Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eighty Duece and Dad-man

Central Park-Michael and Philip with their new puppie 'Barney.'

Suite 501-507
1420 Walnut Street PHILADELPHIA 2, PA


John Morgan Davis
Isadore H. Bellis
Herbert F. Kolbsy
Stanley M. Poplow
G. Scott Stewart III
Stephen E. Levin

September 21, 1960

Mr. Wilbur Evans
122 South 18th St.
Philadelphia 3, Pa.

Dear Wilbur,
Thank you very much for your letter of September 12, 1960 relative to the problems that you transmitted to my office. I am sorry that you have had difficulty in talking to Mr. Bellis or to me but please be advised that we do intend to help you to the fullest extent of our ability.

Let me give you some of the problems, which are involved in the matters laid before me at our conference. My assistant, George Scott Stewart III, has forwarded to Doylestown your case against Mr. Irvin Robbins, suit should be instituted in this matter in the next ten days. Second, your problems relative to your divorce action are very complex and have had several conferences in our firm. As I pointed out to you at the time of our first conference the fact of your wife obtaining a divorce in Mexico for which you paid, complicated your status here to a great extent. When Suzanne left your home in Valley Forge she went back to your home in New York City, she did not desert you under Pennsylvania law, for it was a home, which you maintained and paid for. You have since obtained a larger apartment for your wife and boys in New York City and you are paying the rent thereon as of what you consider your proper responsibility. They are living with her and therefore the Courts of Pennsylvania have no jurisdiction over their guardianship.

I am presently working on the law, which applies, to your situation so as to properly advise you as to further action. I hope that I will be able to discuss the matter with you in the near future. You may be assured that I have your best interest at heart and that I shall do my best to protect you fully in this very intricate situation.
With warmest personal regards and every good wish,
I am Cordially and Sincerely yours,
John Morgan Davis

Two letters from Dad to Kathleen-

Les is now living in Pomona, this letter was written two days shy of his 77th birthday.

Sunday, Sept, 25, 1960

Dear Kathleen,

Here I am still stuck with the Plymouth up on blocks in the backyard! Well someday when I’m 78 Ron will have it done. If I’d have any idea of the delay and expense I’d have taken it to Fred Clarke over at Temple and Reno, and while the expense would have been more the job would have been done in a few days. I do not blame Ron because he’s had to do part time work on his own affairs but I’m afraid he is not as good as I was led to believe. Nor does he have the adequate tools so we’ve had to rent them. However I do like them both very much and they have more than made up in other ways for the delay and expense. Well except for not getting down to see you, it’s OK not having a car right now for the distances are not to great here. And Norma and Ron have been here most everyday at some time or another.

I had to get some parts both for the car and the typewriter I am overhauling to sell (an old Woodstock I picked up). It is already sold to Norma’s sister for her boys use at school. Anyway I took the bus to L.A. tended to that and then Vicki wanted me to take care of the kids while she and Joyce drove over here to look at a couple of houses. That was Thursday and they got back to L.A. about 8:30 P.M. and since she had to have her car Friday for shopping, I couldn’t ask her if I could borrow it to come down there.

They baby nearly drove me nuts. I get along with Scottie because I enforce the law with him and he knows it—yet he likes me so he didn’t give me much trouble. Once I had to wallop Stephan in Vicki’s presence because he defied her in obedience. I always talk to him after and explain that I do not like to punish him and so far he has always admitted he had it coming. I cleaned up the place sharp for them and believe me, I can’t stand spoiled kids. I’m afraid Vicki has little discipline although you cannot tell her that!

I like it here very much—there is not much smog and the traffic is nothing like the rat race in L.A. I went over to see Ruby Wedsnday evening at her request (her friend Frank Lasage died about two years ago and she is very lonely) and I got lost in Glendale and was an hour late finding her place.
Hope everything is O.K. with you. Hold everything and before long I’ll make it. At least you are not 2500 miles away now!

Patience dear. Love Dad

Sunday afternoon, Jan. 22, 1961

Dear Kathleen:

I’m sorry I could not come down today. I have had a very miserable week, one big constant headache. Last week , as you know, was an emotional upset for me and that did not help any. Things at Vicki’s are improved now. I have not done as much as I would have liked to for her, although I was able to saw off the bottom of another door so it would close over the rug. Also we had a day and a night of high winds that blew down the antenna which I erected again using more stay wire. Scotty broke into the record player compartment and jammed the changer (again). And then managed to break a leg on a Duncan-Fife stand, What a dear little lad! These are just a few of his willful adventures!

I had hoped to get over to L.A. this past week to see your mother for a little while, then Clarence Purcell, Joe Adams, your kids, and Ruby who as you know has been kind but all of this I was unable to do.

Do you remember the place on Third Street I pointed out to you (similar to the Salvation Army and Good Will)? It is run for the benefit of a hospital. I stopped in there the first of the week and picked up a Victor Red Seal album 12 inch (three records in excellent condition) for 55 cent; Madame Butterfly, Lucia Albanese, Lucille Browning, James Melton!

I want to thank you for sending the check for $6.00. It came in handy. Vicki will pay me $6.50 tomorrow so I’m OK as the month comes to an end. I do hope you are following the suggestions I gave you. I’ll get down there as soon as I can. Keep the chin up.
Heap love, Dad

To Dad from Kathleen--

Norwalk State Hospital
February 7, 1961
Dear Dad,

Received your letter and I’m sorry to hear that you don’t feel well.
I got the message by phone Friday that you could not come to get me. I hope that Scottie and Suzanne are feeling better. If you need any money from me let me know. There is a girl on our ward that plays the piano and she said if she could accompany me she would like to. I think her name is Carolyn. Well, love, Kathleen.

