Dear Fran (The Question)


Prelude: The correspondence between Miss Frances Fairfield and Bob continues. This is the second earliest letter I have from Bob to Fran. It was written on October 6, 1935. It seems that Bob was away and living in Richmond, Virginia. He may possibly have been there going to college. It’s just not clear… Please be reminded that I try to copy these letters as they are written with spelling and punctuation mistakes included…



Dear Fran,

I was very glad to receive your letter, I thought for a while your had forgotten me or else was mad about that question I asked you. I’m glad to hear you’re going to the mountains, lots of luck with them thar deer, but be very careful your’e something of a dear yourself. (wasn’t that nice of me to say that?) I’d like to see you in your new outfit bet you look very huntsmannish and stuff, you’d look good in a fig leaf. (that’s a compliment, but don’t sound so good. I won’t say anymore like that.) I’m glad to hear that you missed me, I hope you mean that. I also am glad to hear that you are having a picture developed and sent me, that’s very nice of you. So, to be just as big as you I’m sending my own self portrait done in oils or in underwear. Hope ya like it.

Gee! There should be lots of tall corn in the mountains furnishing you with an excellent subject for conversation. I wish I was home just to go to the social evenings, I’ll bet they’re much fun. I get the paper (Evening Tribune) down here so I read about it. I would have loved to see Miss Harrower play ping pong, Did she have a gym suit or pabthing suit on????

I got seven letters the other day, and every one told me that it had rained in Hornell for the past two weeks. Hope you didn’t have a flodd with out me there to keep time for all the boys. Remeber don’t go having floods without me. D’ya hear?? I also received letters telling me that I couldn’t typewrite worth a Damn and my English was even worse. Is it my fault this doesn’t spell right?

You’dbbetter hurry and answer this letter or else—- I’ll cut you off my list of active correspondents and wouldn’t that be awful??

As I read over this letter I find that my typing, spelling, and English not to mention punctuation are getting worse, so I better stop. Thanks for answering that question so nicely, I was kind of sorry I asked, thinking you might be offended, but I had thought of it so often, I had to. It was a very tactful, diplomatic, and encouraging answer. It kindled little fires of hope within (from a poem). No Fooling as long as you feel the same as I do, we should get togethera lot during Christmas vacation. O. K. ????? Please answer this question. Also, again. I’d better close now for yu go to sleep reading this. So long.

Yo’ suthuhn fran’




I love this letter. Bob is so funny and he doesn’t seem to care about being proper in his writings. It was 1935 and he was a modern guy.

Of course, Bob leaves us wondering about “The question.” What exactly did he ask Miss Frances Fairfield? Well, we know she wasn’t too offended because she answered it…and it was a “tactful, diplomatic, and encouraging answer,” to boot. Did he ask her if she liked him? Loved him? Or… Was it something totally different? I’m not sure we are every going to find out because the next letter I have from Bob to Fran is written in 1938… Three years later…

Lastly, I love that Bob used a line from a poem … “It kindled little fires of hope within.” I searched for the line and tried to find out the name of the poem, but I came up empty. If any of you reading this recognize the line or the poem, please let me know and what are your thoughts on “The question?” I’d love to hear your insights.




Dear Fran (The early years)



It’s time to get back to some more letters to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. As you know Fran is involved with Bob and they’ve had quite a few twists and turns on their path of life. The last letter I posted from Bob to Fran was from 1940. This letter is the earliest letter I have from Bob to Fran. Bob wrote this letter on September 17, 1935. Try and think of it as Fran having a flash back to when she was first getting to know Bob.



Dear Fran,

Sure, I am quite sure we can come down. Do you want me to ask Bud or are you going to?

Doris Edythe knows about it, hope so, because I want her to go with me.

If I write a note, will you give it to her? You had better.

Is Chet coming to? Hope so. Say, is Arlene still bothering you? I will write to her when I find time, but in the mean time you can tell her for me to go jump in the lake.

