Friday, August 23, 2013

A 1920s Fashionably Dressed Woman

I must get my attention to detail from my maternal grandfather William Liming Redles.  I've been told it's my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.  My grandfather seemed to pay attention to every little thing! Even women's fashion. In some of the letters he wrote to my grandmother Leona Roberts after they were married, he suggests what clothes she should wear for traveling and visiting, right down to the color and fabric.  He even named several items of clothing that he knew she had. After they were married and while he was on Marine duty in Washington, D.C., he would occasionally send fabric, gloves, dresses, stockings, shoes, and hats to her in Valdosta, Georgia, when she on was on extended visits with her family. 

In a letter dated May 27, 1922, that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother before they were married, I found this newspaper clipping of a fashionably dressed woman.  They had just started corresponding with each other only a few months before. Was he keeping her up to date on the latest fashion in the big cities up north?

1920s newspaper clipping

I wonder what my grandmother thought about that dress! The shoes in the clipping made me think of a photograph of her sitting on the porch of her parents' house, probably taken in the 1920s. My grandfather mentions in a letter to her that his friend Warren Graham (who was married to my grandmother's sister Margaret) had given him a photograph of my grandmother sitting on the front porch. My mom and I wondered if it was this photograph.

Leona Roberts sitting on the front porch of her parents house at 206 Wells Street, Valdosta, Georgia, ca. 1920s

In a January 11, 1922, letter to my grandmother, her brother-in-law Warren Graham quotes at length from a letter that my grandfather wrote to him after seeing her photograph, "...that dress is neat and graceful...I think she is the prettiest girl in all the South...Please tell Miss Roberts to bring both pretty feet to Washington."  


The newspaper clipping, photograph of Leona Roberts, and letter from Warren Graham are from the personal collection of Leona Redles Pendleton, Valdosta, Georgia.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Military Monday - The Dreaded Telegram

My dad was drafted in 1943 and was an Army private during World War II. He was sent to Fort Gruber in Oklahoma for basic training before shipping out overseas. I wrote about some of his experiences in a previous post, A Wounded World War II Vet: Pfc Albert S. Pendleton, Jr.(1925-2006). While going through his papers after his death, I found the letters that he wrote to his family during the war. I also found the dreaded "regret to inform you" telegram that no one wants to receive during a war:

Telegram addressed to my grandmother Helen Brown Thomas Pendleton, dated November 29, 1944, to inform her that my dad had been seriously wounded.

I vaguely remember being told that my grandfather is the one who first got the news and had to go home and tell my grandmother. The envelope that contained the telegram has the family's home address written on it, but it also says "care A. S. Pendleton Co." which was the family business where my grandfather worked.  

This is the envelope the telegram was in. The date written on the envelope is in my dad's handwriting. He must have added that later.

The last letter I have that my dad wrote to his family before he was wounded was written three days before he was wounded--on November 6, 1944.  It made me wonder if his family had to wait 23 days from that last letter before they heard anything from or about him. Then I came across some newspaper clippings in my dad's papers.  Apparently the telegram was the first news his parents received.  Someone has written "Thurs Nov 30 1944" at the top of an article, probably from the Valdosta Daily Times, that says his parents had just gotten the news on Wednesday that he'd been seriously wounded and was in the hospital. I can't imagine having to wait that long in war time to find out where your loved one is and what has happened! I imagine that my grandfather's hands shook and his heart pounded as he was handed the telegram.  I can almost feel the dread washing over him as he read the first words "Regret to inform you..." Then he had to drive home to break the news to my grandmother about their young son.