Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

There was a new sheriff in town.

June as a western gunfighter for Halloween,
circa 1944.

Trick or Treat!

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 9 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, October 29, 2010

Groceries and Art School

After completing his Navy service in 1947, Art returned to Southampton and life in his parent’s house.  He found a job working at Roulston’s grocery store, which was managed by Rodney Pierson, a distant relative.  Art was a dependable hard worker.  He
Pencil sketch of a dog by Art Price.
Note grade of B+ above name.
handled all chores that needed to be done at the store including waiting on customers, butchering, mopping and cleaning, and stocking the shelves.

Art enrolled in the Partida School of Arts, located in Southampton at 18 Cameron Street.  Elena Partida founded the school with her husband Allan Harris to teach art, music, and dance.  Known by her students simply as Partida, she served as Art’s teacher as he studied oil painting, watercolor, drawings, composition, and life drawing.  Her husband taught the music and dance classes (which were not of interest to Art).

Once or twice a week, Art would attend his art lessons with Partida, working on his sketching and oil painting skills.  On other nights, he would go to the movies or spend an evening out with the boys.

(On Sunday, Happy Halloween!)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 11 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Year at Traphagen (1948-49)

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June finished her year at Pembroke in spring 1948 and never returned.  With her acceptance to the Traphagen School of Fashion, she found an apartment on 96th Street in New York City, going in on it with four roommates, including friends Shirley Stahl and Jane Hastings.  From this apartment, she took the subway to the Traphagen School of Fashion at 1680 Broadway, between 52nd and 53rd Streets.

Ethel Traphagen (1882-1963) opened the Traphagen School of Fashion in 1923 to promote fashion ideas that she popularized in books such as Costume Design and Illustration, published in 1918.  The school gained a reputation for its cutting-edge ideas, including the promotion of shorts and slacks as women’s wear. 

June's sketch of
a woman in pants.
In 1948, the school offered courses in fashion drawing, illustration, life drawing, design, forecasting, textile design, fabric analysis, interior decoration, window and counter display, fashion journalism, clothing construction, draping, pattern-making, grading, dressmaking, remodeling, millinery, and glove and bag making.  In her sixties, Ethel Traphagen was still an imposing presence at the school while June was attending. 

June tended to procrastinate on her Traphagen assignments – hardly a surprise considering all the distractions of Manhattan – but she was a good student with real talent.

Sketches by June of women in pants.

(On Friday, Art returns home…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 12 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Gallery of Art's Drawings from his Navy Service

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

Art brought his sketch pad with him as he toured the Pacific on Navy minesweepers.  Most of his drawings from this period are rapid sketches, in pencil or charcoal, of his immediate surroundings, including life aboard the ship and life ashore in the Philippines and Shanghai.  These drawings are a small sampling of his work.

Art's drawing of a view from
the minesweeper.

Art's drawing of a juggling entertainer.

Art's drawing of a boy
begging in Shanghai.

At the wheel, a drawing
by Art Price.

(On Thursday, June’s first year at Traphagen…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 14 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, October 25, 2010


Art Price, circa 1946.
Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

High school classes were very fluid during World War II, with the boys frequently disappearing before graduation as they either enlisted or were drafted.  While still in high school, Art attempted to enlist in the Air Force but was rejected because he had had rheumatic fever in his youth.  Following this, he waited to be drafted, graduating on schedule in 1944.

Shortly following graduation, Art was drafted into the Navy.  Performing well on the tests, he was placed into special training to be a quartermaster, the petty officer in charge of day-to-day navigation tasks.  The war ended the week he shipped out, but his appointed work on a minesweeper is just as important (and dangerous) in the time immediately following a war as during.  Unexploded mines pay no heed to treaties.  During his two years of service, Art worked as a quartermaster third class on several small minesweepers in the Pacific Ocean.

From his early teenage years, Art had diligently worked on his art skills, frequently making detailed copies of drawings and photographs in Time magazine.  He took his sketchpad along with him while serving in the Pacific.  At the age of 19, he found himself stationed in Shanghai and the Philippines, drawing the exotic sights and poverty that he saw around him, so different from anything he had ever seen in the Hamptons.

YMS6, one of the Yard Minesweepers
that Art served on.

Art's sketch of the
minesweeper YMS6.

