Yes, I am working my way to the bottom of my mother’s papers and just found something that strikes me as being SO STRANGE!

In with my mother’s mother’s college graduation information from Boston University 1917 and masters graduation transcript and information for the University of Minnesota in 1918 I found two very old regular size envelopes with ‘Bureau of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 6 Park Street, Boston, Mass. printed on them.  Neither envelope was ever mailed or addressed – but here is what is written in my mother’s child handwriting – evidently before she even knew how to spell her own name (I am going to correct the spelling here in this text):

On the first one:

and presently upon her breast a baby raised and cried aloud.  Her mother was so surprised she wept upon her golden hair which was upon her breast.  She wept and wept until a bride arrived and swept

On the second one:

a ruined city in my heart.  Of the deep wilderness of the wood where you and I shall walk free as when I rode that day where the bare foot maiden raked the hay.


[actual spelling of her name is Mildred] – ah, my youngest sister solved the puzzle – partly:

“As you point out, very precocious of her to understand the meaning of the poetry.”


Famous poet, John Greenleaf Whittier:


Free as when I rode that day,

Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay.”

The strangeness of these two pieces – archetypal image of the mother and baby – but why with the sorrow and the weeping?  – prophetic?
THIS is what I believe took my mother to Alaska. THIS is what called her to homestead.
Archetypal – prophetic of the HUNGER FOR THE LAND, of the ruined city in the heart – reminds me of her dark rainbow storm dream – healed upon the land?

I would think because of the misspelled words that my mother did not copy these words from some other text, which does not mean that she didn’t know the words from some other place.  Of course the context for these writings will never be known, but they definitely have been saved for a very long time – probably since around 1935 (when my mother was 10 or even from an earlier time).

This looks about like an age eight handwriting – even then the seeds of how my mother’s life turned out had certainly already been planted within her beginning with not having her needs met from infancy forward.  The loss of her grandfather, of her father, and the loss of her mother when her mother went to work to support her family once she had divorced when my mother was five.

Whatever all the combined influences were in her very early years, I can’t help but wonder about these images contained upon these envelopes that have probably traveled 25,000 miles and are 75 years old today, June 16, 2010 when I found them:  The a troubled mother with her infant daughter and the yearning for the healing of the land.

How would it happen that a child this young would understand the meaning of these phrases, “a ruined city in my heart” and “the deep wilderness of the wood where you and I shall walk free?”  I wonder.  I have to deeply wonder.

(And if these are archetypal images with their archetypal figures, whom might the ‘bride’  and ‘the barefoot maiden’ be?)


This reminds me of something I wrote August 21, 2007 on a little piece of paper that I dropped into the ‘mess’ of my mother’s papers and also found today:

Did Mother have to pay the price for “going on being” by leaving the biggest part of who she was and who she could have been and was meant to be — behind?

(Informed compassion) – Understanding frees me to love my Mother — and then to love myself better — as an extension of her (and Dad).  If we “hate” a parent we cannot help but have that hatred carry over to how we feel about our self.


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