Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Letter from A Mother

Once upon a time men (and women) embarked upon adventures to a new world. In a day without regular mail service, no telephones, e-mail, instant messaging or anything of the sort, when a child left for the "new world" that was often the last he would see of his mother. A great and exciting adventure for the son to be sure, but for the mother left at home, wondering how he fares, not so great. And what did those mother's think.

I'm lucky to have had access to The Howard Genealogy by Heman Howard, and in there is a copy of a letter sent from Mary Hayward (alternate spelling of Howard) to her son John. I am a direct descendant of them both.

So, in honor of Mother's Day, here's the letter Mary wrote to her son living in Massachusetts in 1652.

London, Aug 16, 1652

Loving Son:--

Having a fitt opportunity by a friend to send to you, I could not, out of my motherly care to you and your brother, do less than write a few lines to you to certify you that both I and your sister are in good health, praysed be God, and that I earnestly desire to hear from you both, how you do and how and in what condition you are both. Your sister desires to be remembered to you both, and she and I have sent you some small tokens of our love for you. I have sent George 3 bands and a handkerchief, and an handkerchief to yourself, and I have sent you a shilling to you to pay for writing of a letter, if by long silence you have forgott. I wonder, son, you should so forgott your mother, whose welfare she tended more than anything in the world. Your sister hath sent you a book of your f ather's to you and a bible to George. Did we conceive you were alive, we would have sent you better tokens. Child, with my blessing to you both, desiring to hear from you and whether you ever intend for England, and how your cousing Sarah doth, with my daily prayer to the Lord for you, I rest.

Your Loving Mother,

Mary Hayward

For her loving son, John Hayward,

this: --

In case he be dead, to George Hayward in New England.

I especially like how she includes money for him to send a letter. No excuses for him. But, it's also touching that she has to wonder if perhaps he isn't alive, because it would be a real possibility. As it turns out, he was alive, but I don't know if he answered her letter.

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