(Tomorrow, a gallery of drawings from Art’s service in the Navy…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 15 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Pembroke Year

June's mother, her brother Teddy, June,
and her father celebrating her
high school graduation.
Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June did well in high school, receiving particular praise for her artistic ability.  She graduated in 1947 and was accepted at Pembroke College, the women’s college associated with Brown University (where her father had attended), a prestigious Ivy League college located in Rhode Island.

June attended Pembroke for one year.  Somewhere around this time, she was briefly engaged.  At the end of her year at Pembroke, she applied to – and was accepted at – the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City.  She had decided to become a fashion illustrator.

Postcard of Brown University, circa 1947.

(On Monday, Art joins the Navy…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 16 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life During Wartime

June’s father owned a 1938 Ford, but he didn’t take it out often during World War II.  Gas was rationed during the war years so driving was reserved for
The Anderson family's 1938 Ford.
emergencies.  It was an easy walk to his phone company job in town and a pleasant evening stroll to the movie theater or to Tepper Brothers for ice cream and the evening paper.

Food was rationed, too, but June’s father knew plenty about growing his own produce from his youth on the family farm in Connecticut.  He planted his
Victory Garden on the back right corner of their property and it provided plenty of fresh vegetables for the family.

The shades of their house were black on the inside to prevent their house from being visible from above at night.  If the Germans launched a blitz against America, as they had against England, they would not see June’s house.

Soon after the war ended, June's family moved to "the big house."  Located just a block and a half down Lincoln Avenue, their handsome new house was a large rambling affair dating back to the 1850s.  A short concrete wall, perfect for balancing upon, ran along the sidewalks of Griffing and Lincoln Avenues.  Behind the house were two massive pine trees ideal for June's tree climbing adventures (not as common now as June was maturing into a proper teenager).

The Anderson family's new "big house" at the corner of
Lincoln and Griffing Avenues.

(Tomorrow, the Pembroke year…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 17 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Art Does "Time"

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

A budding artist, Art worked on the craft of drawing by making pencil sketches of Time Magazine photographs and artwork.  He drew many of the leading figures of the time.  These drawings are a small sampling of his work.

General George S. Patton, drawing by
Art Price.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, drawing by Art Price.

Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, drawing by Art Price.

Winston Churchill, drawing by Art Price.

(On Friday, life during wartime…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 19 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Childhoods

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June lived in Patchogue then Riverhead;  Art grew up in Southampton.  They were 15 miles apart and completely unaware of each other – and would remain so until that much-later night in 1949 when “Some Enchanted Evening” played, bringing them together for the first time.

June and Art grew up in the depression.  They survived the Great Hurricane of 1938 which swept directly across the East End of Long Island, causing great devastation and claiming 70 lives.  June’s father always remembered braving the hurricane to bring June home from the grade school.  Over in Southampton, Art’s father saw slates blowing off the roof of the grade school so ran inside to tell the teachers to keep the children inside.  As he left, one of the teachers loaned him a hard hat to wear just to be safe.

Unfinished Art Price sketch,
in the style of Prince Valiant.
The first movie Art remembered seeing was King Kong at the Southampton Movie Theater in 1933.  He liked the matinees and the Tarzan movies most.  Other pleasures included the Sunday comics and the Prince Valiant series of Hal Foster, whose style he would sometimes imitate in his drawings.

There was a big tree behind the house in Riverhead.  June loved climbing it and would pretend she was a jungle princess.  As she moved from childhood to pre-teen, she developed a serious crush on movie actor Alan Ladd when This Gun for Hire came out.  June was 13 and Ladd’s sensitive tough guy look (wavy hair, quiet, gentle with kittens) appealed to her.  She wasn't alone.  All the girls thought he was dreamy.

June (third from left) with friends in front of
Riverhead High School.

(On Thursday, a gallery of faces…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 20 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small Town Southampton

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

Oil painting by Art of a scene in Noyack.

Although the Hamptons were already popular as a resort area in the 1930s when Art was growing up, this aspect of the community was fairly easy to ignore for many of the locals.  In most other respects, Southampton was simply another small town in America.  Rich people would come in the summer but their lives rarely intersected with those of the old-time locals.  They lived in different worlds.

Art's grade school class.

Art's drawing of his
grade school class.

