25 March 2012

Family news, and Al Capone

I've been looking forward to reaching this letter, as it feels like a turning point. The news of the queen carnival is over, and we are entering a back and forth exchange of letters that makes everything seem more interesting.

The Argus (Melbourne),
Saturday 8 August 1931, page 4
click image to read the rest of the article.
A fun thing in this letter was finding a contemporary reference to gangster Al Capone. I have heard many anecdotal stories in my life about Chicagoans traveling internationally and hearing "Chicago. Bang-bang. Al Capone." George's letter is a good illustration why that happened, because around the world, newspapers were fascinated with Chicago gangs and Capone.

I enjoyed looking through the online newspaper archives to see what George might have been reading about Capone, and found that there was pretty consistent and thorough coverage during the trial. See the article at right and those posted with letter No. 18, for examples, all from The Argus, a Melbourne newspaper.

The family news is also fun in this letter. Joyce and Edith are growing silk worms, Keith is working for the Texaco company, and Ruth is liking her nursing studies, although she did have the misfortune to have her fur coat stolen.

We also get a glimpse of Noel as a young man, in charge of the Y's record collection, and having girls drop by to check up on his doings.

George's religious life is showing more than usual, with references to him being elected an elder at the church, and to him leading bible study at the Y.

Unfortunately, in all the letters so far, we get virtually no glimpse into the life of "Mother", except for occasional health reports.