Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 5, 2014

The Suitcase, Chapter 3 The Early Years

The Suitcase

Chapter 3

The Early Years

A Very Young Viola on the farm in Kansas

A Very Young Viola on the farm in Kansas


In 1938 there are only 5 letters that my father wrote to my mom. Apparently my Mom was not as good at writing as Dad was or maybe she was playing hard to get. There are a lot of words wondering why she has not written back. From reading the letters I can see that they must have gotten together with each other.  The guy that Dad hangs around with is “George.” He was a Vance which is my mother’s grandmother’s name. Some of the Vance’s were well off and owned quite a bit of land in Kansas. I am not sure how George and my father became friends but it is because of him my parents met.

He writes in April, “I am going out for track”, “So far I have vaulted 10’ feet the highest anyone has this year (In this school.) In September, he is looking forward to the football game coming up. He is going to be the first kicker of the season. They lose the game but he kicks the ball “65 yards,” he brags. He finally clears 10’7 on the high vault bar and boy is he proud. I really wish I could know what my mom was writing back to him but it is left to the imagination. It is during this period my parents fell in love, or at least Dad fell in love with Mom. It seems she is encouraging him. The letters go on talking school, after school sports, the harvest, helping to build his brother’s house, his sister getting married and things friends would talk about. It seems almost in every letter he has gotten in a fight with someone, made someone mad, or drank too much.

Silly dad, for making me think he had never done this the first time I came home drunk.

My father’s mother passed away in September of 1936 and she had made him promise to complete school. With perseverance my dad made sure to keep that promise. I know it was not easy when there were crops that needed harvesting, houses that needed building and money that needed to be made. He talks about how hard it is to keep his grades up when he can only get to school two days out of five because of the harvest. What I found interesting was that dad really liked school and learning. “I would rather go to school than work any day”, he says.

In 1939 he graduates and is pondering life. Now that he was on “his own.” In May he writes; “I Haven’t reached the conclusion of what I am going to do, but I have been trying to talk my brother into going west with me. I have always been travel minded and I sure want to go.” He goes on to say “I am going to try to come down this summer but if I get a chance to go west I will probably take that and then come back after I see some country. I have sure seen enough of Nebr to suite me.”

It is in 1939 my father fell in love and it is also the first time he speaks about the war.

He was about to get a free ride and will go a lot of places on that ticket.

© 2012 notsofancynancy


  1. Love the brief, unintrusive glimpses into the lives of your parents along with the photos and your Dad’s war – they come alive out of the dusty past. Thanks for sharing

    • And thank you for taking the time to comment!

  2. Very Cool Idea.

  3. My first novel is a work of faction which involves my father’s and my life intertwined. The first chapter is when he died in an alley in Seattle on the waterfront. It then quickly transcends into him becoming my alcoholic guardian angel. I’m don with the rough draft stages and I’m in the rewrite and editing stage. I hope to publish next year.
    Good luck with your work.

  4. Thank you and good luck with yours, sounds interesting!

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