Herbert “The Chief” Price 1916

Herbert Glen Price “The Chief,” pictured above holding his daughter Sarah Price (Reed).

Willis’ father-in-law was a dentist.  The stories from his kids and grandkids were legendary about the cleanings and “dental work.”  They sound more like a horror story.  I’ve always wondered how he got the name “The Chief,” as Willis calls him.  A military name for a dentist. As I’ve been searching through my grandfathers pictures and other items, I came upon The Chief’s correspondence from several of his patrons. One in particular client stands out. You’ll see why in these two letters:

Letter from June, 1916.

Dear Sir:-

Am returning bill received to day as evidently there is some error.

Your original price quoted to me, was, as you remember $35.00 including cleaning. It was with this understanding I let you proceed with the work. When it came to cleaning you asked me if I wanted the special cleaning which you do and which I understood to be at a far higher price than the usual cleaning. I told you that I would wait till fall perhaps and have it done. You then asked me, “Do you want the cheap dollar cleaning, then?” I told you that I wanted a good cleaning and you proceeded.

Now, I don’t know whether your bill has been made out in error, not given credit for amounts paid in, or whether you are charging excess for the cleaning. If the latter, I feel that I must take exception.

Very Truly yours,

C. S. Olberg

The next letter, dated over 16 months later was carefully folded in the same envelope.

Letter from October 1917.

10/22/17

Dear Sir:-

Believing that your arrogant avarice and undue greediness has had ample time to cool down, I am now enclosing my check for $19, payment in full for alleged dental services.

In doing so I do it knowing that I am paying you, not for services or value received, nor as per your price set on the work, prior to being engaged to perform it which was nine dollars and twenty cents, and which I promptly paid upon receipt of bill, but doing an act of supererogation merely to silence an affair in which your conduct has been nauseously detestable and professionally unethical.

Your puerility in sending your last threat would be laughable did it not display such deplorable ignorance of common, ordinary business law.

Regretting the pain that the contemplation fo your disgusting and non-recommendable behavior has caused me, I am,

C. S. Olberg


The incident (or maybe more than one) had obviously lasted over a year and their relationship had grown quite toxic.  While The Chief must have softened after having children, this gives you an idea of the kind of man of whom legends are spoken. It also shows the elegance of correspondence from days gone by, even in relationships that had soured.

I love it…  especially since I had to pull out a thesaurus…

November 22, 1943

November 22, 1943

Dearest Darling:-

I got two very precious letters from you today and they were so very sweet and made me rejoice to our Heavenly Father for the wonderful privilege I have in such a dear possession.

Each day I love you more and thank God that we have had such wonderful fellowship and companionship since we’ve known each other, and especially since we have been together. I’m very tired tonight. Today has been a rush all day and I still seem to have accomplished very little. I got a nice letter from Cleo with three snapshots enclosed. I won’t send them to you because she said she was writing to you and sending them on to you. She was saying they really missed us a lot at the church. By the way Sweetheart, I mailed a couple of candy bars and a complete set of The Life of Christ (3 in a set) to Johnny and Sharon Mueller from us. I thought they might be helpful to them.

Thanks for sending that slip about the Pulpit Commentary. That is a wonderful offer but I don’t feel like I should get it because we can use the money for something else and besides, I want God’s word to be hidden in my heart.

Sarah Reed’s family: Herbert (The Chief), Mildred and Bob Price. 1943

I am so sorry Bob feels like he does about everything, forgive me if I sound presumptuous but I am inclined to believe Bob helps make himself miserable. I realize there are many slackers among the officers and many of them do have a soft time. I don’t mean to be talking about myself but I would challenge Bob to follow me for a while. I am up most of the time half to one hour before the other officers and do not go to bed until between 11 and 12 every night. I too could make myself of all the men most miserable by feeling sorry for myself. There is enough to make a man mad if he keeps thinking about it, but I am seeking to serve my Lord better and be a better husband to you and that keeps me from getting in a state of feeling sorry for myself. I’m going to make it a matter of definite prayer for Bob. By being more cheerful and rejoicing in the Lord he could actually help Mom a whole lot.

Your Chapel messages surely sound wonderful and indeed this man must be a servant of the Lord. Darling, you can surely count on my prayer for you in your relationship with Christ, pray for me also Dear for I want a revival to start in me. Darling, I’m going to have to close. I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open. God bless you dear, I love you so very very much.

Forever yours in Christ’s Wonderful Love,

Willis

xxxx

John 15:16

Phil 1:3

Col 3:3

September 16, 1943

September 16, 1943

 Dearest Sweetheart:

I’ve just finished reading the very lovely letter you wrote me Monday. It was so wonderfully expressed and truly describes how I feel about you. I only wish I had more time to write to you concerning my feelings but I must not take time from my study. I want to keep up on my work. If you once get behind on your work it’s very hard to catch up. And thus far I’ve been able to keep up.

Written in Willis’ hand: Wayne Soliday and Willis September 11, 1943

I’m so glad you like the pictures.  The reason I got the smiling one was because I thought you would like it.

I got a long letter from Mrs. Schu and she told me all the news and what Hohn had done.  I’m not at all surprised at him doing this.

I’m sorry to hear that the Chief didn’t pass the state Board Exam of Indiana, but after all God knows best.

