September 5, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

September 5, 1921[1]

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

She tried to keep Lou from going to Davenport, but he was so anxious to go and to take Jean that she thought it might be good for him to go. Wrote about Mr. Dee getting married and how he told her how much it meant to him to have lived with them the past year.

Monday 5 P.M.

Dear Ones All:[2]

I feel as though I could draw a long breath for once. Have hustled all day but the washing is done and a good deal of the ironing, the house in pretty good shape and things ready for school to-morrow morning. It has been a strenous week for every one I guess.

I did quite a bit of sewing last week, made Jean[3] a black suit, bloomers and top in on piece, also her net dress, a pair of panties and finished her coat, then forgot to send her coat but she hasn’t needed it. Her net dress looks real pretty. I bought a light blue silk slip for her to wear under it. Got her a pretty little shirred blue lawn hat, and black suede oxfords – or rather got brown (on sale) and had them dyed. It almost broke her heart when they came home black but she got over it. She looked cute and happy as a lark when she went. Lou[4] wasn’t himself[5] and I tried to have him not go, but he seemed to want to and was so anxious to have Jean go, otherwise I should have kept her home but when I saw how he felt I thought it might be better for him to have her to take up his mind. He wired as soon as they got there, said every thing was fine and mother[6] met them.

Joe, Bob and Anna[7] expected to drive there Sun. and return Monday. Was sorry about that, but they didn’t want mother to know they were coming.

Dorothy[8] came up Fri night and is still here. She and Helen[9] have gone to the train to meet Lou and Jean. Joe[10] is coming up after supper and they are going to a show and then home. He was up last night.

I took Jean to the 11 A.M. train then went over and had lunch with Aunt Lizzie.[11] After that I shopped, got home at 5, just as Mr Dee[12] was getting into the taxi. He seemed to feel very badly about leaving, he filled up 2 or 3 times Friday eve. and said he couldnt show his feelings but they were deep. Also said “and I love those children.” He told me Friday A.M. that so many thot he was a confirmed bachelor and he said I thot so too; “but after living in the environment I have the past year I feel different.” He says “You dont know what it meant to me when those children would run to the corner to meet me, and the few evenings I staid home to hear their chatter, play the victrola and then tap on my door with a dish of pop corn. I made up my mind then that I wasn’t getting what I should out of life. His brother came for some of his things Fri eve, and he said you never will know how much my brother appreciated the home he had here and the nice things he always had to say about all of you. Mr Dee said all the men at the office knew Helen and Jean.

I have told a whole lot that wont interest any one but you, but I know you will be interested. He wanted me to remember him to you and he said he had become so attached to you, thought you were one of the finest “old” ladies he had ever known. Helen said my Grandma is not an old lady – she she said it right from the shoulder. We dont know where they were married, I mean the address, but were married at her home, and went from there to the Edgewater Beach Hotel. They are going to board this winter over on N. Washtenaw, near Lawrence. Said he was so glad they could stay here in Ravenswood Manor. He is near where he lived before he came here. I said you’ll feel you’re back home. He said this is all home to me. He went all over the time he came here to see the room, the first time he met Lou, said he never felt the least bit strange, said we had always done so many nice things for him.

Burn this up – It sounds foolish to any one who doesnt know him.

I looked every where for a hat for you but didnt find any thing. Can you fix yours as Bess[13] said. If not we are planning to go down town Thurs. A.M. and will try and get one then. I sent you a waist. If you dont like it return it to me. I thought it would be prettier with your sweater than a flat front, and the material is fine and pretty. If you want I’ll send a lace to put around the collar, cuffs and frill. [Written in the margin: blue waist sold wholsale for 500]

Dorothy, Martha[14] Helen and I went out to the farm Sat. with Uncle Will[15] and Aunt Lizzie, came back Sunday night. Brought in a big basket of beans. Uncle Wills folks have lots of cucumbers and tomatoes gave us some of those. We didn’t rest very good. Would have done us more good to have staid home and loafed and we could as we had no meals to get except as we pleased.

