March 21 • 05:53 AM

Cold emails, sensuous letters

September 12, 2007
In this day and age of emailing, the handwritten letter is becoming a thing of the past. Emailing can't compare with reaching in the mailbox and pulling out an envelope with familiar handwriting. No need for a return address label, everyone has their own style.

In going through my parents' "stuff," I have brought to life events that happened far before my time. My mother saved all letters that brother Roy wrote while in the Navy, a big box full. I gave them to Roy's children, Pam and Tim when they were here this past summer.

Back in 1896 my father had a cousin from Orion who had a crush on him. I happened to find a couple of letters. She writes, "I have just come home from school and Mamma, Aunt Rosa and Grandma have gone for a walk you see I have full swing (to write letters)."

A lot of schoolgirl foolishness followed but she mentioned that she was going to a picnic and 'Pingree' would be the speaker. A Mrs. Law from Detroit was to give a lecture in Orion that night for the benefit of the W. C. T. U. and she wished my dad was there to go with them.

She ended with a P. S. "I must tell you Mamma has come and seen me writing, I had to tell her who I was writing to but she shall not read it just the same. From your cousin, Nina. Please don't let anyone read this letter." The Aunt Rosa she speaks of was my grandfather Park's sister and I am proud owner of her little Estey parlor pump organ.

I found a couple of let-ters my oldest brother Floyd had written our parents in 1911 when he was visiting them on Willow Street in Port Huron. They lived on the corner of Kearney and St. Clair streets when I remembered visiting them. Floyd was about eight years old, my brother Murlin had just been born and I was still a glimmer in my dad's eyes.

Floyd writes, "Dear Mama I would like to stay to Grandma's house because Grandma cures me good. How is Murlin? I had a long auto ride. I went to the oil wells and to the beach. I went to the lectric theater. I saw a big monkey. We are going on the boat this week across to Canada. Grandpa is going to buy a new auto. So good by."

Does anyone know what an "lectric theater" was? Would it have been a theatre with electricity when most homes back then only had oil lamps?

The letter was addressed simply, "Mrs. Sam Park, Almont, Mich." and took two cents to mail it.

Goodbye sensuous handwritten letters, hello cold e-mails.

—Country Cousin

Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.
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