March 3, 1960
Letter from grandmother to mother
Just a return note to say your letter received that you wrote on Wednesday and mailed March 1st. It has relieved me in many ways yet has frightened me because you did not mention the box of pills for your sinus condition that was in the box with the knitting. I told you in the letter I was enclosing with knitting the prescription from Dr. Norwood that cured C. and C. and their fever and cold, sinus that gave Charlie an awful time – “sulfa” pills. Didn’t you find them? I’ll be sick until you answer me. I thought the letter would be enough – No it was in one of the little red boxes because I was afraid bottle would break. Look for that box. I should have sent them separately.
The children wouldn’t touch them if they bound them? Not mentioning them at all seems as if you did not notice them!
Am relieved that you are better. Those pills will keep Doctor sent a “double order” for you too. We want you to keep well on this last rugged lap. Don’t go out in snow with fever for any reason. That brings on pneumonia, Dr. says. It is prevalent everywhere this year only “taking to bed” for a day or so is answer Dr. says.
Children in schools and at C. and C. all have caught colds too. Watch out for yourself and them, Mildred. Awful lot of sore throat. One child around corner from Carolyn came down with stomach pains and signs of cold just as I got out of hospital. Thought it was the flu – but pain in stomach continued. Had blood test and found she had had appendicitis 3 days. Took her for operation. It had burst and [can’t read word] set in. After one week sent her home. Then big “boil” came under her bandage and she has had to have another operation – very ill – all was so slow and complicated. She’s only in first grade.
I would not have been caught if Norwood had come to C’s on Sunday night C. called him! Just asked if I had any asthma pills with me, if I did to give them to me. I knew I had fever. But thought must be cold and worked next few days – then Band. Do take care of early symptoms!
Poor girls – probably a “bug” hit them too. Those are the times I’d like to be near by, even to cheer you on telephone.
Glad you have “Suzie” back for $ and for Sharon! While you have her let’s try to get at least one child’s book for first grades – or color and story! Elsa is coming to work with me on other stuff when she gets back from trip in 3 weeks. She says there’s money and repeat in books for school library or library – more now than ever. Might just as well work out a place for a week and try it out on the children while you are planning for Suzie and Sharon.
That’s my trouble and yours too. We have too many ideas and too much imagination! We flit so fast in our minds. I want to settle on one little book, one article, etc. I have dozen’s “half finished” children who come here, are full of qu4estions about Alaska. What about “Smokey?” I promise to copy Burt Anderson’s notes – a few each day and send to tell you what they say. I see others following the simple pattern – so can we. Study the books your children like. The Big Alaska articles can come later. Elsa says the children’s and Juvenile market are best to break into anyhow and go from there.
[Linda note: If this comment has anything to do with the Brownie cookie money I lost, I did not steal it. I walked around Eagle River to collect the money and put it into a Milk Dud box I carried in my hand. Unlike today’s super-glued packaging, in 1960 the boxes had slits in the bottoms and unbeknownst to me all the money had fallen out the bottom of the box by the time I had returned back to the log house. I remember being terrified that I would get into trouble just as I was approaching the log house driveway from Eagle River Road and realized the box was empty. I don’t remember what happened. I suspect mother must have believed I had stolen it and lied to her and I had spent the money. Mother did not find that money in my purse though I’m sure she punished me as if she had – exactly like The Bubble Gum Incident versus her version of it. This is also a perfect example of how neither my grandmother nor my father would have known the truth about what was happening to me.]
Don’t worry about next year now, dear. It will work out as it comes along. Perhaps Mrs. Spoerry’s own plans are as unsettled as ours. Perhaps she did not get it – Xmas mail time, you know. I know it will work out if we keep trying to make the grade. Somehow or other I feel we will. Oh, Mil, we must.
I guess that determination for you, Bill and I to pull together for that place kept me alive. That would mean more to me than all the money C. could make. You alone understand what I mean. [Linda note: This is the first I’ve ever thought of grandmother being a part of my parent’s ‘WE’ in homesteading!! Kept her alive, huh? Interesting.]
The “big old houses” are a thing of the past, Mil, even here. Just dream of getting several thousand together Then you’ll know whether you want old or modern house! You’ll get it. We won’t even think about anything now – but the “title” for you and for Bill. Darn it – when I think of what that means to you, I get weak in the knees.
Believe me, Mil, you are not pulling any tighter than C. and C. They go to movies about once in 3 months – no more. He makes Carolyn do about ½ of the typing for him. She has no extra money even for dungarees for C. Jr. He has a Master plan for something, I don’t know what and neither does she. He means to stay there until the children are out of grade schools near by, I think. But he works as hard as ever. Wants to retire early and enjoy is life. Is healthier than ever, I think. You and Bill do same!
