October 1, 1947


Pub. in the kitchen:                                 Weather:  Hotter than
Crestfallen Manor                                    Circulation:  49
339 Frost Ave.                                       Editor:  Genevieve
Rochester 8, N.Y.                                    Publisher:  Charles

Dear Subscribers:

Fall is definitely here.  Of course you city slickers know it because the store windows have been changed to fur coats but we know it more surely.  It’s in the air.  And not some ethereal “feeling” in the air, either.  It’s an unmistakable odor, especially in the early morning and around supper time.  No one could miss it.  On all sides the neighbors are burning orange crates, old furniture and the accumulation of cellar junk in those iron monsters - the combination ranges!  So far I have resisted all efforts to get one into my kitchen and even helped Charles drag out the huge old black one we found in this place - it brought one buck as junk   And it was a REAL antique.

THE MANOR:  The cement blocks in the cellar having dried, the jack posts are now in place and every so often, sometimes without a word of warning, Father jacks up the house a bit and scares us all to death.  It is one gruesome experience, believe me!  Walls crack before your eyes and you think frantically back to the year 1 to recall any earthquakes in New York state.  The floor gently heaves up under you and boards creak - whew!  I just can’t get used to it but the old joint is getting an almost jaunty look.

And our cellar is bursting with the canned fruit of the earth.  It’s so cute.  People do get old, you know, and so they will offer you a 50-50 deal as long as you feel up to climbing pear trees, etc. after the fruit.  So, between our own lovely, lowly Concord grapes and our winter pears, crab apples from an old neighbor, Seckle pears from next door, swapped red tomatoes for green and all such barter, we have some grand quarts and pints in the cellar, believe me.

Then, the hot water heater coil took it into its head to break, so we had that business to go through.  Of course, we knew we must eventually come to it but, as usual, we had something else to do right then.  But hot water is slightly necessary with four kids, so we installed a little black demon - a pot stove that burns pea coal and like it much better.  That also meant rearranging the cellar because the original position of the heater and tank was very awkward and dangerous.  And by moving the tank and stove that meant the pipes had to be rearranged, too, so we had a grand time for a week while Father was our plumber.  But it works now!

At the rate these little “accidents” are happening, when we change the name of this place it will have to be to: PINCHPENNY INN (AND OUT).  How many of you remember the old Fords that “nickled and dimed you to death”?  Believe one with experience:  an old house can leave a Ford in the ditch forty miles from home and still beat it at sending you broke.

But, we have no landlord and nobody living up or downstairs.

CULTURE:  The music lessons continue.  I can entertain myself and the family for hours and while it isn’t good, we aren’t fussy and it gets better as we go along, so we are all very happy about it.

FASHIONS:  Skirts are getting longer, just as they said they would.  But Mr. O’Brien is following along, too!  He informed me the other day that he’s getting long underwear.


TABLECLOTH:  Last month I announced the commencement of my heirloom tablecloth with 1740 discs.  So far, along with everything else, I have a piece about 2 feet by 3 feet finished.  But my Mother sent me a cute clipping re same:

Seems an Indian was willing to make a chair for $5. but when he found that he had to make six alike he raised the price to $7.  “because it’s so tiresome making six chairs alike.”  Mother added a note, “Wonder what he’d charge for a tablecloth?”  I shudder to think.

WILD LIFE:  We have a pet squirrel, Petie Dink.  We are looked upon as a meal ticket by this rodent loafer and when either of them (they happen to be a Mr. & Mrs. but to the kids it’s the same squirrel) get hungry they just drop around to the side porch and raise a rumpus until we do something about it.  Each visit sends O’Toole into fits and when they get mad and climb up the screen door he nearly loses his mind.  We’ve warned the children against them but with me both of them are quite tame and will take things from my hand quite mannerably.  To the small fry that also seems very normal, “That Petie Dink is afraid of Mummy,” they say with confidence.

THE GARDEN:  In the dining room right now are eight of the most beautiful bursting rosebuds you ever saw - two red, four pink, and two tea - which we cut to cheat the frost.  And our French Marigolds were the prettiest I’ve ever seen anywhere.  They ranged from lemon yellow to mahogany, dozens on each bush, pungently fragrant, sturdy as stones and grand.  We have so enjoyed the yard.

But Putsey Jones has an edemic allergy (I trust that is something like right, begging your pardons, Docs on the mailing list).  They think it is to pollen and the way it swells her eyes and forehead up is something terrible to see.  But she’s quite unconcerned about it.  “Aw wight, I won’t stick my nose in no fwowers no more, Mummy,” she said and we can still have them indoors.  Keep dem fwowers away from my nose, you Dick,” she’ll say if something makes Dick or the others move a bunch.  “Does yous want me to get sick again?”  And she shoves it right back.

VIOLETS:  I now have a bar.  In shot glasses in sunny window I grow roots on African Violet leaves and in Old Fashion glasses the little pots with the fledglings in dirt hold forth.  I’ve recently rooted two pink violet leaves and have been promised two white ones, too.  My mother-plant, a violent lavender affair, took three weeks off in August after blooming from March and it is now back in full flower again.  After all my yelling about it I finally got directions and such results!

THEATER:  Community Players will open soon with “Jean of Lorraine’ and it’s noteworthy that we had a membership drive for 2500 season-tickets-for-two from one Friday morning until Tuesday night.  How’s that for speed?

MEDICINE:  Charles is burning two warts off the bottom of my foot with glacial acetic acid and are we having fun!  The question is, will I have a foot or just the warts left? Isn’t that a peculiar place to develop warts, especially when you’re addicted to shoes?  Sounds like a hill-billy ailment.  But it happened before years ago and it’s happened again.  Humanity is simply weird.

Our love to all.  And some of you had better write, or else.