Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn Grace #7: A Letter from a Mama to Her Son, 1933

Welcome back to my 
Autumn Grace series!

Many years ago my mother digitized letters that her widowed grandmother (and namesake) Mary Graves Hess had written to her son Henry when he was a young adult and had recently moved out of town to find work. I just found one of the letters in a photo folder on my laptop.

Here she wrote a chatty letter about cooking chicken, planting peas in her garden, asking someone about ploughing, sick neighbors and family members, plans for visiting, encouragements to go to church, and all sort of other topics. I am glad that I don't have to do everything from scratch like she did. Plucking a chicken? I think not.

I think she liked to drop hints about her expectations for him as a son, like saying, "I don't know how many times a day I think 'If Henry were here, I wouldn't have to do this," or lamenting, "Poor Mr. Harris! If he only had children to look after him!" 

Sadly, Mary passed away about three years later at the age of 47. I visited her grave this past summer when I went to the memorial for my grandparents at the same cemetery. She did live long enough to see the wedding of Henry and longtime neighbor Dorothy in 1934; they were married for 75 years and named their middle child (my mother) after her. My oldest daughter is also named Mary.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to sit down with my great-grandmother and learn about her life, her faith, her aspirations, her mothering experience, and so much more. I'm so glad that she cared enough to write letters to her children. She did it for them for then, not for me for now. But still, I guess this is the next best thing to talking to her in person. 

I also think of my own legacy. I don't send my children handwritten letters often, but I do blog, and I do send out monthly family e-mail letters to all of my relatives. I tell my stories. I share my thoughts. I take plenty of pictures. Maybe someday my own great-grandchildren will see them and wonder.

Grandpa kept up the
vegetable gardening legacy
until his death in 2010

I helped a little, too.

I'll sign off now as she did then: 

"Lots of love, Mama" 

"God bless you and keep you."

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