I sure think Edythe is swell, wish you had gotton her for me the first time.

No, We didn’t see Tony, but we got a ride with some fellows we knew from here.

Sure we can be there by eight or I hope we can. Well, will close for now.

A Friend


P.S. I won’t let Bud know about it.



Well, well, well…. They were just friends and Bob liked someone else. He had his eyes on Doris Edythe. Who knows who Fran was thinking about then, but it doesn’t seem to be Bud. This letter is kind of vague and it sure would be nice if we knew what Fran wrote to Bob before he sent this letter to her… But this we do know, Bob and Fran are going to see each other, even if they are with other people right now.

It’s funny how life turns out, and how couples are often formed through friends of friends. The ones that you never think will end up together, well, they end up together.


Hello there (3)




Here is another letter from Young Hank. He is a soldier on active duty somewhere in Italy during WWII. This letter is written on February 14, 1944 to Mr. & Mrs. Frank Fairfield of Hornell, NY.



Italy                                                                Feb. 14, 44


Hello there,

I received your letters but haven’t had the chance to write. I’m sure you understand how it is and don’t mind. Thanks a million for writing. It’s really nice getting them even if I can’t get around to answer them.

Right at the present time Little Hank is having a pretty good time. They gave us a little time off so we were doing a little sight seeing. Of course we have a drink now and then to make the sights look better. I don’t think anyone minds us having one now and then. Do you?

Five of us fellows are doing all right, just the same. We’re all feeling fine and hope you all are the same. How is Mr. feeling these days? Tell him I said hello and not to work too hard. Tomorrow’s another day, and is it?

The weather isn’t too bad. It’s a little cool but what can you expect this time of the year.

Thanks again for the letters. Sorry this isn’t more interesting. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. I mean the good times we had. Good luck and be care full.


As Ever

Young Hank



Hmmm. This letter from Young Hank is a little strange. It’s kind of a letter about nothing. In fact, he apologizes for it being so un-interesting. I wonder as I read between the lines if Hank is just trying not to say anything revealing that could hinder the war effort or if he was a little drunk when he wrote it. He insists that everything is fine, but he is in the middle of a war. It could be just what he needs to say to get thru the day and the hardships of being far from home and in a foreign country fighting a war. What do you think? Let me know.

Kind friend

Kind Friend


Here is a letter that is on loan from my sister-in-law Suzie Gunderson Crisafulli. It was written by her great grandmother, Emma Rebecca Bystrom to her future husband Albert Anderson. Emma wrote the letter on February 4th 1903, while she was living in Centerville, South Dakota. Albert was living in Dalesburg, South Dakota at the time.



Centerville, S. D.

Mr. Albert Anderson,                                    February 4, 1903


Kind friend, It is 11:30pm and Selma and I are still up. We were working at baskets for the social at Riverside next Friday eve. We hope to see you and a lot of other Dalesburg folks there.

The real object of this note is to tell you to wait till Tuesday to come after Selma and stay over night so, as to take in the entertainment that eve at the Opera House. I can’t say what kind of show it will be, but we three used to, could have pleasant times together before and so I take for granted we can again.

Oh yes, Selma wants you to be sure and tell Will Larson about it too. Ha! Ha!

Well don’t tell folks I wrote this. It’s from Selma, you know.


Your Friend,

Emma Bystrom



What a sweet letter. I love how she gets right to the point… “The real object of this letter…” She’s basically saying come and stay over night so we can all go to the Opera House. Oh and don’t forget to tell your friend Will to come too. Selma needs somebody! Anyway, it is a short and sweet letter, and I’m told it is the first of several letters between Emma and Albert. It’s a quaint little look into the lives of people living in the early 1900’s. I’ll be interested to see how this correspondence develops and how they end up getting married.



Here is a link to some history on Centerville, South Dakota… The Opera House is mentioned.

Here is a link to some history on Dalesburg, South Dakota :