In addition to all the letters Agnes Tully saved, she also kept some more recent greeting cards. Since we are approaching Easter, I was, of course, glad to uncover such fitting seasonal items. Yet I can’t help but pause to muse over the sadness this mother of six must have felt each time she ran across one particular card stowed in her collection.
Large, colorful, here was a 1951 Easter greeting from Agnes’ baby, Gerald Anthony Stevens. While Agnes had loaned two of her sons to the United States Air Force, and while she later suffered the loss of those same two sons to untimely tragedy, there is just something special about a mother’s baby. Grown and on his own he might have been, but Gerry—Chip—would always be Agnes’ baby. We all know that about our mothers.
Just because all mothers have got to love flowers, Gerry picked a card with lots of colorful blooms—perhaps a welcome sight at the far edge of the cold Chicago winter. This was more than a two dimensional representation, though. What looks like a log from a white birch turns out to be composed of a satiny-textured fabric overlaid upon a padded substance aligned perfectly to protrude through a cut-out placed precisely under the bouquet of flowers. Colorful, with flowers and satin-soft: that’s what Gerry thought would be the perfect Easter greeting for his mom.
In 1951, Gerry was writing from a coded Air Force address. The envelope was postmarked Fort Dix, New Jersey—but who knows where he really was. Hopefully, that March 28 air mail envelope got back to Chicago just in time for Easter.
A Wish for Easter Happiness, Mother
An Easter greeting, Mother
That brings to you once more
A wish for everlasting joy
And happy days galore;
Besides, it also carries
My warmest thanks to you
For all the things you do for me
Each day the whole year through.