4209Re: DB letter to "Ma"
- Aug 8, 2007Hi tj
I've got a hunch this letter was written in the early 1940s. Don didn't start using the
Goofus Bird, as he called it, until then. Just before he joined the Army again in the Fall of
1942 he spent most of his time on the lecture route (mainly to get away from Dorothy). He
may have gone up into Canada for lectures and booksignings. He also did alot of touring
after he got out of the Army in early 1943.
As for the "Ma" mystery...Don had a friend named Julia Robertson who he knew from
Lawton as a child. She was the person that bought his first drawing when he was around
12. A few years back I obtained a cache of letters from the Robertson family which was
correspondence with Don. In them, I think he referred to her as Ma. It wasn't so much that
he considered her a mother figure...I think lots of folks called her that because she did so
much volunteer work with young army soldiers from the nearby base. She had them over
for meals and let them spend the night on their leaves if they couldn't get home to their
own folks. So she became a Mom to all those young men...and I think Don started calling
her Ma around then. This supports the early to mid-1940s timeline, as she did this work
If you want to send me a scan or photocopy of the letter (and especially the signature) I
might be able to find more clues. I've gotten pretty good with dating letters by the
signatures. It changed over the years, as you can imagine.
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