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40-12-23 Bess' Letter from 1937


Almost four years ago, Vic had checked the mail and found a letter from his sister-in law, Bess Helfer. He was distracted, put it in his coat pocket and forgot all about it. Sade has just found the letter YEARS LATER and will put Vic through one of her patented guilt trips!
Sade makes a disturbing discovery in one of Vic’s suit pockets.

Brrr…Sade really gives the boys (mostly Vic) a faceful of icy rage in this one. Whenever Sade is in ill humor, I’ve noticed, the boys tend to try and sacrifice one another in a desperate effort to make themselves look better. In “39-05-xx Writing To Walter,” for example, Rush, sensing danger as he watches Vic become increasingly ornery about writing the letter, immediately dedicates himself to writing a long and borderline obsequious one. When Sade is upset about Hank Gutstop, Rush is usually quick to take her side. In this episode, watch how Vic seizes this opportunity to throw Rush under the bus, vainly trying to get his own head off the chopping block:
SADE: “...I suppose Rush is enjoyin’ his summer vacation. He’ll be in the seventh grade, won’t he, when he goes back to school?”
RUSH: [giggles]
VIC: Cut out the feebleminded titterin’, Sam. I wanna hear Aunt Bess’ interestin’ letter. Don’t wanna listen to you giggle and guffaw. Continue, Kiddo; I’ll see that he behaves himself.
It doesn’t work, of course. Rush makes a lot of dangerously smart-alecky interjections as Sade reads, but none of it is enough to draw Sade’s fire away from Vic. Poor Vic! I hope he got to go to Ike Kneesuffer’s in the end to play indoor horseshoes…and maybe have a couple of beers.
SEE THE SCRIPT (transcribed by Lydia Crowe)
This is one of those episodes where I feel that Vic should have to put Sade in her place. Vic had no intention of hiding, losing or forgetting the letter. Sade's little game of trying to make him pay for his honest mistake is simply one of the petty things she does.

For all her crying and moaning about Vic spending money on lodge stuff, she has her list of sins as well. She is almost a constant nag... and her guilt trips are beyond normal.


+ When was the letter from? (edited): {{{HEAR}}}

+ The Summer of 1937 must have been terrible hot.  Check this episode from 1937 which has a few stories about the heat.  Bess' letter also talks about the extreme heat.

+ The people in Carberry that were mentioned in Bess' letter:
● Mr. Deecher - lives up the street from Walter and Bess. It's been s hot (in 1937) that he's been going around in his bare feet. Bess says he asks about Sade: "How's your good-looking sister?"

Agnes Peterson - Euncie's piano teacher. Bess says she is considered, "quite good" - even though she only has one leg and put a flat iron on the loud petal.

● Ed Rafferman - He got the job he was after in Dubuque (Iowa.)
+ Bess says she would have answered sooner but Walter had put the letter in his suit pocket and forgot to give it to Bess... Sade seems to ignore this completely.

+ The letter states that "The people around here think there might be a war in Europe." Granted, there was talk of Nazi Fascism taking over Europe in 1937 but the bigger and much more obvious threat then were the various Pacific conquests by the Japanese. If one were to get technical, World War II actually started in 1933 with the Japanese occupying parts of China.

Guilt trip: {{{HEAR}}}

Download the complete commercial-free, sound-improved episode!


  1. Freddie The LoaderNovember 9, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    There are some episodes you listen to and wish Vic would just say "F.U." to Sade and this is one of them. He gets her back later on another episode when she's reading him a different letter and he falls asleep, ha ha ha.

  2. Amazing what a brilliant creation Sade was to elicit such hard feelings on the part of the listener....I wanted to tell her off as well, and always feel some vicarious pleasure when her efforts go awry, especially in these "Letters from Bess" shows....gotta love her, but in the words of Bernadine Flynn, her horizons were awfully small...