Thursday, December 16, 2010

Purse, pin and letters

- Our family home in Milledgeville, Georgia is up for sale and I went by last Saturday to check on it. We have it staged for selling, so most of the personal effects have been taken out, but (not a good thing) I could see signs that someone (real estate agents?) had been looking into the mostly empty file cabinets, etc. and a few boxes that are crammed into one closet. So I did a bit of a search myself to make sure nothing of value or any personal papers were still there. It was a bit of surprise to find these two items in an unlocked strong box. The purse belonged to my great-grandmother - it used to hold some old letters, which my sister says are in the family safe deposit box at the bank. The rose pin was rattling around the bottom of the box. I don't think the pin is valuable, but certainly charming. It probably belonged to my great-Aunt Grace. And I'll wear it sometime and think of her.

- The letters were wonderful to read when mom found them more than 20 years ago after Aunt Grace's death. It was a series that my great-grandmother (my maternal grandfather's mother) had written to Aunt Grace while she was away visiting relatives. She refers to my grandfather at one point in a letter and how he would attend a cotillion one evening with my maternal grandmother (who he was dating then.)

- My great-grandmother referred to the doctor coming by to visit a few times, but the letters mostly spoke to routine family things. The last couple of letters ask Aunt Grace to come home by train. The last letter had further instructions not to stop and visit anyone on the way. And then there was an obituary clipping at the end - my great-grandmother passed away the next week. She would have been only about 40 years old. I am certain Aunt Grace made it in time - I hope so. Another newspaper clipping is in the inside pocket of the purse still, with these words: We wish to thank the many friends who were so very kind to us during the illness and death of our dear daughter, sister and mother. May God bless each one. Byron, Georgia, February 9, 1922.


desk49 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
desk49 said...

It is good nothing is missing.
Brain is dead LOL then some will tell you it never was alive. It's cold here and I was out in it most of the night. So trying to get warm. I'm not saying it was cold here but the paper said a polar bear and a penguin froze to death last night(poor things). Then again I might be full of it.

Maude Lynn said...

Those letters are treasures!

Louvregirl said...

I love this post and I'm SO glad that you found that lovely purse, Lynn. I would love reading or seeing the letters and their print/writing. I love old things like that and I imagine what it would have been like living during those times...

Jannie Funster said...

Your life is a magical book, Lynn, unfolding as you so graciously share chapters of it and your heart with us. Thank you.

I remember reading Mom's diary from when she was 15, where she wrote about having a crush on the man she would marry -- my dad! (Yes, I was very nosy to poke around in her personal things when I was a teen.)

I hope your day is as lovely as you are.


TALON said...

To read family history through handwritten letters adds even more beauty...

I love that rose pin. It is definitely charming...

LL Cool Joe said...

What wonderful memories. I love the idea of you wearing the pin as a way of remembering your great aunt. :)

Lynn said...

Ellis -

Oh my - I hope you are warm now. I am, of course, worried about the bears and penguins now. :)

Mama Zen -

I think so, too. I hope to re-read them soon.

lg -

I would like to transcribe them for the family. She had a lovely handwriting.

More of the story and it's kind of sad. My great-grandmother's husband (my maternal great-grandfather) walked away from the family. Simply left with no explanation. They found out later he was in the north and had started a few family. That is why there was no reference to having a husband in the clipping. My grandfather had to drop out of school and support the family since he was the oldest. He made a nice career for himself though and ended up being an engineer for Southern Railroad.

Jannie -

A magical book - I like that. Life is what one makes of it, I think.

You are lovely, too, my friend. I hope you are having a magical day.


Talon -

So true. And I love that pin. I will wear it one day soon.

Joe -

I have other family jewelry, too - I like wearing things that remind me of my family. This one will be very special though.

Riot Kitty said...

That must have been neat finding the purse and pin, and reading the letters.

Wendy said...

oh my gosh. How wonderful that you found those things. It's remarkable that you have access to that history.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Amazing to have such a cool old purse n pin for mementos of long ago loved ones. The letters must be historical treasures too! 1922! They surely have an interesting story to impart. I hope they last to be pondered well past the century mark!

Lynn said...

Riot Kitty -

It was neat finding that. The house makes me kind of sad - it feels bereft when I walk in to it. I wish some young family would buy it and fill it with new memories.

Wendy -

I know - it's wonderful.

Snaggle -

I hope so, too. Not sure if the younger generation is as sentimental as us, but I hope so.

Louvregirl said...

Thank you for sharing that, Lynn.

Lynn said...

lg -

Thank you and hope you are having a great Saturday.