*Age 9 – October 4, 1960 Letter — Terrible Parental Financial Stress


How much of adult parental stress do children understand?  Along with the stress of homesteading, along with the nearly CONSTANT upheavals, chaos and moving our family did, my parents were constantly under terrible financial stress.  NOTHING was EVER hidden from us, not any of us.

Stress is NOT good for Borderline Personality Disorder people.  How much more stress could my mother have been in at this time — now that she is also here pregnant with her 5th child?


October 4, 1960

Dear Mother,

Am utterly exhausted today – yesterday we all went up to the homestead and I really had forgotten how awful the road was.  It made me very ill – and 2 trips over it in one day then had to pack, clean etc. all the while there.  The place looks so deserted and is most depressing.  Rain got in the trailer and warped 2 walls – made me sick.

We’ll just have the old redwood lawn furniture and cots up there and that’s all.  Move, move, move – will it ever end??

I love the place but it’s so hard to get to and the school being 30 miles away!!  It was a gorgeous day and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows outside and the kids worked off a lot of surplus energy – but I was too tired and went to bed with the kids – I usually do.

They’re doing (Government) away with switchback [on the jeep road, not our mountain road] and that will be good.

Pollard and Pullen are still back there and I don’t see how Mrs. Pullen takes that road every day!!

Saturday we had a terrible experience.  Tuffy’s gotten worse every day and Saturday got shaking and diarrhea and throwing up continually – Oh, Mom, Saturday nite I cried for hours over my puppy – how I adore him!  Well, I called the Dr. and said I wanted him hospitalized and intravenous feedings started.  He said No – We’d run up a big bill and he’d die anyways – to bring him in and alleviate his suffering and have him put to sleep.  Oh Mom, even Bill broke down.

2 days before Tuffy had gotten to weak to climb the stairs to go out to go to the bathroom – it couldn’t continue.  Bill had to carry him into vets and he’d been too strong 2 weeks ago for the kids to handle – such strength and such sweetness I’ve never before seen in a dog.  Oh Mom, he’d look up at me as if to say “Can’t you help me?”  It’s been awful to watch him dying before my eyes!!

Bill took him in Saturday afternoon and oh Mom, I was heartbroken.

We went for a ride in afternoon – I couldn’t stay here.  It’s over now — — Poor darling Tuffy.

I meant to send you $10 back but couldn’t find the check book – I’ve since gone over bills and we’re worse off than ever.  Needless to say Sharon is NOT continuing Kindergarten – this rent this time is 165.00 (10.00 for ½ of last month we moved out early) and we can’t pay that 25.00 transfer fee no matter what.  I think it’s awful – they’d have to wait 2 weeks.

This is how we stand and we owe, owe, owe.  The kids school clothes have been at Sears for 2 weeks and I bet they’ll have to return them – Damn.

The garages, doctors – all want to be paid NOW.  Damn!!  I’m so sick and tired of scrimping, sacrificing and still never a cent to our name – not even enough to buy adequate groceries.  This time I planned a list and menus for 2 weeks and planned to shop at sales but we end up with 30.00 for 2 weeks for food, gas, oil and misc.  Imagine!!  We’ve spent 30.00 but we’re even out of flour!!  Next pay day I plan to pay ½ of next month’s rent so it all won’t come out of one check.

We owe Dr. Ivy (dentist 95.00) (Ivy 25.00)  Morgan 225.00, garages all over on and on and on.

We haven’t even been to a show for over 7 months.  Last month I made an appointment to have my hair cut and had to cancel it ‘cause cost too much – so it goes.

I’m not looking for sympathy but want you to know we don’t spend foolishly at all.  October 4th – check 264.00.  Rent 155.00, extra rent for last month 10.00, 6.19 groceries and 10.00 on account at Bradleys, 20.00 on groceries, 20.00 in gas and oil, milkman 15.46 total 236.65.  27.35 left for 2 weeks for everything.  Can’t manage on it – and absolutely no groceries bought but flour, sugar and a few canned goods.

Damn, damn, damn.

As I look this over and make a list of who we owe and how much I shudder.  As much as I’ll love the baby HE does complicate things that are already far too complicated.  Damn $ any ways.

We know we can’t do a thing at homestead next summer but plan to plant vegetables, potatoes and get a moose for sure.  (Yesterday there was a big bull moose in our field – now wouldn’t you know it – and hunting season ended on Friday!!!)

Maybe we can fish and relax with you – and the next year build a cabin – slow, slow.

I do want to give that damn garage in Eagle River 10.00.  We owe him 72.40 and he has added a 1.50 delinquent charge – and his wife does the book-keeping and is a friend of Jo Anne’s.

But then we’ll be down to $17.35 for 2 weeks.  Oh Mom, is there an answer?

Well, the seed is in and Bill hauled out the dirt for the foundation – no $ for lumber to put it in.  Nest pay day we’ll do that and then we’re through!!

Seed is in – and all!!!

Oh Mom, you’ve been a gem in every way through this and I so look forward to having you with us all summer long – I hope!!!!!  PleasePlease

I have the check all made out to Greasy Slanker as I call him but daren’t mail it.

We’re not having to charge gas now – the tank was filled Saturday – cash – and should get Bill to homestead and back Saturday and me to Dr. Thursday – other than that, the jeep sits.

Linda is wearing sneakers to school – no shoe $ yet – and none of them have gym shoes yet!  Well, we’ve surely learned to wait for things and kids know and understand – Bless them – and it does them no harm.

Damn it

I’m sending 10.00 to him and that leaves us with 17.35 cash – If you can help us out once more – Oh, Mom how I hate to ask!!

People probably envy us thinking we’re living it up in town – IF they only knew!!!!

Ha, ha, ha!!!

Let me know at once.  Love – oh, so much love and such a fool I feel.  Love, Me.


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