PART II: letter from grandmother to mother
August 5, 1962
Here I sit in California when I dreamed of being in Alaska to-day. It’s a very beautiful overhead, but I cannot pretend that it is a beautiful day for me!
It was good to hear your voice over the ‘phone. I do understand everything – more than you can ever know. I accept your decision that it is best for you. That is all that matters to me. I am thankful that you told me instead of allowing me to go up to make things more complicated and confused. It really does not matter how I feel about things. “This too will pass.” I’ve had to say it many times in my life. I say it now.
How things do turn out. I wonder about things – a lot these days.
I had a “big decision” put on me about this trip. I have never been very “wise” I guess in my life perhaps. I have loved you and Charlie very much. I tried very much to dream that my “old age” would be secure and happy. It can never be. Somehow I don’t deserve it, perhaps. At any rate – I won’t let you ever try to do anything out of sheer “duty” for me. Please not that. So thanks for not allowing me to walk into that situation now.
It is a double laugh (with a sad ring) on me though, because Charlie is as bitter about last summer as you are. When he learned that I was going up he gave me his ultimatum, saying I was choosing between the two of you: that if I went it would be a clear, final cut between him and his family.
And I did decide. I bought my ticket. All that is past. I cannot be dictated to and ordered about any more. And I get this now from you – not wanted.
So – – – – it all has done something terrible to me. I can’t pretend any longer. I am not beholden to anybody – I can stand alone if I have to.
I am glad everything is in the open – if that’s the way tings are.
I am permitted to remain here and forward checks to him, so I have my home here just the same [Linda note: Grandmother is renting from her son.]
I would rather that you would not write this to the girls [Linda note: She’s referring to mother’s California friends] It’s very personal to me. Anne is the same Anne yes. And Flora and Grace and all are the same girls as ever. They are females. They are gossips. They are humans, I guess. Write to them as friends or anything you wish, dear, but I don’t want any more hurt than I have to have now.
I know where I am foolish. I can’t help being the way I am. It’s just time to sign it all off. Don’t think I’ve lost any security because no matter how much C and C ever had, they’d never ease my burden financially. If I hadn’t sense enough to be a good business woman and save for my old age – it’s my hard luck is their philosophy. They are right. So are you.
Therefore I turn over a new fresh leaf to-day. I begin on my B.U. work. I’ll make believe I’m an old main school teacher. I’ll be grateful for my happy years in the past. What the future holds I’ll see. I’m glad it happened now. Maybe in another year or two I’ll recover. Right now my heart aches a lot. I’m a baby after all.
Perhaps now you can understand why I have been too anxious for you to watch your health or what not. It was not “butting in” or “bossiness.” It was merely anxiety which I should never have given into.
Although I’ve been very thankful that I have worked up a comfortable little clientele here – I wish I weren’t tired to it. I’ll try to work out something else.
You can see when you couldn’t have me for a couple of weeks you wouldn’t have wanted me for the school. Right? We’ll see. Perhaps I’ll join the “Peace Corps”!
Hesitate to say all this – and just don’t worry over it. I’ll manage it all somehow.
[Linda note: It does not appear that grandmother ‘signed off’ at the end of this letter]
this letter is in response to mother’s July 31, 1962 letter copied in post:
See for context: