Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Could Never Go Three Weeks...

Tuesday, November 29, 1949

20 Cooper St.
Southampton, NY

Dear June:

Oil painting of a view at sea by Art Price.
I stayed home tonight, didn’t budge out of the house, and got a little artwork done.  I don’t know how it is there in the city but we’re having awful weather, rain yesterday and today.  I hope it clears up before the weekend.  I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow, maybe paint a little.  It’s too cold and wet out to wash or wax my car.

Have you heard anything from your old pal Jane?  She must be in with Mary and Helen by now?

Right now my mother’s sitting here playing solitaire.  I think I’ll hit the rack now – get lots of sleep this week to be ready for the weekend.

Don’t make any dates for Saturday night.  I’ll be there if possible!  I could never go three whole weeks without seeing you.  Good night for now,

Lots of love,


(Tomorrow – more drapery problems.)

© 2010 Lee Price

The Drapes Are Short

Life drawings by June Anderson.

Tuesday, November 29, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Everybody in school yesterday was wandering around with bags and dark circles under their eyes.  Seems like they all had a very nice weekend, although I know it couldn’t have been as nice as mine!

Shirl and I just had a nice big laugh.  She just showed me the material she bought for the room, then proudly brought out the drapes that she had made and almost finished last night.  At one glance, I knew something was wrong.  Sure enough, they are about a foot too short – they don’t reach the window sill by lengths.  Shirl says that’s why her mother calls her good-for-nothing.

What a talking mood you must have been in on Monday night!  I’m sure Frank H. (I won’t deign to call him by that “Footles” nickname) couldn’t have done all the talking.  I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, though. 

Well, Shirl and I have to go out to eat now, then homework, and maybe sewing more drapes – and definitely sleep at 10.  Tomorrow you will receive a much nicer letter, I’m sure.  Until then,

Love (lots),


(Tonight – raining in Southampton.)

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Late Night

Monday, November 28, 1949

12:20 A.M. (really Tuesday)

20 Cooper St.
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

Don’t jump to conclusions about the hour – I really wasn’t out with the boys!  I went to the second show tonight.  It was a very good picture as you know (Pinky).  I went to Gene’s afterward.  Frank Hoffman was there.  We’ve been sitting in front in my car talking.  You know “Footles” is quite a talker (how do you like that for a
nickname?).  I didn’t even have a beer tonight.

I hope you weren’t too late to school.  It was awfully nice to have that last evening though (and all the others were nice, too!).  I don’t imagine Shirl thought
much of another night alone, though.

Well this is one day over and that means less time to wait for you to come home again.  I won’t promise anything about the weekend.  We’ll see what happens.  Be good and don’t work too hard, write lots of letters, you know how I love them.

Lots of love,


(Tomorrow – June and Shirl fix up the new apartment.)

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Southampton Thanksgiving

Art’s mother (Ada Belle Price) cooked the Thanksgiving meal in the kitchen of their house on Cooper Street.  Her sister Gertrude (Art’s Aunt Nin) helped out.  Recently married to Ray Lawrence, Aunt Nin and Uncle Ray lived across the street at the Werner family house on the corner of Cooper and Halsey Street.

Thanksgiving dinner was –

Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Creamed Onions and Turnips
Pumpkin Pie and Mince Pie

Art's parents Ada Belle and
Arthur Price and his sister Dorothy.
Dinner was served in the late afternoon, usually around 4:30.  In addition to Uncle Ray and Aunt Nin, Art’s Uncle Sam and Aunt Helen would usually join them for dinner.  Art’s sister Dorothy arrived home from SUNY (State University of New York) Plattsburgh the previous night.

* * * * *

Did June join the Price family for Thanksgiving dinner in 1949?  Maybe.  We don’t know.

We do know that a problem arose at June’s first Thanksgiving with Art’s family.

The story is that June had a traumatic experience at her grandparent’s poultry farm in Connecticut sometime during her youth.  Whatever she saw, she came away hating the sight of cooked poultry that still looked bird-like.  She could eat slices of chicken or turkey, but hated seeing the bird carcass

Art had grown up attending Thanksgiving feasts where his Grandpa Werner would dramatically carve the roast turkey at the table.  Art’s father continued this tradition following Grandpa Werner’s death.

In deference to June, this Price family tradition was dropped.  With June present, the turkey was discreetly carved in the kitchen then brought to the table in nice white slices, not looking bird-like at all.

© 2010 Lee Price

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Riverhead Thanksgiving

On the table in the dining room of the Anderson house –

One big Turkey
Stuffing (in the turkey)
Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans cooked in bacon fat
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potatoes or Yams
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Ice Cream (always ice cream, for all occasions)

June’s mother (Maud Anderson) got up early to start the meal and she cooked it alone.  June rarely helped in the kitchen and consequently knew very little about how to cook anything.  Her mother didn't want her in the kitchen.  She thought the proper place for a young woman was learning a professional career at college.

Raised in Luray, Virginia, June’s mother cooked a Southern-inflected meal.  In particular, the green beans were distinctively Virginia style, cooked down to mush in bacon fat.  Everyone loved them.

An Anderson family portrait, circa 1938:  Ted, June,
Teddy, and Maud.
The meal was served early, usually between noon and one.  The serving dishes, brimming with food, had to be carried from the kitchen through the living room to the dining room.  Thanksgiving was a big holiday, but not a crowded one at the Andersons.  Most of the relatives were far off in Virginia and Connecticut.  So it was just June, her parents, her brother Teddy, and Aunt Thelma, who was living with them at the time.  The family was taking care of Aunt Thelma as she coped with a very severe and debilitating case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Art probably drove over for a short visit after the meal.  The visit had to be short because his family served Thanksgiving dinner in the late afternoon and he'd have to return back home for that.  If the Andersons had finished eating, Art would have joined them in the living room, where the floor model radio would have been on, probably tuned to a football game.

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Note of Frustration and Thanksgiving

(Cross-posted on the Preserving a Family Collection blog…)

Last summer, I returned home from Florida with twelve large boxes comprising our family collection.  So much history…  and yet there are still countless gaps in the record.

Art’s letters are missing for that nine-day stretch of correspondence between June’s return to school and Thanksgiving vacation.  At the very least, we know we are missing the letter that June refers to as the “shortest.. on record” and the one with the “long, low whistle.”

We have no pictures in our family collection of the Traphagen School of Fashion where June attended for two years.  I’d be happy with an interior or an exterior.  My sister and I have searched the internet, the New York Public Library, and the New York Historical Society.  We’ve found nothing.

There are no photographs of June’s apartments in the city.

We've found no pictures of Shirley Stahl, June’s roommate and close friend.  Perhaps June used her as a model for some of her fashion illustrations?  There’s no way to know.

I don’t know where Jack’s (where June would eat breakfast before class) was located.  We’ve found no pictures of Roulston’s on Main Street in Southampton or Partida’s where Art went for his art classes.  And I’d sure love to uncover a photo of Helen Darby’s house where June and Art met.

Nevertheless, frustrating as it is to acknowledge these gaps, I’m deeply thankful for all that we have – twelve gift boxes from the past for us to care for and pass forward into the future.

Our personal heritage is important.  We’re indeed fortunate to have so much.

© 2010 Lee Price

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Nicest Decoration in the Room

This is the last letter of the exchange that occurred during the two weeks between June’s illness and Thanksgiving.  While it’s obvious from June’s letters that Art was writing, his letters appear to be lost.  When June and Art return to their correspondence following Thanksgiving weekend, his side of the correspondence will be fully represented once again.

Thursday, November 17, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Fabric drawings
June Anderson.

I came into the room tonight to find no letter waiting for me.  Felt kind of lost.  That letter is supposed to be the nicest decoration in the room.  Did you go out again?

Dorothy, Shirl, and I went to the movies right after school to see two English movies.  One was about how a ballet is put together – dance, stage settings, costumes and then the finished (short) ballet.  The other picture was one of those odd affairs that you can’t quite decide whether you like it or not.  Here it is 8:00 and we’re home already.  So, it’s more school work for me I guess!

We had a little fire at school today – in the elevator shaft.  Just a little one, but all the fire engines came.

Shirl and I are planning drapes and covers for the room.  We saw some material we liked today.  Shirl is balanced precariously on the couch and a chair measuring the window.  She looks as if she’ll fall any minute.

This is my last letter before I leave.  I get home at 7:15 on Friday night.  Remember?  Be seeing you.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spending Money at Macy's

This current exchange of letters occurred during the two weeks between June’s illness and Thanksgiving.  While it’s obvious from June’s letters that Art was writing, his letters from this brief stretch appear to be lost.  When June and Art return to their correspondence following Thanksgiving weekend, his side of the correspondence will be fully represented once again.

