1939 May 8

May 8, 1939

Dear Thelma –

Yesterday the whole clan of Bickweats gathered out in the Grafton to start the season right.  The weather was all that anyone could ask for so a good time was had by all but yours truly.  I was so lonesome and blue that in order to hide my innermost feeling I started to clean, sweep, wash the entire first floor and rearrange the furniture.  Dave, Marion and Benny and Jerry Seigal fell right in with me and in three hours of real thorough work we got things looking ship shape.

To-day I’m sweeping and washing all the floors upstairs.  The rest of the week will be devoted to wood chopping.  In the late afternoon (yesterday) Sam and I got out in the rowboat in the middle of the reservoir and took an excellent sun-bath.  After the gang left for Troy and the folks went to sleep I had an acute attacks of the blues.  I finally cried myself to sleep.  Only the extreme necessity of me being here stops me from leaving right now.  Remember if you miss me (and I know you do) just think of what in this whole world could keep me from you but a situation like this.

Most likely you received my last letter with the 10.00.  From now on you will receive money regularly without delay.

I decided that it would be best for you to continue to write me at this address because I would have to walk to the State road to get mail thus leaving my folks alone.  We are having the phone connected to-day out in Grafton so I will be informed when your letter gets here.

What’s news down in Washington?  How is the entire family?  I’m expecting a long newsy letter from you.

Everything and everyone up here is quite the same as when I wrote you last.  My driving is coming along slowly but surely.  If our car wasn’t so junky I’m sure I’d do much better.

Say, by the way, what’s news regarding Dave.  He was going to move the last I heard.  Or has he changed his mind?  Have Milton take a flock of “shots” of you and send me some.  This will be a great aid for me to make the best of my absence from you.

Darling, I love you more than anything and anyone in this whole universe, always remember that.


P.S. Regards to the whole family, comrades and friends.

Editor’s Notes: Grafton is only a half hour drive from Troy, NY – it’s a small town with lots of lakes that are mostly now all part of Grafton Lakes State Park.  The town was, and still is, a Summer tourist destination.  Izzy and Sam rowed out in the Dunham Reservoir but other than that relaxation Izzy is unable to enjoy himself.  He misses Thelma and their life together.

I do not know enough about the history of the post office to understand how Izzy would get a phone call when Thelma’s letter arrived.  He was hesitant to leave his parents alone for any amount of time so trips to the State Road (Route 2) to check for undelivered mail was considered wasteful.  Since Milton is the only one with a camera Izzy asks Thelma to have Milton take photographs of her and send them to him to ease the loneliness.


1939 May 5

May 5, 1939

Dear Thelma –

To-day is the first decent day we’ve had in over a week and even then it wasn’t too warm.  After lunch Pop, Mom and I drove out to Grafton where we spent the afternoon getting things ready for our coming out there to stay for the summer months.  It’s certainly surprising how much better Pop feels out in the mountain air.  He doesn’t cough half as much and he is “on the go” from the moment he gets there until he leaves.  Most likely the climate out there is going to help him considerably.

As I told you in my last letter my plans are (if nothing unforeseen occurs) to get my father + mother established out there and then I will try to get Rose to take over.  If she will be able to handle the job satisfactorily then I will be enabled to return.

Thelma, sweetheart, please continue to be considerate and patient with me.  Under the present circumstances there’s nothing else that can be done but what I’m doing.  Believe me, this whole business is the most trying experience in all my long life.  Your patience, darling is quite a consolation, which I will never forget.

With all the war propaganda and national hysteria being wooped up by the capitalist class thru its various agencies little wonder is it that Albaugh was heckled.  The time is not far off when it will be actually dangerous to open one’s mouth in opposition to the current of Democratic Totalitarianism.  While this treatment is nothing new to the S.L.P. it’s my opinion that our section should confine our outdoor meetings in a city other than a capitol city.  Incidentally the party’s experience bears me out or to put it properly it’s vice-versa.

That collection of $45.00 was sensational!  Keep up the good work.

