I noticed in the Thresher story from yesterday’s post that the president of the sophomore class accompanied Dr. Lovett on the trip to bring Warren Goss’s body home to his parents. The sophomore’s president that year was Otto Eisenlohr, whose letters to his girlfriend back in Dallas while he attended Rice now reside in the Woodson’s vault. On a hunch I went and looked.
What I found was a letter from Mrs. Goss. I can not imagine how she sat down to write this letter. Her grace and dignity, her generosity, her insistence on maintaining gentle manners in the face of what had to be emotional desolation–I find these to be truly noble. The final paragraph is devastating to me–Oh lucky Mrs. Eisenlohr, who still has a son to visit with!
A hundred years later I am sorry for her loss.
An amazing letter at such a sad time…
Melissa, what a moving story. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea about the memorials. It made me think of one of my classmates, friend and teammate, Merideth Morton, who died in a car accident our Sophomore year. What does one need to do to establish a memorial on the Rice Campus? Merideth was a terrific person and I would like to look into this.
I’ve said it before, but from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, people really knew how to write letters, especially in times of grief. The condolence letters one sees from that period are almost uniformly thoughtful, concise, and eloquent. They took time to write — which is the point — but they didn’t take all that much time; people were just good at it. A far cry from “Sorry for your loss” on Facebook.