Monday, Sept. 10, 1934
Last week was absolutely the toughest one I ever put in this store. Starting in Tuesday morning, we worked day and night clean up to Saturday evening rearranging the whole store, trimming windows and etc, etc. Yesterday I spent the day out in Grafton trying to recuperate and despite the fact that I slept the biggest portion of the day plus going to sleep early last night I still feel all broken up right now.
Coming home on the train last Monday I got “athinking” about the confabs which took place at Foltis-Fischer’s on Sunday and at Esther’s on Monday morning re our affair and the more I think of it the “sorer” I get. Not only that but I have another grievance which I crave to air out with you in hopes that they may never occur again. Before I go into these however, please be informed that I’m in agreement with your plan of not discussing our getting to-gether until such a time as you see fit.
And now for the complaints! Please Thelma, don’t regard them lightly as I was never more in earnest in my life than I am concerning what I am about to say. If for some reason or other you cannot see my complaints as justified, then tell me so, giving your reasons, and if we can’t get agreed, then the logical thing that follows would be the ending of our friendship.
First of all and most important is the breaking of your promise not to let anyone read my letters to you. If I can’t feel absolutely safe in regarding our love affair strictly confidential and personal (instead of public) then I can’t place trust in you. This may be regarded puritanical and bourgeois-conventionality, but I hold it’s nobody else’s business but our own.
Then the other complaint is your forcing me into a position where I must argue our (personal affair) with your brother and sisters and brother-in-law which is none of their business. Sure they may be interested and eager to do something. But when it comes to talking over things which should be strictly a private conversation I can’t see how anybody else should butt in. Just reverse the incident and imagine me coming down to N.Y. with my brother, sister and brother-in-law and letting them do all the talking for me about our business, and when you ask me why I don’t say anything about it I say to you that they can present the case better than I.
It strikes me very funny how you couldn’t remember, at Esther Dekowitz’s last Monday your willingness to remain in Troy with me if we got a place for ourselves. The only way I can explain that to myself is that Leo dominates you so much so that in his presence you lose your identity. If this is so I can’t blame Leo nor bear any ill feelings for him but I certainly can’t admire you for such action. I’ve done enough scolding for one letter so I’ll let up.
There’s nothing new nor interesting to relate since I saw you last. I feel lonesome and hopeless as a recluse. I can’t understand why I have been destined with such hard luck? If I was a pious person I’d pray for the Gods to intercede in my behalf. But being a socialist all I can do is wait – wait and then wait some more in hope for my day to come along.
P.S. Regards to the whole family. Answer at your earliest convenience.
Editor’s Notes: This first letter of September 1934 is purely about the relationship between Izzy and Thelma. Up until now we have not seen Izzy reprimand Thelma and their relationship woes were subtle though heartbreaking. Here we have raw emotion and the reader worries for their future together.
It is clear that Thelma showed a letter or more to her family; her brother Leo, her sisters, and her brother-in-law. The family then proceeded to take matters into their own hands and speak for Thelma to Izzy. We can only imagine what they took issue with. Did they think Izzy was pressuring Thelma to move back to Troy? Thelma claimed that they were better able to “present the case” but what exactly was the case? Did she need help telling Izzy “no”? Izzy furiously writes this letter to scold Thelma’s behavior. He feels betrayed that his letters were shared; they are his most intimate thoughts that he presumes to share only with his beloved. He feels hurt and confused that she allowed her family to speak for her. He feels ashamed of her lack of identity and personal will to express her own feelings.
Of course, the editor cannot ignore that Izzy, were he alive, may feel betrayed by having his letters so very publicly archived. I offer no excuses here but hope he would recognize his letters’ historical significance and my intentions of preserving the memory of his life.
History Lesson: Izzy refers to Foltis-Fischer’s as the site of the “affair” with Thelma’s family. They must have been having a meal together as Foltis-Fischer’s was a restaurant chain. Find the history here.
Corrections: When Izzy was making plans to go to Esther’s with Thelma in a previous letter I incorrectly assumed that it was Thelma’s sister, Esther and she was living in NYC. In this letter we learn that it was an Esther Dekowitz.