Do I love my terribly lonesome sweetheart?  Well all I can say is if I were given to writing as I am to talking or love-making you would a receive a love letter so big you’d be an old lady before you finished reading it.

Darling, please write me more often and more details about yourself.

I will send you some cash Monday which you will most likely receive Tuesday or the following day.

Here’s the latest news from Troy.  Frank Kur the guy who married the Buckey girl and the brother of Kur the fender repair man who live on Division St., was slugged and killed in Philadelphia Wednesday.

How’s everyone in the family?  Anything new on the symphony matter? I’m holding my breath til I hear from you, you monkey.


P.S. Regards and best wishes to all from all. I’m crazy about you!!

Editor’s Notes: Thelma attended or maybe even helped facilitate a local Socialist Labor Party meeting and has relayed the details to Izzy in her previous letter.  The Albaugh that was heckled was probably Arla A. Albaugh, who ran for Vice President alongside Teichert on the SLP ticket in 1944 against FDR.  Is Izzy suggesting that the meetings move somewhere less visible to the opposition?  Meanwhile, the government was concerned with propaganda from Germany and Japan but also from our own countrymen; Communists and groups supposedly espousing the benefits of Totalitarianism.  People were fearful and an enemy you know is less daunting than an unknown.

The only other bit of news in this letter is about the death, or murder, of a local man.  On May 2, 1939 Frank Kur was found beaten to death in his new green coup in West Fairview, across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, not in the city of Philadelphia.  On May 6th, the Harrisburg Telegraph published more details.  Kur was on a business trip, he’d set up meetings with potential clients for the Exhibit Sales Company which he had an interest in.  He’d checked into the Alva Hotel and then had dinner at 8pm, after dinner he headed to a bar on the West Shore, of which there were many, though the coroner said there was no alcohol in his stomach.  Details between then and 1AM when he was killed were unclear and a motive was not discovered.  Most likely he was an easy target as a lone traveler and was robbed and dumped since no money was found on his body.  His wife Lilly Kur nee Buckey identified his body.  She hadn’t seen him since September but they were keeping in touch through letters.


1939 May 1

May 1, 1939

Dear Thelma,

Hastening this note to you because I got a hold of five dollars which I’m sure you can use.  George went back to work to-day so next Saturday I will be able to send you at least $16.00.  As for finances I am more than mindful so if there is any delay on this matter rest assured it wasn’t my fault.

The weather here is far behind what it should be at this time of the year.  It will have to warm up quite a bit more before we will permit the folks to go out to Grafton.  However we drive out to the farm daily and in this way I get my driving lessons.  By this time I should be able to drive but for some reason or other I’m still learning.  Overcautiousness and nervousness are my deterrents.  But I will persist until I can drive.

As for coming back to you here is my plan now.  After I get the folks out Grafton and see that Rose can take care of my father I will pack up and leave.  This is probably three or four weeks off.

Yesterday Pop + Ma, George, Dave and I went out to Grafton and burnt the brush around the house.  It was quite cold, but out there Pop coughs are lessened about 50%.  Wish we were established out there already.  I’ve been so damned lonesome lately that it’s driving me nuts.

Darling, please write me more often.  This will be the only tonic that can keep up my spirits.

Mom is feeling better than I’ve seen her in four months and Pop is doing much better.  He is very thin but for the last few days he has made a rally which has surprised us and himself.

I won’t be myself until I have you in my arms + hugging and kissing you with a passion unknown to any human.  My patience is almost gone.  Sweetheart, love for you is driving me out of my mind.  No fooling.  What’s news with all the folks?  What’s news on the Leonard-Sonia front?

How and what are you doing on the piano?

I’ve got to attend to a few important things now so I’ll close with all the love and kisses you can bear.


P.S. Regards to the family and the comrades.

P.S.S. Read the May Day issue of the W.P.

P.S.S.S. I still love you.  Write me very soon.

