Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Remember When: Letters

I have no memories of my dad. He and mom divorced when I was about three. He died in a car accident a few years later.

About the time I got married I started doing my genealogy. Part of it was to learn about my dad and that other family I didn't know anything about. My mom and my older sister weren't real excited about it even though they were fond of my dad's sisters. Living on the other side of the country I didn't push getting together with any of them. Two of my aunts and a couple of cousins have been to Arizona over the years and made the effort to visit with us. We always had a pleasant time.

This week a first cousin, Linda, came to town. Her son has moved here and was married on Saturday. Thursday Linda and I got together and went and had tea and talked and talked and talked. It was great.

She was apprehensive, not knowing how I felt about the family, but I think I set her mind at ease in that I have no hard feelings and want to hear about my dad. I know he wasn't a bad person but at that time alcoholism was treated as a crime. Mom being a divorcee in a small town in the early 1950s wasn't easy.
That's just the way it was and although I still have questions and wonder about some things I may never have answers to I'm glad to have "met" another cousin.


When her mother passed away Linda found a box of letters she had kept for many years. Linda took the time to make copies of all of them and put them in these boxed notebooks.

There are letters from my grandparents and I'm hoping to find one from my dad. She hadn't been through them all yet and wasn't sure what all was in these notebooks.

We both love to collect postage and there were some postage marks and stamps that caught her eye.

Many are handwritten although she said that at one point our grandfather, who they all called Papa, was given a typewriter and he learned to use it. Somebody wrote on that letter that it was his first typing lesson.
She told me she always loved my dad. He was tall and handsome and had a deep beautiful voice. He even sang in a quartet.

I had a tear in my eye as I drove home with the folders tucked safely in the seat beside me. Linda felt the same way as she soon called so we could talk some more. She wanted to make sure I was okay with hearing about the family, my dad, and the letters. Oh yes, Linda. And the hugs and everything else.

Sadly I had just put a new SD card in my Nikon and it didn't work so I didn't get a picture. She did and will send it to me when she gets home.

For now I'm cherishing my memories and my letters.

Do you have family letters? Are they in a place where they will be recognized as something important? Have you thought of copying them for other family members? These things are all precious and even if the letters talk about the weather they are my people and I do care.
A fun picture of my older sister and my dad, probably taken at the state fair or some such event.