Letters and Laws
A Letter from "Hubby"
The longing letter Dillinger wrote his wife after almost four years in prison.
The 25-year-old Dillinger wrote this letter to his first wife, Beryl Hovious, while serving time in the Indiana State Reformatory in Pendleton. At the time of this letter, dated August 18, 1928, Dillinger did not realize that his 20-year-old wife was contemplating a divorce.
My dearest wife,
Received your sweet letter Tuesday even the only one this week and I'm still waiting for that interview. Gee honey I would like to see you. Hubert wrote to me last week. I would sure like to see him if he wants to come see me. Let me know and I will send him the carfare I hope Sis is getting along allright and all the rest of the folks are well. Sweetheart aren't you ashamed for getting mad at Hubby over that letter when you ought to have known that I would have wrote if I could. You were mad now weren't you and I come very near not writing at all last time. I hope you are not worrying about how your going to keep me home with you after I get out, as sweet as you are you can let me do the worrying. Dearest we will be so happy when I can come home to you and chase your sorrows away and it wont take any kids to keep me home with you allways. For sweetheart I love you so all I want is to just be with you and make you happy. I wonder if I will get an interview Monday, I sure hope so for I am dying to see you. Darling have some pictures taken, every time I see you, you look dearer and sweeter to me so I want late pictures. Now say rassberries but honey it's the truth. I sure am crazy about you. . . . Write soon and come sooner.
Love from Hubby
From Girardin, G. Russell, with William J. Helmer, Dillinger: The Untold Story. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 18.
A Note Before a Jailbreak
Dillinger contacted his family in the winter of 1934 before he escaped.
Dillinger scrawled this upbeat note to his family on jail letterhead shortly before he made his famous escape from the jail at Crown Point.
LAKE COUNTY JAIL
CROWN POINT, INDIANA
LILLIAN M. HOLLEY
Dear Sis and all,
Received your letter O.K. and was sure glad to hear from you. I am well and getting along fine. I would sure like to see all of you. Mrs. Holley will let any of you in to see me so whenever any of you have an opportunity you and Frances can come along to see me. Tell Dad to send me ten dollars right away. He can send it in a letter. I hope Hubert is feeling better by now. Both of my attorneys were here Friday to see me and everything is progressing along fine.
How does Francis like her schooling Does Dad let you and Francis go to the show as often as I used to take you? I would sure like to see all of you kids, was sorry I didn't get to take you to the worlds fair, maybe though you will get a chance to go this summer the fair will be bigger and better this year. I wish you kids could see the country Ive seen the last few months it would sure have been a treat to you.
I am glad you are such a big help to Dad for he is getting along in years and he needs your help. Mr. Ryan says Hubert is thinking of quitting his job. I think he had better reconsider as scarce as jobs are now. Well honey I guess Ill ring off for this time tell everyone hello and love to all from your brother Johnnie.
From Girardin, G. Russell, with William J. Helmer, Dillinger: The Untold Story. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 77. Letter source: John Dillinger Museum.
Dillinger Fan Mail
A letter to the woman who credited God for helping him escape.
Dillinger's lawyer, Louis Piquett, wrote this friendly reply to Eulalia Callender, an elderly woman who wrote him of her belief that Dillinger must only have been able to escape the Crown Point Jail with the help of God.
LOUIS P. PIQUETT
228 N. Lasalle St.
Telephones Central 8847 8848
March 7, 1934
Mrs. Eulalia Callender
My Dear Mrs. Callender,
Yours of March 7th, received and read with great deal of interest. Let me say in behalf of my client I certainly appreciate a very tender feeling reading between the lines of your short message. I can clearly realize the trend of your beautiful heart.
I will undertake seriously to have the message delivered to my client in person. You may rest assured that I am perfectly safe in saying that the party in question will be most appreciative of your very sweet offerings and thought. I, like you believe that it was the hand of God that enabled this young Christian soul to live on.
From my experience with the party in question, I can safely tell you that he will rob no banks, but it is his firm intention to travel in the path of righteousness. He is a great student of the Bible. The last conversation I had with him he had told me that it was his intention to vie the balance of his life in this world to God, and beyond any doubt your sweet prayers have had a great deal to do with this deliverance.
