Old Letters and Other Artifacts

featured image 9

Hello, dears!

I’m super excited to finally show you guys this post! I must warn you, though, it’s quite lengthy. I recommend getting something tasty to eat or drink, finding a comfortable spot, and reading on. 🙂

Ahem. Our new farm was founded in approximately 1777 (so it’s not exactly new, ha), and we’ve found some really neat old things while exploring it. These include but are not limited to a very old graveyard, a fairly old house + schoolhouse/cabin, and approximately 100-year-old postcards, books, and handwritten letters, one of which was written in Germany in 1922, and which I laboriously (and not so skillfully) translated. ARE YOU EXCITED? I AM.

First, the graveyard. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not far from the big house, as you can see. And no, that doesn’t really creep me out, in case you wondered. XD I hope you guys don’t mind it… 😉

1

This one is from 1777, approximately when this farm (and country) was founded! :O At the bottom it says “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”

DSC_4473

Wow, a soldier that fought in the Civil War… O.o (Those blurred out spots are place names. 😉 )

DSC_4459

This one is so sad. 😦

DSC_4460

Is it weird that I like this picture?

DSC_4463

And this one too…

DSC_4470

Some gravestones aren’t even marked, which is also sad.

DSC_4467

Let’s move on to a… nicer topic, perhaps. 😉 I don’t know how old this tree is, but it’s huge and GORGEOUS.

DSC_4885

I love this picture, maybe because it looks estate-ly to me. XD

DSC_5095

Next we have an old broken down log cabin. So exciting. XD But this was most likely the original house! After that it may have been the kitchen, then it was a school, then a garage, and that’s where it fell down – the guy that made it into a garage a long time ago just chopped a large door in the side of the wall, which weakened it so that it finally fell down completely about the time we bought the farm. I can’t wait to clear it away because it’s kind of an eyesore. :[] We’re hoping to clean off and keep the chimney and make a patio with a pagoda there!

DSC_4524

One day Mom and I went inside the rubble and found a dilapidated cardboard box full of old letters and pamphlets and envelopes and such! It was SO neat! Here are a few of the more interesting things we found.

A vintage postcard from 1922…

DSC_5212

And one from 1940…

DSC_5208

Look at that little typewritten note at the top… XD XD IT WOULD BE GOOD TO KNOW YOUR RETURN ADDRESS FOR SURE, AHEM. 😛 Also oh my goodness, I just now noticed something – the stamp is a one cent stamp! And now it costs 50 times that… for a letter, at least.

DSC_5209

And look, some neat old pictures! This was had “Dan, Walter, and Myself” written on the back.

DSC_5199

BAHAHA I don’t think this guy liked to have his picture taken, do you? XD

DSC_5194

The last sentence… 😦 Still so true.

DSC_5192

Sickness and suffering seems to be a common theme in these letters, actually.

DSC_5178

Okay, this is tragic. It’s some school paper or other but I don’t know if the student wrote it or just copied it. Nevertheless…

DSC_4896

What?! They used triple exclamation points back in 1897? I thought it was a modern thing…

DSC_5207

We also found some later typewritten letters. Read the second line up from the horizontal crease in this picture. O.o

DSC_5203

The typewritten letter was addressed to “My Dear Darling Sweetheart” or something like that. I thought it was a love letter at first too, but look how it’s addressed:

DSC_5201

We even found some old checks! Too bad we can’t cash them in. XD

DSC_4898

I believe this is a bank statement. The writing is so pretty, isn’t it? We’re hoping to frame some of the nicer-looking letters. 🙂

DSC_5224

And now… *drum roll* I’m proud to present the old German letter! It was SO much harder to translate than I thought, because some letters like the r’s and s’s looked practically the same, there were ink blots and faded parts, etc. I’m sure I made tons of mistakes, but at least you can get the gist of what it says.

