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Hill Country Living

A Wagner Letter Where Dudley Was 12
It’s a Wagner Week and this letter has all things spring related: Easter, wedding planning, baseball, flowers. When I first started reading this letter I thought the writer was inebriated due to the terrible handwriting, obsession with a woman’s wedding and inability to spell the word “married.” But then I got to the end of the letter and saw that it was from Dudley Wagner. He was 12 years old when he wrote this.

Dudley was John Henry’s son. At the writing of this letter they would have lived in the big family home on Dupuy Street with Aunt Jessie. Dudley is writing his uncle George, one of Jessie and John’s brothers. The Kalista mentioned in the letter is another of their sisters. Dudley is going to be a flower boy with his sibling in his Aunt Kalista’s wedding. I like his description of their fancy wedding outfits.

Water Valley, Miss

March 21st, 1903

Dear George, 

How about coming home Easter and seeing the come off? You know about the come off, don’t you? Yes, you do. Do you remember last summer when Mr. H sent Papa a letter? Yes, you remember how we teased Kalista.

Well, Kalista has all of her wedding blushes. Won’t we have a good time after she is morried when we address her letters to Dr. Frazer Hood, Hanover, Indiana. That will be a fine come off, won’t it?

About a half a hour after she is morried less ask her how does she like the change of her name Wagner to Hood. And less ask her if she likes Hoods morried life. Won’t we have fun?

Hope you can come down, don’t you? I will bet you are the next one of the Wagner’s that gets a wife. Say, what about it?

This evening I am going to play baseball. I am short-stop on my team. I bet I could get my nine and come up there and beat the Cornell baseball team. 

You must excuse this writing but I am in a hurry. Less tease Eugene when he comes about. When is he and Sulu going to morry?

Well I must close for this time. Write soon, with love I am your nephew, 

D. Wagner

Later —

Kalista is going to have all of the Hood family over and if they stay all night I don’t know where we will put them, do you? I guess we will have to put some of them in the barn. Jess has not been feeling very well but is better now. We have no cook. I hunted one all over town this morning.

Mabry and I are going to be dressed up in white coat, pants, skirt, collar, ties and black stockings and paten leather shoes, and come in with a basket of flowers on our left arm and throw them as we walk with our right arm. That will be dandy, won’t it?

Jess sends her love and wants you to write to her.

I will tell you some more things when you can me down.


D. Wagner

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