Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Message of Love, Eighty-eight Years Old

The other day, my aunt received a Christmas card from our cousin. Enclosed was a letter that was recently discovered in her mother's belongings. It is an 88 year old letter that was written to my then 6 month old grandmother by her 22 year old brother, a soldier fighting in France during World War I. The letter is dated April 8, 1919.

"Dear Little Sister,

Having not seen you yet but having heard so much about you I thought I would write you a few lines of course knowing that you will have to wait some time before you are able to read it, that you have a brother in France who is very anxious to see you and I am sure that you have another brother who is also over here that is anxious to see you, and we expect to be home and see our new sister soon.

Hoping this finds you well and that I may soon be home with you I am your anxious, brother Bill."

My great-uncle William Quinn did return home to see his new sister, my grandmother. Unfortunately he died in October of that same year after being exposed to mustard gas. William's brother, Peter who also served in France, returned to the states after the war but also died as a result of exposure to chemicals at the front.

The true mystery about this letter may be the fact that since it was found in her older sister's belongings, it poses the question: Did my grandmother ever read it? I guess we'll never know.

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