The envelope is very fragile. So fragile, in fact, it seems that it could shatter in my hand.
The stamps still hold their bright red and green colors, however.
Remarkable, since the postmark reads 1918.
I found the letter in an old metal ammunition box that once belonged to my deceased father Owen (B. 1899 - D. 1972).
He inherited the box from his father, Virgil Graham.
My grandfather died before I was born. He, as well as my dad, was a life-long farmer and the letter was written by my Aunt Gladys (since Grandfather couldn’t write) to my Uncle Ode.
uncle Ode, the eldest of three sons, was sent to fight in World War I.
The letter itself is in amazing condition, written in lead pencil on simple tablet paper. In it, we get to glimpse a time that is no more … simple day-to-day lives lived, captured within an old, old letter.
So I shall share, word for word, what I like to call, “The Letter.”
Berry’s Lick, Ky.
June 6, 1918
Mr. Otis H. Graham
I will answer your letter which I received yesterday. Was glad to hear from you. Owen and Eben are better, Eben and Oma has gone home. They went home Sunday.
We are getting along with the crop fine, we have the corn plowed over twice. I have the tobacco all set and about ploud over.
Fotion and me are giving the bushes hell. We have the new-ground corn cleaned out and it is looking fine.
I have a little black horse mule.
If you can get off in about three weeks, I will try and get sick. haha
Jossil’s helth is better than it has been in a long time don’t worry about home because we are getting along all right and if you get sick can can’t write you must have someone else to write for you. If any of us get sick we will let know know so don’t worry about us.
Write your address on the next letter and write it plain you failed to put your address on the last letter and we don’t know what it is.
Other and Owen said they would like to be there to eat candy.
We are sure loving some work now.
Other and me together got the care home all right Son. We got home by sundown.
Other and me went back to town last Friday.
I will close for this time. You write real soon and write a long letter and tell us who you are with. Are you still quarinten and when will you be loose.
Gladys is here and I got her to write for me. We are going to cut our wheat Fri. and will have the picture of the brindler and team made and send you one.
After reading the letter, I am confronted with feelings like a paradox. It both comforts and disturbs me. A faint glimpse of a simple farm family trying to farm with only mules and the “sweat of their brows.”
A father yearning for the return of his eldest son from War.
The irony of it all is, my Uncle Ode was wounded, returned home, married and his only child (a son), he never got to see or hold.
my uncle died just three months before his son was born. This son (now gone) grew into a fine man. his name was Warren Lee Graham. He was a sweet man, and the spitting image of his father, my Uncle Ode.
And so life continues…
Big fine machinery now works the fertile fields. Large crews come in and harvest the tobacco crops.
And I suppose this world will go on getting bigger and smarter? But there once was a world focused on the love of family, just the mere survival of food on the table and love, most of all. For no matter the date 2012 or 1918, there was love.
It’s the only thing that endures.
How can we as a people ever forget that?
“And now abideth faith, hope and love, These three; But the greatest of these is Love.”
First Corinthians 13:V.13.