Danny and Bets

He took her hand, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I would have hoped you’d understand.”

“What’s to understand? We’ve been together since, well since we shouldn’t have been together.” She was crying a little now, “But I know, I mean I should have known, I can’t compete with those fancy eastern girls you met at that stupid college.”

He’d tried to time this right; his train left in ten minutes. That would give him enough time to tell her, let it sink in and then hop on the train back east. An easy escape. But it wasn’t working out because wasn’t taking it easy. “It’s not that Bets, sometimes you just meet someone and it feels right.” The conductor was starting to shoo people onto the train.

“Pullman sleepers to the rear, coaches to the front. We’re running two minutes late, all aboard folks!” The conductor pulled a lantern out and lit it, the flame glowed red and green through the Fresnel lenses. He was getting ready to highball the engineer. There was the sound of steam escaping as the brakes released.

“Bets I gotta go.” I’ll write you, try to explain it better.

“Save your time and your 3 cents. I won’t read it”. She walked back to the parking lot.

From the train window he could see her car still sitting there, snow piling up on the windshield. Was she sitting there crying? He would write to her anyway. As the train pulled away, he pictured her in rolled up jeans, daring the boys to throw her off the monkey bars, or in her first dress when they went to that school dance.

As soon as the train cleared the station, he got out his writing pad and began a letter.

*****

January 3rd 1953

Dearest Bets:

I wish I could make you understand. People grow, they change. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you; of course I do. We grew up together, we were inseparable, we will always have a special bond. But Sophie and I have the same interests, her family are all lawyers and bankers…I don’t know how to describe it; we just fit together.

I wish you would write back, if you do, I can explain some more. I need you, you’re still my best friend.

Love Danny

*****

January 26th 1953

Dearest Bets:

It’s been three weeks and still no reply from you. Probably you are not wanting to answer, but you know me, stupid optimist (haha), I am thinking that maybe it got lost in the mail or something. Anyway, would love to talk to you more about the whole thing. Things going okay here, give your Mother and Father my love.

All My Love Danny

*****

February 21 1953

Dear Bets:

Come on now, this is silly. There are things going on here I really need to talk to you about. Please write back.

Love Danny

*****

March 2nd 1953

Bets:

I think you’re being very immature about the whole thing. School and things with Sophie going fine. She’d like to meet you.

Love Danny

*****

3/14/53

Dear Asshole,

“SOPHIE?”

Worst Regards

Betty

*****

March 20th 1953

Dear Bets:

I was hoping that when you finally did write back, it would be something a little nicer than that. Sophie is a warm, intelligent gal. She says she has heard a lot about you and certainly is interested in meeting “your little friend”…I guess she is a tad jealous. Why don’t you hop on a train and come visit. Sophie’s family has a wonderful mansion on the Mainline I am sure you would love staying there.

All My Love Danny

*****

4/2/53

Daniel,

I can’t, I am getting ready for second semester finals. A mainline mansion? Are you serious? I think I know everything I need to know about Sophie baby. I hope you can afford her.

Betty

*****

April 10th 1953

Dear Bets:

School? I didn’t know. Good for you! So you decided to go to Dodson State? That’s a good solid choice and very affordable. Are you getting that secretarial certificate? I am proud of you.

Love Danny

*****

4/15/53

Daniel,

I’m pre-med.

Betty

*****

April 19th 1953

Dear Bets:

Well you didn’t have to get snippy about it. How was I to know? You said you couldn’t afford to go to college with your brother and sister already going. They don’t have a medical school there so what are you going to do?

Love Danny

*****

5/5/53

Danny,

Maybe you would know if you took three minutes to ask one question about me. Over Christmas break you did nothing but brag about Old-Sock U or wherever the hell you’re going. I should have known there was some snooty-puss chick involved. Even my dad, who always loved you, said you sounded full of yourself.

As to Med School I am pre-accepted if I can ace my second semester. It’s a place called “Yale”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. I need to be studying but here I am writing to you.

