Notes from the Franklin Littell Project: Childhood (transcription)

215 Tenth Ave. S.,
Mount Vernon, Iowa, U.S.A.,
December 24, 1931

Dear S.M.,

Thank you very much for the stamps you sent to me by your uncle. They were very desirable, but I have been terribly slow in answering, as you will probably notice. By the time this reaches you the New Year will have come and I hope very happily for you.

I have studied very hard this year and my grades show it. I took high honors in my class this six weeks. I will have to work to keep the honor, for always before one girl would beat me.

I am keeping a note-book on World Peace, a class which I took up at Clear Lake Institute. I went there as a member of the Epworth League. The League is a nation-wide branch of the church for young people. In our town, where there is the College, there are two leagues, the College League, and the High School League (which I attend). The League aims to have at least 2/3 of its membership at Church every morning. Each League has a program of its own, and several times during the year the Leagues meet together to help each other. there are dues to the League, and in return we get many parties, discussions of everyday problems, help of all kinds, and a share in our cottage up at Clear Lake, about 180 miles north-west of here.

Very few of the Leagues have as nice a cottage as we have, and we are thankful for it. There are about fifty members of our league, with about forty attending each meeting. The lake is two miles across, and eight miles long. It is very beautiful, and an ideal place to teach young people to be good christians. There is always something to do.

Each league, as I said, has its own program. Ours sings carols to the shut-ins at Christmas time, has parties, keeps a certain standard in the meetings. Often we take part with the church in helping the poor, etc. We form many friends in the League, and I would not part with it for anything.

We had a party last Monday. There were fifty-three there, and we had a very nice time, although we were rather crowded. I helped on the eats committee, and it payed well, I counted the cookies, and as there was one over, I ate it. (with permission of the hostess)

I am playing the clarinet in the Town Band and in the High School Orchestra. I like to play really well, and have a good time at the concerts that we give.

I sawed up a cord of wood in the last few days.(we are having vacation now) Dad said that I did it so well that he was going to buy another cord.(kind of a doubtful compliment, was it not)

I have a B-B gun. It shoots by compressed air and is very powerful. I have killed many rabbits with it, and have earned ten dollars shooting sparrows, at five cents a sparrow. This winter there are not many sparrows about, so I shoot apples out of the trees by shooting the stem, for practice.

I read a great deal. I think Russia is trying a great experiment. Without doubt, she has increased her values a great deal, but I do not like the methods that she uses. I suppose that the attitude is against Russia pretty strongly where you live. It is here , too. I read in the papers that you are having quite a bit of trouble with the Japanese. The papers greatly favor you. It appears that the Japanese are trying to get some Chinese property. That shows what militarism does to a country. If Japan declares war, she will absolutely violate her honor, for she signed the Kellogg Peace PAct. I hope that the matter will be settled peaceably, for it is a great shame that there should be a war in the “civilized” world.

While I was up at the Lake at Institute, I signed a paper saying that I would never take part in any war. I would be willing to be a stretcher bearer, but would not kill a man. General Persing recently said that if he had one hundred Victoria Crosses to give away for bravery, every one of them should go to the stretcher bearers. So, you see, the post is not that of a coward.

Hope you are O.K. when this reaches you. Write.

Your friend,

Franklin Littell

P.S. If you should like stamps from U.S., I can send some to you.

Attached news clipping:

What I Dislike Most
by Franklin Littell

What I dislike most is a broken fountain-pen point. Suppose you are writing a lesson and you lay your pen on the desk. It starts to roll and perhaps before you can catch it it falls to the floor. Next period you prepare to write your exercises, and discover that the point is broken. It should so happen that the class is a particular one, where ink is always required by pedagogical edict. Result: perhaps a grade of 70 or 75, or, anyway, barely enough to pass. What I dislike most is to discover my fountain-pen point broken at a critical time.–(Age 12), 219 W. 6th Avenue, Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

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