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#3109: Willa Cather to Helen Louise Cather Southwick, August 17, 1946

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My dear Helen Louise1,

Miss Lewis4 was awfully ill for ten days after we got here2, had to have all her meals in bed. She was terribly discouraged and so was I but at last she has rallied and once on her feet seems to get on very fast. This morning she has gone into the village to have her hair washed and do a little shopping.

It was very hard for me to come away from New York5 without seeing you again, my dear. Various illnesses and complications at my apartment6 have given me so little time to see you while you have been settled7 in New Jersey8. But I think you must know what pleasure it gave me to be with you when I could see you, and how much a reunion with you and your brother9 meant to me. I was very very fond of both of you when you were little children. Sometimes the little children we love turn out to be very different creatures as they grow older; but with you and Charles that was, happily for me, not the case. After I said good-bye to you as little children I did not see you again until you were grown into the kind of people you were destined to be in this world, -- and every trait that I had loved in both of you had remained the same. Growing up had given to each of you wider interests and even more personal charm than you had when you were little. I felt such pleasure and satisfaction in being with you both; in watching the better family traits come out in each of you, and with those the individual things which come from no family and which are one’s very own and derived from nobody. And I still take the same pleasure in being with either ofyou that I felt when you were children, and, in addition to that, a comradeship which will mean a great loss to me when you go away. bBut I am not going to let you escape me altogether. If you cannot come back to New York occasionally, I shall manage to escape to the ASTICOU INN
Schenley Hotel10 occasionally, though I should have to adopt an assumed name11 on the hotel register. I know too many there12 to go under my own name but all the people I really care about are either dead or have gone abroad to live. The undesirables are always there, you know!

With a heartfull of love Your Aunt Willa She died the following April, as you know, and never got to Pgh.