1974, January 15: Letters from Peter and Marcy to G&H

A two-page handwritten letter from Peter, plus another copy of the Hearthlight flyer, with a handwritten letter from Marcy on the back of it.

Content warning for a phrase that reads like a critical generalization about foster kids, though I think Peter probably intended it as being about Mark and Larry in particular.

Jan. 15, 1974

Dear Parents--

How are you? Hope you are well & that things are going all right for you... (Every day we pray that God may bless you with health & abundance, prosperity & Light...) Life goes on here in the usual hurry-up-&-wait fashion, lurching from (minor) crisis to (near) catastrophe... & foster kids, like gothic sloths, are no slouches at lurching.

We surely thank you for the surprise! CARE package of blankets & towels--now we have enough bedding for even cold nights. Two friends from Tracy came & stayed overnight--it was so nice to have a guest room & warm beds for them. Also, we’ve begun sending out our brochure, so we expect to have two more kids by March, & six altogether by May: by then, with $2400 a month coming in, we’ll be able to afford to buy extra beds & bedding for the newcomers.

Jed got to play in the snow last week--it snowed east & south of here, and Jed’s teacher Bud took the children from Redwood School to his home up in the hills. “A wonderful time was had by all...”

We have been eagerly awaiting your reply to our letter requesting information about my grandparents--if the exact days of their passing are not available, the year will be all right... We wish to enter their names in the family tree in our family Bible (it’s called the Jerusalem Bible, and is a large & thick tome with pages to record births, marriages, deaths, and husband’s & wife’s family trees), and also to commemorate them & pray for their well-being in the spiritual realm. Here are translations of two “gosanka" poems (5-7-5-7-7 syllable pattern) written by Meishu-Sama:

That you have left us

Physically we regret,

But we feel, believe

Your spiritual being

Has passed through heaven’s gateway.


Since we are human,

We mourn your having left us,

But this must be right;

This must be God’s Plan for you,

Since He has called you to Him.


Know you will receive

God’s blessings and help always

Wherever you are,

Whether in the physical

Or the spiritual realm.

May you be set free

Of all bondage to this world,

Be elevated

So you become one who lives

In higher realms of spirit.


Full deliverance

From all bondage, which cannot

Be attained on earth,

Is made possible for you

In the spiritual realm.


Though you have gone on

To the spiritual realm,

We pray that you will serve

God’s Divine Light Program still

Doing your best for His cause.

I’m sure they lose some in the translation, but anyway...

Much love from, Peter, Marcy, Jed & Joaquin

And the letter from Marcy on the back of a Hearthlight flyer:

I think we sent you one of these, but our notes got confused, so here it is, in case we didn’t—

No sooner do I get ready to send a Thank you note than another package arrives & I don’t get it done, but I did remember a few things from the Christmas package. The vest, though not worn yet, is greatly treasured. Jed’s saving it for a special occasion. And the mickeymouse top is a big hit — now that the newness has worn off. Joaquin loves it best when some kid comes to visit and wants to play with it. It’s really a grand toy. The pillow covers are neat, too. ’Quin has so many favorite pillow cases he has a hard time deciding which he wants when we change the beds. The shortie pajamas I’ll thank you for in the summer. And the pear butter sent us all into ecstacies. Larry is ready to adopt you for his very own grandparents, on the basis of that one jar. As for the xxx last package — The xxx towel shelves are now full & the tea towels are delightful every day, not just once in a while, and Jed really liked Peter Pan, & the small white slippers are just what he needed — he even puts them on with no reminders. And so a huge

THANK YOU for every last little thing

love, Marcy

Added between a couple of lines of that last paragraph: (love those flannel sheets!)


“play in the snow”
I vaguely remember being fascinated by my first time encountering snow, but I would have guessed it was a couple years later than this. I think my main feeling about it was disappointment—comic strips had led me to think that snow was a magical white fluffy substance, possibly something like cotton or dandelions, and nobody had told me that snow is cold and wet.
I vaguely remember the phrase “Jerusalem Bible” from childhood, but I don’t remember ever seeing a family tree for any branch of my family until Helen put one together about her family when I was in high school. So I don’t think that Peter and Marcy ever followed through on this project, though it’s possible that they did and I just didn’t know about it or don’t remember it.
I did salvage a Bible from among Peter’s books (along with hundreds of other books), but it turns out not to be the one he referred to here.
I don’t know who translated these poems, but I assume they were official translations published by the church. (Peter didn’t know enough Japanese to have translated them.)

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