Editor’s Notes: 

May Day has a very old history and is celebrated differently across the world with its roots in Paganism.  However, it was later adopted as a Socialist holiday, called International Worker’s Day.  It was a day off for the workers who were fighting for 8 hour work days, rather than 10 or 16 hours.  The holiday was first “celebrated” in 1886 when many thousands of workers went on strike, walking off the job until their demand for reasonable hours was met.  It was not peaceful; people were killed, jailed, hanged.  In 1939 the Socialist Party was honoring the day with rallies all over the United States.  It is still celebrated by similar political parties, unions, and organizations.  (Source: International Workers of the World webpage)



Shall this MAY FIRST be like the rest that vanished
And left no change to still our Hunger great?
Shall Greed again remain on earth unbanished
And leave the docile workers to their fate?
Shall war again sweep over land and ocean
And leave a deluge to consume the world.
While hope for better things, like -false emotion.
Into oblivion shall again be hurled?
And shall the chains you wear be still more tightened?
And shall you lose the gains of age-old pain?
And shall the load you bear be left unlightened
For many more hard years of strife and strain?
Or will you rise against your cruel master
And let this May give birth to better life
And thus avoid the scourge of near Disaster
And do awav with slavery and strife?
Arise, arise, you mighty working people,
And smash the chains that hold you tight and fast!
And let your Victory ring from every steeple:
That wage-slavery is dead at last!

—George Scheftel

From the May Day issue of the Weekly People.

Scheftel was a Socialist who ran for Alderman in Brooklyn in 1932 but is best known (though still not exactly known) for his poetry.  His book of poetry, Faint Chords, was published in 1913 when he was 28 years old.

Mentioned in this issue of the Weekly People was a treatise by Olive M. Johnson about the difference between May Day (proclaimed by the people) and Labor Day (proclaimed by the masters).  You can read that here.  Click  here to see an awesome site about women who ran for office pre-1920.

I’m not sure if Izzy was still attending SLP meetings while helping his parents in Troy but the photo above is where he would have gone (The Keenan Building)

His comrades in Washington, D.C. would meet here:

2nd and 4th Fri, at Public Library, Mt. Pleasant Branch, 16th and Lamont St, N.W, 8 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant Branch was a Carnegie Library built in May 1925.  The murals painted in the library by Aurelius Battaglia have a fascinating history and most likely served as inspiration for Walt Disney’s Fantasia.  


Photo Credit: Rachel Flynn


From the May Day Weekly People: Washington, D.C. Supper-Round Table. Section Washington will hold another supper-round table on Sunday, April 30, at 7 p.m., at the home of Comrades Stein. Comrade Quinn will deliver address. Admission, 50 cents.

There were certainly other Steins in the D.C. area and many were most likely involved in the SLP so it may not be my Steins hosting, but you never know!

One last piece of history, from the May 6th issue of the Weekly People, about the April 28th speech given by Hitler:

“Every German worker and his wife, as well as children above twelve, were compelled to hear the Fuehrer expatiate upon the great moral cause he was championing. Loudspeakers were installed in factories and public places, and in concentration camps where Hitler’s
cruelly crushed victims were herded around them.”

Weekly People, May 6, 1939

1939 Apr 28

April 28, 1939

Dear Thelma –

Words fail me in expressing my reaction to your loving and considerate thought in your letter with regards to my prolonged stay up here.  All that I can say is if it wasn’t for your appreciation and encouragement which you have given me I fear that it would be too much for me to bear.  You if no one else can see that my behavior is not motivated by blind selfishness; without consideration due to ourselves.  Life and what it has in store for us lies ahead for us but for my father, well there’s not much left.  If I were religious I’d be on my knees praying for a miracle.  As it is every bit of my attention is devoted to prolonging his life.

Thelma, sweetheart I won’t be able to send you any money till the end of next week, when I will make up for the lost time.  I am mindful of this matter constantly and won’t fail, rest assured.

Got up this morning very early to hear Hitler’s speech.  The whole matter reduced itself to the pot calling the kettle black.  If Germany and Italy are run by gangsters Hitler says and proves conclusively that England, France and U.S. are equally as guilty of the accusation also.  It is my belief that the gangsters concerned in the international squabble will forget their differences, join to-gether and go for their real and common enemy, namely U.S.S.R.  It will surprise me if the capitalist nations war with each other thus permitting the U.S.S.R. to step in and make capital after they lie prostrate.

