Sunday, September 25, 2016

Letters from Marilyn - Update 4

Happy new year! That is, I am onto January 1951 which marks the beginning of Marilyn's second semester of college and a new year of letters for me. In addition, I made good progress this week copying her sophomore year letters (155 pages, as opposed to the 225 of her first year). Next weekend's post will be the last of her freshman year before I move into September of 1951.

Normally I give an overview before jumping right into her passages, but I have so much to still do today! As a result, today's post won't have that substance (but with more to come next weekend, I promise). To compensate, I've included two close-ups of her letters in today's post. Didn't Marilyn have beautiful penmanship? Say what you will about writing in cursive, but you cannot deny it has a lovely appearance in letter writing. The first at the top of this post was written while Marilyn was on choir tour - it was postmarked from Racine, Wisconsin. I found it interesting that the choir members were hosted by the community individuals (practically unheard of in today's age). 

The second included here (below) Marilyn wrote to her father Iver while he was in the legislature in Bismarck, ND. Of course I couldn't resist an entry about food, much less about sweets (I've taken to having plenty of snacks on hand while reading M's letters - she writes about food all the time and it makes me hungry. Anyone who knows me knows I love desserts).

Without further ado, here are today's selections spanning January and February of 1951. Just a friendly reminder that the dates correspond with the postmarked envelope, as Marilyn usually dated her letters with the day of the week instead.
January 7, 1951 regarding dorm life: Last nite Joan and two others poured syrup on all the toilet seats and Milla [the dorm headmistress] sat on one of them. She was so mad she nearly blew a fuse! I was really glad that I wasn't in on it.
January 8, 1951: Joan went to the stage play "Brigadoon" this afternoon. She really thought it was good. "Oklahoma!" is coming next week. [I included this for obvious reasons as a theatre director.]
January 15, 1951 regarding her friendship with Audrey (note the letter Audrey wrote in a previous update I posted): Audrey and I have parted company as we had so beastly many differences. She's hard to get along with and so am I, I guess, so I'm convinced it's better this way. [Follow-up on January 22, Marilyn wrote:] Audrey and I are on speaking terms but that's all. With her you can have only one friend and I like several. She's that way with all her friends. 
January 17, 1951 regarding the upcoming choir tour: The choir is going to Chicago, La Crosse (Wisc.), Forrest City (Iowa), Milwaukee, and several other places so it should be quite the trip. I'm really thrilled about seeing that part of the country as I've never been there before.
January 22, 1951 regarding recent exam week: Some kids took "stay awake" pills and today they are so drugged it's pitiful. They really don't know what they're doing. Those pills can be real harmful too. I'm glad I'm not so dumb!
January 26, 1951: I heard Marian Anderson on Tuesday nite. She really was wonderful. She sang two negro spirituals as encore. One was "Gospel Train." [Note: I had to look up Marian Anderson, as the name was familiar but I couldn't place it. She was a famous African-American contralto singer. While this was prior to Marilyn's college years, I found this article on NPR very interesting regarding Marian Anderson's career.] 
February 6, 1951 while on choir tour sent from La Crosse, Wisconsin: Mom, will you save the letters I write on tour as next summer I'm going to write it up in one story or something. [I wondered while reading this if Marilyn knew her mother saved all of her letters as she wrote them.]
February 9, 1951 while on choir tour sent from Racine, Wisconsin: I'm knitting argyle socks. Maybe they'll be done in 20 years! [I laughed out loud reading this!]
February 22, 1951 upon returning from the choir tour: On tour I started going with [dating] one of the choir fellows. His name is Roger and he's a music major, a junior here at Augsburg. He's a real good singer. We sure had fun at all the different places as we usually had the afternoon free. He and his roommate were the life of the tour!
And that's all for today, dear readers. Thank you for continuing to follow Marilyn's story, for telling your friends and family, and for sharing my posts. The support you have shown as I embark on this writing journey has been truly wonderful. Until next week, Olivia. 

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