I will be most happy to talk in person with as sweet a mind as I think you have, so if any time in the near future you feel well enough to come to Chicago you may meet me at my office address. I will be more than glad to discuss this matter with you further.
With very deepest appreciation for your very kind and thoughtful message, I beg to remain yours very sincerely and truly,
Louis P Piquett
From Girardin, G. Russell, with William J. Helmer, Dillinger: The Untold Story. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 93.
Some Anti-Dillinger Laws
Tough new crime laws enacted by the federal government in late spring 1934.
In the late spring of 1934, Congress passed and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a set of sweeping measures designed to foil outlaws like John Dillinger. For the first time, these laws granted powerful rights to agents of the federal government, including the rights to carry arms and make arrests. The anti-crime package also established stiff punishments for many of Dillinger's offenses, including bank robbery and crossing state lines to avoid the law.
Within two months, special agent Melvin Purvis and other D.O.I. agents used these powers to shoot down John Dillinger on a Chicago street. The era of the heroic G-man had begun.
Killing Federal Officers
May 18, 1934.
[Public, No. 230.]
To provide punishment for killing or assaulting Federal officers.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whoever shall kill, as defined in sections 273 and 274 of the Criminal Code, any United States marshal or deputy United States marshal, special agent of the Division of Investigation of the Department of Justice, post-office inspector, Secret Service operative, any officer or enlisted man of the Coast Guard, any employee of any United States penal or correctional institution, any officer of the customs or of internal revenue, any immigrant inspector or any immigrant patrol inspector, while engaged in the performance of his official duties, or on account of the performance of his official duties, shall be punished as provided under section 275 of the Criminal Code.
SEC. 2. Whoever shall forcibly resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, or interfere with any person designated in section 2 hereof while engaged in the performance of his official duties, or shall assault him on account of the performance of his official duties, shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and whoever, in commission of any of the acts described in this section, shall use a deadly or dangerous weapon shall be fined not more that $10,000, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Approved, May 18, 1934.
Crossing State Lines to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony
May 18, 1934.
[Public, No. 233.]
Making it unlawful for any person to flee from one State to another for the purpose of avoiding prosecution or the giving of testimony in certain cases.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be unlawful for any person to move or travel in interstate or foreign commerce from any State, Territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, with intent either (1) to avoid prosecution of murder, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, mayhem, rape, assault with a dangerous weapon, or extortion accompanied by threats of violence, or attempt to commit any of the forgoing, under the laws of the place from which he flees, or (2) to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceedings in such place in which the commission of a felony is charged. Any person who violates the provision of this Act shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment. Violations of this Act may be prosecuted only in Federal judicial district in which the original crime was alleged to have been committed.
Approved, May 18, 1934
Prison Employees Prohibited from Assisting a Prisoner's Escape
May 18, 1934.
[Public, No. 234.]
To define certain crimes against the United States in connection with the administration of Federal penal and correctional institutions and to fix the punishment therefor.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person employed at any Federal penal or correctional institution as an officer or employee of the United States, or any other person who instigates, connives at, wilfully attempts to cause, assists in, or conspires with any other person or persons to cause any mutiny, riot, or escape at such penal or correctional institution; or any such officer or employee or any other person who, without knowledge or consent of the warden or superintendent of such institution, conveys or causes to be conveyed into such institution, or from place to place within such institution, or knowingly aids or assist therein, any tool, device, or substance designated to cure, abrade, or destroy the materials or any part thereof, of which any building or buildings of such institution are constructed, or any other substance or thing designed to injure or destroy any building or buildings or any part thereof, of such institution; or who conveys or causes to be conveyed into such institution, or from place to place within such institution, or aids or assists therein, or who conspires with any other person or persons to convey or cause to be conveyed into such institution or from place to place within such institution, any firearm, weapon, explosive, or any lethal or poisonous gas, or any other substance or thing designed to kill, injure, or disable any officer, agent, employee, or inmate thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not more than ten years.
SEC. 2. All Acts and part of Acts in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.
Approved, May 18, 1934.
