Sunday, August 23, 2015

Heartfelt Birthday Greetings George to His Father, Will Sherwood

George's father - William Richard Sherwood
In 1920, a little over a year after coming home from fighting in WWI, George Stevens Sherwood was making his way in the world.  He had not stayed long at home after returning and seemed to feel a restlessness and a need to find his own way.  His sister Susan and her husband were co-farmers with their parents and would later take over the farm (buying out their siblings interest).  His half-sister, Dora, and her husband Guy Lindsey, were in Utah.  He headed West with many others during this era and worked at several different jobs.  At the time of this letter there was still a year to go before he met the love of his life.  At this particular time he was working for the Mutual Coal Company in Rains, Utah.  He penned this missive in honor of his father's 61st birthday (he was born August 28, 1859).  This coming week will mark Will Sherwood's 154th birthday anniversary.
Rains[1], Utah – Aug 24 -  20
Dear Dad,
            While I’m not exactly in a nice frame of mind to write a cheerful birthday letter, it’s about the only chance I’ll get I guess, so here goes.  Now I’d better explain why I’m on the peck, so you’ll know none of you are in any wise to blame.  Guess I’ve told you all from time to time about our trouble with the Gen. Man of the company butting into the Engr end of the game.  Now, not having learned anything in the last botch he made, he has come around this afternoon with another change.  Of course as per usual it is the eleventh hour when the whole thing is laid out and work started on it.  I’m afraid my nervous system won’t stand much more of this.  Wish I knew how the drill proposition would turn out, so that I knew where to jump to and I’d quit tonite.  It may look foolish to you as long as it’s not my money or my layout that is getting balled up, but after helping in my small way to get the work laid out right, its more than I can stand to see a bull-headed, pot-bellied hardware merchant come up here and make a mess of it.  It’s killing my interest in the work entirely so I’ll be glad to get out.  I’m seeing clearer every day that I’m too set in my way to work for someone else, but in this case I know we are right, and that’s the appreciation we get for it.  That old bird ought to be in a home for feeble minded instead of Gen Man. Of a new company.  Well, I got the money you sent O.K. and sure hope the drill is a success.  Thank you for your promptness. 
            And now for the Best Wishes for your Birthday.  Wish I could be with you, but in my absence just think of me as you celebrate for I’ll be with you all in spirit if not in flesh.  And “Dad” just remember as you pass this milestone that I’m trusting you will take good care of yourself so that you will be with us for many more.  I’m a little inclined to believe from what sis and mother write you are kind of forgetting to ease up, and I need you, Dad, I sure do.  Are money matters getting so tight you have to work so hard?
            If so, let me know and will try to devise some scheme to ease up the situation.  For you promised to let me know if all was not well.
             It is a damp, chilly, rainy night as I sit here in my cabin writing this and thot’s of home are cheerful so I pen the following:
George Stevens Sherwood - during the time he lived and worked in Rains           

When a fellow’s young and carefree
And the world is mostly joy
He takes his Home for granted
For you see he’s mostly boy.

But when you leave the old home tree
And round the world you roam
You get to dreaming more and more
 Of the love and peace of home.   

Even on shell scarred battlefield,
Crouched in a blood-smeared hole
There comes a fleeting moment
When you search your blighted soul.

Memories flit swiftly past you
As you crouch there all alone;
And the ones that grip you hardest
Are the memories of home

In your billet, tent or dugout
Sky above you painted red
With the flame of ceaseless battle
Gothes droning overhead

When you crawl into your blankets
Lice infested, damp and cold
You go to sleep a dreamin’
Dreams of home and days of old.

Life may toss you like a puppet
Into cities' sordid din
You may drift into a wilderness
Where man has never been

But when you’re feeling lonely
Sorter useless, down and out
And you try to feel more cheerful
Why - its home you think about.

Wherever you may wander
Whatever you may do
No matter who the fellow is
You’ll find this one thing true

Whenever he gets lonely
His thots turn evermore
To the lovin' warmth and comfort
Of the Home he’s yearnin’ for

                    Stevens Sherwood* -  August 24, 1920
                     [Copyright 2015 KSL]
            Well, if you have lived through that, I’ll ring off and give you a much needed rest.  Excuse the pencil, my pen faded out at the crucial moment, but I didn’t take the hint and lay off.
            Now I’ll close with Birthday Greetings to “The Best Dad in the World.” From
                                                                        His loving son
Love to all
* * * * *
*George Stevens Sherwood AKA Stevens Sherwood apparently liked the idea of using his middle and last names as an alternate pen-name.  Stevens was his mother's family name and his grand parents were David Eastman Stevens and Rosina Jane Richardson Stevens, both born in Topsham, Vermont and married there and then almost immediately moved to Wisconsin..