Family History

I love hearing about my family's past. I think every family needs at least one person to keep the family secrets and stories, and to pass them on to the next generation. 

My family has figured out that I'm an anachronism, and I've begun to inherit various bits of memorabilia. My most prized possession is the cheese box that contains the soul of my grandmother (long story). 

My aunt and uncle recently passed on some photos and documents that used to belong to my great aunt. They're super fascinating, but most of them aren't labelled. Even though we don't know who exactly they are, I think it's amazing to look at the faces of my distant relatives. 

Mixed in with the photos was a letter addressed to my Great Aunt Agnes (who we just call Auntie Ag). It's in French (my family is originally from Quebec), and it's a Christmas card. 

Imagine a time when you could address a letter like that! No postal code or anything. 

"Seasons Greetings"

"Seasons Greetings"

Here's my (admittedly rough) translation of the text:

Good dear friend,
We find ourselves at the end of another year. Time goes by so quickly in which we can acquire the merits to get into heaven [ed. note: there’s something going on here colloquially that I don’t quite grasp; basically, there’s not enough time to do the things you need to do to deserve to get into heaven]. I wish you a good and blessed year and the health to continue to travel through the years, God willing.
You are generous to take care of the little orphans, as they are lucky to have such a good aunt. Such charity will bring you big rewards [in heaven].
I ask myself how you can do so much work after having an operation. You must be tired.
[Name] who is going to college here [something]. I asked him for news from Fort Francis [sic]. He told me that a Gagne woman died. I guessed that it was the woman who came from England. She was often ill. She was such a lovely person.
Sister Lanoix is on a mission here. She does evening service with us. [something] she has occupied.
My health is good and I have a good helper [nurse?] who has been with me for 2 years. I would be happy to hear good news from you, which I have not gotten since the [something].
From a friend who loves you ever more,

Sister J. Landry

The "woman from England" is my grandmother, Bertha (my mom's mom), who died in February of 1960. She was a War Bride, who came to Canada with my grandfather after WW2. We can infer that this letter is from Christmas of 1960. Auntie Ag, as well as some of my mom's other aunts, helped take care of my mom and her 6 siblings after my grandma died, although my grandpa was still alive, so they weren't exactly "orphans."

My Auntie Ag had breast cancer. She was diagnosed shortly after my grandmother died (hence the "operation" mentioned in the letter). She died 3 years later on February 24, the same day my grandmother died. 

I don't know why this letter, of all things, was kept, but I'm happy it was. It's nice to catch a glimpse of the past.