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SBButler Letters, December 1916

Dec. 3, 1916
Dec. 10, 1916
Dec. 17, 1916


Pleasantville, N.J.
Dec. 3,1916.


Dear Mother,

The good things sent down with my package this week have been very much enjoyed, and thank you very much for all of them, fudge, cake, sweet chocolate and apples and nuts. The cake, and some of the fudge and nuts I gave to Mrs. Winch to put on the table with the other things. I took my noon Thanksgiving dinner here at Mrs. Winch's, and it was a good one. A twenty three pound turkey was the chief item on the bill; then of course the usual fixings, cranberry sauce, vegetables, olives, and so on; chocolate ice cream was the main dessert with fruit, cake, nuts & candy for chasers. The chief feature of the dinner besides the eating was the reading of some verses Miss Tolbert had composed for the occasion; she had written a dozen lines or so about each one at the table and also about the home as a whole, "Sunshine Villa", as it has come to be called. She had the verses written out on separate cards, and then passed them around so that no one would have their own verses; after that they were read in order. All of them were eulogies, but very well done. The last two lines of my verse took off my dietary peculiarities in this fashion:

"His gravest fault was one of diet
If he liked not its looks, he would not try it."

Several of the folks were away over Thanksgiving, two to be exact, Carey and Miss Davis, and Miss McClelland came up and had her Thanksgiving dinner with us, so we only had one less at table than usual. Miss Davis went up to Bayonne to spend the vacation with a married sister, and Carey spent the vacation with Cruse at his home.

In the early part of the week I received another Thanksgiving invitation, and by accepting it, came in on two turkey dinners. My evening Thanksgiving dinner was up at Absecon in the home of a Mr. Madden, a music teacher. There is a group of young people from Absecon and Pleasantville, who call themselves the Amicus Club, and I believe every year spend Thanksgiving together. There must have been at least thirty people who sat down to the dinner there. The dinner was good, but you can imagine I had had almost enough when I finished it. Music and games filled up the evening until about eleven o'clock.

Thanksgiving morning started out rainy, and decidedly inauspicious for a football game, which was scheduled for ten o'clock. In fact I went so far as to tell a boy who called me up from Somers Point, that it wouldn't be worth while for him to come up, as I was sure the team wouldn't come over from Atlantic City. Most of our boys showed up at the High School, but a good many went away when the Atlantic City team didn't appear. They suddenly arrived, however, at eleven thirty; so we got together a team which included about five substitutes and played them, losing to the score of 19-6.

Mr. Wilson asked me the other night if I wouldn't play for a performance of that minstrel show of his in Atlantic City on Monday; quite an undertaking to assume on such short notice, but I said I'd do it, and Friday evening I rehearsed with them. The solos are all popular songs, and I guess I'll get thru them all right; a medley overture of patriotic songs with a rather elaborate accompaniment is the most difficult thing to get in order. This morning I went over to the school with Mr. Wilson and practiced on them some more.

Thanksgiving morning I had a telephone call from Sam Sewall, with greetings of the day, but chiefly to make arrangements for coming down to see me next week. He is going to come Thursday morning, and go back early Friday; he wants to see me "in action", as he says, and is coming right up to the school from the train. Earlier last week I had decided to go up to Philadelphia for the day Saturday, chiefly to shop, and was just about to write him. Of course when I told him I was coming up he wanted to have me stay all night, and I finally agreed to do so. I went up early yesterday morning and met Sam at about nine thirty; he went to Wanamaker's with me while I did my shopping, which consisted of the purchase of a new overcoat, a pair of gloves, a pair of dress shoes to take the place of those pumps that were too small for me, and a few collars. I thought for a while I might be able to use my light overcoat for the winter, but on some days already I have not been warm enough, so decided to indulge. The Wanamaker store is really a beautiful place, almost palatial; and as there is plenty of room for everything, it doesn't seem at all crowded, even though there are lots of people around. Sam had made arrangements for us to meet his mother with the car at a quarter past eleven; this we did at schedule time and place, and spent the rest of the morning driving thru Fairmont Park. With Mrs. Sewall was a young Miss Airey from England, who has brothers at the front, and a lady whose name I shan't attempt to spell, from Trinidad (which is an English dependency) who has a boy that is an officer in the English volunteer army and has been all thru the battle of the Somme; he's had all sorts of narrow escapes, such as having his hat knocked off by a bullet, having bullets just graze his clothes, and so on, but hasn't yet been even wounded. He had recently been transferred to Ypres, and just the day before (Friday) the official reports in the newspapers told of fighting around there.