When I wrote last week I was so broken up over Lou’s being sick and so much to do. I dont think I even mentioned receiving the pillow cases napkins and the candy and nuts. Every thing was lovely and the children enjoyed their candy. They kept it up on the pantry shelf, and broke off a little at a time. We took all the nuts, I mean all that werent eaten and put them into some fudge – it was certainly good. Dodo[16] made it Sat so we took it out to the farm. Uncle Will enjoyed it too.

Bess has her money and mine for the eggs – 2 crates – 900 and will send it Tuesday – to-morrow is that right.

Sadie Crawford[17] is married again.

I wont write about the Davenport[18] trip till the next time – will not seal this till they phone they are here and if Mother came with them.

Mrs Leuders has been here most of the day. When she came said Helen and Louise were coming in the afternoon, but when she saw how busy we were she phoned them not to come.

One day Jean was talking about Michigan and said I wis I could go to Auntie Ethans[19] house and see the child cow.

I’m enclosing Aunt Kates[20] letter. When your beef is gone let us know and we’ll get more if we can. We’ll pay for this.

Lou just phoned. Mother didn’t come. Said he felt all right. We must get supper – rarebit.

Lots of love to all.

Lela

——-

[1] The postmark on the envelope is September 6, 1921

[2] Nancy lived with Lela and Lou, but was visiting her brother and sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan

[3] Her daughter, Eda Jean Mueller

[4] Her husband, Louis Mueller

[5] Lou had previously suffered a nervous breakdown

[6] Lou’s mother, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

[7] Lou’s sister, Johanna (Mueller) Holmquist Langhorn and her daughter, Anna Holmquist; Bob was Johanna’s second husband, Robert Langhorn 

[8] Her niece, Dorothy Recoschewitz

[9] Her daughter, Helen Mueller

[10] Joseph Langmayer, Dorothy’s future husband

[11] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown

[12] Mr. Dee was one of Lela and Lou’s boarders

[13] Her sister, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[14] Martha Lueder who was staying with Lela and Lou. Don’t know much about her other than that for some reason her mother wasn’t able to care for her at that point. It is unknown how old she was

[15] Her uncle, Willis Brown

[16] Dorothy’s nickname

[17] Sarah (Ruddy) Crawford Anderson. Sarah was the widow of Byron Crawford who was the son of Lucius Prosper “Pros” Crawford, Nancy’s uncle. Sarah (Sadie) married Orvis Anderson on July 19, 1921

[18] Davenport, Iowa, where Lou’s mother lived

[19] Nancy’s sister and brother, Hannah (Keith) Towne, who was referred to as Auntie, and Ethan Keith

[20] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford, the widow of Nancy’s uncle, Hiram Crawford Jr.

August 29, 1921 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

August 29, 1921                               

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

Mr. Dee is getting married and has packed his trunks, given the kids lost of stuff and gave her and Lou a photo of himself in uniform. Aunt Kate had a hard substance removed from her face. Harry didn’t call her while she was at Lela’s and Lela doesn’t know where Kate and Jessie will go when they return from Lake Mills. Lou had another spell and had to come home. Mr. Bonnet told Claude that Lou couldn’t even talk when he left the office. Lou has slept all day and Lela doesn’t know what to do for him.

 

Monday 6 P.M.

Dear Ones All:[1]

Will start a letter now and finish it to-morrow. Dinner is all ready but “getting” done – have a baked chicken, fresh corn, cut off the cobs, cucumber. Next week we wont have to eat at all if we dont want to. It will seem good in one way and in another way I’m awfully sorry. We never can get another Mr Dee,[2] and I’m not going to give meals to any one even if I rent the room, at least I dont intend to.

Mr Dee packed his trunks yesterday, gave the kids[3] lots of stuff and gave us an elegant photo of himself, head and shoulders, in uniform. They are coming over to dinner soon after they are married. We are anxious to see the bride. The kids dont seem to care much about his going, but Martha[4] is some blue.

Received your card this A.M. thanks for the napkins, Edie[5] sent me 3 and is going to do my table cloth after decoration Day.

Aunt Kate[6] and Jessie[7] got here about 3 oclock Friday. Aunt Kate came from Oak Park that morning to Rose Hill, watered the grave,[8] then went down town and did several things, then to the Dr. (alone) and had her face taken care of. He took out a hard substance like stone, very small. Harry[9] didn’t call her up while she was here, and when they come back I dont know what they are going to do. They cant go there and Aunt Kate won’t go to Marions,[10] says she will never eat at Jacks table, and I cant have them here. I think they ought to have some one looking for them, but I suppose they’ll trust to luck. Jessie told me 2 or 3 times how much she thot of me. Aunt Kate said I ought to feel honored as there were very few people she cared for. I think they would have staid here till the first if I had asked them, as they cant have the cottage.

