Thursday, May 31, 2012


"it is too dangerous to get out with a machine" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

The Letter to Earl now comes to a close, Mother signs off and adds a post script to let Earl know about the weather. When I finish with a series I can't help but feel some sense of loss over the characters that were developed. Now I am off to write some copy that will tie them together and give some indication of place and time so that I can make a small book. I am looking forward to continuing with my research on Earl, his family, the community and Lewisburg, Ohio. 

Letter to Earl continues:
I guess this is all for tonight. We send our love and best wishes.

Your folks,
Dad, Ralph and Mother

Monday morning. Every thing is a glare of ice every where and we will not go to Susie's funeral this afternoon as it is too dangerous to get out with a machine. I called Josie this morning and she says the horse is better and is trying to eat some they think she will get along alright now.
Your Mother
View all 20 characters on flickr.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


"not now" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues: 
Clarence Geeting told pop that James is still laying on his back and cannot walk yet but he is improving slowly. They can't go to see him as he don't want them to come. When they leave he is always so much more nervous. In the Leader it tells how many places he has been at. I will send a church program.
Lastly: Mother signs off.

Cast of characters on flickr.

"been so many places" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Monday, May 21, 2012


"did he ever come home" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
Anna Cassady told me today that Harold is in India. She got a letter that was written Christmas and another that was wrote since.
Up next: James cannot walk.

More images on flickr.


"if they ever get to it" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
We don't know what they will do about Stoneburners' corn but I guess it will be shucked if they ever get to it.
Up next: who is in India?

See the cast on flickr.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Here's where the letter gets a little strange as I am not privy to what came before, so one can only speculate that there were some issues with Earl's "job" in the army...
Earl you scare me where you get into it as you did last week. I am afraid they will take advantage of you some time when you can't help yourself. You bet I would never budge to go down in the cellar or even outside to settle something. I think they had better give them a job so they wouldn't have so much time to get into mischief. I suppose about next they will try it on you. If they do I would go to the boss and show it to him. I would not fight them or say much to them about it unless you just have too. Don't tell them that you went to your boss last week.
There are no people mentioned in this section, and in the few subsequent letters there are no other clues to what went on.

Friday, May 18, 2012


"it was so cold"  3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
Well, Susie Leiter Petersime died Friday morning and her funeral will be at her home in Lewisburg where her daughter Helen Paul lives. If the roads are so icy I will not get to her funeral tomorrow afternoon. 
"no one came"  3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Up next: who will shuck the corn?

More characters on flickr.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


"lacks lake luster"  3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
Dick Hieter goes back to work but he had to notify the draft board that they would not accept him at the Great Lakes so I bet he will be drafted into the Army.
"The sailors on ships plying the Great Lakes come under Class IV. They are, therefore, far removed from the first call."

"It must be borne in mind that the grain-carriers on the Great Lakes are indispensable for the feeding of the nation, and their crews are employed in a vocation necessary to the pursuance of the war."
Read more about the Draft here.

Up next: the dead woman.

More characters on flickr.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


"hit the road"  3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

In the previous post there was one sentence regarding Clara Ehler. I didn't have a painting done yet, I just finished it tonight. But the fact that the farm belonged to a woman, and had to be rented intrigued me. I wanted to learn more.

It's amazing what you can find when doing simple research on the internet. Just using I found out that, in 1930, Clara was married to Roy Ehler and had two children: Mata age 14 and Frances age 6. They also lived with her mother, Ella Jordan. This was a predominately German community. They had a laborer living with them as well, named Otis Ayers. In Earl's letter (1943) his mother claimed that Clara Ehler's farm was being rented. In I found out why:
Clara Ehler Files Suit For Divorce

Charging neglect and cruelty, Clara Ehler filed petition in common pleas court against Roy Ehler, seeking a divorce and custody of a minor child.

A restraining order was issued at the request of the plaintiff prohibiting Ehler from entering the premises, a farm in Twin township, or disposing of property either chattels or real.

~ Hamilton Daily News Journal, September 17, 1940

I guess by the time of the divorce Mata was already 24 years old, so Clara just sought custody of her youngest daughter.

Clara Ehler lived to be 97 years old and died in Dayton, Ohio.

Friday, May 11, 2012


"what i heard tonight" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues: 
Well I heard Mrs. McKee tell Effie Wikle tonight that Lowell and Merriel both were examined and classed and placed in 1A. You see how farmer boys are kept out of the draft. Lowell has Clara Ehler's farm rented just as the past summer and don't know if that will make any difference. Merriel works in Dayton. 
"kept out of the draft" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Up next: more farmers get called to the draft.

Cast of characters on flickr.

Monday, May 7, 2012


"he don't tell us much" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
He told some of this news to Young. He don't tell us much. Jose asked me today what I thought and if I blamed them if they had a sale. She said Reitz was supposed to come about the sale but he had not come up yet.

"and i don't blame them" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Up next: a fine pair of 1A classified soldiers and the town gossips.

More characters on flickr.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


"he would keep his horse, a wagon and a manure spreader" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Letter to Earl continues:
Bud talks about having sale next month and then Forest Krietzer is going to farm for him. Jose had to help so much in the corn this fall that you can't blame him for letting someone else worry about his farming work. He would keep his horse, a wagon and a manure spreader.
Up next: who will sell the farm?

See all the Letter to Earl characters so far on flickr