Sept. 18, 1940
We were glad to have your letter this morning. The car trouble you had on the way down was not in the form of an accident, was it?
We are greatly pleased that you think you can return sooner than you first thought. We have missed you a lot. We had gotten spoiled to having you around.
Our boys are enjoying school. So far neither has had to bring any books home. They have to be left at school by 8:30 A.M. and come home at 12. Lewis Dunbar does not have to go in the afternoons, but Walter White goes and stays until 3. They seem to like walking to and from school. While we were eating lunch the first day, Lewis Dunbar said, “By the way, Mother, I had a fight today.” He said he ran and didn’t get hurt.
I’ve spent a lot of time since you left inquiring about pianos and piano lessons. I find that the Philips Music House is the only music store here. Both Mr. and Mrs. Philips are musicians. Mr. Philips is manager of the radio station here and has other interests, while Mrs. Philips runs the music store and gives lessons. She is not the one I talked to about lessons before you left, but I am much more favorably impressed by her than I was by Mrs. Barnes. I believe she gives her pupils more personal attention than Mrs. Barnes does. In fact, Mrs. Simmons says that she understands Mrs. Philips is considered the best teacher in Panama City. Also, Mrs. P. charges $5.00 a month for her lessons (2 lessons a week) while Mrs. B. charges $6.00. Mrs. P., as well as several others, thinks that it would be fine if W.W. & L.D. could begin taking lessons at the same time. They say that the competition would be stimulating, and that Walter White, since he is older, would be able to keep far enough ahead of L.D. to keep him encouraged. Both boys are so enthusiastic about it that I have taken the liberty, during your absence, of starting both of them with Mrs. Philips tomorrow afternoon. I remember that you have mentioned that you thought it would be nice for Lewis to take too, but I had discouraged it. Now, about the piano; I didn’t realize that it would be such a problem. The only ones I have found for reasonable rent are those huge upright ones with fancy scroll decorations and shiny cheap finishes. We couldn’t possibly find room in our living room for one so large, and it would ruin the appearance of the rest of the furniture. Mrs. Philips has new pianos which she will rent for $7.00 or $8.00 per month. However, and this is what I have been driving at, in her store she had a lovely little bungalow size Haddorff “Demichord” which had been in the home of the Supt. of the high school for six weeks, but on account of a defect that developed in the finish of the pieces that connect the legs with the back of the piano, the supt. returned it. The piano has been on the floor of the music store for 10 months since then, but not another flaw has developed. Undoubtedly it would have by now if it were going to. I was so taken by its appearance and tone that I asked Mrs. Philips how much she would sell it for. She said the original price was $365.00 F.O.B. the factory. However, after talking it over with Mr. P., she sent me a lot of literature on the Haddorff pianos, and a note saying they would sell us this one for only $265.00. She knew you were out of town, but said she could send it to our house and let us use it until you return. Then we can decide whether or not we want to buy it. If we don’t, I am sure we can rent it. I certainly hadn’t planned for us to buy a piano now, but this one is such a temptation. Although it isn’t a toy size piano, it is small enough that it shouldn’t present much of a problem if and when we move. It is not as large as Joyce’s. I almost forgot to say that the $265.00 includes two tunings and a piano bench to match. I have inquired quite a bit into the “Haddorff” line. It seems that they are a Swedish family (in the U.S.) and quality piano manufacturing has been a tradition in the family for a long long time. It is one of the few companies that did not change hands during the depression. I have quite a bit of literature on them that you may read when you return. The piano has been delivered, and it looks like it belongs in our living room. However, if you don’t want it we can return it. We haven’t paid or promised anything. I am sure at least one of the boys will do something with his music, and I believe they both will – then there will be the little daughter.
Little Billy Simmons has had a severe siege of asthma all this week but it is better today. However, the doctor advises him not to go to school before next week. I have been over there twice.
Mrs. Barrow was here for a while this afternoon. She said we certainly had things looking nice. She doesn’t know how long she will be in Panama City, but she is planning to visit either her daughter in Washington or her sister in Mobile. She is getting a new cog or some new cogs for the lawn mower.
We hope you will have a pleasant and successful trip, and we hope you will be home soon. The boys were so glad when I told them you would not be gone as long as we first thought.
We all love you, Honey.