We have our long marches in the country out around Boston and Cambridge. We have marched almost to Concord and Lexington on a couple of occasions. Tonight at 9:10 P.M. we are going out on a map reading problem of location finding. We are going for a long march dropping three of us out at different intervals until the whole platoon is scattered. Then we will open our sealed orders and seek to find a place designated only as (X). We use a compass and what experience we’ve had in map reading. It looks rather bad now because it looks like rain is going to set in for the night. I imagine we’ll get back about midnight. Tomorrow afternoon we have our examination in map reading. I have a lot of reviewing to do on it so I’ll have to close, get something to eat and study until time to start on our night march. Sweetheart, I love you more than ever before because you become a sweeter servant of the Lord each and everyday.

With all my Love & Life in Christ,

Willis

Psalm 35:36

P.S. Please send the “foot locker” immediately for I’ll need it as soon as I get my new orders.

September 2, 1943

September 2, 1943

Dearest Sweetheart:

It was so good to have your letter waiting for me after drill, and I was so glad to see your proofs. I will pick them and send them right back to you so you can get them as soon as possible, for I’m pretty lonesome without a good picture of you. After having your other picture so long that I carried with me everywhere, I find it pretty hard not having one of you to look at and have my heart say to me, “Willis there is your greatest possession this side of Jordan.” Darling, words fail me when I attempt to describe to you how much I really love you. All I can say is each parted hour only leaves a bigger place in my heart for you. These words like the waters that go cascading over Niagara Falls keep resounding in my heart, “Oh, such wonderful Love and such a wonderful Lover.” Concerning the pictures, I like #3 the best because it’s so very natural. And then I would like to have one of #2 finished in black and white.

Sarah and Willis cut their wedding cake on June 30, 1942.

On guard duty, I do not have to carry a gun. Here are some of courses of studies thus far, Chemical warfare, Army Administration, Military Courtesy and Discipline, Infantry drill and Army formations, Army Morale, Practical Duties of a Chaplain, Map Reading and Military Law or Court Martial.

Concerning the picture that was in the times: Write to Mr. David Gordon, The Daily Times, East Moline, Ill. I’m glad you are going to be able to go with Ruth and Joe. Remember us, we are going to be drilling and studying, no time off whatsoever.

Earl likes the army, of course there are a lot of problems.

Paul and Gen have a hard decision to make but I feel definitely Paul should now prepare himself for the ministry. Of course it’s hard with the children, but Darling you would realize more than ever the need of Godly Men if you could see, hear and know what I’ve found out thus far in my short time here at Harvard. Paul and Gen have just what God can use to be a servant of influence and power because they are willing to trust in the Lord.

Forget the application about the girl to Augistana, I never heard of her.

Give the rear view mirror to the Chief as a gift from us, he might as well have it and use it.

If the Chief is going to investigate about a watch, be sure to remember it must be shockproof – waterproof and a dial to be read in the dark.

Well sweetheart, I must close for now, get something to eat and get to my studies.

Yours Forever in Our Savior’s Love,

Willis

Psalm 11 and 12

Written on the side:

P.S. I got a nice long letter from Mrs. Frank Powell. I also got a card that my pictures are ready. I’ll send them to you soon.

I love you Dear.

August 30, 1943

August 30, 1943

Dearest Sweetheart,

We just finished drill and I hurried up to my room – took a shower and by the time I was dressed the mail orderly brought the letters from you. They were so very sweet and my Darling, I appreciate all the news you send because it helps out even though we have little time to think of anything but our work. I love you more all the time, and I continually praise the Lord for you and your love and devotion.

Sarah Price (center in flowered dress) with “The Chief” – her father Herbert Price to the right.

I’m sorry that the “Chief” had such a hard time while away. I hope he gets better very soon. Evidently, the Chief
thinks I need a course that will help my stubbornness.

We take map reading because we got to be able to locate graves that we have buried men in during the battles. So if they move them later to a single burying ground they can be found.

This morning we had our first examination in Military Courtesy, as far as I know I only missed part of one question.

I didn’t get a chance to write to you yesterday because I went again to Park St., and after the service one of my friends and I were invited out to dinner in a very lovely home. The folks were very nice to us, and home cooked food really hit the spot. We didn’t get back here to Harvard until 4 P.M., and I started to work on a speech for our class in “Army Morale.” It was to be a “Sex Morality Speech.” It was not to be sociological, ethical or sermonic. And I tallied on it until midnight when I finally called it quits, but I had finished. As I told you I was on duty (guard) from 2 A.M. Sunday morning until 7 A.M., I was very tired but was determined to finish that speech. You should hear the grunts and groans during our drilling – it doesn’t bother me very much, in fact I like it. If I am called to active duty over seas I want to know how to do what my soldiers have to do.

Dear, I mentioned in a letter before about trying to find me a watch in Chicago. If you can get a Hamilton, Elgin or Langine, that will do the job. Don’t spend a lot of money just for me. When I get my uniform allowance I will send you part of it, but that will be a week or so yet. By the way, I will have to endorse this check and return it (written on the side of the letter) to you because I cannot get away from here to the post office to register this letter, we will have to trust that you’ll get it all right.

So long Dear, I love you more than ever,

Forever in Him,

Willis