In 1931, when Art was four years old, the family decided to rent out their house on Cooper Street for the summer so they could retreat to the old family grounds in Noyack, a less developed area of Southampton located along the Peconic Bay inlet on the northern shore of Long Island’s south fork.  Conditions were primitive in Noyack.  Their cottage was next to a small pond fed by a larger creek that led to Noyac Bay.  It was a world of frogs and clams.  There was a small chapel built for the little community by Mrs. Russell Sage, a wealthy relative who lived nearby in Sag Harbor.  The chapel held services on Sunday afternoon, led by the Presbyterian minister from Sag Harbor.  Art’s mother taught Sunday School, and his father played the organ, which had to be constantly pumped by the foot pedals.

For Art, summer was playtime in Noyack.  The rest of the year was dominated by the public school schedule. Art started at the school on Windmill Lane then moved to the newly built grade school on Pine Street.

Although the family’s roots were Presbyterian and Episcopal, a lively young minister attracted Art’s parents to the Southampton United Methodist Church in 1938, where they quickly became dedicated and very active members.

(On Thursday, June goes to college…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 21 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Patchogue to Riverhead

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June Anderson,
circa 1939.
June spent her early childhood in Patchogue, a small village midway out on Long Island’s south shore.

In 1935, when June was 6 years old, the family bought a house in Riverhead, an easy walk from her father’s job at the regional telephone company office in town.  Approximately 15 miles east of Patchogue, Riverhead is located at the point where Long Island’s two forks meet.  The Peconic River flows into Flanders Bay and the Great Peconic Bay here, with the river functioning as a sort of dividing line between the resort communities of the South Fork and the less developed lands of the North Fork.  Flanders Road was the main route to the Hamptons, a series of villages which stretched along the south shore.

The Anderson family, circa 1938:  Teddy in his mother's lap
and June with her father.
June's brother Teddy (Theodore Carl Anderson, Jr.) was born in 1937.  To June, the eight-year gap between their ages felt large.  She made friends with the local girls and settled into a happy life in Riverhead.  Bright and interested in many subjects, if a little inattentive at times, she did well in the Riverhead public schools.

Most evenings, June's father would take a walk to Tepper Brothers, a popular soda shop in town.  There he would buy the evening paper and a quart of ice cream, fresh scooped from the big tubs, to bring back home for dessert.  June frequently accompanied her father on these evening walks, joined in later years by little Teddy.  June and her father liked the chocolate ice cream the most.

(On Monday, Art grows up in the Hamptons…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 24 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Unusual Strain of Gentleness

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

As mentioned in yesterday’s entry, Art’s mother was possibly the sweetest person in town.  It’s difficult to describe this, although everyone who knew her could attest to it.  The sweetness wasn’t cloying, but a very unusual and rare strain of gentleness that went hand-in-hand with a very active life.  She was always doing something – organizing a potluck dinner at the church, or cooking in her kitchen, or serving as an airplane spotter at Cooper’s Beach during World War II.  She was quiet, attentive, caring, and never hurtful.  She never said anything negative to anyone about anything.  According to the family, her mother before her (the Pierson side of the family) had these same qualities.

Art's charcocal sketch of his
sister Dorothy.
Both Art and his younger sister Dorothy inherited this strain of gentleness.  Art would always be the quiet one in the group, enjoying good company but rarely joining in if the mood turned critical or insulting.  He always looked for the good in people.  And he also inherited something of that love of activity from his mother, always happy to be on the move – walking, driving, and exploring new places.  June appreciated these qualities in Art right from the start.

(On Sunday, June grows up in Riverhead…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 25 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Introducing Art's Parents

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

Art’s ancestry can be traced back to the early years of Long Island settlement, even as far back as the first European colony in Southampton.  His parents were Arthur Nixon Price and Ada Belle Werner, who were married in Southampton in 1925.  At the time of the wedding, Arthur, a carpenter, was
Art's drawing of the family house where Art's parents,
Arthur and Ada Belle Price, were married.
already working on building a house for them on Cooper Street in Southampton.  This partially built house was right across the street from Ada Belle’s parent’s new house, which is where they were married.  The first-born in the family (just as June was first-born in hers), Art was born to Arthur and Ada Belle on December 7, 1926.

Arthur and Ada Belle with Art
as a baby.
There were many relatives in the Southampton area, and this included a number who would spend nine months of the year in the thriving small town of Southampton and then escape to the more rural area of Noyack for the summer.  Starting in 1931, Ada Belle and Arthur settled into this family routine, joining various aunts, uncles, and cousins for the months of June, July, and August.

