One of Helen's Letters on Display at Ivy Green

A more detailed picture of the letter is shown below. 

 

   
  The text of this letter reads ...
93 Seminole Avenue, Forest Hills, L.I. N.Y. April 6, 1924.  Dear Mr. Trump:  I feel that I must have something important to say in reply to your request for a message to be read at the one hundredth anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscumbia.  But what is it?  It seems too obvious to say that I love the dear old church where my family have prayed for so many years. I do not wish to make phrases, but to speak simply what I feel.

It is a very long time since I knew Tuscumbia intimately.  My recollections of it are tender, and I have some precious memories of childhood days spent there with my loved ones.  Nothing would please me more than to talk over time and eternity with the few friends and acquaintances of long ago still living in Tuscumbia under the shadow of the church where I was christened.

I keep picturing my dear father, his comforting, kind hand, and his pride in my progress when I started to learn language.  I remember how he took me to church one beautiful Sunday in Spring, soon after my education was begun, and how after the service, the people came to speak to the little girl who had been so marvelously rescued from a dark, soundless prison.  Afterwards, I wrote to a friend in Boston, "Church is large place. Man talks too much."  I suppose I was restless, as I could not hear, or understand what the minister was saying.  I know my father kept his arm around me all the time, and I know I must have embarrassed him terribly during the communion service when I sniffed audibly when the wine was passed.

How many shadowy recollections come trailing through my mind as I write!  It is hard to distinguish what is real from what may be a dream.  Certainly the smell of Jessamine and rose is real.  The words restore the atmosphere and color of the beautiful South-land; they illumine and charge with feeling faded memories and make them seem more real than life itself.  As we grow older, it seems to me, we recall most distinctly the happy little things.  I am amused to observe that play and birthday parties, picnics and excursions to the chicken-house in search of eggs are vividly remembered, while presidential elections, great battles and the finding of the earth's pole fade into the abyss of time!  Great events are the cause of nations coming into existence, and of the intimate contacts of life and small every day happenings.  Perhaps, in the last analysis, it is the little things that really count.  The kindness of one to another, the smiling face when difficulties are overcome, the timely word of encouragement, the ready hand when a neighbor needs a friend these are the things that bring the sweetest satisfaction as we journey onward through the years.  The grandest and simplest law of the Oracle is to do the best of which we are capable, in whatever situation we are placed, and every human being, however handicapped he may be, has capacity enough to obey it. 

I am delighted to associate my name even in this casual way with the centennial celebration of the church of my fathers.  With warm personal greetings to those who may remember me, and with cordial greetings to yourself and congregation, I am, sincerely yours, Helen Keller.