The Letters

Dear Mable,

We all wake up to a new morning, certain that the sun will rise the next day. At night, the moon takes its place and when we go to bed we are certain the moon rotates around us. I try to rise early when the sun pushes against my curtains. At first, I ignore it, then I slowly accept its presence. I don’t get up right away. I think about the dream I had while I slept, some are pleasant, others not so pleasant and of course there are those that make me quiver in my flesh. Those are the ones that make no reason or rhyme, but are very unsettling.

This morning as I was reading letters from family and friends, I came across Grace’s letter. She has such great penmanship. You probably don’t recall her, but she is Laura’s younger sister. She was born in 1877, the same year I was born, what a coincidence that we became friends, though we were raised miles away.

She sees Laura very little, but makes those visitations last when she does. She became a teacher like her sister and myself. I went to her wedding back in 1901. It was a lovely event. I, myself got married a few years later. I invited her and her husband, Nate, but at the time she was taking care of her mother and was unable to attend. I visited her while I was traveling during my honeymoon, with Neal. When we get together we just gab for hours like two schoolgirls.

I haven’t visited her since Neal became ill, so we began writing to each other. My neighbor keeps insisting I get a phone installed. I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I need one, Grace doesn’t have one either. My neighbor says you probably don’t know you need one until you have it. I laughed and I said, I can’t say I really need one at all. I seem to do all right without it.

I love writing to Grace, we talk about everything under the sun. In her letter, she wrote about Linda and how she was faring this winter. Since Linda’s mother died, she has been like a lost sheep. She was very close to her mother, Ida. As you know, Ida wasn’t her real mother, but it isn’t talked about because it makes Linda uneasy. She doesn’t like talking about it. She loved her mother.

I think Linda was about one years old when she was adopted. She was such an adorable baby with her blond curls and baby blue eyes. Grace showed me her baby pictures. Ida, was a fabulous seamstress and made all her clothes with the finest fabric’s. Ida was a wealthy woman, worked hard all her life, made her own money. She was bedridden, by the time I met Linda.

I know I shouldn’t tell you this, but you seem curious as anybody would be. Linda did search for her real mother, after she got the blessing from Ida, of course. Linda didn’t really start thinking about her real mother until later in life. As it happens, she got busy, and wonder very little about stuff like that. Ida was a good mother by what Grace tells me, raised her children to work hard and never live by handouts. I can say, Ida raised her children to not have the love of money, easily gained, easily lost, she would say.

When Linda was in her twenties she didn’t really think about her real mother. She was a carefree girl, ardent about friends, school and family, collectively in that order. She traveled a bit while she was in college. She never completed her schooling, instead worked in one of the many businesses her mother owned. This was before her mother started selling off those businesses. Ida believed as long as you can read, write and do arithmetic you were set for life, and was proud of Linda, no matter what.

Linda, was a lively woman, like her mother, Ida. I was fortunate enough to meet Ida before her passing. Ida was a delightful woman. When Ida passed, I think, Linda became less jubilant. She wasn’t the same anymore. When Ida lived with her in that big house, they had many visitors. The only people that visit today is Linda’s brothers and sisters, especially, Rose, Margo, Alice, and Sadie. They all moved there to be near one another. As for the boys, she wasn’t acquainted by the four older boys, but was closer to the younger ones.

I know, Linda was close to getting married, once in her late twenties, then in her thirties, but she never went through with it, can’t say why. Now, she lives alone in that large house of hers. She visits Grace every day, brings her food, books, whatever Grace needs, as you well know, Grace suffers from arthritis, the poor thing. Linda keeps busy, her family, friends and church are important to her, in that order, respectively.

Linda, doesn’t talk about her real mother, but did tell Grace that her real mother had once been a successful lawyer. She was married to a man named Mike, Linda’s father, who eventually became Ida’s husband. Her mother divorced Mike and raised her on her own. Ida confessed to me that she had become good friends with Linda’s mother, and even showed me a picture of her. She was a beautiful woman, tall, blond, an exact image of Linda. Her mother had been a model before she decided to pursue law.

Then I guess, her mother fell in love with a dishonest man and it lead to many more indecent decisions, mostly with immoral men. Linda never met her mother because her mother died when she was eight years old, in a car crash. Ida was heartbroken when she learned of this. I heard she was inconsolable. Linda did eventually connect with her mother’s family, speaks to a few aunts who told her of her mother’s fate. It is a shame.

Anyhow, I will write you more later, I have to tend to my garden while the sun is out. It looks like it might rain, I can see a few clouds from a distance, while I sit here and write this letter and have my breakfast. You have a pleasant day, keep your chin up, and keep forging forward. Not everybody has good days all the time, but we keep our wits about us, and a smile on our face.

Yours truly, Lottie.

February 1939

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