Social,  Thomas Gray Haile subcollection

I’m in trouble and wish you were here

Thomas Gray Haile subcollection, cards 34, 68, 64, 65

First up, another flower card — and a cryptic message for us.

Clearly there have been tempests of some kind somewhere. It’s easy to speculate, but best to be cautious. For whatever reason, this card indicates Madge was concerned about what Thomas’s other correspondents might report. Quite apart from that, her last line sets up an interesting offer wherein her truthfulness (by which she likely meant fidelity) was potentially contingent upon his trusting her to be true.

“Hello Trust me regardless of what others may write you. Received your card. Please write often and be good and I’ll be true if you will only trust me.”

Madge [?] to Thomas Haile, 4 November 1907

And now for some Cat Postcards. Three today, more next post, and all from the same sequence. It’s not a hard stretch to consider the cards and the musical lines to be added references to their relationship. Note that the first two below were both sent within two weeks of the card above; the last wasn’t mailed until the following year.

Fortunately for us (albeit completely accidentally) this next card is clearly connected to the one above.

[on back] “11/11-07 Received your card tonight so glad you trust me. Am very anxious[?] to hear about the card you received from some one. Are you coming home Sunday? I hope to get a letter tomorrow. The meeting[?] closed last night There was no additional [illeg] and to see you. be good. Madge”

[on front] “I have lots to tell you if you come home Sunday”

Madge [?] to Thomas Haile, 11 November 1907

The second sentence on the back leaves the implication that someone else did write to him, as Madge had feared, but he trusted her. All the same, she reminded him to “be good.”

This card, only a few days later, offers a more mixed view. What kind of trouble was she in? Especially since she admits she was “trying to be true.” Enquiring minds want to know!

[on back] “11/12-07 Received your letter tonight and I feel lots better since reading it, but I’m in trouble and wish you were here. will write you every thing tomorrow. I’m trying to be true, trust me. Be good-Madge”

[on front] “I hope you will come Home Tuesday, but do what you think best”

Madge [?] to Thomas Haile, 13 November 1907

Note that the choice of songs on the two cards to some degree reflects the sentiments on the reverse. The card where she expressed pleasure that he trusted her bore a confident song line/title; the one where she’s more doubtful has matching lyrics.

I have to admit that the line “I’m in trouble and wish you were here” tickles my funny bone, since the latter half is a classical phrase associated with postcards–usually sent from people on vacation and decidedly not allied with being in trouble.

And then we leap to about eight weeks later and another cat + lyrics card–and a rather more confident Madge.

[on front] “Jan. 4.08 Received your [card crossed out] letter and am feeling more like myself than I ever have since you left. Tomorrow is Sunday and My how I shall miss you – – – – Just thinking of you Madge”

[on front]”No, I’m not trying to forget you. “Twould be useless to try. Be good and careful.”

Madge [?] to Thomas Haile, 5 January 1908

Their relationship, whatever it is, at this point has lasted over eight months–and will last at least another ten (based on postmarks). The other song lyrics/titles seemed appropriate for the card sentiments, but Madge clearly foresaw that Thomas might read too much into this one, hence the explicit acknowledgment she wasn’t trying to forget him.

More next post!

“I’m in trouble and wish you were here”, copyright 2021, Alea Henle.

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