I have become quite fond of working with vintage documents, letters and photos lately. Recently I had purchased a set of 13 old letters written to a young girl named Mary Helen Epler over the period of 1940 to 1946 and I decided to bind them into a book:
They are all in their original envelopes and looking through them is an interesting way to get a glimpse of what was going on in the world at that time. As I read through them I learned that Mary's birthday was July 14th and that she corresponded regularly with her grandpa who suffered a heart attack in 1942 and died shortly after. There's a letter to her written just a couple of weeks before he died (in the photo below) in which he tells her that the Dr's told him that spending three more weeks in bed would make him a new man. He was looking forward to listening to the Cardinals and Cubs game later that day and hoped that the Cardinals would win. Just a couple of weeks later she received a condolence letter about his death.
At the time it cost only 3 cents to mail a letter and the postmarks encourage buying war bonds. In a letter to Mary from her Aunt Elizabeth in July of 43 she asks Helen if she and her mother are doing any war work and talks about a gas shortage. There is no mention of Mary's father in any of the letters.
I thought about these letters as I created the book that I bound them in and I couldn't help wondering what became of Mary. Assuming that she was a teenager in 46 she could be in her 80's now. I wonder where she is and what she's doing and how her letters ended up in the hands of an Etsy seller who sold them to me.