An Edward Hopper Scrapbook

South Truro    Mass.
Sunday   June 24


Bee dear—

Such a whirl of fleets & admirals, banquets, dances & weddings. Bee, you are flying on too high a wing to light other wise than disdainfully on a spot of earth as humble as South Truro, but I'm glad you are having such a gay happy time.

The house got started so late, not until June & after the water had been located. It's doing nicely & it's most convenient for us to be located so near the [field] of operations. E. there all the time—has to watch—so there will be no chance to go to Boston until the house is done. And we ought to be getting things together now so as to have them all ready to go in. But of course one can't do it that way anyhow—one has to pick things up here & there & do a lot of rooting about. Thank you so very much Bee for Seareus. We'll get there soon as we can next month, but I've an idea we'll find what suits the house best right on the Cape if E. will only take me snooping. It will take not only time & gasoline but tact. And there is always so much routine kitchen drudgery just living & not time left to [undeciphered]. How wise you are not even to let yourself in print[?]. Days pass & nothing to show for it all. I wish I could tell you when we'll have the house running with beds & chairs in it, at least. The Jenness' come down here in Aug. & we must be out of their house by then. Sometime in Aug. we'll have to go way back to fetch up the family for a visit. Not only fetch up but haul back—a matter of some 1250 or so miles & I do hope it can be accomplished without bloodshed. [Marginal note: I hope E. can stand the strain of so much driving.] But after I've stayed over the kitchen stove or the sink for about 2 days I'm ready to heave a tomahawk—&, the little house promises to be so conventional & so comfortable—(if it works) that they may want to stay on & on. And E. knows he can't do a stroke of painting until the house is finished & they're deposited back home. Not one stroke yet.

I do hope your Mother keeps well & contented. My mother-in-law grows less & less contented. She's bored, poor soul—so we'll have to go fetch her. But one of the most trying things is one never can plan anything—never know before hand so as to arrange to fit things in. I see from your letter that you go to Mt. Kisco on July 11th, Bee dear, it was sweet of you—if you did think of it, to leave July 9th somewhere between N. Carolina & Mt. Kisco, But Bee—I've had to give up any idea of a party on that day. We never have had much of anything then. The house won't be ready & no furniture in. Mrs. Jenness said to have the party here & she'd come down from Boston with her silver tea service & 2 big cakes. But what's the good of that—when we're having our own house so soon after. But such confusion before it's accomplished & battles.

I think it would be great for you & Anne & Sam [Tucker] to come down here. I'd love to show you Corn Hill & our little house—in what ever stage of completion, but we'd have to know so as not to be rummaging about in Boston—or on the Cape somewhere. We needn't be, if we know before hand.

Bee—if you go to Boston, you really must come. There are several nice places in Wellfleet —but I'd hate for you to have to go there. There is a little room here, if we are still in this house—but it's a far cry from your charming boudoir on Central Park South besides all you've been into lately. I don't quite see you in it here—no bath room, etc. etc. We wash in the kitchen sink—but we have a most lovely beach—with (often) quite warmish water. You could take a look & decide without hurting our feelings in the least. We'll [sic] getting disgustingly deluxe up in the new house. Conventional enough to be Brookline—not South Truro at all. It's a Brookline contractor who is doing it after all. He & a Brookline architect work together a great deal. Architect—Royal Barry (some such) Wills who cast an eye on E's plans and said they were good. Maurice A. Dunlavy, his contractor, did Mrs. Jenness' Chestnut Hill house & she wasn't content 'til she got him doing ours here. He & Wills have done very lovely houses in Brookline—Glorified Cape Cod adaptions. Wills was born on Cape Cod & has specialized on Cape Cod Colonial. It's a great relief to have Dunlavy take over the whole thing. I was a wreck hunting about for details—windows, plumbing, mouldings, shingles etc. etc. before we left N.Y. & learning nothing much—& now he's doing the whole thing. Even enclosed ironing board! Not my idea of a house. This is E. Hopper's house. His, and the dear dead uncle whose money is buying it. My uncle would never stand for anything but the (conventional) best—best plumber, best tailor, best hotel etc. It's rather interesting that his preferences are working themselves out in this little house. No funny business for him—no adorable 3 legged table proped [sic] up on box cover dexterously disguised. Not for E. Hopper either. Tables around here are to have 4 whole legs. Personally I like the reclaimed horse car—or house made out of ex moving van. Something with a smack of adventure about it. This may be comfortable but smug. Much love,

Jo


We look right out at the back of Ann's church—which is on the E. skyline from here.

Oh Bee—I'm going to do all the rugs for the little house—so I'm mortgaging the clothes right off the backs of all my friends—even acquaintances. So please—don't give Salvation Army any wool jersey of brilliant hue—they'll only clean stoves with it—& fondly I remember a red jersey sport dress that may some day grow too short for present modes. Would you remember me & rugs? I do so sadly need good red. I have a snip of Sloan's red velvet carpet—a sample they gave me—to put in centre—but I'll need red somewhere in border to repeat the red. It is the braided rag I'm doing—when I get a chance—if ever.

One can't wear heels round here. It's all sand & rough ground. No electric light or phone. Telegrams come for miles from Wellfleet even. We go to Wellfleet for food. No occasion for clothes. It's our own beach, only ourselves there.

Oh—I'm so sorry Bee. The hill is so steep, we couldn't put the car under the house—& all we could get into our contract was a 1 car garage. But if the Jenness' are out here, I could borrow theirs. Garage not started til house done.

I do hope Sam has stayed well. Last year he had a bad spell. He will work so hard & give poor Anne scares.

Oh Bee—no one had better come near us until Aug.—too much confusion & controversy & temper.

From the Elizabeth Hopper Blanchard Papers, #3367, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.