The 102 Year Old Love Letter.
Last night Rosie was running down the stairs on her way to grab a bottle of water before getting in bed.
She came back a few minutes later very upset. She was scared I would be mad because on her way down the stairs she tapped the decorative wooden ball on the top of a stair railing post…and the thing fell off with a crash.
The circular thing on top was what she knocked off.
They’re nailed on, but since they’re 112 years old that doesn’t mean much. She demanded I come downstairs and see right this second because we had to nail it back on. Rosie can’t stand when things are out of order.
I trudged down the stairs and found that she had indeed knocked off the top of the decorative post. I picked it up to see if I could hammer it back on quickly. Upon noticing that the post was hollow inside I had a sudden thought–
I wonder if there is anything down in there!
We got a flashlight and shined it in.
It went waaaay down. Probably 4 or 5 feet, and even further down below that there was a narrower hole that continued on into blackness. At first we didn’t see anything inside because it was so shadowy. Just as I was moving the flashlight away I caught a glimpse of something.
A piece of paper? Really?
It was! A folded piece of yellowed paper was stuck up against the side of the hollow post down at the very bottom, just before the hollow area narrowed and went out of sight.
The girls and Tyler immediately ran down to see it. It was definitely a piece of paper!
How long had it been in there? Who put it there? Why? What did it say?
We debated how to get the paper out. It was way too deep and narrow to reach in there and grab it.
The first attempt involved the vacuum cleaner hose. That only ripped a tiny piece off of the delicate old paper.
A second attempt used two old plastic sticks off of deceased mini blinds someone had chucked in the basement. You know the poles you turn to make the blind slats turn open and closed?
That kind of worked. We were able to move the note so that it was laying flat across the inside of the post instead of stuck up against the side, but we couldn’t grip the note to pull it up. It was hard to reach since the note was farther down in the post than the blind poles were long. We could just barely touch it.
Tyler gave up. The girls wandered away to play with the huge spread of toys they had left out before I made them start getting ready for bed. They were excited I was distracted with the note in the post because it meant I had “forgotten” about them and they could stay up a bit later.
I stood there and stared down in the post with the flashlight. I had to know what was on that note. There was no way I could just leave it down in there.
Absolutely no way.
Then inspiration struck!
What if I used a rolled up piece of masking tape?
I ran and got a piece of tape. I stuck the tape to the end of the blind pole, then lowered it down inside. It was so narrow I couldn’t really see what I was doing because my hand was blocking the light from the flashlight.
I thought I made contact with the note in the bottom. I held my breath while I gently began to raise the pole upwards.
I was terrified the note would bump into the uneven sides of the post then fall down into that narrower space at the very bottom to never, ever be seen again.
I may have even been sweating a tiny bit.
After what seemed like a ridiculously long time I reached the top of the post.
Slowly I removed the post, and there it was.
THE NOTE WAS OUT!
After Tyler stopped recording we realized there was an entire backside to the note we hadn’t read!
Here are pictures of the note:
May 30th 1912
Miss Edna Mal (May?) Allen
Well Edna, I thought that I would write and tell you that I loved you. William that you was with (??) in town. But I don’t think (??) you loved him. I better not see him or I will beat him up for going with my girl.
Listen Edna, I got to (??) go stay (??) few days. I just can’t help to do it and (??) the thought of leaving my darling. You can write to me.
(Here’s the part we skipped in the video…)
Or you can call me up over telephone. But I would rather you would write, don’t be afraid. Moma and Dada don’t care for me getting letters and for you calling me up.
Talk (?) can ya with other boys if you want to, but don’t tell them you love them. I will be in town early and awhile and I will see you.
Listen, don’t you let anybody see this. It is the lovingest letter I ever did write. I would write this to no other girl. But every word of it is so. Be sure and (??)…
Write me a loving letter. Your dearest friend,
Agll (??) Lancaster
Don’t tell me that you love me until you do. I don’t like the way that you done at the picnic, but I will excuse you. I don’t think you (?? knownt) nent.
You guys. This is the lovingest letter he ever did write!
My curiosity explodes.
Did they ever get married? What did they look like? How old were they?
How did Edna manage to take the nails off of that post and then slip the note inside and reattach the post top without anyone noticing? In 1912 the house was only about 9 years old, so the post top should have been firmly attached, not loose like it is presently. Did she get up in the middle of the night to hide it? Did she have one of the servants hide it for her?
Why did she choose the inside of the hollow post? Did she have a plan for ever getting it back out of there again? Did she hope that someone in the future would find it? Or did she put it there on a whim?
Did she burn the edges of the letter and then decide to hide it? It looks a little burned, but maybe that’s just from very old age. Though you’d think it would be well preserved sealed inside of a post.
Some preliminary googling reveals absolutely nothing about these people. Maybe I will never know. I can’t help but spend way too much time imagining though.
What else is hidden in this house?!