Bessie Coen

Bessie Coen

Carl Warfel wrote to his “True Friend” Bessie Coen on December 9, 1914:

“Well Bessie I am going up to Janesville tomorrow. I will be just 10 mile from you. I will be there about a week. I think it has been just a week ago today since I seen you but it seems like two weeks to me. I will try and come up next Sunday if I can. The trains don’t run to suit me and I can’t come every time I want to.  . . . Well I guess I must close for this time. Answer soon. Good by. from your true friend Carl to Bessie. Think of what I ask you.”

“Think of what I ask of you.” That was all he wrote. He knew that Bessie’s father said that he was no longer reading all of their mail, but he still kept the request ambiguous.

Bessie wrote back several times without revealing anything, but on December 23 she wrote:

“I just got home from grandma’s & had such a good time. Hasn’t this been a dreadful cold time? I thought so Sunday morning. I missed the city car, walked to town & saw the 8 o’clock car leave Mattoon. I went at 9:30. I didn’t have to walk there though. I am sorry that your hand isn’t well yet. Well, Carl, I will try to be ready when you come. I am so nervous I can hardly write, I have been carrying my suitcase from the car line. Well, I must close & go to town or this letter will not leave Mattoon today. I will be ready tomorrow. With love from Bessie Coen to Carl W.

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, Carl and Bessie married. Now one hundred years, eleven children, sixty-some grandchildren(counting spouses), who knows how many great and great-great grandchildren (I am confident Bessie does from her new point of view), we celebrate those true friends who remained true until Carl’s death February 26, 1971, fifty-seven years later.

Happy one hundredth anniversary, Carl and Bessie!