To Mimi Sutton [Letter 192]

Item Reference Code: 147_SU1_006_001

Date(s) of creation

February 15, 1946


Mimi (Papurt) Sutton


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February 15, 1946

Dear Mimi:

Before you undertake to bring Docky to Boston, we must clarify the situation, since your letter is not in accordance with our discussion in New York.

You write: “She will need extra things occasionally. If she had to have a tooth pulled or something or needed a decent dress or sweater for school, you will have to pay for it, I’m sorry to say.”

This implies that you expect us to assume full financial responsibility for Docky from now on. We did not undertake to do that.

You write: “I will keep all expenses down to a minimum, I promise you. And I would also prefer sending you an expense account each month so you will know exactly how and for what the money was spent.”

This implies that you expect us to give you an open charge account against which you will draw whatever is necessary and we will foot the bills. We did not undertake to do that.

You intended to have Docky move in with you, regardless of anyone’s help, at your own cost—and we offered only to help you with her expenses, for one year, to finish high school, to the extent of a definite amount each week, agreed upon in advance. You told us that $10 per week would cover her expenses amply—and that is what we undertook to give you, plus her transportation from Cleveland, and furniture for her room, this last on condition that you give us an estimate of the cost in advance and that this cost is reasonable.

This is what we discussed in New York and it is not what you ask for in your letter.

Since you find that you cannot contribute to Docky’s support at all, I don’t see how you can bring her to Boston. Once she is there, she will have to be somebody’s responsibility. One cannot tell what her expenses may possibly be. There may be medical expenses, debts she may decide to contract, or any number of things. The

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total support of a person can never be predicted. We did not and cannot assume such a responsibility, which amounts to adopting a child. This was the risk and responsibility which you wanted to assume. If you cannot do it, you should not bring Docky to Boston.

There is another point in your letter which we don’t understand. You want Docky to come to Boston now and have her live in a place where her room and board will cost $15 a week. What about her carfare to school and her lunches? That should be at least another $5 a week, probably more. Since you can’t contribute that, how is she going to go to school while she lives at that boarding house? It can mean only one of two things: either she will just sit in Boston and wait until you have an apartment; or we will be expected to send another five or ten dollars a week; which would be twice (or more) what you gave us as the maximum needed.

In view of all this, there are only two alternatives. One is to wait until you are settled and can tell us what weekly amount will cover Docky’s expenses—provided it is clearly understood that the responsibility for Docky’s support above that amount and for any emergencies is yours. Then, if the amount is not too much over your original estimate, we may contribute it—on the clear understanding that this will be all you can expect from us and that there are to be no sudden wires for money; and that should anything happen to prevent Docky from going to school—then we shall stop sending the money, since this money is to be strictly in the nature of a scholarship, for the purpose of Docky’s going to school and for no other purpose.

The other alternative is to have Docky go to school in Cleveland. I am writing to Agnes to ask what the cost will be of having Docky finish school right where she is, while she is her mother’s responsibility, which is much more proper. This seems to be the more practical plan, since it should not be very expensive for her to go to school while living at home.