Yours Willa Cather

Now you can call it “Willie’s Washer”

Listen to the 1936 Letter to Annie Pavelka

May 19, 1936

My dear Annie:

     I have not written you because I have not been very well for the last five months and have been pretty badly overworked, trying to keep my business affairs afloat. But when I am not Anna Pavelka at 17Anna Pavelka at 17 well, I especially enjoy letters from my old friends and your last one gave me great satisfaction, although not all the news was good. I am so happy that you got an electric washing machine with the $55 I sent you at Christmas. But the full price of the washer was $65, and I want to pay for it all. Therefore, I am enclosing a check for $10 to make up to you what you paid out, and now you can call it “Willie’s Washer”. You know, I am not very fond of my real name, Willa, and I always am pleased when Carrie and Mary Miner, and the people who knew me when I was little, call me “Willie,” as my mother and father did. Nowhere else in the world do people call me by that name—just a few of the older people about Red Cloud.

    In a few days, you will receive from me a box of winter clothing, which I do not need any more. One dress (the one with the plaid waist), I wore only twice, as I was ill then and not going out much. The striped silk dress (which looks like seersucker but is really silk), I think you may be able to wear yourself for Sunday best. However, I want you to dispose of these dresses just as you wish, and to give suitable ones to the daughters who have been the nicest to you. I have a good many little nieces to send clothes to, or I would send more to your nice girls. I always pray for your good health, just as I pray the Lord to send rain to Nebraska.

Your faithful friend,
Willa Cather

Read the Story Behind the Letter

Read the Story Behind the Letter

In Cather’s personal copy of My Ántonia, there is a folded up letter from Anna Pavelka written on December 22, 1918.