Ah yes, My Funny Valentine - "funny", as in strange. You won't believe the turn this story has taken.
So, the descendants of "Sky" Thurber (I just love that name!) are contacting the descendant of Elizabeth Lockwood in order to facilitate the reunion between valentine and family of origin!
As it turns out, Elizabeth's nickname was "Licky". Licky and Sky! I have a feeling this couple was, in the parlance of their time, the cat's meow AND the bee's knees!
Licky's daughter is still alive! I hope to talk to her and learn more about them.
On a more serious note - Licky's husband, Sky Thurber, has an amazing link of his own to New England history.
The Thurber who spoke to me told me that she is a descendant of the DeWolf family of Bristol, R.I. - which declares itself "the largest slave trading dynasty in U.S. history".
Several years ago, a Dewolf descendant made the shocking discovery of her family's history. The family has produced a book and a PBS film on the topic; they have used both as educational tools in lectures about racial inequality.
One of the consultants on the film was Edward Ball, renowned author of Slaves in the Family and The Genetic Strand, an amazing account of the DNA testing of his ancestors' hair clippings that Ball found in an old family desk.
What do I happen to be reading right now? The Genetic Strand. Strange.
Soon, a child's holiday postcard will be winging its way across the Atlantic, bound for the family of a woman long dead. Its penny postage stamp is no longer sufficient to carry it across the Atlantic, but its legacy spans one hundred years.
The discovery of a tiny fragment of one family's history - the smallest plop of a pebble in a pond - has grown in concentric circles to encompass the broad and profound issues of slavery, shame, redemption, and race relations.
A funny valentine, indeed.
(Photos courtesy of The Jamaica Plain Gazette)