*Grandmother’s 12-10-1959 Letter to Mother

December 10, 1959

(letter from grandmother to mother)

Dearest Mildred and Bill:

(enclosed check for girls)

I am so thrilled over you “getting up” to the homestead.  It was quite a feat, I know.  You are wonderful and so are those grand little sporting children.  It must have frozen you all.  Don’t see how you stood it.  Oh, oh, have you plenty of oil and wood?  It’s the cold indoors that frightens me.  What about those furlined suits that Eskimos wear?  Can you buy them?

Your letter was wonderful, Mil.  Made me feel as I were right along with you.  “Who’s afraid of a wee little mouse?”  Not I.  But stay near the “hut” – I’d be afraid of a bear-hug.  Oh they are asleep aren’t they?  Goody!  But I do know how you might have felt that first night there.  Leave it to you to make it homey right away.  Seems that all you need to do in the summer is to put up brick walls on outside and have everything the way it is now – inside.  Imagine.  Write the story of the redwood furniture that traveled from California to Alaska – and loved it!  The old big table would make a good study table at that.  I hope you do manage to get those pictures.  The developing can wait, but you can’t recapture the moods or the pictures.  That’s why it is important to jot down outlines at least as you go.  Rewriting can be done later.  [Linda note:  I am only on September 9, 2009 transcribing this letter!  Mother was never able to complete the writing from our experiences that she wanted to do.]  I’ll send all letters, of course.  Am hoping you will be able to write some articles up.  You can make extra during these tight years.

Loved the diagram of the hut and the trailer.  How do you get so much “up” and “in.”  No one else could ever do it.  Even Carolyn said there’s no one else she ever knew that could match you in all this, Mil.  All keep well – and all will be wonderful.

So happy that Bill’s overtime ended just when it did.  Miraculous, wasn’t it?  Our prayers are answered.  How I’ll try to live up to all our blessings.  I try to go to church Sundays now.  Dr. Little has been very powerful lately.  I’m glad.  It helps me.  I felt that we had not been doing our part (any of us) in getting to church as we should.  You all couldn’t these years, but we all could.  Charlie had a spell where wanted to go, but then lost the habit.  Hope they begin again later.  Children want to go to Sunday school too.

Well, back to my homestead talk.  Thank Goodness Bill is with you for first few weeks anyhow.  I do not quite understand how he did it, but that he can get up is something.  Probably better now then in the spring flood waters.  Right?

(Believe me a mosquito is buzzing around my head.  Where did he come from?  Is it a ghost mosquito or what?)

Seems to me some one told me it was easier to get up with snow on the ground.

Anyhow I hope you all learn to “ski.”  That thrilled me again.  (Silly me!)  But be careful!!  It’s a long time since you were on skiis [sic], and you MUST be cautious.

Bought John’s Boots.  They are nice and size 5.  I’m so glad to send them.  Dear knows what I can do next year – so let me have fun doing it this year, please – I’ll send them to-morrow, parcel-post.  Sending the Boot within a boot.

Will send 5.00 to each girl toward  what you are getting for them.  Ok?  They deserve all this and more, Mildred.  No other children would “take it” so happily.  Of course they “follow their leader”!  No wonder they are good sports.

Sent a radio via Sears at Seattle.  Do hope it will work.  Ordered it last Monday through Pasadena store.  Let me know as soon as it arrives.

Sent a plaid wool shirt to you, Bill.  Hope it keeps you warm on one-layer-anyhow.

Wish I could see Sharon’s stocking cap on her.  Hope she likes it.  Have yarn for others and will try to get some done for them without long tail.  That takes time – otherwise fun.  Also try to get John’s 2nd stocking finished.  Out to be warm.

Will you tell me how you are going to get around in 10 feet of snow?  I have memory of getting “stuck in it” in front of my own house that night of the blizzard [must have been back east].  Please do not venture far when Bill is not there.  Promise?

I don’t wonder that you love that little bit of Heaven up there.  All I want is you all safe and well and warm!  Your letters ring with the thrills of it all, once more.

Time goes FAST, as I well know.  Two months ought to tell you a story about it all, I’m sure.  I’ll be facing my move before I know it.  I refuse to worry about it until time comes.  I get a month’s notice.

Write a child’s story about the kittens in Alaska.  That would be cute – and the mice peeking out.  (I know the mousey smell.)

Is your hut water-tight or snow tight now?  And free from the wind?  Shall I send you that Chinese hooked rug – green and gray – for the floor – via boat?  It would cover the cracks and be warm!  [Linda note:  There were cracks between the 4’ x 8’ rough plywood box floor sections – drafty – we used to ‘lose’ things down them.]

What else could I send?  Shall I knock down one of those long tables and ship for spring when you want redwood table outside?  No wonder you had headache.  Will send some medicines in package, so guard them when you get them.  Know what they might mean for you.  If you don’t need them – good.

How goes it with Mrs. Thomas?  Would hate to hear the moaning of the dogs in the night if I were she.  You get used to it, I guess.  Tell me how she is, if you know.

How do children respond to new teacher – mother?  Bet they love it, Mil.  Will write to John.  Has been hectic with Flintridge, and Spelling and house and all.  But getting it under control.  I can work like the deuse when I know you are all O.K.  Keep the letters or notes rolling – they keep me happy.  Let me know what I can do.  Tell John I am going to write him.  I’m sending him the Bible, you know.  Next year, I hope one to Linda, then Cindy, next Sharon if I may and am alive and able.

