Thursday, July 14, 2011

Valentine Redux

Remember the antique valentine?  The owner has come forward!  I had traced her several weeks ago.
I found her easily enough on Facebook; however, she apparently isn't on there very much.  Her Thurber cousin, mentioned in the previous post, passed on the message.

I received a great email from Jennifer, the granddaughter of the then-child for whom the valentine was intended.  She told me her mother - Elizabeth's daughter - is still alive!  The family now lives in California.

The English couple who rescued the valentine are mailing it to the family.  Jennifer is thrilled to receive it; she plans to preserve and frame it for her own small granddaughter - born, she notes, 100 years after Elizabeth herself.

Jennifer relayed a brief family history to me; in it, she revealed that Elizabeth Lockwood's sister, Rosamond, married a man named Norman Vaughan - a polar explorer!

Vaughan served with the infamous Admiral Byrd on his expeditions to Antartica. Vaughan only died a few years ago; he lived to be one hundred.  His incredible life is outlined in his obituary:

So, at long last, a valentine has made its way home - not to its intended address, but to its intended family - whose roots now stretch from England to New England, and from the baked earth of Arizona to the sparkling shores of California.

Too, those roots are woven into the history of our country - from the 18th century slave trade (see previous post) to 20th century polar adventures.

After my recent trips to the South, I have been compelled to personally revisit the issues of slavery, race, and the civil rights struggle.  More on that in an upcoming post.

The legacy of the DeWolfe family - and their modern-day gifts of education and openness - adds still more fuel to the fire of my curiosity.  I've got to see their film and read that book.

People sometimes ask me why I trace the origins of these "orphan items".  After all, it doesn't pay, they say.

No, it doesn't.  But in countless ways, I am so much the richer for it.

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