Daft Ruth

It’s my birthday!!! YES what better way to celebrate with some reference questions and scanning in the archives. Really though I had fun doing it. Especially when I came across a folder of correspondence from good old Ruth Frantz. Sometimes when you are just looking at handwritten correspondence for hours you kind of just tune it out, don’t really read it, rock out on your music instead. The something catches your eye.

It was something like this:

P.S. I wonder how many stamps it will take to mail this manuscript.

Hahahahahaha I was cracking up so hard. Why on earth would you write that? It’s like just thinking out loud at the recipient for no reason. It reminds me of writing notes in high school that went something like this:

I’m so bored, 10 more minutes. I am so tired. Don’t you think Jake is cute? Ouch I just stubbed my toe.

All those things that really don’t need to be in the letter but remind you it was probably written by somebody with a relatively short attention span.

Either way in the very same letter I read about a young lady who married a French man who worked at a printing press. He lost his entire right hand in an accident and was offered either 15,000$ up front or 100$ a month for the duration of his employment at the press. WOW. That sucks. I can’t help but think of what it would be like if I lost my hand while looking up scholarly research articles, and how much I would miss it. Sometimes I think I could construct an entire universe of these characters. Although I’m not sure how interesting that would be. I think that’s why I like archives and histories. I like stories. And truth is so often much stranger than fiction, however cliche that sounds.

Back in the summer one of the student workers that was helping me found a folder of letters from a man whose wife was dying of cancer. Like a month after her death he was already writing about his new marriage, and how this new wife got him through the troubled times watching his other wife die. Old Tyme scandals. I tried not to judge but was like offended by how fast he moved on. We read them aloud to each other in old tyme voices and it was so amusing. Men, just can’t be alone, no matter what historical period.

And now it’s a 3 day weekend. Signing off…

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