In September, one of my sisters and I met at our aunt’s home in Virginia to help her go through decades of family letters, historical documents, and photographs that had found their way into her basement. Among the stack of letters from our mother to hers, was this one, written when she was 13 years old.

November 25, 1953

Dear Mother,

You will think it rather odd to receive this letter when I live with you and see you every day. But sometimes it is easier to put things down on paper than to say them directly to someone.

This is only a short letter to tell you how grateful I am for all you have done for me, eversince I came into this world, and all through my school days, and now when I am old enough to realize all you have done.

Some of the things for which I am thankful you would only call a mother’s duty, but now I am old enough to see and realize that every mother does not do her duty, and there are some girls and boys who are not as fortunate as I am.

Thank you, Mother, and one day I hope that I may be able to prove my love as a daughter and repay you for all you have done.

Your loving daughter,

Carol Ann

Image credit of original letter: Mary Ann Stewart

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