Robbing Banks Becomes Punishable by Death
May 18, 1934.
[Public, No. 234.]
To provide punishment for certain offenses committed against banks organized or operating under laws of the United States or any member of the Federal Reserve System.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That as used in this Act the term "bank" includes any member bank of the Federal Reserve System, and any bank, banking association, trust company, savings bank, or any other banking institution organized or operating under the laws of the United States.
SEC. 2. (a) Whoever, by force and violence, or by putting in fear, feloniously, or feloniously attempts to take, from the person or presence of another any property or money or any other thing of value belonging to , or in the care, custody, control, management, or possessions of, any bank shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
(b) Whoever, in committing, or in attempting to commit, any offense defined in subsection (a) of this section, assaults any person, or puts in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of dangerous weapon or device, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or imprisoned not less than five years nor more than twenty-five years, or both.
SEC. 3. Whoever, in committing any offense defined in this Act, or avoiding of attempting to avoid apprehension for the commission of such offense, or in freeing himself or attempting to free himself from arrest or confinement for such offense, kills any person or forces any person to accompany him without the consent of such person, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 years, or by death if verdict of the jury shall so direct.
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction over any offense defined by this Act shall not be reserved exclusively to courts of the United States.
Approved, May 18, 1934.
Reward Money is Offered for Capturing Criminals
June 6, 1934
[Public No. 295.]
To authorize an appropriation of money to facilitate the apprehension of certain persons charged with crime.
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, as a reward or rewards for the capture of anyone who is charged with violation of criminal laws of the United States or ant State District of Columbia the sum of $25,000 to be apportioned and expended in the discretion of, and upon such conditions as may be imposed by, the Attorney General of the United States. That there is also hereby authorized to be appropriated as a reward or rewards for information leading to the arrest of any such person the sum of $25,000 to be apportioned and expended in the discretion of, and upon such conditions as may be imposed by, the Attorney General of the United States: Provided, That not more than $25,000 shall be expended for information or capture of any one person.
If the said persons or any of them shall be killed in resisting lawful arrest, the Attorney General may pay any part of the reward or rewards in his discretion to the person or persons whom he shall be adjudge to be entitled thereto: Provided, That no part of the money authorized to be appropriated by this Act shall be paid to any official or employee of the Department of Justice of the United States.
Approved, June 6,1934.
By His Sweethearts
After Dillinger's death, his girlfriend, Evelyn Frechette, told her story to a Chicago paper. Polly Hamilton, Dillinger's companion after Frechette was arrested, recalled Dillinger's last days.
'What I Knew About John Dillinger' — By His Sweetheart
The Chicago Herald and Examiner originally published a multi-part article written by Evelyn "Billie" Frechette in August 1934. In it, Frechette told of her life with John Dillinger. Reproduced here are the first and fifth installments of her story.
Evelyn Frechette, sweetheart of John Dillinger, herewith presents the first chapter of the story of her hectic life with the nation's late public enemy No. 1.
How she fled with Dillinger after his "toy-gun" escape from the Crown Point jail; how they strove ingeniously to dodge capture or death; how they retreated from a St. Paul machine gun -- all these details figure in an amazing story which carries the invetable moral that the criminal cannot escape the penalty for his crime.
Now behind prison bars, Evelyn Frechette tries to find a reason for her fate. Because she followed, unthinking, an impulse of her heart, she lost her freedom. Though the reason may escape her it stands out unmistakably as an object lesson not only to youth but to all that attach themselves to criminal pursuits:
Part One - August 27, 1934
Crime does not pay!
By Evelyn Frechette
Only one big thing ever happened to me in my life. Nothing much happened before that, and I don't expect much from now on — except maybe a lot more grief. The one big thing that happened to me was that I fell in love with John Dillinger.
I'm in prison on account of that. The government people said that I "harbored a criminal." The criminal was John. I lived with him for several months, if that's what they mean. I loved him. I followed him around the country — from Chicago to Florida and then to Tucson, where we were caught. And then after we got out of the jail in Crown Point with the wooden gun he came to me again and we beat it to St. Paul, where we had the shooting scrape and nearly got killed.
