Sunday, June 29, 2008

October 1919 -- "It's a golden day"

During the winter of 1918, Uncle Teddy had completed a portrait of Myron Adams, dean of the faculty at Atlanta University, a job commissioned by the alumni in honor of Adams' 30 years of service.

Now, he is back in Atlanta to do another painting, and his spirits are high. Teddy had been a popular student at Atlanta University, a member of the football and debate team who sang with the glee club and wrote and performed plays. He remained friends with the people he met at AU through the years, many of whom supported his artistic aspirations.

Whenever he visited Atlanta, he stayed in the home of his friend and former AU professor, George A. Towns. It is probably during this period that he does a charcoal and pencil sketch of Towns' young daughter, Grace. (She later becomes Grace Towns Hamilton, the first black state legislator in Georgia.)

Meanwhile, in New York, Tantie is broke and lonely and wants to come home. But Teddy has his eye on a bigger prize.

2 University Place
Atlanta, Ga

My Sweetie,
That's how I feel today -- just fine. It's a golden day and all that, but I have just about consummated an extra job of a commission that promises well -- work to begin tomorrow, or next day and so I just feel as if I'm walking on the air. I have been working on my other big portrait for a few short sittings and it is coming along pretty well. I can assure you ... it was some relief to get at it after an unexpected and distressing delay caused by my illness.

I sent you a little change by wire which I hope reached you in time to cheer. I will send some money by the end of the week and hope you will never run out again -- I will see to it.
Cheer up for your own sake as well as mine and don't court the blues.

I am not sure how much longer I shall be in Atlanta -- it all depends upon the work for I presume I may be useful back home, although I grow so weary of the quiet purposeless periods there, and when you are not in town it is awful. These accumulated years of loneliness are telling on me.

I go for a sitting now, so good bye, good luck. God bless you. Will write again before the close of the week.

With love 'neverthing

2 University Place
Atlanta, Ga.
Oct. 8 '19

My dear Lisa,
I am still on the job in the Gate city [Atlanta] with the time of winding up still uncertain. The folks for whom I am making the big portrait are pleased so far with the progress of the picture as it grows. They are spending about $75.00 for the frame -- so you see they mean to lay it on.

Have seen some of my old friends as well as my athletic adversaries of years ago.

Have just returned from the funeral of the mother of some former schoolmates. Imagine -- she has been a teacher continuously in the public schools for 41 years and the first time she was ever tardy in all those years was the day she was stricken on the way and died that night.

I have just had an invitation from my sister Katie to come to St. Augustine to address the N.A.A.C.P. on the 24th. I'm not sure if I can make it. We'll see.

Here's a little change. Will send something more and more before I leave.

I hope you will cheer up and say more of yourself -- whom do you see, what do you do, etc. etc. etc. How's the work?

Am trying to get this off so good bye with love and more love -- I am appreciating your value, your meaning to me more and more and more by comparison each day and week. Don't worry, we shall be happy together, just be a little patient with me, for the world is different today from what it was -- even last year.

Yours forever,

121 Calhoun St.
Charleston, S.C.
Oct. 3 '19

My little Lady,
If you feel as I have felt recently when you expect a letter and get none I will surely write you often, for I had expected at least a card to say that you had had my letter of the 24th as I had your "Blue" note of the 25th. I hope you will not need to have to send another such.
Perk up and cheer up!

What's the matter, cold feet?

... Now I hope you will settle down to a genuine enjoyment of your stay in the metropolis, see the king and queen and the Prince of Wales and all the swells, have a real alround good time, behave yourself perfectly, keep in perfect health , make friends of worthwhile folks only.

I will close with best wishes for your happiness, kind regards to Mrs.Elzy and every assurance of love to your dear self.

Fondly yours,

2 University Place
Atlanta, Ga.
Oct. 23 '19

My dear Little One,
I have been in Atlanta several days and by some sort of perverse fortune have spent most of that time in bed. While working to get my canvass and background etc ready to begin work that afternoon -- I just had to quit, call off the engagement for the day and take to bed. It came on with headache and fever as the flu used to, and has just about left me, but I am all punk as a result of the bout with the fever. ...

I hope to begin work tomorrow or Saturday if the wretched weather clears up. ...

Today I am down in cash. if you need anything write me forthwith as I shall soon have something for you.

With love

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