You will find out “about” the letters through the blog. The first post gives a bit of information. More will unfold as we go.
What is interesting to know, I think, is how I came to have these letters. What journey did they take to get here, in Montreat, in July of 2013.
I don’t know that whole story yet. I know only about the “recent” pieces of it. I will be looking for more information. Maybe Laney can help.
Obviously, the letters were kept by their receiver, Louisa Ottens.
They ended up in the attic of the Montreat house when Roy and Helena Talmage lived here in the 1970s. Helena Talmage is the daughter of Helena Ottens Schlichter – who wrote the letters. She is the granddaughter of Louisa Ottens.
I’m not sure Helena had ever read any of the letters before they were put in storage. They were in the attic for maybe a decade – or more.
Roy and Helena left Montreat to live near their daughter, Laney, in Longview, Texas – but still owned the Montreat house. Much of their stuff was left in the locked attic. Over the next decade, Laney would bring a load of Helena’s stuff back to Longview each time she visited Montreat.
The letters made their way back to Helena.
I became aware of the letters about five or six years ago. By this time, Helena spent most of her time in her room – reviewing her past through the letters and other mementos which came back to her from the Montreat attic. At that time, she mentioned to me the “wonderful” letters her mother had written.
There are hundreds of letters written by her mother and Helena continued reading, and maybe re-reading, them until recently when she moved to nursing care. She spoke of them fondly – took much solace in them, I think – and would not let anyone else read them.
I interviewed Helena, my mother-in-law-of thirty years, a few months ago. We talked a lot about her mother and she promised she would let me use the letters to help me write about the remarkable Helena Ottens Schlichter. Now I have them.