Art’s father was strict but kind, tending toward the quiet side.  He was very work-oriented, always ready to volunteer for any task that needed done.  He worked for George Price, a local building contractor and relative, up until World War II, when he took a job at the Agawam Aircraft plant in Sag Harbor.

Ada Belle was possibly the sweetest person in town.  She was always busy helping someone or preparing for some church dinner or event.  She worked at the post office from the time she graduated from Southampton High School in 1922 until her marriage.  During World War II, she proudly accepted a position as an airplane spotter.  She would report to a little building near Cooper’s Beach in Southampton and would watch the sky for airplanes.  When she saw a plane, she would attempt to identify the kind of plane using her binoculars and then report it in, using a phone in the makeshift building.  She led a small group of people charged with this task, and she handled the job enthusiastically and conscientiously.

It was a very happy household – Mom, Pop, Art, and his younger sister Dorothy (born in 1929).

(For tomorrow, more sweetness…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 26 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Introducing June's Parents

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June was the daughter of a happy marriage between a Southerner and a Northerner – something that wasn’t all that common back in the 1920s!
Maud Elizabeth Clem.
Her mother was Maud Elizabeth Clem, born in 1902 and descended from the Clem, Rosser, and Zirkle families of Virginia.  Maud grew up in Luray, Virginia, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and home of Luray Caverns.  In fact, Maud’s father claimed to be the electrician who put the first electric lights in the famous caverns.

June’s father was Theodore Carl Anderson, born in Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts in 1901.  Both of his parents (June’s grandparents) were teenage immigrants to America.  His father, Carl Anderson, came from Sweden and his mother, Anna Nilssen, from Denmark.  They had seven children who were raised on the poultry farm they established in Deep River, Connecticut.  Theodore attended Brown University and took a job with the phone company (American Telephone & Telegraph).

Theodore Carl Anderson
at Brown University.
It was the phone company job that brought Theodore to Virginia while still a young man.  Even though he was a Yankee, he was warmly received in small town Virginia.  In addition to his phone company work, he played his trumpet at town events and as accompaniment to silent films at the local theater.  He was young and good looking and attracted the attention of the local girls.  It was Maud who won his heart.

They married in 1923 and moved to New York City a short time later – another phone company transfer.  Maud loved this experience of the big city, but they only lived there for a short time.  By 1925, they were designing the house they wanted in Patchogue, Long Island.  June was born in the new family house in Patchogue on January 25, 1929, their first child.

(On Friday, an introduction to Art’s parents…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 27 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Fine Romance

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June and Art.

June and Art met in May 1949.  For the next four summer months, they went on frequent dates, doubtless increasingly aware of June’s impending return to school in the city.  The first six letters reveal an easy natural chemistry had already developed between them.  They know each other’s personalities and comfortably tease each other.

There are no big declarations of love in this first exchange of letters, but from the start, they consistently sign their letters “love” or “all my love.”  It’s natural to assume that June and Art were having regular phone conversations, as well.  Doubtless, things were discussed on the phone that were equally (if not sometimes more) important as the stories in the letters.  Our view is limited.

June had a tendency toward depression, and her moodiness is often acknowledged in the letters.  She usually attributes it to homesickness or separation from Art, but there are indications it runs deeper than that.  Art was very aware of this tendency and would try to cheer her up.  Of course, the best way to cheer June up was always the promise of a visit.

When reading the letters, it’s important to remember their youth.  In fall 1949, June is 20 and Art is 22.  Neither is worldly.  June is a student, entirely reliant on her parents for the money needed to live in the city.  Art lives at home with his parents, working as a grocery store clerk in a small town.  June may have dreamed of becoming a successful fashion designer and Art of being discovered as a fine oil painter, but any ambitions of that sort are minor in the light of their overriding main concern – seeing each other as often as possible.

(On Wednesday, an introduction to June's parents...)

Countdown:  The correspondence resumes in 29 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

(Cross-posted on the Preserving a Family Collection blog…)  June’s sudden hospitalization scared everyone.  While she had been to see her doctor previously about her appendicitis symptoms, the doctor had encouraged the family to believe that June’s aches and pains were nothing serious.  He was wrong.  When June entered the hospital, her life was in danger.

