Jean receives a letter from her cousin, Mary Elizabeth "Tatt" Ballantyne Fisher (1906-1993) with sad news. Since the salutation includes Ginny we can assume Aunt Virginia (Ballantyne Dailey) is visiting New Vienna at that time.
More details about some of the people mentioned can be found after the transcription. Transcription follows:
Mon. Eve. [October 23, 1972]
Dear Jean and Ginny,
How nice of you to invite me over to your home – but I just can't make it. Bea & her husband are here and have to go home on Wed. They sold their car and I have to take them home. Both are in late 70's & I "sort of" look after them. I thought we could drive out, stay at a motel & it would be an "outing" for them, but Bill is getting over a broken hip & we decided the drive would be too hard on him. I really would enjoy a "get together" with you two, and I have a trip to make to Bethesda, so maybe I can see you then, Ginny.
Did you know Natalie & Norman lost their daughter, Mary Jo? She had an aneurysm over her left eye. Lived 10 days, didn't know them towards last – 34 years old. Left children, Renee, 13 yr., Scott, 10 & Eric 7. They are pretty broken up over this. She lived in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. They are so embittered toward God now, so I'm waiting awhile before going over. Her husband has no housekeeper doing for them himself. He's in service – a major. Love, Tatt
[written at top] Mary Jo buried at Arlington National Cemetery
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Tatt, born 1906, was the middle daughter of Charles Alexander "Alex" and Mary Conley Ballantyne. She lived in New Cumberland most (if not all) of her life. She married Fred Bradley Fisher (1900-1964) also from New Cumberland. Three of her four children are still living and I am in contact with her daughter Natalie. The nickname "Tatt" carried over from her childhood when her younger sister Natalie could not pronounce Elizabeth.
Alex – Tatt and Natalie's father – was a younger brother of Nathaniel Wallace Ballantyne. Nathaniel was the grandfather of the Ballantyne-Dailey-Uible cousins. The common ancestors would be Alex and Nathaniel's parents, our great-grandparents, Alexander Bell and Irene Freeman Ballantyne. Read more about Alexander Bell Ballantyne here: http://uible.blogspot.com/2012/01/alexander-bell-ballantyne-1842-1885.html
Tatt's sister, Natalie Virginia Ballantyne Kessel Parsons (1909-2000), is mentioned in the letter as having recently lost her daughter. Natalie is also the mother of a second cousin most of us have met, Kenneth "Pat" Kessel, though he is a child from Natalie's first marriage and the Mary Jo mentioned was the daughter of Natalie and Norman Parsons. Natalie had two children with Kenneth Kessell: Pat and Gretchen, both survive. With Norman Parsons she had four children: Mary Jo, Dickson, Robert & Thomas, only Thomas survives.
Tatt and Natalie had an older sister, Anna Irene (1904-1981). Anna married Charles Cline and had eight children including a set of twins. Their daughter Mary Frances Pizella Gavey, is the one who organized several family reunions in the late 1990s and produced several booklets about family history. She now lives in New Jersey and I am also in contact with her.
Mary Elizabeth "Tatt" Ballantyne Fisher died in 1993, at the age of 87, after falling and breaking her hip.