Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Letter from my grandmother

I was rummaging around in my attic a few weeks ago and I came across a box from government surplus cheese, stamped with the year 1954.

There was obviously something in it, but what? I carefully opened it up to find it full of...

Letters! Dozens of letters! I gently pulled out the first one and carefully opened it. It was a letter from my grandmother to my grandfather, dated April 14, 1953. This was shortly after they had bought the house,* during a time when my grandfather was working out of town.

I read it. The opening - a postscript - made me laugh, and I read on. It was a slice of life, an encapsulation of a two-day period in my grandmother's life, written to make my grandfather closer to home. It was a prime example of the lost art of letter-writing.

But it was more than that. It was also a portrait of a lost world, a world where people would stop by and visit each other and have conversations, where television was something new, where even radio had an element of novelty to it. I knew I had to type it up and post it on my blog.

So here it is. I've excised the names of my grandparents, and edited the names of their children, but otherwise I present it exactly as written.

P.S. T___ insists on sitting on the arm of the rocker and bumping me while I am gnashing my teeth in helpless rage. grrrr

Tues 7:30 PM
Apr. 14, 1953
Dear ___,

I got your letter to-day & called T__ to tell her. So E_______ didn't see her but to-morrow she's gonna call Herb and get an appointment to see him. She's busy studying for Economic Geography to-morrow. It's hard because there's just mountains of stuff to wade thru: Statistics etc.**

J__ & T___ had their music exam to-day. J__ made 96 the highest in his room and T___ had his this afternoon, made 94, the highest in his room. When J__ heard that he said to me "You know ma, we must be musically inclined." I was really thrilled and so was everybody. ***

B____ went with E______ to the Social Security office yesterday and so he asked for a card and then the guy gave him an application form too. So he filled it out, maybe he can get in for the summer.**** She got one for you & one for herself.

We were over Olivers Sun. and stayed till 9. He was over to-day & brought 16 books. He put up that rotor antenna on top of the roof yesterday in the rain and he said is it good now. I always tho't it was good but he demands perfection. Marie was up with T____ but the job is in Schenectedy and she isn't interested, it's too far.

It poured here yesterday and I had one of those days. We just heard Herb Morris on the air in connection with the Jobs Campaign. The girls recognized his voice. Too bad it wasn't two way, we could have talked back to him. Well, back to yesterday. Ray Stryak was over, still doesn't have the job which he says his wife is already spending the extra money he'll get. Has spent it in fact. Just sat and gabbed for about an hr. He was just out the door, the phone rang & Florence called. We gabbed over an hr, in fact Alice came over and I had her give the kids their dinner. Flossie was was sick, like I was, last week grippe, so we re-hashed our symptoms and everything was the same. She also washed her kitchen and there wasn't much difference so she also skipped the ceiling, just like me. Is it any wonder I like to talk to her, we have so much in common. Then Bert Oliver came over and gabbed a while, and of course my day was not complete until supper when Doris came over but Alice deprived me of her company, she took her over. *****

Frank and Eddie didn't go to work to-day, Margaret was to be operated on to-day. Hedy is down, too. I plan to go and see her some evening. To-day was quite hectic, too. I came up with the basket, (I washed and it was windy?) and Frank came & Bert. So between talking of television etc. they didn't leave when the kids came. I hung out what I had in the basket tho' before I gave them their dinner. Stella Swalla also called when I first started washing. After dinner Aunt Stacia called and wanted to know, if the girls could use a gown. I said and how, so she thinks Loretta will bring it up Sat. T__ isn't going to the dance tho, but there's one in May. Love,


*I believed my grandparents had bought the house in 1953. According to my mom they actually bought it in 1948.
**This is my mom.
***J__ is my uncle who died in May 2005. He was correct about being musically inclined; in addition to becoming a High School math teacher, he was also our church organist for many years. T___ didn't pursue a music career, but instead got involved with some fledgling company called International Business Machines.

****Not sure what this is referring to. Possibly the Navy; my uncle B__ joined the Navy shortly after this. He later became a High School guidance counsellor, and died last May.
*****According to my mom, Doris would sit and talk for three hours at a time. So it sounds like my grandmother dodged a bullet here.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Isn't it wonderful to get moments in time captured like that. My Great-Grandfather kept a diary it was an interesting read.

Ashley said...

I love old letters. My grandma used to have all the letters that my grandfather sent her during World War II.
Your post inspired me to make it a mission to find them before they get lost in the abyss that is my grandmother's house.

tiffany said...

what a great find...
i want to go seraching aroun dmy house now...

dee said...

Oh my. If those were letters from your grandmother, that means your grandfather is the one who kept them all. Isn't that sweet?