Sam is not living at home during the school year, because of its distance from the university buildings. He is staying at a hotel called the Covington near the University, and we took our meals there yesterday. After lunch we went to Chin Chin at the Forrest Theater, which I enjoyed very much. The comedians Montgomery and Stone were the features of the show. It has an oriental setting, which isn't saying anything in its favor, according to my tastes, but it overcomes this handicap in good music, good action mostly of the mirth provoking kind, and pretty stage setting and costumes; the chorus came out the last time arrayed in gorgeous lavender and purple costumes, which, needless to say, commended themselves to my eyes.

In the evening we played bridge with a Dr. Elmer and his mother in their apartments at the Covington; Mrs. Elmer and I being on the short end of a score against Sam and Dr. Elmer when we finished for the evening. They were very pleasant people and I enjoyed the evening very much.

This morning I left Philadelphia at nine o'clock, so as to be able to keep my appointment with Mr. Wilson.

Do you know if Carter Galt, who is a sophomore at Yale, and comes from Honolulu, is a nephew of Mrs. Galt that we know? I had it in mind that some of Mr. Galt's family were in the sugar business in the Hawaiian islands. I am particularly interested because he recently became a brother of mine, and is on the football squad.

I'm not minus any shirts that I can think of, as I don't believe the one with the darker blue stripe is mine either.

I'll be interested to hear if Raymond has started on the Panama trip, and think it certainly ought to be very beneficial. I hope Aunt Sarah has recovered from the effects of her fall; probably she has been asked quite frequently what happened to the other fellow.

If you happen to think of something which it would be nice to get for difficult members of the family for Xmas, I'd be glad to have you let me know. If somebody wants to make me a present of a new toothbrush, it will find a use for itself by Christmas. Would that be called a broad hint?
Lots of love to all
Sylvester


Pleasantville, N.J.
Dec. 10, 1916


Dear Mother,

The chief event this week has been my visit from Sam. He came down Thursday morning, reaching the school at the time my 3rd period algebra class was going on; attended this and my Mediaeval and Modern History Class which follows. In the afternoon he attended one of Miss McClelland's German classes and gave her pupils a little talk on Germany, from his visits there. This was the first period, while I was having my other algebra class; then he and I together visited Cruse's Physics class for a while and after that spent the balance of the afternoon in my room, where I showed him some of my textbooks, plans of operation, and so on. We stayed after school for quite a while, as there was a practice of the boy's glee club, for which I play. He got a chance to meet several of the other teachers including Dr. Whitney. In the evening we went over to Atlantic City, and attended a movie show, and a big German charity bazaar for the widows and orphans of the Central Powers of Europe, which happened to be going on at the Steel pier, by which we passed. The most amusing thing about the bazaar was that at the very entrance they had a Scotch booth! There were all kinds of booths around, and costumed girls sold chances on anything from huge dolls to cut glass. Sam stopped at a booth where they were selling calendars with pictures of the Kaiser, Von Hindenburg, and other German notables, and after considerable conversation in German with the man and woman behind the counter bought a huge calendar with a picture of the Kaiser on it. He is obsessed with his Teutonic sympathies more than ever, is tickled to pieces over the tremendous defeat the Rumanians have gotten at the hands of the Teutonic armies, and expects a drive at the Saloniki army which will end the war by the end of the year. I am positive that this will not happen, but do feel very much disappointed over the way things have gone in the Balkans, and fear that the end of the war is a thing of a very distant future, because the Germans are apparently every bit as strong as the Allies still. Sam stayed with me overnight, and attended my American History class, the best one I have, the second period in the morning. Then he went back to Philadelphia, in time to keep a lunch engagement. Things went along pretty well in my classes when he visited them and he seemed to be favorably impressed.