Tuesday, November 16, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

I’m getting your letters so nicely – another one today.

Today one of our teachers was trying to teach us to do our quick sketches in contour drawings so we spent all morning doing that.  It was fun.  I’m staying home again tonight – going to try to accomplish some homework.

Macy's at Herald Square, circa 1950.
Shirl and I are both kind of tired, we went shopping in Macy’s after school.  We bought an ironing board.  It’s good too, I mean that we bought it – I’m beginning to run out of ironed and semi-ironed clothes.  I hope they deliver it soon.

Before I forget, I’m coming home on that train that arrives in Riverhead at 7:15 p.m. – unless, of course, I miss it at the last minute.

Certainly I won’t mind if Bruno comes back with us.  Bring him right along.  After all, we should help him along with Mary.

Eleven hours sleep just doesn’t sound like you.  It’s either too little or too much.  Then again, I guess you certainly needed it after Saturday night!

Just think, only two more whole days and I’ll be home.  I know, because I’m kept busy counting them and my money.  It’s a race as to which will go the fastest.  Love and kisses and ‘bye for now.  Behave yourself.



(For Thursday, June's last letter before Thanksgiving break...)

© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shootout on 82nd Street

Monday, November 14, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Did you see in Sunday’s Journal American about the robbery on 82nd Street on Saturday night?  Shirl and I were witnesses.  You know – a cop, bandit and bystander were shot at the liquor store robbery?  We were on a bus when the shooting started.  The bus continued up the block and stopped at that corner and stayed.  It was just like watching a movie.  We saw the robbers chased after, shot at, and caught.  It just didn’t seem real.

I was down in the dumps last night.  Everything was wrong.  I have so much homework, I’ve spent so much more money than I should have, and above all I was terrified I would get sick again.  Well Daddy says never mind the money, but I still feel guilty.  Anyway, I had a good cry last night and feel fine today.  No matter what anybody says, a good cry will chase the blues away.  I almost enjoy them.

Well, tomorrow’s the 15th – exactly a month since my operation.  What happens to time?  Just think – I’ll never have one of those attacks again.  Hooray!

Fashion sketch by
June Anderson.
It was nice to hear your voice on Sunday.  I always seem to have plenty to say until the phone rings.  That’s all right – I like to listen to you.  Looks like you are going to the Anchorage more now than you did when I was home.  Did you stay there all Saturday night or did you meander around?

I don’t like that long, low whistle in your latest letter.  Ha!  You’d better watch your step, young man!  My prescription – you should go out with some nice young art student, approximately 20 or 21.  To be more specific, a fashion illustration student is the ideal treatment for you.  See what you can do about that.

I shall be very happy to give you the pleasure of my company Friday night (some conceit!).

Loads of Love,


(Tomorrow, spending money at Macy's...)

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lena Horne in Person

Friday, November 12, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Got another letter from you today in which you stated you had not heard from me yet.  It’s swell of you to write so nicely with no word from me.

Watercolor fashion design by
June Anderson.
Went to the movies last night and saw Lena Horne* in person!  She was the whole show.

What happened to all the boys?  Don’t they go out anymore?  Well, at least you’re getting plenty of sleep.

I hear you called up Mother yesterday to find out if I was coming home.  I’m very sorry my letters haven’t been getting to you sooner.  I’ll be home next weekend for sure.  Don’t forget!



* Link to Lena Horne with the Teddy Wilson Band doing "Unlucky Woman."  Looks like it might be 1949, too.

(For Monday, robbery on 82nd Street...)

© 2010 Lee Price

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breakfast at Jacks

Thursday, November 11, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

I have just finished reading your “Hello-Goodbye” letter again – the shortest, I believe, on record.  However, I won’t say anymore about it, for I’d much rather receive a lot of short letters during the week than one long manuscript.

This will be short, too.  Work, work, work.  That’s what I should be doing now.

You can forget about my weight problem.  Just mark it off the list.  I’ve been eating like an honest to goodness hog.  After finishing supper tonight, Shirl and I ate a
nice big ice cream roll.  Gee, was it good!  (All gone

Two watercolor
portraits by
June Anderson.
I had breakfast this morning at “Jacks” near the school.  My breakfast was orange juice, and halfway through the glass I decided I wouldn’t feel well if I finished it.  When I got to the door, Jack discovered the half-full glass and yelled across at me to come and finish it.  I couldn’t very well shout back, so I kept shaking my head while he intoned me to finish it.  All the people were having a free show and seemed to enjoy it immensely.  Oh well, that’s life!