Dillinger Waiting as Police Seized Evelyn.
So you see I was with John Dillinger from the time he came to Chicago after breaking out of the jail at Lima, O., until I got caught in Chicago last April — the time the police took me away while John was sitting in his car down the street waiting for me.
John was good to me. He looked after me and bought me all kinds of clothes and jewelry and cars and pets, and we went places and saw things, and he gave me everything a girl wants. He was in love with me.
If that's harboring him, all right then. I harbored him.
John's dead. I'm not sorry I loved him. That part I couldn't help. I'm sorry what happened to me and what it cost me after I was caught.
Only a Number Now in Federal Prison.
I'm a convict. Since the third of last June, when a federal judge in St. Paul sentenced me to two years. I've been in the United States detention farm at Milan, Mich. I'm not Billy Frechette any more, I'm a number, like Machine Gun Kelly's wife, who is here too, and like the rest of the girls on the farm.
I guess this is where they all end up. Maybe I've got it coming to me. I don't know. But I keep telling myself that I'm different. I'm in here because I fell in love with the wrong man — not wrong for me, you understand, but wrong if I wanted to keep it in the clear.
Falling in love with John was something that took care of itself. There are lots of reasons why. Some of the reasons are John's and some are mine.
Liked Dillinger for What He Was to Her.
I like John's kind. I don't mean because he was a criminal and carried guns around, and wasn't afraid of police or any one. There was something else. John might have been a soldier or something else besides what he was. He wasn't, of course, because something happened along the line.
I always figured that what he did was one thing and what he was was another. I was in love with what he was. Oh, maybe I was wrong, but you can't argue yourself out of falling in love! You just can't sit down and think it out.
I come from French-Indian stock. Maybe that has something to do with it. I'm proud of my Indian blood. My tribe is a good tribe and my people are good people. Maybe I'd better tell how I was brought up.
Born on Wisconsin Indian Reservation.
I was born on an Indian reservation at Neopit, Wis., sixty miles from Green Bay. I had two brothers and two sisters. My father died when I was 8 years old. He was French and pronounced his name without the "e," like Freshet.
My mother was half French and half Indian. Her tribe was the Menominees. They called them the wild-rice eaters. They used to have their hunting ground around Wisconsin and Michigan a long time ago, before the white man came and pushed them around.
Thinks of Indians Who Roamed Hills.
I think about that sometimes when I look out through the bars in the window at the hills and the trees here in Michigan. I get to thinking that my people use to roam around over those hills — long before the white man came along with his rules about harboring outlaws.
And I get to thinking that maybe the Indians had rules about things like that, too. Maybe if they caught a girl that was running around with an enemy chief they'd hold her and wait for him to come for her so they could kill him.
But I figure they would let her go after they killed him.
Recalls Working on Reservation as Child.
Nothing happened to me when I was a child. I don't remember anything that happened to me that was unusual. We had to work around the reservation with our Indian relatives and neighbors. My mother had a hard time bringing us up.
I remember I had an uncle that the government people thought a lot about. They sent him to Washington to do things for the Indians and he was a big man.
I got most of my schooling in a mission school on the reservation and then when I was 13 I went to government school at Flandreau, S.D. I stayed there for three years and then I went to live with my aunt in Milwaukee.
I worked as a nurse girl — when I could get work and that wasn't very often. I wanted to come to Chicago. I hadn't been any place in my life and Chicago was a big and wonderful place to me.
Sister an Actress in Amateur Plays.
I was 18 then. I worked when I could — nurse, and housework, and waitress. My sister, Frances, was there. She had a lot of Indian friends and they went around to churches and put on Indian plays. She was a good little actress.
They called themselves "The Indian Players" and I remembered they put on plays called "Little Fire Face" and "The Elm Tree." They got all dressed up in their feathers and beads and painted their faces and danced the way we used to on the Indian reservation.
It was a lot of fun and I used to go around with my sister to the church socials. I wasn't a very good actress. But I helped wash the dishes and helped cook parched corn and wild rice and other Indian dishes. And when they needed somebody I'd put on my costume and dance in the chorus.