Tues. Eve.

We received your letter and the napkins to-day much obliged. I was washing so put them in – they look so nice.

Lou[11] came home about 10 oclock this morning, another spell.[12] Mr Bonnet[13] told Claude[14] he couldn’t talk when he left the office. We fixed a bed on the porch and another in the dining room, as I was washing and it would make so much running for me. He has slept all day and is still sleeping only when I rouse him. I dont think he suffers as much as before – but seems dazed. I wish I knew what to do. Claude was just here says he’s got to let go somewhere.

I wont attempt to answer your letter to-night or write much more. Dont think I’ll let Jean go to Davenport[15] even if Lou goes. I dont know as he would be able to take care of her. I know he wouldnt if he should have a spell. I hate to disappoint mother[16] but may have to. Claude said he thought he shouldn’t go.

Want Martha to mail this so will say good-night.

Lots of love to all

Lela

——-

[1] Lela was writing to her mother who was apparently visiting her brother and sister

[2] Mr. Dee was one of Lela and Lou’s boarders

[3] Lela’s daughters, Helen and Jean Mueller

[4] Martha Lueder, another boarder

[5] Lela’s sister-in-law, Edith (Neumaier) Brown

[6] Katherine (Atcheson) Crawford. Kate was the widow of Hiram Crawford Jr., who was the brother of Lela’s grandmother, Sarah (Comfort) Crawford

[7] Kate’s daughter, Jessie (Crawford) Eck

[8] Kate’s husband, Hiram, was buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago

[9] Kate’s son, Harry Crawford

[10] Jessie’s daughter, Marian (Eck) Meiss

[11] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller

[12] Lou had previously been hit by a streetcar and sustained a brain injury. As a result he would have seizures. Lela was able to care for him at home in the beginning but later had to admit him to Elgin State Hospital where he remained until his death in 1942

[13] Lou worked as an accountant at Bonnet-Brown; Arthur Bonnet and Claude Brown were partners

[14] Claude Brown was Lela’s brother

[15] Davenport, Iowa, where Lou’s mother lived

[16] Lou’s mother, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

November 2, 1920 letter to Nancy Brown from Lela Mueller

November 2, 1920

To: Nancy Brown, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Lela Mueller, Chicago, IL

Aunt Lizzie expected to take June to St. Louis but Lida fell and sprained her ankle so they won’t go. Had a “queer deal” from Harry Crawford. They placed an order for coal with him but when Lela called to confirm she was told he didn’t work there any more. Bess made a very cute cake, shaped round like a pumpkin, for the children’s Halloween party. Wrote details about the party. Helen wanted to play a song on the piano like one of her friends but told Lela, “I havent got her voice and this isnt the tune she plays and I cant remember her words.”

 

Tues. Eve.

Dear Ones All –

I’ll start a letter this evening but wont finish it till to-morrow as I’m tired and sleepy. Mrs Geezy was here this forenoon so we were busy all morning, then I had to go and vote. As soon as Martha[1] got home and had lunch I took the 3 kids[2] down town – left them at Fields’ play room while I shopped. We didn’t get home till after six. I got the 3 children each a pair of golf gloves, had to pay 1.25. Also got Helen and Jean each a sweater – Helen’s pink with turquoise blue trim to match a tam o shanter Mother Mueller[3] made her, and a turquoise blue with tan trim for Jean. Got my self a beaver (pressed) hat – perfectly plain – sort of sailor – but rolled rim.

We were going to Aunt Lizzies[4] to-morrow for the day but she just phoned. The furnace is being fixed so we wont go till Thurs. or Fri. Esther[5] goes to Rockford Sunday to stay. Aunt Lizzie expected to take June to St Louis this week but Lida[6] fell down stairs and sprained her ankle so they wont go. Perry[7] may go to Rockford to work for Ray[8] – if so June will stay here till they are settled.

