I have an old botany journal that belonged to a young woman–Lucy Merrill–from Oct. 8, 1880. I found it in the basement of an old farmhouse I lived many years ago.
The journal is one of my prized possessions. Within are many pages of notes on botany, including pressed plants, and quite a few flyers for performances and school graduations. Additionally, there are several letters–most of them are from the 19th century and are not as legible as the one I have transcribed below. They are all–however–equally touching in their desire to reach out and touch the person written to and in the desire to hear news back.
This letter only traveled about ten miles. That’s how far apart they were and yet this was the fastest way to communicate. The stamp was two cents. Two cents for ten miles.
It seems we have not changed so much. We yearn to communicate, especially with those we hold dear. The miles that separate us may be vast and yet we come together so easily through our words on the screen, we share our mundanities, we reach out, and ask that you reach back to us, ask that you tell us your news.
Below is a letter written to Merrill Taylor (I have no idea his or the letter writer’s relation to Lucy Merrill):
March 30, 1922
It is now 4:48 P.M. (Thursday) and I am sitting at my desk at the West-Hill school house. I have been looking over my lessons for to-morrow, making out a report from my register etc. etc.
I suppose you are getting home about now. I am going pretty soon. They will be eating supper pretty soon at my house.
Last night I expected to go to visit at Mr. Peets’ house but changed my mind. Mrs. Ormsbie and Beulah came over and they and Mrs. Moore and I had a crocheting bee–if you know what that is—-ha! ha! As you probably know I am making a yoke. I am on the last piece (the back) and will be so glad when I finish it. (But perhaps you aren’t very interested in “yokes.”) In between my crocheting fits–Claude, Charles, and I played hide and go seek. We also had warm sugar last night. Wasn’t that nice?
It is “awfully”?? cold up here to-day. The wind is blowing a gale. Oh! I guess Catherine will stay in to-night and go to bed–as usual of course!!
Well, I must stop for now–and go home–Au revoir.
I am home, have eaten supper, washed my face and now you know what I’m doing right now. I hope you got along well in school to-day. You will probably get this about Monday. Please write to me if you can find a minute and tell me all about what you seniors are raking up to do–what Prof. is talking on just now, etc.
Lots of love from your old “sis”