|Bud, Catherine, and M. E.
Like James Neville, there was very little time after she found the job to think about anything except getting to the school. A phone call was received with some details, a couple of bags were quickly packed, a sleepless night was endured, and then off Catherine ran to the station the next morning. At least train and bus connections between Memphis and Knoxville provided a reasonably speedy and uneventful journey. Alcoa is 14 miles south of Knoxville and was formerly known as North Maryville. It incorporated under its present name in 1919 to reflect the "company town" it had become due to the presence of the Aluminum Company of America
Catherine's brother, Bud, picked her up at the train station and took her to spend her first night in East Tennessee at his UT fraternity house. The house mother, Mrs. Brown, put her up in the guest room in her apartment. Catherine enjoyed a nice visit with Bud who escorted her the next day to 403 Ramsey Street in Alcoa*, the rooming house that had been arranged for her to spend the next 8 months. As you'll see below she felt her expenses were "sky high." Indeed... board (meals) was 85 cents a day and renting the room cost her $6 every four weeks!
In a short letter to her mother mailed on October 9th, Catherine describes one of those "boarding" days:
"My board may be high - but it is certainly worth it. Every meal is delicious - not only is the table full but everything tastes good. For breakfast today we had grapefruit, flakes, bacon, toast and coffee - For lunch - liver hash, macaroni, spinach, pickle, and some other vegetable I forgot with cornbread, chocolate pudding, and tea - For supper, Irish potatoes in sauce, cauliflower in sauce, chicken, dressing, pickle, biscuit, sweet milk, and jello. - Not bad?"
Mail service being somewhat slow in those days and phones not even in every household, it took several days for James Neville to learn about this much anticipated "place." They were both quite happy that, with Catherine now earning a paycheck, their savings accounts would soon be bursting and their "Spring Wedding" would come off as planned. Let us not forget that he was 21 and she was 20 and if one looked up "naive" in the dictionary, a picture of these two could be found.
|Grandma and Grandpa Patty
until the week before she and James Neville tied the knot on December 23, 1936.
While most all her letters have been only one page, I did find a rare five page letter written at the end of her fourth week in Alcoa. It touches on several interesting subjects and I thought I would share it with you in its entirety. It tells a lot about a young Catherine Patty who is concentrating on her life as a new teacher.
Nov. 3, 1936
Well, I suppose you think I have deserted the family fireside for good! It does seem that way - and I do often wonder if perhaps I haven't just changed lives. I certainly seem never to have any time of my own any more - I did at last take time off Sunday to read a book - the first I have so much as opened since I've been here. I am in the delightful predicament of owing everyone a letter - that is, everyone but Juanita. She never has written. I got a card from Evelyn last week saying that her school had closed because attendance was too low - she hadn't made any other plans.
I saw 'Duke last week-end. I stayed with brother at the Frat House. It certainly is nice there - Mrs. Brown is lovely, and the boys are very nice too. We all went to church and had dinner together Sunday. I talked to Bud a little while last week during E.T.E.A. (Teacher's meeting) but didn't have time to see him. I suppose he's still all right, but says he has to work pretty hard.