Dear Frances (The early years)

Dear Frances (The early years)

Prelude: Here is another letter from Bern of Wellsville, NY to Miss Frances Fairfield of Hornell, NY. This one was written on April 28, 1935. Both Fran and Bern are in high school. I left all the spelling and grammar mistakes.



Dearest Frances,

I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow. So here I am writing today because I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.

Did you get home safe? I hope so. You’ll have to pardon the writing I you can’t read it because I’m trying to write it in my room so my sisters won’t be bothering me.

I couldn’t very well tell you last night what a swell week-end I had, in front of those fellows.  Really though, and no kidding, I had the swellest time with you that I ‘ve had in a long time. It was sweet of you to have anything to do with me on a blind date anyway. I shall not forget it for a long time. I wish I could see you more often, but again I don’t because you would get sick of seeing me all the time and I want to keep your friendship as long as I can.

All the fellows in town are razzing me today because of the swell looking girl I had last night. They wonder how come I rate. I wonder myself.

I was wishing Louie could get the car and we could go down to see you, but as yet he hasn’t showed up.  Anyway, you’re probably occupied with some lucky boyfriend.

Have you seen Ernie yet? It’s been a long time since I seen him last and I’m beginning to wonder what he looks like.

I would like to have introduced Les Dye, Bobby McCarthy and some of the other fellows in town.  I guess they didn’t see you or I wouldn’t have had a chance.

Pardon the splotch on the other page.  I just did it as I was writing up above.

I wish you were going to be at the Alfred Interscholastic Track Meet! I imagine I would be a lot better than I was if you were going to be there.

My address in case you would like to write is at the top of the letter and the name of the street is “Dyke.”  I thought you probably couldn’t read it.  I’m a lousy writer.

It has been the swellest week-end I have ever had in years. As long as I can remember anyway.

I guess I’m falling in love. I’m saying the same things over and over.  You (How are you?) Me (Just as good as you are!)

Say “Hello” to Clair for me.

Say, Sweets, may I have a picture of you. This isn’t very customary, but I would really like one to have.  Something to make me remember the swell times I had with you.  Of Course, if you’d rather I wouldn’t, it’s alright because I can shut my eyes and remember what you look like.  I couldn’t forget for a long time.

There isn’t much more to say except I wished we hadn’t gone to the show so I could have told you to your face what a lovely time I had.

Well, it’s to late now, but maybe I can the next time you come.  I hope it’s soon because I can’t wait until I see you again.

Promise you’ll write me and the next time I hope I’ll have more interesting things to say to you that you would like.

Lots of Love,  “Bern”

“Behave yourself?”  – Shakespeare  …. (That’s supposed to be a saying of Shakespeare.)



Well, Bern is definitely infatuated with Fran. I like how he couldn’t wait to write her and tell her how he had the swellest time. It’s also interesting to read the little hints of his 1935 machoism, like the fact that he couldn’t tell her how he felt in front of the other fellows, and how he wishes he could have introduced her to his other buddies, like she was a trophy or something. It’s all very interesting. What do you think?


Summer Postcards (1950’s & 60’s)

Post cards Local

Prelude: In celebration of warmer weather and vacations, here are some local postcards that were sent in 1961 and 1950. The first one is of the Syracuse Airport Inn. The second one is of Onondaga Lake Park. The third one is of Independence Hall and The Commodore Barry Monument.



Syracuse Airport Inn- To Mrs. Marie Miller of Niagara Falls, NY

It is so nice to get away even if only for just a day or two.  We do hope you are feeling better after your fall. Hope to see you later this week.

Best Wishes

Harriet & Ken


Onondaga Lake Park – Sulita Roe of Landor, NY

Dear Mrs. Roe,

Just a few lines to let you know we got home ok. I had a nice Mother’s Day. Coming home Monday. Mable says hello.



Independence Hall and Commodore Barry Monument – Grace Bruehl ..??

Dear Grace,

We arrived ok last week, weather wonderful. It is hot this week 94 today. We are not suffering. Atlantic City and Ocean City yesterday.

Lots of love




Two of these postcards are pictures in the Syracuse, NY area and one is in Philadelphia. Not real exciting stuff, but we take for granted how easy travel is now even compared to the 1950’s and 1960’s… It seems like people took more local vacations back then than they do today. What do you think?




