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.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s