As Frank Wakeman said in his letter published yesterday, Lydia is now at George's house. She is married but has no children of her own that I can find. Her husband has gone off to get flour from Cassadaga while she has come to look after Ella, the boys and George and Lydia's cousin/adopted brother, Omer (story to come). Anna appears to still be up in Buffalo nursing her son. I think this is such a lovely letter. It is full of such detail and funny anecdotes. I am finding this set of letters more informative of life than a year's worth of Allen's diaries. Obviously, Allen's diaries are nearest to my heart but this is the depth of expression I always wished for from him.
Sunday February 8th / 80
Mother & Brother,
I am now at your house staid to D. Mallory’s until last tuesday when I went home with John Wednesday. John went up to Cassadaga after flour as I rode on a load of hay down to Drakes. Thursday we went over to see Uncle Frank he has lost his appetite and can’t sit up only a few minutes at a time they don’t think he will live a great while but he may don’t appear to have any particular disease only all worn out and old age. Aunt Pam had to tell about Johns father when he came home drunk once he took his tea and went to the cream jar and put sour cream in his tea then drank some and said G-d any one that says cream is good in tea is a d---d liar.
Ell and John have both got postal cards from you - I guess none of the plank have frose yet. Alvah wants to go out and do the chores. I asked him what chores and he said Dans chores but of course wont let him he says if old Dan kicks he will whip him. Alvah just told Ell to call Georgie Doctor. Ell says has Judge been down there? Clara told her he talked of going to Buffalo but he may not go. Some one said Andrew Frank called in to see you. You can sit up by this time I presume and I know if you can it seems good. Twill rest you even if cant sit up long at a time . For supper to day we had warmed up potatoes, sweet apple meat + dumplings worked together, indian pancake + fried cake.
Frank Shaw had to tell over all his old stories among the rest how George used to say Hank want to ra. Suppose you thought then you could throw him just as much as I thought I had smashed father all in when I was a little girl. Uncle Lime says he remembers of being here once and father laid down on the floor and I got on his stomach and jumped on him where father drawed himself in just as much as he could and told me I had smashed him and I felt terrible bad and took hold of his clothes and tried to pull him all out plump again. When I got here they were all doing well children tough and feeling nice Alvah says Aunt John going to sleep with me but when night came he would sleep with Omer or Ell so let him seep with Omer and Ell, baby and I slept together. Dogs are all right. Frank got trump today. Tis was real peasant to day. I have had that root pulled out of my mouth and last twas the whole root of the tooth.
Frank is going to send you a letter tomorrow so I will wait this until Tuesday. there is plenty snow now for sleighing. began to snow tuesday or monday night and snowed quite a little every day since until today. snowed hard last sunday. Cant think of any news or anything else. Have you got the childrens pictures Charley Young said he would send them yesterday to you. Alvah had written a letter to his pa and send it over to Buffalo. He writes I like George 2 bushels 21 22 Now I will stop and let Omer write to you.
"I cowght a big rat they ar eating the apples awful
(?) and floura cowght a big rat so that makes too rats."
i meant to have written more but have not time got to send it to the office. Ell is going to write in a little while . I told her we would not send them all at once. Lyd
Thoughts: I think "ra" meant something within the family like strong or tough, sort of "fighting ready". Anna also used it in her postcard a few days back.
Uncle Frank must be Lydia's husband John's uncle. From the great tea story we learn that John's pa might have been a bit of a drinker. Lydia gives us a fabulous menu too--I only knew when Allen had chicken or turkey. We even know that little Alvah called Lydia "Aunt John," how sweet is that?
The love in this family is evident.