About two weeks previous to this, Art had a scare himself.  He hit a deer while driving home at night from June’s on Flanders Road, a 10-minute stretch through a wooded area between Riverhead and Hampton Bays.  The large deer dashed across the road right in front of him and he was unable to brake in time.
The car was nearly totaled, and that’s the reason that his Nash is in the garage for repairs during that first exchange of letters.

You replay things like this in your head.  You wonder:  What might have happened?  The question never goes away, reemerging unexpectedly in the dark of night many years later.  You think how things may have turned out very different.

The letters could have ended here.

* * * * *
I find myself surrounded by fragility.  When I pack the family collection into the car and drive 550 miles back to New Jersey, I keep thinking that all these records are so vulnerable in this one car – one blow-out of a tractor trailer on the road, one drunk driver skidding over the line, and a century’s worth of family records could be lost in minutes.

Paper can be resilient.  As organic material, its eventual deterioration is inevitable, unstoppable, but these papers, artwork, and photographs have the capability of surviving for many decades.  It’s a lost cause to think they’ll survive forever, but it remains a good cause to at least attempt to pass them down to the next generation.  As Jimmy Stewart said in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies), lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for.

Preservation of a family collection is a lost cause worth fighting for.

People are resilient, too.  Sometimes, by miracle or chance, they pull through.  But even if you leave the hospital or get out of the totaled car in good condition, the experience remains a reminder of our extreme vulnerability.  Our lives, relationships, stories, and our family collections are fragile, beautiful, and worth preserving.

(On Monday, June and Art and their romance…)

Countdown:  The correspondence resumes in 30 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Life-Threatening Disruption

There’s a month-long break in the letters at this point.  June and Art don’t return to writing again until November 9.  Something happened that weekend that dramatically interrupted all routines of school and letter writing.

Studio photo of June.
Throughout the summer and into the early fall, June suffered from intermittent and unexplained pains and aches.  Her mother had taken her to the family doctor, but he was unable to make a diagnosis.  They assumed it was nothing serious.

June came home to Riverhead for the weekend, probably arriving Friday night.  On Saturday morning, she didn’t feel well and called Art to cancel plans for the night.  Concerned, Art bought flowers and drove out to Riverhead to see her.  But when he arrived, June was feeling better and busy cleaning the house.  She was embarrassed, thinking it might look to Art like she was making excuses to get out of a date.

Shortly after Art left, June suddenly felt very sick -- much worse than before --  and her parents rushed her to the hospital.

The situation turned out to be much more serious than expected—even life-threatening.  Her appendix had ruptured, releasing toxins throughout her system.  Over the next couple of weeks, she was operated on at least twice and had to remain quiet in the hospital to recuperate.  June doesn’t return to Traphagen until November 9, missing four weeks of school.

It’s probably safe to assume that Art visited her often in the hospital.

(On Monday, June and Art and their romance…)

Correspondence resumes in 31 days.  During this letter-writing hiatus, we’ll fill in some background on June and Art.

© 2010 Lee Price

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Swell Feeling to Have a Letter Waiting

Thursday, October 6, 1949

20 Cooper St.
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

It sure is sweet to hear from you.  I’ve been taking it easy lately, early to bed every night.  I’ll be ready to stay up all night when you do come home.

Southampton United Methodist Church.
Last night I (alone again) saw Anna Lucasta with Paulette Goddard.  It was pretty good.  I think I’ve told you that I belong to the Men’s Club of our church.  We have a supper tomorrow and I’m on the committee so I spent this evening scrubbing potatoes and setting tables.  Now it’s only 9:30 and I’m home already.  I’m really getting in a rut!

I hope you’ve made out all right with your roommates by now.  Don’t do so much worrying, though, it doesn’t do any good.  Too bad I’m not there to try and cheer you up.  What about your old roommate Janie?  Is she in the city, Nassau, Lake George, or Timbuktu?

Still no car but I’m hoping I’ll have it this weekend.  If I decide to come in, I’ll call you Saturday.  If I don’t get my car back, maybe I’ll call you Sunday.  It’s no fun bumming around alone anymore.

Keep writing!  It’s a swell feeling when my mother comes in the store at noon and says there’s a letter waiting at home for me.  See you soon.



