52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks|Week 7:Valentine

I came across this letter in a collection of postcards and correspondence from my Aunt Gwen’s (wife of my dad’s brother, Uncle George) research. I almost blushed while reading it!

It’s a very heartfelt letter from my lovelorn Grandpy Keene to my apparently impassive  Nana Keene, before they were married. (I wrote about my grandfather here and here, searching for information about his first wife, Thelma.)

This letter was written February 20, 1912, at 1AM, just about 116 years ago this month. This was just a few short months after Thelma’s death on September 3, 1911. In the letter, he addresses Nana as “Pearl,” one of the many nicknames for my grandmother.

It reads:

13 Hampton Ave. Northampton, Mass. Feb. 20, 1 a.m.

My Dear Pearl,

Where are you to-night? Not hurt or sick I trust, but where are you, “Gee” if only I knew, if you knew how my heart bleeds to know, not because I am angry at not meeting you, but because I am so worried to where you are, to know if you are well and to know all about you, you know the feeling in my heart for you, you know the unrest, and thought I have in your safety, your comfort and your happiness so please for my sake let me know that you are safe and well just as soon as it is possible so that I too may be happy and know that everything is well with you. The train was one hour and forty minutes late in Northampton which made it as late that I couldn’t go out to the house and inquire for you and I will not be able to look for you until two o’clock in the afternoon for you see that is the reason I am writing you now, in hope it will reach you before that time. Pearl dear, this is the the first disappointment or unpleasant occasion we have had in our acquaintance so you let me right as soon as possible, won’t you? Am sending a few roses which I hope won’t be “all in,” when you get them as I had them at the station last night for you. I also have two more surprises for you and  the first time I see you, when may I, and the other Washington’s Birthday.

Now trusting everything is O.K. and that I shall receive a note, a phone, a call of some kind of communication with you to-day, believe me to be Your True Friend, 

With Love and Sincere Wishes, 


Tis good to live and love so don’t blame me it is is 2:30 a.m. now, and sleep won’t come to me, for when our mind is not at rest with what we hold dear, sleep is impossible-so don’t get me wrong and think that I am selfish or cross for I am not it is just anxiety in my mind which makes me that way tonight, and if I could pray, I would ask God to bless you and keep you, but I guess I am too much of a sinner for that now, but perhaps you can teach me some day for already you have done so much for me. 

Her lips were like the red, red rose

Her eyes like stars shine true

Her neck was like the swan’s

I loved her-wouldn’t you?

keene genealogy (264) copy

Wow… that’s a lot of emotion and run-on sentences, isn’t it? But, it must have worked its magic, as Charlie and Pearl were married June 4, 1912.

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!


Getting started…

So, last year, The Male and I went off on vacation to the Isle of Man. Ever since we had married, he’d been saying that he wanted to visit, as he had heard all his life how his family had roots there.

We made our plans, talking about what details he knew about these ancestors. “I think I remember the name as Edward O’Garrett. I guess we lost the O along the way.”

The night before we left, my mother-in-law brought out an old type-written paper, with all the details about the Garretts who came to America. What timing!

Turns out, the name was Garrett all along.  Edward O. Garrett.  O for Osborn!

Armed with the information in this document, we flew off to London, not really knowing what would come of this journey.  
After traveling through Avebury and Oxford, we flew from Manchester over the Irish Sea to Douglas, the capital of the IoM.

Our first drizzly morning there, we discovered that our B&B was (providentially) only a 10 minute walk up from the hill to the Manx Museum. This island nation is so small, all the archives are in one place, in this lovely little museum.  But, we had no idea of that when we embarked. All we had was this piece of paper.
Which turned out to be more than enough to make our heads spin a bit.