We got a queer deal from Harry Crawford.[9] I wrote you what he said. Last week Lou[10] called him and told him we were out of coal – must have something to-day sure. He said he would take care of us. This morning to be sure I called Mr Chatum[?] and asked for Harry. He said he wasnt with them yet and didnt know when he would be as they had no business for him to take care of, so I told him about our order. Said he hadnt heard about it. I said probably he is taking care of us thro the Edgewater Coal then. He said I hardly think so as he hasnt been with them for some time.

Bess[11] made the cutest cake for our party – made it round like a pumpkin, made a stem out of flour and colored it green, covered the cake with mocha then marked the ridges and put paper eyes, nose and mouth. It was a dandy. Lida Fick (2nd house south of here) invited Martha there Sunday to a party. She had a little green costume, then I used the crepe pumpkins we had for decorations and put around the bottom and neck of her dress, and she wore the cap I made for our party. She looked cute and is pretty.

Must go to bed.

You’ll see by the enclosed where I found the spelling of the word.

Our party wasnt very large, but guess the children had just as good a time.

Ruth Atkins had another invitation that day. Mrs Eiden felt it would be too much for her mother to get Katherine and Jane ready so I didnt invite Junior Bittman. I’ll wait and have Mrs Bittman over when you get home.[12] She said she fell in love with you and the blue coverlid[13] the day she came to look at the house.

So June, Katherine Cody Martha, Helen, Helen and Jean were all we had. Then Martha and Helen had to leave at 3:30 for another party so it left the 4, but they had a good time. Bess, Aunt Lizzie and Ruth[14] were here. I had cold roast ham, scalloped potatoes, lima beans, fruit salad, olives, coffee, sandwiches and cake ice cream. We grown ups ate in the kitchen. They came for a 1 oclock lunch. Mr Dee[15] wasnt home Sat. Mon. or to-night. We like him just as much as ever. Also like Martha just as well. She is so nice to the children and they like her so much. You’ll have to put barbed wire around your bench when you get home as they play there every day – dress and undress their dolls. Martha too. She takes her doll to bed every night I guess as I often find it in the morning. When they go to the store she and Jean put their dolls in the little go-cart and Helen takes an express wagon Mrs Richee gave them.

The other Evening Helen went to the piano and says “mama this is the way Katherine Eiden sings only I havent got her voice and this isnt the tune she plays and I cant remember her words.”

Wed. 5 P.M.

I wont have time to write more and send to-day so will close and let Martha mail it when she goes to see her mother.

I have your things packed ready to send – dress, hat scarf and outing flannel sacque. They are in the egg crate so as soon as you get it send the crate to Uncle D.[16] Thought they wouldn’t crush in that. Will have insured for 40 or 50 dollars.

Lots of love to all. Will finish this in next. I’ve been working on my coat all day and have got to keep at it as I need it to wear.

[1] Martha Lueder who was staying with Lela and Lou. Don’t know much about her other than that for some reason her mother wasn’t able to care for her at that point. It is unknown how old she was

[2] Helen and Jean Mueller, Lela’s daughters, and June Brown, who was also staying with Lela and Lou (see footnote #1 in October 19, 1920 letter)

[3] Lela’s mother-in-law, Augusta (Ficke) Mueller

[4] Elizabeth (Ogden) Brown, wife of Willis Brown, who was the brother of Nancy’s husband, Henry Brown

[5] Esther (Carlson) Brown, wife of Lizzie and Will Brown’s son, Ray Brown

[6] Lida (Reno) Brown, second wife of Lizzie and Will Brown’s son, Perry Brown

[7] Ray Brown, Lizzie and Will Brown’s son

[8] Perry Brown, Lizzie and Will Brown’s son

[9] The grandson of Kate and Hiram Crawford; Hiram was Nancy’s uncle

[10] Louis Mueller, Lela’s husband

[11] Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz, Lela’s sister

[12] Nancy lived with Lela and Lou, but was visiting her brother and sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne and Ethan Keith, in Galesburg, Michigan

[13] A bedspread

[14] Ruth (Brown) Kroscher, Elizabeth and Willis Brown’s daughter

[15] One of Lee and Lou’s boarders

[16] D. Harris, husband of Nancy’s sister, Louese (Keith) Harris