This note from my great grandmother explains how the jewel box came to be mine:
I’ve written about Elva before on this blog – she was my great-great aunt who traveled the world with her husband seeking out artifacts for the Smithsonian and kept a diary in the early 1900s.
The design on the box depicts a woman relaxing in a garden while cherubs cavort around her (hmmmm......) But why is she holding a stick?!
There are some old relics in here – odds and ends that have been passed down from my ancestors. John Beatty (known in our family as “John Junior”) was my grandmother’s brother, a young lieutenant who died in training. I never met him, but I have a beautiful letter that her wrote to his fiancé somewhere. Here is his razor, his I.D. bracelet, some pocket watches, a compass and protractor. There’s also a packet of Elva’s letters in here.
An excerpt from one of them that she wrote to her mother:
Sunday Afternoon, Dec. 12, '09
My dear Mother:
At last I have seen a spot like one I had always pictured to myself but never expected to realize -- Columbo on the Island of Ceylon. It seemed to me it must surely be the prettiest spot on earth.
My only day offshore for an age and I began to feel pains right after luncheon and by the time I had reached our destination was too sick to take any notice of it but Mack got a room for me where I lay on a couch at a big open air window where the sea waves washed up and crabs crawled back into the water after each wave and by the time they had eaten a beautiful supper of fresh lobster the stars began to peep out over the sea and I was all over my pains. We got into our rickshas again and started our seven mile trip to the boad landing. Crickets chirped, frogs sang and there were many noises of nature I did not recognize. The roads were busy all around and I sat silent most of the way. I thought of you a great deal and wished that you might be taking the same drive. If I had not seen but this one spot in my whole trip I would think it all worthwhle.
Ceylon is now Sri Lanka. I found this photo of Columbo which is the place that Elva wrote about.My Sri Lankan friend Vasanthi went to Washington DC this weekend with her family. They’re hoping to convince the UN and our government to help relief workers get access to the displaced Tamil people who were forced to leave their homes during the recent civil war. There are currently about 280,000 homeless – many of them are hungry and need medical attention. 230,000 are currently living in temporary camps and 50,000 in transition. It's surprising that so little of this is being regularly reported on in the mainstream press. Apparently, it is much more urgent to know that Jon and Kate (plus 8!) might get divorced.
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