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Cymric Strain - Book 2
By Una Howell (USA - circa 1893)
Chapter 32 - Getting to Know Elgin (1901)
Copyright Scott Dunbar 2010
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Getting to Know Elgin (1901)
As soon as we were sleeping in Elgin, Mother Cook began to plan a party. Parties were her delight and, whereas most people were content to have one, she gave three – to introduce us. The first was for the townspeople, the second for the church, and the third for the Publishing House. We donned our bridal clothes and stood in line for three nights. Elgin was sure going to know us.
George had outlined his relatives to me in no uncertain or complimentary terms and I was given to understand that not a one outside his own father’s circle was ever to sit at his table. They were taboo, that’s all. Aunt Elizabeth, commonly known and addressed as Aunt Maria, was his pet irritant. Aunt Maria’s hobby, besides rearing a family of ten children, was introducing the teachings of the Bible into the public schools. She was a sister of President Blanchard, head of Wheaton College and son of the founder of that institution, a tight and fanatical religious college. No smoking, no drinking, no card playing, no theater-going – just Sunday School, church, and prayer-meeting atmosphere.
On the first night I met the various members of the Cook family, the Bookiuses and Uncle Ezra. Then Aunt Maria stopped the show. George had warned me not to get trapped by Aunt Maria’s questions but she shook my hand, announced that she was my Aunt Maria, and said, “I trust, Una, that you have already established family prayers in George’s home.” I nearly passed out. I’m sure she knew from my expression that we had not done so and, without incriminating either of us, I passed her over to my new husband with pleasure.
Once we were safely launched in town, church and Publishing House, I began to sew for the baby that was expected in January. I was quite miserable for the first three months and, when we had no help, we took our meals in the neighborhood at a boarding house. That summer of 1901 was the historic, hottest Illinois ever had, and is still referred to as a record-breaker. It certainly was a corker. When we went to Evanston to spend a few days over the 4th, the sounding board of my new Steinway cracked. That was a blow that struck me hard.
As for our physical comfort, we went for a ride in our new Mobile, and that is a chapter all by itself.
Chapter 1 - Evanston
Chapter 2 - The Department of Music
Chapter 3 - Northwestern University
Chapter 4 - Beaued
Chapter 5 - Late for the 1am Train!
Chapter 6 - A Visit from Home
Chapter 7 - Bill Declares Himself
Chapter 8 - Engaged to be Married
Chapter 9 - A Grand Piano for Me?
Chapter 10 - Apartment Life in Evanston
Chapter 11 - On the Train with a Pass
Chapter 12 - Eric’s Decline
Chapter 13 - The Organist
Chapter 14 - Lilly Dies
Chapter 15 - An Unprincipled Woman
Chapter 16 - Music Critic
Chapter 17 - A Rich Young Man
Chapter 18 - Helping the World
Chapter 19 - On a Bicycle Built for Two
Chapter 20 - Mendelssohn Concerto in E Major
Chapter 21 - The Meister Way
Chapter 22 - An Admirer
Chapter 23 - Gentlemen Callers
Chapter 24 - The Scotchman
Chapter 25 - Checking on Maynard
Chapter 26 - Rich Young Man - Not so Much
Chapter 27 - A Page Removed!
Chapter 28 - The Marriage
Chapter 29 - Plans for a New Marriage
Chapter 30 - Honeymoon
Chapter 31 - A New Home
Chapter 32 - Getting to Know Elgin -1901
Chapter 33 - Our First Mobile (Auto)
Chapter 34 - Life in Elgin
Chapter 35 - Preparing for Birth
Chapter 36 - Stillborn!
Chapter 37 - Leave Leeches to Treat an Ear Ache
Chapter 38 - Winfield Illinois Sanatorium