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Finding similarities between the past the and present

I am sometimes surprised at how similar the past is to the present.  Our society is currently experiencing things that feel new and unprecedented, but if you look back, the worries of yesterday are still common today.  In the following letter from 25-year-old George Hormel to his mother, dated May 23, 1886, he talks of his hair turning gray, missing his sister’s graduation, economic challenges, the weather, and one’s health.

“Dear Mother,

Here I am at Austin, Minn, where I am well acquainted with a nice circle of young folks, and always spend a very pleasant Sunday.  Just came home from evening services, where I heard a very fine temperance lecture.  I felt proud when he dwelt on the subject of tobacco.  I am surprised at myself to think that I can keep from it so long.  Now it is nearly five months since I have even put a cigar to my lips.  Oh, I’ll be a model young man before I get gray.  That time isn’t far distant.  I am getting that way now, that is slightly so.

So Susie is to graduate soon.  I am very sorry I can’t be there.  I guess I will send a check for $25.00 as a substitute.  How will that do?

Business seems to be picking up a little now in our business.  That is, it is more settled than it has been…

…Iowa is not the only place in the world where we will come in contact with water spouts and cyclones…They expect a big cyclone through here between the 21st and 25th.  We are having a big wind now perhaps it is coming…

Trusting these lines will find you all in good health.  I remain your son, Geo A Hormel”

I find some comfort in this letter as I know George Hormel made it through the mentioned woes, and I know that he withstood many more.  My son is a high school senior. Not having family with us to celebrate that milestone will be sad.  My hair is graying by the day because my hair dresser can’t work right now.  The economy is certainly unsettled, and who knows what our Minnesota weather will do on a daily (or hourly) basis.

But I am healthy, as are the people around me, and we are taking precautions to stay that way.  I hope your worries are few, your outlook is positive, and that you also remain healthy.

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