“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”
-Hyrum Smith, in a letter to June Bushman
People don’t talk this way anymore, much less write. The excerpts shared below are taken from letters written between June Augusta Bushman and Hyrum Smith during their period of engagement from 1906 to 1908. Their tenderness and devotion with one another is an inspiration to read, and has deepened my gratitude for ancestors with such gifts and sensitivity.
Soon, the entire collection of letters will be added and transcribed on their Kindex family archive. In the mean time, here are some words to inspire us.
Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct 7 1906
My Dear June,
This is one of those beautiful Sabbath days that you read about in story books. The trees have a more stately appearance; the breeze sighs gently; the sun’s rays are soft and radiant; the clouds linger near the horizon so they will not disturb the spotless blue above; and the very air partakes of the peaceful influence of this Holy Day.
Snowflake, Ariz. Oct 31, 1906
For two long months I have been looking, anxiously for the promise you gave me the evening I saw you last. (Forgotten you say? Well I haven’t, and if the image doesn’t arrive soon I am going to take a peep at the original, (if the train that goes to Phoenix will stop long enough at the right place.) … Ah Sweet heart, you know full well why times seem dull to me for the first time in my life. I am happy and have always been, yet there is so much gone (that I never missed before I possessed) that seems essential for my complete happiness.
St. Joseph, Ariz., Jan., 1907
Hyrum my Beloved,
Do not say I’m answering rather early, even if your letter did come yesterday. The dearest letter I ever received, it was, and I could hardly keep from answering while I felt that you were near and I could talk instead of write to you. Your letters contain something that I cannot describe, perhaps if you could see me just after reading one you could better tell. They are essential to this little girl as long as your presence is lacking. Yes, I have everything to be thankful for. My Parents are so good to me and such a support. Home seems dearer every day and I am happy. How could I be otherwise with your love and all else that comes to me. Our climate has been almost the reverse from yours. We have had sunny spring weather and the birds are splitting their voices telling us how happy they are.
Flagstaff, Ariz., March 24, 1907
My Dear June,
Do you know how much easier it is to work, to do each day the duty that lies before you, when some one else offers encouragement and is interested in your success or failure? I imagine that I do. From the depths of my heart I appreciate your confidence and trust. Altho I fall far short of being what you say that I am, your unwavering trust is a great incentive to strive to be a worth and fit subject of such love as yours. Your letter was especially good. What do you suppose would happen to me if you should suddenly cease writing? Well, let’s not try just to find out.
Indianapolis, Ind., July 19, 1907
True Heart of Mine,
Ah, Love, you cannot know the joy your words of love brot to this little girl who is so far from you (and yet so near). I cannot believe there is such a distance between us when I feel your presence near me. Your good wishes for me are greatly appreciated, and I know I should be a happy girl, and truly I am and hope to prove worthy of all.
Richmond, Inde., Aug. 4, 1907
This earth is a beautiful garden, with golden sunshine and pearly dew. Then why should we not, as human plants, rise up in strength of our youth and glorify God for his tender mercies, for boundless love? I feel that it is good to live. To know the One who have his life that we might live. Can we appreciate such sacrifice? Do we realize the extent of his love for us? Truly I am guarded every hour, and the blessing of confidence and love is mine.
A sweet sense of peace is mine from the knowledge of your faithfulness. This charming, charming Sabbath day, wish you could feel the serene stillness. Maud and I went to the United Presbyterian Church this morning.
Greenville, Ohio, Aug. 19, 1907
My Own True Heart,
… Well dearest, I rattle away here as if I never intended to stop and I don’t know as my wanderings will interest you at all, but I have to tell you anyhow it seems because you know I am not satisfied to have all the pleasure by my lonesome. I find myself invariable wishing some One were here to make enjoyment doubly sweet.
It is quite impossible to collect my thots for real thinking when I am in so many strange places and seeing so many strange faces, but know this, my beloved, that some one things of someone all the live long day. With undying faith in my over, I remain your devoted June
Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct. 27, 1907
My Dear June:
On this beautiful Sabbath morning I would certainly be out of harmony with the day if I were anything but happy. The quiet dignity of the pines and the mountains with their majestic calmness bespeak the handiwork of the Creator. The mountains are especially beautiful. Their tops are freshly capped with snow, which makes them stand out in bold relief against a deep blue sky.
Your letters always bring good cheer. I envy you your ability as a correspondent. A person who sees and appreciates beauty in everything, unconsciously puts that spirit into everything they do. That is the great difference between us two, you always see the bright side of things while I am inclined to see only the opposite.
Flagstaff, Ariz., Nov. 24, 1907
My Dear June:
This beautiful Sabbath morning fills my mind with thots of love and home. Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved? Of course you do, but it isn’t that often that I take time to enjoy it.
It is hard to realize all of the confidence and trust that is reposed in my by my sweetheart, my mother, brothers, sisters and friends. The realization makes me feel my unworthiness, but on the other hand is an incentive to greater effort. My progress is very slow yet I believe with J.G. Holland that “Heaven is not reached at a single bound, but we build the ladder by which we rise from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies, and we mount to the summit round by round.” Hope you will not work too hard, but take all the pleasure you can get. I know you must have enjoyed that trip with the Salt Lake people. I trust that you will have a pleasant time Thanksgiving Day. I would enjoy being at home with the folks to join with them in their first Thanksgiving Day in the new house but if school work is my business I must attend to it. I can tell how many days it will be until the Christmas vacation but will not trouble you with it now.
Write soon to your Patient Plodder
Letters copied from the June Bushman and Hyrum Smith Family History compiled by Virgil Smith and June Adele Smith Harker.
Photo courtesy of David Clark.