Continued from Back to the concrete prison
An undated issue of the Yry Press tells the tale Yry and Eloise concocted. This missive was not distributed until November or December of 1944, nearly a year after she had returned to the east coast. This version of the story differs slightly from what she told me and from what she was prepared to tell Joan.
Hello all of you Western Friends!
I’ve been silent as the prairie and I’ll bet you think I’ve forgotten you all and decided to stay back here. Well, guess again, because it’s not so. I’ve thought of you, every one of you, often and of our beautiful country but my return there has been delayed for the “duration.” You see, nature took a hand in my affairs, but to explain that I have to go back a little.
I was married while out west, but we kept it secret, or at least intended to do so for quite some time, as I didn’t want any objections from home. My dear parents would have raised the usual remonstrances about a son-in-law whose family and person were both entirely unknown to them and I’d had enough fighting on a similar subject once before. But here is where nature took a hand—result, my baby daughter whose name is Joan. At any rate she took care of the objections by so conquering their hearts as to make her grandfather at least, seem at times to be quite crazy. She’s blue eyed and fairer than I, at present at least; and most people say she looks like her grandma, I can see mostly her daddy in her.
How does the Scotch folks song go?
Oh where and oh where is your highland laddie gone?
He’s gone to fight the fee for King George upon the throne
And it’s ooh in my heart that I wish him safe at home.
Well, that ought to be our theme song, mine and Joan’s ‘cause Daddy is fighting the war in the Pacific (not so pacific now I should say) and we plan for a ranch and a peaceful, healthful life when it’s all over.
For the present I’m with my parents. I don’t think a baby should be toted around all over, children have a right to a home, security and regularity, but she’s going to be a rootin’, tootin’ little westerner. (I can’t wait to put her on a horse). So you see I’ve really been busy since you saw me last.
The summer in NY has been excessively hot and humid. … City life is rottener than ever. People hereabouts are all very bad tempered, unfriendly and uncivil; labor is short in every line (the stores are begging for part time housewives and offering the moon as compensation) and consequently the performance of employees is bad. My mother remains without help in her home as she would rather have none than bad maids and have them leave every 2 weeks as happens to her friends.
How often I dream of such edible delectables as thick western ranch cream, fresh butter, and meat aplenty, T-bones, pork, pheasant, and elk steaks, not to forget freshly laid eggs and vegetables picked an hour or so before consumption. If any of you envy me my city life, take a glance at my city diet: [and she goes on and on about the travails of finding passable food with rationing coupons, black market, etc.]
What’s worse is worrying about my husband being constantly in danger of his very life; but there again is Joan claiming my time and attention and there’s nothing like work to keep a man’s soul healthy and his mind from being morbid.
(Note to Laramieites and Casperites) It wouldn’t take much to make NY as sooty and dirty as Laramie and as windy as either Laramie or Casper. We are on the Hudson River where the wind blows like 60 and howls thru the apartment and the elevator shafts like on top a high mountain. (I’m the only one that doesn’t object to the howling. It makes me feel at home); and the tankers etc. come in to stock up and overhaul, besides the increased size of the factories on the Jersey side—and from all this one gets clouds of black stinking soot (soft coal) billowing over NY and into one’s home.
Greet Wyoming for me; I miss it painfully and hope to hear from you all soon. Tell me about the grass, the cattle, the weather, the crops, the college, and your personal doings. I hope this “masterpiece” will make up for my neglect to answer letters etc. and I hope my readers are all well and spend a happy Christmas and a happier New Year.
In later years, Yry opened up to an assortment of friends and relatives, each of whom heard slight variations of this story. I think she rather got a kick out of shocking people with her former transgressions.