For some reason these letters are still around. They date between 1876 and 1895. They’ve made their way through many hands and even more moves. I found them in the box that was supposed to be the first of many to sort through in a pre-Valentine’s day purge. Instead of sorting through junk, I met relatives I never knew, lived moments of life in an Ontario long gone by, and discovered that, occasionally, history does repeat itself.
These are personal letters, mostly between my great-great grandparents, Ida Emma Fitch and Jacob Johnston Baker. Letters between two young people falling in love and eventually living a long life together. I have sometimes wondered if I should even be reading them, let alone sharing them: when we write a letter to someone, most of us don’t usually think it will end up in anyone else’s hands . Sure, there are those writers who expected their personal correspondence to be published, but in spite of Ida’s life as a poet, I don’t think that she thought that anyone other than her “Jake” would be reading these letters.
So, with gratitude for what the letters have taught me and with respect for my great-great grandparents, I invite you to take a look into what I have come to think of as a window into a shared past.