Since this post is long already, I took out a few of the most boring/badly-translated/unnecessary parts, re-formatted it just a bit to make it easier to read, and added notes in brackets. Ahem.

moving 3

Dear Aunt!                                        Wednesday, March 16th, 1922 // Marburg/Lahn, Germany

We have received your letter from February. Brother Heinrich is now quite healthy; he has already gained 12 pounds and is very rosy in the face. [HA HA. XD] We have cared for him well, even in winter, and every evening we warm the bed because he gets very cold. His things are all in good condition – I have washed and mended everything. […]

It was a nice sight when Heinrich arrived here. Crooked, half-tied shoes, old blankets over his arm, frozen through and through, and then the dirty rags of a poor soldier. [Goodness gracious! Also I don’t know if I translated “soldier” right, but isn’t that intriguing? Maybe he fought in WWI!] […]

Before the brother came, I had a family of tailors do the work. But when they saw him, they said, “No, no, we don’t need that, we must take care that nothing happens to him, and we have no time for that.” [I think the writer means she used to have tailors make new clothes, but for some mysterious reason, they didn’t want to work for Brother Heinrich. Do you think maybe his being an American soldier had something to do with it?] […]

And now he [Heinrich] thinks that if he had enough money, he would buy a greenhouse in Charlottesville and sell flowers. The houses here are so high in price that we can’t buy even one for a few dollars, not to mention the high taxes. […]

We cannot keep the brother, I’m sorry to write to you. […] It is better that he goes back to Charlottesville again, where he is used to, and where they sing to him in his old age, and care for him. Here in Germany that is not possible because only locals are admitted [to nursing homes] and he is an American. He has now had his way and has been to Germany. […]

My people do not want me to take on such a burden again as I bore for 40 years –  I fed my father for 40 years, and the brothers lived freely and didn’t care about him. [she mentioned how hard it was to care for her father several times. It must have been quite a job.] […]

You meant very well, but now you’ll understand we cannot keep him [Heinrich] here. I am always bound to him and cannot go my own way, which I should and must. So, dearest aunt and cousins, I would like to politely and urgently ask you to send Brother H. a ship ticket very soon, […]

[Okay guys, the next part is where things get interesting:]

The cost of living is almost impossibly high here. The meat is reduced by 2 marks each week: it costs 50 marks per pound. [I researched how much this would be in U. S. dollars today, and it would be $240,806. *horrified look*.] Butter costs 42 marks [$202,193] all winter. A feather bed costs 5000 marks [GUYS. THAT’S $1,600,000. :O :O :O]. You can now imagine how trying it is to have the brother in my house, and once again I ask you to release me soon from this burden. I knew in advance how everything would come about and that was why I was against it. […]

The constantly rising inflation has an appalling effect on the minds. You wrote that you wanted to do something for the brother, so I would like to ask you once more to put him in a retirement home, where he has care and company – here he knows no one.

Dear Aunt, I hope you’ll soon help me sort out this matter and send the ship’s ticket to the brother, because our stock of potatoes will only last until August and there are no new ones to be found. […]

In the hope that this letter finds you in good health, […]

Auguste Hoof Schwaner

_______________________________________

So I looked it up, and in the first half of 1922, when this letter was written, the German mark was worth 320 marks per U. S. dollar. O.o In the SECOND half of 1922, the mark went into hyperinflation and plummeted to $7,400 MARKS PER DOLLAR: you had to use 7,400 German dollars to buy something worth ONE American dollar! Oh my goodness.

Auguste, unfortunately you haven’t seen anything yet. I sure hope they got Brother Heinrich out of there before Auguste’s family ran out of money or potatoes, don’t you?

We’re actually planning to take down the log cabin at some indeterminate but hopefully soon date, and I’m sure we’ll find a bunch more fascinating things underneath the floorboards! Did you enjoy this post enough to be interested in another on what we find when we take down the log cabin or is this stuff kinda boring in your opinion? Do tell!

Also. What was your favorite “old thing” in this post? Have you ever found neat artifacts like these? Thanks for reading this long-winded post, my dears, and please have a lovely day!

***Allison***

P. S. GUYS, GUESS WHAT? WE HAVE FAST INTERNET NOW! (*Update* Okay so it’s supposedly unlimited, but after we use up our high-speed data it cuts us back to slower internet. Not as bad as before, but still…) That means I don’t have to drive 10-30 minutes to a library to use their Wi-Fi, and therefore I can make posts more often! *grins hugely*

Old and Worn: A Photoshoot

After reading Rebekah’s post the other day, I was like, “Ooh, I want to do that!” So I did. 🙂 I went for a walk around our farm with Maggie and took looots of pictures. Thankfully none of our barns are falling down or anything, but some of them do look beautifully old and worn.

