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21010 Tooth Pain and Cocaine Letter from a struggling student to his
father $75

Severance, Tenn. October 4, 1901

My Dear Father,

We did so enjoy sisters short visit with us, and we are so sorry to have
her leave us yesterday. She had a great time for she was as popular as
any girl who had been here this summer. As she has probably told you
she had every hour of the day almost taken it up by engagements, so
much so that I hardly saw anything of her myself. She is so sweet and
pretty and cordial to all that everyone fell in love with her. It was a
great pleasure to me to have her up and I am very much obliged to you
all for letting her come.

She will tell you all the news, but I want to write you about giving up
any office work, which I have decided to do, and tomorrow is my last
day, though I will probably have to go several times to start my
successor for the work is a little behind owing first to exams and the
last week I have been in such pain with my jaw and teeth that I have
been unable to go down and stand and work on those books for three
hours.

Father, I just feel that now is my only chance to go to school and
improve myself, and that I should get as much out of my course as
possible.

There is so much up here to make a man think and think deeply that is
hard to have one’s time taken up entirely by clerical duties for the sake
of a few dollars. I have had too much to do these this last term and it
has told on me and my work to a marked extent.  I passed all my
classes, but did not get any pleasure out of any one or did very well in
any one when you understand the circumstances I’m sure you will
agree with me that it was proper to give up the work and that you
knew how heavy it would be you would not have addressed me to take
it. When I once told mother I was afraid I had too much to do she only
said that she thought the multitude of duties would be good for me but
I must say I don’t believe I need the training and as it is too much for
one man.  I can’t continue it all. Why father,  those books would very
well take one mans whole time and I shall tell Mr Wiggins so when he
returns from California, which will not be for a month yet. He told me
at first it might be too much and cautioned me not to give too much
time to it. This term I will have a great deal of chemical laboratory
work to do in the afternoons and also two afternoon classes which will
be time off from the office.
I hate very much to have to give up the work, but I feel I am entirely
justifiable in doing so. Don’t you think I am?

I will do twice as well in any classes this term because last term at
night time I would be too worn out for study, and therefore didn’t do
very much. You had heard from sister of the trouble I’ve had with my
teeth I had one wisdom tooth pulled yesterday and another three are to
be taken out too. My two upper over have been in for sometime but
now the lower are coming and one is through it does not fit the upper,
it has not room enough and it is in the angle of the jaw almost. As they
were so crowded in the back and the uppers are not straight, but
grown outwards they caught the cheek and gum and punched them
whenever I closed them, so it was very painful and became greatly
inflamed. When I went to Dr. Carly Wednesday he said he would have
to trim the gum around the lower tooth before he could pull it. This he
did and I tell you it hurt. He injected cocaine but it was too inflamed
do you have any affect on it so when he did the cutting it hurt so I
nearly cried and was so unnerved I went to bed for the day.

The pulling of the upper one yesterday did not hurt very much and
today there is a little soreness as soon as the gum heals which will
probably be in about a week the lower tooth will be polled. When the
lower one or the other side puts in its appearance the same
performance will have to be gone over. These teeth are so far back
there is a little room for them and they are almost useless and chewing
and are hard to reach with a brush so decay will soon sit in giving a
great deal of trouble so I just thought it best to have them out, but it is
awfully mean work.

I want to come down for next week I don’t know just when I can. It all
depends on how the new man gets along with the books. Sister was very
lucky in having to stay at the Calmaris but very little and I hope she
will never have to stay there again. I will stop going down so much
though I don’t go unless I am ask because I don’t enjoy going down.
They are also stupid. That sounds hard but it’s true. Well I have told
you of all my trials and tribulations but don’t let them worry you as
they have me. Give my love to everyone at home with kisses.  I am your
devoted son Will