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A Lost Letter Tells of Family and Spring Planting

By: Everett S

A Long Lost LetterI pulled out our kitchen cabinets for some remodeling work we’re doing and found a letter, hand-written on plain white paper, hidden behind the cabinets. It must have dropped down there before the writer, Elizabeth Jones, had a chance to send it out. We learn a little more about the Jones’ all the time as we find things that they changed or built around here. Neighbors stop by, mostly old-timers, to tell us how well “old Bob Jones” kept up the place, and how it makes them happy to see us fixing it back up.

From what we gather, Bob was hard-working, friendly and had a very witty sense of humor. We don’t know much about his wife, Elizabeth, except that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and lived here for about 30 years. They came back to the country after Bob retired from the auto-plant he worked in up around Detroit. After Bob’s death, Elizabeth couldn’t keep the place up herself and a few years later had to sell and move “back north” with her family. I take it she must have met Bob after he moved up there for work, but can’t be sure. Someone else bought the place from her before we bought it, and I think they came here on weekends for about five years as they continued to let Bob’s hard work go downhill.

I think about Bob for a moment sometimes when I’m working outside fixing up a building, pruning a tree, planting something… I like to think he would be happy with what we’re doing here. He was still alive and in apparently good health at the time this letter was written, which means it is probably from around 1990 or earlier. The hot houses (aka cold frames) mentioned in the letter were rotten and falling apart when we moved in. The glass had all fallen out, and the wood practically fell apart in my hands as I moved them from their spot in front of the garden shed. I would think they were at least ten years old, if not older.

If you are related to Bob Jones or Callie Elizabeth Jones, and would like this letter, please contact me using the comment form below. I would be happy to send it out. Until then, I’ll keep it safe in my file cabinet.

Here is the letter that has been hidden behind our cabinets for at least a decade, unread by anyone other than the writer, until today:
* NOTE: I had originally put up the entire letter, but later felt strange about publishing someone’s personal letter as they talk about family members’ health and other personal things. There wasn’t anything terribly important or controversial in there, but nevertheless, I’ve just excerpted one little paragraph:

Bob is pushing spring, as he does every year about this time. He has already planted onions, lettuce and radishes. He has several large windows that he made hot houses from. He’s something else.

– Elizabeth

Category: Family, Places, The Transplants, Uncategorized

Comments (9)

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  1. Carolyn says:

    How cool! If walls could talk!

  2. That’s very cool!! We have an over 100 year old chimney on our property- all that remains from an old homestead. We find bits of pottery and canning jars every now and then, and other little remainders. I’d LOVE to know more about whoever lived there though!!

  3. Laura Jeanne says:

    That’s so awesome. What a fascinating find that must have been for you.

  4. That’s so awesome. When I was a kid, we were living in an old house and I was playing in the attic and found this old photo album. It had a stand and the album flipped down, had a heavy brass clip and the pages were made of cardboard. It had some pictures from around the 1920s in it. It really makes you think about who lived there before you did and what their life was like. :) I hope Mrs. Jones family sees this and contacts you. :)

  5. LadyA says:

    We moved at about the same time as you did, and I have become fascinated with tracing the history of those who came before us here. Initials in a concrete slab, doodles of a child in the shed, etc. I thought it was just me being strange, but reading this let me know that it’s a natural, probably respectful, part of finding your own place in a home that was once someone else’s beloved.

  6. Leigh says:

    Interesting post. I do hope you can track down a family relative. I’m sure it would be appreciated.

    Glad you both are feeling better!

  7. Jason says:

    And you don’t want to bulldoze the place and put up a McMansion? Obviously I’m kidding. It always bothers me to see old homes, and all their living history and memory, torn down to erect some souless box. I’m glad you’re keeping the spirit of the place alive. I imagine when spring comes around next year you’ll be pushing it too…you both are already “something else” so looks like you’re proudly keeping the farm alive.

  8. tipper says:

    Found your blog-through your other blog-salvaged threads. I’ve enjoyed poking around and reading your posts. Loved the foot bridge-these days there aren’t many folks left who would call it by that name.

    The letter is really neat-great that it gives you a connection to your land/home and isn’t it wonderful that she thought he was something else : )

  9. doe says:

    I’m sure someone at the nearest Kingdom Hall remembers both Bob and Elizabeth and would be glad to help you get the letter to a relative. You could also learn a great deal more about the history of your place.

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