I’m taking some time off and going through family memorabilia that has been gathering dust far too long. Letters, pictures, diaries – boxes of them. I’ve found some surprises along the way. My paternal grandmother won a prize for an essay she wrote for a sugar beet company. She liked poetry. This is precious to me because I never had the opportunity to get to know her. She died when I was barely six years old, and she and grandpa lived in Colorado, a three-day drive from California in the 50s.
She had lots of friends from what I’ve gathered. A dozen of more friends bought her a small red-letter album with gold embossed birds as a 1906 Christmas gift. They filled it with notes.
“Forget me not I only ask, this simple bloom of three. And let it be an easy task, sometimes to think of me.”
“Round went this album, hither and yon it came, for me to write in – so here is my name. Ella”
“Let not our love like the rose wither, but like the evergreen last forever.”
“True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False ones like autumn leaves, found everywhere.”
“May your joys be as deep as the ocean and your sorrows as light as the foam.”
“As you have to practice to enjoy music, so you must work to enjoy life.” (her piano teacher)
“Friends may meet, and friends may part, but distance cannot change the heart.”
These things were written when she was a young girl. The penciled writing is fading. Bic pens weren’t invented yet and fountain pens expensive. But the words are there, still readable. The sentiments now renewed in my memory, a glimpse into my grandmother’s life.
The boxes of letters got me thinking about what records we’ll leave behind when we pass on. We communicate now through email and cellphone. People are talking together all the time, but do we ever write down things that might be of interest to our descendants? There is more to life than birth date and death certificate, but will we bother to write letters that can be saved and later cherished by others? They are a part of our personal history – part of the history of our culture as well.
The best part of this digging through letters of the past is seeing her faith and knowing we share a love of Jesus. I didn’t know her in this life, but I will meet her face-to-face in the twinkle of an eye. “Forever friend” was used repeatedly in the notes given to her in the album she saved. “Forever” isn’t a word of hope, but one of assurance when Christ is our first love.
Grandma, I look forward to meeting you before the throne of God.