Lydia Jane’s Birthday



My great-grandmother, Lydia Jane Hart Hall, was born in the Hart family homestead in Durham, Connecticut on March 22, 1841.

"The Original Hart Home," Mary E. Hart, oil on canvas, reproduced in black and white

“The Original Hart Home,” Mary E. Hart, oil on canvas, reproduced in black and white

Lydia has kept me company for the past few years as I immersed myself in her journals and in other stories about the farm on Whirlwind Hill. I have come to admire and love Lydia’s perceptive and quiet way of observing the world around her. To celebrate her birthday I’ll let the elegance of her own words speak for her.

The first piece is a 1912 letter she wrote to her mother, Lydia Reed Hart, who was unable to be with her daughter on her birthday. The second is her diary entry from her eightieth birthday on March 22, 1921.

When I refer to her in “On Whirlwind Hill,” I call her Lydia, but those closest to her called her Jane.

Lydia Jane Hart Hall with her first grandson, William Cannon, 1897

Lydia Jane Hart Hall with her first grandson, William Cannon, 1897

March 22, 1912

My dear Mother,

The twenty-second day of March, and you well know what happened seventy-one years ago. I think the blue birds are not singing as much this morning as Father said they were then. These years that have passed –  many seem short to both of us to look back, but long to look ahead.

The years of my childhood, the years spent with you and father, John and Walter, in the old home, are very very peasant to recall. Your tender watchful care, and all the years of my married life when we could have your presence with us, the many times your loving fingers have helped me over rough places. All these things and more than tongue can tell leads my heart to go out to you with much love and affection. I hope you are feeling well. I wanted to come and see you today, but couldn’t…

When it comes a little warmer and the traveling gets better, I am in hopes to come over and spend a night with you. Hope you will keep well and be careful not to fall. Keep warm. Hope you may not have any cold…

William joins with me in love to you. Also Ellsworth.

Your loving daughter,


March 22, 1921 – “Not quite as warm this morn. Bluebirds and robins singing. Spring is really here. The yards are looking green. This is my birthday. Eighty years have passed with its joys and sorrows. I have loved my home and my friends. My family with my husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are very near and dear to me. May God bless them and keep them.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Happy Birthday Lydia Jane!

"Bluebirds for Lydia Jane," Carol Crump Bryner, watercolor and gouache, 2015

“Bluebirds for Lydia Jane,” Carol Crump Bryner, watercolor and gouache, 2015

On Wednesday:  Spring Cleaning

6 thoughts on “Lydia Jane’s Birthday

  1. Netzy

    Hi Carol, what beautiful eyes your grandmother has. Her words about her life and her family and friends show how loving a person she is. Your bluebirds painting is beautiful – those greens and blues are so clear. Netzy

  2. Margaret Norton Campion

    Someday when we are in CT together, let’s go see where the Hart home was in Durham.
    I’m sure you have, but I’ve never done that. Is the house still there? Is there a home in the location? Or (I hope not!) a strip mall or parking lot?
    This year of these posts has been so wonderful, Carol.
    How many more do we have to look forward to?
    xoxo thank you so much.

    1. Carol Post author

      Oh yes. We need to find that house or where it was. My mom and I have looked for it many times.
      Thanks so much for being such a loyal reader and commenter. Next Monday will be my last regular post. There may some additional posts here and there in the future. We’ll see.

  3. Katy Gilmore

    Love these spring pictures – with sweet bluebirds. Your mom would love. And there seems a reminder of Mara to come in Lydia Jane’s photo. I can’t believe April is nearly here – and a whole year of Whirlwind Hill completed. Well done!

    1. Carol Post author

      Thanks, Katy. I think I painted those bluebirds as much for my mom as for Lydia. Janet loved her bluebirds.
      The year has gone by both slowly and quickly. And I can also see that reminder of Mara in the photo.


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