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Hill Country Living

Although Tame, Turkey Were Source Of Torment


It’s a Wagner Week and here’s a letter from Maria to John. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Wagners, it’s to be afraid of turkeys. Be very afraid of turkeys. Their turkeys over the years were a great source of torment and, even in this situation where the turkeys are applauded for being “tame,” it still brings me vibes of Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Also, poor Edd gets fired in the course of this letter. She ultimately blames it on his dad, who thinks his son needs more money for his labor. A few lines later, she tells her own son off at private boarding school that his dad sent him free money. 


Water Valley, Miss

June 1, 1887

Dear John, 


I am busy serving right now so I got Corinne to write for me. I will be glad when you come home. The house is not finished yet. Jim talks too much and he does not work enough. Edd left yesterday. School will be out Friday. Tomorrow and next day are Public days. I am going up Friday. The childreb will be glad, I know. And they will be glad when you come, too. 


The turkeys are so tame that when I go out on the front porch they all cone and fly up on the porch right at my feet, and when I make them fly down they just come right back. 


How are you feeling now? How long are you going to stay in N.C? Corinne has gone out to up her turkeys & Olive came in & I had to entertain her till Jessie came home from school. She was kept to be examined so it late & I will not be able to write a long letter.


Mrs. Buford was buried Monday evening, poor old woman, she did not leave many sorrowing relatives. I think she is better off if she was a Christian. I know it. Mr. Buford is quite sick. I heard today he is out as Mr. Hervey sent in for a Dr. & Masey Wagner went out then – she hd had several chills & look badly.


I cut my thumb & it hurt me to hold the pen so you must excuse the way this is written.


I would be sure to stop a few says in Salisbury, your Grandpa is so anxious to have you stop & then I think you will always he glad you did, as for another invitation they have extended so many that I don’t consider it the thing for you to keep harping on that and they are kin & that makes it all  right without any at all. Stop for Grandpa’s sake any way.


Calista is talking as fast as she can & I don’t know half she says & every few words she says Mamma.


Well, Edd struck for some more wages & I was not willing so he had to leave. He will find it is not so soft out in the hot sun at work & no good eating, but I don’t think he was to blame but his “Papa.”


Well, John, our garden is real good & looks well. We are having the house painted & it will look real nice & cool & you will see a big difference. I think from what it was when you left. 


I would love to see you this evening. I feel like it is so long since you left. Your father will send you money if he has not. I think he was waiting to get some on the 1st.


Our little folks are so glad school is out this week. I guess they will almost run me off this place as often it is out & then the paint to match. 


Write me soon & with very much love & kisses


from your loving Mother

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