Wib buys a piano, moves us and the piano into 3A, our final apartment in 32 W. 82. A two bedroom on the third floor facing the street. A large airy, bright apartment. Philip and I shared a bedroom that was at least twice the size of what we had been used to. Our two windows looked down on 82nd St.. And get this, we had our own bathroom. This was a happy time. And when the boyfriend Paul arrives on the scene he becomes instant dad-man. I was ecstatic, couldn’t let him go.

Letter from mom to her dad—

November 29, 1961

New York City

Dear Dad,
Received your letter this morning and it’s a funny thing but just last night I intended to sit down and write you a letter with all the news, in fact I had the paper and pen out all ready.

First about Philip’s arm: A month ago he broke it missing a rope swing he and some other boys made in the park, falling about 7 feet. He broke it very badly, all twisted and almost impossible to set—they thought they’d have to operate and put a pin in it to hold it together but after two sessions under anesthesia, (the last session the doctor set it 6 times before he could get it together right) it’s mending O.K. He’ll have a bump they say will disappear in a year or so. In the meantime we’re worried about the nerves in the arm because he can’t straighten out two fingers and had no feeling in three. The doctors don’t know if the nerve has been severed or just injured. Yesterday they put on a new cast, and in (he was in the hospital for 8 days) two weeks they’re going to take it off and a neurologist will do some testing. If it’s been cut he will have to operated on and they will sew it together, which means another week in the hospital and another six weeks in a cast. BOYS! You should have seen him lying there in the park when I got there, 6 cops, park rangers, a whole crowd. They were all very nice. I couldn’t get a hold of my G.P. so Paul, my friend, (I’ll tell you about him in a minute) called his doctor and he recommended this Dr. Arnold who is with the Hospital for Special Surgery (New York Hospital) which is perhaps the leading orthopedic hospital in the country. So he’s in good hands. He’s been through hell let me tell you, having had plenty of pain, you can imagine with a nerve damaged like that. He’s been a brave boy—everyone said so, even the cops. I’ve been very worried. I love the boys very much, it’s difficult to explain how it affects me.

I’ve been seeing this fellow, Paul for the last year. He’s 11 years younger than I am, so it’s pretty ridiculous I guess except it doesn’t seem so. He’s 6’4” and looks older than he is, we have a great deal in common. He loves music and has a real ear for it. He wants to write, but he’s not settled at anything yet. He’d been working for his father here in the garment center in New York but when the government called the reserves for the Army he has to go. He plays basketball for them. He LOVES basketball, is very graceful and beautiful to watch. He’s a born athlete. He went to the University of Conn. and played ball for them. He doesn’t like the work he does with his father very much and I think this stretch of playing ball will get him to what he really wants to do…play in the Pros when he gets out. I don’t know what will become of us. I fought it a good deal in the beginning but some how neither of us has been able to let go. I can’t see any future for us. He isn’t established in any way, and age difference make overwhelming barriers. He’s very nice, has a good heart and I think you’d like him. I’m trying to practice everyday but it’s hard. I have so much to do and I’m weary before I begin. I turned everything over to a lawyer and he’s having talks with Wilbur’s lawyer now. I don’t know what will come of it but perhaps I can get something from him towards helping me get started. These soap operas they pay very well and the hours are good, too. We’ll see. I want him to send the boys to a good school where they can get some kind of an education, these public schools are lousy.

We have a little dog named Barney, ½ Welsh Corgi and ½ Manchester Terrier. We’ve had him since he was 5 weeks old. He’s now a year and a half. He’s really a sweetheart. We’re very lucky. He never yips and you can teach him anything, he’s so intelligent. The boys love him. He’s a real house pet—never goes out except to do his little business—what a difference from poor old Bromo! The kids have a hamster, too, so you can see I have my hands full!!

Well I guess that’s all, guess you can’t believe your number one daughter will be 37 next week, ‘eh!!? I’m as old as Mother was when I was born. Give my love to all; to Kathleen, Mother, Vicki. And take care of yourself. Dad I hope I get to see you all in the next year. Lots of love Suzanne.
P.S. write and tell me what you think of Pro football. Also what you think of the game now as compared to when Minnesota had Bernie Bierman—that period.
Paul and I have arguments about it. I told him all about you.

These were contented times, probably no happier time in my kid-dome. Paul was the Man, way cool. He boogie-woogied on the piano, he was in the Army, hung out with us, took us to his basketball games at Fort Dix. At the University of Connecticut he played basket ball with the “Huskies."…wow, screaming fans and all. One evening as we all went to watch Hudson River fireworks, he held my hand as we walked down Eighty Duece (82nd Street). Man ‘o’ man and Barney was happy too, Mommy’s caboose.

I remember hearing Paul and Mommy having sex; I was stunned, momentarily dazed by the sound of my mother’s groans and the sudden knowing about something I knew nothing about, a strange feeling. And some talk about a “diaphragm?”

From 3A we looked down on the sidewalks of Eighty Deuce. And through those windows Philip and I began to truly feel the city life, the energy of the streets and maybe… a vague breezy sense………. that things would be ok.

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