February 9, 2008

The Letter

Two years ago my mom's bachelor brother died....he was 90 years old. He had never been married but had decided early in life to live with his parents and take care of them. Uncle Charlie was retired navy and had traveled the world. He was at Pearl Harbor the day it was bombed and my mother's family did not hear from him for 3 weeks....I can't imagine how they felt not knowing if he was dead or alive. Thankfully, he had survived.

When he passed away, my mother and my siblings and I were his only heirs. He lived in a small town in North Carolina where my mother and her family grew up. At 90 years old, he was in pretty good shape for someone that age ~~~ a few problems but nothing alarming. He had given up driving but got around on his riding lawnmower! One day he had a doctor's appointment, drove himself to the doctor on the lawnmower, and had a stroke at the doctor's office. My brother rushed to be with him at the hospital but there was really nothing that could be done....he died on January 11, 2006 (which happened to be my grandmother's birthday and my mom and dad's anniversary date). I know he finally went "home" to be with his parents.

It took several days to go through 90 years worth of stuff. Uncle Charlie loved antiques and over the years he had collected quite a few. Many homes today cannot accomodate the type of antiques he had as they were quite large and bulky. Uncle Charlie lived in a big older home where the antiques fit right in.

One of the things I came across was a letter from my mom to Uncle Charlie who was about to be sent to Toyoko. The first page of the letter is dated September 8, 1951 and continues on pages 2-4 dated September 11, 1951. The envelope is postmarked September 12, 1951 - the day I was born! It felt so strange to hold something in my hand and read words my mother had written about her pending delivery some 55 years ago!

Here is the letter:

Saturday, September 8, 1951

Dear Charlie:

Not much in the way of news to report - mostly just sitting around waiting, waiting. Been feeling today like it can't possibly be much longer.

Dad & Mama were up here Wed. to get the windshield fixed. We ate lunch downtown and they did a little shopping. It was so hot down there that we didn't stay long. Came back to the house and hit the sack. It was 4:30 when they finished with the car. (time out)

Tuesday (11th)

I'm back after a 3 day intermission. Haven't finished partly because of lack of news but mostly due to negligence.

Dad and mama were up again Sun. Ate dinner at Jim's.

I've still been trying to get that Miss Roland to stay with me but I haven't been able to get any satisfaction from her. Joyce's baby is almost a month old now and she has Maple staying there too. (NOTE: Joyce was a family friend who had had a little girl - this little girl and I grew up together! Maple was the family nanny - remember this was in the 50's and was typical of that era)! Mama said she called Miss R. and asked her about staying with me. She said she didn't know when Joyce would be thru with her but would let her know. I told Mama just not to contact her anymore - if she's interested okay - otherwise just drop it.

My time is up one week from today. Don't feel like I can drag it out that long but you know how nature works. Going to the doctor tomorrow. (NOTE: When my mom went to the doctor the next day he immediately sent her to the hospital - I was born later that afternoon). Maybe he can tell something by then. Turner (my dad) won't let me go in a theatre anymore (except drive-ins). Says he's afraid my water will break or something. I'm still driving tho' it's all I can do to get under the wheel.

Suppose you all are not too far from your destination by now and know you'll be glad to get your feet on land again. A girl I know just came back from Tokeyo (?) and says they just loved it. They sent her husband back here for discharge and he is going to try to get reassigned back over there. She says the place where you are going is really beautiful.

I'm trying to get up the energy to dress and run over to that dime store on Forrest Ave. I need a few things and that will be safer than venturing downtown. If anything should happen over there I'd be near the hospital.

I'm gonna have meatloaf tonight. Don't you just know Turner will be thrilled no end. He had to "count heads" in the mess hall yesterday and didn't eat anything at home. Thought I'd really give him a treat(ment) today. (Note: I think my mom was being a little naughty by giving my dad something for supper that was not his favorite food - ha)!

Well, write when you can and stay as cheerful as you can.

Love always, Kat

Everytime I read this letter it's like holding history in my hands. To think I'm reading the words my mom put down in a letter within hours of my entrance into this world.

The postmark on the envelope is September 12, 1951 8:39 p.m. (I was born that day at 4:30 in the afternoon!)

Look how well preserved the letter is. The paper it's written on is tissue-thin!

The letter is written on front and back

What beautiful handwriting - my mom always had great penmanship but now that she's 87 it's a little shaky.

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me as much as I've enjoyed sharing it with you all!


Nonna said...

What a precious letter! That is so neat that is was written on the day you were born! What a treasured keepsake for you!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Judy,
What a memorable letter you came across. I know you are going to cherish it as long as you live. "THANK YOU" for sharing it with us. Your Mother does have pretty handwriting. I can see thru the tissue paper. I finally put up a new post after being on a hiatus for a few days. Hopefully since my DH left for work this morning, things will get back to normal around here. Take care my friend and have a great day. May God Bless You and Yours.

Love & Hugs,
Karen H.

Janet said...

Isn't it great that your Uncle kept this letter all these years. You can almost feel the history in it!


N M B said...

Wow! That's amazing! I've always been very touched by things that were dated. I'm so young and seeing the date on something really helps to bring it all into perspective. I love old things! Thank you for sharing that!

Becky K. said...

Judy, this is my favorite post, ever, anywhere!
How awesome it is that you found that letter and that you can treasure it!
Becky K.

Meredith said...

What a special find. I know it must have meant a great deal to your Uncle. I know you will treasure it just as he did. Thanks for sharing with us!

Meredith (eiselefamilynews@blogspot.com)

The Feathered Nest said...

Hi Judy, What a lovely post! It's wonderful that you have that letter. I don't think we have anything like that at all in my family. What a treasure!


Megan said...

I look in on your blog from time to time (thru Kelly's Korner). Thanks for sharing that bit of history-so sweet. I love your blog!

PAT said...

I loved this Judy! The thin paper was called onion skin. Letters were written on this type paper to keep the postage for airmail down.

Great letter and a treasured keepsake!


Cote de Texas said...

You are so lucky to have this letter. When my father remarried after my mother died, all her letters were thrown out - love letters she had saved in a special box!!! I still can't think about it more than 35 years later. I guess my dad didn't want them anymore and didn't think I would!!! wonderful post and cute blog. good work.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Hi Judy,
I just found you through another blog you left a comment on. What a wonderful piece of family history to be able to have!

I have enjoyed going through you past posts....I will be back soon. Come visit me when you have time!

justabeachkat said...


How fun and exciting to find that letter! Amazing that he kept it all this time. Thanks for sharing it with us.

(btw...your Mom was a Kat too?)

Mary said...

Oh what a wonderful keepsake! I've missed so many posts, Judy. I've been catching up...
Loved the green plates, and your cute chandelier. And of course, I still love that dog painting!

Hope you're having better weather down there than we are up here!

Have a great week, Judy!

His Doorkeeper said...

What a wonderful thing to have! A handwritten letter will eventually be a real thing of the past, thanks to email,etc. The kids of today won't have anything like that!

Thanks for sharing your treasure with us!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

What a treasure! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Love your red kitchen & roosters & transferware....you know I do!
Hugs, DebraK

Miss Mustard Seed said...

I love this letter. How special! My mom is a baby boomer and she grew up with nannys and cooks. Definitely a different era! Thanks for sharing the link with me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...