 I miss you, too.  Maybe I’m glad I have all my homework to keep me busy.  Then I haven’t got time to think about missing you so much.

Be seeing you a week from tomorrow.  Oh, no, I’m not going to ask you for a date!  That’s up to you.



(Tomorrow – Lena Horne!)

© 2010 Lee Price

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perfect Mood Music

Wednesday, November 10, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

Pencil sketch by June Anderson.
As I stumbled up to the apartment tonight, the landlord handed me your letter – believe me, I skipped the rest of the way.  It’s so nice to hear from you!

Bruno and Mary sure have everyone guessing, don’t they?  Have the girls heard anything from Jane Hastings?

Shirl just dropped everything that was on the desk, and she’s talking a mile a minute.  I can’t think what I’m writing.  Now she’s finally settling down to homework.

What’s the matter?  Didn’t you vote?  The Democrats got in all over!

I’m planning to go home on the 20th (the weekend after this) and get a ride back.  And after that there’s Thanksgiving.  Goody!  However I am staying here this weekend to try to accomplish some homework.

The music from the radio is sweet and low.  Perfect mood music – but no good when you’re not here.

All my love,


P.S.  Don’t forget to write.  You know how much I enjoy hearing from you.

(Tomorrow – orange juice showdown at Jacks.)

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"I just about feel good!"

Tuesday, November 9, 1949

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City

Dear Art,

I feel much better, in fact, I just about feel good!  Sh-h-h, don’t say it out loud.  It seems that I’m not too far behind in homework.  There’s plenty to be done, alright, but not as much as I feared.  The teachers told me that I could stay over part of Christmas to make up some work if I wanted.  Indeed I don’t!  I’d rather stay in June if need be.

I spent all yesterday in school.  At 4 p.m., we met Shirl’s friend Naida at the bus station.  After I called you we went to the Roxy and saw Everybody Does It.  I enjoyed it very much, but almost fell asleep just the same.  Then got back here and to bed, but of course Shirl and Naida wanted to talk so I didn’t get to sleep until after 1 a.m.  I’ve never been so tired in all my life.

14th century figures sketched on
tracing paper by June Anderson.
This morning, I was awakened at 9:00.  Seems I had to copy some figures at the Cloisters, up on 190th Street or so.  We ate, then took the subway there.  After arriving we had to walk about 10 blocks, up and down hills, then had to climb 5 staircases.  Coming back we took the bus for an hour over the bumpiest roads in New York, then walked down Fifth Avenue – the girls wanted to and I was tired beyond objection.

So that brings you up to now.  I’m going to eat supper and go right to bed – homework notwithstanding.  The teachers have been very nice.

Take care of yourself and all my love,


© 2010 Lee Price

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New Apartment

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…

When June returned to New York City in early November 1949, it was to a new and cheaper apartment.  We can assume that her roommate Shirley Stahl must have done the legwork of finding a more appropriate apartment while June was recovering from the ruptured appendix.

The new apartment was located one block west of Central Park and two blocks north of the American Museum of Natural History.  It was twelve blocks closer to Traphagen than her previous address, but that would have only meant a couple of minutes difference in travel time on the subway.
 Before June left for the city, she and Art agreed to immediately resume the correspondence they had started in early October only to be interrupted by June's appendix crisis.  While Art kept his side of the bargain and began writing letters right away, the first weeks worth of letters from him appear to be lost.  Therefore the next week will be dominated by June's letters (plenty of them!) and Art will rejoin the back-and-forth on November 20.  It's good to be getting back to the letters at long last! 

Tomorrow, the correspondence resumes!

© 2010 Lee Price

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Year 1949

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…

While June and Art were romancing, the world was changing.

World War II dominates the decade of the 1940s, with its repercussions still being felt three years after its conclusion.  Political concerns were rapidly shifting toward Soviet Union anxieties and the burgeoning Cold War.  No one could predict how hot the simmering Cold War might become.

President Harry S. Truman,
drawing by Art Price
Movies and radio were still going strong, but television was beginning to change the paradigm for nightly entertainment.  Art’s family didn’t have a television yet, but he would frequently watch televised events – like the popular boxing matches – at the local Southampton bars with the boys.