(For Saturday, a life-threatening disruption…)

© 2010 Lee Price

Temporary Depression

Thursday, October 6, 1949
(just after supper, 6:45 p.m. – we’re getting ritzy – eating later!)

40 W. 96th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

I was depressed today.  Then three things happened to change me into a happy little soul.

1 – I called Daddy and he strongly told me not to worry about our apartment troubles.
2 – Our landlord talked to us – more furniture is coming and the gas has been connected – as soon as we call the company, we can start cooking.
3 – I got a letter from you.

Design for Traphagen ad by June Price.

Daddy was very happy to hear from me.  I called him up to give him reports on recent events.  I still have no roommates and it begins to look hopeless – and I had to ask him to send some vitally needed work that I did last year.  As I have said before, he was very glad to hear from me.  It seems mother was getting worried and was actually talking about calling you up to see how I was!  Just think – you probably would have heard from Mother tonight if I hadn’t called.  I guess I’d better keep in better touch with them.

I also feel better about school.  All the teachers admit it’s a terrific jump from first year to the second.  While the work is much harder, it also is much more interesting.

Art, it certainly was nice to come home from school to a letter from you.  I certainly do hope you get your car soon so that you can be out and around again.  Naturally, I’d love to see you during the weekend, but I think the trip is too much for you, all in a day like that.  If you ever call, add that I’m in Apt. 1a.

Now to homework.  Do write more letters – don’t forget!

All my love,


P.S.  Glad to hear the blondes haven’t latched onto you yet!

(Tonight -- Art likes getting letters, too...)

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life Without a Car

Tuesday, October 4, 1949

20 Cooper St.
Southampton, NY

Dear June:

I got your letter yesterday. It sounds like you’ve been working pretty hard. Let me know about your roommates, I hope you had good luck.

Art's Nash.
 I’ve been taking it pretty easy lately (no car, of course). I went in the Nash garage yesterday to see about my car. It sounds like it’s almost finished. With luck, I should have it in a day or two. I sure hope so – I’m really lost without it. If I do get it back before this weekend I’m thinking of coming in to you. Don’t worry – if I do come, I’ll try and phone you first. Will you be around the apartment on Saturday? If I call person to person, will the landlord know who I’m asking for? Does he know you by now? If I come in, it will be Sunday morning, I imagine. I’ll take you to church, maybe.

Charcoal sketch by
Art Price.
I came home Saturday night at 10:30 after the show. On Sunday, I listened to the ballgame and went to bed early. Last night I went to the movies (alone) and saw Under Capricorn. It was lousy. Don’t bother to see it.  Tonight, I've been working on my art course.

I hope you finally got a check cashed. Do you want a character reference from me?

The boss asked me today if I want to start my vacation on Oct. 17, two weeks from now. So maybe I’ll be seeing you more often than we thought.  Don’t work too hard now. Remember me to Shirl and to your family when you write them.



(Thursday – letters from both June and Art…)

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Day of the New School Year

Monday, October 3, 1949

40 W. 96th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Received your letter this morning. I sure enjoyed hearing from you. Gee! It’s wonderful to get mail.

It’s almost 10 o’clock and this is the first time I’ve rested all day. On the first day of school, wouldn’t you think they would let us play around? Well! You should see all the homework they piled on me! I worked for almost three hours tonight. Of course, I am a slow worker.

Traphagen homework assignment by June
that illustrates fabric textures.
Honestly, the work this year is going to be terribly hard. I hope I’m not completely wasting Daddy’s money. Something new to worry about.

Other than that, it was fun seeing all the old classmates from last year again. I haven’t sighted any prospective roommates as yet, but reports are a trifle encouraging. (There was talk...) We seem to have a few prospects.

We don’t have a radio yet and never buy a newspaper, but from what I gather from passing people in the street, the Dodgers and Yankees will play the series. Did you and Joe celebrate?

I see where you say not to study too hard but to get my homework done. Art, I’m no magician. It can’t be both!

Please write soon.



(Tomorrow – life without a car in Southampton.)

© 2010 Lee Price

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Night and Nothing to Do

Saturday, October 1, 1949

20 Cooper St.
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

It sure seems strange. Here it is Saturday night and there’s nothing to do. I hope you're settled all right and found a couple of good roommates. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting two girls to come in with you.