Well, my mother’s toe is all healed now and all fear of amputation is off our mind.  And she has my father to thank for effecting the cure.  This is the second time he has accomplished this.  Monday if the weather permits we are taking the folks out to Grafton.  We are depending a lot on the air, sunshine and water to help my father.  The other day while out there he noticed that he didn’t cough so often.  As for the rest of the family they are fine and dandy and send their best wishes.

That sure must have been a bombshell for the folks of everyone concerned to learn of Leonard and Sonia.  After all the babbling and shouting is over it’s no one’s business but their own.  Leonard is 21 years old.  And they (Leonard and Sonia) have a right to happiness as they see it.

And while on the subject of happiness there’s one thing of which I’m positive.  There will not be a happier couple on earth when I return to your side.  Darling if there wasn’t anything to live for our love would be enough for me.  That I love you doesn’t half express it.


P.S. Usual regards to family + comrades.  Write me soon. Please.

Editor’s Notes: Others may be worried for Izzy and Thelma’s relationship with him being away for so long.  But, Thelma is 100% supportive and understands that Izzy needs to be with his father.  Izzy and Thelma are young with a whole life ahead of them; they are willing to prolong their own happiness in order to extend an old man’s life.  Their love and dedication is inspiring.

You can see that Izzy learned about loyalty and love from his parents’ own relationship.  His father is ill but still able to help heal his wife.  Another couple seems to be on the verge of tying the knot – Leonard and Sonia (from the neighborhood, probably Leonard and Sonya Gorin).  A couple is not an island, there are usually friends and family members voicing opinions, but if they are not an island they are at least in their own rescue boat together.

Now, on to the historical context.  It begins with a letter from U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and a similar letter to Italian President Benito Mussolini, on April 14, 1939.  You can read the letter here.  It asks Hitler to decree that there will be no invasion or attack of 31 nations for the forseeable future.

Hitler responded to this open letter with a speech of about 90 minutes. (broadcast in the US from 5 AM-7 AM)  Hitler said he reached out to all 31 nations and none of them felt threatened by him.  I think it is safe to say that if they did not already feel bullied, they would soon.  You can read the whole transcript here and watch a clip from the speech here or listen to the whole speech here.

“Some of the lying statements fabricated in the past few weeks by these international warmongers and published in numerous newspapers are just as childish as they are malicious.” – Adolf Hitler, April 28, 1939

This letter is still some months before Hitler invaded Poland and WWII began.  I am not actually a history buff so I’m going to have to do some deep diving to understand the American Socialist’s views of Lenin, Stalin, Russia, the USSR to get a complete picture.  However, the climate of the time was that everyone’s common enemy was Stalin, the USSR and Communism.  And then Hitler happened.

1939 Apr 24

April 24, 1939

Dear Thelma –

Not having heard from you in almost a week I’m getting worried.  Why didn’t you answer my last letter?  I hope everything is O.K.  How is your ankle?  Did the swelling go down?

The reason I didn’t send you any money last week is because there has been some delay in mail on George’s insurance checks.  Rest assured that I will make up the money as soon as possible.  Please don’t worry on this account.

My mother’s toe is almost completely healed.  There’s still a very small open wound.  This is being watched very closely and there is no reason why it shouldn’t heal completely.  As for Pop there’s little to say in addition to what I have already said.  He is simply shrinking away.  Now he only weighs 132 lbs and is very weak.  This condition in spite of the most careful attention as to his diet and care.  If only the weather would warm up and stay warm then perhaps, being out in Grafton a favorable change would take place.  But it has been raining up here almost every day last week and it is raining to-day.  As for me, I’m going to fight his illness while there’s a breath of life in him.

The rest of the family is O.K. and sends their best regards.  My driving is coming along much slower than I expected.  However I’m sticking right to it until the job is completed.  George says that the fault is not wholly mine.  Learning to drive on a junky car, which doesn’t respond properly is an obstacle and a damned difficult one at that.

