Skip to main content

#2762: Willa Cather to James D. Cather, May 4, 1943

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
My dear Jim1:

On the 15th of March I wrote a little check and sent it to Charles Edwin3 for an Easter Greeting4, explaining to him that the next few weeks would be so crowded for me that my wish to send the check might simply be thwarted by circumstances. Charles wrote me a nice letter when I was ill and he sent me some flowers at Christmas time, and I wished to send him a little Easter check. Not knowing his Lincoln5 address, I sent the letter in care of Elsie6 at her home, 2701 Manse Avenue, Lincoln. It was a handwritten letter and the envelope was addressed in my handwriting. Now all my March and April cancelled check are in from the Chase Bank, and this check to Charles Edwin is not among them. It has not been cashed.

I don't know whether this means that the boy is ill, or whether Elsie failed to give him my letter. If he had received the letter I am quite sure he would have written me, for he has always been both polite and kind. He was a very lovable little boy, and I know that he is a kind and considerate young man. I am enclosing a duplicate check, which I hope you will get to him with my love.

Elsie feels absolutely no responsibility about checks. Some time after our friend Mollie Ferris7 died, she sent me a bunch of bills from the doctor, undertakers, railway express charges for sending Mollie's body back to Mineral Point, Wisconsin8, etc. Very soon after I received these bills I sent Doctor Lewis9 of Red Cloud10 a check for one hundred and eleven dollars, as he had been very kind in writing me a clear and detailed letter after Mollie's accident. The remaining bills amounted to two hundred and fifty-five dollars, and I sent Elsie a check for that amount. Month after month went by and she neither acknowledged receipt of the check, nor did she cash it. Every month I went over my cancelled checks as they came in from the bank and examined my bank balance. At last (I think it was eight months after I sent the check) I wrote her imploring her to cash that check, that as I hated the unbusinesslike method of never knowing how much I had on account. She then wrote me that she found the check under a lot of old bills in her bureau drawers. Sso she at last cashed it, months after it was written.

The same thing happened once when Mother11 was ill in California12. I sent Elsie a check for three hundred dollars at Christmas time and when I went out to California myself, in March, I found the check lying uncashed in the bottom of her darning basket. At my request, she then cashed it.

I am sorry to bother you about this, Jim, but I wanted Charles to have a little present and the note that I took the pains to write him by hand. If he had got them, I am sure his natural kindness and good nature would prompt him to write me.

We have had a long, hard, cold winter here2. Today, at 11:30, the thermometer is at 50°. Food has been scarce and poor. It is almost impossible to get an honest beefsteak, and sometimes the markets are without butter for a week.

With my love to you and Ethel13, Willie

I look forward to seeing Helen Louise14 in June.