Letters to my Mother

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we drove up to visit my parents like we usually do. We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch at Cotton Patch…..okay, just kidding, that place is so noisy, you have to yell to carry on a conversation. Afterward, we visited more at the house, and my nephew, his wife and their adorable 3 year daughter came by to visit.

I had asked mom for some letters that she had kept from the time my kids were small, so yesterday, she handed me a large envelope full of letters and some photos. YAY…..more treasures! Oh, but wait….maybe not. The first letter I opened was from El Paso in 1986, after I had moved there with my boyfriend. It was quite sobering, even though I was sober to begin with. How my life has changed since then. For the better, of course.

The rest of the letters were far more entertaining, written in the early 1980s when we had moved to the country and were living in a ramshackle farm-house that we were renovating. Renovating is really an exaggeration. Trying to keep it from falling in on our heads, is more accurate. Most of the time that we lived in Forney, Texas, we didn’t have a home phone, so I wrote letters to keep my parents informed of our general progress on the house and the kid’s activities. Just an aside…..the postage stamps ranged from 20 to 22 cents on these letters.

The farmhouse….we paid $2,500 cash for the house and had it moved around the corner to our 2 acres.

The house did look better about a year later, and was still standing in spite of the wood-burning stove in the living room. Luckily the house did not burn down the winter that everything froze up for more than a week. We endured cold winters, and very hot summers in that house….and lots of dust, dirt and construction. Whew.

 

The best thing in the envelope was a hand written poem, that was once set to music, that I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day 1979. I actually don’t remember writing this down and decorating it like this, but I did.

And she kept it.

All these years.

And people say *I* am a hoarder!!!

This is quite fragile as it’s written on construction paper, and I even made an envelope from the paper also. Who knew I was so thoughtful and resourceful?

 

So, the most funny thing was a handwritten list, I must have been as young as 13-14…..titled “My Real Life Problems”….

I particularly love #15 and #18……my little brother was quite a brat back then. You can see I had a very low self-esteem, and I outgrew that for the most part. It does sneak in every once in a while to try to bring me down. I’m not sure about #14 as I never had trouble with my complexion, I was blessed with good genes in that department! Still, pretty funny to read now and see how insecure I was then. (this proves that I have always been a really good speller!)

 

When I began writing this today, I had intended to scan some of the actual hand written letters and include them; however, after re-reading them, they seem intensely personal to me, so I changed my mind. Some things are better left un-shared, I think. But, these letters reinforce my belief that my life has gone through a great many changes in the last 30-40 years, and I have come out on the other side a better person. The once painfully shy first grader who wouldn’t speak a word for six weeks, somehow morphed into a musician who loved to entertain on stage, and then became a force to be reckoned with in the retail world.

So, thanks mom, for keeping these for me. I am sorry for the many times I’ve let you down, and I’m thankful that you always forgave me, and you never gave up on me.

 

 

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Funny Family Fotos

People often reminisce about  the “good old days”……and I’ve done it also, however….some of these photos make me appreciate the “here and now” for sure!

All of these photos came from my grandmothers photo albums, which I acquired a few years ago, because my dad knew I’d take good care of them. These photos are his family and ancestors, and most had no information written on the back. I’ve had to post these on Facebook so my assorted cousins across the US could help me identify them. There were but a few that we had no clue at all, they are a mystery.

Let’s have a picnic…deep in the woods….let’s take the kids…..grab your coats, axes and washtubs!

We were all “stumped” about this one for a while!

The subjects in the photo above were eventually identified as my grandmother (tall woman holding baby) my dad (in hat) at her left elbow, my two aunts Bea and Geraldine, and some neighbors. We narrowed down the year to 1938…..

“ROAD TRIP”! (apparently my ancestors loved to leave home for adventures?)

This is my dad, age 3 months 17 days, according to my granny’s handwriting on the back.

Oh, just put the babies down anywhere, they’ll be fine!

I know the baby on the left must be my dad, because it looks just like ME……

“Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl”

My great-grandfather and his sons who never married and never left home.

I think this little boy may be my dad, or his cousin Sonny-boy…..they looked about the same in every picture I’ve found.

Once again…..”let’s sit the baby out in the road or middle of no where and take his picture”!

They must have been trying to “capture the light”……..

My daddy….
This is the little suit my dad was wearing in the photo above….
This is the suit and hat along with the original tiny photo; I have put them into a memory keepsake box, hanging on the wall in my bedroom. So sweet….

Retail therapy????

The first yard sale ever?

Playing “let’s pretend”……

“Let’s pretend like we’re not really poor”……

on the back “to Beatrice Wilson, this is Mildred and her little friend in their play house” …. printed on the back “Finished by Nichols Studio Jacksonville, Texas”

Forget taking the kid to the woodshed……

CPS…..where are you? After very close scrutinizing, we have determined this to be one of my dad’s cousins, and there is someone behind her, holding her up on the woodpile!

“Life on the farm….PETA would love this, right?”

I guess they couldn’t afford to have a dog for a pet….???

Anyone up for some fried catfish???

We have studied this one and can only hazard a guess that *maybe* this was a scene on the Red River long before the Denison Dam was built to create Lake Texoma. I don’t think I’d want to eat the fish that came out of that water, though!

And last, but not least…….no wonder they were so destitute, the “lucky” horseshoe was upside down…all the luck was running out!

This one is my favorite! We believe this is my great-grandfather Charlie Wilson and one of his sisters, or daughters….

Now, I know all these photos are in black and white and are very old, but I sense there wasn’t much green grass around at the time. It looks very desolate….no wonder my grandmother loved plants and flowers so much, she needed color in her life!

Thanks for the memories, Granny K….

Valentine’s Day Memories

I remember the excitement in grade school, when the teacher announced that we needed to bring a shoe box to school, to decorate for the BIG Valentine’s Day party. Red construction paper, white heart-shaped doilies, glue, glitter, ribbons galore……it was our chance to use our creativity and design the most beautiful box in the class. It was also our chance to get a special Valentine card from one special classmate, one that said more than “be mine”…..something personal. I recall counting my cards when I got home from school to make sure I got one from every classmate. Of course, I did…..we all did. The teachers always made sure to send the list of names home to our parents in advance, to make sure that no child got left Valentine-less.

Those who know me personally, may find it unthinkable, but I do not have any of my childhood Valentine cards to share. It’s amazing, since I am known in my family as a hoarder collector of all things sentimental. Imagine my surprise a few months ago when my mother handed me a manilla envelope full of treasures. This has happened on a regular basis this past year, and I love seeing a manilla envelope lying on her desk when I visit. I know there’s something very important inside that she is entrusting to my care.

Inside the envelope were greeting cards; including baby shower, Christmas, Anniversary, Mother’s Day cards, and the best of all, Valentine cards that dated back to the early 1930s when my dad was just a little boy. Awwww…..so, I’m sharing these today, because they are just the sweetest things ever!

 

 

Just imagine my 88 year old dad, as an adorable little boy receiving this mushy Valentine đŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

“made in the USA” doubly sweet!

 

 

This one is from my dad to my mom……

Dad always chose the most beautiful cards for my mom!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day…..I hope your Valentine gave YOU a card as sweet as one of these!