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It’s a Wagner Week and, in light of the heatwave, I was imagining how hot everyone must have been during Wagner times due to no air conditioning. Heck, the elementary school I attended in 1989, over a century later, didn’t have air conditioning either! So, I guess I don’t have to imagine too hard.
But I wanted a firsthand complaint and there’s no better Wagner to go to for a complaint than matriarch Maria. But, there’s one thing Maria won’t complain about and that’s Frank – the horse who I thought was a human for a number of years. They talk of him in such glowing terms that it never occurred to me that he was an animal until he hurt his shoulder at the McLarty’s house and Maria had to call a vet. Then I realized Frank was a horse. This letter provides further proof as such. Frank is my favorite Wagner.
May 23rd, 1886
My Dear John,
Your Father read me yours of the 18th today. You know I am always glad to hear from you and I will be more so to see your dear self which I hope to be able to by this time next Sunday. I just know how anxiously you are looking forward although I never was away from home at school or away any length of time from home until I was a wife and mother but I have often been homesick, even on a few days’ absence.
Today is warm. I feel real weak and bad. I would love to live where it never gets so hot. It just kills me.
Now, John, I do hope you will make yourself and all of us happy by not disagreeing and fussing with the children. They nearly set me wild when they start at it. There are so many here to control and we all think different and so they do as they like. I believe in everyone controlling their own children but I never did get to use my own rule with mine and that is just what ails this household. I feel sometimes likes I could not hold my tongue.
George says he “wants to see you awful bad and for you to let him sleep with you when you come home.” Eugene says “he wants to see you so bad and sends a kiss.” George sends 5 kisses. You will laugh to hear him read, it is real funny.
Calista got bee stung yesterday under her foot and it is real badly swollen. She has been in the bed all morning.
I think we will have a good many raspberries — that is the bushes are full – if there were more bushes. Trees are full of fruit and I do hope we will have a good season for fruit.
We have only a few chickens. Daniel bought a good many hens but no chicken house and so someone took them. I don’t think he liked it but I could not help it. The cow and calf are doing nicely and Frank is a beauty and I would not swap for any horse I see or two ponies, either.
Well my son, lots of love and prayers for a safe journey,