Martha and Cecil Hunter holding Margaret (1) and Thomas (3); Gage, Oklahoma ca 1911
I have inherited a quantity of family letters written from early to mid 20th century. In those days, people did use letters for family communication across the miles. Children wrote to parents, siblings exchanged news. In the 21st century we have so many communications options to use, it may be difficult to envision a time when this was not the case. I have found many stories related in these handwritten letters. I plan to start with a series of letters between my maternal grandmother, Martha (Mattie) Hunter, and my grandfather, Cecil Hunter. In the late 1930s in rural Missouri, life held many challenges. Cecil and Mattie’s adult children left the farm for various destinations. Mattie had troubling health issues that moved her to join some of her children in California, while Cecil stayed on their Ozark farm. From the start of this group of letters, the plan was for Mattie to return home any day now. But for nearly ten years, that did not happen. One complicating factor was World War II, with two of their sons seeing military service in the South Pacific and England. As time allows, their story will unfold through their letters over the next several weeks.