Saturday, February 23, 2008

Letters from home - Post 18

This is the seventeenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from Abigail (Vaux) Smith (in Glendale near Los Angeles) to grandson Lyle Carringer (in San Diego). Envelope showing Commercial House, McCook Neb., addressed to Lyle L. Carringer, cor of 28th St and Logan Ave, San Diego, Cal., care of H.A. Carringer, postmarked McCook Nebr 23 Feb 1898?, postmarked on back San Diego Cal Feb 27 1898?.

Dear Lyle,

This letter is just for you only, excuse me for not writing before because I was writeing several letters one to Amy one to Sarah Linney one to cousin Mida, and one to Mr. Sillman and wrote the puzzles down and tried some of the answers and if it had not been for my tablet I keep account of who and when I write to people I should have thought I answered you and MaMas good nice letters. I guess Grand Ma must be getting forgetful in her old age. Well if you live long enough you will know how it is, I cannot guess the conundrums or puzzles as you call them so after this send the answers right along too. That is a very good proverb at the heading of your last letter. I believe in having a good time now and all the time through life but about being a long time dead, I cannot believe that, as the Bible teaches us that we never die, and that the better purer lives we lead while our Spirits inhabit this Body the better it will be for us when our Breath leaves the Body, some think the way we will have to pay for lying, cheating and any other mean thing we do we will have to comence and live our lives all over again. I think that would be pretty bad, for instance, suppose your teacher now in School should say to you Lyle you have made such slow poor progress in your studies I shall have to put you into the first grade where you can study it all over again before you can go into the higher grades. I think you would feel pretty much discouraged

2/ so you would, let us so live that we will not look back with sorrowful hearts over our past lives and feel that we have made a failure of everything. I have a few papers Mr. Sanford gave me to read and then pass on to some one else so will send you a few if you do not have time to read them now save them for future reference, when you do have time. You will learn what it takes to make a succesful business man of yourself. I was pleased to hear you say you had saved your money instead of going to the Dog Show because it is not what it was at first now it has so much circus performances attached to it, if you remember the last time I went with you, the horses, dogs and in fact the seals did not perform nicely at all. I used to think what a wonderful thing it was just to watch those seals balance those fire balls on their nose and keep them tossing up in the air, and in fact all they did sing and shoot off a gun.

Cousin Mida's little grans son is 8 years old he has been a couple of times and he prefered a new cap this time. I thought, well they are bringing their boy up like Lyle. The little girl is 7 years old, and she is in 4th B grade I believe if I remember right. They are very nice children just like you are. Sometimes I expect they feel the lessons their Grand Ma gives them is pretty hard to have to listen to too. She lives in the same house with them the same as I do with you, only she cooks and does all of her worke separate. These Grand Mas have some old fashioned notions about the care of children. But - I can see when I go into a family where there is one the children are better behaved and smarter that is old of their age, Ma Ma and Papa can explain to you.

3/ Now I mean if you read this to them. I am glad you are getting along nicely with your music. I suppose you do not take any more lessons do you (or do you). I thought that lady told me when you were through with the 18 lessons you could learn the rest yourself.

Do you ever go down on Saturday and visit your Uncle Davie and little Mable. He would show you how he manages things when the fire bells ring. When I was there he showed me how it would be when it was finished. It all worked like clock worke. I expect he has to train his Horses every day. If you were there on Saturday some time you could see him practice with them. I would like to see them. I never saw a team even drive out of the barn yet during a fire call. I have seen them on the street. But I mean to see them take their places under their harness ... [line missing]

Horse here in Los Angeles that used to be on the Fire department for years and wherever it is when the fire bells rings it starts right off on the run and the man cannot hold it just like it was running away he has to let it go to the fire. He runs a Vegetable Waggon, ain't that funny. I would like to see it Lyle I am glad for your sake San Diego is not a big city. My Oh, your parents would not feel like letting you out of their sight even to go to school there are so many accidents. Children are never safe the streets are just jammed with people cars and every kind of loaded teames pleasure teams and wheels of all kinds. My Oh, no wonder so many people are buying outside property for homes. It is to keep their children out of the crowded city. You can go down on Spring Street and stand there and you can

4/ be an eye witness to well let me give you a specimen of what I saw. First - a policeman conducting a mother with several children acrost the street, with his club in his hand swinging it to the right and left he got them safe acrost - then he would grab an old man just in time to keep the car from running over him, and stop teams that were just ready to pass in front of a street car, and Mida and I just had to hang to each other and dodge this way and that to get acrost safe. I would not try it again that is on Spring Street where so many cars centre, it seems so nice and quiet out here in Glendale, just like out where you live Lyle. Nothing to fear, too far back from the Railroad for tramps to care to come &c. Well I get quite homesick to see you Lyle. You know you seem like my own boy, but we cannot always be together, I do not know when I will come back as Cousin Sadie just has to have someone to live with her and she likes to have me with her the best of any one that ever lived with her, so that makes me feel perfectly at home, and we just have a nice time. We worke or play just as we feel like doing it is too good to last, isn't it. But - I guess not, as Ma Ma says don't worry and look for trouble in the line of sickness and it will not come, so I am trying the thought all the time, now all is well. Let me see Mrs. Breckinridge said to you in her letter (God is life, in that life we safely dwell, it is above beneath and within us, all is well and I am well) so I am repeating that every day and think all my folks at home are well too, well good morning, the mail man is coming, I guess you can read this.

with lots of love,

[cutoff, definitely Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Lyle's grandmother]
Please forward to Matie Callie's and Bert's letters when Mama writes again.


Perhaps we have another case of a letter in the wrong envelope. It is obvious that Abby is in Glendale, California from the letter, but the envelope is postmarked McCook, Nebraska. The letter must be from after 1897, since she is writing directly to Lyle and telling him stories that she hopes he will read to his mother (he was born in 1891, so he might have learned to read by age 6 or 7). It is possible that this letter was written after 1900. I may be able to tell if I can find out who Cousin Mida's grandson was!

We get some idea of what it's like in the "big city" - Los Angeles on Spring Street with lots of traffic and confusion.

I'm not sure yet who this Cousin Mida or Cousin Sadie is - I think it's one of Abby's Vaux cousins. There was a Sadie who was a daughter of George Vaux, one of Abby's first cousins. I should look in Glendale, I think!

This is the first mention of Abby's son, David Smith and his daughter Mable - they are in San Diego at the time of this letter.

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