A few days ago, I watched an amazing woman speak in front of the Canadian parliament. Her name is Malala Yousafzai. I knew a little bit about her, but after hearing her speak to them, I wanted to know more, so I ended up on Wikipedia.. I know, not the know all be all of Malala, but it was a quick summary, and got me going on a day of research.

I read that she had many tragedies in her life, and they all burned into me.

One that struck me though, was a summer she spent without many books and how that really bothered her. Girls all over the world are deprived of books and an education, and it is wrong.

I thought back on my life, and how I had always had access to books, and what a great memory that was. It was also a treasure.

It made me recall some of the places I had gotten my books.. garage sales, as gifts, and from libraries of course, but we owned piles of encyclopedias and many, many reference books and other books.

For some reason, I also thought of a box or two of books that we had gotten from a teacher we lived next to when I was around 10 I think…it made me recall something that I still had from that woman.

 

A long time ago, I lived in a really small town in Ohio. Really small. I was a kid, and I lived in a house on Standard Avenue in Masury, Ohio.

We had a very wonderful and sweet neighbor named Mrs. Edwards. Or, her maiden name- Mary Louise Dew.

From what I recall, she was a teacher at some point in her life. She was kind and gave me a ton of books. It seems at some point when we lived in one of the two homes that she owned, she passed away. I think at that point we came to own some more of her books.

I suspect they were cleaning her home out,  and asked if we wanted them. Of course we did…

I found a letter inside of one of these books, and it touched me as a kid. I kept it.

In fact, I have had it for about 30 years or so. It has been in an envelope, and I had written some info on it, in my 10 year old scrawl- to not throw it away.

It was folded up when I found it, and the seams of the paper are getting rather thin and will certainly come apart soon.  It is not in great shape.

I keep it in a fire proof safe in my house..it has been in there for almost 20 years… It seemed so important to me. This week, it occurred to me, that really, it isn’t mine, and that maybe it should go back to the family. I took it out of the safe and scanned it. I have a little audience here, on my blog, and thought- what a better place to share it than this? Someone somewhere may know her.

I googled a bit, but did not really find much to point me to a relative that might still be alive. I do recall that there was a girl that was about my age, or a bit older, that I had planned to correspond with. I don’t remember ever doing that- but her name was Mary Alice Payne.

I want to say they lived in Illinois. But that is a memory from long ago.

So my question is- does anyone know Mary Louise Dew, or Mary Louise Edwards?

The Essay

This is her essay “One Horror of War.”

It is dated January 12, 1942.  If you know your history, this is not long after Pearl Harbor.

 

 

So- Do you know Mary Louise Dew? I would love to get this back to her family, or at least let them see it.. not sure they ever knew about it, and it seems like a pretty cool essay.

Leave a comment if you know anything. Share it maybe?