Synopses & Reviews
When Medora Espy moved to Oysterville, Washington, as a toddler in 1902, the quirky, remote village was long past its heyday. The population had dwindled and times were hard. Chores such as milking, stacking wood, gathering eggs, chasing stray cows, and weeding the garden taught children responsibility and self-esteem. Frolicking in the shallow, warm waters of Willapa Bay, tramping hay in the loft, and riding horses bareback served as childhood amusements. Occasionally, major events such as a shipwreck, fire, or the escapades of some of the town's more colorful inhabitants brought a modicum of excitement. Dependable, devoted, and tender-hearted, Medora was the oldest child of Washington State senator and dairy farmer Harold Albert Espy. At various times throughout her life, she endured long months of separation from her parents, especially her mother. Whether the absence was due to the hospital birth of a sibling, her father's political duties in Olympia, or her own school attendance at the Portland Academy, the bond between them remained strong. Whenever they were apart, they always wrote, and Medora kept each and every letter. Practical and sensible, yet also full of laughter and heartache, the contents of these almost daily communiques lend insight into the customs and beliefs of one American farm family during the early twentieth century. Sadly, Medora was just 17 and brimming with life when tragedy struck, and the letters came to an end. In Dear Medora, her lively correspondence and diary entries, interspersed with family photographs and additional background on the times and the Espy household, bring her generation and the Oysterville of those forgotten years into sharp focus.