Thursday, June 23, 2016

John Carrick Cooper (1886-1969) Part 3


Jack Cooper is in the middle of a 3 month business trip in Europe away from his wife, Honey and son, Buddy, back in Brooklyn, New York. Many letters were written between this young couple. I have only seen these three. Here are letters two and three mailed from Paris.

Honey sends this photo of John Austin Cooper, their son, in a box addressed to Paris. How cute!
May 26th, 1920

Dearest Mom:

   I am at last in Paris and presume that this will be my headquarters until I sail on the “Imperator,” July 3. 
   The little I have seen of this town makes me feel that it is a very sloppy one. The houses all have the appearance of long age and need a good sprucing up. Of course, I have not had the opportunity to see any of its fine sights yet, no doubt it is wonderful in its way, but nothing on dear old London. 
   The boys gave me a great send-off [from London] which was so enthusiastic that I hated to take my leave. On Sunday I visited a Mr. Herbert’s home in Clapham & was very well received and entertained. On Monday, a holiday, we all went to see the Motor Races at Brooklands in Surrey. This is an immense track 4 miles around and built of concrete.10 of us were in the party and it was a continual round of fun all day long. We wound up at Mr. Guiness’ home in Mortlake, a suburb of London, where I was toasted at supper and had to reply with a speech. We all then returned to the parlor and I was the 
only one of the bunch who could not play the piano: we had singing and of course the ladies all wanted to see the American steps. Well you know this is where I shine and they kept me busy, & it was no wrestling match. 
   When I arrived here [Paris] it was about 9 p.m. last night and we had some difficulty in receiving a taxi to take us to the hotel, for these Frenchmen refuse to take you for their own good reasons and there the matter ends for them. Going through the customs they only allow one oz. of tobacco and one box of matches. Picture me on that ration. I had 10 boxes of matches and one pound of tobacco in my grip. And they never saw it. 
   How is my sweetheart and our little Bud. Gee, I am terribly homesick for you both and at times just wish I could hug and kiss you both. My friends got away with all his pictures, leaving me without anything to remind me.
   Purchased a couple of Irish Crochet Collars for you and a stuffed dolled for our Bud. I know you will be pleased with for I was careful in my selection and paid a good price for them.
   This  hotel is a small one and nothing quite so grand  as the one I left in London. They do not issue any paper to write upon so you will excuse this peachy letter head. 
   We have a pretty big plan here and it bears the scars of the German bombs and shells.
   Will write some more in a day or two.


Keep. (Honey’s handwriting)

100 Boulevard Victor Hugo
St. Owen Sue Seine
Paris ( Jack’s handwriting)


Here is Jack’s third letter to Honey dated June 1st 1920, from the Hotel Burgundy, Paris.

Dearest Mom:
   Oh what a relief to get your letter, the first after a long wait. I felt so overjoyed that I stopped work immediately. You may feel lonesome, but I’ll bet you’re not half as lonely as I am.
   So Bud is getting to be a big boy? Well I cannot wait till I get home to see him, for I am pretty hungry for you two by now, and another month will make my appetite so sharp; I will eat you both up.
   I felt real bad about poor uncle and must write to him, you must admit it was not my fault, as I gave him complete instructions. How all your folks think of me. I feel very grateful indeed. 
   Is Piedad well? And Harry? I feel quite ashamed for not writing to them, bad as explained in one of my previous letters I did not know their address. They will understand I am quite anxious as to their welfare and deeply concerned as to Piedad’s quick recovery, even though she is Harry’s wife. So there. Do they act like a married couple like you and I? Would they like to have a Buddy like ours? I guess so.
   The news of Edith and Fred causes me no surprise at all, for I have made the provision for the christening by buying a real Parisian cap for the baby. I hope it will be as healthy and happy as our little Sunbeam and that Edith will get off as lightly as did you. Of that much she is entitled.
   I had a long letter from Popsy and from the tone of it he does not appear very well. I trust nothing happens to him, for after all, he is my father, the only one I ever had. I wrote to him right away, for I know he will be glad to get my letter and I have a new pipe for him. So taking it by and large, we are not such bad children to our folks.
   Everything is so frightfully dear both in Paris and London that I have put off buying very much in the way of presents, except a few Irish Lace collars for you, a doll from London and another one from Paris for our Bud. Before I get back I shall purchase something for Mommer, Tanta, & Annie, for I cannot forget them even over here and wish we could all get together for a Shitzerfest. You know what I mean. Maybe we can when I get home? Say yes Mom, and Bud will be there and Dad will be very happy and have a big lump in his throat, like I have now.
   I am progressing very well with my French. So far my vocabulary consists of one word. “Tut” meaning “Go to hell.” It is quite handy when a taxi driver tried to cheat a poor foreigner. Had to go before the Chief of Police today because I am staying in Paris more than two weeks, but this is only a new formality.
   It would be hard to describe Paris to you, for I have not  had much of a chance to see it properly, but there appears to be a terrible amount of gaiety and loose morality everywhere. The women are mostly very goodlooking and the ones that are not so very pretty are works of art. If you are unfortunate enough to get run over by a taxi you are liable to get arrested for stopping the traffic. 
   It is getting late now so give my fondest love to the Papes and for yourself and Bud, we’ll wait till I get a good hold on the two of you. 


Got my steam ticket today. board the old Imperator. Leaving Cherbourg July 3. (note written on top of page 3)

I am sure Jack and Honey wrote more letters to each other during this time. I am thankful that these three letters were not thrown out. Jack comes home on July 12, 1920. The family members mentioned in this letter are Bud (John Austin Cooper), his son, whom Jack returns to celebrate Bud’s first birthday on 9 July. I am sure they save the party for when Dad was home.

  • Who is the poor Uncle he mentions? He must be on Honey’s side?
  • Piedad & Harry Pape - Piedad is Honey’s sister.
  • Edith & Fred Piña - Fred is Honey’s brother. They had a son, Wilbert Ashley Piña, born 27 May, the day after Jack wrote his second letter. Honey filled him in with all of the family news which he is replying to and I wish I could read her letter.
  • Popsy is Jack’s father. Alexander S. Cooper, who died seven years later.
  • Mommer is Margaret Gunther Piña, his mother-in-law. 
  • Tante is Sophie L. Gunther Miller, Margaret’s eldest sister.
  • Annie is Annie Gunther Baldwin, Margaret’s youngest sister.
Jack and Honey Cooper

Jack and Honey live at 460 43rd Street in Brooklyn.

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful these letters survived Mary. Written from the heart to a wife and child he loved and missed dearly.