Tells of Marriage to Welton Spark.
It was fun, as I said, but it seem that nothing exciting ever happened to me and I was all alone, you might say.
Then I met this man I married. I wasn't really in love with him, but I was lonesome. His name was Welton Spark. Not long after we were married he was arrested and they sent him away to Leavenworth for fifteen years.
I don't even know what he did. It had something to do with the government mails. He never told me what he was up to. Being married to him didn't amount to much. I lost track of him right away.
Met Dillinger in North Side Cabaret.
I kept on working here and there and I got some girlfriends and we would date up often and go out cabareting. I liked going out where people were laughing and having a good time and cutting up. It was in a cabaret on the North Side where I met John Dillinger.
I'll never forget that. It happened the way things do in the movies. I was 25 years old and I wasn't any different from all the other girls that were 25 years old. Nothing that happened to me up to that time to amount to anything. Then I met John and everything was changed. I started a new kind of life.
It was in November, just about a year ago now, I remember. I was sitting at the table with some other girls and some fellows. We were having a good time.
Romance Begun in Glance and Smile.
I looked up and I saw a man at a table across the room looking at me. He didn't look away when I looked up. He just stared at me and smiled a little bit with the corner of his mouth. His eyes seemed to go all the way through me.
A thing like that happens to a girl often and doesn't seem to mean anything. This was different. I looked at him and maybe I smiled.
Anyway he knew one of the girls I was with and pretty soon he came over to our table and spoke to the girl and she said: "Billy, this is Jack Harris"
Didn't Know Then Who Dillinger Was.
He might just as well have said his name was John Dillinger then because I didn't know any different. I didn't read the newspapers. I didn't know for a long time after that what his real name was. I didn't know then he was the John Dillinger everybody under the sun was looking for.
But to me that night he was just Jack Harris — a good looking fellow that stood there looking down at me and smiling in a way that I could tell he liked me already more than a little bit. He said:
"Where have you been all my life?"
(In the next chapter of the story of her life with John Dillinger. Evelyn ("Billy") Frechette will tell how this casual meeting grew into a love affair with the nation's No. 1 criminal — an affair that was interrupted only briefly when Dillinger and his gang were captured.)
Part Five - August 30, 1934
St. Paul Shooting and Wounding of Desperado Is Described
I sit here in a jail cell that isn't any bigger than a pantry and wonder how I ever stood up during all those wild days when we had to sneak around like a lot of alley cats for fear we would get caught.
For instance, there was that day after the shooting with the police in St. Paul when Johnny sat there is the back seat of the car frowning and holding his leg and waiting for me to go and get help for him.
For a minute I thought I couldn't get up off the seat of the car. I felt sure that if I got out and started down the street I'd get a bullet in my back before I got two feet away.
But I went. I started to run down the alley and John shouted to me "Take it easy," and I slowed down. He didn't want to attract any attention in broad daylight.
Takes Ride While Green Gets Doctors.
I ran in the back way of the Eddie Green's apartment and brought him out to the car. Then Beth came down, and John asked her to take me for a ride while Eddie was getting a doctor. I guess he thought it was dangerous and he didn't want me to get caught, too, if there was going to be trouble.
We drove around for an hour or more and then came back and waited a little before the doctor was brought up. He was Dr. Clayton May. Then we got in our cars and I rode with Eddie. We drove around and stopped at a place on Park Av., and they took John to get treated.
The doctor said he'd be all right. This doctor later went on trial with me for harboring Dillinger. He said on the witness stand that John and Eddie threatened him with machine guns and that Eddie followed him to see there wasn't any tip-off. Somebody else will have to tell that story.
Eddie Shot to Death by Police
This place was where the doctor's nurse lived. She was Mrs. Augusta Salt. We stayed there for three or four days waiting for John's knee to heal up. But it wasn't safe. We had to leave. I guess we got out just in time. They killed Eddie Green just after we left. The police shot him down in the street.
Where to? We couldn't go to another place in the Twin Cities. The police were looking in every house there for us. We couldn't go to Chicago. They knew the neighbor hood where John used to stay, and they were waiting for him there.
