tho’t they would either go in the kitchen or else go home, but they didn’t go, (so I just sot myself down and began writing). Gee I would like to see My Boy to-night awfully bad.

Well Hon I have been half an hour writing this, they are talking about things in California and I have been listening, about a shipwreck, but I’m going to write now. Say Honey Boy here is a toast on your blue-eyed Girlie (whoever she is- HA) “Here’s to the girl with the eyes of brown, Ask her for a kiss and she’ll turn you down; Here’s to the girl with the eyes of blue, Ask for a kiss and she’ll give you two.” Some toast isn’t it, kiddo?

Well the men have gone and I suppose papa will come in and tell me to go to bed. There, he just come in now and said, “well I guess we better go to bed hadn’t we,” and mamma said, “The bed’s ready if you want to get into it,” to papa. I am getting affully sleepy wont you come and rock me to sleep? Please, (I’m afraid there wouldn’t be very much sleeping. What do you think?)

I guess I will go up to Gailors Sat. to see Ella. I got a letter from her Tuesday and she said she would love to see me before she went away, she is going to Longmont to her other sisters, where her and I were a year ago last summer. So I guess I will go see her because it may be a long time before I see her again.

I’ve got a book open here in front of me, so Papa will think I am copying a price, ain’t it awful. Well Darling I will have to say good-night for to-night. So good night ( I am all undressed ready for bed and it is pretty cool) Well I’ll say good-night again,

Your Loving Sweetheart Girlie

X good-night kiss the kind we like (long one) ha! Ha, X,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Be sure and write to your Girlie and don’t burn them, no matter what happens or whether we talk over the phone.

Letter 1

“Your little Girlie would love to give you a good big smacking kiss and a great big hug”

The following letters were found in an antique shop in Prescott, Arizona. The majority of the letters are written by a girl named Lillie Jackson (age 15) to her boyfriend (and later husband) Georgie Jandreau (age unknown) between the years 1917 and 1919. Georgie lived in La Salle, Colorado and Lillie lived in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Today, the distance would be about a 25 minute drive. It is unknown how the two met, but the first letter suggests that Georgie used to live in Lillie’s house. La Salle, Colorado was a small, agricultural town that did not have street lights until 1913. In addition, the town did not have sewer system until 1939. It is likely that Georgie’s parents were farmers. Although Fort Lupton, Lillie’s residence, was also a small town, it was growing steadily. Fort Lupton opened its first large movie theater in 1917, the year that Lillie’s letters begin (there was a makeshift movie theater before this but it was in a local barn with benches for seats). In 1913, Fort Lupton established its first large-scale school building, where Lillie likely attending school.

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Downtown Fort Lupton, early 1900’s
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The distance between Fort Lupton and La Salle
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A store downtown La Salle, early 1900’s

Below is the transcription of the first letter. Errors that impacted the meaning of the letters were edited, but all other errors or grammar mistakes were kept. (Keep in mind this is the writing of a 15 year old girl). Also, some of the letters contain several pages that were written on different days, but all of the pages are included within one “letter” entry. 

Links to listen to some of the songs Lillie mentions:
Somewhere in France is the Lily
I May Be Gone For a Long Long Time
Goodbye Little Girl Goodbye

Enjoy!

 

Dec. 17, 1917

My Darling Boy,

I am going to write you a little sweet letter tonight just to tell you that (I love you)

Sweetheart there is going to be a dance here next Friday night. Elmer phoned mamma and ask if he could bring a crowd out here Sat. and she said to come a night sooner because Sat. is too close to Christmas and we’ve got so much to do Sat. for Christmas dinner. I suppose they will tell you about it in town but I wanted to tell you too and I want you to be sure and come ( I don’t suppose anything could keep you away from here unless you were sick, do you, Hon.)

We went to the show again tonight all of us Sylvia & Herman & Bess too.

Well Hon I don’t know for sure but I think we are going to Denver wed. and we are going to Greeley tomorrow and don’t know what time we will be home, somewhere around nine o’clock I guess, if you haven’t gone to bed by that time you might call me up or else wed. morning before you go to work, for we will get up pretty early on account of going to Denver.

Oh yes, I want to tell you that I want to talk to you and tell you something before you get that Christmas present.

Well Sweetheart I must say goodbye because mamma & I are the only ones up & she is ready for bed & it is 25 min of one now. So Bye Bye

From your Darling Girlie

XXXXXXXX

X big one
Excuse writing or scribbling

 

Fort Lupton, Colo.

Dec 20., 1917

Darling Sweetheart (I mean it too)

I am going to write a few lines now before the mailman comes and maybe some more tonight, but I don’t want it to make you feel bad, like the other one did. Has Mose told you what that is yet. If he has don’t forget to tell me again when you see me.

I guess the mailman is coming or else papa, I don’t know but I guess its the mailman, so I’ll have to mail this in town in the p.m. either Brighton or Lupton.

I am afraid you don’t think I’m true to you and if Mose tell you much more I’m afraid you will think it stronger than ever. But Sweetheart don’t let him tell you too much. I haven’t thought yet what I told him. It has been on my mind since you told me.

I got a lot of new music when I was in Denver. This is some of them, “When the clouds of war roll by” it is real pretty & “Somewhere in France is the Lily” & “Goodbye Little Girl, Goodbye,” & “I May Be gone for a long, long time” & “Someone who loves you is lonely” & some more but those are the prettiest one and I think of you everytime I sing them or look at them.

Well Sweetheart I guess I will quit now & maybe write some more this afternoon so bye, bye for now.

 

Oh yes I wanted to tell you that I loved you just a whole pile of heap (Ha Ha). Your little Girlie would love to give you a good big smacking kiss and a great big hug. Well will have to do the rest of my work now Honey, so goodbye again (my good Sweetheart boy).

Well I just finished my dishes and will now finish this letter.I have never written to Albert yet but think I will Fri. or Sat. Gee I just cut my finger on an old tin can and it hurts awful bad. Wish you were here to kiss it.

Say Honey, Elmer was just here a few minutes ago and said they would have to have the dance tomorrow night (Fri) because there were some folks coming down from Denver and he didn’t have any way to let them know. I told mamma you said you couldn’t come by if it was on Fri and she tried her best to get Elmer to come Sat. but he said he couldn’t on account of those Denver folks. But Sweetheart do try to come, won’t you? Because I can’t have no good time at all if you aren’t here. Do come please Honey if you can. Have to quit & eat supper.

Well Hon I tho’t I was going to get to mail this but I guess I’m not going to before I see you, maybe I will give it to you tomorrow night, if you come out. Mamma just read this before supper and after she got through she said “Gee that’s sure is some sweet letter.” What do you think about it anyway?

X a good one, another one like we like

 

Well I got all my Christmas presents yesterday, even yours. Sure wish you had been with us. We sure could of  found a ring like I want. Do you think you are going to get it before Christmas time? Only 5 more days.

Well Sweetheart I am all undressed ready for bed so I guess I will have to close for this time. I and Baby are sleeping in your bed now and I always think of you every time I go to bed. Well Darling I am going to say goodbye now,

From your Darling Sweetheart Girlie

XxxxxxxxxxXXXX

I’d love to give you all of them right now

I LOVE YOU SWEETHEART

 

Say Sweetheart I have kissed this & kissed & kissed so you want to be sure to get all of them off from this letter. Oh Darling but I love you. You just don’t know how much. (here is one good kiss X a real one.

 

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