Contributed by Kathleen Haynes
Contact Myrtle Bridges June 06, 2008
Fayetteville, June 28th, 1922
5 o'clock - Wednesday afternoon
[To her Niece Jennie]
A peaceful stillness broods over Cross Creek this Summer's afternoon, a hush of moving sunlight and
lengthening shadows lie on the dawn, and my roses breath out perfume and whisper of God's love. I'm here
in body, but in spirit am in a J. G. Church listening to vow's from the beloved Frank that I love and cherish
as my very own - Capt Crettle tells us (and 'tis so true, like everything from Dickens) "the mind is a
wonderful junction" and I find my thoughts are in Sissie's house with dear Sue. Do I not know just how
you are feeling? Have I not drunk of the same cup? I wish it had been expedient for me to have been with
you today, but business tied my hands here. The hardest thing in life is to relinquish our will! Even Christ
felt its weight in dark Gethsemane, and need we poor frail sinful mortals wonder?
What I've endured since Neill left me can never, never be told. It is only known to God and He only can
help for "vain in the help of man." I could not think at first, and alas! I could not pray, but I believe my
trouble ascended to God if it had no words for wings. What a journey of weariness, toil and pain. The past 23
years have been sheer determination, and a strong will have filled the p lace that was once so full of pleasure,
I went on often feeling I'd neither harbor nor shore.
Donald was the last gold link that united me to the beautiful past beyond my own misery and to a present
today by God's help to teach him to emulate his father. I parted with him when he was only 12 for Woodberry,
then Chapel Hill, then 3 years at Harvard, then Europe. God kept him safe from the wreck of sin and folly and
he was all that I'd hoped for and prayed for, my pride, joy, comfort, and delight, the very sunlight of my life.
I'd this for only two years. Again an open grave left with empty arms.
Do you think I do not know? I live now on the priceless promises of the 91 & 23 Psalms the former Donald's
favorite, the latter Neill's. Look at the promise in Isaiah 4th and 6th. Could we ask for more? I shuddered under
the blast of the tempest and yearned to hide myself from the wind that had shivered my very life adrift. I found a
panacea for my sorrow and "Where he giveth quietness, then who can make trouble?"
I bless God for such a married life as mine, the wealth of such tenderness, the blessed shelter of such love,
the perfect comprehension and understanding of each others aims and efforts, to be abundantly and absolutely first
in such a man's heart and mind was infinite perfection. God called me to give all this up. I bless God continually
for giving me an open eye to see what I had and heart and mine to appreciate it. I extracted every ounce of pleasure,
peace and joy out of it. There is not one thing I would change today if it was in my power, not one act or word I'd
alter, not one act or word I'd forget. I told him constantly how I loved him, of my gratitude. I lived to please him
and have his approval. I believe all this will be reserved on a far higher scale in God's own good time, and "I'm
only waiting till the shadows have a little longer grown"-"Lead me, O Christ where all is o'er, Safe home at last,
Where Thou, eternal light of sight, art Lord of all."
I felt when first hearing of this transaction that if I could crawl I'd be in NY today. Consultation with my
best friends put a veto on my going, "You are not physically able to encounter cars, crowds, autos in NY alone,
please do not consider it for a moment." I concluded I'd zeal without judgment and concluded to be a keeper at
home. You may think I've overacted myself I know you too reverent to laugh. I've tried the remedy I prescribe and
know it is the only one, not in a day ah! No heaven is not as easy won, but the only safe refuge is to hide "under
His wing". I've stood over eight open graves, yes nine in your darling mother's and I know I've nothing left that
was once all mine. I know God did it, and I will know why hereafter. I also feel and know "Where thou are Guide, no
ill can come" - Sometimes through the bitterest strife we first learn how to live the highest life. So you know I
often think of the time when I'll give in my accounting to Neill and do not want to feel abashed or dumb with
idleness or selfish indulgence. I want a conscience void of offence to all men. I'm occupied with endeavor and aim
and filled with definite purposes so time does not hang heavy on my hands. I send you a letter from Strickland who
has the Neill Ray Scholarship at Davidson. I've $6,000 memorial to Neill and Donald lifting up men and women to
higher things honoring and fearing God and a tribute to all good men as God ever made. I'm with Sissie's child
today and pray his life may be as blest as mine. I could wish no greater joy than that.
God bless you, Affec. Lala
NOTE: Laura's Death Certificate shows her birthdate was March 4, 1847 in Burke County, NC. She died
of heart disease in Morganton, Burke County, NC at the age of 84.
Source: North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 - Myrtle Bridges
Go to 1898 Letter to Laura from Addie D. Green of Fayetteville
Back to Messages From A Hidden Past