On September 26, 1920, it was Clara's turn (see clipping at left--click to make it larger). She was one of five women included that week, and the caption began "Two ambitious students, two charming brides, and an interesting young traveler in foreign lands. Upper left--Miss Clara Paxton, niece of Mr. and Mrs. Will L. Overholser, who is striving for a degree at the Central State normal at Edmond. . . . "
Two days after the picture appeared, a Mr. Sidney Caldwell in Duncan, Oklahoma, wrote her a letter (above--click on the pages to make them bigger). Mr. Caldwell had wisely ruled out the two brides and evidently preferred Clara to the interesting young traveler, who had just returned from Germany, and the other ambitious student, an undergrad at Cornell (unless of course he wrote to them, too.) Here's the letter in its entirety:
Miss Clara Paxton
Centeral State Normal
My Dear Miss Paxton, I thought I would write you a little love letter to let you know I love you very much. I saw your picture in the Daily Oklahoman Sunday. It said that the college girls loved to receive letters from other towns and I thought I would write you a small letter to let you know I love you. If you will write me I will answer your letters.
I think you are the most beautiful girl in the world, and I don't know what you think about me. If you will send me a picture of your self, and I will send you a picture of myself. If you love cotton buyers that get a salary of $5000 a year you had better tie into me. I'm 19 and a little bit over and you look in the picture about the same age.
Don't forget to write, I must close as a wagon load of cotton is on the street.
P.S. Be sure and write me.
I don't know what Clara thought about the letter; my guess is that she kept it because she thought it was funny (and of course a little flattering). What Mr. Caldwell had no way of knowing was that 86 years later, Clara's descendants could use the Internet to do a little fact checking on him. I found him in the 1920 census, and there seems to be some truth--well, truthiness--to what he told Clara. His FATHER is listed as a cotton buyer, but at the time of the census (January 1920), Sidney was still in high school. So perhaps he'd joined his father in business by September of that year.
So what do you think? Did Clara choose the right guy? Maybe if she'd gone with Sidney, we'd all be in the tall cotton now.