I must investigate gram’s old hooked rug.  Probably ruined.

What is the story on the 2nd stoveThat’s a MUST, if I can help after awhile on that I will.

Can Bill get home when he wants to by means of these new fixtures?  When he isn’t home – I’d be apt to change my schedule and get up at daybreak and go to bed at dark – no matter what the clock says.  Now I understand my people in Maine etc. “always went to bed with the chickens.”

Looking at the “Plan” you sent.  Will return the letter after I’ve read it a couple of times.  Will return all for your records.  {Linda note:  Which is why I have them in the long run and am able to work with them now, 50 years later. }

Glad you got outhouse way to hut.  Seems so well arranged in hut.  I can imagine it all.  May have been silly to go up last summer, but I can so well visualize everything on homestead now as you write.  It’s a comfort, dear.

Like the 4 steps up!  Watch out!

Did excellent job on my little bedroom in trailer.  Good.

How about smell in refrig!

I crown you an “Efficiency Expert – Interior – Decorator” after looking over that plan again.  It’s great.

Don’t worry about the films or another thing.  We’ll see them all later – together – somehow or other.  All $ must be practical ones after X-Mas [sic].  So it will all work our, I know.

Glad you brought the drapes up and gave color and home to the family.  Who could enjoy living as those people did below [on mountain?] who never took food or anything out of cartons!  Mrs. Thomas and you are different, wonderful women.  How goes her book, I wonder?

What is there in this house you would like in “break-up” time?

Anyhow – one step at a time, but yet must keep on making advanced plans and creating visions and dreams, or one becomes a day-to-day “dud.”

Dying for next installment.  You see I kept all letters in their envelopes so you could file and find them “by dates.”  [Linda note:  That’s a joke!  I have boxes of letters here with no dates on the letters AT ALL, separated from envelopes, in envelopes with unintelligible postmarks or none at all, completely mixed up, some incomplete, a MESS!]

Haven’t read all details of last to C and C – except gave gist over ‘phone, because they all have still been ill, really, since coming back.  Sandra had awful sore throat and fever on return, but C did not realize how sick she was and made her go to school, feeling she had missed so much.  Then Friday and Sat. Carolyn came down with sore throat herself.  She found it was no bluff.  By Mon A.M. she found she had [strep] throat (going around) – very bad – affected her neck glands and ear.  Went to ear doctor.  He slipped [sic] her home with very, very strong medication and pain pills.  She’s been sleeping it off half drugged….

So, honey, just guard your health.  He says she was run-down and that’s why it hit hard.  Tired after Boston siege.  They don’t yearn for cold weather now, and worry about you.  But Dad used to say the pure air in mountains was better than city germs!

Cannot figure what to get for Carolyn and Sandra.  Always my problem.  Then my shopping is over.  How I wish I had money at Christmas.  I swear I’ll write – even if I take Social Security for a year and try myself out.  Then I’d go dry.  I have ideas when I’m busy and haven’t time to write them!

Two writer’s meetings to-morrow night and Sunday…..[skipping boring stuff]

Must stop.  I could go on and on, but have told all now.

Will write “quickies” for next few, because I’ve told all news now.

How I pray that by some miracle Bill can keep on going up.  That would be wonderful.  I’m sending a bottle of those wonderful vitamins.  Perhaps they have fortified me, for I feel better when and if I take them.  Bought bottle for you and one for me.  Health is everything and foremost.

Don’t be scared.  Don’t be lonely.  God is truly watching over both of you and your family.  Keep that firmly in you minds and hearts, and things will work out.

I’ll write several times again – but for now again – before S-Mas – My dearest love, I’m proud and praying for you, lovingly, Mother


[Part II] Thursday, December 10, 1959

Dearest Mildred:

Greetings for your birthday, my dear.  It’s not far away now.  I am sending a bundle for you – air mail.  It is naughty of me – but this minute I saw the set I had to have it for you.  So there!  It’s for you when you go back to town later, or when you take your trip.  Maybe, if you ever tell me your waist measurement, I might get a chance to get a skirt too, or perhaps later I can send money and have you fit on there.  By now you know it’s a sweater set!  I can dream of you in it.  It will be warm and special when you want it sometime.  Know I should get slacks or something “practical,” butt darn it you have to have “something special” tucked away!  If you don’t agree, and want something else, send it back.  One is for birthday, one for Xmas.  {can’t read word} with my love for being such a wonderful daughter to me, always!

I’ll be thinking of you all every day, but especially of you on your birthday and on Xmas.  I do pray they will bring peace and happiness.  Dr. Little’s sermon was terrific last Sunday.  He says we are “imperfect people in an imperfect world.”  That we must [can’t read word] by conquering our problems and our imperfections, that God gives them to us so that we shall learn patience, control, and real love for one another.  He pleased me no end by saying that these people (like Christian Scientists) who won’t admit evil or illness and expect all to be love and perfection make him sick!  Like me, he says we must learn through our struggles.  I do believe that is true.

No more now.  I just do hope that this season will be happier than the old Thanksgiving Day when the tooth gave you heart ache as well as toothache!  That was a catastrophe.  But the dentist’s estimates are outrageous.  C and C were horrified and said wait to come to Calif. To do it later, if you can.

By the way, Charlie couldn’t understand why sweet cake was so late.  Had sent it by Air-Mail to reach for thanksgiving but may have had old address on it.  Anyway glad you liked it.  Best love to you and ALL, Mother

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