Letter from Barbara Sims Bainbridge to her mother, late November, 1937.
Barbara Sims Bainbridge
Mrs. William E. Sims
103 East 75 St.
New York, N.Y.
DON'T FORGET TO SEND FURNITURE IMMEDIATELY!
You have by now received my telegram and probably want to know all about our apartment. But first - to continue the chronological account of our trip. I forgot to tell you that while in Ottawa we took a car out to the experimental farm bureau and wandered around. It was wonderful. They had every kind of farm animal - in abundance - that you can think of including about 24 percherons and innumerable pigs whose ears grew in front of their eyes - so:
They have holes punched in their ears so that they can see. What they did before "Homo sapiens" came along I can't imagine.
We took the sleeper to Toronto, got in early, were dished & so went to bed and slept until 2. We then hired a car and saw the city - it wasn't much - more like an American city than anything else. We then went to the movies and saw Wm. Powell and Myrna Loy in "Double Wedding." After that we had dinner & then went to a hockey game. It was between Chicago & the Toronto "Maple Leaves" and was a honey. The next afternoon we took a train to a place called Welland in Ontario & then took a bus for an hour to Niagara - which - with all our luggage was a very amusing trip. We stayed at the "Cataract House" on the N.Y side and really enjoyed ourselves. The manager was a young Univ. of Michigan graduate who was lonesome and so we played. He treated us royally at the bar, gave us the room Abe Lincoln & King Edward VII (I think) had for almost nothing and let us beat him and a lady friend at bridge. He also gave us the name of an ultra-swell night club in Buffalo. The next A.M. it poured so we slept late. After lunch we hired a car and saw the falls. Aren't they grand though! I think we were the only visitors in town for we certainly had the place to ourselves. The two of us donned rubber boots, great raincoats & hoods and went under the torrent. We crawled into all the barrels and rubber balls that had gone over the falls and generally got around.
That evening we left for Buffalo. Checked our things at the station and went out on a spree. We had dinner & danced at the swanky night club then saw Steve Dunne in "The Awful Truth" which, incidentally, Dad, you would love, and landed on the train in time to pull out with it at 2:38 A.M. We arrived in Detroit at 7:30 this morning checked in at the hotel, ate, rested & went through the classified telephone directory looking for renting agents. We phoned 25 of the larger renting offices & were told that there were no apartments for rent at any price. It seems that the Depression rather hit Detroit & all building was stopped. Another thing that made it tough is that there really isn't any residential section - houses are all mixed in with the most awful shops and factories. Well Bill & I felt pretty dismal about the whole situation & I just playing with the phone book opened it to the part where they list the numbers of the apartment houses. (By the way an apartment house here is always four stairs high - or less.) My eye lit on one called the "Cambridge Apts" and I thinking it sounded like home phoned to see if they had a vacancy. To make a long story short one of their tenants moved out yesterday and although the apartment wasn't up for rent yet we could look at it. We did. We loved it. We made the head man of the whole works meet us there at eight this P.M. and the apartment is ours. It's a little gem (see diagram) with lights & gas included in the rent which is $40 a month. We get no concession because they don't give leases in Detroit - which is swell for us - not knowing how long we'll be staying - but they are completely repainting, servicing the frigidaire & stove, cleaning the shades & scraping the floors. They are putting extra men on the job and we'll sleep on the studio couch we picked out today and twiddle our thumbs till our furniture comes. SO -
Will you send - immediately upon receipt of this our furniture - including radio, dressing table etc. to the apartment (Cambridge Apts.) 1550 Seward Ave., Detroit, Mich. I will pay them when I get the furniture so don't do anything about that. Also - if you would let me know the procedure for ordering the two more ladder back chairs, or if you could do that for me it would be swell. If you could wire me what day to expect the furniture I'd appreciate it so that I could be sure to be there when the furniture arrived.
The last request in this letter is for lists, lists, lists - with addresses (of your friends) whom I should thank, write to or what ever.
If you all have lasted this long maybe you could live through two diagrams - Huh?
Diagram I - our apartment on the 2nd floor rear, apt. #25.
1. Built in dinette table
2. benches by big casement window - sun all aft. from noon on
4. built in cupboard as in pantry in 103
5. gas stove
8. my dresser
9. dressing table
10. Bill's bureau
11. studio couch
13. arm chair
17. chest on chest
18. small arm chair (cheap)
The whole thing isn't as jammed as this but it may give you a rough idea.
Diagram II - Detroit & Seward St. [a map was enclosed, showing that the apartment building was between Trumbull St. and Broadway]
On Trumbull there are loads of good grocery stores, markets, florists, beauty shops & what not - also trolleys & busses - which take about 25 min to get Bill to the Equitable. Around [the Equitable] are the large department stores, city hall, factories and dirty frame houses as well as swell office buildings.
We are very happy!! We do miss you just loads and send all our love.