Tell Sophie I’d like to meet her never.

Betty

*****

May 21st 1953

Betty:

I didn’t realize that. I’m sorry, of course I am interested in you. I might not write for awhile, we are going up to Maine to Sophie’s family summer place. It’s supposedly very remote. I do wish you had gotten to know her and her family…they are so smart and so connected. It’s a thrill being around them. Take care and have a good summer.

Love Danny

*****

5/30/53

Dan,

Yes I was accepted at Yale. Thanks for asking. I am glad you’ll be having such a “connected” “smart” summer. I hope “Sophie” doesn’t get eaten by a bear.

Betty

*****

7/2/52

Dan,

Your favorite Aunt died…three weeks ago. No one knows where Sophie is hiding you. If by some miracle you get this you should call your Mother.

Betty

*****

7/17/53

Dear Bets:

Well, I guess you’ll be happy. You were right. After about a month with that family I realized all they cared about was appearing clever and witty. They spent half the time making fun of people. When I mentioned it they started making fun of me. Sophie even said maybe I should go be with “Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farms”…that would be you. I’m a little heartbroken but not that bad.

I hope your first semester at Yale goes well.

Love Danny

*****

8/4/53

Dan,

Well, I am sorry you had your heart broken but I am not sure why you would think I’d be happy. By the way, I’ve been seeing someone. He is nice, reminds me of the way you used to be. Good luck to you as well.

Bets

*****

August 9th 1953

Dear Bets:

That stung. You have no idea how much. I hope it works out, but I have to admit I am feeling a little jealous.

Love Danny

*****

10/4/53

Danny,

I didn’t mean to be so harsh. Maybe I was a little happy. I am sorry for that. The guy didn’t work out, he found a cheerleader type to date. That’s okay. Wasn’t that smart anyway. Will you be home for the holidays?

Bets

*****

October 8th 1953

Dearest Bets:

I definitely will be home for the holidays and am looking forward to spending some time with you. I know I kind of screwed up. Can we talk about it then? School is going well, I guess I am going to rush a fraternity after all. Wish me luck. See you soon (hopefully).

Love Danny

*****

11/11/53

Daniel,

What the hell do you think you’re doing? You send your mother a letter that you met a prostitute and you “can’t wait for them to meet her?” Who does that to their mother? Never mind being with a whore. I don’t know you. Don’t come around, my father says he’ll hand you your head if you get near me.

Bye

*****

November 19th 1953

Bets:

I am so sorry!!!! It was a prank that backfired, I swear it. It was part of getting into the fraternity, It’s something they make the pledges do. Some other poor guy had to tell his mother that he’d fallen for a 14 year old but she was really mature for her age and they were getting married soon. Bobby across the street was supposed to check the mail every day and let me know when the letter got there so I could call her right after she read it. He missed a day. I tried to call her right away but the damned party line was clogged up for hours. I finally got through and explained it all. She is still mad about it…I had to quit the fraternity on her account she was so upset.

Pleading

Danny

*****

12/1/53

Danny,

You are a class A idiot. Lucky for you Carla’s cousin is in that same fraternity but over at Samuelson. He told her that’s the standard initiation they do. She told him he is an idiot just like you are. Your mother has calmed down and my father is saying now he will slap you on the head but won’t actually knock your block off. How come men (boys!) never think?

Hurry up and get home before you hurt yourself. I think our break starts sooner so call me from the station and I will pick you up.

Bets

PS: I can’t believe you trusted Bobby to do anything important. You’re as dumb as he is.

*****

January 5th 1954

Dearest Bets:

I am so sorry to be back here without you. The holiday was wonderful. I can’t wait until we are together again. Do you think I can come visit you? Yale is not far on the train.

Love Danny

*****

1/8/54

Dear Danny,

Of course you can come visit…I would love that. Try not to do anything stupid between now and then (kidding!) I really miss you. You better be living like a monk…you’re still on probation.

Love Bets

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