An Eleventh Grader in Georgia

Stillmore, Ga.
October 14, 1936

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,

Probably, you are wondering who is writing you.

I am W. S. I was born in Louisiana and lived there until the year of 1933 when we moved to Georgia. I am in the eleveth grade. The reason I am writing you is because I wish to ask you to loan me one hundred dollars ($100). Please if you can lend it to me because I really need it. I will pay you back. I wish you would give me three years from the year 1937 to pay it back. You may charge your on rate of interest ifyou wish to. The reasons for my asking you to lend it to me are these. First, I wish to have my teeth attended to. I'm having a terrible time with two of my teeth. One I keep filled with a piece of cotton with camphor on it, the other I can't because it won't stay in and under my jaw on that side there is a hard ball in the inside caused whenever my tooth gets sore and it hurts all the time. All my teeth are decayed except my front teeth and they are starting to decay. I can't have them fixed because my daddy hasn't the money to fix them and he only says teeth are supposed to come out sometimes, but this is the only teeth I'll ever have, I've shedded all the teeth I'm supposed to. The second reason is I want to buy me some clothes. I haven't bought any this year. All I have except two were given me by my sisters, they are married. Papa and won't buy me any. It's always wait, take your time. Anyway I can't get along with them and its not my fault. Papa hates me and every time he gets angry, he takes it out on me. Anything that gets lost he blames on me and he says that I hid it. I'm not that kind of a person and I don't. Mama and me are always quarreling and its her, she's always picking at me and I can't help but answer her back when she talks to me. She sure believes in whipping. We've been in fusses her lately and she told me that she wasn't going to have anything more to do with me, papa said so also. Papa is always threatening to whip me and tells me that he is going to use his shoe on me, that he'll ruin my face. He'll try it too, he has a terrible temper and doesn't care what he does when he gets angry. He got angry with my brother and smashed a glass mug in his face near his eye. My brother is married now. I need a pair of shoes now, I know I'll have to have them by next week and I don't know where they are going to come from because my daddy hasn't the money. I need some winter clothes and I know I'm not going to get them. The third reason is that I want to have money enough to buy my clothes when I graduate. I will have to buy invitations and my diploma also. The fourth reason is that when I graduate I'm going to go in training to be a nurse. To enter I will need about $15.00. Mama and Papa do not intend for me to work, they ex¬pect me to stay home, the rest of my life unless I get married. Mama says a decent girl cannot get a job.

The reason my daddy cannot help me is because he hasn't the money. When we lived in Louisiana, he had a job on the railroad. He was road master, he saw that the work was done and told how it should be done. He made around $zoo a month from his job, besides what he made from trapping, pulling logs and selling wood. He bought what he pleased and he also saved his money and put in the two largest banks in New Orleans. He quit working and moved to Georgia, to live on one of his three farms. He also had built a grist mill. His farms did not pay him because he let one of his brothers live on it free. His brother had lost the farm, he bought it for his brother to get back sometime. His brother didn't have the money and doesn't pay taxes or pay him anything for living on it. The other farm, he had bought the parts of his brothers and had given it to his daddy as a place of his own to live on as long as he lives. It was his daddys home place. His mill has always been an expense, first it is a dry year, with no water to grind corn with and next a leak in the dam. Then in the year 1933 when he had moved here, the banks closed in February, he lost everything he had except the check for a few hundred dollars that the bank sent him.

I hate my daddy, a hate you can never know. He makes us (me, my sister- 15 years old and my little brother 11 years old) stay home from school whenever he gets angry at anything. He picks at me all the time. He gets angry and then thinking he'll scare me, tells me he'll whip me if I don't get out and cut some wood. I never had to do that before we moved here, because I never knew anything about doing that or did anything like that. I work at home in the house, do the things I have to do but still they're not satisfied. I don't know now what the reason was, but papa got mad at me. He told mama to run me off, or he would do it himself, that he'd kill me. So later on mama was whipping me and I was mad and I left and went up to my uncle's, who lives about a 1/z mile from us. Anyway they came and got me that was in 1934. Now a few days ago he got mad at something and I hadn't done a thing, it was my sister and brother, he took it out on me tho. He said to me that I had started to leave one time so now for me to leave and that he wouldn't walk a step after me. That next time he heard me say anything he was going to make me leave and whip me besides. Now he won't buy me clothes or anything and says that he isn't going to have a thing to do with me. I've got to work to get me some clothes and have my teeth fixed. The way they treat me now, I'm going to leave home and I am going to stay with my brother who lives in the city and I'm going to keep going to school and see if I can't get me some work to do in the evenings after school to earn me some money. If you won't lend me the money I have asked you to, I guess I'll have to leave home without any, because I've got to work and also keep going to school. My family is not a low class, they are among the nicest people of the town, but nobody knows what is under the surface of a family. So please do not ever mention this to any one. I trusted that you wouldn't ever tell this, so please destroy this letter. I have told mama I'm going to leave, she doesn't know where I'm going, she said I was crazy and doesn't believe I'll leave. Even after I told her that, she said she wasn't going to have anything to do with me. I'm a good student in school, my marks are A's and B's, mostly A's. I'm leaving home next week so won't you lend me this money and try and send it to me the next day after you receive this letter. Please, please won't you lend me this money a hundred dollars. Now don't think you'll ever see that money again, but trust me and give me a chance to show you I will pay it back. Answer as quick as you can, cause I don't know what I'll do if I don't get my teeth fixed in the next few days.

Listen, I can't receive a letter at home because they would open it, so if you send me the money send it to . . . and mark in the corner of the envelope this mark so she'll know its for me .... This mark . . .

Please answer the next day after you receive this letter and send me that money. I am enclosing a picture of me so that you'll know about what I look like. I wish to thank you very much if you will lend it to me.

P.S. I don't know what kind of a girl you think I am but I can say that I am nice. Mama would never let us go anywhere, and we never gave them a reason for keeping us home.

P.S. Excuse my writing on the back of the page. It's because I hadn't the money to mail this. I only have six cents.

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