I didn't get along in the minstrel show as well as I might have liked, but Mr. Wilson seemed to think it was all right, said it was "fine", how ever much it meant. I was mighty glad when it was over.

Yesterday afternoon I went up to May's Landing with our school orchestra who played in a program which was given in connection with a boy's and girl's farm & home exhibit, at the Atlantic County courthouse, at that place. The orchestra did very well, particularly considering the short time it has practised together, and was given generous applause. MacDougall was up there, he having considerable to do with the exhibit in his capacity as vocational instructor in agriculture at Hammonton; and at night I came back to Pleasantville with him in his automobile.

The rest of the week has been all work, and as I have nothing on the docket this week, I expect I'll work most of the time; don't expect I'll ever get caught up to the point I'd like to get, but there is consolation in the thought that every bit I do this year will serve me in good stead next.

I got a fine letter from Lucinthia this week and am glad she seems to be enjoying herself so much.

About Christmas presents, I think I need socks and handkerchiefs as much as anything; every once in a while I run out of the latter particularly.

According to the Alumni Weekly this past week, another one of my classmates, "Baldy" Crawford of Cincinnati has lost his wife; nothing was said about details. Our record is still intact as far as actual members of the class are concerned; even Hughey McLean has come thru the war safely thus far, and was at the Harvard game this year, on a brief furlough. I'm afraid the chances are pretty much against anyone who is in the war at the present time.

When I come home this time, I think I shall take the State of Maine express, which gets into Middletown at 10:28. I think probably Carey will come up at the same time, and as he can't get home at that time of night, I'll ask him to stay with me at home; it will be all right, won't it?

I must get at a letter to Squinthey.
With much love to all
Sylvester


Pleasantville, N.J.
Dec.17, 1916.


Dear Mother,

This letter will be, I imagine, a record for brevity, as the past week has been rather barren of particular evens, and I have been working most of the time. Thursday night I went to a lecture given by Dr. Whitney on Egypt in the High School auditorium, a stereoptican lecture illustrated with slides which were pictures he himself had taken. It was given for the benefit of a fund which is being raised to get illustrative material for the school.

Last night I went to the basketball team's second game of the season with the Bartlett Athletic Club of Atlantic City. Our boys were beaten as they were also by the same team a week ago. This is the first year that the High School has had a basketball team, as there has previously been no place for them to play.

I wonder if you have had a lot of snow this past week. We have had two good storms here, and it is sticking; more snow than they have had since he has been here, Mr. Winch says. There has been some real cold weather also, so that there is already good skating, another thing which scarcely ever happens before Christmas around here. I do hope there is some skating at home Christmas. Is Lucinthia going to have anyone home with her this year?

We are going to have one session on Friday, so that I can make an earlier start than I expected to. Dr. Whitney, Carey, & I are all going up to New York on the same train, 2:30 from Atlantic City, which I am expecting to connect me with the 6:00 train at New York, so that I can get home at 9:30; of course if I miss it, I'll come up on that later train, as I had originally expected. In the event I catch the 6:00 train, Carey will be able to get home and he won't come over to stay with me.

I didn't have any new handkerchief in the laundry last week that I know of; shall have in the next, however; Carey instead of returning a borrowed one handed me a new one.

Are the presents for certain people to be from all the family? I am going to do most of my shopping this week, which is the reason I am asking.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to Friday evening and hope I find everybody well.
With lots of love
Sylvester.

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