Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dearest Margie - July 1, 1940

1856  Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois

July 1, 1940

Dearest Margie,

I feel rotten that I haven’t had a chance to write you sooner but ever since arriving I have been very busy.

That first letter of mine was awful because the train was not very conducive to letter writing. However, now I can think better and maybe write better.

Your first letter (they just started playing ‘Memories of You’ - oh to be at the Grove) was swell and meant a great deal (can’t write with this music) to me. I feel the same way that you do. I always felt that something lacked in my other dates and I was looking for that certain someone. I had always wanted to take you out and now I am glad that I could before leaving. I wasn’t kidding in what I said because that week was marvelous for me. I only regret that it was only a week because as you said in your letter I wish we had more time to experience it. I feel as you do that when I get back we can really see, and I hope so much that it will go on and keep growing as we see more of each other. I have really missed you.

They have certainly made me feel at home here and today I really enjoyed my work. I am practically my own boss and I have my own desk and secretary to take dictation. The weather is swell and only thing wrong is that I’m so far away.

Cope called me from the station and she will be in Evanston in about 3 weeks. We’ll really have to see the town.

I might make a short trip to Kentucky in the middle of the month, I am not yet sure.

I also enjoyed your second letter very much and I was certainly surprised to get it. Don’t forget to send me a picture of you so I can put it up in my room. I told you in my other letter that I wasn’t sure how things went with Barbara just before I left. She was at the train and with my family there I didn’t have a chance to say much. I haven’t received letter from her yet.

I can’t seem to get used to unlined paper and I’m going all over the place. The weather is great back here now and I hope it can stay this way without getting too hot. Every body is going to summer school here and it seems funny not to be going. How are you doing in school?

Monday night I got your letter on the way downtown. We went to the Tropics which just opened in Chicago and is the latest rage. There I sipped a zombie and read your letter under the tropical atmosphere. I was quite nice.

You should enjoy yourself more when you go out. What will the fellows think? How is Worthington?

I’ll close this now so it can get out in the morning mail, but I’ll write the next good chance I get.

All my love,


Backstory of How Margie Met Jim

How did you meet Grandpa?
Well, it was in April 1940 and my boyfriend Chuck Johnston was running for student body president at USC. (His rival was Gordon Wright, who ultimately became one of Grandpa's best friends and Dean's godfather, but at that time he was the enemy and got skunked.) Anyway, Grandpa was Chuck's campaign manager and they had come to the Theta house to campaign. Grandpa had just had his tonsils out and was sporting a scarf around his neck and his voice creaked. I guess that is why I noticed him! He noticed me too.

They (Chuck's committee) had just been to one of the professors to change one of Chuck's grades to a b so he could run for office. That was the T.N.E. group that ran politics at USC. I think on UCLA too. We chatted and, from then on, that is when I ‘just happened’ to see him a lot on campus at the SAE's "corner". (Grandpa was an SAE, and Grandma was a Theta.) He was always surprised to see me. Hah!

We saw each other the following weekend at the Trojan Knight's dance. Chuck was out glad-handing everyone for their votes, and I was sitting at the table by myself. Well, Grandpa came over and sat down and talked to me, leaving Barbara (his girlfriend) with some friends. That is when i decided that he was for me and I was going to do all in my power to snag him, and I did.

Chuck won the election and we all celebrated at the Coconut Grove for dancing. (Grandma was, admittedly, a two-timer. She owns up to it even today.) Then my friend Evelyn Angle, who was engaged to an SAE, got me a date with one of the SAE brothers, who didn’t have a date, for the day and night long yearly party at the Norco Country Club. It included lunch, swimming, dinner, dancing and more. Boy did I make use of that!!!! I think grandpa didn’t know what hit him (he told me that later, but of course was happy about it). Anyway right after that he made a date with me for after our Monday night meeting, May 6. (And Grandpa was a two-timer too! Just goes to show, great things can come by less-than-socially-acceptable means.)

Well, unfortunately, that was the day that my dad was killed…