Arts and Leisure

Lydia Patterson: Good Coffee, Good Bread, Good Butter, Good Gingerbread

Lydia Patterson was homesick and bored in her third week at Mrs. L.K. Wells’ High School for Misses in Portland, Maine. She was 20 years old and had lived all her life in Kennebunk, Maine, the daughter of Lydia (Hutchins) and Capt. Actor Patten Patterson, a master mariner. She spent about three months at Mrs. Wells’ school, studying academic subjects and drawing.

Lydia Patterson letter to her mother

Lydia Patterson letter to her mother

Lydia Patterson married widower Daniel Walker Lord 10 years later. He was a merchant, shipowner, elected state official and Bowdoin College trustee. They had two children, Daniel and Mary. Lydia Patterson Lord died June 5, 1885, in Malden, Mass.

On June 28, 1843, she wrote a long rambling letter to her mother in Kennebunk. In it, she wrote,

…You wish to know how I get along with tea. I drink cold water in the morning and am the only one of the boarders who drinks tea for supper. I do remarkably well without it coffee. We have very good coffee. We have very good bread and butter and gingerbread for supper, and for breakfast bread and butter, and occasionaly brown bread and warmed potatoes. We have a bread and milk dinner once a week, the rest of the time meat and potatoes and pudding or pie, and always enough when we eat fast enough to get through all to-gether. Every thing goes on pleasantly but I cannot help wishing I was at home. I have been looking past the vacation to-day forward to the next eleven weeks, which appear rather long, but if they will soon be gone. It is now most six o-clock the usual hour for tea.

I shall take this to the office after tea, that I may receive a letter from home by Saturday. I am writing quite a long letter about nothing, but I find it a pleasure rather than a task as I suppose it would would be, to write every week. Give my love to Mary, and tell her I my drawing lesson to-day was a heap of rocks and old stumps of trees. I intended to learn her to draw, after I have learned myself.

With thanks to the Maine Memory Network

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