Last week, we had to have our forty-year-old water meter replaced. The appointment was for 5 p.m., and being the busy working parents that we are, Josh and I had neglected to clean out the water closet beforehand as instructed. So at 4:50, I toted my two kids to the basement and set them up with some toys while I dragged musty cardboard boxes and homebrewing supplies out of the closet, discovering several shudder-worthy spiders along the way.
My tired eyes lit up when I discovered a lost box of mementos in the corner of the closet. It contained my childhood photo album and scrapbooks, but unfortunately, I could see that the box had been damaged by a burst pipe several winters back. I lugged the soggy box upstairs, and once the baby was down for the night, I carefully went through its contents. Thankfully, all of my irreplaceable treasures were salvageable.
Among my photographs, newspaper clippings, and greeting cards were several old books that had succumbed to mold. Before tossing the books, I shook each one gently, and sure enough, one last treasure slipped onto the floor. It was a very old postcard—dated September 11, 1911—addressed to one Miss Della Doak of Vernon, Texas. Apparently, no street address was required at that time. It was a casual note from her cousin in Milan, Missouri—perhaps the 1911 equivalent of the occasional text messages I exchange with my cousin in California. Here’s what it said:
We are well as usual and hope you are the same. It has been raining today. Grover is in Okla. City now. I don’t know how long he will stay there. Write soon.
This is all I know. They were female cousins living in small towns more than one hundred years ago. Della was a “Miss,” and thus presumably unmarried. Alice was somehow connected to a Grover, though whether he was her suitor, husband, brother, or friend is unclear. Were these cousins high-spirited young ladies who rode fast horses and dreamed of leaving their small towns? Or well-behaved churchgoers with neatly pressed dresses and practical footwear?
The possibilities are endless, and since finding this postcard almost a week ago, I’ve been daydreaming about what their lives were like in 1911. I suspect that a descendant of Della and Alice might like to receive this postcard in the mail, so let’s see if we can make that happen, shall we?
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Let’s see how quickly we can find some Doaks! I want to hear more about Della and Alice. Go.
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