What’s news at 1658 Park Road?  How’s everybody and everything?  How are you coming along on the piano?  What are Leo’s plans in regards the orchestra?

Sweetheart, though it’s a week since I left you, I feel as though ages have gone by.  My predicament is indeed a discouraging one but I’m buoyed up by your understanding and love.  Darling when I do come back I’m positive that we will be the happiest couple in the whole world.

Write me as soon and as often as you can because your letters are the only source of energy I have.  Extend my best wishes to the entire family and the comrades.


P.S. Just reminded myself of a very important part of this note.  I’m madly in love with you, sweetheart.

Editor’s Notes: Izzy makes it clear that he is still very much involved in his parents’ health and will not be returning to D.C. until he deems them well.  This could be much longer than he anticipated since progress seems to be very slow and sometimes going backwards.  Thelma has been supportive in allowing him this, if only because she has no choice.  Izzy promises that once he returns to their marital life they will be the happiest couple in the world.

1939 April 19

April 19, 1939

Dear Thelma –

To-day it has been raining practically all day.  This didn’t stop me from going out for a driving lesson.  I’ve driven our “jalopy” from Troy to Grafton and back two days in succession now and every telephone-pole is still standing up yet so I guess I won’t take after my Pop in this respect.  George + Dave are my teachers and they are pretty good ones.  So you can expect your “nervous wreck” to be able to drive a car when he comes back home.

Mom’s toe has practically been healed.  Cases like this take a long time to get back to normal but she is doing much better than we expected.  Pop on the other hand isn’t feeling so well.  He is weak and depressed, having a dull pain on the right side of his chest.  We had him out to Grafton Monday and noticed that he doesn’t cough so much while he was out there.  Perhaps when he goes out to Grafton in about a week or so he will be greatly relieved.

So Kindler put the finishing touch to Krackow, Feher and Leo, eh?  Well, maybe it isn’t the finishing touch that he thinks!  At least that “dirty wooden-shoes and head-to-match-bastard” should be given a good stiff fight and should be “showed-up” for what he really is!!  It is my opinion that Leo and the other two fellows should use all their force and energy to enlist the entire local behind them.  This can and must be done not only for their benefit, but for the protection of each and every member in the orchestra.  I realize that this is going to be a big undertaking, but after all the abuse and rough-handling that all the men have been getting from that “Dutch Dictator” there’s a common cause which forms an excellent basis for a winning battle and a grand expose.  The way things stand now, there’s nothing to lose and an excellent chance to put Kindler on the “spot” for a change.  The entire personnel should be made to realize that they are men, not mice.  Rest assured no one shall know of this matter from me.  Keep me posted on this matter.

I was very pleased to hear that your ankle is much better.  The swelling will leave much sooner if you will favor your ankle by not walking on it so much.  It was “korny” of me to leave you, darling like I did, but it couldn’t be helped.  You can see if I awoke you it would have made parting so much more difficult.

Sweetheart, I will make up for this when I return.  We will be as happy as a couple of love-birds.  As for Harris, self-signed impossible – imp – just keep up your distant attitude — that matter will correct itself damned soon I’m thinking.

Here’s hoping that Esther gets a break on her new gov’t job!  She should brush-up on some subjects nights.

Darling, I miss you so much that I feel lost right in my own home.  I know that I’m going to be just like this until I get back to “our own” nest.  For the umpteenth time I love you and I’m “moon-calfy” about you.  Write me all the news.  Extend my best wishes to the family and the comrades.  Last but not least keep in mind always that I’m madly in love with you.


P.S. Write me also regarding your work on the piano.  Who’s going to be the celloist in the trio?

Editor’s Notes: We get a little insight into Izzy’s personality that hasn’t come through much from his own writings.  He is viewed as a “nervous wreck” and has surprised himself that he has done a decent job driving.

Izzy writes less of his parents’ conditions, it does not seem so dire as it did nearly 3 months ago.  His father is not doing well but Izzy does not seem able to nurse him back to health.

