Chapter One
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Two
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Three
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Chapter Four
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Own Your Own Home
Chapter Four: Uncivil War

[Part Ten of Twelve]

I ast him why dident him and his Mrs. come over
some night and play cards and he says he dident
need nothing to put him to sleep and I guess he ment
I would probily fill him up with beer

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Sport & Play
Symptoms of Being 35
Own Your Own Home
In the Wake of the News
Short Stories


Allison, Ill. Feb. 3.

     Brother Charley.  Well Charley this is a funny World where a man has neighbors on 1 side of you that you couldent fine no better peopl no wheres and on the other side peopl that they aint nothing to mean and small for them to do and allways trying to make you missable.
     A man name Martin and his wife is the peopl that we got liveing the next door on the left and I and Martins been going down town on the same train to gather and thats the way how we got aquanted so the other night I and him happen to get on the same train comeing home and set in the same seat and I ast him why dident him and his Mrs. come over some night and play cards and he says he dident need nothing to put him to sleep and I guess he ment I would probily fill him up with beer but beffore we got home he promused to bring the Mrs. and come over and last night was the night they come.   Well Charley you ought to see this here Mrs. Martin.  She aint nothing but a girl you might say and prety as a pitcher and dresses as good is a course girl and you could set down and read the evening paper with out no electrick light if she was in the rm. with her dimonds.
     She took quiet a shine to Grace right a way and ast her did she sew her own close or where did she get them and Grace says no in deed she hadent had no time to sew her own close sence 3 yrs. a go when little Ed was born and Mrs. Martin says she thot may be the close was made beffore that and the reason she thot Grace must of made them was on acct. of she never seen nothing like them in the stores wile she was shopping.   So of corse Grace was tickeled to deth like all the wommen when you swell them up a bout there close and her and Mrs. Martin got a long fine but Mrs. Martin dont play cinch so we set down and played rummy and Martin insist it we should play for $.01 a pt. to make it intrusting so we played a wile and I loose $1.60 and Grace loose $.80 but it was worth the money the fun we had.
     So after we was threw plain cards and we was seting a round drinking a bottle of beer and all of a sudden they was a crash on the back porch and I and Martin run out there and a cat had knocked the garbidge pale over and I called Grace to see whos cat it was and she says it was Hamiltons cat the peopl that lives the next door to us on the other side then the Martins lives on.  And Grace says the same cat had been doing it right a long because all most evry A. M. she found the pale laying on the porch so I says why dont they feed the cat at home and she wouldn't half to go prolling a round the neighbors hood to get some thing to eat and then Martin says may be the Hamiltons was sore at us and starved there cat on the purpose so as she would come over and undisterb us evry night and he ast me if Id gave Hamilton any reason to get sore at me that would make him pull off a trick like that.
     So I says well may be Hamilton was sore at me but he dident have no more reason to be sore at me then me to be sore at him because it was a horse a peace so Martin ast me to tell him a bout it so I told him that we had gave a party 1 night and hadent ast the Hamiltons on acct. of them not calling on Grace after she had payed them a call when we 1st movved out here so Hamilton and his wife got sore on acct. of us not asking them to our party and 1 of the boys that come to the party got to many drinks under his belt and done the foxy trot out on the side walk and Hamilton sent for the night watch man and had me arested for disterbing the piece and so a little wile latter to get back at him I fixed it up with the sherrifs ofice to send 1 of the deputys out to Hamiltons house 1 P. M. when Mrs. Hamilton was giveing a party and plain action bridge whist for money and the deputy told Mrs. Hamilton she was arested for runing a gambleing house and of corse nothing come out of it accept that they was a peace in the papers a bout it and I onily done it to get even.
     So Martin says probily Hamilton suspect it me of bean the 1 that sent the deputy out there and was trying to make things missable for me by starveing there cat so she would yowel a round our house all night and

Martin says if he was me he would lern Hamilton a lesson and I says how and he says for me to think up some trick to play on him so as he would quitt monking with me.  So Im going to try and think up some thing and I would shoot his cat onily it aint the cats falt that there starveing her to deth and a cats got to eat the same as a human bean.
     Well Charley I wisht you and Mary could get a look at Mrs. Martin when shes dolled up for the evening and she pretter then Edna Tangay or any of them stage beatys and last night she had on a dress that you kept thinking may be it would fall off because you couldent see what was keeping it on but it must of been attacked on some wheres with stables or some thing and her arms and neck and soldiers was bear and all spred over with this here tacklum powder and evry time she come clost to you you thot you was in a Green house or to a funeral or some wheres.  Martin was all dood it up to and they was a swell looking pare but a man would half to spend a bout a wk. in a barber shop beffore he would look good enough to run a round with her.
     Well Charley I wisht it would warm up a little and Im burning pretty near a ton of cole a wk. and still Grace comeplanes a bout how cold the house is but I guess she would comeplane of the cold if we was liveing down to the South Pole and if the house was relay cold last night like Grace says why dident Mrs. Martin make some remark a bout it because if any body was cold she ought to been with out no more than a batheing sute on you might say.
     Rgds. to Mary and take care of your self.
     Your Bro.

Fred A. Gross.

Allison, Ill. Feb. 12.

