Letters From Rachel

As I was at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of my biggest “discoveries” were letters I found between Rachel and her niece, Geraldine. It was my older sister who actually came across these letters as she was constantly complaining about being stuck in an archive on a Saturday afternoon in Harlem. It was the moment Rachel became real to me (sounds a bit strange, I know). I had pictures, articles she wrote for newspapers, and census documents; however, I did not have any handwritten letters by Rachel or her signature. I was not expecting to find these artifacts because I was researching the lives of Hilda (1910-1975) and Geraldine (1936-1986). I did not cry, I am not that emotional, but I have to say I was one of the happiest women in New York that day.

4INDIPosters-01-2

Updated Poster for Rachel Flowers

4IN-Geraldine-01

First Poster for Geraldine Wilson ( I already have to redo this one, I messed up on her date of graduation)

4IN-Hilda -01 (1)

First poster for Hilda Clifford Flowers Wilson

The first letter was written February 3, 1976. Personal letters always shows people at their best and worst. It also provides you with family nicknames.
Geraldine—Jerry, Gerry, Gerry-cakes
Rachel—Rachel, Aunt Rae

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Citation:
Rachel Flowers
1976, 1979
Letter
SC-MG-380
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Transcription:

Dear Jerry,

You had said over the phone that you would contact me when you returned to New York. I did not contact you because Harry told me you were delayed in Jackson.
I was exceedingly sorry that I was unable to attend the funeral and too Harry said the burial was about a hundred miles out of Jackson. I hope that you are feeling fine health wise and that you are more relaxed after the painful experience. Having gone through a similar experience—it takes something out of one.
I received your note and also the pocketbook. To be honest, I’m sorry that you sent it to me. You stipulated(?)—please don’t put it on the shelf. However, it would be difficult as explained how I would feel carrying it. Under the same circumstances, how would you feel? Please suggest what I shall do with it and or shall I return it to you? The one thing I really wanted as a “keepsake” was one of the funeral bulletins/programs, and in the event everything had not been taken care of burial wise, perhaps, I could keep somewhat, I didn’t were my flowers for such occasions-and in my will I will not have any (?). The one thing I was happy about was that your mother spent a week here and she said she enjoyed the trip immensely. Although, we were miles apart and didn’t see each other too often—I’m still grieved over her demise.
We have been having some near zero weather, but today has been a mild, much warmer day. Of course, the cold weather doesn’t bother me too much—its really the wind. Note from Gladys said she had been reading about the weather her and that she was happy that she was in L.A. where the weather at the moment was 84 degrees.
Are you back at college? If you can find time drop me a line.
Love Aunt Rae

3/3/76

Dear Gerry—

It was really a pleasant surprise to have you visit me. I remained in the house all day on Thursday as you had stated in your letter on 2/23 that you would be in Philly on Wednesday or Thursday—then you didn’t show-up. Also I had called you almost every evening for over a week prior to the letter and also called your friend’s home and she said that she would give you the message. How does one “catch-up” with you, anyway? (Smile)
I received that most beautiful card. It was beautiful from the standpoint-it really touched me. You couldn’t have sent me anything more impressive. I’m going to frame the picture of the ship. Every time I look at it, I thank of Hilda your mother. I read the verse with tears. I have it with one that your Aunt Gladys sent me Thanksgiving on my bureau.
The letter (copies) to Mr. Schnece(?) and Dr. Owens were most interesting. And I be the most happy to receive the picture and the program.
You may be able to attend the History Association’s Bicentennial Luncheon at the Ben Franklin Hotel, May 15th. Rev. Dr. Theodore Jones, Associate Vice President, Office of Educational Programs—Temple University, will be the guest speaker and we are expecting C. Delores Tucker, Security of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be an honoree—“The Woman of the Year.”Of course, I hope you will be able to drop by before that.
I was talking to Harry and Doris. They are still working on the house.
Perhaps you will drop me a line or give me a ring any evening —-(?). Hope you are fine.
Love,
Aunt Rachel

9/4/1979

Dear Gerry,

Are you alright? I had written you, but heard nothing. I talked with Janet a couple of times and she hadn’t heard from you at least she was unable to get to you on the phone, but prior to that she did hear from you and you were coming over to spend the week-end, which I had looked forward to, and was disappointed when you didn’t come.
Any way, are you alright? I certainly hope that you will drop me a line and let me know how you are. You had promised to keep in touch. Also if there is anything you want me to do let me know.
This is just a not. Shall look forward to hear from you more later.

Love and concern
Aunt Rachel

12/13/79
Dear Gerry,

Certainly hope this finds you in the best of health.
You have no idea how much I appreciate the beautiful flowers that I received for Mother’s Day. It meant so much, because I love flowers. Also I received the Mother’s Day greetings. Thanks a million seems so small. Flowers, to me, are like a pot of gold.
I hope that your trip to Indiana was pleasant. Will get in touch with you later, as I have several pieces of mail that must be in the P.O. before 12 noon.

Love
Aunt Rachel

Hope you enjoy reading.
Until the next post.

Christina

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