‘Old Aunt Syd’ to Charles in California – 20 Sept 1923

December 26th, 2015

21 Dartmouth Square, Dublin

20th September 1923

Dear Charlie,
Need I say I was delighted to get your letter. It should have been answered much sooner but I have been ill as perhaps Bertie may have told you. And am still rather a good-for-nothing old rag !, but better lately. You see I am such an old woman now, that I cannot skip back to health and normal strength like you young folk.

I was 84 last July so I am sure you will make allowances for my hobbling age ! But it was good to get your letter and I hope to hear from you again when you can spare time for it.

Yesterday’s paper here said you have had an earthquake in California.I hope it wasn’t near you and that you are all safe? After the awful one in Japan, it makes one feel very anxious and the whole earth seems to be shakey. There is a very nice young cousin of ours (Sylvia Bushe) in Japan and we were uneasy about her but the cablegrams have given her name and those of her friends there as “safe”. That is all we know.

Yes, yes I have you and Lily much in my thoughts. I daresay Lily remembers me too, for we met in the old ‘Woodbank’ days. How good a good “gosther” (as our Irish people would call a chat) would be. I wonder if you like California much better than British Columbia. The climate must be very much nicer and it is such a fruit growing country.

Yes 21 Dartmouth Square is still where I am. My landladies would like me to give it up to them but I have been too ill to move, and I have Sarah – a very faithful old friend with me still, but my beloved “Laddie” died long ago, and it was a great grief to part with him. Some years later we had another collie, “Wolf” that we were also very fond of but he too is dead and now I have no dog because I think it would be cruel to keep a dog in town now that I could not take him out for runs – but I miss them – and also several beloved pussies. Only one cat “Wops”remains with us now – a real spoilt pet !

I have no “Ear Snake” now as I am too deaf now even to hear with it – so I carry pencil and paper instead and some of our friends talk on their fingers.

I am sorry you don’t hear quite well. Nothing is so bad for our “family ears” as catching colds or sore throats – for the inside passages from the throat to the inner side of the ear get choked up with the catarrh and little by little prevents sounds. So avoid colds of all sorts and wet feet and sore throats most of all.

You ask about your uncle Johnny Franks. He died years ago and I needn’t say what a sorrow it was to lose him. Your aunt Kitty and Rosalie now live at Malahide, not very far from Howth, some miles out of Dublin on the other side near where Jim Franks and his family live. Your aunt’s other three daughters are all married – Kitty Stokes and Annie Wilkinson (the twins) live not far from her and Dolly Dixon, the youngest, and her husband and two boys live near Dublin at this side. So far “the wild Irish” as you truly call them, have not pushed them out, but as you see in your papers, many sad and terrible things have happened. The North however is getting on all right.

I suppose you know ‘Woodbank’ has been let go and Mary is in England looking for some little place for herself now. It is hard to get any place now, either here or in England. Mary in her last letter asked if I had any news of you as she had not heard for a long time. She is very lonely now that your dear old father is gone – and she was so good to him. I am sure she would love to hear from you. Sydney too is in England and busy painting.

Old loves and friends are never forgotten though oceans may roll between, and years and years pass by.

With love to you and Lily and hoping to hear soon again from you.

Your affectionate old aunt, Sydney

Sydney Franks was a sister of Emma Frances Franks who was Charles Loftus Bland’s mother. The Franks family had seven girls and five boys.


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