An Estelle Faulkner Letter (1) from California. (Document)
Walton, Gerald W., The Mississippi Quarterly
THOMAS INGE ONCE WROTE THAT William Faulkner "would be the last person to approve our witnessing those private messages" which Faulkner wrote in letters to his family from Hollywood. (2) Most likely Estelle Faulkner would have had similar feelings about her correspondence from California, but by the time of her death she had certainly become aware of Faulkner enthusiasts' interest in all aspects of her husband's life.
Faulkner had begun his California stints in 1932, and though he was unhappy about having to work there, he had bills to pay. On his July 1936 visit he took his wife, Estelle, and their three-year-old daughter, Jill. A letter (3) from Estelle Faulkner to Mrs. Robert X. Williams, Jr., Oxford, Mississippi (it was postmarked at 3:30 p. m. on September 4, 1936, Hollywood Station, Los Angeles, California), provides information about daily activities for Estelle and Jill:
620 El Cerco Drive Pacific Palisades Santa Monica, Cal.
Dearest Sallie Murray, (4)
It hardly seems possible that we've been away nearly two months!
I've been so busy trying to become acclimated, learn about markets, et., that the time has flown
Billie's friends have been so nice to me, and as we were fortunate enough to find a house (5) in a desirable neighborhood, we've made new friends too.
An elderly couple from Kentucky live next door, and around the block there's a charming young woman who has a five year old little girl (6) with a colored nurse. We, Mrs. Lawton (7) and I, have been visiting back and forth with the two children for several weeks, and suddenly discovered that Mr. Lawton and Billy had known each other in New York. He is story editor for Selznik (8) (don't know how to spell it) and is a nephew of Nazimova (9)--a Russian and of course his name isn't Lawton but he told us that his real name "before Americanizing it"--whatever that means!
Anyway they are delightful and I'm so glad that we have entertaining people in Santa Monica--it's a little too far to go to Beverly Hills and Hollywood for companionship.
Jill is so well and as we live just a little way from the beach has gotten very brown. It's becoming to her though.
Mammy, (10) Jack, (11) Jill, and I walk down most every afternoon--Jack carrying our beach paraphernalia, and I come home with an appetite that I never experienced before!
We wish that you and Bob (12) would come out. Why can't you? Have three bedrooms and it seems to me that a motion picture man (13) and his wife owe such a vacation to Oxford. …