Friday, May 25, 2012

Letters Home


I often wonder, when reading an old letter from one person to another from long ago…did the writer ever wonder if they would see their loved one again in this life?

In the ever-westward moving of the 1800s, so many adventurous souls left their homes and families to seek more out west…more land, more space, more opportunities…more freedom.


I imagine it crossed their mind at parting that this could be the last embrace, the last loving kiss, the last look with tender eyes…how hard would it be to pull away at last and ride off to the unknown?

I don’t think I really can fully imagine…


One of my fourth great-grandmother’s story recently discovered…the name I knew, but I knew nothing much about her life until now.  And I’m devouring every precious word

A great poet and writer of songs, Julia Hills Johnson was also devoted to writing her family members far away back east…


Loving letters, informative letters…gently chiding letters…here’s just a bit of one such letter…

“My dear Sister: How long a time it is since I received a line from you, and how much longer since I saw you?  I have waited long for a letter, but getting none, I improve this opportunity of informing you that myself and family (those about home) are well…and I do really hope that this may find you enjoying the best of earthly blessings…”

image {image found online}

“Oh, my sister, do not put off writing as you have done, but write soon and inform me of your present circumstances and situation…of your future prospects and hopes…

“…Now my dear sister, I must draw to a close by requesting an interest in your prayers and by subscribing myself as ever your affectionate sister…Julia”

Just a moment in a life shared…one’s hand reaching out in the hope of reaching the other’s eyes…

DSC09635_edited-1 {the newest page for my heritage album}

How much easier it is for us today to keep in touch with our family near and far…a call, a text, an email--so many ways to communicate…do we do it anywhere near often enough?

Off to call my mother…


{Beautiful rose print paper and vintage “buttons” from Crafty Secrets’ “Creating with Vintage Illustrations” CD.  “Memory” key from the Tim Holtz collection.}


  1. How cool! You are so lucky that those treasured letters were saved! Nice scrapbooking too!


  2. People haven't changed over the years. We still long to hear from our loved ones and to hear how they are doing and what they are doing. Beautiful post.


  3. What a beautiful post with heartfelt wording. I've never done any scrapbooking, so when I can get some time from my gardening & the holiday guests, I think I would like to try. I look forward to picking up some tips from you.

  4. Julie, Your posts are so inspiring, filled with precious memories in the form of letters, photos, music boxes... It is a true delight to read your blog. Thank you so much for sharing you heart and life ~ in the form of delightful art ~ with us. A true blessing. :o)

  5. Hello Julie
    I Love this story. It make you wonder just how many families fell out of touch when the said their good byes and began their journey to a new life. It makes you realize how easy we all have it these days with the invention of the telephone and now computers. Letter writing is an Art Form in itself and fast becoming a fading memory. I fall guilty of this. I think our Mothers were from the generation that still Wrote Letters and Cards. I still have many that my mother sent to me. The future generations will not have these treasures. So sorry for rambling!
    Your Piece is absolutely Lovely and a Wonderful Tribute to this Beautiful Art Form!Thank You for Sharing!
    Have a Wonderful Day my Friend! I promise I won't be so Windy Next Visit!

  6. I can't figure out if this was your actual relative or not? How you keep coming by all this information I am curious to know it amazes me!

  7. The frame around this picture is stunning...makes me think I should take more than a few moments this memorial day for prayers...smiles..dear friend...Renee

  8. Beautiful post and scrapbook page Julie!! I love hearing your stories!! Wishing you are wonderful Memorial Day weekend! xo Heather

  9. What a beautifuly written letter. I imagine it took months before a letter was received. And I can't imagine (but have thought of it often) how those pioneers were able to leave to a new land, perhaps never to see each other again. such strength
    Even though we DO have the emails, texts, phones etc....I still think it is important to Hand Write things and mail them off. They are things that can be stored and loved by others....just like are doing with your (how many greats?) grandmother

  10. Julie, love your heirtage layout, it is simply gorgeous. Heirtage pages are so special for passing on to future generations the stories of the past. We are all too busy when we are young to understand how important these stories are, it is only when we are older do we truly understand just how priceless

  11. Another gorgeous page and beautiful post! Have a wonderful weekend Julie!

  12. Yes, indeed! So much easier these days. Back then, when one would handwrite a letter, imagine how long it would take to get to its recipient -- and then to receive a reply back. So much could happen in between those times. Now we can be in touch in an instant and yet, so often, everyone is wrapped up in their lives that they forget to reach out to others. It's a very strange time, I think -- when we should be more connected, but often are not. I do hope the art of writing by hand will not die out completely. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Tammy

  13. Julie, I have often wondered how people could leave their families behind when they came to America. Imagine the loss and loneliness. The ones left behind going about their day not truly understanding how much their connection means to the one gone. This was such a heart felt post. Thank you for sharing! E

  14. What a treasure to have this letter and what a great reminder to communicate with the ones that you love. I can't imagine waiting on letters back then to arrive from loved ones. How loney they must have felt.

  15. I'm enjoying your blog and seeing the beautiful pages of your journal. The letters made a wonderful background!