mad in pursuit: letters from james & orpha, summer of '26

LETTERS from James & Orpha: contents

last letter

mad in pursuit home


This is Orpha's last letter before the wedding.

Postmarked Thursday 9.2.04, from Orpha in Glens Falls NY

Sept 1 – Five more days

No longer am I able to think, act nor write sanely – I’m “cuckoo” – as Vicky says she’d think I’d be. My nerves are jailed – I’m ice and iron.

The city clerk’s office will close at 4. She gave us her residence address and telephone number. I fail to see the license, myself – the world is said to have advanced – yet Mom and Dad hadn’t a license and were lawfully wedded.

In answer to your delicious question – My Mom does nourish the secret desire you refer to, but repressed it is and must be. The wedding being informal and my wearing a hat, makes it seem at least consistent, since we’re laughing at convention and doing as we darn (‘scuse) please – as you wished to do, in first railing against swallow-tail coats – for Mom to wear a hat. However, it is not necessary. We’re being very modern in subjecting ourselves to criticism – but I gloat in it. It’s nobody’s affair – and oh – for the millionth time – what matter is it? I’m sorry if your mother prefers no hat – Mom and the Aunts have them, and think they’ll wear them at the reception. Do tell your Mother people won’t all wear hats – and if she’d rather not, it doesn’t matter.

We’re being very modern in subjecting ourselves to criticism – but I gloat in it.

I’m delighted with your fantastic suggestions for my “bundle.” However, they’ll be carried out to the letter.

Please ask Eleanor to forgive my not replying to her letter – I’m in no condition to attempt a normal intelligent letter. I’m chancing you, hoping you’ll understand. Hurrah for the “nice looking house.”

Yes, words.


P.S. We’ve another present – 6 Bohemian glass punch (or grape juice & ginger ale (!!??!)) glasses.

Orpha and James were married on Tuesday evening, September 7, 1926. They lived happily ever after. The house at 13 Sachem Street was beautiful and still stands what is now a busy urban community. James found a successful and satisfying career for more than 40 years at Western Electric, a subsidiary of AT&T. Orpha became passionate about politics and forever active in the League of Women Voters. Their love found its embodiment in their son Jim. He inherited both their personalities -- becoming both the methodical scientist and the restless risk-taker. Jim's three children gave much joy to their grandparents. When James retired, they traveled the world, including long happy months on tramp steamers.

They were married for nearly 70 years when James passed away at the age of 90. Orpha began to fade after he left her and died in a fog of dementia at the age of 97.




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