Exams and end-of-year assignments looming? Roommates getting on your nerves? Out of money? Ready for a change of scenery?
Then pity Sarah Boyd, attending boarding school in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. For Sarah, it was a matter of hanging on until the Christmas holiday, when she could escape home to Bath County. Without telephones, Facebook, FaceTime and all the modern tools we have to bridge distance, Sarah was at her wit’s end, despite receiving some unusual care packages from home. Here are some excerpts from her letters to her mother in the fall of 1865:
I am very mutch heart (hurt) to think that no one at home cares any thing about me I am hear and can not hear from home I (have) writen t(w)o leters this is thre(e) and have received no answer.
The first thing in the morning I have my bible class next my arithmetic and then recess and then Ph(y)siology and (w)riting then we have noon and then the first thing is Gramer (grammar) and then . . . science and then young ladies reader.
I am not dissatisfied with Mr. Turner (the schoolmaster) for him and Mrs. Turner is as good to me as they can be but there is some hateful girls at this Boardinghouse.
Mary Bats and Em Franklin quarled at me they are the hateful girls . . . (Em) has been trying to run over me ever since I have been here and I have took as much of her as I am a going to . . . Ma I wish you would make me some bit(t)ers and send me. (G)et me some whisky and put some sasparela (sarsaparilla) in it. . . . Mrs. Turner is very kind to me but we do not have very good victiles (victuals).
Dear Ma I received your leter and was glad to hear from you . . . I am so glad you sent me that whisky for I kneed it.
I wish you would send me some money as I kneed some very bad to get stamps and I want to have my photographs taken to bring home . . . Ma that whisky has done me a great deal of good and there is not any of the girls knows I have it.
Ma I want you to have something good to eat for me . . . I am growing impatient about going home.
Poor Sarah. We can only hope that this lonesome and stressed 13-year-old (that’s right, 13) found her way back to the bosom of her family.
A finding aid for Sarah’s letters can be accessed by clicking here. For more collections housed in WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections about Kentucky schools and their students through the generations, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.