Carolyn says she is very lonely too. Wants her family to come to California. After this bad eastern winter perhaps they want to, too. Bob is the “builder”, you know. Her mother works 3 days a week. But the new house is a heavy expense C. says.
I never was smart about “looking ahead,” I guess. Going to try now – but how now? Never can tell. Great dream would be Alaska for a month or summer, if you were there. My reputation and connections are here. But who knows what is ahead? [Linda note: My grandmother lived until June 1971.]
I almost didn’t care for awhile in January – but I thought of you. It’s amazing to me that I never think of calling C. and C. when I’m like that, but call for emergency. Good thing to have been obliged to take care of myself – always – last years. Though you and C. have been great, loyal comforts. I just don’t want to be a burden.
Don’t yearn for our old things. They belonged to our past. We enjoyed them – all together. It’s better to build a new set to fit into the environment you choose to build. If you ever want to rebuild [can’t read word] think somewhere – later – you could reassemble them all, I know. But as you said – you like light furniture and modern. So does Carolyn – for next time, some time.
Mil – houses and furnishings can be secured in a week. It’s the money to get the kind you want that takes time. But NOW my values are different than ever before. I want Health, Love, Security and enough for the children’s future so they can be educated. Then they, as you have done, will shoose what they want. Their dreams will differ from yours, perhaps. Maybe not.
Don’t be discouraged or blue. Merry’s [not absolutely sure that’s the right word] that book I sent to you which Assures you that you will bring failure, disaster, sickness etc. on yourself if you do. You must be optimistic and TRUST. You’ve done miracles. You must not fail now. Pray as you have never prayed before! I do for you. One more year – and free of debts I hope. Did I mail you the final receipt from Seaboard [I think was a shipping and storage company in Los Angeles.]? There’s an end to that you see! Just think earthquakes and war and awful things all worse than bills. Climb that hill and pray. Get a hot water bottle and a new diaphragm, Mil. You and Bill will reach the top. Then you can decide what you want to do. The Spoerrys and Gunters and Vanovers had to work their way up. Now be cheerful.
We are looking for another big house, I guess, or at least a few bedrooms –
Don’t worry about not going anywhere, dear. Read and enjoy the family and plan for the future with them. There is nowhere to go either there or here. When you’ve “been” you know this is true when you “get home again.”
Do you realize I need a picture of Sharon by herself, you by yourself, too? The school pictures gave me one of each of them. Sometime later?
If you have to have a long lonely summer, maybe by some miracle I could find a trailer to put on your property and build around it. Don’t “dread it,” my dear, by any means. Perhaps I can manage it – but only if all my insurance is paid by the policies I hold – if I get moved, and if I can pay my income tax quarterly. But let time tell, Mill. Just don’t be blue. Write. Elsa turns a children’s book out in 6 weeks. I’ll send “How” – if you get the data.
What about the summer? I don’t dare to think until you see if you can get title. If you get it, we’ll not only PLAN but “DO” up there. So don’t waste time for worrying is a waste of time, Mil.
I was I was down to C’s for supper last night for first time since I came back. While there C. Jr. made a pretend and asked me address of John and put air mail stamp on it. He just “lines” in the “space” word. Just anxious to learn all he can about the stars, moon, and space. He and Charlie talk a language I do not understand about it. Does John? Don’t know what he drew. Probably something about that. Didn’t show anyone and just appeared to get the address.
Oh you must get down this summer or Xmas – or I’ll have to earn my way up or down or both to see you all. This one more summer will be a fight for you, my dear, I know. But if you can make that grade – I’ll keep you company or something will work out. It will. [Can’t read word] the children. I keep their pictures near me. My do I feel even closer to them than to Sandra and Charlie whom I see more often? I guess we must have more in common – I’m in my second childhood now, you know!
Went down this A.M. to fill in my Social Security – but office is full of people – I decided to go in morning at 8:30 when it opens. Hate to wait like that.
Never did tell me about “Janey” or “Spoerrys’. You like them all even more than Carolyn likes her neighbors. But Carolyn is OK – same as ever – but really just interested in Carolyn. But am I not same? Really just interested in family not in neighbors – clients, yes in a different way.
Promise me please don’t remain on Homestead alone? Wish I had gone back that month of September as I [can’t read word] to do. It would all be over now. You have some stubborn independence I possess of wanting not to depend on anyone else. You should have let me do that until Thanksgiving, Mil. I had to come home at end of those 2 weeks, but I could have gone back after you had the house. But that is the PAST and NOW? Did Bill try for extension into summer because that government trip interrupted your residency? Shall I go down in person to talk to “Ike”??
No more raving now. Take care. Find those pills. Let me know at once. I’ll worry until I hear. Always with love, Mother
PS Thanks for measurements!! Glad you liked knitting. Just warm at any rate. [can’t read words] Shall I make stocking cap for John too. Ask him.