Dear Mother & Daddy,
"The package arrived in fine shape but I told you not to send anything because the bookcase was to be our Christmas. We appreciate them anyway and have them under the tree.
I wish you could see our tree. It is so pretty but not as big as we usually get. This is the first time since Bob was about 3 that I've done the tree alone. I almost saved it for Bob & Pat to do on Sunday but it makes quite a mess and takes so long I went ahead.
I guess Bob & Pat are on their way. They were going to drive to Hagerstown, Maryland tonight & the rest of the way tomorrow.
Ann called this morning to tell me a couple of Westminster students will ride to St. Louis with her Sunday evening so she won't have to come all the way alone. She was so happy and had made some good grades. It made me feel good all over to talk to her. She was the only one left in the dorm and was almost ready to leave.
She will stay with a friend at Bonnot's Mill. Did you ever hear of this little place?
I had real nice letters from Bessie and Beulah today. Beulah sounded real encouraging about Uncle Floyd. I do hope they let him come home for Christmas. He and Aunt Nora have sure been on my mind a lot lately for I know how long the hours in that hospital can be. Of course, that is where he should be now and it is certainly a good hospital. They make it as pleasant for everyone as they can.
I've been making bread today. Wish you had a loaf of it. Andrey Ross gave me a loaf of cranberry bread yesterday & it sure looks good. I never make that.
|The brooch, December, 1969|
I want you to remember what I said about not sending birthday packages. Just send cards. I'll tell the kids when they are here and you can begin with Bob in January. They don't expect you to remember them with gifts all of the time & would be happy to get a letter from you.
We'll be thinking about all of you on Christmas day and wishing we could see all of you."
NOTE: If I had taken pictures at Bonnot's Mill in 1969, they would have looked much like the one above, taken recently. The small unincorporated river town hasn't changed much.
I can imagine that the soldering on the brooch was challenging. Each piece of silver was carefully cut, shaped and soldered into place. I believe that the stone is a Mexican jelly opal, but I am not certain. Pictured here are some of Bonnie's jewelry tools, collected over many years, which she always kept in an old train case.