September 2nd, 1914

Colchester, Conn.
Sept. 2, 1914.

My loving sweetheart Tom:-

I received your letter and card; the former yesterday morning and the latter Saturday, it was forwarded to me from Boston.

You wrote to me that you would bring your brother over some evening when I return. I shall be very pleased to meet my future brother-in-law. I expect to be back Thursday the 10th if my sister Alice comes or on Saturday, the 12th if she does not come. So Auntie wants me to ask you all up Sunday the 13th early in the afternoon and stay for supper. Tell your brother not to forget to take his violin. I am sure Clem. will have her key hidden when he comes. Some class to “the 13th” remember Thursday the 13th. Oh no! I am sure it was early Friday morning the 14th instead.

I am sorry you doubt my words “I love you dearly”, but I assure you with all my heart that I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. Other years I have enjoyed myself at picnics, parties and dances, but this year all these amusements have failed to give me any pleasure. I only feel happy when I can be by myself and think of you. I know that I am cold but remember I am only a girl and it would not be my place to express love the way I feel it in my heart. – “Still water runs deep”. I think Auntie couldn’t believe, if she knew, that I could say as much as I have already said to you – “but when the heart is full the mouth flows over”.

I agree with you not to look at each other’s faults, but to dwell upon what is good. I hope we both will always remain loving to each other all our lives just as we feel toward each other at present. I just wish I could be in your arms at present, where we could personally confess our love to one another.

Here is a small spray of flowers, that I picked yesterday and wore close to my heart, which has been stolen, and besides I am sending you a million kisses – just look how generous I am, oh you stingy only 10,000! With lots of love from all my heart and soul, I remain,

Yours until death

Marie.

Pretty short letter in comparison with yours, Slow Down – 4 pages Limit in Colchester – 8 pages in NY

(Comments: Well, any pretense of uncertainty in their relationship is gone, as Marie states clearly in this straight-up love letter [especially the stark closing statement!]. I’m not sure of the importance of the 13th, maybe the night/early morning Tom proposed? Also, a special bonus in this letter, and I’m glad I opened it carefully – as Marie stated, she enclosed “a small spray of flowers”, probably from the farm in Colchester, as seen below! – TC)

“Here is a small spray of flowers, that I picked yesterday and wore close to my heart, which has been stolen.”

August 31st, 1914

165 Broadway
New York.
Aug. 31. 1914

Darling Marie:-

Your last Boston letter was received on Friday and here I am answering it on Monday. My reply is rather tardy I must admit, but is the result of circumstances.

I presume you received my post-card from Philadelphia. I made a flying trip (for the second time inside of a week) to see my brother, Harry, the actor, and managed to induce him to give up the footlights for a while and come home to see the folks and rest up. He is home now (the first time in almost three years) and has grown very tall during his absence. He is a year younger than John, but looks taller to me. I must bring him over some evening when you return and get him to play his violin.

You refer further to Auntie’s congratulations, but, as near as I can understand, her congratulations are the result of a misunderstanding on her part, due to the fact that you said “Perhaps we are” when she asked whether we were engaged, but you know very well, you little tease, that we are not engaged and that you have misled your poor aunt. However, I suppose the situation must have been an embarassing one when you found yourself being pressed for an explanation of your grief on the train, and you must have been in a quandary as to what reply to make. The “missing link in our chain of love” that I refer to is, of course the lack of any definite understanding as yet in regard to the ultimate outcome of that memorable Thursday evening interview. However, let that drop for the present, as I should rather hear from your own lips, at some later date, any further comments you may desire to make in regard to my proposal. We have made remarkable progress since that night, at any rate, as you have gone so far as to say in a previous letter “I just love you dearly.” How I should like to hear those words from your lips this moment and cuddle up to you and experience the joy, the pleasure, of giving you a shower of kisses and a fond embrace! I can scarcely yet credit your sincerity in uttering those words, and shudder to think that it may all be a dream and that I have hastened matters too much and have forced you to come to terms before your mind was fully made up as to your intentions. Furthermore you appear to be somewhat evasive about the subject of our love and refer to it but lightly in your last two letters. (I suppose I am rushing matters again). It is my turn now to accuse you of being “cold and distant to me at times”. Do you really know that it is a fact that you have been guilty of the same thing – although I didn’t have the heart to refer to it before? But let us try to refrain from looking up one another’s faults, and think only of what is good, noble or commendable in each of us.

