Saturday, August 31, 2013

"It is something like Colorado."

Mike and Tom arrived at South Egremont before their sister, and Mike wrote a dutiful description of it to his father:
June 20 1904
Dear Father:
Tom and I arrived here last Thursday morning. This is certainly a great place. We have been bothered more from cold than heat. It is something like Colorado. We are way up in the hills. I played some golf yesterday and walked around the hills a bit. There is a brook about fifty yards behind the house full of fine trout and perch.
The last time I weighed I weighed one hundred and forty six pounds. Tom weighed 170 and Sister 135. We are both a great deal taller than she.
Miss Houston [one of Ima’s New York friends] came yesterday and we expect Sister tomorrow or next day.
I will close hoping you and brother are both well and not suffering from the heat.
Your Son

         New England was a sight better than Texas in the summertime. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Most girls would have preferred some fashionable watering place. . . .”

Ima, Mike, and Tom spent the summer of 1904 in South Egremont, a small town in western Massachusetts. They stayed at the Larkhurst, a resort hotel in the rolling hills of Berkshire County. Their father was planning to summer at Varner, and Will labored away in the heat of Austin.
Jim Hogg’s boys might disappoint him, but his daughter could do no wrong: At the beginning of the summer he wrote her a letter of paternal praise:

“Your splendid character, your sweet disposition, your charming manners, your fidelity to your younger brothers added to your thoughtfulness of me at all times on all appropriate occasions have so impressed me that it is but natural for me to make you second to no human being. . . . Most girls would have preferred some fashionable watering place where they could smile on other girls’ brothers, to a quiet, substantial summer home surrounded by refinement, where they are compelled to submit to the frowns (now and then) of their own young brothers.”

         But she had a good time that summer, as we shall see.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"I have written to you so seldom...."

At last, J. S. Hogg found time to write a letter to Mike:
June 3rd, 1904
Dear Mike:
Ima told me last night that I am lazy and you know she is a girl of very fine judgment. Doubtless, you will agree with her for I have written to you so seldom that this is proof evident of her accusation. At no time has my solicitude for or appreciation of either you or Tom in the slightest degree diminished. But as I grow older, with the cares of life daily multiplying, letter writing becomes more burdensome. In my youth I wrote often with much fervor and interest. Should you count letters with me and reply only to those I write to you, our correspondence necessarily would grow lighter year by year until after a while the “old man” would seldom, indeed, hear from his son.
I am trying to shift some of the care of life to Will and Ima. They take them up honorably and perform them well. Within a few years I hope that you and Tom will be able also to relieve me. Ima will soon join you at Lawrenceville to arrange for suitable quarters through the summer, where I hope that you will be comfortable and happy. Of course, this arrangement will be made at considerable expense with the hope that in all respects you and Tom will be mutually benefited by it, mentally, morally, and physically. I should be glad for you and Tom to take up some special course so that during vacation you may have one or two lessons every day. For instance, you might practice in penmanship and study arithmetic or Latin. In this way you could vastly improve and at the same time enjoy all of the frivolities known to youthful pleasures. . . .

         Ima was about to spend the summer in New England with her two younger brothers.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

“As to clothes neither of us have any at all.”

Mike joined Tom at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey in the spring of 1904. Both Mike (age 19) and Tom (17) wrote dutifully to Ima, but not often to Will and their father.

May 1, 1904
Dear Sister:
I think you have considerable room to make a kick but brother and father have still more. The fact is there is nothing to write. . . .
How is your knee? You never mention it. How is Nap [Ima’s horse, Napoleon] and everything and everybody. We would like to have a picture of Nap.
I received letters from friends at Annapolis saying they had passed the exams. School turns out June 14, 04. Lawrence[ville] came second in the Penn. Relay races held the other day, and third in Princeton Relay. . . .
I guess father is in Beaumont he usually is.
I will close hoping to hear from you all soon. Brother has not written but one letter since I dont know when.
Your brother
Mike Hogg
Tell brother I say send me a written note saying that I can get a suit of clothes. I cannot get one without.

Tom wrote to his sister a few days later:
May 10, 1904
Dear Sister:—
Your letter was received to-day. You might as well come on up and be here for Commencement as it will be very nice. .  .
As to clothes neither of us have any at all. I am wearring the same clothes as I was before Xmas. Mike is doing the same thing.
Mike and I would be ever so glad to have you come as soon as you can.
I must close. [Tell] All the girls hello for me. As ever, your wee brother
Tom H.

         The boys were not graduating, but Ima went to Commencement, anyway.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Do you need anything?"

While there had been a lavish family Christmas at Varner in 1902, J.S. Hogg was apparently unable to finance a country holiday for his children in 1903. As a result of the reckless drilling in the Spindletop boom and a glut on the oil market, crude oil prices had dropped dramatically. The New York Times reported that “panicky conditions prevail in the Texas oil markets particularly at Beaumont and Sour Lake.” Ima was at last out of the sanitarium and staying at the Driskill Hotel with her father and oldest brother, Will, and Mike and Tom spent a dreary holiday at their respective boarding schools in Maryland and New Jersey. Mike did not make the grades to get into the U.S. Naval Academy, as he had hoped. In late January Ima wrote to cheer him:

Dearest “Mickie”:
Well, reading between the lines of your letter about Annapolis – I don’t think you want any of it.  How about it?  As far as I’m concerned, I’m glad of it  - and I think papa and brother are, too. – What do you think of going to Lawrenceville with Tom? There may be no vacancies, so don’t get flouried [sic].  Wouldn’t it be dandy? . . . 
At last I walk without crutches, though I limp a good deal at times, and can’t walk very far; very little, in fact.  You will be surprised when I tell you I danced, while away.  And it wasn’t any trouble either.  Papa was frantic when he heard about it.  I really suppose it has put me back some.
Papa went to Houston Thursday night again; and won’t be back for some time.  So Brother and I are bunking together.  I have a nice large room with my piano, - fixed so we use it as a sitting room; Brother and Papa have a room connecting.  And with a large bath we are very comfortable.  Write often & long letters all about yourself.  Do you need anything?  
Lovingly your Sis, Imie

  Ima Hogg was indeed a loving “Sis.”