Dearest Fran (December)

Last Letter Bob to Fran

Prelude: Dear Friday’s Letter readers… I was going to wait until after the New Year to post this but I decided it was too important to make you wait…The following letter is one of the very last letters I have from Bob to Miss Frances Fairfield.  (As I mentioned before I have two more letters from when Bob was in college in Brooklyn.) This letter is a deeply personal letter that sheds some light on what happened between the two of them. I do not know the exact date that Bob wrote this letter, only that it was in December. I am guessing that it was written in 1938 along with all the other letters I have from that time period. I had no envelope, and it was just folded up among the other letters. After the letter, please see the Commentary and the link in History. It may answer some of the questions you have about these two amazing and interesting people whose letters we have been reading.



Dearest Fran,

I got both your letters and heartily agree with you – that this is a “fine mess.” One would think we were practically strangers to hear us try to avoid the ultimate which is – marriage- if not now certainly later… I thought that would be what Dr. H. would say after all he’d be risking quite a lot- as would you. If you want me to go to Dr. C. and talk with him, I’d just as soon, that is if you’ve chosen that way out.  I don’t know what to advise- If we did that, no one would ever know but it is very hazardous- but if we’re married Saturday, we’ll get by a month at the most, then neither of us will feel at ease in the others home or even our own home for that matter- and another way and slightly less valiant, but none more comfortable, would be to convert everything possible to cash and scram- which wouldn’t do either, as were both too family bound by home ties to ever forget.  So, I guess that’s out. But whatever we do, we do together.  Boy, it sure is a mess. I wish it was me, I’m sure I’d find a way out, but it’s slightly different with your well-being at stake. However, if we do choose that way out- I promise to marry you Fran, anytime or place- that is if you still want me to.

Well, how’s everything (excluding that of course)?  I miss you a lot darling and wish I could be with you more during these days.  I’d like very much to see you any time even if Al comes- Thanks very much for the stamps. Well, there’s not much more to say so, I’ll close for now and will write again tomorrow night.

I love you.



This heartfelt letter is heart-breaking but I’m so glad we know that they decided to have little Bobby. If you skip back to the archives on my Friday’s letter site, you will find a letter I posted on September 1st titled “Dearest Fran (2).”  In this letter Bob writes that “I would like to have you and Bobby here.” This letter is also addressed to Mrs. Bob Flannery.  I apologize for having printed the letters so out of order, but I did not acquire all the letters at the same time and they were all jumbled together. It wasn’t until I purchased the second batch of letters that I realized some of them were written before the ones that had already been posted. Anyway, these letters became so interesting to me, that I started to do some Internet research on both Bob and Fran. I am happy (and sad at the same time) to say that I found some information on them.

I found an Obituary for Fran, who believe it or not was still alive when I started posting these letters. Fran died just recently on September 27th 2017. I don’t know why her letters were sold to an antique store when she was still alive, but I am continuing my research to try and find out.  In my research, I was not able to find an Obituary for Bob, but according to Fran’s Obituary he pre-deceased her. I’ve included a link to Fran’s Obituary below.

Also, I found something else in my research, that I think you will like…  I found pictures of them. Below are their high school year book pictures. Bob graduated in 1934 and Fran Graduated in 1936. Both were found in the Hornell Maple Leaf Year book archives. I’ve also included the writing that was beside each of their pictures. As you will see Fran’s has a hand written note on it that says “Flannery, Ithaca, NY.”

On more thing… I know this is a lot to take in and their story can seem a little confusing because of the details we just don’t know… Please leave me your comments and questions, as my research is on-going and I hope to someday soon turn their story into a book or even a movie…


Here is a link to Miss Frances Fairfield’s Obituary:

Here are the pictures I found of Bob and Fran:

Robert Flannery     Robert Flannery - Yearbook

Miss Frances Fairfield  Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.51.23 PM







Dearest Fran (Rochester 5)

Dearest Fran (Rochester 5)

Christmas Cards to Fran's Family

Prelude: It’s almost Christmas in 1938 and Bob is still writing to Miss Frances Fairfield. This short letter was written on December 19, 1938 from Rochester, NY. I’ve also included a picture of a few Christmas cards that were in the box with Fran’s letter collection. There were no envelopes with the cards so, I don’t know if they were addressed to Fran or her parents.


Dearest Fran,

I hope you arrived home safely and received my letter today- Any news?

I didn’t get any letter from you today so, I guess you didn’t get home in time- Mind you now with all the people home from school.

Oh! In the event of your coming over to shop, don’t come Wednesday because the stores are open every night except Wednesday. I think I’ll run up town and do some looking.

Had a beast of a dinner tonight- ham –etc- and SPINACH, wow! ‘Twas good. Well there’s not much more I can think of for now, but will write you tomorrow again.  I love you dearest and miss you.  Are you coming up this week, other than Friday?

G’night. Love ya,



I only have three more letters from Bob to Miss Frances Fairfield; one more very important letter that was written in December, but I’m not sure which day and a couple I just found that were written while Bob was back in school at Pratt University in Brooklyn. As far as this letter goes, it’s pretty simple. He’s really missing seeing Fran and it sounds as if he looks forward to every visit she makes to see him in Rochester. It’s a short-long-distance relationship and Bob writes as if he’s having everyday normal conversation.  Christmas is only a few days away, but I’m not sure they will be spending the day together. Such is life and love in 1938.

Dearest Fran (Rochester 4)

Dearest Fran (Rochester 4)

Prelude: The letters from Bob to Miss Frances Fairfield continue. Fran seems to visit Bob in Rochester quite often. This letter was written on December 19, 1938 and Bob writes a note at the top of the letter that says, “Sunday night after you’ve gone.”