The Southampton movie theater on Hill Street, just a
five block walk from Art's home on Cooper Street.
Went to a football game last night. We lost and then I went home early, believe it or not. I think I’ll go to the movies tonight and try and get home early again. I'm still using my mother’s car and guess I will be for a couple of weeks.

Bruno goes to the city tomorrow to march in the Columbus Day parade. Why don’t you go over to Fifth Avenue tomorrow afternoon? You’ll probably see some of the boys from here marching.

I haven’t seen any mail from you yet but I’m expecting to get some! When you write be sure and tell me your phone number. Don’t study too hard, but be sure and get your homework done before you come home. Remember me to Shirl. I feel as if I know her. So long kid, see you soon,



(On Monday, June's first day of the new school year…)

© 2010 Lee Price

Hands You Love to Touch

Pencil sketch by June Anderson for Traphagen School of Fashion,
circa 1949

Saturday, October 1, 1949

40 W. 96th St.
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Just looking out of the window – they have double parking on this street. Ever see that? The cars park sideways, but in two rows. I don’t understand it. Suppose someone in the row next to the sidewalk wants to leave? Oh well, it’s not my worry.

The older I become, the more complicated life becomes. Money matters now. I came with a few dollars in my pocket and a check book. I thought, oh well, anybody, or at least somebody, will cash my check. Guess what? They won’t. The banks are closed till Monday, and people now tell me that the bank won’t give me my money until 3 days after I hand over a check. And here I am – with only 4 dollars!

Art, you know those “hands you love to touch” (Lux, isn’t it?)? Well, they could sharpen a knife right now! When I think back on this past month with nothing to do except maybe get ready for a date with you – Ah-h-h-h that’s a wistful sigh... I slaved here all day! We cleaned the entire apartment. I washed the tile in the bathroom while Shirley scrubbed the floor. I scrubbed the tile under the fireplace. We cleaned the woodwork, polished the furniture, and dusted the venetian blinds. But it was worth it.

It’s an awful responsibility for two girls to take on – signing the lease and everything. I called up daddy today and he says not to worry – if we can’t get some roommates we’ll just have to move and lose the money, but it’s alright. I feel somewhat better about it now.

I keep asking Shirl to get up and make me something to eat, but she won’t budge. Looks like I may have to do it myself. Hooray! She finally got up! Two sandwiches apiece, please! I’m hungry tonight.

Art, how is your knee now?  Please, even if it is feeling better, keep doctoring it – after all, I’m hoping to dance the next time we go out.

Maybe I can squeeze out a dollar for a movie tonight.  We have no radio here as yet, so it’s kind of quiet. It doesn’t seem like Saturday night. I’m afraid I’m going to miss you.

All my love,


(Tonight – Art’s first letter to June…)

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, October 1, 2010

Summer of 1949

What followed was simply a wonderful summer that went by too quickly.

June and Art.
Art called the day after the party and they began dating, mainly seeing each other on weekends and talking on the phone on weekdays. They went to parties and movies together. They met each other’s parents and both sets of parents approved. Within their peer group, friends were matching up and breaking up regularly with emotions often running high. But June and Art were practically oblivious to the concerns of others around them, as they basked in the intoxication of young love that summer.

Art continued working at Roulston’s as a grocery clerk. At night, he would sometimes attend art lessons from Elena Partida, a local art teacher. June didn’t do much that summer. She slept late, listened to the radio, read books, talked to her friends, and waited for Art to call.

Summer passes quickly, especially when you’re in love. Fall approached. For June, this meant that it was time to pack for her trip back to New York City – two and a half hours away on the Long Island Rail Road. Shirley Stahl would be her roommate again, but this time, they weren’t sure where they would be living. As the date approached to leave, nothing was definite yet. They made plans to stay at the previous year’s 96th Street apartment, even though it was really too expensive for them to afford without former roomate Jane to help out. They hoped they might find additional roommates to share the expense. If not, they figured they might have to move somewhere cheaper – provided they could get out of the lease.

On Saturday, October 1, June returned to New York City, probably driven there by her mother and father. Monday would be the first day of the new school year at Traphagen School of Fashion.

June and Art had agreed to write letters while they were apart. True to their word, they each wrote letters on Saturday night.

(Tomorrow -- June’s first letter from New York City…)

Countdown:  Correspondence begins tomorrow.

© 2010 Lee Price