We move on to Thelma’s brother Leo and his situation that has been hinted at before.  He is a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra.  The orchestra was put together about 8 years before this letter by Dutch conductor Hans Kindler in Washington D.C.  Obviously there are tensions with Kindler and some members of the orchestra with Leo Stein being a major player.  Leo’s and Izzy’s Socialist leanings have put them at high alert for worker’s rights and what the Union can do.


I have not yet found details on the Kindler controversy but, in the biography linked above, he is quoted as saying “when a conductor makes a mistake it’s the fault of the first violins.”  Which is a play on the oft-repeated saying/joke that goes “when a judge makes a mistake it becomes the law of the land, when a lawyer makes a mistake it goes to jail, when a doctor makes a mistake it gets buried”…and so on for different professions.  So, chances are he was like most conductors and expected a lot of his performers, especially since it was an orchestra he built from the ground up.

I do not discount that he may have done things that went beyond his duties in terms of cruelty.  I will be taking a trip to the NYPL Library of the Performing Arts to look at the Mary Howe papers.  She was involved with an organization that helped Kindler, financially, to build the orchestra.


Thelma’s sister Esther was 8 years younger at 21 years old and at a new government job.  Government jobs for women were growing rapidly, mostly in clerical positions in the Post Office, Treasury, and Agricultural offices, with an average annual salary of $1,500! (Bulletin of Women’s Bureau).  I’ll have to do some asking about which department Esther worked in but I believe she did government work until she retired.

Etymology Corner: 

Jalopy – a run-down, dilapidated car but nobody seems to know the origin!!  To my ears it sounds like a butchered Italian word but it’s a mystery.

Mooncalf – a foolish person (not to be confused with the Fantastic Beast from JK Rowling’s imagination)

1939 Apr 17

April 17, 1939

Dear Thelma –

Arrived home yesterday at 6 P.M. after a weary, depressing trip.  On the train I couldn’t read a word; just kept thinking about a dream week which vanished.  From now on I’ll be on edge until I return to you, Sweetheart.

The condition of Pop and Mom was a pleasant surprise to me.  Both were feeling better than usual.  Maybe this was because of my arrival but anyhow, it certainly made me feel good.  The rest of the family is OK and George is going back to work in a week or so.  This is quite definite.

Tell Esther I got an additional return ticket for $1.00 for George Frank.  He was very accommodating to me in return by driving me up to the Bronx.

To-day I’m going out in the country for a driving lesson.  George is going to teach me how to drive and by the end of this week I expect to be an expert.

Write me how your ankle is darling.  I felt terrible Sunday morning leaving you there sleeping with a bum ankle.

Also let me know what’s new regarding Leo.  Rest assured that this information will remain confidential.

I’m holding up everybody now so I’ll sign off, Sweetheart and I’ll be holding my breath till I hear from you.


P.S. Tell Sam + Milton that everyone here likes their picture very much.  Now George has the bug.  He’s going to buy a fast-acting camera.

P.S.S. Regards to from all to all.

Editor’s Notes: Izzy has returned home from visiting Thelma in D.C.  They had a “dream week” and leaving her has depressed him.  Instead of driving home with David he took the train part of the way and received a further ride from George Frank (possibly a friend of Esther’s).  Izzy has not learned how to drive yet and I wonder if he will be able to make more frequent visits to Thelma when he does not have to rely on others.

Auto History:  Izzy and Thelma’s home city, Troy, NY, was the first to pass any law requiring motor vehicles to be registered or motorists to be registered.  In 1899 the mayor wrote a letter to decree that horseless carriages traveling over 6 mph needed to have a permit.  Fascinating, eh?


Formal driver’s education came to public schools around 1935.  Previously, people learned through friends, family members, and even car salesman.  

Here’s a booklet from 1937 by the American Automobile Association.


1939 April 3

April 3, 1939

Dear Thelma,

Well final arrangements have been made (and unless anything unforeseen occurs which might detain me) we will arrive in Washington sometime Saturday afternoon. We spend a day in N.Y. and a day in Philadelphia as per my last letter to you. Sweetheart, I was never so anxious to get going in all my life as I am now. I’m going to hug and kiss you until you cry for help! Boy these next few days until I see you are going to be an ordeal.

