22 Harriet plays the drunkard’s daughter in “A Prisoner at the Bar”

Gloria (Stafford) Hansen and Harriet (Stafford) Dukelow

September 27, 1934

Dear Kinny,

Am soaking my tired feet so will utilize the time writing to you. Mrs. Swenson wants us to have a Food Sale Sat. so today I have baked cookies for ourselves and cake and bread. Tomorrow towards evening I will bake 4 loaves of white bread to give to the Sale so they will be fresher for Saturday. I don’t want to leave too much work for Saturday or I will be too tired to help the ladies serve.

Yesterday afternoon I spent in relining that blue coat Aunt Esther’s sister gave me for a school coat for Gloria. In the evening we went to that Playlet. The story was taken from an actual trial carried on in Iowa since Beer came back. A man killed his wife while drunk—had demanded money from her and became angry. Frederick was the man—he was wonderful. Afterward Dr. Holsaple praised him before the whole crowd—said he was the best character he had ever used. Harriet was his little daughter. She did some good acting and Dr. Holsaple said he was sure everyone in the crowd would agree with him that another character that deserved special mention was little “Dorothy Jones”. Ardell was defense attorney—Aaron Herman Prosecuting Attorney—Charles Rhode the Sheriff—LeRoy Johnson the finger print specialist—Lloyd Dowdell the bailiff and 12 jurors were people from town. Every one of them did well. Frederick was sentenced to death for the crime—his last speech was touching of course—he accepted the responsibility for the crime but he included the Judge, the attorney and many in the Court Room as being partners—in that they had rekindled his appetite for drink when they voted for Repeal. The Village Hall was packed. Dr. Holsaple is a fine courtly gentleman—an excellent speaker. The crown clapped heartily when he praised Harriet’s acting—the only clap anyone got. There weren’t many dry eyes in the crowd when Elvira took her from the Court Room before the Judge pronounced sentence. She turned twice going down the aisle and said, “Good bye Daddy.” Each time Frederick answered “Good bye Dorothy”.

Harriet and Gloria are going to write and thank for their paper dolls and bracelets. But I want to mention them too. They are all cut out and have been up to school already for inspection by the whole grades 4 and 6. They are so different from any we have here. The clothes stand out just like real ones. Did you see any of them made up? Harriet can’t get her bracelets on. I do believe her hands are nearly as large as mine. Do you suppose you could get some larger ones?

I will order some pictures for you like the one you want. Yes, I think I took pretty good pictures this time or rather Winnie and I did.

Winnie is moving upstairs. Hoiseths are moving in down stairs. They have 3 children. The rent money of $8.00 will help them live this winter. It will be pretty crowded. But it will save fuel. I have just been over to see how they are getting along. Winifred is real cheerful about it. I feel sort of down in the mouth about it. She did enjoy her home as it was, so much.

Glad you enjoyed the service so much last Sun. And didn’t you have a good time all afternoon!—I’ll say. That was a nice change.

Yes I think you ought to cut a piece of leather out of your shoe. But you’d better have Uncle ROC do it—it takes a strong hand to cut leather.

Myron has gone to Grove City to play Kitten Ball. So everything will wait for that and supper will be late. Harriet is sitting here studying for a Report on the British Isles. She is taking notes on each paragraph. Gloria is out with Virginia as usual. She’s a real outdoor girl. They were just in begging cookies.

This is a poor letter but I maybe can write a better one Sat. I will try to write 3 times a week seeing you like so well to hear from me. Love to all, Mother


September 27, 1934

Dear Aunt Ev and Kinney,

Thank you so much Aunt Ev for those paper dolls. We like them very much. The button-holes and buttons are nice. We have the standers on so they stand up. We have separate rooms for them– Kitchen, Nursery, Wardrobe and then the garden. On the bottom of the garden box we have black paper for the dirt.

Thank you for the bracelets, Kinney, even though they are too small. I’ll keep them for a present. Will you please send some larger ones.

We are having reports in geography in school and I am the first one to report. I have England, British Isles (Part of it.) I have been studying it tonight.

Last night I was in a play named “Prisoner at the Bar”, as you probably read in the “Pest”. I was a “drunkard’s” daughter. Frederick Parsons was my father. I had to sob as the State Attorney read the story I had told him about a murder my father commited to my mother—The Story. It was to have been my birthday, I was 8 yrs. old. He (my father) came home drunk (this didn’t happen then, but had happened) and was going to go out because my mother wouldn’t give him any money. As he was unsteady my mother didn’t want to let him out. He picked up a book-end on a table and struck her. She fell on the floor. The next door neighbor came over and layed my mother on the davenport then she died. Then came the trial. As the judge was about to sentence my father to death, he ask Mrs. Holly (Mrs. Reamer) to take me out of the court room. When I was half-way out I had to turn around and reach out my arms and hands and say, “Good-bye daddy”. Then when we got way out I had to say it again. It worked okay. We may have to give it again because many were turned away. After the program the judge (from Mpls.) talked. He said Frederick was very good. Then he said he couldn’t go through the whole cast but wanted to mention one more. He said, “There was one very good which he wanted to thank for doing good and taking part, etc. Then he said, “Dorothy Jones” and everybody clapped. I was Dorothy Jones! It is nearing time for bed now so better close. Love Harriet S.

P.S. I have lots of fun on my bike. Wish you could ride it. H.P.S.


Dear Kinney and Aunt Evelyn,

Thank you for the paper dolls and bracelets. I brought them to school and showed them to our room. I wrote a story to-night I am sending to you. Good-night, Gloria Stafford.

A Story.     Gloria.

There were two little girls who lived in a house with a mother and a brother and a daddy. Their big sister was in New York. Every morning their mother would call them to get up then they would air their bed and then they would take a sponge bath and dress. After they had dressed they would eat then they would go in and practice their lessons. The littlest girl said,“Mother may I bake a cake?” and her mother said, “Yes”, and this is what she put in it. First she put into the sifter a cup and a half of flour and one teaspoon of soda and three tablespoons of cocoa and a teaspoon of salt and she sifted it eight times. Then she washed her hands real good and cleaned her fingernails and creamed one cup of sugar with one fourth of a cup of Clix. Now she broke two eggs and put the yolks in with the sugar and Clix, and she put the whites in a bowl. Then she stirred it good, she measured a cup of milk. Then she put in a little milk and flour till it was all gone and stirred it good each time. Then she put some vanilla in and then she beat the whites in the bowl and folded them into the cake dough. Then she greased her pan and poured the dough into the pan. And put it in the oven and baked it half an hour. Her mother helped her with the oven. So then the little girl went out and played with Virginia. And that is the end of the funny story. Gloria Ruth Stafford.


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Atwater, Minnesota: 1934-1935 Copyright © 2019 by Gloria (Stafford) Hansen and Harriet (Stafford) Dukelow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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