Friday, March 26, 2004

My Nana, a plagiarist for love

Posted on Fri, Mar. 26, 2004   The Philadelphia Inquirer

Pen inspires love; e-mail shares lore

By Kathryn Quigley
The paper is fragile, the handwriting spidery, and the language rather formal. The letter, from my grandfather to his future wife, is dated April 26, 1913.

History in my hands, more than 90 years later.

I found the letter in my father's house with a pile of old family photos. The paper is weathered and creased, with some kind of stain on the front. I read the letter many times and imagined my grandparents when they were dating.

My grandfather, Thomas F. Quigley, lived in West Philadelphia in April 1913. He was a 29-year-old learning the ice cream business, which he would soon turn into a popular ice cream and candy store called Quigley's at 51st Street and Chester Avenue.

My grandmother, Sarah Auchinleck, was a teenager living in South Philadelphia with relatives after her parents had died. She liked my grandfather, but it seems they had some sort of a falling out.

"I noticed that you signed your note 'Always your true and sincere friend.' Do you really mean that?" my grandfather wrote. "As I have felt that for some reason or other I had lost your friendship, the loss of which to me meant that after losing that, nothing else seemed to make much difference."
(Click on the link above to read the rest....)

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