Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
This month I’m sharing letters written between George and Grace from a time when she and her family went away to Nebraska. Grace’s little sister, Daisy had contracted polio around age two and from reading her letters, I wonder if Grace’s mother also had polio. It sounds like they went away for some recovery, taking the whole family with them. Most of the letters are to and from Nebraska but this one is from St. Louis at Christmas. I think Grace may be making her way back home to Springfield and to George, her fiancé.
St. Louis, MO.
Dec. 26th, 1909
Mr. George Wilkinson,
I wonder if you went to church tonight? I am trying to write this by the light of the fire in the grate, and its rather hard work. Walt (her brother) and I have been playing dominoes, but he has gone to bed now. Mother and Daisy have been in bed for some time and it is only 8:30 now. We got up so late this morning and had breakfast so late that we had our dinner and supper together in the middle of the afternoon.
We had quite a blizzard here night before last. The snow drifted so much. Mother lives upstairs and hasn’t been down since I came Friday morning. She likes it here real well. She has not been to the sanitarium since I came but is going tomorrow.
I know you will think this writing is fierce, but I am sitting by the fire and thinking of you, and wishing you were here to sit by me. I suppose Jonesy and Beas are having a lovely time to themselves. But I’m not going to bother them much more. If you hear of a good place between there and Commercial street, speak a good word for me. I am going to move when I come back but I’m not going to say anything about it till I find a place.
Santa Claus has been altogether too good to me. I got another scarf, (so you can put aside all worry about that red one), a handkerchief collar-and-cuff set, backcomb and barrette, furballs, hair ornaments and hair-receiver.
Well, I must stop. I am in love with my ring – and its donor. The folks like it ever so much.
Good night, my love. Yours, Grace
In this letter, written by Grace to George, I hear her voice. It sounds like the grandmother I knew – the way she says her writing is fierce. She used words and said things in a different way than what I would say - an older, more old fashioned time. Reading about her Christmas gifts that included several hair accessories reminded me of spending the night, looking into her bedroom and seeing Grace sitting at her dresser, combing and braiding her waist-length hair. By that time, it was gray, and she always wore it in braids wrapped around her head. But I thought it was beautiful, as was she, with her piercing blue eyes.
As I read these letters, I hear love and longing – to be home, and to be with her love, George. I’ve determined from another letter that they’ve already been a couple for three years and I know they were engaged for five years before getting married.
But there is also love that I feel from her for her family. As a young woman – along with her brother, Walter, who was a young man – they all went together, as a family, for this trip away from their lives and loved ones back home. There must have been great concern and a need for all to help as mother and little sister recovered from a terrible disease. (Daisy would be affected all her life, first wearing braces, and then being wheelchair-bound.) Life was hard back then. Travel was long and tiring by train or carriage. There were automobiles, but not everyone was driving yet (Grace would never learn to drive). Trips and times away were lengthy and exhausting. I can only imagine how Grace felt, wanting to support her family and needing to be there to help, but longing for her love, missing him and wanting to be home.
When I want to see a family member or a friend whom I’m missing, I call them on Facetime and we see each other’s faces and their surroundings. We can see the expression on our faces as we chat. It’s so much better than even just talking by telephone and certainly is preferable to writing an email, a text or a letter (although I’m afraid finding old love letters like these I have might be harder to come upon). It’s amazing to me that George and Grace could keep their love strong with such a long distance between them and a long, extended time of being apart. But they did.
Love is the thing that holds families together even when they are apart. True love between couples can remain strong even with the challenge of time and distance between two people. Like the song, “Love Will” says:
Nothing grows in the driest places, the bitter cold, or children's faces, like love will, love will... Nothing can be everlasting or send an iron curtain crashing like love will ... Loves a gift the richest or the poorest man can give. It’s the only treasure that I know. Love will not forsake you on the last day that you live 'cause you can take it with you when you go.
I’m sharing the song here, sung by Cindy Powell. I hope you enjoy it and will be blessed as you think about the loves in your life – past and present. Know you are loved deeply by God.