Dear Jane Louise,
Hi! I was so happy when I got your letter this week especially since you have graduated and are now working full time. I’ll never be as smart as you and graduate at sixteen, but I can imagine how excited you must be to be on your own! Please promise that you’ll use a few spare moments to continue writing me! And, I promise to do the same.
Mom took me to see Grandmother & Grandfather this week. It was just Mom and me, but I really wish that you could have been there also. Hey, remember the time that we were visiting together last summer & we were upstairs? We were supposed to be getting ready for bed but, instead, we had poked around all of the rooms and then listened in on the adults’ conversation. I was surprised that we were never caught sitting at the top landing! It sounded like everyone was talking & laughing at the same time even your Mom like she always did! I don’t remember how many quilts we had on top of us that night, but I clearly remember the quilt hanging over us from the ceiling and which Grandmother was quilting. Before Grandfather cranked the rack higher up to the ceiling, we saw that this new one was designed with pretty stars. It was like we were sleeping under the night time sky, right?
Well, this trip I had to think of something to interest me all by myself and, as you know, we had already explored the canning cellar and the hay loft. And, it was mid-day, so Grandfather had already milked the cows. But I knew not to linger too long in the kitchen for fear that I would be given a chore so I decided to climb upstairs out of sight. Once there, I noticed a narrow door and opened it thinking it would be a storage closet. But, no it wasn’t. It opened to a steep staircase leading up to what seemed like only a cavern of rafters. Did you know about this, Jane Louise? Well, I didn’t consider even going back down to ask permission to venture up. I just did. And, it turned out to be way more than just rafters!
I forgot to count the steps while climbing them but they were narrow and closed in on both sides which was kind of spooky, but they eventually opened up into a large dusty room piled with so much great stuff. It wasn’t very bright in there because there was just one tiny window that allowed the only light in. I ran over to it to peek out from between the slats and could see Grandfather walking into the barn. Old Bill was trotting along beside him. I love that sweet dog, don’t you?
Anyway, I didn’t know where to begin exploring first so chose a really big trunk & dragged it across the floor to set it in the sunlight from the window. It looked promising and wasn’t locked so I decided that it would be OK to see what treasures were in it. There was a bunch of neat stuff including an old leather book with lots of lists of advice, and what to expect & and what to purchase & pack to prepare to go to the Klondike gold rush. I wondered if Grandfather had been a prospector! It was a really cool book, so I put it in my pocket for later. There was also a stack of very old letters, tied together with a faded ribbon, and every one of them was addressed to Grandmother from someone in Philadelphia. The sender must have been very important for Grandmother to have kept them all these years. Also, Aunt Hazel’s old daily journals were tucked into a muslin cloth, and after reading several entries, I noted that she had certainly painstakingly written down every little bit of daily activity. She included information such as the weather, filling up all of her bird feeders as well as which birds came to enjoy her hospitality, preparing to do laundry, gardening and canning and so much more.
But, the item which really got my curiosity stirred up was a large album of black pages bound together with a cord tied into a bow on the left side. It looked like an old-fashioned picture album but it was much more intriguing because, though each page was filled, there wasn’t one actual snapshot in it. When I opened it across my legs, both sides stretched out to fall onto the floor on either side of me. It looked like someone had glued a collection of lots of real interesting articles, postcards, quilt patterns, recipes, poetry, paper dolls, even German Bible scriptures and so much more. No one’s name was in to tell me who might have created it and, since the content seemed to be more educational than personal, I didn’t know what to make of it. Why would Grandfather and Grandmother have something so wonderful but hidden away in this high-up hot room?
Well, in the end, I decided to take a chance of getting into trouble and carried them all down to the porch where they were resting & snapping beans. I was both relieved and happy to discover that both Mom and Grandmother were really nice about me getting into their personal things. And, they taught me a whole lot from them. If you’re interested in knowing about these treasures, write back and I’ll tell you more. This letter has gotten really really long and Mom’s calling for me. You know how it is when you’re the eldest daughter!
I love you with a hundred hugs!
Your Little Cousin, May
RFD # 2
Rising Sun, Maryland
PS. Have you gotten your polio shot yet?
PSS. Happy Fourth of July