03 March 2014

No. 40 -- 18 July 1932

This letter contains another example of how frustrating it is to have only one side of the conversation, as we hear second-hand about Noel almost being involved in an apparent auto hold up, and other motor-car incidents. The Great Depression is ever-present in this letter. George is still worried about Noel's ability to get a job and make money during his summer break from college. And he continues to worry about the YMCA's finances, saying they are "hard up against it". George's young daughters Joyce and Edith seem to be the bright spots, surrounded by his concern for his older children and his own health.

Mr. N.A. Hughes,
C/o Y.M.C.A. College,
5315 Drexel Avenue,
CHICAGO. Ill. U.S.A.

My dear Noel,

"It looks as if there was some
attempt possible in the
direction of a “hold up”.
In any case you were
wise to consider “Discretion
the better part of valor”. "
Your letter of June 5th came to hand on Saturday, written just prior to the closing of your school year, and did not give us any information concerning your examination results. We were rather interested in the events you described, especially that relating to the college dance and your experience on the road. I think you were wise in turning your car and going in the opposite direction. It looks as if there was some attempt possible in the direction of a “hold up”. In any case you were wise to consider “Discretion the better part of valor”. Evidently it doesn't pay to hand over a motor-car to your care, as you seem to be everlastingly in difficulties. The three incidents referred to in your letter all had to do with a car. If I were you I would be careful whose car I borrowed in the future.

I am continuing your old address as you suggest, and until I hear to the contrary, letters will be sent care of the College as heretofore.

I am glad that you were able to meet all your obligations at the college and that you are not in any debt in that direction. Before this you will have received the small amount I sent on to you, and I hope that also helped to liquidate some of your indebtedness.

Dean Ames was Dr. John Q. Ames, who was
dean of the Chicago YMCA College,
aka George Williams College, from 1919-32.
According to his obituary, he retired to a farm in
Brooklyn, Wisc., near the city of Madison.
This may have been where Noel would have
helped Dean Ames.
I sincerely hope it will be possible for you to get some odd jobs during the time you are with Dean Ames, and thus help to meet your immediate needs. We were hoping that your letter would have been a little fuller that it was, but perhaps another will reach us shortly giving us additional information.

At the Association, things are going on much the same as before. We have had several board meetings to consider any changes in our programme and policy that the times may demand. Suggestions that were made at a conference we held with representatives of the various committees have been under discussion, and certain changes are likely to be made possibly in the direction of an inclusive tariff for residents, but that has not yet been definitely decided.

We have a membership campaign on at present, but it doesn't seem to have much “kick” in it, and I am wondering what the result is likely to be. We are trying to raise the membership by 300 by the 27th July. It will be hard going and the indications at present are not too hopeful. The Y’s Men’s Club is doing quite well and so are the Vikings.

Hubert Opperman was a famous Australia
bicyclist, competing in the Tour de France
in 1928 and 1931.
See Wikipedia: Hubert Opperman

His home trainer may have looked like the
one featured in this photo.
The Boys’ Department held a “Get Together” social for the Suburban Clubs on Saturday night and we had about 400 present. Hubert Opperman, the racing cyclist, gave an excellent talk and a demonstration on “A home trainer” for cyclists. It was a good show and went off with fine enthusiasm.

Frank Wilkinson is doing very well in the Billiard Room. He has trebled the takings inside a month. We have the Victorian Amateur Billiard Championships taking place in the Social Hall just now. This is bringing a considerable number of the prominent billiardists into the building.

The Viking Discussion on Wednesdays and also on Sundays are going quite well, and so are the meetings of the Fellowship Club. Most of the activities in the building are shaping up quite well, and our educational groups on the whole are in a very healthy condition.

We are still having serious difficulties with finance and I cannot see much change for the better for some time to come. Frankly, we are really getting to the position where we are hard up against it. It looks as if we shall have to get further accommodation from our Bank to enable us to carry on.

"Both the kiddies are well and
as full of beans as ever. Joyce has
been particularly elated because she
has been leading the line in some
of the work of the senior girls
at the Guild. Edith also has
been quite pleased with herself
because, as Prefect of her class,
she has the chance of
“bossing the kids” occasionally!
This suits her down to the ground."
Conditions at home are, on the whole, O.K. Mother has had a very bad cold and I also have been feeling out of sorts. This intensely cold weather does not suit me after my illness of two years ago. Both the kiddies are well and as full of beans as ever. Joyce has been particularly elated because she has been leading the line in some of the work of the senior girls at the Guild. Edith also has been quite pleased with herself because, as Prefect of her class, she has the chance of “bossing the kids” occasionally! This suits her down to the ground.

We are expecting Ruth home this week for a spell. She has now completed a year of her hospital work. No doubt she will be writing you herself before long.

Keith has not found anything in the direction of steady work though he is answering quite a lot of advertisements and interviewing firms in the hope of getting something to do. The occasional jobs with the Texas company help to keep the pot boiling but they do little more than give him sufficient money to meet his incidental needs and pay for his land. His school Accountancy fees, insurances and so on all come out of the balance of his small savings account which is now down to a pretty low ebb.

You mention in your letter that you expected to be with Dean Ames about the 15th June. You will have been with him for over a month if that plan carried out. I suppose by this time you will have a clearer perception of the possibilities of work before your school year commences. All our overtures in connection with the sale of the amplifier have, so far, come to naught. I wish to goodness we could find some means of disposing of it. We seem to draw a blank every time.

We have not heard from Rex. Baker for the past two or three weeks. When last he wrote he suggested the possibility of returning to Melbourne at a comparatively early date.

Most of the old brigade on the Board are still going strong, although some of them are beginning to show signs of age. Mr. Hooke is not quite as mentally alert as he was a year or two ago.

We get many enquiries concerning yourself. Gus Froelich and a number of others have made enquiry just recently. They all seem anxious to hear how you are getting on.

"In your letters, we hope you will not
think any piece of information too
trivial, or that it has no news value to it.
We naturally want to know how
things are going in every way."
In your letters, we hope you will not think any piece of information too trivial, or that it has no news value to it. We naturally want to know how things are going in every way. It will do us a good deal to help us appreciate your position. Tell us something about the closing up of the school year. What took place at the various functions?

Your last letter was written just before commencement — perhaps your next letter will tell us something about that event. The quarterly examinations were to be held on June 9 and 10 according to the calendar. If it is possible to send me another copy of the handbook for next year, I shall be delighted, as it gives me details concerning the school which I find exceedingly interesting and help met to know when the various quarters ended, and something about the school life generally.

I must close now. We shall look forward with keen pleasure to your subsequent letters. You know we all unite in warm love.

Yours affectionately,
Dad