Its Friday afternoon

This is another letter that my father wrote home to Detroit from Los Angeles when he was studying film in 1944. The photograph of my mother putting a hem in her skirt is also from August, 1944. I’m not sure if this picture was enclosed with this letter.

Putting a hem in a skirt. Aug 1944 in Sunshiny living. Los Angeles

231 South Hobart Blvd. #4
Los Angeles, 7, California
August 18, 1944

Hi Folks:

Its Friday afternoon and I just got home from school, and I thought I’d drop you-all a note on the state of the nation.  My “little” wife is still working. She gets off about five-thirty and comes home by way of the grocery store. Everything is about the same as usual. We’re still at large (out of the poor-house)…but I’ll have to find something to do pretty quick if we’re planning to stay that-a-way! I’m “dickering” with the Los Angeles Church Federation for a “position”. The “boss-Man” is out of town but I’ve filed an application and we’ll discuss the matter further when he gets back in September. It would be a pretty-good job if I can get it…sort of Negro field-worker for the Federation, co-ordinating the community work of the Negro churches… recruiting and training volunteers and organizing programs and clubs and groups and what-have-you. I’ve also applied to the Negro Community-Center, just-in-case.

On the way to school this morning a man picked me up in the safety-zone (big fine looking red-faced white man) in a Packard from here down town…and we got to bulling each other, and it turned out that he’s the Director of Audio-Visual Education for the Los Angeles Public Schools.  Of course he was very happy to meet a real authority in the field…and invited me down to his office to see the experimental work the School System is doing in Moving-picture production.  I’ll go down as soon as I can and see what them there “amateurs” are a trying to do.

School is going along fine…(no grades yet, of course!) Me and the Dean of the School of Religion are having a little long-distance controversy through his secretary.  He thinks I ought to take half of my work in RELIGION…and I think I ought to take all (or almost all) in Cinema.  He has an ace in the hole, however, in as much as I’m registered under the School of Religion and therefore pay only the special fees (Fellowships in religion make up the difference) …However, I’m not going to take half of my work in religion in as much as the religion courses will not contribute to what I’m trying to do!

 SPECIAL NOTE TO LOUIS: If he makes me pay up the REGULAR REGISTRATION FEES I’ll have to wire you for a small loan of $100.00 or so until I can work long enough to pay it back. I think we can “arrange the difference of opinion” without such a drastic step… but with the good-white-folks you can never tell…especially preachers. My wife will divorce me if I have to borrow…but I aint no sentimentalist myself…and so I’m a warnin’ you.

How’s the farm going? How’s Mama getting along? I hear that “Racial-tension” in Detroit is a thing of the past! We’re getting ready to have a riot here…The FEPC has ordered the Street Railways to hire and upgrade Negroes immediately! Maybe I can get a “Riot-Movie”.

Here are some “snaps”- Did you get the ones we sent from San Francisco – I don’t think you ever mentioned them.

25 thoughts on “Its Friday afternoon

  1. A lot of the interviews of your dad I’ve seen were very intense, but he had a great sense of humor. Was he a funny dad?

    1. I wouldn’t call him funny exactly. His side of the family did have a biting sense of humor, sometimes with a sarcastic or sardonic edge – depending. We did have our jokes.

    1. I think it turned out in his favor since he was there for a year. I’ll have to look through the letters and see if it comes up again.

  2. The letter was a wonderful fun read. Thanks so much for sharing. Your dad did, indeed, have a wry sense of humor and it likely served him well during his lifetime. My dad also had a very dry sense of humor so I was prepared to understand my husband’s slightly sarcastic brand of same. But sometimes people don’t understand such a sense of humor and it can cause negative feelings so one does have to be careful. :))

      1. My husband has the dry humor while I tend to see the silly side of things. Our 3 kids grew up with both types of humor & when the family gets together I end up with sore cheeks & ribs from laughing so hard. And that’s a good thing! Laughter is good for body and soul. Hallelujah!

  3. A very appropriate photograph! I don’t seem to have anything vaguely relevant to this week’s topic, so perhaps i’ll just enjoy reading everyone else’s SS contributions

  4. What a fine letter with so much news to share. However, I did have to laugh about that one sentence mentioning that his “little” wife came home by the grocery store. What’s up with the quotation marks?? And was there something significant about the grocery store? Maybe it was just your dad’s sense of humor shining through.

    1. Actually I think it was a mean remark about my mother, who was in no way overweight, but he often refers to her as gaining weight in his letters and I think the quotation marks are because he wants to infer that she was not little, and was stopping by the grocery store. She most likely was stopping there, on the way home from work as a social worker with the Red Cross, to buy something to cook for dinner when she got home.

  5. I don’t have a single letter written by my parents. My wife however still uses her mother’s notebook for recipes from home. No-one seems to write letters anymore unless you count the round robins at Christmas time. You would have to look hard for anything humorous.

  6. Great photo and fascinating letter. I love that there was a director of audio visual education in public schools in America in 1944. I think that would have been considered science fiction in Australian public schools at that time but I am happy to be corrected.

  7. A great sense of humor, or should one read between the lines! “little” does one know how it could be. A most lovely photo of you, and so reflective…. what a treasure to keep.

  8. A suitable photo and accompanying note. Old letters sometimes read like pages from a very long book, that even though we know the story, we still like re-reading about the characters knowing what is to come.

  9. I remember that “the little wife” was a common expression; my father used it on my mother whenever she was pregnant — another one of those guys with that dry sense of humor…

  10. I thought the photo lovely and reflective – beautifully lit. The sense of humour in the letter was wonderful too.

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