40th St. and 11th Ave., South,
St. Petersburg, Fla.,
April 2, 1925.
Dear Kith and Kin, One and All:
With many months having passed since your most interesting letters, and with the numerous changes which have come in the history of our Clan since our last issue. I am looking forward with great anticipation to the receipt of this coming "budget" of the Cousins Correspondence.
My first thought in beginning my visit with you is that I am truly proud of the intense loyalty to the enterprise which prompted sixty-one of the cousins to respond in the last number. These are pleasant reminders which help to make us thankful for life's joys and for Time's golden memories which are good and sweet. But I am reminded that sorrow has come into the homes and hearts of some of our circle, and taken from us those we loved. Cousin Andrew Owlett, with only a few minutes warning, was called away, and we mourned with those to whom he was very dear. Then in December our hearts went out to Cousin Ann VanDusen who buried her darling boy, and we stood by, powerless to comfort her. Then a message came to us of another whom to know was to love - Cousin Jennie Bosard - and we paused and asked for light to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years. We miss them all, and our sympathy goes out to the members of their households.
You will note by my letter that we are living in St. Petersburg, Florida. As our "Honorable Officers" ask for personal news especially, I am very glad to tell you of the delightful time we are having here. We came the last of November, 1924, responding to the most cordial invitation from Tommie and Frank when they visited us in the summer; and we have enjoyed all the comforts and generous hospitality of their "sunny southern home" during the severe winter months of our dear old state of Pennsylvania. The outlook was too alluring to resist - knowing as we did the wonderful climate in Florida and the pleasure of being near them. (We spent the winter of 1920 here).
So we migrated with the birds and have enjoyed perfect summer weather with an abundance of flowers and fruits, open air concerts, lectures, air-dome movies, and the finest churches with ministers who have master minds, and choirs above the average. Then, too, it has been a great privilege to be near Tommie and Frank and their children and families. Then to add to our pleasure Cousin Ed and Emma Congdon of Tacoma, Washington came for three months. They rented a pleasant apartment, and I can not tell you what a joy it was to us to have them here. They are true to the "faith of our fathers". Many very happy hours we spent together in the parks or in their apartment, and they were among the first ones to "break bread" with us in our new home.
Oh, yes, we have a home of our own here now. Through the brotherly advice of Tommie we purchased a lot here when we first came, thinking some time perhaps we would build a small bungalow and occasionally spend a winter in this "Sunshine City" - for it is really wonderful here, and the climate seems to put a new meaning into His promises, and a new meaning into His glorious sunshine and His smiling stars and "sunny southern moon".
So we said, "Hats off to the past" - and "coats off to the future" (for it is hot here) - and again, with Tommie to advise, we began to plan to build us a home - a home which is now completed and into which we moved on March 14, 1925. At present we are very busy improving the grounds and putting in tropical shrubbery and citrus fruits. We have a southern exposure, and are so near the Gulf of Mexico that both night and day are as perfect as you could desire. We have both enjoyed perfect health since coming here. But for the great distance between us and our loved ones1, we should feel "settled for life".
However, we expect to go North early in May - as our house in Westfield has been closed during our stay here. We have not lost interest in the home-folk, especially those of our own kin. We are so happy to know that sister Mary is much improved in health, and sincerely hope it may be permanent. It was a great pleasure last summer to have a visit from brother Will and Louise and Tommie and Frank, and together we made a pilgrimage to the home of our childhood in Farmington [Twp.] and lived over again in memory many pleasant events, long past, but not forgotten. Sister Mary was too ill to go, but I trust when they come this summer that she, too, will be able to make the party complete by her presence.
1. Kate's children lived in Oregon.
As far as I know, our children are well - but, oh, so far away!
Before I close I must congratulate our new "Official Board" on the honor conferred upon them. While we very reluctantly give up the retiring officers - with many thanks for their efficient services - we welcome in the new, promising our hearty cooperation.
With best love to each and every one,
Utilizing Sandy Buck Garrett's 2012 transcription.
Copyright © 2013 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.