Snapshots and Stories:
"The praise one mother got from her four girls over a period of eighteen years. Neither knew what the other one had written." Isabelle Farrington-Otto.
These are a few examples of the letters the Farrington girls sent to their mother on Mothers Day. Only one letter mentions a date, 1941.
I am completely at a loss to know what to write. I have looked all over this town to find a card to send you, and I couldnt find one I liked. There would always be a line or word that would spoil it. So, if there isnt a poet that can express what I want to say, what am I to do. I know it seems commonplace and very inexpressive to say that you are the most wonderful mother in the world, but that is so true that I just have to write it. It is just impossible to ever thank a mother for I not only owe you my life, but what I am of what I ever will be. It is in the home that character is built, and my home life has always been the very highest. There is no one who would sacrifice and do what you have done for me. You know I love you, I cant tell you how much and I know I wont ever be able to appreciate you and all that you have made me. I can only show my appreciation by always keeping you as an ideal and never doing anything that is contrary to what I think right, and I hope you will never, never be disappointed in me. I still say that I have the most wonderful parents and when I see the thousands and thousands of instances where the opposite is true, I realize more than ever how truly thankful I should be.
My Dear Mother,
I have so often written you and told you how much I love you, and what you mean to me that I am afraid it will get to be a rather monotonous sing song. But do you ever get tired of hearing it? I dont suppose any of us tell our mothers of our love often enough. As I have told you before, I hope my life has shown part way at least my love, and the influence you have had upon my life. You know I think you are the most wonderful of mothers.
My Mother Dearest,
This letter is for you, I am sorry that I am too poor to send you nothing but a letter, but just as much love goes with it as if it were the most costly gift that I could buy. So I will just give the invaluable gift of true love. As usual, I am just at a loss to tell you, how much I love you and how much I appreciate what you have done for me. All I can do is remain deeply grateful and try to show you how great my love truly is. I have said so many times that I couldnt hope to find a home more ideal than our own has been and my family and home will always mean just this much to me. I think there has always been a true bond between us all and I say that it is all due to the high idealism of our parents. I love you both so much and that we are the luckiest children in the world. I will think of you, Mother, and go to church in your honor.
To the dearest Mother,
It isnt only once a year that we think of you, or love you, but Mothers Day has been set aside for one day a year for our Mothers. A day could not be more appropriate than Sunday to show this respect, devotions, admiration and love to the truest friend any girl can have. One can possess riches, and riches are nice, but money cant buy love, happiness and thanks to our Father and Mother. We cant buy our Mothers love.
This isnt the first evening I have pondered and wondered over the ideals, love, and sacrifice you have made for me. But one of the evenings I shall write, a poor attempt I confess, but tomorrow the day we wish to honor our mothers, you shall have my first Mothers Day letter. I think of all the joys you have given me and some of the pain I have suffered only to come out on top and see you were right. It is queer how mothers can see so far ahead. My mother isnt old fashioned, neither have the times passed her by. She lives in the present and looks towards the future with a brighter view than yesterday. She judges at the best of her ability to keep up with the times, studies her children ever present to help, to comfort, to advise, and to love them. Knows whats happening in the world, even a radio fan. Belongs to various organizations, yet with all these duties and more I cant recall when mother wasnt attending to her home. We all knew where mother was, the home was always a place of happiness, love, quietness and rest. You are a perfect mother. Know and remember that you have a daughter that is trying to make the best of her opportunities, her home, influence and parental love, and care have made her so that she has a solid base on which to work and two living models and examples she tries to live up to high ideals and she loves you, respects, honors and admires you more every day. May I live such a life that you will be proud of me.
My dearest Mother,
On this Mothers Day of 1941, I just want to say hello and tell you I love you with all the love one heart can hold. First, you have been the most wonderful, kind, thoughtful, sweet, and understanding Mother a girl could ever hope to have had. My ideals and my thoughts are a part of you and I want to take a moment now and say Thank You. My moments with you are cherished and Ive loved them all. Way back before I ever went to school, you used to help me play, keep care of my dog, we embroidered together and I read to you. Yes, I even stemmed gooseberries many an afternoon before I played.
School days started for me at five years old and I remember how sweet you were to take me the first day to kindergarten and by a good start I loved it. The patience you had in me while I was learning to ride my bicycle, but finally accomplished it with your constant help. Then I needed skates and they were provided for me. To think of all the hours Ive enjoyed skating.
There has been times when I needed you guidance and advice and you were always there and ready. Never have I felt I couldnt turn to you and receive the total understanding I wanted. Then I was one of the fortunate 10% of all high school students and was sent to college to further my education. You will never know how much I appreciate all you have done and sacrificed for me. I have been sorry I couldnt repay more materially this past winter. To think you have educated four daughters should make you stand erect and be proud. Ive talked to quite a few parents and they seem proud to put their children through high school and that is the average.
Mother, please accept this little gift. Please get yourself something you want. There is bushels of love coming with it.
Mother, My Dear,
Another Mothers Day has rolled around and as usual, I am at a loss as to how I can tell you what you mean to us all.
Enjoy Mothers Day, for well all be thinking of you and wondering what the greatest Mother in all the world is doing. It is an old story, but you know, you must know how much we love you and how much we appreciate you and all you have done for us. You are the grandest Mother.
A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Master of Arts