The Journey of the Letters, #20

This may be the last installment I will write for a while on the collection of more than 300 letters I have from my ancestors in the nineteenth century. 

It is time to turn my attention to some other topics; time to finish the historical novel I am writing about my great-great grandparents, Will and Eliza Tomlinson of Ripley, Ohio.

The letters started me on this journey. The letters will, I believe, complete it. The story they tell has become part of my story.

But now it is time to focus less on my role in this story and concentrate more on the story of Will and Eliza. Theirs is a story of what it was like to live in a prosperous but dangerous place during an exciting but terrifying time. Theirs is the story of people whose soulful love, passionate loyalties, and courageous stands created uncommon bonds and uncanny enemies.  

Their story is the story of the borderlands, those liminal places where enemies meet and clash; where the channels of a mighty river unite and divide; where the hills are haunted with betrayal and reunion. In such country, border country, even the most solitary sojourn is crowded with faces of regret and redemption. 

Yet, as the letters demonstrate again and again, it is in the swirling currents at the river’s edge that our loyalties, our loves, and even our lives are formed. There, where the past washes up on the shores of the present, we can, if we choose, chart a better tomorrow.

May the wind be at your back.


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