So John picked the one place where nobody would think of looking for him. He went home. He went back to his father's farm.
I argued with him about that. I didn't think it was safe. But he said: "Listen Billy. Who's smarter -- me or the cops?"
It took us two or three days to get there because we had to drive around quite a lot. We didn't go places where we thought there might be danger. John couldn't get out and walk any place because he was limping pretty bad and that would be a dead give away.
Tells of Reunion at Family Home.
His dad was glad to see him when he got to Mooresville, and we had a real celebration. All his family came down to say hello. His half-brother, Hubert, was there, and his sister, Mrs. Hancock, came down from Maywood, Ind.
John's dad said he ought to keep out of trouble, but John just laughed. We took a lot of pictures. John had one taken with his wooden gun. He still thought it was a joke the way he got out. He gave the gun to his father as a present.
It wasn't safe to stay around the farm long. John was careless. He'd go out and sit in the yard with his sisters and play games where all the neighbors could see. I guess the only reason they didn't turn him in was they were afraid.
Anyway we left there on the 9th of April and drove to Chicago.
What were we going to do? Well we were going to settle down. We talked about it a lot on the way up. John thought he could do it now. He had plenty of money. He thought Chicago was as good a place as any.
John Gives Her Funds for Divorce.
We wanted to get married and John gave me the money for a divorce suit against my husband, Welton Spark, who was in Leavenworth. John and I had been in love with each other for a long time now -- nearly seven months. And more than that, we got to know each other. John couldn't trust many people, but he could trust me.
That's what we were thinking about, but it sounds a little silly now. We couldn't settle down and keep out of trouble. They'd keep on looking for John. There was no use deceiving ourselves. We were going to get caught sooner or later. I got it sooner. We had just got into Chicago and I walked right into a trap.
(In the next and concluding chapter of her life with John Dillinger, Evelyn Frechette describes her own capture while Dillinger, the most hunted man in the world , waited a block away.)
Dillinger's Last Hours — With Me' — By His Sweetheart
This article was originally published in the Chicago Herald and Examiner of Thursday, October 24, 1934. In it, Polly Hamilton describes her life with Dillinger during the final months of his life.
John Dillinger presented a strange psychological case during the last two months before the law, plodding but inexorable, ended his career. Hunted as now other outlaw has been hunted, he knew that his death was only a matter of days. With an amazing fatalistic philosophy, he unconsciously prolonged his life by the utter abandon with which he disregarded the obvious dangers and spent those last three days as a carefree citizen of moderate means might have spent them. He lived a normal life, walking Chicago streets unarmed, dining where he chose, watching with amused interest the very police sent to trap him. Much of his time he devoted to a girl who never suspected his true identity until government guns shot him don at her side. The story of this girl, Polly Hamilton, is a simple narrative illustrating that crime does not pay.
By Polly Hamilton
John Dillinger, the outlaw? I didn't know him.
The man I knew, and loved, was Jimmy Lawrence, a Board of Trade clerk. A smiling Jimmy Lawrence, whose mouth twitched at the corners when he told a funny story. The Jimmy Lawrence that gave me my amethyst ring.
Jimmy Lawrence wasn't grim, wasn't a killer, and more than he was a Board of Trade clerk. I wouldn't let him call for me, because they thought he was a sissy, with his gold rim glasses and trick mustache that the authorities say now he used for a disguise.
Made Faces Through Window Just to See Her Laugh
He'd stand outside the place for work, and make faces at me through the window to see me laugh. I met him one night early last June at a Barrel of Fun night club. He came up and asked: "What would happen if I called you up some night?" He didn't lose any time when I told him to try and see. The very next day he called, and that night he was waiting for me outside the restaurant where I worked on 1209 Wilson Av. He grinned and said: "The name is Jimmy Lawrence, if you've forgotten."
One of the shyest fellows I ever saw, but I liked that in him. Off we drove in a taxicab to the stables to dine and dance. After that it was almost every evening. It was always a taxicab, too. They say John Dillinger drove high-powered cars, but Jimmy Lawrence meant taxicabs and red hots to me. We rode in more taxis that I'd ever known were in Chicago, and it didn't matter where we had dined, we always had to have a red hot before he'd go home. Only twice in all the time I knew him did he drive a car.
