Letter from Ellen McGrath 
to Nellie Schuler McGrath 
after Tom died  1934

“Dear Nellie:

                Your letter has just come.  My heart is broken.  I cannot bear to think of baby in a nursery at night - no one to kiss her little feet.”

Ellen McGrath’s 1934 letter to her sister-in-law Nellie Schuler McGrath, wife of Tom McGrath after his death.

E.S. Galban

15y K, Vidado

Habana, Cuba

September 26, ’34

Dear Nellie:

    Your letter has just come.  My heart is broken.  I cannot bear to think of baby in a nursery at night - no one to kiss her little feet.  Oh Nellie don’t do it.  Please.  Come down with her and rest a month in the sunshine and keep the picture of her comfort in your heart.  Bring her play coop.  We have porches and gardens and no winters.  I cannot see to write for my tears are blinding me.  Poor, poor Tom.  It seems like yesterday since he was here in this room with me.  I can’t believe that he is gone.  Tom would give her to me if anything had happened to you.  He said to me “Nell, you were God.”  He was remembering the old days.  I had invited you both to come this winter or last winter.  Little Nell was not yet born.  He hadn’t quite accepted the invitation.  I did not know why he hesitated.  Poor foolish boy.  I know now and he kept his foolish little secret from me.  Oh, if I had only met you.  I always thought you were a Protestant and that was why I avoided mentioning religion in my letters.  We had an argument and I was peeved.  I snapped at him and he snapped back.  I still had no idea of the real truth.  My, how blind we mortals are.  We cannot see into the world even of the best beloved.  We have no power to read the hidden thought.  Oh!  I am crying out to God night and day to forgive that terrible foolishness.  Nellie, imagine carrying out the farce in writing.  Oh!  If only Marie had got the story straight in Kentucky.  But we had to be hit on the heads to understand it. 
Tom was such a pious little boy.  We thought he was going to be a priest.


    Victor’s mother is having trouble with her lease.  I have invited her down for the winter.  She too is broken up with her only child across the ocean.  Maybe the two of you would come together.  Margaret is very loving.  She would adore the baby.

    Now brace up and give that little mite a chance.  We are not so far away.  We will be up and down all the time, and when she begins to talk she would do like my little one learn several languages from the cradle up.  We must give her a fine education and fit her properly for life.

    Go and talk it over with Mr. and Mrs. Spangler.  They are sweet and lovely.  They will help you to decide.  I want you to come, as then you will know how to reach her every time you feel like.

  Eblin (Elenita) is aching to have her for a little sister. 

With deepest love to you.

              Your sister, Nellie