Dear Bob, Dear Betty
by Elizabeth Catherine Wright

"The present problem is how to succeed while the world around you is failing."

At the height of the Great Depression, Frank Lloyd Wright's youngest child, Robert Llewellyn (Bob) a Chicago lawyer, and Elizabeth Bryan Kehler (Betty) a receptionist in Milwaukee, fell in love and then carried out their ten-month courtship through letters due to the financial burden of marriage and relocation. Dear Bob, Dear Betty, vigilantly transcribed, edited and annotated by Elizabeth Catherine Wright, is an uplifting epistolary collection of the life narrative of her parents' Depression-era correspondence.

By dividing the collection of her parents' letters into six parts (i.e. "Falling in Love," "Engagement," "Doubts and Struggle," "Taking The Plunge Despite All Odds," "The Wedding Is On!" and "Married") and then supplementing the book with numerous illustrations, extensive footnotes, an index, and photocopies of news worthy articles, Wright illuminates the family and social history behind the letters in addition to successfully portraying a larger perspective of the era of the Great Depression. Moreover, beyond featuring the mere sentimentality of her parents' correspondence, Wright creates a universal portal into the emotional and economic obstacles all couples face when trying to create a financially stable marriage in the middle of an economic crisis. This collection of letters will also remind readers of the value of perseverance and power of heartfelt/intimate long distance correspondence—the moments when two people, cordoned off by the isolation, busyness, and chatter of their daily lives, can breach the physical distance between each other.

In an uplifting letter dated March 3, 1933, as the global economy continued to slip deeper into depression, and America's banking system shut down completely, Bob writes to Betty... this is a very instructive and mildly entertaining financial period that we find ourselves in, and if we pull through it, our grandchildren will have to listen to some tall tales Remember to take it easy and don't let silly little trifles like bank suspensions crowd you. I'm just beginning to appreciate the tremendous advantage of being in love with you. I can't worry about money matters because they are so comparatively unimportant.

In the book's foreword, Wright tells readers of the times she read the letters aloud to her mother who—though in advanced stages of dementia—occasionally smiled at Wright's narrative description of the events in her mother's life that are touched on in the letters. Now, as a credit to Wright's devotion to sharing her parents correspondence with a wider audience, many more "smiles" will be generated by readers temporarily transported to the center of Bob and Betty's lives, as they read their oft witty and poignant thoughts, experience their flirtations and depth of authentic emotions, while witnessing two minds—two hearts—moving together.

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