Harry S. Truman was president, NATO was created by a treaty signed in April, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear bomb testing, “Tokyo Rose” was sentenced to six years in prison for treason, the United Nations building opened in New York, a 31-year-old North Carolina evangelist named Billy Graham led a major tent crusade in Los Angeles, Harvard Law School opened its doors to women, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was published, Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind) died at the age of 49, Ingrid Bergman divorced her husband and entered into a scandalous relationship with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, “The Hokey Pokey” and “The Harry Lime Theme” were unexpected novelty song hits, the New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series, a rocket testing ground was established in Cape Canaveral, Silly Putty was successfully marketed, Pillsbury introduced its “bake-offs,” and Sara Lee offered its first baked goods.

Meanwhile, June and Art were dating.

(Tomorrow, life on 83rd Street…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 2 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cars and Trains

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…

At the start of his correspondence with June in early October, Art’s car is in the garage for repairs.  This was probably due to hitting a deer on the way home from visiting June in Riverhead.  We know that this incident occurred sometime during 1949-51 and it seems to match up with the references in the letters.  The car was pretty banged up but survived.  The deer didn’t.

Art's Nash.
Art had purchased his Nash shortly after returning to Southampton from his service in the Navy.  When his parents’ car was in for repair, Art’s car would become the family car.  When his own car was in for repair, he had to improvise other ways of getting around.  Fortunately, his job at Roulston’s was within easy walking distance – about a mile stroll from Cooper Street to Main Street.

Trains are the other mode of transportation that figures prominently in June and Art’s relationship.  While her parents would drive June to the city at the beginning of the semester, June’s weekend visits were done via train.  The Long Island Rail Road had a station just four blocks from the house in Riverhead.  The train ride into the city was approximately two hours.  It could be very cold in winter, but otherwise was an efficient way of bridging June’s two worlds.

(On Sunday, the world of 1949…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 4 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Didn't you vote?

(I'll share the full letter next week, but couldn't resist posting this now.)

Nov. 10, 1949

Dear Art,


What’s the matter?  Didn’t you vote?  The Democrats got in all over!


All my love,


(On Friday, cars and trains…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 6 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Boys

Postcard of Main Street, Southampton.

Considering the subdued and abstemious nature of his family home, it’s mildly surprising that Art gravitated toward a wilder crowd when he went out at nights.  For the most part, he easily settled back into the calmer rhythms of Southampton following his time in the Navy.  But he had seen things in Shanghai and the Philippines that he had never imagined in his sheltered life in Southampton and the experience may have left him a little restless.

When Art went out at nights, he would usually meet up with his friends (called “the boys” in the letters) at various local bars.  If there was a party in town, someone in his circle would be sure to know.  These would be parties among the local residents – not the summer people.  There was little connection between the permanent residents and the Gatsby-like revels of the summer people.

Pen and ink drawing of
wine bottle by Art Price
for Pardita art class.
Joe Cerullo and Bruno Marcincuk were Art’s two closest friends at this time.  Bruno worked with Art at Roulston’s.  Other friends included Frank Hoffman, Jack Raynor, Walter “Singer” Hoinski, and Frank “Farmer” Stachecki.

June frequently expresses concern in the letters about Art drinking too much.  By nature, Art was not a heavy drinker but June’s concern was somewhat justified because there was much heavy drinking going on in the crowd that they ran in.  Art tended to be the reliable somewhat-more-sober one who might be tapped to drive friends home after a long night.

(On Wednesday, June on voting…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 7 days.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The first New York apartment

During the school year before she met Art (and for one month in October 1949), June lived at 40 West 96th Street.  This was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan near Central Park (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue).  She had four roommates, including her friends Jane Hastings and Shirley Stahl, a fellow Traphagen School of Fashion student.  They thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.  Jane was the friend who had insisted that June had to go to Helen Darby’s Memorial Day party where June met Art.

From this largely residential neighborhood, it was an easy commute to Traphagen.  They could catch the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line subway at 96th Street and Columbus, just half a block from their apartment.  The subway would take them downtown, where they could get off at either the Columbus Circle exit at the southwest corner of Central Park, or the 50th Street exit.   Traphagen was located at 52nd and Broadway, a short walk from either exit.

(On Wednesday, Art and the boys…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 8 days.