When I first started my book project I kept my Mom busy digging through her hope chest where she kept bits and pieces of the past. Tucked inside an old spiral type notebook were a few old letters. The letters dated 1887 were written in German and signed by Lina Ufkes. Mom and I tried to pick out some words, but it was impossible. I knew that Lina Ufkes was the great great grandmother ( I think I put enough greats?) of my distant cousin Michael. I had discovered Michael's blog site, http://www.rootdig.com/ , several years before while Googling for my Habben family. I forwarded the letters to him to see if he knew anyone that might be able to translate the old German writing. The wonderful thing about sharing information is the joy for both parties. Michael now had letters that his ancestor wrote and he in turn shared the translation with me. Plus, Michael was able to share the letters with the Ufkes family at their 2008 reunion -"wundervoll" as my German speaking ancestors would say!
The letters were filled with the goings on of daily life. But there were a few glimpses of the language of 1887. Comments like - "I take feather in my hand in order to write some lines to you..." Feather? You mean the Bic pen had not been invented yet - haha?! If you notice the letter was written in red ink. That surprised me, I guess I just assumed the only color ink available would have been black. I also got a kick out of reading how they "were in the pink" - meaning they were all healthy. I have several old letters that my grandfather wrote and one common thing that farmers seem to write about was the price of the crops they are growing. In Lina's letters she tells that wheat is 69 cents and pork is 4 1/2 cents.
The old letters provide a sense of who the person was and the things that were important to them. And of course helped add a lot of flavor to my family story book.
"The Ties That Bind" are all about sharing...........