February 14, 1906
On a Valentine’s Day in 1906 Florence R.L. sent this card from Lebanon, Tennessee to Miss Bettie Bogan in Alabama City, Alabama. A Quiet Spot, where I should like to be with you for a quiet chat today, Florence wrote beneath the picture on the front. A friendly message…simple…direct and signed with the initials F.R. L.
We first met Bettie Bogan in our last post as Mrs. Bessie Moore, wife of Luke. Florence was a mysterious friend who seemed to have no connection to the Bogan or Moore families but was significant enough in Bettie’s life for her to save the cards she received through the years from F. The next post card I found from Florence was addressed to Mrs. Bessie Bogan Moore in Alabama City. It was postmarked from China, Texas which is in Jefferson County. China is still a small town a hundred years later in the midst of the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan complex and I bypass it frequently on my trips from our home in Montgomery to visit my favorite aunt who has lived in Beaumont for more than seventy years.
March 05, 1907
Will write you soon. Florence
Much had happened in the year since Florence mailed Bettie the Valentine’s Card. Florence left the hills of Tennessee for the lowlands of southeast Texas where a collection of chinaberry trees that was a water stop for the Texas and New Orleans railroad in the late 1800s became known as China Grove and later just plain China, Texas. Why the move? Bettie had evidently married Luke Moore in the interim and was now known as Bessie. Bettie to Bessie? Changing last names was the norm, but changing first names? A woman ahead of her time? Or an indication the friendship with Florence had changed because of the marriage?
May 20, 1907
A second card to Mrs. L. P. Moore in Atlanta, Georgia in May of 2007 indicated Florence’s frustration with not hearing from Bessie. Indeed you are mistaken, you are due me a letter. I have about decided all my correspondents have forgotten me. F Polite, but edgy.
A beautiful view of the Neches River in Beaumont was another card Florence sent to Bessie at the Atlanta address. Hello, will write soon. Hope you are well ere this. Was sick last week myself. F
July 5, 1910
The last post card saved was a typical Texas Pasture View whether near Beaumont or not but this one claimed to be in the vicinity. More than four years after the Valentine’s Day card, Florence wrote Bessie in Atlanta one more time.
I rec’d your card few days past. Was just wondering what had become of you…The last letter I had from you was answered long ago. Write to me…Lovingly, F
I wonder about the friendship between these two women in a time long ago – but not too far away. I think I’ll take a side trip to China when I can visit the cemeteries in the area to see if I can find a marker for Florence. Her post cards from the heart moved me, made me sense a kindred spirit and I am drawn to her longing for the quiet chat in A Quiet Spot.