Friday, August 08, 2008

Where Bargains And Women Are Concerned, It Pays To Advertise

Another Letter From My Great-Great Aunt Ell To her Husband James, October 9, 1917

Postmark: New York, NY
Grand Central Sta.
October 9, 1917, 1 PM
Addressed to: Mr. J.J. Gildea,
Ashley, Pa.
Luzerne Co.
(This letter is written on the stationery of The Langdon Hotel, 5th Ave. & 56th St., New York. This is the hotel where [my mother's] Aunt Mame Mulhern worked as housekeeper.)

New York City
Oct. 9, 1917

My Dear Jimsie,
Are you tired of letters yet. I am back at the Langdon, came yesterday morning and had a very nice busy day.

Mame & Anna came over to Jersey Sunday afternoon for dinner. Then yesterday morning Mae & I came over to Gimbels to a shoe sale. They had 10,000 pairs of Walk Over Shoes they were selling out for $2.69. (Of course) it was my luck not to be able to get a pair. They had beauties in narrow widths but I didn't see anything I could wear. Mae got a pair of white buckskin. And such a mob of women. Where bargains and women are concerned, it pays to advertise. We had to wade through the crowd. Then we went to Macy's and Saks and saw all the beautiful things.

I came up to Mame's then, just in time for lunch, and Mae went on home. I loafed around all afternoon and Mame treated Anna & I to a chicken dinner at seven o'clock. Some chicken. They broil it in front of hot coals. Our dinner consisted of broiled spring chicken, spaghetti-a-grautin (sic), french fried potatoes, french bread and french ice cream & ice water (55 cents a portion.) We have had so much coffee lately we balked on anything to drink with our dinner.

Then we went and Anna got tickets for the Hippodrome for Friday night, and we went to the Strand on B'way. The performance was very good. When we came home, after I was in bed, Mame gave me a nice dose of castor oil & orange, so I said good bye to my chicken about 5:20 AM this morning and at intervals since. I have had a lot of indigestion since I came but I think I will be all right now.

Pete's* a very busy man. Went out to work Sunday at ?:20 (the first number could be an 8, could be a 5 or it could be a 3 - IHH), came in somewhere around midnight, changed and went right out, had to take the Supt. as far as P.burg. He expected that he might reach W-B.

Mae says she will never marry another railroader.

The girls had quite a laugh when I related your experience with the frying pan. You certainly are learning to be some cook. I suppose when I come home I won't have to wash any dishes at all.

I won't be able to work for awhile. I am having such nice times and talk about sights. You see some here. Wish I had a gun this morning and I there there would have been a dead men & women (sic) in the St. Regis hotel across the way. They have no shame or modesty at all.

Mame had a letter from Aunt Ellen** stating that she was coming down on the excursion Sunday and that she didn't think you were coming. That's not right, is it dear. I'm afraid if you don't come I will be some loaded.

It will be more convenient for Pete to meet you and if the train is on time you can both go to six o'clock Mass; if not you can go to seven and we would get an early start for Brooklyn, get there for dinner. Please don't tell me you are not coming.

There was a parade just passed down 5th Ave. which I viewed from my bedroom window. It was one of the artillery's (sic) leaving. They looked fine.

Will close with lots of love from your darling, hoping to hear from you soon.
*This is a reference to her brother Pete, who was a railroad man. Mae is his wife...full name Mary Josephine Carroll.
***I am assuming that this person is Ellen Ruddy Youngblood.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Last Night

Before I went to sleep last night I was reading Time Out magazine in bed. Last year I subscribed to Time Out and New York to keep up on what was going on in the city and initially was quite good about reading each issue each week as they arrived. But lately it seems I only have time to quickly flip through, read an article of note, and then place the issue on the pile of New Yorkers I acquired either through a subscription years ago or when other people put them out for recycling.

After perusing the issue, I got out of bed to turn off the light, glancing at the back cover as I did so. It was a simple advertisement, white letters on a black background, the kind that leaves ink on your fingers and your unexpected fingerprints everywhere. I read the ad and it said:

We Will Bury
* Jewelry
* Watches
* Diamonds

I thought "That's odd. Someone has a service in which they will bury your valuables for you? Who would use such a service? Is there that much need that they can place an expensive ad on the back of a magazine?" I know our economy is not doing well, but people would rather bury their belongings instead of use a safe deposit box at a bank? And if it was time to bury your goods, wouldn't you rather do it yourself and keep the spot a secret?"

Wide awake and perplexed now, I looked at the ad again and realized it said "We Will Buy...Jewelry, Watches, Diamonds."

That makes a lot more sense.