Truly, as you say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”; yes, even restless.

I agree not to use the expression “turned down” again, as per your wishes. [“Please mother, I won’t say it again”]

I hope you enjoyed your annual trip to Hayward’s Lake and that Auntie caught plenty of salt codfish and smoked herring. They tell me that bottled “Bass” [ale] are running pretty good at the fishing resorts.

We all went for a spin in the auto yesterday to Bridgeport, Conn. – so near to you and yet so far, but the trip was marred somewhat by having to stop to repair a couple of punctured tires (both happening at the one time, however) on the outward trip, but on the return trip we made a beautiful run home without accident.

Here it is 6:40 p.m. and I am still at the office! The pressure of business was unusually heavy to-day and we were late in finishing up.

Well my future bride [at which juncture you will exclaim, I suppose “Don’t be too sure”] I must (although very regretfully) terminate this short letter. If I could only do so with a kiss and a hug (ad libitum) my joy would be complete. Do hurry up back, for gracious sake.

With ten thousand kisses and as many squeezes, I remain, my dear, precious sweetheart,

Your own loving

Tom.

P.S. – Give Auntie a kiss for her dear, kind, expressions and well wishes.

(Comments: In his “short” letter, Tom expounds on the developments of their relationship to this point, even chiding Marie for being as “cold and distant” as he is, but pulling back quickly afterward. Unfortunately, I cannot find the postcard from Philadelphia that he refers to. And we are now formally introduced to his brother Harry, who is by far the most interesting individual in this family in my opinion. Tom prefaces the discussion of his brother by coolly stating he took a “flying trip” [the second in a week?] which I would’ve liked to know more about, but no details were offered. Anyway, Harry apparently left home at age 16 [!] in 1911 to perform around the world as a vaudeville-type act. He would return to vaudeville for a time after serving in WWI, was involved in politics in Queens in the 1920’s, but by the 1930’s would relocate to Los Angeles [as “Hal” Styles] and become a well-known radio interviewer and host of his own popular radio [and later TV] show, “Help Thy Neighbor” [see photos and clippings below on Harry/Hal]. Also, I liked Tom’s jokes of catching fish already salted and smoked, and a Bass Ale beer joke! I had no idea it was popular back then. – TC)

Harry Styles, third from left (young boy in back) with family, c1910 (Tom not present)

Yonkers Herald, 12/16 and 12/18/1911, on young Harry Styles coming to perform as “Archie Collins”

Harry Styles – passport photo 1917

Harry (now Hal) Styles, Los Angeles Times, 5/16/1936

Article on Hal Styles and his Help Thy Neighbor program, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, 7/11/1937

Hal Styles with James Roosevelt (FDR’s son) on his Help Thy Neighbor radio show on KHJ, Los Angeles, 3/12/1939 (unfortunately damaged from source)
Hal Styles interviews Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich on KFWB on 9/7/1943

Bass Ale advertisement, 1914

August 27th, 1914

2 Worcester Square
Boston, Mass.
August 27, 1914.

My loving Tom:

I received your dear letter yesterday morning while still in bed. I see that I have not made myself clear to you in regards to Auntie’s congratulations. Auntie does not know anything that passed between us on that well-remembered Thursday night. She has been teasing me constantly about coming home so late, and weeping on the train. When I opened your eight-page letter on my way to the village she said that there must be something extra ordinary – something that happened that night. She repeated time and time again in German that we must be engaged. After awhile I said, “Perhaps we are.” She was pleased to hear that, and immediately congratulated me and requested me to congratulate you when I would write, which I did.

