[letter to Ivan from his mother, Sophia Isadora Morris Pomeroy, probably when he was away at college at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Transcribed by Dayna Jacobs in September 2009. Paragraph breaks added.]
Mesa Ariz. Sept. 7-14
My Dear Son Ivan;
We got your card, the first one this morning, and were glad you were getting along all right, but sorry you had to go in the smoker.
I didn’t know you would want your diploma, or could have packed it, but will send it so look out for it.
How does it seem to you by now to be away from home? I don’t hardly know how to manage without you at the piano, and that reminds me. This morning an old man I suppose 60 years old came to the front door and told me he was going to beg for the first time in his life, said he was a miner and was just down to bed-rock, and asked for flour enough to make hot cakes for breakfast, and while I turned to go get some he saw the piano. His face fairly beamed, and he said “Madam will you please let me come in and touch those keys? I used to play some but look at my hands now” and they were just calloused all over. He said he had not seen a piano for [twos?], and had not played for years, that he had handled the pick for [twos?] constant.
I told him to wait a moment and called Papa, and he asked him in and told him to play if he wished, and oh Ivan if you only could have heard him. It was a queer picture he made sitting [back of page] there, elbows out, clothes all shabby, grey hair, and well not over clean.
We all gathered in the room and listened. He acted like he was just lost to everything but his music. His fingers wandered up and down for a bit, then such melodies I never heard all from the old masters and grand opera. He just wandered from one piece to another, sometimes I was ready to cry then he would burst out so rollicking that even Roland would laugh. He began Kentucky Babe and Margery just threw up her little hands just like she always did when you took her, and
when she saw a stranger she hid her face under my arm for such a long time. Grandma came in and Papa asked if he would play her one piece he said my music is like myself old fashioned and he played The Last Rose of Summer with variations, and it was a dream. He said he studied under Mrs. Stevens in Salt Lake City for 7 years. His name was Wellman.
Only a miner and he could be making oodles of money if he only would. You can make sure he got his flour also a lot of food and a blackberry pie. He thanked us so, for the “glorious privilege” as he called it, of playing, and we sure thanked him for the hour spent here, just had a letter from Nellie B. and Aunt Laura & Uncle Frank are going to spend the Winter with Nellie Arizona Johnson has married in Chicago.
Well we all went up and voted today, quite rousing times, I won’t even tell you we miss you for I want you to make good and not get homesick.