“Oh Ma you can’t guess”

This card is one of my favorites because I really had to wrestle with it. When I first read the back I thought it seemed so forlorn, but I hoped I could find a happy ending for its author, so I bought it off eBay. In the end it was really hard to “solve” because at some point someone had erased the addressee’s name, leaving behind only the vaguest scratches, and the writer only used her initials. So I knew this card was mailed to a married woman at a rural route postal box in Wisconsin in 1922, by a person with the initials H.E. who lived in a different city. I am proud of figuring this one out!

H.E. went by Helen and was writing to her mother Emma, the wife of a German immigrant farmer a few counties over. Helen wasn’t doing well.

Dear Mother: Marie sent a card the other day and she said you wanted to know if we got that yes and did you get my letter I wrote right away well I am still in bed can’t get up yet I hurt quite so sore. But oh ma you cant guess how I wish to get out of bed I must lay on my back day in & day out your daughter H. E.

Helen wrote this card on July 13 and died exactly two months later, “suffering with a complication of ailments,” according to her obituary. She left behind a three-year-old daughter named Mildred. A year and a half later, her husband Fred married a divorcee with a daughter slightly older than Mildred. That second wife died not quite 10 years later, after a prolonged illness of three years and a confinement to bed of several months.

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One Response to “Oh Ma you can’t guess”

  1. Pingback: I’m Nancy Drew, Is How I Did It | Thoughts Redacted

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