Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Collecting: Family letters (3)


Written by my grandmother - Sylvia Irene Veronica - to her younger sister - Vera - on the death of Vera's infant son, Laurie Boots. Both Sylvia and Vera married men named Willl. Written in November 1922 when Sylvia was nearly 27 (with a 3 year old son, Gordon and a 1 year old son, also named Laurie) and Vera 25. Grandma was living out in Wetherill Park with just a horse (Dick) and sulky to get around. To come in to Drummoyne where her parents lived took most of the day.

The extreme religiosity of this letter takes me back: Sylvia was not a church-going woman in all the time that I knew her (1948 to 1984). She was obviously distraught about the death so early of her sister's son. In 1956 she lost her own 30 year old youngest son; and, in 1972 she lost her only daughter at the age of 43. This is but a photocopy, but it is interesting to compare the handwriting of Sylvia aged 15 in the previous Collecting post and this but a short 12 years later.

Taken in 1926 at Wetherill Park, Sylvia aged 31 jiggles her third son, Athol Reginald who was to die on a curb in London in 1956. Excerpts from Athol's diary (14 Dec 1949 to 17 March 1951)will take us on an altogether different journey. If Sylvia was 27 when this letter was written, and 31 when holding Athol, then her husband, Will (William George) aged from 44 to 48 over the same period. She was a workaholic; he a lazybones.

4 comments:

altadenahiker said...

I imagine she was trying to come up with anything that could possibly comfort her sister. And it must have in some way, because the letter was saved.

Boy, was I wrong about handwriting. Now the frills are gone, and the plump round letters. The handwriting is lean and sincere.

Café Chick said...

What amazing keepsakes for you and your family! I shudder to think what my writing (rambling?) of today will come to mean to family in the future, but I always feel like I have stumbled across a treasure when I find a letter sent to family members in the past. An incredible glimpse into time!

That is the chicken said...

Fascinating...a window into the past. I think letter-writing is so important. Somehow when writing a letter, I think mush more carefully about what I write than I do when typing. I have written regularly most weeks to a friend in Europe...and those letters now are a record of seven years of family life...just as this letter forms part of your family history. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Julie said...

Thank you for your contributions. These are such treasures for me, as yours are for you. However, I think all the letters I have are from one family member to another. This is how they were saved and also is their value - to me and to coming generations.

I do not have any of my own letters ...