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Dear Faith,

    My name is Maud, to you, my dear, Aunt Maud. You don’t remember me, but I have never forgotten you. Maybe if your memory lets you travel back in time, you’ll find me in a dream.

   I’m your mother’s sister. We spent a few Christmas days together, all before you turned five. Since then, unfortunately, we have not seen each other.

    I married a man who was very dear to me. He was from a small town within a valley, hidden among a fortress of mountains. When we married, I gave up my city life, and also my sweet-scented job. I had been a cook in a rather well-known Chicago restaurant. It was hard to say good-bye to the family that was so dear to my heart, but I left with the hope of seeing you all again. Unfortunately, that never happened. There were letters and pictures of your childhood; you see I did not miss everything. Your mother was good to me. We had no secrets…well, maybe I was her only secret?

    The miles between us, and the nonexistent dollars, held me in the valley, so I chose to be invisible. For me, the knowledge of what you were becoming (a nice young woman) was enough to make me proud of you.

    Even though you seemed content, there was something missing. Life didn’t give you all you deserved. As for me, life did not fulfill all my dreams either. Jed and I were never blessed with children. That is one reason I looked forward to the news of your growing years, for you were like a daughter to me.

    Jed also loved you. Together, we would sit by the fire and read your mother’s letters. We pasted your picture album, page by page, year by year together. Life is not eternal; only what we leave can continue. That is why Jed and I have put together this wooden bowl. It is for you, Faith.

     What is so very dear to us is our home…the land, like two strong arms that hold it on a hill, our garden that feeds us throughout four seasons, and the animals that comfort us. The village below us is filled with many friends who need your strength and courage. Have faith in yourself, and it will happen.

    If you choose the road to our home, you will breathe the air of our happiness, and with patience, you will discover all you need to know.

    To find your way, we have enclosed a map. Let the wonders of love lead you. Don’t be afraid of the miles, for the adventure is worth it. We shall always be with you in spirit.

    This wooden bowl shall be the first of many. We know you will make it all happen…that is why we have left our past to weave your future.

        We love you,
        Aunt Maud and Uncle Jed