Back on June 19 I posted this picture of my mother on Facebook..
A few hours later I was tagged in this Facebook post from Becky Cournoyer from MV …
Becky goes on to say…’Found written on the last page of a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress – the list of students of the senior class of 1926, Oak Bluffs High School. Copy of the book was owned by Maude Louise Littlefield. I love finding this stuff!’
And there in black and white is my mother’s handwriting…
I had no idea that this book existed, none at all.
Becky and I post back and forth, a few others join in and the whole thing takes on an eerie air… so many coincidences and things happening on similar dates to both of us.
Becky posts…. ‘I had no idea that finding this book would have any significance. When I found it I appreciated it for the old island names listed. I assumed it belonged to one of the West Tisbury Littlefields, and somehow made it to the farm from one of the book sales the library has during the summer. It makes me wonder what else is yet to be discovered.
I also wonder if this was a graduation present… I recall reading somewhere it was not uncommon back then for graduates to receive books as gifts from the school the students attended.’
And then Becky posts this…
And so 89 years after my mother’s graduation the book that I only learned about recently has returned home to me.
The box has arrived…
…and there tucked inside was… the book…
The progress of this little pilgrim took almost 90 years but it finally made it home.
It was surprising and exciting to find out about my mother’s book only a month ago… but this little book had one more surprise for me !
I carefully opened the book…
and there on the first page was written in my mother’s handwriting… “Miss Maude Littlefield’s was Charles G. Littlefield’s”… I gasped, this book had been my grandfather’s who died when my mother Maude was only 3 years old. This book is over 100 years old and I wish it could talk because I’m sure it has many stories to tell.
I know a lot about my grandmother Albra Mae but I know next to nothing about my grandfather Charles Littlefield and to have something that was his is very special.
Charles Albra Mae
Thank you Becky Cournoyer, thank you Facebook and thank you to the spirits that surround us and sometimes really need to be listened to.
By the way, this all came about because of the post I recently did about my dad CLICK HERE.. because when I was going thru pictures of him the graduation picture of my mother fell out of the pile and when I turned it over and saw it was the exact day 89 years ago I thought it would be neat to post the picture on Facebook… and indeed it was. The mystery of the book has been cleared up for Becky Cournoyer and I get my mother’s book.
Thank you to my grandparents… Charles G Littlefield and Albra Mae Littlefield Grant Baird for their help and guidance 🙂
UPDATE… AUG 7, 2015 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you to Skip Finley for mentioning this story in his Oak Bluffs column in the Vineyard Gazette.
Oak Bluffs Town Column: August 7
Sometimes the history of Oak Bluffs and its people takes a fortuitous turn in providing great stories. I found a sweet story recently thanks to social media about longtime Oak Bluffs resident and visitor Joan Freeman Boyken and Islander Becky Cournoyer. Joan writes a beautiful blog at mvobsession.com that I read with some regularity and that you might enjoy as well.
Joan calls herself a “Vineyard-a-holic” and her blog is filled with new and old pictures of the Island — especially Oak Bluffs — that she uses to share her family history here, going back to before the 1940s to when she was a little girl.
In this story, Ms. Cournoyer, while researching her ancestry, was steered to Mrs. Boyken’s blog by the name Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Baird, the second wife of Arthur Baird Sr., and Joan Boyken’s grandmother.
Albra’s first husband was Charles Littlefield, who died when Joan’s mother, Maude Littlefield, was three years old. Joan posted a picture of Maude on her blog this past June 19, the same day that Becky sent her a note on Facebook that she had a copy of the book Pilgrim’s Progress and that on the last page was a list of the Oak Bluffs High School senior class of 1926 written by the owner at the time, Maude Louise Littlefield.
Do you suppose it was coincidence that graduation day in 1926 was also June 19, the date on the back of Maude’s graduation picture that Joan had posted? Well, how about the part where Maude had written, “If this book should chance to roam give it a kick and send it home.” Becky Cournoyer did just that, sending the copy of Pilgrim’s Progress home to Joan Freeman Boyken.