In the fall of 1947 Grace gets to know the Havelick family, but somehow manages to elude meeting the man who would become the love of her life. Her best friend is Dorothy, Louie’s little sister. You’ve heard about her and seen her pictures in Louie’s previous letters. In that small town, living in the same neighborhood, I don’t know how she could avoid meeting Louie, but that meeting will have to wait for another letter.
One reason Grace and Louie didn’t meet was that Louie was married to Mary Jane McCurdy. They had a daughter, named Sunnie Jane. Grace mentions the baby in this letter, but does not go into the back story. The received history, not written down, but shared occasionally, was that daughter Sunnie Jane died because of complications of an instrument delivery by an incompetent doctor. She is buried in the family area of the Highland Home Cemetery just north of Jamestown.
My daughter had a spiritual connection with her grandpa Louie and her would be aunt Sunnie Jane. It’s something beyond my understanding, but if you ever send Mara an email, you’ll have a clue as to the depth of her feelings.
On a lighter note, I find it pleasing that twenty years later I went to high school in the same building as my mother, perhaps going to classes in the same rooms. In the last sentence of this letter Grace ends her high school career. She adds a little more detail in the next letter.
The fall of 1947 I started my junior year of high school in Jamestown. I got acquainted real soon with the girls that lived southwest where we did. We all walked to school together + would go to the teen canteen together after school + sometimes to White’s Drug.
Dorothy Havelick became a good friend + we spent quite a lot of time together. They lived further west from us – maybe six blocks – close to the NP roundhouse where Grampa Havelick worked.
Our little pink house was right on the bank of the James River. There was lots of huge cottonwoods + willows around it. Their house was on the banks of the Pipestem River. The soil was really good there + Grandpa H had lots of flowers – especially peonies – his favorite – and a big garden.
At that time Louie was already married to Mary Jane + they had a little baby girl sometime that year. I remember going to the hospital with Dorothy to see Mary Jane but I didn’t meet Louie til a year or so later after they had gotten divorced. The baby died shortly after birth.
That was the year I went to the homecoming at the college + to the prom in the spring and had plenty of friends but I guess I was bored with school.