August 21, 1921 letter to Robert Recoschewitz from Dorothy Recoschewitz (and Nancy Brown)

August 21, 1921

To: Robert Recoschewitz, Shelbyville, MI

From: Dorothy Recoschewitz (and Nancy Brown)

Dorothy is writing her brother who is visiting cousins in Shelbyville, Michigan. Dorothy had a very bad sore throat but it was the last week of summer school and she was having exams so didn’t want to stay home, but it got worse and when the doctor saw her he took a culture thinking it could be diphtheria and that they would have to be quarantined. Luckily the culture came back negative. Her father gave her $5.00 and some toilet water but she figured he would take the money back now that she didn’t have diphtheria and in about an hour after giving her the toilet water “now he smells like a lily.” She writes about how Donald stole another boy’s microscope and tried to take Bob’s speedometer home with him. Grandmother Nancy, who was visiting Ethan and Hannah in Galesburg, added to Dorothy’s letter.

Aug. 21, 1921
Sunday 9:30 A.M.
In Bed

Dear Bob and the rest –

If you only knew how thankful I am that I can write because we came pretty near being put in quarantine. You know I’ve had an awful looking throat ever since last Sunday when we came from McHenry. Everybody that looked at it said it was the worst they had ever seen. My left tonsil was absolutely covered with a grayish membrane like and my right tonsil was all swollen & had white spots. Well I wouldn’t stay out of school as it was our last week & we were having exams but Friday I got much worse. Stotz couldn’t come to the house so Mama[1] hurried me over there and it was all I could do to keep my head up. When he looked at my throat he shook his head & looked so mad & said “And you let a throat like this go; well you have taken an awful chance”. He took a culture of it and had another doctor take it right downtown to be examined for diphtheria and then he shot a great big tube of antitoxin into my back. It almost knocked me cool but I didn’t grunt. Then we came home and I got into bed and the sweat just poured from me for about 3 hours and I couldn’t move without help as my back about killed me. Mama set the alarm and gave me medicine all night and we didn’t hear from the culture til 4 ‘o’clock the next day – Sat afternoon. You can imagine that we were pretty much excited as Helen, Jean & Donald[2] were all here and it had already had a weeks start if that was what it was.

Finally the phone rang & he said “Mrs. Reco etc., I am very glad to inform you that the answer was negative.” Oh boy was I happy, because 8 weeks in school and then from 2-6 weeks in quarantine looked like a mighty rotten vacation and Joe[3] got seats to go see Taylor Holmes next Thursday night and how it I hated to miss that.

Papa[4] came home shortly after we got back from Stotz’s Friday and he had a fine time while gone (so did we). He gave me $500 but he’ll prob’ly take it back now that I haven’t got diphtheria. He brought me some toilet water but it was only in here about 1 hour and now he smells like a lily so I guess thats another good thing gone wrong. Bobby you must admit that N.Y. is the best place for a muscian[5] to spend his time in.

Donald was here with his mother for dinner Wednesday & he steals everything he can lay his hands on. While we were eating he went out to play and finally came up & showed us a nice microscope that Junior Taylor had given him. About 3 minutes later Junior & 5 or 6 other kids came up the back stairs all ready to beat him up if he didn’t return what he stole, and when he started for home mother saw him sneaking out with your little speedometer. Katy[6] says he’s so playful!

I expect you all miss Carol[7] & Aunt Lou[8] and do you like Carol as well as Elsie now?

Joe just got a new suit, a brown & green mixture. He’s making $4800 a week and he got $2200 check for his 2 weeks at Camp Logan and in Sept or Oct he get $9400 for his year at the armory, so I’ll know the reason if I don’t see a few shows and get a dish or two of chop suey out of him. You know how hard it is to keep money when I know you have it, don’t you skinnay.

Just think Bob in two weeks we’ll be hiking off to school together & maybe I’m not glad I can do it instead of being in quarantine.

I got E in Civics both months at S. school and G in French, and I was the only one in my class that wasn’t absent. Pretty good for a dumbell, eh what? A good many that I know flunked. Catherine just got thru by the skin of her teeth. Tell Grandma that Louise got thru her French alright but only got fair.

I’m on a milk diet and gee I’d like a roast chicken but it hurts awfully to swallow. This morning mama gave me a shredded wheat well soaked, so that helped a little. Mrs. Henrich made me a coffee cake but I can’t eat it.

Well my back is getting to hurt again so I’ll let you rest now, please write soon and a long letter.

Lots of love to all


You can send this to Shelbyville if you want. I wrote to Leone[10] the other day, at last and I’m too tired to write to her to-day and this is all the news there is anyway.

Tuesday morning

My dear boy

We are waiting for Uncle Ethan[11] to come for breakfast he has just gone through the yard with Daisy. Auntie[12] has cakes all fried, breakfast all ready. Well its some lonesome here this week, a big change from last week. We all miss you,[13] and the rest. Uncle Ethan had to get wood last night, only a few sticks left from what you sawed. He wants to finish the wagon to day, is fixing the door from Kitchen to back porch this morning so it will shut easier. I can hear him sawing wood, so the door is fixed. You see I opened Dorothys letter. I knew you would not care. Poor girl, she came very near to something bad, next thing we know will have her tonsils out. Aunt Lous letter or card came yesterday. We ought to have gotten it Sat. then we would have known Floyd[14] and the girls[15] were coming Sunday. I was so sorry I did not put stamps and stationery in your suite case but you buy a tablet and envelopes stamps of Uncle D.[16] probly you wont write many letters. You must write Dodo a nice long letter. She has had a hard vacation and now this sickness.

Let Aunt Lou see Dodos letter and when you find out about going home let me know. I sent your P.P. yesterday also wrote a letter. The water melon was fine so was the cheese with our apple pie. We have the cake for supper to night.

With lots of love from all to all


[1] Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[2] Helen and Eda “Jean” Mueller were the daughters of Dorothy’s aunt, Lela (Brown) Mueller; Donald was the son of Dorothy’s step-sister, Kathryn (Brouty) Thornton

[3] Dorothy’s boyfriend, Joseph Langmayer

[4] Julius Recoschewitz

[5] Julius played the violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

[6] Dorothy’s stepsister, Kathryn (Brouty) Thornton

[7] Carol Boyer, Louese’s granddaughter

[8] Louese (Keith) Harris, Grandmother Nancy (Keith) Brown’s sister

[9] Dorothy’s nickname

[10] Louese’s daughter, Leone Harris

[11] Nancy’s brother, Ethan Keith

[12] Nancy’s sister, Hannah (Keith) Towne

[13] Bob originally went to Galesburg with Nancy but at some point went back with Louese’s family (who had also been visiting in Galesburg) to their home in Shelbyville

[14] Louese’s son, Floyd Harris

[15] Most likely Louese’s daughters, Leone and Mildred Harris

[16] Louese’s husband, Daniel Harris, who was known as D.D. or D.

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