Rosa-Maye & Manville Kendrick (AHC Kendrick Collection, TESHS)
Manville & Rosa-Maye Kendrick (Hoff Collection, TESHS)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
March 2008 - December 2008
ALL TEENAGERS FEEL that their problems are theirs alone – that No one in the World ever Suffers like They do! This was true in the early part of the Twentieth Century. Family psychologist and author Margaret Fleming said that the teen years could be very trying on the average family:
The family problem ... whose solution probably needs the greatest readjustment in the arrangement of a house, is that of the young people in their teens. ... A boy or girl acquires the notion, during adolescence, that he or she is the focal point of the whole universe and is often as self-conscious as an actor at a first stage appearance.
THE TRIALS OF ROSA-MAYE
The Kendrick kids were very much the same. By the time the family moved into Trail End in 1913 – on her sixteenth birthday – Rosa-Maye Kendrick had already been targeted by many of the “slings and arrows” of the teenage years: skin problems, braces on her teeth, unwanted weight gain, and at least one devastating crush on an older boy. She was also plagued by an annoying little brother, difficult teachers at school, and an overwhelming boredom with life in Sheridan: "Brother and I are awfully anxious for the time to come when we may go away from Sheridan. You know how much we want a trip in the spring. We are both so sick and tired of the place and want to get away. … a trip anywhere. I don’t care where!"
Rosa-Maye’s father didn’t make life any easier. When their mother was out of town, John tended to lay down the law a bit more strictly than Eula, as evidenced in this 1912 letter from Rosa-Maye to her mother:
Father insists upon getting up early, and don’t want us to go out at night at all. He came home last Friday night and found me still up. It really wasn’t late for Friday, but he scolded me until I felt miserable. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing. I couldn’t tell him that you let us because he would say that it didn’t make any difference.
Like today’s teens, Rosa-Maye liked music and movies – sometimes going to two shows in one night. She followed the careers and concerts of her favorite “pop” stars (in her case, Sarah Bernhardt and Maud Adams) and loved, Loved, LOVED clothes! In January 1913, her mother went shopping in Denver and sent a parcel of new things home. When Rosa-Maye opened the packages, she was ecstatic. As she wrote her mother the next day, "I am just wild over the suit!!! I tried it on and it fitted like a glove. All it needs is shortening; that is the skirt. The jacket was made for me! And the waists are dreams. The whole family admired them."
The next month, while her mother was still away, Rosa-Maye had an adventure that could have been disastrous, if it hadn't been so funny:
Miss Anna and I went down to hear the new organ at the Episcopal church. It was so dark when we started that I took Brother’s little cap pistol. Bud told me that it wasn’t loaded, but it had three shells in it which had all been shot. Well, when we got on the streetcar I took it out and was playing with it when BANG!! It went off. There were just a few people in the car and they all jumped and looked my way and began to laugh, and I just nearly died laughing.
Well, we met Mary on the corner of Loucks Street. We kept thinking that the powder smelled strong. We got in church and everybody began to sniff and several men got up and began to hunt for fire. Miss Anna just happened to reach over to her coat and it felt so warm and she drew out my muff and it was SMOKING! ... She only had one thought and that was to get the fire out. She tried to put it out with snow and ended with sticking it in a tub full of water. It has been drying ever since. I think that I was all to blame.
Do you think I’ll need another muff, or shall I have this one fixed or what? ... If you decide that I need a new one, send me one of dark fur with tails on it. I don’t want an expensive one at all, just one to last the winter out and even then I don’t know whether I deserve it.
When Manville Kendrick was born in 1900, a business acquaintance of his father’s wrote, “My compliments to Mrs. Kendrick and Manvel, whom I trust will prove a chip off the old block.” Indeed, Manville was the answer to his father’s dream: a son and heir to everything John Kendrick had worked for: land, money, prestige and influence.
John wanted Manville to have all the advantages he’d never had, starting with a first-rate education. Manville was only six years old and on a trip east with his mother when his father wrote to him: “While you are so close be sure and take a look at Harvard College; Father is in hopes that you can finish your education there.” John assumed that Manville would be eager to take over the Kendrick ranching empire, but by the time the boy was ready for college, John was beginning to wonder if his son was even interested in the business; if, in fact, he might be a bit of a slacker:
I was greatly disappointed in his lack of definite information in reference to the business; there was hardly a single feature of ranch conditions upon which he could speak with any degree of assurance. ... Maybe it is his age and maybe it is not to be his line of work.
Later that same year, John was able to spend additional time with Manville. With the increased contact came an increased understanding of his son's state of mind - an understanding that John found to be profoundly moving:
The glimpses of the boy’s inner longings, his attitude of mind, revealed such a close parallel of my own similar experiences as a boy as to prove actually startling. So much so that I have had occasion to wonder whether it is not the old man’s conceit that compels the conviction that a son is simply great in whom the father sees a reflection of his own characteristics. Anyhow, my son is the dearest boy that I ever knew. And I never effect to know a time of such discouragement as to not be able to Thank God with deep and fervent reverence for our two children.
Manville eventually fulfilled his father’s wishes. He graduated from Harvard in 1922 and went on to manage the Kendrick ranches for fifty years. Shortly before he died, Senator Kendrick praised Manville, saying: “I think it may interest you to know that as a businessman you suit me exactly and as a son you suit me ideally.”
State Historic Site