Dearest Fran,

I hated very much to see you go- and am very sorry I forgot to get you gas. It’s a good thing I thought of it, as I’m sure you wouldn’t have said anything about it and I really didn’t mean to make you get it. I had a swell time home.  I’m glad you stayed and ate at our house instead of going away.  I’m sorry I couldn’t think of anything I wanted for Xmas, but anything you’d get for me would be treasured and appreciated so, don’t let it worry you. I’ll miss you Christmas and wish you would stay over and have your Xmas at our house, you know everyone and I’m sure you’d have a good time. We’ll go to any of the dances you want to. I only hope that I am home long enough so that you can go to all you want to of them.  I set my clocks ahead so I’ll get up early, but I can never forget that it’s early and when it rings, I lay there and say, I should get up now, but the clock is 15 minutes fast so, I lay in bed and consequently have to run.  This will be a long week with no Wednesday night. It would be nice if you could come over and run them a few stores.

Well, there’s not much more to say so I think I’ll go to bed. Good night darling and I love you very much.



These letters between Bob and Fran are painting us a picture of their relationship that lets us peek into the lives of two ordinary people living in the late 1930’s. I love that these letters were written around the same time of year that it is now… just 79 years later. They are getting ready for Christmas and making plans for holiday dances and gatherings. Bob of course wants Fran to spend Christmas with him and his family, but it looks like she is going to spend it at home with her family instead. I’m not sure how deep they are into their relationship when this letter was written, but I promise with the next few letters I have to post and a special link I found that you will understand more about what happened in their lives.

Dearest Fran (Rochester 3)

Dearest Fran Rochester 3

Prelude: It’s December 1938, Bob is living and working in Rochester, New York and Fran lives with her parents in Hornell, New York. This letter is one, in a series of letters that Bob is writing to Fran. It is dated December 15, 1938. He writes to her almost daily and we know that she has come to visit him from reading this letter and his previous letters.




Dearest Fran,

Well, one more day and I’ll see you again.  It was swell of you to come up last night. I hope you got home ok. I guess I would have heard if you hadn’t.  I’ll look for you at 5 tomorrow night and then we’ll eat and shop and then maybe a show, then home. I miss you very much darling and think of you every minute. I know I haven’t done as well at my job as I might have.  I just can’t get used to it, not interested.  I hope I can soon, as it’s a rare opportunity.  I just can’t seem to realize it’s what I’ve always wanted- but they are awfully nice to me and I enjoy it.

How’s everyone?  I’m sorry that New York called you about your reports. I’m sure people would understand, were they to know what was on our minds. I didn’t get any mail today so, I guess you didn’t get home in time to write me.

This is what happens when you write with your chin on the desk. Try it sometime.

Gosh, I’ll be glad to see you again. Easy aces one and so I’ll stop a while.

Well, I think I’ll be off to bed tonight so, so long.  Bed after I swim I mean. Maybe I’ll get around to writing you again before I go to bed.  I love you dearest and will always.

So long, see you tomorrow,



COMMENTARY: Bob and Fran are deep in a relationship.  It seems to me that the distance between Rochester and Hornell is wearing on Bob. He’s not really happy at his job and he spends his evenings writing letters to Fran. I’m not sure what the “Easy aces…” line means but It was all I could get from Bob’s handwriting.  What do you think?



Dearest Fran (From Rochester 2)

Dearest Fran (From Rochester 2)

Prelude: Another letter from Bob to Miss Frances Fairfield… This one is written on December 9th, 1938 and it’s the third letter he wrote that week. His letters are coming from an address at 4 Durgin Street, in Rochester, NY.



Dearest Fran!

Got your swell letter! Thanks a lot for not missing once this week.  I look forward to them to no end- I have definitely decided not to come back to his room but I don’t know where I’ll go to but it won’t be here!

I miss you more than ever.  I dread to think of how I’d be if I were in New York instead of Rochester.  At nine-thirty I was just getting home from dinner.  I did not leave the office until 7- In fact, If I had not been anxious to read your letter, I’d be there yet.  I think- in fact, one of the fellows went when I just came past.  Gee! It’s swell of you to cart mom around like that, I bet she doesn’t even miss me. Gee darling, I love you and I think of you all the time and of all the fun it’s been to know and love you. And am looking forward eagerly to the time when I can hold you close and whisper in your ear and kiss ya. In fact, my kisses are about all used up for this week and I think I am going to require an advance- So get ready.  Gee, I miss a car. If I had one, I could hop in some night after work and be home for supper.

How’s everyone? Well, I was just thinking, you’ll have this by the time I’m home so, I guess I’ll quit.  I love you dearest, more than anything and I’m praying that tomorrow will pass quickly, ‘till five anyway. G’Night darling.

I love you,



Well, Bob is all in! With each letter he writes, we see how head-over-heels he is with Miss Frances. He’s not holding back anymore. It only serves to make me wonder even more what Miss Frances is writing to him. The distance between them is really not that far, but without the means to be with each other it might as well be hundreds of miles. In 1938 not everyone had a car, and Bob is one of the average young men without one. He’ll just have to wait to see his beloved Frances. At least for now they have the letters they send back and forth.



Here is a google link to “4 Durgin Street, Rochester, NY”:,+Rochester,+NY+14605/@43.172639,-77.6212135,15z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x89d6b4464c848611:0x4a173a0f65c39dda!2s4+Durgin+St,+Rochester,+NY+14605!3b1!8m2!3d43.1727376!4d-77.6210599!3m4!1s0x89d6b4464c848611:0x4a173a0f65c39dda!8m2!3d43.1727376!4d-77.6210599

It does not look like a very old house to me… but who knows.