Hello again! Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way and pushed my Letters to Charlie series to the side. Six months into our vagabond life, we’re getting a touch of vagabond-fatigue–not with moving around, but with scheduling places.
Are we fatigued enough to ditch #vagabondlife and settle down? We’ve pondered the idea, but each time we start looking for something more permanent, we change our minds. Guess we’re not ready to give up this free-wheeling lifestyle yet. Maybe once we finish the Tiny Trailer, we’ll make that our home-base.
Enough about our silliness. Let’s dive into the next letter, shall we?
Dora and Charlie
Let’s do a little recap first. In 1908, Charlie would have been sixteen to Dora’s twenty-four. They are both telephone operators in small New England towns, and there is clearly interest–at least on Dora’s part–in having a relationship. Dora sometimes writes from Woodsville where she works, and sometimes from her home in Lisbon—which is where this week’s letter comes from.
Dora continues to sound insecure and needy, even when writing about something as simple as fashion. The description of her new hat and pink dress made me curious about…
In 1908, the Women’s Suffrage movement was going strong. Some women were moving away from domestic life toward office jobs, like Dora, unmarried at twenty-four and working as a telephone operator. This era of the “New Woman” demanded less fussy clothing than the Victorian Age.
Instead of puffy sleeves and voluminous skirts, women’s fashion shifted to a long, lean silhouette, clothes that better worked with their active lifestyles and helped them blend into the male-dominated workforce with no-frills tailored jackets. long, high-waisted skirts, and broad hats.
Now that we can visualize how Dora may have dressed, let’s move on to…
LETTERS TO CHARLIE, #3
A couple of notes about the characters in this letter: Christie is Dora’s fifteen-year-old sister. There’s also a John mentioned. I’m curious about him. Was he a suitor? Clara is frequently mentioned in the letters. She may have been another operator or simply a friend. Maybe even a girlfriend to one of the Eastman boys.
Speaking of the Eastman family, after more research, I finally found their connection to Dora and Charlie. Dr. O.D. Eastman was the Vice President of the New Hampshire/Vermont Telephone Association, and once gave a speech at their annual convention on “Harmony Among Independent Companies” which leads me to believe Dr. Eastman owned the telephone exchanges where Dora and Charlie worked.
I’m also fairly certain Dora boarded with the Eastman’s when in Woodsville working, especially after reading the cow incident in the letter below. The Burns referenced is one the five Eastman boys.
The Letter. July 8, 1908
And there you have it…
I don’t know about you, but the visual of the two women, coats and boots on over nightdresses, searching for the cow in the night cracked me up. I think Dora isn’t happy about being home in Lisbon. I wonder if she’s there due to illness, and what exactly Charlie thinks was the cause?? Clearly not being around to keep Charlie to herself, and his talking to Flossie and Minnie without her around is bugging her. Does she reference John to make him jealous? And why is it important Charlie study John’s picture so he knows him when he sees him? Hmmm…
We’ll have to wait and see.
Until next time…
If you’re new to the Letter’s to Charlie series, here are some links to catch up: