128 years ago, on January 5th, 1893, Frankie Smith wrote a letter on stationery of “Office of C.R. Breedlove, Horse Brand TZ, Cattle Brand X-Z” to her husband W.R. Smith in Colorado, Texas. Her honest and rather “frank” note details their affairs at home including their infant son (“the lad”), visiting Aunt J. and Lulu in Roby, Texas, and being tired after traveling. Traditionally I spend my holidays driving from Texas to the coast of Georgia and back so I commiserate with her sentiments.
Frankie opens with a classic southern spitfire: “Look-a-here boy.” She then proceeds to scold her husband for not writing her as often as she hoped. In her letter she talks about how the baby “is fat and looks healthy”, and her enjoyment of her X-mas gift of gold-plated buttons from Uncle G. There is also a brief request for W.R. to find an unmailed letter and give it to [Aunt?] J. so that “a certain subject mentioned in that letter” can be settled.
In my favorite part of Frankie’s letter, she tells her husband that she cannot wait to be home again with him, and that she “hope[s] we can have lots of loving.” Being apart from loved ones, especially at the holidays is not easy. Letters like this demonstrate some universality to our human experiences. Whether due to work, weather, sheer back luck, or even a global pandemic, many have felt the pangs of loneliness and separation.
Despite trying times, Frankie finds hope in the future and looks forward to better times ahead for her and W.R. Here’s to hope and a very happy new year in 2021.
Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing the collections. The DeGolyer Library continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.