Life can sneak up on you when you least expect it. I visited my family in Indiana this month, and Dad asked if I wanted to help go through my grandparents old boxes to help him sort things out. We pulled dusty box after dusty box into the living room, plopped into recliners, and started sifting through way more history than I ever dreamed I’d see.
My grandpa kept everything. Everything. Journal after journal, diary after diary dating back to before 1900. And it made sense. I felt like I fit in. My great Uncle Mervin kept little homemade drawing booklets of birds and trees; my grandfather painted and crafted; and my great, great, great Aunt Luciel wrote poetry.
What amazed me more than anything, was not only did Luciel write it, but it was here. My grandfather had several of her poems. This girl was born in 1907, and I was holding handwritten poetry from her. I was almost afraid to touch it. The writing was, for the most part, legible. Her penmanship was beautiful, and almost every single poem had both a rough draft and a final draft included in a small leather box.
Included with these was a letter to New York asking them to publish her poetry.
I don’t know entirely know what it would have been like to be a woman writer asking to be published in the early 1900s, but I like to think that she was very bold and brave. After some searching, I don’t see any of her work online, or much anything about her other than family tree research. Just looking at the picture of her as a young girl though, I see the same secret humor and wit that I always saw in my grandpa.
It touched my life in a way that I can’t completely write out to “meet” her in this way. I decided that in the coming weeks I am going to write about her poems and share them with the internet. If she wasn’t published before, now, in some roundabout way, she will be. People can enjoy her work over 100 years later and see it from both similar and different perspectives.