The last three Letters to Charlie have come from Helen, a nineteen-year-old teacher whom Charlie had corresponded with for a short time in 1907. Charlie had even shared a letter and photo of Helen with Dora, which she didn’t care much for. At some point before we joined the party in August 1907, Helen had stopped writing.
According to her…
I really don’t know how I did happen to stop corresponding with you, just forgot you I guess.
I love Helen’s bluntness.
Clearly, something reignited their interest and got them talking again two years later… although I wonder for how long.
In the last letter, I got the impression Helen was at the end of her patience with Charlie, annoyed with his games and antics and immature revelations of “love being blind.”
Love is blind you say, I don’t know I’m sure. How knowest thou? Seems to me you talk from experience.
Seems as if Helen is well aware of Charlie’s relationship with Dora.
Speaking of Dora, she has remained silent over the last six weeks. Until now.
Yes, Dora is back.
And waxing quite poetic in this letter. We haven’t heard from her since June 1st, when she wrote from Woodsville (where she works) and talked of small things like baseball and a prize speaking program and jumping out of a burning car. She also referred to a time of unpleasantness between them.
Here’s the interesting thing that struck me about this letter. It comes from Benton New Hampshire, a small mountain town sixty miles south of Canada, thirteen miles from Dora’s home in Lisbon, and about double the elevation.
For a while now, Dora has mentioned not feeling well and has had bouts of not being able to work. It seems her condition has worsened. Perhaps the family sent her to Benton for the cool mountain air. Or the medical attention. Or perhaps Benton was simply a better place for bed rest, like the woman in this Carl Larsson painting.
Dora’s mother is in Benton with her, and her employers, Dr. and Mrs. Eastman have come to visit. The Carrie mentioned is also employed by the Eastmans as a telephone operator in the Bradford office where Charlie works.
Dora being ill puts a slightly different filter on the letter, at least it did for me. See what you think.
Letters to Charlie #12
Goodness, Dora has it bad, doesn’t she? I didn’t understand what she meant by: “I am glad you didn’t beat me there but am a little afraid you may yet.” How about you? Any clue what this means? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
I’m also curious about Mr. Gleason, who is frequently mentioned. Without a first name, though, I’ve had no luck digging into archives.
So many moments in this letter pained me, Dora’s loneliness, her feelings of being useless, her insecurity about how Charlie feels. And of course the most heartbreaking line of all…
I am building air castles all the time. Someday I expect they will fall.
Until the next letter on July 24th…
Later gators![cws_sc_divider type=’icon’ divi_style=’long’ icon_style=’none’ height=’2′ border_style=’solid’ color=’#2f2f2f’ background=’0′ alignment=’center’ margin_top=’10’ margin_bottom=’10’]Never want to miss a post? Subscribe! You’ll find the subscription widget in the right column on a computer or iPad, and down below on a phone.
UP TO SPEED WITH THE LETTERS
New to the Letter’s to Charlie series? Here are links to the preceding letters to catch up:
- The Beginning January 1, 2018
- One– August 25, 1907
- Two – June 21, 1908
- Three – July 8, 1908
- Four and Five – August 28, 1908 and February 5, 1909
- Six – April 20, 1909
- Seven – May 9, 1909
- Eight – June 1, 1909
- Nine – June 30, 1909
- Ten – July 11, 1909
- Eleven – July 13, 1909