by Sue Nickum
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
and I live in Fremont, California.
A few years ago, I was publishing a memoir written my my grandfather when he was 94 years old. I was also pulling together other family documents and photos to publish in a second part of the book.
My mother was alive then, and she was helping me as much as she could by mail. We wrote letters to each other every single week for many years, so you have to believe me when I tell you that I had some ingrained letter-writing habits.
In my research, I'd found a woman who sent me quotes from a book to indicate that my great grandfather (Hardy Thompson) had been a retired miner. In one letter to my mother, I mentioned that it was the first reference I'd had to Hardy's occupation, and I asked her if she knew this to be true. She did not.
My letters were always 2 sheets, front and back, generated on my computer. I always finished at least the first sheet on Friday night and the rest of the letter early Saturday morning. That means that the first sheet sat on my desk overnight.
A couple weeks later, my mother asked me why I'd written "well driller" across my letterhead on that letter. I hadn't. She tore off that part of the letter and mailed it to me -- on the back was the paragraph where I was asking about Hardy's occupation, and on the front -- in neither my handwriting nor hers -- were scrawled those words "well driller" across my name and address. We were mystified.
I mentioned it in a letter to my uncle later, and he misunderstood -- he thought it was knowledge that I had. He responded by writing, "The first time Pa told me his father was a well driller, I tried to correct him, saying 'You mean well digger, don't you?' He answered 'No! I mean well driller!"
So, I'm convinced that Hardy Thompson was a well driller, and I'm equally convinced that a spirit wrote it down for me!
Submitted: Tue Jan 11 17:01:24 2000