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Monday, November 01, 2010

Local letters of long ago

My father saved everything, and so going through his papers has been a time-consuming affair I can only handle in small spurts. These letters tumbled out of an old book, protected in plastic baggies, the seal-up kind which my father thought exorbitantly priced, so I immediately knew the papers they contained were very important.

The top letter, of course, is a mere babe at 96 years old and is addressed to my grandmother, then a student at Salem College, from her father, my great-grandfather, in the year 1914. Miss Lucy M. Hadley, M. for Maie, was my namesake. She married Milton Cash in 1920 and bore him five sons, my father among them.

The bottom envelope, however, is 120 years old and contains a missive from Lucy's grandfather to my great-grandmother on the other side, my grandfather's mother. I'm dying to know what my great-great grandfather put in writing to his future granddaughter's future mother-in-law in 1890, thirty years before the marriage of the children would take place and before my grandmother had even been born, but I'm frankly scared to open the baggies, lest the letters inside crumble to dust beneath my fingertips.
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