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#1887: Willa Cather to Helen Louise Cather, December 20, 1939

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My dear Helen Louise1:

Here is just a little check for a Christmas card. I am sending very modest Christmas cards this year because great misfortunes have happened to some of our friends at Grand Manan3. Our carpenter4 is very ill because he can't get over the shock of his son's5 death. His son just went out in the woods and shot himself after a quarrel with his very gentle old father. A week later, one of our most faithful helpers Willie Thomas6, suffered a great loss. His house burned down at night. He and his brother and his old mother escaped in their night clothes. No insurance - lost everything. One neightbor gave enough timber for a new house, and the Island fishermen volunteered to build it. A half dozen of us pooled together and supplied the money for all the iron fittings, the cement, doors, windows, furniture, bedding, etc., etc. The twins7 would tell you what a fine old fellow Willie is. He is over sixty years old, and is still one of the best tree hewers on the Island.

It seems absurd to have both West Virginia8 and Margaret9 as near as Boston10, and yet never to see them. But I am trying awfully hard to finish a book11 that has been dragging on for a long while. I quit it altogether when you Uncle Douglass12 died, and four months later, when I was just picking it up again, Isabelle13 died in Italy14. So this book has had very bad luck. Books are just like people; some have good luck in their making and some have bad.

I am so glad you can be near the grandparents Garber15. I am ordering some carnations for Mr.s. [illegible]Garber's Christmas. I chose those because she can smell them, even if she can't see them very well.

Heaps of love to you, dear, and don't forget me. We shall see one another again some day, and then it will be as if we had not been separated for so long.

Your very loving Aunt Willie