A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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Results 11-20:

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc]Sept. 9, [pm. 1917], from the Shattuck Inn, Jaffrey, N.H.UNL-Ray 

Understands her regret that G. P. has enlisted, but he has always wanted to be in the military and this is his chance. It's a time of return to basics: men carrying guns. For herself, feels proud of him and glad he can go, especially as an officer. Wishes Jack were going. Was sorry not to see her, but the heat was debilitating and she and her friend fled back East. Was too worn out to work for a while, but now is working every morning in a tent about a mile from the inn. Douglass's reports about Mother are disheartening. Wonders if she should go to California to see about her. Address is at Hotel Garfield on O'Farrell Street in San Francisco. Elsie is delighted with her school and with Albuquerque. On the whole, families are pretty good things to have.   Willa   [Stout #390]

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc]Sept. 19, [1917], from Jaffrey, N.H.UNL-Ray 

Sending a letter from Elsie she will enjoy.  P.S.: Will be home on Bank Street about Oct. 1.  Willa   [Stout #392]

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc],  n.d. [June 26, 1918] , from New YorkUNL-Ray 

Knows she must be thanking God for a son who could make them all so proud with his courageous deeds, showing he was a true man and not an inferior one. She and Uncle George are the only ones who deserve the glory he has brought to the family [referring to a newspaper notice of G. P.'s death on the parapet of a trench].   Willie   [Stout #418]

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc]June 12, [1918], from New YorkUNL-Ray 

Feels inadequate to write, but wants her to know that her loss [of Grosvenor] is present in her thoughts. Everything else seemed to fade into unreality when she saw G. P.'s name in the newspaper under the heading "killed in action"—a title that sets men apart in glory. Now feels she carries a name of honor because it was his name. It was Isabelle who showed her the newspaper notice. Somehow, had not believed he would be harmed in the war. Knows she must be glad he found his mission in life. Remembers talking with him about the war news in August, 1914. He was not content on the farm; this great endeavor was the kind of effort he needed and craved. Very few men have both the courage and the ability to serve the country in this great challenge as he did. Sends love and sympathy.   Willie   [Stout #419]

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc]Nov. 11, [1918]UNL-Ray 

Thinking of her on this day of peace. For the first time in all history the sun rose on a world without monarchies. A fulfillment of Ralph Waldo Emerson's prediction that God would one day say He was tired of kings. Wishes Grosvenor had lived to see it, but he is now God's soldier, as the line in Macbeth says. The old is gone for good. Now more than ever the flag belongs in churches.   Willie   [Stout #440]

To Mrs. George P. Cather [Aunt Franc]July 4, [1920], from ParisUNL-Ray 

A huge procession of war orphans marched in a parade today to celebrate America. The stars and stripes flying above public buildings. The French like American soldiers, but not Wilson. Hopes to go to Cantigny next week, though trains still disrupted. Feeling good after the voyage. Almost dreads trip to Naples, with travel so difficult now.   Willa   [Stout #510]

To Charles F. Cather [father]July 7, [1920], from ParisUNL-Ray 

Has found out the location of Grosvenor's grave. Please let Aunt Franc know. It is registered by the Society for the Care of the American Dead. He is buried in Grave No. 2, Plot B, in the American Cemetery at Villiers Tournelle. From all reports of how the dead at Cantigny were handled, there can be no uncertainty that it is G. P. Will go there next week and take a picture. Isabelle and Jan will go along. Will stay overnight in a home, as there are no hotels. Feeling a little homesick and eager to return to her own country and her own people, although this country and people are wonderful.   Willie   [Stout #511]

To Sigrid Undset, Saturday [Jan. 24, 1942] [with a clipping from the Commercial Advertiser, Red Cloud, Nebr., dated Monday Jan. 5, 1942: "'Bob' Smith Shoots Down Four Jap Planes."] ; ; Oslo 

Has been thinking about Undset since reading her Elleve Aar, or The Longest Years. [Elleve Aar, literally "eleven years," was an autobiographical novel about Undset's childhood. It was first published in English translation in 1935, titled The Longest Years.] Was in France in 1937 when the translation appeared, but had not read it until now. Would like to ask about many things in the book. Can claim that in one way she surpassed Undset in childhood, in that when she was seven, she could sew quite well! Was pleased to read that on Christmas Day a Nebraska boy had taken down four Jap planes—even more pleased to discover he was Bob Smith from Red Cloud, who had gone to school with her nieces. Liked his cable to his father [quoted in the clipping: "Just arrived from Kumming. Came through both battles of Rangoon safely. Knocked down four ships personally. Happy New Year."]. There are millions of American boys like him, but not from big cities. Please come spend an evening as soon as their siege of visitors from the West is lifted.   [Stout #1570]

To Charles F. CatherSeptember 20, 1913UNL-Rosowski Cather 

It has been raining for days, but is going out anyway. Isabelle is not feeling well and is staying in. Dorothy and Giles were planning on going to North River, but the roads seem too bad. Saw Mrs. Smith Pew, who said she used to sell sheep to father. Likes what she said about always having kept her sheep separate from Mr. Pew's. Is hoping for some sunshine before leaving Valley Home on Wednesday to go to Pittsburgh. Mrs. Freeze says she wishes she were a Cather and was fortunate to have been raised in the family.   Willie 

To Charles F. CatherSeptember 17, 1913, from Gore, VirginiaUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Giles is anxious about running out of hollyhock seeds, so can father send him some? With his trembling hands, Giles probably doesn't write many letters. Seems himself otherwise, and Dorothy looks vibrant still. Saw Annie Freeze, who is leaving for Kansas to visit her brothers. Mrs. Pew lost everything to a house fire two days ago. Traveled up the double S to see Molly Muses, who has aged, though her house looked well-kept. Will stay at Giles Smith's tonight and will soon see Mary Smith in Winchester (she was recently knocked out by a racing buggy at the fair). Lizzie Potts is very hospitable. She and Isabelle will stay here with her for one more week.   Willie 

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