There is one thing I am determined to ask you, i.e. please do not repeat again that you were turned down by me, for you were really not. I know that I didn’t give you a decided answer there and then, but it was understood that I was to learn some-thing, having you as my teacher. What a wonderful teacher – with one lesson, I learned it! I am anxious to know the missing link in our chain of love, for I cannot see it. I must be very stupid, “a dumm-Kopf”, in this line of business.

Mrs. Lander’s property was for sale a month ago; I don’t know whether she has sold it yet or not.

Our trip to Boston is nearing its end; we have to go home this afternoon. To-morrow morning we are all going to Hayward’s Lake on our annual fishing party.

You write to me not to rush back to L.I. on your account, but for whose sake would I go? I am sure there is no one else that would make me go.

I am glad to hear that your trip in the Auto was an enjoyable one. It’s too bad Boston is so far from N.Y., otherwise we could have seen each other while on my visit here.

Please give my best regards to your family. Best regards from Auntie; and with loads of love and kisses, I am

Your own loving

Marie.

(Comments: Marie explains the details to her Auntie regarding the engagement, and insists to Tom that she never did turn him down. And the phrase that Marie heard over and over again in German from Auntie may have been “Sie müssen verlobt sein” [“you must be engaged”]. We likely all know what “dummkopf” means [direct translation is “fool”]! Also, this is the first I’ve heard of annual fishing parties at Hayward’s Lake [Lake Hayward today], which is just south of Colchester, CT; unfortunately, I have yet to find any photos of this. And, when does the War enter their lives? Not even a mention in the early months. Lastly, I’ll leave you with one more photo below of Marie in Boston in 1914. – TC)

Marie Chabaud, age 19, Boston, MA, August 1914

August 25th, 1914

165 Broadway
New York
August 25, 1914.

My own precious Marie:-

Your letter of Friday and your post-card of Saturday were received in due course and I note that you and Auntie have been visiting (or rather, are still visiting) in Boston. It is a singular thing that you should be stopping in Worcester Square, as my brother Bill had a position in Boston a couple of years ago and stopped at 36 Worcester Square while there (Mrs. Landers). If you care to you can drop in there and give them his sincerest regards.

I have been very much “on the go” since receiving your letter on Saturday morning. I chased up home Sat. afternoon and I and Bill got the car into shape and ran down to Philadelphia, accompanied by my mother and Louis, arriving there late Saturday evening. We left for home Sunday afternoon, arriving late in the evening, but very tired, although we had very good roads and an enjoyable trip.

So you have been taking Auntie into your confidence. I do not quite understand what is meant by Auntie’s congratulations. Is it that she congratulates me upon having “popped the question” and being turned down? Of course you must remember that I have not yet had a definite, or decided, answer to that question, and I suppose I shall have to wait until your return and try again in the confines of that nameless Long Island Park in which I spent so many enjoyable moments in your dear little presence. So you can see that Auntie’s congratulations reveal (or emphasize) the fact that there is a missing link in our chain of love.

I shall, as suggested, drop my intention of visiting Colchester if it would produce any embarassment.

You must have had your hands full with your “kid” sisters around you.

Take good care of yourself and do not rush back on Labor Day on my account and thereby interrupt your stay at home, and give my very kindest regards to Auntie.

I must conclude for the present owing to my limited time but will write lots later.

Write soon.

Your loving admirer

Tom

Barrels of love and kisses.

xxxx

(Comments: Well, it’s confirmed that Tom did indeed propose to her, and was turned down [for now]. And with Marie being bored in Connecticut she’s apparently taken a trip to Boston with Auntie Annette [where her sister Jennie (Mrs. R. Hilt) lives with her family at 2 Worcester Square, as shown on envelope]; unfortunately I have yet to find the postcard that Tom refers to above, but we have photos of Marie at Boston during this trip, including photos in front of 2 Worcester Square [below]! Meanwhile, Tom’s still motoring all around, taking the family on a trip to Philadelphia, while preparing for a second chance to complete the “missing link in our chain of love” with Marie. Also, I’m not sure of which Long Island park he speaks of that they frequent often, maybe near Long Island City on the East River? – TC)

Marie in front of her aunt’s sister’s house at 2 Worcester Square, Boston (entrance at left), August 1914
2 Worcester Square, today (at left)
Marie on the steps of 2 Worcester Square, Boston, August 1914
Marie at the Mother Church of Christian Science (now the First Church of Christ, Scientist), Boston, August 1914

Marie’s Auntie Annette’s sister, Jennie Hilt

Some of Tom’s family, taken circa 1910; dad William left center, mom (stepmom) Sarah center, and 4 of his brothers (the 3 young boys, and Bill with hat). Tom’s trip to Philadelphia was with Mom, Bill, and Louis (in Bill’s lap in photo).

