Letter written by: WARREN RAY LEWIS 24 September 1979.
[This transcription made by me G. Claire from facsimile of the original document.]]

“Dear Geri
        I have been putting this off as long as my conscience will let me.
        I’m going to give you a few names of school mates from grammar school days.  Lester Long was in my grade.  Paul Hyatt his father had the livery stable.  Newton Sharp Jimmy Brackman’s father had the soda fountain and candy store.  Jim used to have his pocket full of candy to bribe me to do his chores.  Chas. McKee his father had the lumber yard.  Earl Swallow his father was the Doctor.
        A couple of girls I remember Helen Munger; Mary Gardner, she was the best speller in the class; I was pretty good myself.
        Some Friday afternoons we would choose sides and have a spelling bee.  Everybody went to school in one building, grade school downstairs, high school upstairs.
        I remember Poths Bakery.  My mother used to send me there to buy three loaves of bread for ten cents.  How is that for a bargain.
        If it was Fourth of July  --  shooting Roman candles at each other or throwing big fire crackers at each other.  If it was Hallowe’en everything moveable was moved.
         The next morning you hunted for it and go out [to] straighten up that cute little house in the back yard.
        ........ You go ahead and use any of the junk I write any way you please.

            Your worthless ol Uncle
                        Ray

I don’t recognize any of the scenes in those pictures of Carbondale.  You know why they called the town Carbondale  --  on account of be[ing] in the low part of town.  Coal mine on the hill.  Just throw this crummy epistle in the trash without reading it.  Won’t do you any good.  I don’t remember Metzler or Patterson.”

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The old gentleman who wrote this letter, Warren Ray Lewis, was born in September of 1891.  He was my grandfather Melvin's brother.  They were raised, in part, in Carbondale, Kansas.  The people whom Great Uncle Ray refers to in this letter were apparently the merchants of the day in that small town.  Uncle Ray's own father, Melvin Albert Lewis, was a violinist who played with the local group Sharps and Waller.  He owned the town jewelry store.  They played checkers in the back of the store.  Myself, I remember that my grandfather Melvin always wanted to play checkers with me whenever I would visit him.  I used to ride my spider-bike over to his house on some days when Catholic school was over.  He lived near the school.  I would park my bike and go up the stairs and visit.  There would always be a checkerboard around.  Perhaps this was because he played with his own dad in the days of Old Carbondale.  G. E. Claire, July 2011.  <>


 


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    Author

    G. Claire is a descendant of Welsh Immigrants who came to California during the time of "the Great Excitement," also known as the Gold Rush.  She is, in addition, a descendant of young Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton and of Thomas Cushman, an Elder of the Plymouth Church.  The author is proud to be descended from Silvanus Brown, a member of that most notorious group of Vermont mobsters known as The Green Mountain boys.

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