Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Secret Gift by Ted Gup

I learned two important things while reading this interesting story of a suitcase full of letters discovered in the author's mother's attic after her death.  The first thing is that we should all be careful not to throw away valuable letters, postcards, photos and newspaper clippings. Everything you save and hold is an entry into an amazing story like this one.

Ted Gup discovers a suitcase of letters written to a mysterious person named B. Virdot.  B. Virdot was his grandfather who had promised the residents of Canton some Christmas cheer during the depression.  The letters Mr. Gup found all asked for a small piece of that cheer.  They open a fascinating portal to the ethos and history of that very sad era in American history.

The letters and story made me curious about how my own grandparents from Erie, Pennsylvania made it through the depression and led me to the secong thing I learned which was my grandparents story of survival during the depression. My mother told me that they bought their small plot of land and the material to build a small house. They added rooms to the house as they could afford them. They also planted fruit trees and a large garden.  They had a chicken coop filled with chickens.  So even in the years when my grandfather only worked one day a week, they owned their home and land and had food on the table.  My mother noted that in addition to thier own kids (two) they also took care of two other family members.

What windows do you have on another era of time?  What secrets do your suitcases hold?  These are good questions to ask the people we love who lived through that time.  Mr. Gup did a great job of tracing the letters writers and their stories through the ages and learning about and understanding his own grandfather's story.


Steph said...

I love stories based on letters. This one is true?

Esmerelda said...

True--all true. Fabulous.