August 21st, 1914

Colchester, Conn.,
August 21, 1914.

My loving Tom:

On my way to the village Wednesday I met the postman, who handed over to me your loving letter. Auntie was with me at the time; I believe she was just dying to read it – but – there’s nothing doing. Of course I have told her what you asked me a week ago Thursday, and she congratulates you heartily, and wishes you joy, happiness, and good luck “by the loads” in your future.

Yes that pear-tree seemed to be pretty heavy, but if you used your imagination (as I know you must have) you could have seen two sightless commas or the sentence twisted around, the tree wouldn’t have been so heavy. Here I go again seeing sightless things. I am not writing out there now, but it is about as bad, for I cannot keep my little sisters away from me. You cannot imagine how they annoy me.

I believe my sister Alice will go to New York this fall to attend Bryant High School. If so, I shall go back earlier, right after Labor Day; then “your vacation in not coming to Long Island”, as I call it, will not be so long to you.

Clem doesn’t seem to be so lonesome after all. The work about the house and her sleep occupy her all the while. Last Saturday she went to New Rochelle and came back Sunday. This coming Sunday she is going to visit friends in N.Y.C., so time will fly fast. Auntie speaks of going home Mon. after next.

I told my parents and Uncle Emile only about my going out with you and no more, because I am sure they would not let me go to college any longer. You know they have really always objected to my going. They say “What’s the use of a girl being so highly educated, she’ll only get married when she’s through college.” So my dear Tom as this is the case with me I think it would be much better if you came out here next summer instead of this summer. Then we could say anything for I would be half way through and they wouldn’t have the heart to stop me; while, at present, I’ve been going there for one year, which time they would think is enough even too much for a girl. If you come up now they will think there is something doing between us, especially as it is such a short time before I shall return to L.I. Never mind I will try as hard as I can to go through, if nothing prevents me.

Last Sunday we all went down to Auntie’s to have ice-cream, and yesterday to have a pot-cheese dinner or whatever you wish to call it. I am kept pretty busy helping my sisters about the house.

Oh, if the face of an envelope addressed to me looks too bare to you, you may add – R.F.D. #1, Box 17, but this is not necessary. I bet you think I am “fresh” but never mind “it’s the nature of the beast”.

Some how or other I cannot get back to N.Y. quick enough this summer; as the old saying is – “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” With love and kisses, I remain

Your own loving

Marie.

(Comments: Well, this letter suggests that it may be possible that Tom did not only profess his love to Marie over a week ago, but may have in fact proposed to her [and was turned down]! Also, in a difficult decision that many young women had to face in those times, Marie decides to not fully reveal her romance with Tom to her family, so they won’t pressure her to leave college. To that end, she tells Tom not to visit her in Connecticut that summer, but rather wait until the following summer to meet the extended family, at which time she’ll likely be far enough along to continue with her studies regardless. I was not aware that her parents were not keen on her going to college. Why be educated if you’re only going to get married? Very odd to think of that from today’s perspective. What’s interesting is that she is willing to share more information about it with her Auntie [Annette], who happens to be Emile’s wife! Also, her sister Alice (below) is going to New York to attend Bryant High School, which is in Long Island City and still exists today (Marie herself graduated from Bryant in 1912). In any event, Marie has apparently had enough of the farm life in Connecticut and is ready to get back to New York City. – TC)

Marie (age 13) with her confidant, “Auntie” Annette Geoffroy, at 183 Young Street, Long Island City in 1908.
Marie’s sister Alice in 1917 (5 1/2 years younger than Marie)