Today I came across a letter from the past – written 90 years ago – perhaps one of my favorite possessions. It’s a letter from my Great-Grandmother to my Grandmother, neither of whom I ever met. This was a gift from my Great Aunt Claire – the only living sibling of my grandmother, Carol, who passed away shortly after my dad’s 5th birthday. Thankfully, she saved this treasure for decades until it came into my possession. To be honest, I think it was sent to my dad, but I have come to be the owner of it and cherish this sweet glimpse into their mother-daughter relationship.
This letter was not just any letter, but one sent to her young daughter via Lindbergh’s Air Mail in 1928. I love that she thought to send words of encouragement to her daughter using this new, innovative delivery method (he had only just completed his famous Spirit of St. Louis, first ever solo flight across the Atlantic, months before). The words she wrote are especially sweet:
“My Dear Little Carol,
You will enjoy this letter for safe keeping, hope you will be blessed with the wonder full spirit that is in this young man Col. Lindbergh. That you will grow up to be a fine young lady and woman.
The bittersweet irony that her young daughter wouldn’t live to see her 33rd birthday makes it that much more meaningful.
Though I know very little of my great-grandmother, to read that there was such a love and hope for her daughter makes my heart soar. The relatives from our past can seem so distant, but to see these endearing words to a young daughter bring a new reality – one of motherly love.
Though Carol’s life was cut short by cancer, she was a member of the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II, which led her to meet my Grandfather in Washington, DC and they had two beautiful little boys she adored. Her brief life filled with adventure and love.
While these words were never meant for me, they have given me a tremendous gift – one of connection to women who came before me.