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Hill Country Living

Sweet Little ‘Miss Jessie’ Wagner Longs For Letter

By Coulter Fussell

I’m going to take it easy this week and publish a sweet, funny little letter from Jessie Wagner to her big brother John Henry, who is off at Bingham School. This letter has all the hallmarks of a typical Wagner letter.Things such as speaking in terms of seasons, as opposed to specific dates. And buying in to Daniel Wagner’s busiest-man-on-Earth act while he takes the time to buy up everything he sees. People are moving to cities and ‘taking to housekeeping.’ As usual, Jessie is suspicious of someone, this time is poor ol’ Grandpa. And, as always, Cousin Clara’s love life is noted upon. Everybody’s always up in Cousin Clara’s business. There must have been a family celebration the day she finally decided on one man. I also love how the world is so different now than is was in 1886 but springtime in Water Valley remains as rainy and beautiful as ever.


Water Valley, MIss
March 26th/86

Dear Brother, As I have not written to you for a long while I will do it now. I have been gardening lately. I have planted two long rows of peanuts, some onions, radishes, peas and am going to plant some watermelons. Papa has bought Mr. Weatherby’s old store now and they sell everything so cheap there. I got two yards and a half of lace there the other day for a nickel, and they sell nun’s veiling for a dime a yard. I am taking music lessons now from Mrs. Virgie Martin. I am getting along very well. Papa has bought Mr. Ater’s piano now.

Cousin Clara is going to start for Balitmore next Thursday. They are going to stay there a week and then start for home. Aunty says when they go to housekeeping next fall that I must come and spend the winter with them. I expect Aunt Bell will be down here next fall. She was coming this spring but Papa is not going up this spring and so I suppose she will wait until fall.

Papa has just come in for the night. He has been very busy lately between the Factory and the Store.

Did you get any valentines this time?

The woods are beginning to look pretty now. The little Innocents and Buttercups are blooming now and the ground is just covered with them in some places.

For every Saturday lately it has rained and I think it will be a bad day tomorrow. Corinne is writing off her lessons and all the others have gone to bed. You say that you expect your letters are not much interesting to us, but you are mistaken for I assure you that everything that concerns you interests us.

Calista has gone out over to stay all night with Grandpa. She likes to go over there as well as ever. I wonder what makes her like Grandpa so well. Mamma says that she thinks it is because it is so quiet over there, but I think that there is some other reason.

Did you get your little violet that I sent you?

I hope you will answer soon as I have not had a letter from anyone in a long time.

Mr. Ater is up here now to see Cousin Clara and and so I will have to close. I think Cousin Clara has made a mash on him for he comes up a good deal to see her and goes out riding with her right often. Well, Good bye. Write soon.

Your Loving Sister,


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