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Letters from College, 1921


Letters from College, 1921

Laurens Hall
Clinton, S.C.
Sept. 11, 1921

Dear Papa,

I received your two letters and also both packages.
Don't worry if you fail to hear from me when you expect a letter. I shall always try to write home twice a week.
So far, nothing in the line of work can be obtained. Several boys in the dormitory have irons and therefore a pressing club won't pay. However, just a little later and I may get something that will give me some money. I have thought somewhat of selling candy in this dormitory, but I am afraid it will take time which I should devote to studying.
I am keeping a record of all the money I spend-likewise of all the money I take in.
Here is what we will get as members of R.O.T.C.: 2 shirts, 1 hat, 1 blouse, 1 pr. Trousers, 1 belt, 1 pair putters. We shall be required to buy our shoes. I do not know what these will cost.
I have two or three other books to buy and I shall be through buying books for awhile.
Tell me what the charges for the engraving is and I shall either send it to you, or you can take it out of what you already have of mine.
I won't have the opportunity of coming home before Christmas because of my schedule.
Our R.O.T.C. work starts this week. I am anxious for it to start because I want the exercise which it gives. The government allowance dropped from 53 to 40 a day.
I am very sorry to hear that Clifton has been sick, but I hope and trust he will be feeling all right ere this.
That's about all for this time. Don't expect another letter until Tuesday week.

Your son,
J. Leon


Clinton, S.C.
Sept. 11, 1921

Dear Mamma,

I am sorry you are feeling so bad--do not work too hard, mamma dear. Try to get well real soon. It seems as if the rest of the family must get sick after I left.
I don't know whether I am at fault by not telling Mrs. Peden good-bye or not. I really intended to but I did not have the time.
We had a light shower today.
No, you need not send the dresser scarfs because I do not need them. But I need that pair of underwear that I wore the Sunday before left. Please send them just as soon as you can. Also send a needle, and some black and white thread.
I found that some of my clothes weren't marked so I shall mark them early in the morning.
I miss you and the rest too! It was awful hard to leave home, and to think that I won't see you again until Christmas. That is certainly a long time.
I suppose Browning is that fellow's name--the one that is to move in Otho's house.
No, Mamma, I shall not forget you, and I shall never cease to love you.
The Y.M.C.A. gave us a reception Friday night. We Rats wore red ties. I had a nice time that night. Several short talks were made, and then we had an informal program for awhile. During this time, we talked to different young ladies. Then we went to the mess hall where we were served with ice cream and crackers. Then back to the administration bldg and talk with the ladies again until eleven thirty when it ended.
Tell Otho, Clifton, and Ossie that they must not forget that I would like to hear from them occasionally. I have very little time to write.
Mamma, when you mail the underwear, send along those grey trousers of mine. You washed them two or three days before I left. I can be wear them here.
There are several people in Westminster that I should write to but since I have not time to write a letter I think I should write each a card.
It is Mr. Littlejohn's time to write me. If he says anything about my not writing him, tell him that probably it is his time to write.
I have joined the Students Christian Worker's Society (or the name is similar to that if that is not the correct one) and intend to do Christian Endeavor work. I intend to join the Y.M.C.A. too.
I would have gone to the C.E. meeting tonight but I want to get a good night's sleep because I need it.
If I continue as I am going now I am going to need at least one more pair of underwear and maybe two pairs.
Chumbley (one of the summer school boys) is not here this fall. He is going back to Piedmont.
Those two boys from Seneca that Marshall Dendy was to bring did not come either. One father decided to send him to Clemson and the other--I don't know exactly about him. Marshall's cousin--Wm. H. Dendy from Hartwell, GA--is here. He is 22 years old and studying for the ministry. I like him.
I have been trying to think of something to do to make some money but so far I have not thought of anything that would net me anything. I thought of selling candy, and even mentioned it in my letter to papa which I wrote before supper but someone else in the dormitory is selling it. Negroes are working in the mess hall. If come here next fall, I am pretty sure of making money. Some of the older boys are selling candy, cigs, P[resbyterian] C[ollege] watch fobs, skullcaps, belts, etc. Therefore I think most probably I can do the same next year.
I am thinking very seriously of changing from French and continue my Latin. Latin does me much good, but if I change I shall have a French book on my hands and shall have to buy two or three Latin books. But still, I think it would pay me to take Latin. I am going to see about it tomorrow.
Bernardo went home for the weekend. It is rather lonesome without him too. I am more thankful every day that I can room with him. He is a ministerial student and is very economical. Naturally, I shall be the same.
When you are talking with West[minster] folks and you talk about me tell them I would be glad to hear from them.
I suppose you remember the Presbyterian Progress, published at Marion, do you not? The editor's (Rev. J. M. Holladay) son rooms across the hall from me. I like him too.
I have some name cards at home somewhere; and if you wish you can mail them with the trousers, etc. Then too, I have some negatives among my junk that I wish you would forward to me. I have a picture of Ossie at home and I wish you would send it if you ever see it.
The mosquitos have been pretty bad here. Monday night I slept very little. Tuesday I got some mosquito exterminator and now they are not so bad.
I think I have written a long letter, in fact, I must have because my stock of ideas and things to write about is almost exhausted.

Your devoted son,
J. Leon


The author was born June 15, 1905 in Westminster, South Carolina. He was just barely 16 years of age when he went from Westminster to Clinton, SC to attend Presbyterian College. His older sister, Ossie, attended Piedmont College. Otho and Clifton were his brothers. These letters were written not long after the first semester had begun; in those days, the semester began after Labor Day. Notice that the letter to his mother is much longer than the one to his father. Note the loneliness as well.

The author worked after the year at Presbyterian College and then transferred to Tulane University for a year. He eventually went to school for a year in Atlanta to prepare for the pharmacist's licensing exam, which he passed. On various occasions throughout his life, he worked as a pharmacist although his main occupation was as a surgical supply salesman.

Donald J. Mabry