The Letters

Dear Mable,

I wasn’t able to do my gardening this morning. It rained all day and even the next day, which was a good thing, more water for my plants, and a greener grass. The creek is full, and I can hear the water gushing from my kitchen windows. Do you think rain has a scent? I believe it does, I can smell it when it dampens the concrete, and when it irrigates the grass. I find the whole event fascinating and how it brings everything to life. Water is the essence of life.

I did hear back from Grace and she did not have the heart to ask Linda about her true father. I do not think she knows herself who he is. It is never really talked about within the family, Ida took all those secrets with her. However, Rose was going through some family letters Ida had written through out her life and found some she had written to her father. In them, she is candid about Lisa becoming a rather libertine woman.

Lisa, had fallen in love with a Lothario, a real charmer that even Ida was smitten by the mysterious man. By then, Lisa lived in the flat she and Ida had purchased together. Lisa and this man, lived like husband and wife, but it all came to an end as quickly as it had begun. Lisa’s life went out of control, soon neighbors were calling Ida, about the noise, and the bustle of men coming and going. It was a decent neighbor, and the neighbors were not happy.

Around that time, Ida encountered a fourteen-year-old waif, taking pity on this creature she took her to the flat, and provided for her. The girl informed Ida of Lisa’s activity, and at times was feeling less brave to venture out of her room at night when one particular man stood out among them. He was taller, stronger, and a little less nicer than the man Lisa had fallen in love with. He had taken away the last rationality Lisa had. She became different.

This man was not peaceful, Ida had the misfortune to meet him more than once and she did not like him. The young girl was not safe at this home where such a man could exist. The girl told Ida of the various exchanges Lisa and her beau would have in her room. It became so loud, the girl thought the wall would give in from their throes.

Ida tried to reason with Lisa, but she would not hear of it. It went on like this for a year. Lisa had become obsessed with this mysterious man and when he left, she followed suit, abandoning everyone she knew, including her older daughter. Ida had to pick up the pieces when Lisa left. Ida didn’t hear from Lisa until months later, informing her of her pregnancy. It was how a strange relationship began between them.

The girl vanished soon after Lisa left. Ida paid Lisa the worth of the flat and then rented it out. The market was shaky and it would have been unwise for Ida to sell. Isa was an astute woman, she was abstemious, and I guess you can say that was how she entered into the property market. She would purchase homes, remodel them and rent them out. Ida was known to be very generous to her boarders. When money was tight she would lower the rent until things got better for them. Most of her peers believed she was not being smart, but it was never about money, at least not for Ida.

“Treat them with kindness,” Ida would always say to her children.

“And if they don’t correspond the same way?” her children would ask.

“Then you did the best you could,” Ida would say, “that is all that matters, nothing lost, nothing gained. Take your kindness and guard it with your life, most people will trenchant for the sake of it, but don’t let them make it a game.”

I wish you could have met Ida, she was an unforgettable woman. She tried helping Lisa through the years. Lisa eventually lost everything, her job, her family, anything that mattered was gone. Ida was all she had, during her time of need. Ida saw the affects it was having on Linda, who was only a baby when her mother fell deeper into nothing.

Ida wrote in one of her letters one of the last time she saw Lisa before disappeared again. Out of the blue, after months not hearing from Lisa, Ida got a message that Lisa needed help. She found Lisa living unwell in a flat. Linda—a year old, though she was smaller for her age—was laying on the floor, wearing a day old diaper. Linda hadn’t eaten in two days because Lisa didn’t have money for food or rent. She was also running a fever. Ida took care of Linda before she turned her attention to Lisa. In the letter, Ida visited Lisa a few more times, aiding her with food and rent. On one of those particular days, words were exchanged between them and Lisa out of emotions pushed Ida, hitting her head on the floor. Ida was shaken and left without saying a word and just like that Lisa was gone, taking her daughter with her.

Somehow, Ida was able to track down Lisa and took baby Linda away from her. I guess Lisa tried to supplicate for her daughter back and even promised to better herself, and for a time she did. But, old habits die hard, and getting better was a struggle Lisa didn’t find easily. She would fall from grace only to climb back for Ida’s forgiveness.

When Linda turned three, Lisa had improved, and was living in a flat. Ida would bring her daughter for visitations. This eventually became customary and soon Linda was staying over with her mother. There was one incident that forever changed the course of the events, that Ida doesn’t describe in detail in her letter. All she wrote was that Lisa had fallen back on her promise, putting her needs before Linda’s safety. Ida, didn’t hesitate and took Linda forever away from her mother. Whatever happened, it caused Linda to revert back to an infantile behavior. It took a lot of love and patience from Ida to get Linda grow back into a healthy child. Linda did well under Ida’s care and that was where she stayed and that was where she grew up.

Linda became the beautiful woman Grace writes about. Though, she never married she has flourished and has given her whole life to the Lord, though most would disagree with her choice, I would say, on the contrary she has grown and became a blessing to people like Grace. Those are the angels that most of us are lucky to be friends with.

Best wishes, Lottie

May 1939

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