Post Cards From The Heart – Bessie And Florence?


 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.

Unreadable Date

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.

Lovingly, S

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press is publishing her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBT organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBT history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
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4 Responses to Post Cards From The Heart – Bessie And Florence?

  1. Bob says:

    This is fascinating stuff, Sheila.

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    • I can hardly stop reading them! It’s like a puzzle putting them together by people. Honestly, post cards must’ve been the thing to send in the early 1900s. Oh, and the stamps are all 1 cent so they are truly penny picture post cards. I find that remarkable. I’m so glad you’re enjoying, too!

      Like

  2. That is so cool. So much fun. Ill keep coming back to see where this ends up!

    Like

    • Thanks so much…I think it’s a remarkable find. Have been wanting to get back to the post cards all weekend but have gotten sidetracked on more pressing issues. Today is the day! Thanks for reading…

      Like

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