You already know I’ve been slowly collecting the poems of Edgar Guest, who was my dad’s godfather. He was a very popular poet, known as the People’s Poet, was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, had a long-running radio show and was, from everything I hear about him, a great guy.
I wrote about him recently when I found another volume of his poems. The other day, a package arrived in the mail from my cousin Eileen. Eileen’s mother was my Aunt Lettie, my dad’s sister. Aunt Lettie was my favorite aunt (my vintage dress form, Letitia, is named after her) and was the member of my dad’s immediate family who kept all the family records and memorabilia. She knew all the stories. Thank goodness she did. When Aunt Lettie died, Eileen inherited a lot of that memorabilia.
Back to the package. I opened it up and inside was a note from Eileen saying that my posts about Edgar Guest reminded her of something that was in Grandma Hill’s things. She wanted me to have it.
It’s a booklet. Let me show it to you.
It’s about 8 x 10 inches. As far as Eileen and my cousin Mike can remember, the Pelletiers were friends of my grandparents. I asked my dad and he concurs, but as the youngest kid in a family of six kids, he doesn’t remember much more than that. It sounds like the Pelletiers, the Guests and the Hills were all friends.
I don’t know whether this sweet booklet was sent out as a Christmas greeting or for some other reason, but let’s look inside:
Each page has a photo of the Pelletier’s home in the country, which was clearly a place that Edgar Guest loved to visit. We’re not sure where it was, and my dad reminds me that what was considered the ‘country’ in those days could have been on the outskirts of Detroit.
The little booklet is full of poems that Guest wrote about the Pelletiers. (Pronounced, according the rhymes in the poems – PEL a TEARS. Or maybe PEL TEARS?) I’ve done a bit of research and some of these poems were published. All of them may have been published, I just haven’t got that far.
It’s full of photos of their house, their horses…
Their prize cow, which Mr. Pelletier purchased for a rather exorbitant sum.
Their rather elegant dogs.
The living room of their home, which reminds me an awful lot of the living room in the Craftsman-style house we rented in San Diego. The photo caption on this one is “Caught Napping.” There’s another photo with a Mission-style rocker, so we’re talking early 1900’s (maybe 1910-20 at the latest?) which is also evident by the hair styles of the women and their dresses. I’ll have to take a picture of that photo and share it with you at a later date.
I’m still researching the Pelletiers. Their names come up as residents of Detroit and certainly in Guest’s poem titles. Interestingly, the announcer for Guest’s radio show was Vincent Pelletier, a well-known announcer in the days of radio. Whether he was some sort of relation to these Pelletiers, I don’t know.
Isn’t this amazing?
Imagine how flattered the Pelletiers must have been to have their pal, Edgar Guest, write poems about them!
I don’t know how many of these booklets the Pelletiers sent out, but I can’t imagine there are many of them around. One library has a copy of it in their archives, but that’s the only mention of the actual booklet I’ve found.
I am so thrilled to have this in my Edgar Guest collection. Thank you, Eileen.
My dad’s parents both died before I was born, so the only way I ‘know’ them is through the stories of my dad and aunt. I have a lot of things that were my maternal grandmother’s, but nothing from the Hill side of the family. That is, until last year, when Eileen sent me this:
A tiny little china dog, marked Germany, that was my Grandma Hill’s. She was of German descent. When I opened that package (not long after my mother’s death) and read Eileen’s note, I started crying. Funny how that happens. It meant more to me than I had ever realized it would to have something from the grandmother I never knew. I don’t know how old this little guy is, but Eileen tells me he sat on their hutch for as long as she can remember.
Neither Eileen or I knew Grandma Hill. Neither did my sisters. I’m not sure about my brother; if he knew her at all, he was just a baby. So this little guy means a great deal and I was so touched that Eileen shared him with me.
New post up on Just Let Me Finish This Page.