Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Take the Irvington car and get off at Whittier Place..." A Rendezvous

She sent the card on December 23, 1913. Her note was cryptic. Was this just a friendship? A courtship? Here are the facts that are known at this time. Pearl Wenrick (1896-1988), the youngest child of Oran J. Wenrick (1870-1937) and Amanda Bishop Kepner Wenrick (1872-1934) lived at 44 Whittier Place. Her father worked as a clerk for the Railway Mail Service and had just survived a terrible train crash two months earlier near Richmond, Indiana. He escaped with just some bruises and cuts while others died. Sometime in the morning of December 23, seventeen-year-old Pearl wrote this note to Hanson Whiteside of 829 Lexington Avenue: (near Fountain Square)

44 Whittier Place
Indianapolis, Ind.
This will be a surprise to you perhaps but I heard that you were trying to find me Fri. and I supposed you wanted to know where I live. Take Irvington car and get off at Whittier and go north about seven houses.
Pearl W.

Little is known of Mr. Whiteside, other than he was also seventeen. Did they meet at school? How did they know each other? Did the rendezvous take place? We do know, courtesy of local sleuth and Irvington resident, Lee Crislip, that Pearl later married George Davis Sellars (1898-1963) and spent most of the remainder of her life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Further research on this interesting young woman and mysterious young man shall commence.

The historic postcard sent by Pearl Wenrick was of the Bona Thompson Library and was found on the internet by Lee Crislip. The contemporary image, shot on April 18, 2012, shows 44 Whittier Place today. I like to imagine Pearl waiting on the porch as Hanson Whiteside counts the number of houses up from Washington Street.

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