Dear Fran (The Early Years, a brother)

Dear Fran (Early years, a Brother)

Prelude: Here is another letter written in 1935. It’s from “Bern” in Wellsville, NY to Miss Frances Fairfield. Both Bern and Fran are in Highschool. They are friends but Bern wants more. This letter was before some of the others that I’ve posted. It was written on November 4th1935. I transcribed it with his spelling mistakes and all!


Dear Fran,

Just a line to answer your last letter and to ask how Clair is. Hope he is oke by now. Don’t worry kid, he’ll be okay soon.

Suppose you think I acted rather funny last evening when they were taking the blood tests.  It looked as if I were rather “yellow,” but on my word of honor, I wasn’t. You see, I hate the smell of a hospital and I sick every time I get a wiff of one.  I’d been oke if it hadn’t been for that dam smell. If I were oke I’d have given my blood in a minute, but the Miss told me to scram before I fainted. I never fainted in my life, but I came awful close last night.  I stayed because I was going to let her take a test of me in case the rest failed. I probably wouldn’t have done much good, but I could have tried.

Didn’t you think it swell of Ed Brown to offer his services and he didn’t even know Clair.  That was the best deed anyone ever pulled I think. Boy Scout or what have you.  Here is what he said, “I knew he was a friend of Fran’s and you guys were friends of her, so I offered.”  He didn’t even know that he was your brother.  He deserves a note of thanks Fran, I hope you get a chance to thank him.

I enjoyed seeing you again although it wasn’t exactly as I thought it would be. I thought we would laugh and joke and think about things we used to do, but things didn’t exactly turn out that way.  I’m sorry that it couldn’t have been that way and Clair was home to enjoy the joking, but things will turn out oke and if you get a chance to see him, tell him I said that he’d better stop trying to walk across that bridge that he fell from a long time ago.  He’ll know what I mean and I’ll bet he’ll laugh-if he can.  Wait and see. We’ll so long, hope you have time to answer some time.

As Ever,




What an interesting letter, Fran’s brother ends up in the hospital and hurt enough to need blood donated. This is the first letter in my Fran series to ever mention she had a brother. It makes you wonder what happened to him.  I love the way Bern makes excuses for himself, to try to look better in front of Fran. He hates the smell of the hospital. Don’t we all! Anyway, this is a nice glimpse into 1935 and Bern uses all the fun language we recognize from those years. Swell, Yellow, Oke and “On my word of honor.” It’s so fun to read! What do you think?


Hello there (France)

Hello there (France)

Prelude: Here is another letter from Young Hank to Mrs. Fairfield of Hornell, NY.  Young Hank is stationed in Europe and has been somewhere in Italy for several months. He has now moved to somewhere in France. This letter was written on September 26, 1944, and there was no envelope.



Southern  XXXXX  France                                              September 26, 44


Hello there,

I received your letter the other day but have not had a chance to answer it.  It took me a long time to catch up with my mail so now I have a lot to answer.

Your letter found me feeling fine and getting along the best.  We hadn’t received any mail in over three weeks, so it was swell getting it when we did.  Mail is really a moral builder. You really don’t appreciate it until you don’t get any for a week or two.

One of the fellows just called my attention to the fact that I put Italy instead of France at the top of the letter.  I wrote Italy so long it got to be a habit.  Now it will be France.

There isn’t much I can say about this country so far. It is a lot cleaner I think.  The roads are better and the towns and cities are nicer, at least what I have seen of them have been.  I think the weather is more like it is at home too.

I see by your letter that Frank got sick and went to Canada fishing.  I don’t blame him a darn bit.  The wife and I are, or plan on going up there again someday.

So, they still have the horse traders convention? We used to go up there every year and have a heck of a good time.

The weather here is real good.  Yesterday and today were especially nice. It’s like those days at home when you feel like going for a walk in the country.  I think you know the kind I mean.

The boys are all fine and send their regards to you all. As I said before, there all a swell bunch of fellows.

There really isn’t much to write about just now. Here’s hoping this finds you all well and happy.  Tell Mr. Fairfield I said hello and wish him better luck on his next trip north.

As Ever,

Little Hank.



I love these letters from Young Hank. He seems like such a swell guy. He is always writing upbeat letters even though he is in the middle of a war. I sense that he is a little home sick as he talks about taking a walk in the country.  Most of the letters I have of his are all about nothing.  I think that if you read between the lines, you’ll find that there is a heart and a soul longing for the war to be over. What do you think?