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#3013: Willa Cather to Mary Miner Creighton, August 16, 1945

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Confidential for Mary1 and Carrie3 only. ASTICOU INN4
My dear Mary,

I read the home paper5 pretty faithfully and I want to congratulate you on your election to the chairmanship of the Fifth District. I do think it is admirable and wonderful how you have stood up and held on and made your life useful and happy since the Doctor6 was taken from you. I have watched a good many of these people who try to outrun loss and sorrow by jumping about the country and shaking off responsibilities. It seems to me that by such flightiness people lose their past as well as their present and their future.

Just by holding on to the place that you and Dr. Creighton made together you have held on to something of your old life, and kept continual reminders of him and his way of life with you. The things he cared for and held precious, you have still cared for and kept precious, that is the only way we can hold on to the friends who have been taken from us.

The business of "scrapping the past" is not a real thing -- it is only a temporary anaesthetic, and people who resort to it, generally have very shallow natures. I have long felt proud of you, my dear, that you have kept on a true and loyal course and been mindful of, and faithful to, the past.

I want to ask a little favor of you. It may seem foolish, but I keep on wanting to ask you. It has reached my ears indirectly that our old home7 in Red Cloud8 has been sold. I would be grateful to you if you would lay the ghost and tell me to whom it was sold. I keep wondering whether it did not fall into the hands of some boarding ASTICOU INN
house keeper -- or may be it was cut up into a house for two families. The only pleasant word I have had about the place for years came from Mrs. Frank Frisby9 (Lora McBride that was), about a year ago in response to a letter from me. (My letter merely told her that I was glad to see that the Frisbys10 still had a controlling interest in the Amboy Milling Company.) Lora wrote me that from her house in the town: "From my front windows I can see your old home as soon as the leaves begin to fall." That, at least, tells me that all the trees have not been cut down. I thought my curiosity about it was childish and have hesitated for a long time to write and ask you but I really think it would be quite a satisfaction to me to know what did happen to the old place, even if it is bad news. It is strange how old houses become saturated with the people who have lived in them. You have realized that, and I am sure that you have made a wise choice by living on in the home where you and the Doctor were so happy together.

Please give my love to Carrie and tell her that I want to write to her as soon as I recover from the shock of the atomic bomb11 which seems to me to have destroyed a great deal of the best part of our past and to threaten our future.

Affectionately and with happy memories, "Willie" Cather
ASTICOU INN NORTHEAST HARBOR MAINE Mrs. E. A. Creighton1 Red Cloud8 Nebraska NORTHEAST HARBOR, MAINE2 AUG 17 1945 6-PM The Two FriendsMarie Sandoz
Willa Cather