Letter written by John M. Wells To Keokuk Banker, James Huiskamp, Director - State Central Savings Bank


Feb. 25, 1982

Dear Jim,

    Do you realize that your candid admission that bankers are human has taken all the venom out of my sting.  So again I thank you for your friendly, frank and satisfying answer to my questions.  The other day Mrs. Koppenhafer (nee Ehinger) was a visitor.  We talked about Unitarian days, etc., and I asked her opinion of her neighbor at 1111.  In a nut shell: he is a perfect gentleman and my comments about you were over-done.  Well, she was right.  May I say, to relieve my own conscience, that I am not at all sure that I saw you the last time I was in the bank in 1968.

    I suspect my bias about bankers comes from my youthful experiences with Uncle Will, who got to be president of his bank the hard way - up from the ranks, and no silver spoon.  Possibly the fact that his father was an episcopal minister may have had something to do with it, but we kids (I was one of nine) think it was mostly Aunty Mae (his wife), who was the prime instigator.  She ruled everything she came in contact with, including him, us, and god-almighty.  I adored her, but she would never let me love her.  For example:  she arranged for a traffic officer with a swinging stop sign and whistle to preside over the busy crossing where the bank was located.  Soon after, she drove her Model T, with the sign against her, along side the officer and said "Sorry, I am in a hurry!", and he said "That's alright, Maam".  I recall too, at the bank she insisted they enclose the stairway to the mezzenine floor, because the girls were showing their ankles going up there.  When my oldest sister was a missionary nurse in Alaska, she inherited $10,000 from Cousin Annie.  So Aunty Mae arranged to have it put in the care of the Trust Department where she could supervise it.  Sister said it was for the education of the boys.  I worked my way through engineering school at Delaware, and I didn't know how to pay a bill of about $250 for books, stationary, etc. so I forwarded it to the bank with a request for aid from the trust fund.  Somehow or other an item of 15 for cigaretts got mixed in that pile of invoices.  The Trust Officer landed on me like a ton of bricks, and said Aunty May did not approve.  She did pay me, though, $1.35 a week for two afternoons of gardening while I commuted to Central High in Philly, where I commuted via trolley.  By the way, I got a BS degree from CHS - have you ever heard of such a thing?

    One of my grandsons is attending Cornell College in Iowa, that is.  I noted in the SC gossip sheet several months ago that one of the Logan dynasty is there.  Are you familiar with this?

    In my early days in Keokuk I played handball at the Y, and was matched in a tournament with Montey in the first round.  Who in hell did that I do not know.

    Mary Wait (nee Collison) worked for SC before she married Doc.  She says you were born in 1905, making me eight years your senior, and Archie's Stanford '25 puts him somewhere between.  Your picture in the paper indicates you have less gray hair than I to command respect.  But mine is cut short for comfort; so I guess that evens things up.

                    Sincerely,              JMW


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