     Brother Charley.   Well Charley I guess this here Hamilton will keep his cat to home and mine his own busness beffore I and him is threw with each other.  I found out today from Grace that Mrs. Hamilton is going to give a party the day after tomorrow night the 14 and the way I found out a bout it was the little irish girl that comes and sets in the house with the babys wile wear out nights found it out from Hamiltons higher girl and thats how I come to find out a bout it.
     Grace was telling me a bout it at breakfast this A. M. and wile she was telling me a bout it a idear come to me because she says it was going to he a valentine party because the 14 is valentine day so I thot all of a sudden a bout sending this here Hamilton a valentine not 1 of these pretty ones that folds up with the flowers on them but a comical 1 only it would be so comical it would make him sore and he wouldent get no laugh out of it.  So I set down besides Martin on the train going down town and I told him a bout me going to send Hamilton a valentine and he says it was a grate idear only you should ought to go stronger then that and pull off some thing else on him a long with it and I says what could I pull and he brot up a bout the party the Hamiltons is going to have and ast me couldent I get a hold of 1 of these sines the helth bord hangs up on a house when the residence has got some decease and got to be quarnteed and he says if I could get a hold of 1 of them sines and hang it under the electrick light on Hamiltons porch the night of the party the guests would all of them see it and be scared to go in the house and turn around and go home and Hamilton and his wife would set there all evening wondring why dident there friends come to the party.
     Well Charley I seen right a way that was better then sending him a valentine but Im going to send him a valentine to and I got 1 down town today and going to male it to him tomorrow and its some valentine Charley a pitcher of a big hog drawed on it and then theys some pottery under the pitcher that says.

They ought to keep you in a pen
Not let you be with other men
Your not a man but just a big
Dissgusting stupid greasy pig

I guess that will give him some thing to think a bout hey Charley but I was going to tell you a bout the sine I got a hold of and it says SMALL POX in big letters on it and Im going to sneek over there the night of the party as soon is it gets dark and hang it up right under where they allways got the electrick light on the porch and the guests cant help from seen it when they get ready to ring the door bell and then they will see the sine and beat it home and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton can have there party all to them self and may be some peopl might think it was a dirty trick but it aint as bad is starveing your cat so as she will come over evry night and knock a mans garbidge pale over.  And yowel a round the house.
     Well Charley I will write and let you know all a bout the Hamiltons big valentine party hey Charley.
     Your Bro.

F. A. Gross.

Allison, Ill. Feb. 15.

     Dear Charley.   Well Charley Grace has went to bed and says she wouldent set up no longer with me because I was to mean and cross and I guess I got a right to feel sore but she dont know nothing a bout it because I dident tell her nothing a bout it.
     Well Charley I told you a bout me sending Hamilton that valentine and I just ment it in fun and what do you think he done Charley but he must of did it beffore he ever got my valentine because I sent it to him Wed. A. M. and when I stoped in at the P. O. Wed. on the way to the train to go in to town they was a letter there for me only it wasent no letter but a valentine 1 of the dirtest you ever seen Charley a pitcher of a man that was suposed to be a detective only they was a bandige over his eyes so as he couldent see nothing and he was holding out his hand and a stick up guy or some thing was puting a role of bills in his hand and under the neath they was a pome sane all detectives was cheap grafters.  Well Charley it made me so sore I couldent hardily talk and when
I got on the train Martin seen they was some thing wrong so he ast me what was the matter so I showed him the valentine and he says he dident blame me for getting sore and who ever sent it was a dirty trick and if he was me he wouldent never rest till he found out who sent it and then he would get even with them.  Well the address on the envellop was wrote with a tipe writer so I couldent tell whose hand writeing it was so I says to Martin how was I going to find out who sent it and he says I thot you was a detective and I says I am a detective but I dont know no body mean enough to pull off a stunt like that and he says I bet it was your friend Hamilton and as soon is he menshoned Hamiltons name of corse I knowed it must of been him.
     Well Charley what do you think of a man that will pull off a dirty trick like that and he aint man enough to come out and say some thing to my face and I told Martin I says I would go to Hamiltons house on my way home that night and call him out on the porch and bust his jaw for him and Martin says if I done that it would get into all the papers and I would get in bad and besides that would spoil my idear a bout hanging the small pox sine on Hamiltons door because if I took a punch at Hamilton he would probily half to call in the Dr. and go to bed and they wouldent be no party.  So I decide it to try and hold on to my temper and that night when I seen the Hamiltons was eating there supper I snuck over on there porch and hung the sine up and then I came home and ett supper and set where I could look over on there porch and what do you think Charley he was to cheap to light up the electrick light

on the front porch and it was as dark is a pitch but he dident never light the light all evening but just left the porch dark and of corse the peopl that come to the party couldent see no sine or nothing else on the porch so they went in the house like they was nothing wrong and I could hear them singing and enjoin them self till after midnight.  What do you think of a guy Charley thats so cheap he wont light up his lights but just as soon leave his frends stumble in the dark and brake there neck.
     Well Charley I finely went to bed when I seen they wasent nothing comeing off and as soon is I got up yest. A. M. I looked over there and some body had tooken the sine down allready.  Well I guess Grace must think Im sick or some thing the way I been acting yest. and today because Im still so sore yet that I cant hardily talk to no body and if it wasent like picking on a baby I

would go over to Hamiltons house right now and bust his big nose for him.
     I dont half to tell you Charley that I dident never take a nickle that wasent comeing to me and the only thing I ever got from stick up men was abuse and thats because I been after them all iny life and if it wasent for me theyd brake in to the mayors house wile he was eating his lunch and steal the cream of his coffee but they aint been the stick ups and burglerys sence I been over looking that end of it and now this swell head pup trys to call me a thief and a grafter but you can bet your last shirt that he will hear from me beffore Im threw with him the cheap bum.
     Well Charley they should ought to be a law against sending these here valentines and it may be it might be all O. K. to send them pretty valentines with the flowers on them to the wommen but they should ought to bar these here comical ones and there a bout as comical is a hanging over to the county jail and it might be all right to send them for a joke but not try and inselt some body and call them a crook.  Hes so crook it him self that you couldent pull corks with him hey Charley.
     Your Bro.

Fred A. Gross

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