In May of 1937 when my mother graduated from high school she received a letter from her maternal uncle, Amasa (Am' zee) White Webber of Galena, Kansas. I am sharing it because I find his use of language so interesting and unusual - especially in this day, but probably for that time as well. Amasa worked in the office for the railroad, and it is typed on their letterhead.
The letter must have had a lot of meaning to my mother, as she kept it all these years. Because of distance and financial restraints, I would guess that they wouldn't have seen each other but a few times. Communication was dependent upon letters that travelled slowly and perhaps a phone call in an emergency. It is hard to imagine in our day of instant communication with one another. I hope you enjoy reading this letter from long ago.
My dear Katherine:
With the passing of winter months we welcome the birds and flowers and sunshine, and yet, the exultancy of this year's springtime seems but trifling when compared to the thrill that came in receiving the announcement of your graduation, and the very fine photograph that accompanied it.
While passing years have left disintegrating marks all round about us, yet, seemingly, time has only tended to make more beautiful the little curly headed girl of our past remembrance,- whose picture now portrays a young woman of sterling qualities, and who, no doubt, is doubly mindful of the many sacrifices made by faithful parents, in order that she might share in the good things of life.
In return for all of this, we do not believe you will prove a disappointment, neither do we feel you are going to be a failure, since by your earnestness, determination and perseverance you are now enabled to close an epoch in life's career that will open for you the doorway to bigger and better things.
It has been said that "America is on wheels." Folks today are going places, and doing things in a big way, and the ranks of tomorrow will be filled with young men and women who are prepared to meet emergencies.
Our best wishes attend your every effort, and may continued good health, happiness and success, in unstinted measure, be yours to enjoy. No doubt, there will come occasional clouds to mar life's sunshine; perhaps the night at times will show unusually dark; it may require some crushing to bring forth fragrance,- and maybe added fire to brighten the gold already in your life,- yet remember, that "He who is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless at the throne of His Majesty," can also sanctify for you the hard, rough, dark places in such a way that your life will tell forth in multiplied blessings to home and friends and mankind because of such experiences.
We are mailing you today, under separate cover, a little graduation token of love and remembrance, and although words fail us, and we find that even the giving of gifts are inadequate expressions of our innermost feelings, yet in the words of that Worthy of old, our hearty wish for you is that,- "The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace."
Most sincerely yours,
Uncle Amasa and Aunt Lou
Wow! That was a lot of words (and a lot of commas) to say simply "We wish you the very best."
This picture would have been taken sometime after graduation. I have not included Mom's graduation picture as she disliked it so much. Isn't she pretty?
Till next time...