Letters to Charlie #16: December 13, 1909

My apologies for not getting the December 13th Letters to Charlie installment up on the date of the letter! Although it was on my calendar, I ended up in Winslow much longer than expected, and since the letter was in California, I failed to hit the deadline. Part of the downside of a vagabond life… although I’m not complaining! Life is good. And I got to experience snow!


A Letters to Charlie Recap

(Photos are representations, not actual)

Since it’s been a while, let’s have a brief recap of the Letters to Charlie series. If you’d like to read through them again, you can click the above link or scroll to the bottom for links to the individual letters.

Letters to Charlie

The first letter came in August 1907 from a woman named Dora, a fellow telephone operator in New Hampshire. Most interestingly, we learn Dora is twenty-three to Charlie’s fifteen. It’s clear from the beginning that Dora has feelings for Charlie, but unclear if those feelings are reciprocated.

Representative photos of what Charlie and Dora might have looked like.

Over the next two years, the two continue to correspond, although another woman steps in at one point. Helen, a school teacher also older than Charlie–and definitely more in control of the situation than Dora.

Representative Photo of what Helen might have looked like.

Helen sticks around for only three letters, and then we are back with Dora–although something is going on with her. She is in Benton New Hampshire for her health. Her letters during this convalescence for whooping cough become even needier and more desperate.

She even goes so far as to use the L word.

When she doesn’t hear from him after her confessions of love, she is hurt and angry and writes again. That was the last time we heard from her. In that letter dated August 18th, 1909, she says:

Don’t say you want to forget me for that would kill me. I can’t forget you.

Dang. Pretty heart-wrenching.

That’s when radio silence fell. Four long months went by without communication. Dora returned to her home in Lisbon after a couple of months recuperating in Benton. On December 13th, 1909, a letter lands in Charlie’s mailbox.

Letter to Charlie December 1909

Without further ado, the latest, written on a fancier paper than usual, and quite lengthy.

Letters to Charlie #16

[su_box title=”December 13, 1909″ style=”soft” box_color=”#ddcba8″ radius=”4″]Lisbon, New Hampshire

December 13, 1909

My dear Charlie:-

What do you think of this cold day? I went out for a walk this morning and nearly froze.

Don’t think I believed what Janette said the day I was there. For once I used a little common sense and didn’t let those things trouble me. I thought more of something else. 

I know I never told you about Zena (Dora’s sister), but she has a little baby girl born Nov. 20th. Why didn’t I tell you? Just because I remembered what you said once you would do if the time ever came where I should be (an) aunt. Wonder if you remember. Mama is still with her and I have things about as I want them here at the house.

I am afraid that during the last few months I have been deceiving myself in regard to your thoughts of me. I have thought that I cared too much for you and that I had made a mistake, but after receiving your two letters and the little verses  you sent, which mean so much, surely I can not be in doubt any longer.

Don’t think because you have asked me to forgive you so many times that it has lowered you any in my regard for you, for it has not.

Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Isn’t that what we are told to do? It was not near as hard to forgive this time as it was nearly a year ago. Do you remember the circumstances? I think I should trust you even if I saw for myself you were deceiving me and that is something you never have done.

What happened that changed your mind in regard to Mary? I’m surprised to hear you say what you did of her. Remember  you are going to tell me what you think of her sometime. When?

I must tell you what I did last Friday. I fixed up and tried to look my prettiest and had my picture taken. I received the proofs Saturday and really they are pretty good considering the subject.

I noticed in our last week’s paper that the Littleton Basketball team had a game planned with the Bradford team sometime in Jan. I’ve been thinking that would be a good time for you to come here if you don’t come before. Don’t you agree with me? I often think of what you once wrote:

“I would gladly exchange an afternoon of school for an afternoon with you.” 

Did I ever ask you to lose an afternoon of school? I often wish you were here. Some days are lonely and I know you would help to make them brighter if you could. Your letters are a lot of company but I would a little rather have you come one week instead.

Christie is waiting to mail this letter. She is anxious to get up street, but I don’t know what for, so I suppose I’ll have to stop.

I hope I haven’t said anything in this letter to make you feel bad. Am sorry I did in the other one. I surely didn’t intend to. Good night dear.





My goodness, Dora certainly forgives Charlie easy enough, doesn’t she? A couple of letters and verses from him and all of her doubts are erased–even though Janette clearly was trying to make her see the hard truth about Charlie.

Letters to Charlie

Or maybe I’m jumping to a conclusion. Maybe Charlie had a legitimate excuse for disappearing, but I don’t know. He’s always doing something hurtful and then asking for forgiveness. How many times will Dora blindly forgive him? And what about this Mary person, huh? Is that why he vanished? Hmmm… We’ll have to wait and see.

At least Dora doesn’t sound so suicidal now.

Until the next letter on January 25th, 1910.

Later gators!


New to the Letters to Charlie series? Here are links to the preceding letters to catch up.


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