A Token of Affection

May 26, 1939

Dear Thelma –

Last Tuesday Dr. Cuaco got back to Troy after a prolonged absence.  When we heard of his arrival in town we called him in to take care of Mom’s toe.  He certainly is a very good doctor and an excellent psychologist.  His treatment of mom and his bedside manner pepped up the entire family.  First thing he said was that mother’s toe was not gangrinous because there was warmth in the toe and the toe wasn’t malodorous.  Gangrine is usually accompanied by coldness (no circulation of blood) and malodor.  The other doctor instilled a fear in the whole family that we would have to witness an amputation.  Dr. Cuacou lifted a cloud (plenty dark) and now, we, (all of us) breathe more freely.

Pop is holding up as usual but he was disturbed greatly by Mom’s condition.  He was so worried about her that it retarded his own progress.  Now, however, he feels more assured because of his implicit confidence in Dr. Cuaca.

Rose is all prepared to take over my job.  She is going to take advantage of the country to improve her own condition while out there.  And Pop says he is damned glad to get rid of me!!  The moment I get into N.Y. I will wire you the hour of my arrival in Wash.

Dave Levinson will start for N.Y. Saturday sometimes after dinner.  So I don’t know exactly what time we will get into N.Y.  Then, Pop wants me to visit Mrs. Toretsky because she is sick in bed and wants me to inform him about her.  This visit will most likely take a couple of hours, so if my wire to you says a late arrival in Wash. you will know the reason.

Sweetheart, any delay no matter how short in getting near you is very annoying to say the least, but, under the circumstance, how can I refuse my Pop his request?  If Mrs. Toretsky wasn’t ill I could call her on the phone and let it go at that.

You can bet your last car-token that I’ll hurry as soon as it is humanly possible.  In all probability I’ll take a train for Wash. Saturday nite and arrive in Wash late the same night or very early Sunday morning.  Under no circumstance however must you come to the depot.  Wait home for me.

The rest of the family is OK and send their best regards.  Dave likes that picture of you (the last one you sent me) so much that he took it away from me and is going to put it in his album.

For the umpteenth time I repeat that I am madly in love with you and I’m holding my breath until I get a glimpse of you.


P.S. Regards to the family + comrades.


Editor’s Notes: He’s almost home to Thelma in Washington, D.C., just a couple of train rides and interruptions to get through. Mrs. Toretsky housed Izzy when he lived in NYC, trying to make it as a young musician. It will be an incredible feat to delay the reunion a couple of hours but Izzy is the saint of the elderly and ill.

Boy oh boy did I butcher that doctor’s name. Dr. Mario Cuoco, originally from Italy, had a private practice in Troy and became president of the medical staff at Leonard Hospital in 1956. He passed away only 7 years later, in 1963. He was a well respected doctor by the Bickweats and many others. Leonard hospital is an abandoned site now, though several developers are interested it’s only currently occupied by urban explorers.


Etymology Corner: “car-token” – Though the NYC subway system didn’t use tokens until the 1950s, railroad lines were using them in place of tickets since the late 19th century.



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