This is somewhat of an experimental post. I don’t usually do B&W (black and white) or architecture photography, but today I’m doing both! Let’s see how the experiment turned out…

2016-10-12-allisonfallcalvesbuildings-165-1280x960
AHH I LOVE THIS PICTURE SO MUCH! 😀

2016-10-12-allisonfallcalvesbuildings-166-1280x960file-oct-17-2-00-50-pm-1280x960

file-oct-17-2-01-12-pm-960x1280
Lots of straw!
file-oct-17-2-01-29-pm-1280x960
Barn siding…

file-oct-17-2-02-30-pm-1280x960

file-oct-17-2-02-48-pm-1280x960
Maggie had to stop for a drink. 😛

file-oct-17-2-03-12-pm-1051x789file-oct-17-2-03-34-pm-1280x960file-oct-17-2-04-00-pm-1280x960file-oct-17-2-04-24-pm-1280x960

file-oct-17-2-04-59-pm-1280x960
Look at the “candlestick”! The moon really lit up this post. 😉
file-oct-17-2-06-04-pm-1280x960
I love this picture as well!

file-oct-17-2-06-15-pm-1280x960

file-oct-17-2-06-27-pm-1280x960
This is a broken window on our “Pighouse.” We don’t use it anymore except as a machine shed, but it used to be a pig barn (thus the name). I always thought the broken part of the window looked like a pig. 🙂 Can you see it?
2016-10-12-allisonfallcalvesbuildings-168-1280x960
Isn’t this neat? Vines (I think they’re Virginia Creeper vines) climbed quite a way up this old grain silo.

 

 

I think the experiment was a success! At least it was fun to conduct. 🙂

Do you like B&W or architecture photography? What is your favorite thing to photograph?

***Allison***

P. S. Thank you guys sooo much for entering my giveaway and taking my survey! I enjoyed reading your suggestions and opinions. I’m going to do a post soon that Clara suggested in the survey!

Beauty from Ashes, Part 1 (+BIBPC)

Hello, hello! How are you lovely people doing? (Isn’t that sort of a rhetorical question though?)

I have some writing and photos for you today.

First up, Beauty from Ashes. Beauty from Ashes is a short story I’m working on. It’s basically a medley of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, ’cause you’re never too old for fairy tales, right?

I’m still looking for a picture that fits my idea of Cinderella. :/ Hopefully next time I’ll have it.

Enjoy the first part!

__________________________________________________________

Beauty from Ashes

Part 1.

“Cinderella!” a whiny voice rang out from upstairs, “Come up here at once!”

I sighed. It was all I could do not to run out the door; not to run, run, run, and never come back. I would never have to answer to my stepsisters again. But I wouldn’t survive and I knew it. Even though my life was miserable here, at least I had a life, if you could call it that. I heaved my tired body up the winding staircase. With every step, the arguing voices grew louder.

“I said I wanted roses first!”

“Did not! You stole my idea!”

“Oh no I didn’t. You just won’t give me credit for anything, Anastasia!”

“That’s because you never have any good ideas! I’m going to have roses, whether you want me to or not. So there!”

“Motherrr!”

I could hear Lady Tremaine shushing her daughters. “Now girls. If you are ever to impress the Prince, you absolutely must control your tempers. Anastasia, you will have red roses, and Druscilla, you will have white ones. Listen to Mother, dears. Don’t be like that nasty Cinderella who never obeys anyone.” Lady Tremaine directed this last remark at me as I entered the room. Anastasia and Druscilla instantly forgot their enmity in their mutual delight at my poor, embarrassed face.

Lady Tremaine didn’t lose a beat. “Cinderella, go fetch twenty red roses and twenty white roses for your sisters. If they are to have dried flower crowns for the ball, we must start preparing them now. Go, child! Don’t just stand there looking stupid! Away with you!”

