Charles O'Fallon had a houseparty when I returned from New York which Mary Semple, Mattie Sproule, and I attended. We three had become Charles' regular members, with Tom Rutledge, Hal Clark, and Carl Prescott. Most of the others had married or were out of town for some reason. For the second time Tom Rutledge made the announcement that "it was about time some of us got married."
On a cool gloomy day soon after the houseparty I suffered one of my sick headaches. Mary and Mattie came to my room to talk over the houseparty. When they were ready to leave I said I felt better and would go downstairs with them. Father was sitting before the wood fire in the living room. We sat with him for a while and told him about a plan we had made for some entertainment for Charles O'Fallon. He turned to us suddenly and said, "Young ladies (in fact none of you is young any more), you are letting the years go by spending a great deal of time with a man who would make a desirable husband for either one of you." We looked at each other in quiet astonishment. Father was right in a few ways - family background, social position, and money. What father did not know was that while Charles was a gracious host and did everything to make these gatherings enjoyable he had these drawbacks: he was considered one of the homeliest men in town and he had a vile temper which he sometimes vented on the men but never on his women guests. However, these outbursts would sometimes nearly ruin or end a party. Tom Rutledge's wit and humor usually saved the day. Carl Prescott would go to the piano and play a popular song. Charles loved his comfortable big house which he had named Athlone after the old home in Ireland. He liked fun but had little sense of humor. He was a loyal friend. That was the last houseparty, for he and Mrs. Overton of Memphis were married in 1910.
My letters to Mr. and Mrs. McKesson after my return home and again as the holidays approached were full of the joy of that remarkable trip. I can't remember what I sent them for Christmas but I am sure it was something they both enjoyed. Hunt Allen and I exchanged Christmas cards. The McKessons told me about a big family party where they had seen Hunt Allen and his mother and the Fisks, and that I was mentioned several times.
Our family gatherings were enjoyable as usual. Sister Belle and Sank had a New Year's dinner for over sixty people, mostly family and connections, in the _________ of their Kinsbury Place home. Dorr & Zeller furnished part of the food and they had a waiter as well as their housemaid to serve it.
1910 was a big year for the Norvells and for me. I began again to go to the YWCA. I was asked to go to their headquarters on Garrison and Lucas Avenues on Thursday evenings to entertain employed women. Many of them were maids or cooks employed in fine homes and they had Thursdays off. This large house was given to the YW by "Uncle Sam Dodd.” I took a streetcar at 7:15 to go there and returned at 10:00 p.m. with perfect safety - something we would not dare do alone now! One evening in March I took with me an authentic parchment scroll the Book of Esther and a short outline of Esther. My father had bought it in Syria when he and mother were in the Holy Land in 1866. In most synagogues this book is read in March during the Feast of Purim. This created so much interest that I was asked to repeat the program so they could ask more people to come and see the scroll and hear my talk. Other evenings I talked about my travel experiences. One time I took mats for them to cross stitch. It was interesting work which I kept up till summer. It threw me with some appreciative women who had had a good meal together and were given something to think about besides their work. I am glad I was brought up to like all kinds of people.