Two days ago, my husband and I became official empty-nesters. It occurred to me that I have many objectives I want still want to experience, and accomplish, blogging being one of them. Having moved into our "retirement home" early (exactly one year ago), the list of things we want to change, improve, and expand on is very long. With both of us having full time careers and my husband one third of the way through towards his last (hopefully) post-graduate degree, you can imagine, we don't move very fast down our bucket list.
I have, however, started on ONE project that has been waiting for almost seventeen years now. Back in 1976, my father brought home a large volume of letters that had been saved through the years by a first cousin of my grandmother. This distant relative (who died about the time I was graduating from high school) never married and became somewhat of a recluse, saving everything, it seemed like to my teenaged self. By today's standards, you would call her a "hoarder" but at the turn of the 20th century, she would have been known as an "old maid" or a "spinster", an only child who supported herself by teaching piano lessons in the small Southern town she lived in. I always had the sense that there was a story therein.
The letters, dutifully placed and kept neatly in a storage tub by my father, were given to me by my mother after the death of my father in 1994. I always had the desire to transcribe them and see where the journey took me.
A week or so ago, I opened the tub and removed eight or ten letters from the front of one of the rows. Dating, so far, April, July and December-1911, and the one I am working on now from 1910, I was immediately caught up in the story but it felt like I started in the middle. A secret love who slipped letters inside the envelopes with his sister' post, declaring his love for the maiden. I have transcribed letters from this suitor from 1910 & 1911, in which his intentions were clear. Why, I wondered, did she not get married? My theory was that he had gone overseas in World War I and not returned. Much digging on the internet on my part revealed that the young man did in fact serve in the infantry as a cook during the first World War. More research revealed that the young man had indeed married, eleven months before the end of World War I. He married a much younger lady than his old love. Was he injured or maimed in the war, then rejected by the young lady who had loved him? Did he consider that she had grown too old for marrying and bearing his heirs? Or something else... more sinister maybe??
I hope to find the answers to many questions as I make my way through this historical treasure trove.
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