I found an old box full of letters, bills and correspondence of various sorts at a flea market a few years ago. It has been gathering dust in the garage, but I've always been curious to open it and dive in to read and analyze the various clues to a life or lives lived that are contained therein.
As readers of my blog know, I'm a fan of vernacular photographs, the artifacts of the quotidian every day life of regular people, and this Box seems like equivalent territory - vernacular letters - with words and stamps and postmarks and stationary replacing pictures.
I've thought about the morality of publishing other people's personal letters on a blog, and so I have decided to leave out last names and specific addresses wherever they occur. But at first glance the documents appear to be at least 50 or more years old, and they were for sale at a flea market, so it does not seem anyone cared much about keeping them private.
I hope you'll enjoy going on this treasure hunt with me here. I have no idea what we will find. But I think every life tells a story of some kind. I hope this one proves interesting, and has something to enlighten us about the way we lived then, if nothing else.
The first thing I pulled out of the box is this letter from March 29, 1955. It appears to be from a schoolgirl to her Aunt and Uncle, certainly from one of the Northern states as she makes reference to a recent cold spell of -26º below zero.
Dear Nanie and Dantie,
How have things been around there? Have you been feeling alright lately. Did Susan mention the epidemic of measles that is going on around the school. Today I got my report card, on it I made all a’s except for 3 b’s compared with the last report card I am doing pretty good. I would like very much to have that horse statue you talked about, I haven’t given up collectioning them yet. Susan is fine, so are Mother and Daddy. Have you heard about our new Oldsmobile convertible, mother’s new palm tree and our new record player we got tonight? How is the weather up there? Down here it dropped to -26 degrees, when it did my very best girl friend Linda spent the night. This week-end our troup Girl Scout troop is going to ga camp Arnold. Did anyone mention Lois C----- is going to have a baby, you know Lois our next door neighbor. Last but not least, Daddy, Mother, Susan & I would love to come and visit you, the way we have planned it is Mother, Susan & I will drive up, then in about a week or two Daddy will come up on the train, then he will stay about a couple of days then we will go to Chyann Wyoming. Hope we can make it. I want to see you and Dantie so much.
With much love, Chloe
I love her cursive longhand writing. Feels like a lost art today. I wonder what kind of new record player they purchased in March of 1955, and what songs they were listening to? And where her collection of horse statues may have ended up over time?
Let me know your own impressions. And if you're as curious as I am to see what else comes out of The Box?