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A Love Letter: Feb. 14, 1895

[When I helped clear out my grandmother's apartment some years ago, I found, on the high shelf of her bedroom closet, a stack of very old envelopes tied with a pink ribbon. These envelopes turned out to contain love letters from the 1890s, from my great-grandfather, Burnett Lewis, to my great-grandmother, Ellyn Cranitch, before their marriage. His nickname was Bert; hers, Nellie. Only one letter from her to him survives.

The letter transcribed below was in an envelope postmarked Feb. 14, 1895, which was a Thursday. I have taken the liberty to divide into paragraphs what was originally one long paragraph, written in a bold scrawl.]


Dear Nellie,

I am fearfully sorry to hear that you are not well -- and pray that you will be yourself again in a few days. I was looking forward to a happy time with you Friday night. And though I can forgo that pleasure with a faint feeling, it is your own dear self that I worry about. And I hope to see you Sunday just as bright as a dollar.

I blame myself now for being so selfish Monday night. And as I am partly to blame for your present illness -- cannot I do anything for you? If you will be unable to see me Sunday -- can I call and see you? Please let me -- and I will reciprocate some time -- I hope not.

Now Nellie -- keep a stiff upper lip -- to be slangy -- and get well again as quick as you can.

With lots of love and heartily wishing you a speedy recovery I am as ever


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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Oh what a treasure to find something like that!
Feb. 16th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
Ack -- that comment was me -- didn't mean to be anonymous, but i can't figure out how to use the open id. --- Staci

Feb. 16th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, Staci, for letting me know it was you! :-)

I always love knowing at least a first name for my shy "anonymous" folks...
Feb. 17th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
What a treat to find those letters. don'toyu wish you knew why she was sick, and if they got together on Sunday?

I have a stash of letters too, although not so old as yours, and I can't describe the feeling I had reading them--groundedness, maybe? a feeling of roots sinking deep into this American earth, of at long last knowing my grandparents a little better.

Blessings to you, Linda. Thank you for sharing.

Granny Sue
Feb. 18th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's cool! You better keep those. What a great find.

Feb. 19th, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
Oh, I am definitely keeping these! :-)

The next thing I need to do, though, is photocopy all the letters (along with a lot of my other family-history info) and store the copies away from my home.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )