The best treasure I ever found in one of my story keepers was a letter written by one of my great grandfathers. The keeper is a cardboard box used to mail a small collection of items when one of my aunts broke up housekeeping. I crept down the stairs to the guest bedroom and pulled the carton from the top shelf of the closet. Checking the address and date, one wonders why it took so long for the “keeper of stories” (me) to take a look. Carefully wrapped, because it was framed in glass, was the 1870 bill of sale for a piece of land for $25.00. Nice, but not the best treasure. Pictures of relatives from the 1800s, a birth certificate for my grandmother born in 1872, but best of all, a letter carefully written in clear crisp penmanship on fragile lavender paper which told the reader so much about the man who composed it.
“My Dear Mr. Bennett,
I am a devotee’ of your ideas as explained in your periodical, ‘Truth Seekers Around the World.’ I have just recovered from a serious illness when I felt I would soon know the answer to your question about an after life. Due to my recovery, I will have to wait for the answer. My wife and daughters spend their evenings reading and working the exercises in the ‘Truth Seeker’.”
Three more pages are filled with the author’s devotion to D.M. Bennett. This “Keeper of Stories” finds her mind overflowing with imaginary pictures of the family and what their life was like. The letter was saved, never mailed, because D.M. Bennett died before the next stage came through the valley. Of all the old letters I have found and read, this is the greatest treasure of all and its author holds a well-earned place in BY THE RIVER, my first historical novel.