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Monday, June 13, 2022

A Mysterious, Handwritten-Envelope Letter In the Mail From a Genealogist Leads to Cousins I Never Knew We Had :)






(*PS added)

(Whups, sorry - I was so excited about this letter that I forgot to include a pic of it when I initially posted a a few moments ago - it's below now, with full names blacked out ;)

So I almost didn't open this handwritten-enveloped letter that I received in the mail today - both because it had no return address and because it was addressed to my former married name - but I'm so glad I did and hoping it's true and legit (currently being verified)!









I have written previously about my never-married great aunt, the WWII Army nurse stationed in the South Pacific, though I don't have any pictures (but my mother does).


Thus, this is just a poster of a WWII Army Nurse Corps uniform, which my aunt owned until her death in 1981 :)








She was extremely intelligent, bought us, as her grand-nieces, the entire set if Jane Austen series books at a young age, as well as Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women," encouraging us to become avid readers, writers, as well as attend college - which all three grand-nieces did :)


She gifted us with the coolest things, like demitasse tea cups from Occupied Japan and little wooden figurines from Korea.


She laughed easily, in this low sort of giggle, and was just known as "the cool aunt," we all loved her, calling her "Aunt 'Lizbeth" because "Aunt Mary-Elizabeth" was a mouthful for young children to say.


She was ahead of her time, in so many ways - a feminine feminist - for which she suffered greatly, back in those days.


Because she never married, and though feminine, people rumored she was a lesbian (a rumor especially propagated by my mean, busybody cousin on my grandfather's side) simply because she was in the Army (as a nurse) and a fiercely independent thinker and very direct.


But we, her family, knew the truth ...


Though she never spoke about it, my grandmother told me she apparently had one love of her life that she met in the Army during the war, supposedly an officer, whom we never knew the name of - but she parted ways with him because he was married, had no intention of leaving his wife, and she had no intention of breaking up a family and hurting anyone.


My grandmother said she vowed never to love another, though, and she could take care of herself, which she did, but she had a lot of guilt about that relationship.


I do remember sometimes Aunt E would be staring off into space, she'd get very sad - but when you caught her, she'd joke it off and say she was getting old and senile :(


Apparently, she suffered even more than we knew - because what my grandmother did NOT tell me is that she apparently had a daughter from that relationship that no one ever told us about, which she gave up for adoption - born the exact same year as my mother (1943)!


This would put the birth during the war - so we're assuming the father is the above-mentioned, unnamed married Army officer.


Now - I am estranged from my family - my choice - so I took a picture of the letter and texted it to a mutual family friend, who will forward it to my mother, because I feel it's really my mom's place to provide the necessary info.

I know she will be thrilled - my mother was very close to Aunt E and an only child, with only boys for cousins on that side of her family - now she has a female first cousin on that side of her family, who is the exact same age!

This made me so happy! I hope there can be some healing and hope found for all - and that Aunt 'Lizbeth is smiling down, now, at this happening :)



The mutual family friend confirmed that no one else had been contacted or she would've heard about it.

I'm not sure why they contacted just me - or I was just the first contacted?

The letter is actually postmarked for May 24th and I just haven't gotten my mail in two weeks because I pay bills and do everything online lol

I think perhaps it's because I started a tree 20 years ago on Ancestry.com, when I was previously married - thus why she used my former married name, versus other members of my family?

I especially don't know how she got my address now because it's unlisted, when my mother's isn't, it's very public.

Regardless - I, too, had a child "out of wedlock" in the family (though not with a married man nor put up for adoption), receiving much shame and blame and crazy gossip - because this is the South and our family is evangelical - though I'm sure her shame, blame, and gossip was MUCH worse.

Though far from her favorite when she was alive, I think that end, I actually may have turned out the most like her lol

She was a fiercely independent-thinking woman, with a a ready laugh, but a strong BS detector and directness/boldness that often got her into trouble lol.

She was strongly grounded in reality versus seeing only what she wanted to see and pretending along with family dysfunction, like most of this family does   - but like me, she suffered for it - especially in those days, as a woman :(

Thus, it almost felt like - a personal blessing from Aunt E to be the first contacted.

I know - silly, right? 

More likely they found me through that Ancestry.com tree made 20 years ago. Still, a nice thought anyway :)


We loved you, Aunt E, but you know that.  
I'm sorry things weren't different back then and no one talked about these things, and that you apparently got shamed for something that took two people and resulted in a beautiful blessing. 
Yes, I heard the rumors about you being a lesbian - which would've been fine by me if you were -  but we knew they weren't true. 
You know how people are here, especially in our family - what they don't know, they make up, or ascribe the worst motivations to :/
But the truth is coming out now, dear lady, it always does - sometimes even after we're gone.  
I can feel you smiling down now :)





_____________________________

PS


I have not yet heard back from the genealogist, but a weird occurrence this morning.

So last night, I "talked" to my Aunt Elizabeth - meaning like a prayer, out loud, saying much of what I said above.

So this morning, when I got up and entered the living room, the table lamp - which my husband had turned on 15 minutes before - suddenly dimmed, started to flicker, buzz and almost shimmer, then went out completely.

We thought the bulb had gone bad - but the lamp turned back on, no problem and it's been fine since!

He looked at me with a slight smile, but I, on the other hand, kind of twisted my mouth to the side, like "Hmm."


Mark: "O ... kay, that was super weird."  

 

Me: "I know what you're thinking, because of the timing, but Occam's razor - simplest, most logical explanation first - most likely just a power surge."   
 
Mark: "Yeah, but nothing else was affected - none of the other lights or the TV or the laptops, just that lamp - and only after you entered the room. It didn't just flicker, it actually went out completely, but the bulb is just fine."  

 

Me: "Well, we do have surge protectors on the TV and computers. Not sure about why the other lights didn't flicker. Most likely the lamp itself had a momentary wig out."   
"But I hear what you're saying, and it is quite a coincidence, so just in case she heard me, last night ...  
"Hi, Aunt 'Lizbeth! lol. So ... does this mean you heard me, last night then? lol"    
"Yep, got the letter, I'm doing everything I can. She's very welcome to the family, at least by me."   
"As for the others, you know how they are better than anybody - and you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink."   
"God help her for wanting to become a part of THIS crazy-ass family, anyway, though, right? lol. 
"I love you."















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