AFTER BATTLING the ravages of cancer for seven years, my mother passed away 20 years ago tomorrow.
Prior to her death, she advised me some documents were stored in the attic of the old home place. She put it this way, “Bradley Stuart, I’ve packed some items in two card board boxes in the attic. After I'm gone, I think you might enjoy looking at them.”
My parents moved into this home in September, 1928. I was only 16 months old. Dad resided there until his death in 1963. It was mother’s residence for 62 years.
I recently began sifting through this material for the second time. I wanted to make sure I had not missed anything during previous investigations.
The initial reading of these materials began shortly after mother’s death on November 3, 1990. My discovery of these items occurred while my sister, Ethel, and I were cleaning out the old home. The first place I investigated was the attic. Pulling down the disappearing stairway, I soon found myself carefully walking on the attic’s two-by-four ceiling joists.
In a short time, I found two boxes that were taped and neatly stacked. I carefully brought them down the stairway. They were not heavy – just bulky. I gently placed them on the floor in the living room.
One box was full of old photographs – some my sister and I had seen and others we had never seen. The second box had three bundles of old letters, which were neatly tied with a strong string. A majority of these letters I had written during World War II to mom, dad and my sister, while I served in Uncle Sam’s Navy.
The letters were filed chronologically with the most recent letter on top. Some of the pages and envelopes were fragile from age, while others appeared to be in fairly good shape. Most of the letters bore the “free” mailing privilege, which was afforded service personnel during the war. Others had the eight-cent stamp for airmail.
I briefly glanced through the war letters – tears again came into my eyes. And then I put the letters back in their order in the card board box with the promise to re-read everyone of them. My second reading is about 50 percent complete. A quick count of the correspondence revealed a total of 124 war-time letters.
Many memories have flowed in recent weeks, and some of the letters have brought back forgotten World War II events. It’s interesting how one small item can quickly restore one’s memory of bygone days.
Thanks, mom, for keeping a part of our family history intact. Now, it’s almost my turn to pass them on to the next generation.
Are there letters and photographs in the attic of your old home place?
TODAY IS election day, and it’s your duty to vote
If you have not voted, the polls will be open until 7 p.m. Be sure to cast your ballot. One of the important items on today’s ballot is the local school bond election.
JUST IN case it’s slipped your mind – Central Standard Time returns on Sunday. Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed Saturday night. The time change officially takes place at 2 a.m. Sunday.
’TIL NEXT TIME – “Time, oh time in thy flight, make me a child again just for tonight.” – Anonymous.
Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.