Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Beach, Rex, 1877-1949; MacGrath, Harold, 1871-1932; Noland, Mary Ethel, 1883-1971; Wallace, Frank Gates, 1887-1960

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, June 22, 1911. Family, Business, and Personal Affairs Papers - Family Correspondence File.

Grandview, Mo.

June 22, 1911

Dear Bessie:

From all appearances I am not such a very pious person am I? The elements evidently mistook one of my wishes for dry instead of wet. I guess we'll all have to go to drinking whiskey if it doesn't rain very soon. Water and potatoes will soon be as much of a luxury as pineapples and diamonds.

Speaking of diamonds, would you wear a solitaire on your left hand should I get it? Now that is a rather personal or pointed question provided you take it for all it means. You know, were I an Italian or a poet I would commence and use all the luscious language of two continents. I am not either but only a kind of good-for-nothing American farmer. I always had a sneaking notion that some day maybe I'd amount to something. I doubt it now though like everything. It is a family failing of ours to be poor financiers. I am blest that way. Still that doesn't keep me from having always thought that you were all that a girl could be possibly and impossibly. You may not have guessed it but I've been crazy about you ever since we went to Sunday school together. But I never had the nerve to think you'd even look at me. I don't think so now but I can't keep from telling you what I think of you.

Perhaps you can guess what my other eight wishes are now. If they had no more effect than the one for rain, I am badly off indeed. You said you were tired of these kind of stories in books so I am trying one from real life on you. I guess it sounds funny to you, but you must bear in mind that this is my first experience in this line and also it is very real to me. Therefore I can't make it look or sound so well as Rex Beach or Harold Mac might.

I am going to send you the book number of Life. There is a page of books in it that look good. Don't get Ashes of God, for I am going to get it and I'll let you have it. Every review I have read on it says it is fine. I have thrown my sticks away and use only a cane now. I told Ethel I am going to get me a gold-headed one and an eyeglass, if some one of my friends lent me the coin, and pretend that I had been to Georgie V's crowning. Don't you abhor snobs? Think of such men as Morgan paying to be allowed to dance with royalty. You know there isn't a royal family in Europe that wouldn't disgrace any good citizen to belong to. I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman. Uncle Wills says that the Lord made a white man from dust, a nigger from mud, and then threw what was left and it came down a Chinaman. He does hate Chinese and Japs. So do I. It is race prejudice I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion that negroes ought to be in Arica, yellow men in Asia, and white men in Europe and America.

I guess if Frank won't be satisfied with Kansas City, Memphis is as good as any of them. It is at least in a good old Southern state. Then it only takes one night to get back home. That is better than Mexico or California. I hope he has all kinds of success.

Everybody's came at last and there was plenty of action, wasn't there? I am dying to know if he got her. Say, Bessie, you'll at least let me keep on being good friends won't you? I know I am not good enough to be anything more but you don't know how I'd like to be. Maybe you think I won't wait your answer to this in suspense.

Still if you turn me down, I'll not be thoroughly disappointed for it's no more than I expect.

I have just heard that the Masonic Lodge I was telling you of is a success. There won't be two in our town. The one I belong to is in Belton six miles away. This one is in Grandview, only one mile.

Please write as soon as you feel that way. The sooner, the better pleased I am.

More than sincerely, Harry

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