The girls snickered and turned back to their preparations. Oh how I wished I could join them! As the date of the Prince’s ball drew ever nearer, our household was in an uproar over the various preparations necessary to present Anastasia and Druscilla at their finest (which wasn’t saying much). But though I had begged and pleaded, Lady Tremaine refused to let me go to the ball. It was an unnecessary expense, she said. But the King had ordered all eligible maidens to come, I protested. She only scoffed at this, saying I was hardly “eligible” with my dusty, ash-stained face and dingy clothes. I chose not to point out that all that could be fixed with a bath and a new gown. I knew when I had lost. I knew because I always did lose and always had lost, ever since the day my father died.

I stomped outside, gritting my teeth to keep from exploding. At least I got to visit the forest. I picked my way sluggishly to the two lush rosebushes in the middle of our woods, trying to drag out my freedom. When I arrived, I plucked the roses as slowly as possible, carefully avoiding thorns. I had only gathered the red roses when a crackling noise made me freeze in mid-pluck. Some great animal was snuffling and stomping its way through the woods. It drew nearer and nearer to me, but I was afraid to turn around. My heart pounded madly in my chest like a captive bird desperate to escape. Finally the crackling stopped. The beast was so close I could feel its hot breath on my back.

I just had to turn around.

Immediately I wished I hadn’t. I was face to face with an enormous beast – what looked like a cross between a bear and a lion.

beast.jpg

It was by far the most terrifying thing I had ever seen. My breath came in ragged gasps; my sweaty hands clutched the roses as if to protect them.

Then the beast spoke.

“Who are you?” it questioned in a deep, growling, voice. If I hadn’t been terrified out of my wits before, I was now. A talking bear?

I gulped. “M-my name is Ella, Sir… Sir…”

“Call me Beast,” it snarled.

“My n-name is Ella, Beast.”

Beast growled menacingly. “Very well, Ella, give me one of your shoes.”

I blinked. “Excuse me? But, Sir – I mean, Beast, these are my only pair! My mother will be furious! Please, may I give you my hair ribbon or-”

“Your shoe. Give it to me.” His voice left no room for doubt. I passed him one of my forlorn slippers with trembling hands. He nodded and continued, “If you want this back, you must return to this place tomorrow at this time. Or else-” he opened wide his mouth and roared like a lion.

I shielded my face with my arm. Sweat plastered my yellow-gold hair to my head, and tears streamed down my dusty face. “Yes, yes Sir – I mean Beast. I will do that. I promise I will. Please, please may I go now?” Beast nodded his huge head.

I lost no time in racing back to the safety of home, sobbing with terror all the time. When I was halfway there it occurred to me that I hadn’t picked any white roses. Nevermind. I was NOT going back there, no matter how angry Druscilla would be.

But the worst part was, I had promised, and my promise was backed by the terrifying threat of the Beast’s roar. I had to go back tomorrow, like it or not.

Oh. No.

________________________________________________________________

There! I hope you liked that! It was a lot of fun to write. 🙂 More parts are coming up soon!

And now for my BIBPC entries. I know the first one is late, but since Megan is my sister, she’s already seen my photo. Yay for sisters! (Unless the sisters in question are Anastasia and Druscilla.)

BIBPC #4 – Category: Broken

DSCN9279 (1280x960).jpg

OH MY GOODNES IS HE NOT ADORABLE?! Oh. Right. Perhaps I should explain that the bunny isn’t “broken” like that. It’s just a technical way of saying “spotted.” And you thought… Shame on you! XD

This is one of our five baby bunnies, a. k. a. cuteness itself. I believe my brother Logan chose this one. He named it “Higgledy Piggledy” for some strange reason. Don’t look at me! XD Never fear, a bunny post is coming up soon with lots more juicy details and fluzzy pictures.

BIBPC #5 – Category: Old Things

079 (1280x960)

Last night we acquired a few lovely, ancient books from my great-grandma. One is called “Human Use Geography.” I find that quite funny. Human Use? As opposed to what, penguin use? XD But seriously, it’s a really neat book! There are notes and names and scribbles all throughout the book, and some pages are practically falling out.

060 (1280x960)065 (1280x960)063 (1280x960)069 (1280x960)070 (1280x960)

This would also have been a good photo for the “Broken” category. Broken is often quite beautiful, isn’t it? We’re all like old books in that way, I guess – broken but beautiful. 🙂

***Allison***