Yesterday Art and I played duets and considering all in all we did much better than we anticipated. Let me know by return mail if Tennis is being played outdoors this time of the year in Washington, Sanford Levenstein desires this information.

I’m inclosing $5.00 this time because I’ll need a few bucks on my way down.

Pop has been feeling a little better the last couple of days although still weak. Mom’s toe is almost healed but it still can bear constant vigilance.

George is O.K. now. Poor kid had a tough time of it.

Well I think I’ll close this note now with all the love in the world in my heart for you.


P.S. Regards to the family tree and branches and all the comrades. Write me as soon as possible.


Editor’s Notes: As mentioned in the last letter, Izzy is hitching a ride with David Levinstein down to DC to see Thelma.  This short notes acts as an itinerary confirmation with a dash of anxious love.  He is mostly concerned with letting Thelma know that he cannot wait to see her and will be thinking of it for the next several days until he arrives.

The health of the family is briefly noted as being generally OK.  He mentions practicing the violin and playing duets with his brother Sam (Simeon).  David’s younger brother Sanford asks Izzy to inquire about whether it is tennis weather in Washington.  It’s only Monday so there is a possibility that Sanford will get his answer before the road trip, I suppose so he knows whether to pack tennis gear or not.  

If you’re wondering what that tennis gear would look like, click the photo below to see more from 1939 Wimbledon. Tennis racquets were still made of wood up until the mid 1960s though the wood was beginning to be laminated in the 1930s.  The current material of graphite and steel, as well as larger head size, makes for much more powerful plays.


March 31 1939

March 31, 1939

Dear Thelma,

Hearing your voice over the phone the other night has left me with a mingled feeling which I can’t overcome.  The joy of hearing you speak left me at that time almost speechless but hearing you cry also has me bewildered even now.  Sweetheart, darling we are caught in a predicament over which we are almost helpless.  There is nothing a body can do but to bear up the best he or she is capable of.  I will see you most likely next Friday or Saturday then we can go over the whole matter to-gether, once more.

I called up Dave Levinstein as per your phone call and we talked over the trip to Washington.  He is leaving Troy next Thursday and expects to stay over one night in New York and one night in Philadelphia landing in Washington on Saturday.  He is going to call me up to make final arrangements and when he does I will inform you pronto!

Pop has gotten over his attack for the last few days and is feeling a little better tho much weaker.  Mom’s foot is coming along pretty good.  It won’t be long now before she will be restored to “normal”.  George is much better now but he cannot leave the house for another couple of days.  And this is going to cause us a bit of trouble.  Not being able to report at the employment insurance office in person, his checks are going to be withheld for a two or three weeks, because of the ruling in regards to such matters.  It’s a form of the Penal system.  More about this when I see you next Saturday.

I’ve been expecting a letter from you for the last couple of days and as yet no letter!  What I’m anxious to know is the results of your recital.  I’m going to pause now until the next mail to see if your letter will arrive later to-day.

Well it’s now 2:30 P.M. And I haven’t received your letter so I can go on without answering any queries.

Just got a phone call from Art Levinstein.  He wants to play duets Sunday morning so I guess it will be duets Sunday morning.

Sweetheart I’m so lonesome for a sight of you that I’m afraid I’ll go “nuts”.  The minutes that are going to pass between now and when I see you Saturday are going to be like eons.  Even as you read these lines you are being loved and kissed by


P.S. Again I love you and extend my best wishes and regards to the whole family and comrades.

P.S.S. Read Petersen’s article in the W.P. this week.  It’s a WOW.

Editor’s Notes: Just a quick letter between the last phone call and Thelma’s next letter.  It must have been heart-wrenching for him to hear Thelma cry over the phone.  The good news is they will see each other in one week.  I’m sure Izzy will spend plenty of every minute with Thelma but he does also have plans to play the violin with a friend (possibly the younger brother of the Levenstein driving him from Troy to DC).

To Read: In the April 1st issue of Weekly People a speech by Arnold Petersen titled “Industrial Feudalism on the March” was published.  Page onepage two and page three.

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