1423 Harmon Place,
March 30, 1925.
Dear Campbell Cousins:
It hardly seems a year since our last "get-together". How time flies! The heading on this letter will tell you where I am located, but is so happens that the body of this letter is being written under the pines where the Hughey latch string hangs out1.
I love Minneapolis, although I am far too busy to fully appreciate it by "taking in" the many good things which come along. I am teaching in the Edith Cavell School, located at Thirty-fourth Avenue and Filmore Street, N.E., far enough from the business district so that the air is pure and the birds are our neighbors. I am living at the dormitories of the Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School, right across from Loring Park, one block from Hennepin Avenue. Some of you will know where that is.
Last fall I was delighted by a good visit with Cousin Charlie. We met at M.E.A.2 It so happened that mother came down that week-end, so she too, had the pleasure of seeing him. I tell you I was some proud to be promenading around with C.H. Congdon of "Who's Who in America"!3 Surely some of you will be passing through Minneapolis within the next year. If you do, please look me up. I may be there this summer attending summer school at the University.
I am having such a blessed experience this year by living with the Bible students. Northwestern has a fine lot of young people, and it is a great privilege to me to be with them. I was glad when I learned that they let one building to "outsiders".
I hope this doesn't sound like too much of an "I" letter4. It is hard to get away from it in this correspondence, I find.
I have been wondering if we could not at some future time compile special groups of letters. One group, for instance, might be made up of general reminiscences, another of family jokes, another of short autobiographies and biographies of those who have left the circle, and the like5.
1. Pioneer cabins did not have door nobs or locks. On the inside, there was a short bar, permanently fastened at one end, so that it could pivot. The other end was free to fall into a slot built to hold it securely and prevent someone outside from opening the door. In order to get back in when one left the house, a string was tied to the pivoting bar, and left hanging outside. To get back in the house, you jut lifted the latch string..
2. Minnesota Education Association, a teachers organization. Charley came from NYC to see old friends from his days teaching in Brainerd, MN and supervising vocal music in St Paul. And perhaps to sell some of the music text books he published.
3. If you click on the link for Charlie, it takes you to his mini-bio --- which contains his Who's Who entry.
4. A letter consisting of "I did ..."; "I think ..."; "I want ..."; etc.
5. To the best of knowledge, this web site is the first time Mary's wish was implemented. We may never get around to having web pages dedicated to jokes, but we do have pages for "short autobiographies and biographies." Mary wrote a longish autobiography that she titled The Story of My Life. Memoirs often illustrate how the writer wished to be remembered, not objective history. Mary's sharp tongued niece, Irma, described Mary's memoir as "the story of the life she wished she'd lived." Perhaps that's the case for most autobiographies. Roger Hughey kindly gave me a copy, so perhaps one day The Story of My Life will be added to this web site..
Perhaps Cousin Will already has some such plan in his head. I just wrote this because it "popped into my head" as I sat here with my pen poised. I've been interested in the poetry of one kind and another that has appeared in our book. Sometimes I get literary longings and attempt to express them, but you'd laugh at some of them. Here's a short - I don't know what to call it, suggested to me by the "back East" expressions6 of my Grandfather and Grandmother Bixby. I wrote this two or three summers ago, and this looks like a chance to get it into print.
There's a black cloud in the west,
Big drops begin to fall,
This wind has picked a board from off
The hens go by with huddled wings;
Grandma looks anxious, but
Grandpa, reassured, looks overhead.
"Jest a mere squall, the clouds are
"Shet that south winder", was all he
Please forgive such an intrusion. It's just to show you that at least I've tried, and that's what is expected of a Campbell, isn't it?
By the way, I'm "pal-ing" some with a girl named Vera Campbell, but we haven't been able to trace a family connection.
When you come to Minneapolis, call Main 5278 and ask for me, or, if you come before June twelfth, you can reach me at the Cavell School.
6. Those of you who live in the East, may be surprised by what Mary considered "Eastern" expressions.
Utilizing Sandy Buck Garrett's 2012 transcription.
Copyright © 2013 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.