Saturday, September 22, 2012

Letters From Another Time - II

Dear Louise:

         We have started to try to get back to normal again.

         The scarlet fever seemed to be a rather light case, as her temperature dropped steadily until Friday; then pneumonia set in, and she went down under it.  They sent for mother and the girls in the afternoon.  The girls had to stand in the doorway, but mother was right with her, holding her, and she died without pain.  They wired me at 9 o'clock and called up Evert to bring Al at once.  They drove up from Boston in two hours and a half,* arriving just a little too late for the end.  I got the telegram at quarter past eleven, and got an 11:45 train arriving in Manchester at half past nine in the morning.  Esther, Selma, and Evert met me with the news.

         They told us that, on account of danger of contagion, we must have her buried from the hospital, with only ourselves there; but when Mr. Goodwin** told us by using a copper inner shell in the casket, which could be hermetically sealed, the Board of Health would allow a funeral in his undertaking parlor, we decided on that.  The copper box is partly glassed in, so that we could see her about down to the waist.  She was dressed in her ruffly georgette graduation dress, with black velvet slippers and white stockings, some white silk bloomers that Selma gave Esther for Christmas, and a silk shirt that Esther had.  Selma bought the stockings and a white silk slip.

         The details of the funeral are in the clipping. Lillian sang beautifully, though it was very hard for her on account of having lost her mother so recently.  However, she said she wanted particularly to do it for us because, not long ago, at a Y(oung) P(eople's) S(ociety) meeting something had been said about having Estrid sing, and Evelyn said "I wish they'd have you sing instead; I'd lots rather hear you than Estrid."  We asked Annette to accompany her, and she was going to do so, but at the last moment learned that there was no instrument there. So Lillian sang unaccompanied, and somehow it sounded beculiarly beautiful and appropriate.

         Of course the service was in English***.  Pastor Evert was lovely, we all thought; he read from the Bible, and then talked about Evelyn, and prayed, making it short and heartfelt.

         Aunt Laura came up from Lowell, and all our Manchester people were there.  Jennie came home for the weekend, but on account of very stringent college rules, that all students must promise faithfully to keep away from any place that scarlet fever had been, she could not go to the funeral.  She came over here to the house and had coffee and crackers and things ready for us.

         Ever so many people offered us money, cars, food, and help of any sort.  When we found that we could have people there, Evert called Frieda and she came up, and they stayed until 10 o'clock this morning.  Al will have to go back tonight, but I think I shall stay until Tuesday night.

         We have missed you very much, of course, and are sorry that you could not be here, but of course we know you could not possibly have reached here for the funeral in any case, and you certainly could not leave the baby or bring him with you at this season.  It is much better to have you both come when weather conditions are better, and stay for a real visit.

         I came home last weekend, on account of the holiday, and shall always be glad that I did.  She met me at the station with her new coat and the little blue hat she just made, and we didn't recognise each other at first.

         There were so many flowers; we couldn't see how so many people could have heard about it and sent them in time.  There were daffodils from you, and another spray from Lockport friends.  We all appreciated that so much; itwas so thought ful of your neighbors to send them.  We brought home a basket of sweet peas, which came from Frieda, Lennie, and the children, and also some white roses.  Aunt Laura and the Nelsons in Lowell sent some flowers, which arrived too late for the funeral, so this morning we carried them up to the Isolation Hospital, for them to use as they wished.  The nurses were all perfectly lovely to Evelyn, and did everything that was humanly possible for her.  The nurse who came to the door this morning said that they all loved Evelyn, because she was so sweet, and they had all wanted to do all they could.

         You know Evelyn spent a week in Medford with Frieda and the children a short while ago. Evert says that the last time her saw her she was in bed with Bernadine, both giggling at the boys, and telling them they would not get up.  We are thinking of her as gay and sweet and loving on every occasion where we remember she was.

         Last Sunday she and Arthur (ed. Anderson) took some pictures of each other, and we are having some extra ones made of the one that is most like her.  Of course we will send you one as soon as they are done.  The expression and whole appearance are absolutely Evelyn.

         She knew mother was with her at the end, though she was kept under opiates to keep her free from pain.

         I haven't said anything of how we feel about losing our little kid, because you feel the same way and there is no need of dwelling on it.  Lottie stayed with Mother Friday night, and Lib also stayed at the house then - the time that I was riding up on the sleeper, not knowing if she was better or worse or what might have happened.

         We shall so love to have you come on with the baby when you can.  I'll surely plan to be at home some time when you are.  We all are sending our love to you.

         Mother wants to add that she will write in a day or two, just as soon as she can.  She is wonderful, as usual: there's nobody like her.
                                                      Much love,      Elin

*This would now take one hour.
** The fourth Mr. Goodwin is my age, and will likely bury me, as my ancestors before me.
*** Pastor Evert spoke good English, but so heavily accented that people still thought it was Swedish.  Or so I've heard.

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