LOVE LETTER: Botts rediscovers 50-year-old message to her children

Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ella Lou Bundrick Botts didn’t cry until she began to read the letter.

But it mattered not to her that she was among distinguished and unfamiliar company. The letter brought back a flood of memories of the joys of her two young children and the hopes for many bright tomorrows in their lives.

Botts was a special guest at the joint news conference of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) and the City of Montgomery on December 3. The news conference was held to announce plans to open Montgomery’s bicentennial time capsule, which is held at the ADAH, on December 3, 2019.

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Georgia Ann Hudson, ADAH communications coordinator, said along with the time capsule was plastic bag of letters that had been received too late to be placed in the capsule. One of those letters was addressed to the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. The return address was Mr. & Mrs. Julian F. Botts, 107 Sussex Ave. Troy, Ala. and postmarked Dec. 10, 1969.

“Because the letter was addressed to the chamber, we could open it,” Hudson said. “We were able to locate Mrs. Botts through her membership in the Troy Arts Council. We invited her to attend the news conference where we presented her with the letters she and her husband had written to their children.”

“I held up until I started to read one of the letters and I couldn’t stop the tears,” Botts said. “It was very emotional.”

Botts said she and her husband heard about the time capsule that would be opened to celebrate Montgomery’s bicentennial and discussed what they might include.

“We asked each other what could we do and Julian said, “our children.”

Together, they wrote letters to their two adopted children, Julianne, who was four, and little Loren, age two.

“We had been approved for another baby girl and were so excited to be having another baby in our family,” Botts said. “We had been so blessed. December 1969 was a wonderful time in our lives. We had much to look forward to.”

Ella Lou and Julian Botts sat together to write the letters their children would read in 50 years. There was much they wanted to tell them, so many things. But, the most important thing was for their children to know they were so wanted and so loved.

“We wanted them to know they had brought love and fulfillment to our lives,” Botts said. “We also wanted them to know that it was our responsibility to teach them values and to be respectful of others and to be mindful of the rights of others and to be respectful of those rights. Most of all, we wanted them to have faith in God and to honor Him by always doing what was right.”

Botts said, as a young mother, she thought of 50 years as being a long time away.

“But I didn’t ever think that I might not be here in 50 years to tell them all these things,” she said. “Julian and I just want to know how precious they were to us and that we wanted the best for them always. And, there was just something about putting it in writing.”

Even though nearly 50 years stands between the time Botts wrote those letters and the time she read them, she remembers clearly the writing of them.

“On the back of this one, Juli wrote her name and, on this one, Loren doodled,” she said, with a smile. Then, she read from the letter, “as I write this, I have been hugged, thrown kisses to, helped a bumped head and kissed Loren’s head…”

Tears once again formed in Botts’ eyes.

Loren Bundrick Botts died in July 2004. He had brought much love to his parents and his sisters, Julianne and Jan. His mother found comfort in reading her letter to him. He knew he was loved, she said.

“I had written a letter to Jan, too, and I took her to lunch and read the letter to her. She was touched by it,” Botts said. “I will read Juli’s letter to her and I will read Loren’s again and again. They are God’s blessings.”