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#1711: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Wolfe Huffmann, June 13, 1945

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Dear Lizzie1:

I have wanted to write to you for such a long time, but you know my mail is always pretty heavy and all through this long dreary war, I have had to write a great many letters to homesick soldiers. Some of my books3 were taken over by the Government and put into all the soldier camps, and so many boys from Nebraska4, Kansas5, Colorado6 and New Mexico7 saw that I knew their home country pretty well and wrote to me when they were lonesome. I tried to answer most of the letters as best I could.

I often wonder whether your Richard8 is old enough to be in the Army. I would love to know where you are, and how things are with you. It is now nearly four years since I had a very serious operation9 - the removal of my gall bladder. The operation was perfectly successful, but since then I haven’t been very strong. I am not sick, but I tire quickly - haven’t the endurance I used to have when you knew me.

I often think of you, Lizzie. Perhaps I have never told you, just in so many words, how grateful I have always been to you for your kindness to my mother10 and father11 - especially to my mother when her health began to break up. I often remember the last Thanksgiving and Christmas12 that you and I had in the old house13 in Red Cloud14. What a happy time that was for me! I shall always think of the old house just as it was then - exactly as Father and Mother left it. As you know, I have a little house15 in Canada16, and I have lived in a good many places in the world, but no one place is as dear to me as that old house in Red Cloud was. You probably know that my sister Elsie17 has sold the house and most of the contents.

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I would be very grateful to you, Lizzie, if you would write me about yourself and your children. I still hear from Mrs. Creighton18 and from Mrs. Florance19. Mrs. Walter Sherwood20 writes me such nice letters whenever she has an hour of free time. You know she has managed the Red Cross for the county21 all through the war, and I wonder that she has had the strength to stand up to it. I think family disputes form the worst of her trouble - so many cases where there was a baby and the father was at war and his parents would not pay for the baby’s keep and the mother’s parents refused to have anything to do with the mother or baby. This, of course, is confidential to you, but there were certainly a great many such cases.

This address - 570 Park Avenue22, New York 21, N.Y.2 - will always reach me. When I am away my letters are always forwarded to me.

Your friend always Willa Cather