Skip to main content

A Returned Letter

Eighteen of the thirty-nine who died in the train accident came from Renfrew and the surrounding area. In the weeks following the horrific crash, the pages of The Renfrew Mercury, a local newspaper, shared story after story of those who witnessed the wreck, those who were injured, and the funerals of those who passed away.

Final Tribute was Paid to the Memory of Marie Theresa Green [The Renfrew Mercury, January 7, 1943].

Her Final Words

It had been difficult for the Green family. It was just so unexpected. They had seen Marie only hours before; she had come home for the Christmas weekend and was returning to Ottawa to work on Monday when the accident occurred. She was such a joy and it was hard to believe they wouldn’t see her again. But perhaps the most difficult experience, even harder than the news of her sudden death, was the letter. Marie’s friend, Don, had delivered it. He felt it was important for her parents to read. They understood why; it was Marie’s last letter. But it was haunting.

Clearly penned in a bout of homesickness, Marie had poured her heart out to Don. “Dear Don,” it begins. . .

I’m absolutely dying with lonesomeness tonight, and I’m crying and I can hardly see and you’re the only one I want to tell it to. Oh Don I wish Christmas were a million miles away. I’ve been wrapping presents and not having the kids around trying to get a peek is just making me sick. It’s going to be awful with the two boys away. Oh I know I ought to be ashamed for even feeling like this when so many sisters will never even see their brothers again. But I don’t care – I guess I can be sorry and blue if I like. Maybe by the time I get this written I’ll feel a lot better. But everything just went wrong today. And then tonight Bill called and he isn’t sure he can get down for the dance. Gee I wish I’d die. Then I’d spoil Christmas for the rest of the folks at home. I guess I can’t wish that.

You know what, I’m not crying anymore. Do you see any improvement in my writing? I just knew if I did this I’d feel better. And I really did. Are you getting home for Christmas? I guess if you are you won’t be answering this. And you can tell me how well you are getting along.

An Abrupt End

Marie’s younger siblings, Pat and Gerard, were 11 and 8 years old at the time of her death and can still vividly remember how they first heard the news of their sister’s passing…

View this video with a transcript: An Interview with Pat and Gerard Green