~Letters from Anna (Spratt) Marchal to her niece, Catherine Spratt.~
The following 4 letters were written after Anna and Rudolph had bought a farm on the banks of the Ohio River in West Virginia. Catherine was attending nursing school in Canton, Ohio. Note Mayme's (Catherine's mother) commentary at the end of the second letter.
July 24, 1934 Ė(postmark)
At home Monday-
I was so glad to hear from you as I hardly looked for a letter as I am sure I had not answered your last letter. I find that I am very neglectful of my correspondants & some times I feel that I am not worthy of so many letters. We spend some time each day (just the hot days) at the beach- The river has been so clear, because of lack of rain that it sure is a pleasure to swim in it. Barbary Powell is our Life Saver, she sure is a wonderful swimmer. We all go in old and young, men and women and even the dogs of the various families swim out to the raft. So you see we all enjoy the same roal.
We have been no place this summer & we donít expect to go away as long as it remains hot. Our garden of course needs rain. Rudolph came home at noon from Neuell where he sold 40 LB of sweet corn at 30 (cents) & could have sold more. Our mellons are coming fine- but the flowers are surely a joke.
We had a letter from Rudolphís step daughter in Calif. Thinking they may come to see us in Aug.
We had one letter from Erma saying Mrs. Helmick is poorly. Do you know anything about her health?
I am hoping Robert will be none than anxious to hold his job as they are hard to get. Bill Powell, a graduate & canít find no work, along but line Office Administration, Hoping to hear from you. The Farm Womans Club meet here the first Saturday in Aug. to --- picnic, about 60 . We are having a short play, with much loveóYour Aunt Anna
(Postmark-) East Liverpool OH Jan 21 1935
New Cumberland Sunday Eve.
Dear Catherine:- Your letter dated Paris arrived and was glad you were busy- but see by the Malvern News that she (Mrs. Wagner) had passed away- with many others about our home town. Those Reed girls (Bell, Ruth, Laura & Bird) are some of my earliest girlhood friends. They stitch- stitch- stitch, for many years, Margery or (Bird) was the skirt maker & the other girls did waists. Their mother (Nancy Reed) was motherís friend & I recall, when we first learned to "sugar cure" pork, Mrs. Reed would walk to our house & show mother how to rut the pork down in our cellar, with a mixture of sugar, pepper, salt, and salt peter, so often, many years have gone away you are called to do their service. The days are surely fast and fleeting. You ask about Fatherís diploma? I think it hangs in its usual place, unless Mentor Knotts might inform you, as he was with me at the old home Sunday PM and Monday am. We have the clock ("coo coo") in the kitchen and often paying a fixer $1.50 for making it run. Rudolph has been two weeks working at her and now she does not stop and keeps time OK. I can hear her at night up in our bed room and when I wind her at night recall how mother used to do.
My heart acts quite well for a while but never know just when she shows her capers- I have just made a beautiful table mat of tan silk hose for a back ground, with purple & yellow flowers, green leaves and a 2 in. border of purple, oval 24x20. I used purple cause I had purple bloomers once on a time. If you would care to see it I will send it up on approval.
I expect I will have lots to do this week as I am to have a paper for The Ellwood Farm Womanís Club, our first Sat. of Feb. on "The Kitchen of today and yesterday" I have some material but must get it in form.
I am glad you like the cups I never saw them, Ogalviesí store handles their ware, so they ordered them & I told them to send to you. They were 25 (cents) a cup & is charged to my account. When I come over tom--- you can pay me. We called at Briggalls a few days ago. They always make us feel welcome & Helen is so cheery. They have a small flat- Kitchen, bath, bedroom, In a door bed and Hall living room & a porch to the back overlooking the river. Very comfortable & happy which means the principle part, being happy.
When you write tell me some news of Robert. He no doubt enjoys his work as I see some one else has been appointed "constable". He and Miss Hawke always made one call on us a year but this past year they no doubt had too many places to go.
Bill Powell is working on Relief he has been out of college since last June a year & could find no work. Barbara Powell will finish her college work at Morgantown W. Va. In June. Then she expects to teach if she gets a job. Her mother spent from June, till Oct. in Calif. With her daughter who lives in Los A. She married a rug salesman they are doing fine and always want to live there. Mrs. Powell surely unhappy since her return home here. She surely had one round of pleasure during her visit there.
You tell your father to let me know how long in Feb. we have to pay the back taxes on mothers estate & I will be over to pay Ĺ of tax. If there is any demand for houses in Malvern we might fix mothers house.
I was surprised to read in the paper that your mother had been hit by an auto, I hope she completely recovers the impact & that nothing serious develops.
How strange it seems that one can drive a car for years successfully and go many miles and when so near home meet with an accident.
Our old car still takes us to do our marketing but we are a bit nervous about driving very far from home. I am about to close for this time as Rudolph has a hot 1 wood fire and I am just backing to it, which makes me uncomfortable.
Wishing you well and lots of work and love to those who may inquire.
With love to you- Anna
You will xcuse us for opening this letter. So donít be surprised about your cups. Donít have her send that table cover, she would want you to buy it. She is a good chisler. I am feeling better this morn., my back still aches. There is nothing new to tell you so good by best wishes, Mother.
(Postmark-) New Cumberland W. Va Feb 11 1935
Please accept my earnest appreciation for the "Birthday" Greetings. They are very smart indeed and just what I need of- I wear No. 10- but these are OK-
I thought maybe I would get a letter from you- so waited a few days is why you have not already received an acknowledgement.-
We had planned for a three table party for the 7th but as I was not 100% par had to recall it- I found it wise as on that day I was lying around all day with "Fibrillations" & "systoles"- if you donít know these "words" look them up!
We are both lonesome as folks donít crowd the callers-
The big trucks are in the neighborhood taking away apples- They hold 65 barrels 3 bu. to the barrel.
I shall be glad to hear from you at any time-
I am making a oval rug for a customer 14x 20 mostly silk jersey material-
I get $3.00 for 2 days work, but I would be doing also only maybe some house work. I hope you will be busy as you would want to be and when you write tell of Robertís whereabouts. We were in E.L.- Saturday. Saw "Little Men" by Louise Alcott. Now that we are fed up on our books & plays, we will leave her rest, as we have seen "Little Women". I just finished reading "Tale of Two Cities" and our daily papers- so we get some reading done.
Anna S. Marchal
(Postmark-) East Liverpool OH Dec 23, 1935
"Thanks a Million" for the sweets-
We will be a Mr. W. V. Powellís home for Xmas at 3 pm, with Mrs. C.M. Brennan & family- We are OK Hope to have a letter from you sometime.
Wishing you only the best for the New Year
Anna S. Marchal