A century ago and more in this very house…

Dec 9, 2022 | 0 comments

Willard and Dale, 1914

Every once in a while, when I am all about getting organized for the here and now, I wonder what was going on in these very rooms a hundred years or so ago.  How lucky I am that I can sometimes find out.

A few days ago, I looked up “December 7” in Dear Medora and found a short letter written on that date in 1911 from eleven-year-old Medora to her mother:

Thursday 8:10 P.M. December 7, 1911
Dearest Mama,
Papa went to Olympia this morning so I guess you will get more news from him than me…
          Willard will be a year old Monday, the eleventh, and Dale a month old the 13th, that’s Wednesday.
          We are all well but oh so lonesome,  Medora

Helen Richardson Espy, Medora Espy, Ruth Richardson, 1907

“Mama” was in Olympia recuperating after the birth of her seventh child, Helen-Dale (my mother) and Medora, the oldest of her children, was in Oysterville with the rest of the family.  Mama’s younger sister, Ruth, was  overseeing the household and Medora was the primary correspondent, keeping Mama informed about her “flock” at home.  Papa was dividing his time between his dairy farm here and his attendance at Mama’s side.

 Mama wrote back to Medora a few days later:
Saturday, December 9, 1911
Medora dear,
          I am so happy to have Papa.  Am feeling better.  Will surely be home Xmas unless something new happens.
                                                            Hastily,  Mama

Willard, Edwin, Dale – 1916

My infant mother (and her parents) did make it back to Oysterville in time for her first Christmas — 111 years ago in this very house!  Though I have no letters to attest to that, I have the memories of the many family stories that were shared over the years about that and dozens of other Christmases in this old house.  Yes!  How lucky I am!


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