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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Bag of Letters Tells A Personal Story

I recently found myself thinking back to this bag of letters I found awhile back, and since It's Throwback Thursday I thought it deserved a re-post. Grab a Kleenex.
While rummaging through items at a recent estate sale, looking for treasures, I ran across a zipped plastic bag full of old letters. A quick look revealed dates from 1917-20, and some beautiful handwriting, so I decided to purchase them in hopes that an ephemera collector might want them.
When I got home, I began to look through the letters. Many were simply correspondence with tidbits of information about someone's chicken and how many eggs they got. Or who was getting married, who was sick (lots of people were sick). Then I began to see that many were sympathy notes.
I began to read through them and found myself piecing together the details of a family's life and loss in 1920.
Many began with "The news of Luther's untimely death came as a great shock to us." "I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of the loss of a son."
Some would go on to recount events they had shared with Luther, even stories of war battles and triumphs. "I have known him to shoulder a rifle and stand guard for some poor fellow who was tired or sick when he was off duty."

Through reading the letters I learned that Luther had sisters, that he was a soldier, a lineman, and that he died in an accident. Although there were no details of the accident, I gathered it was related to his work. Luther was engaged to be married. I found a photo among the letters of his headstone that indicated he was 26 years old. I found some photos that might be of him. I read on and on... words of encouragement and condolence that touched my heart. Of a death almost 100 years ago.

But it was this letter in particular that brought tears to my eyes:

"From my own experience I know every letter no matter how kind and sympathetic just opens up the wounds afresh. I know how you feel even as I write this my eyes are full of tears as you read this I know yours will fill with tears. Our thoughts will mingle together.
" Little did you and I think when we lived side by side we would both be called to give up our only boy after we had raised them to manhood, our little buds, just offered to full bloom of youth and so fitted for a beautiful life."

The letter goes on to spell out the grief of a mother so complete and sorrowful, so soul- wrenching that it is difficult to read. "Of course I know how you feel, if we were together I know just what (unreadable) first we would each want to talk and sympathize with each other and mingle our tears together."
It continues, "This to you is not a cheerful letter. I am writing you as I feel and the tears are filling my eyes and dropping all the while I write for a heart broken mother is writing to a heart broken mother."
I began to know of a man and a family that lived almost a hundred years ago, in a small town in Oklahoma and I felt just a hint of the grief and the sorrow they felt.

I'm glad I read through so many of the letters before offering them up for sale. As of now, my genealogist husband is contacting the family researcher for this particular family (found on to hand these letters over to someone who cold benefit from the information therein. (update, no family members found)

I wonder how a family could simply offer something like this up at an estate sale in a plastic bag?
It was probably in the possession of the child of the child of the child of the mother who was grieving. They probably had no idea the content of the letters was so personal, and so full of family historical information. Or maybe they just did not care. Whatever the reason, I'm glad the letters landed in my hands, and that I bothered to read them. They touched me in a way I will never forget. And I'm glad I am able to share that with you.


Reprinted from Flea Market Style Blog June 2012

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 4th Junkers Style

We live outside city limits, so every year, weather permitting, we have a big July 4th bash with friends and family.

This year we wanted to make it simple. No fancy cooking, grilling etc, just friends, fun and fireworks. 
No fuss no muss.

So we went with "make your own" sandwiches, coleslaw, A bean dip spread for the vegetarians, Watermelon ...
I pulled out every red and blue dish I had, and rounded it out with some vintage enamel Cathrineholm bowls.

And of course dessert, provided by my wonderful DIL. Aren't these so pretty!

Of course, being the junker I am I had to incorporate some of my fun junking finds for this Picnic Themed evening.  An old picnic basket holds bottled water and cups for tea, and an old Plaid cooler holds Ice.  I lined it with a plastic bag for sanitary reasons.
one thing I love to do on the 4th is to use old Aluminum Christmas tree branches as simulated sparklers, all over the place, add a few flags, and it's a fun look.

You can't really see it but the container in this centerpiece is an old thermos. I thrifted everything for this photo including  the bunting in the background.

Even my dress forms got into the spirit.

I'm not sure my friends, know quite what to think of my "decorations" but by now I think they know me well enough to know I'm a bit quirky that way :)

This year we had little ones joining us,
too cute!!!!!
Everyone had a great time

But it was all really about the fireworks!!!! Lorna's first sparkler ever.
I hope you had a great 4th of July Holiday. Don't forget what it's all about. The sacrifice of our forefathers and their long sighted vision for our country.  Long may she wave!!!

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