Lots of things happened that should of told me he was John Dillinger. The scars from having his face altered and removing that mole might of warned me. I asked him about them, though, and he said: "Listen, Countess, I was in an auto accident."
He called me Countess at first, and sometimes Cleopatra. Honey was the name I liked best, just the same.
It may not have been love at first sight. He wasn't much for flattery. But you knew he meant it when you heard him say to somebody else. "She's all right. I like her just like she is."
But as for who he was, I had another clue. One of the girls I knew said one time: "He looks just like John Dillinger." But I didn't think so. You judge people you know by the way they act as well as the way they look, and he was better to me than any other man I knew.
Same Gray Suit- No Fashion Plate
He wasn't exactly a fashion plate. He wore the same gray suit all the time I knew him, which shows he wasn't trying very hard to disguise himself. It would of been so easy to recognize. He told me he wore his clothes until he grew tired of them, and then he threw them away.
You might think he wasn't a very good spender, but that isn't true. He never objected to the price.
I don't mean that he was reckless with his money, either. Never once did I see him with anything larger than a $20 bill. He must have carried a lot around in his big billfold, but he always got out a twenty before we went any place and put it loose in his pocket. Then he would pay the bill from that. He didn't want to be known as a Big Shot. We had been running around together more than a week when I introduced him to Mrs. Anna Sage, the one they call "The Woman in Red, " because she was wearing a red dress when she and I walked out of the Biograph Theatre at 2433 N. Lincoln Av., July 22 with him -- and found the government men awaiting for him with bullets.
After that I'd take him out to her home, where he became a friend of her son, Steve Chilak. Steve and his girl and Jimmy and I played cards a lot from them on at Mrs. Sage's home. He was simply crazy about cards, and he always seemed so much more talkative when he was in a game. He was an awful tease, too. It wasn't any fun for him to play without any money up, but he knew the rest of us didn't have much to lose; so he always made the stakes low enough that we could all play.
Farm Boy's Dinner; Biscuits and Gravy!
It was at Mrs. Sage's that we found out what a great big Indiana farm boy he was. All he asked was a home-cooked dinner. Baking powder biscuits and chicken gravy, just like they have on the farm, were what he liked best. Tomatoes, green onions, and radishes he had to have, too. When it was hot weather, he always brought ice cream, for he liked it so. Sometimes he'd bring a dozen boxes of strawberries.
He liked steak for meat, but when he was feeling particularly happy, nothing but frog's legs from Irelands would do. He use to bring them out and stand over them while we cooked them.
And would you believe it, he'd wash the dishes.
There wasn't much pretense about him. He said he was just an Indiana farm boy and he insisted that I was a farm girl, too. When he really wanted to tease me, he'd say: "There's Polly now. She just proves that you can take the girl away from the country, but you can't take the country away from the girl." If he thought I didn't like it, though, he'd mighty quick explain that he was only kidding.
John Dillinger, or Jimmy, as he was to me, never liked to hurt any one's feelings. He was what you'd call on the up and up with me and all his friends every minute.
Birthday Party; Her Biggest Thrill!
I don't know whether he was in love with me or not, but I was goofy about him. The two-day party we had celebrating his birthday on the 22d of June and mine on the 23d was just about the most important thing that ever happened to me. He sent me two dozen roses, and he bought me the amethyst ring, and we spent the evenings at the French Casino.
He must have been in love with me. Lots of times he talked about a home, and kids of his own. He used to say that he was going to retire from his Board of Trade job and buy a chicken farm, but I never took him seriously on that.
He probably didn't mean for me to take him seriously about working at the Board of Trade. You probably don't think of a machine gunner as singing. He sang, all right, in a low rollicking voice. His favorite songs were "All I Do Is Dream of You," which he always sang to me, and "For All We Know." When he was being funny, or winning at cards, he'd sing "Hey, Hey, How Am I Doin?"
He was more affectionate than you would think, although he did not like to show it. He didn't like others to show affection either. When we played cards, he collected a fine of a nickel each for a kiss and he made everyone pay up.