1976, June 29: Letter from Helen to P&M
Two-page typewritten letter from Helen. It looks like Helen mailed the original to Peter & Marcy, and kept a photocopy.
This was during Jay’s and my monthlong stay at George and Helen’s place; for more, see previous letter.
7 a.m. Tuesday 6/29/76
Dear Peder and Marcia,
Just remembered that you will be gone the last of the week, so better dash off a few lines hoping you'll get them before you leave. Not that there is something startling to write, but just so you hear.
The boys were ex cited about the plane ride - a comic note: we waited and waited for the luggage, and finally there wasn't any more coming down the ramp. I had just glanced up and noticed "Continental" but hadn't had a chance to say anything when dear Joaquin piped up with "Maybe we aren't at the right place!" Our backs were toward the Western - one uses the same gate into the
xarea. So all was well and we trundled home, Jed between us and J. on my lap - Jed talking non-stop (we felt getting the excitement, possible anxiety, adventure, etc. out of his system.
Friday I took them with me to church as Lyndon is in Europe and I had to put the bulletin out. They were angles - playing ping-pong in the basement, playing on the equipment at a school a block away, and then helping me "stuff" the bulletin. We went on to do some errands before picking up GV - then to the dentist for him - and HAD A PIZZA. Took them to John's for the night, since we had to meet P & L at midnight.
Sat. you talked to them - that was nice of John - then they came home again, and I can't even remember what happened that day, other than getting P & L off to the beach. I know I was too tired to attend a barbershop concert I wanted to hear.
Sunday we pulled the trailer out to the beach. Took along our sandwiches and juice so Linda didn't have to cook. The boys were down on the sand most of the time and playing with the two dogs who roam the area. Paul "rough-housed" with them a bit - it was hilarious to see Jason looking on, wondering about all of it. He is so bright, walking well at 10 months.
Monday - yesterday seems so far away already - we were home almost all day. The main diversion here is the laundry
xxxchute (how do you spell it?) and the favorite place the front porch, where games are played and balls rolled down steps, etc.
GV just left with Kermit (who brought us about $2 worth of cherries, yum) but said to be sure and tell you that he is most impressed with these dear grandsons - their thoughtfulness, manners, cleanliness, speech, the gamut.
xxxReminds him of our own dear sons in their grow xing up days. When I say they were SO good, people often think I just forget - but when I observe these two xand their good-ness, I know I am right at that remembering.
Well, I can't take too much time on this epistle - must make sandwiches for the 3 of us, as today I put out the newsletter (monthly) at church. The boys adjust so well, just take whatever is planned in their stride (am laughing to myself with the thought, what else can they do?) - so they are ready and willing to help grandma stuff the newsletter now.
Just a sidelight on their being in the church building - I think it was Jed said he used to be afraid of a Christian church, but he isn't any more. Thank goodness for that. He asked me what the Cross was for, and I really didn't know what to say, so said it was a symbol Christians believe in. He then went on to tell Joaquin that Jesus hung there (oh, I had said the spire pointed up to the sky) and when I asked how he knew that, he said he knew about Moses and so on.
We went thru their clothes and hung them up (finally!) yesterday. I have a brand new pair of Billy the Kid pants for Joaquin, which I had never sent, so I better go take up the hem now before they awake and the day speeds by.
Yesterday we tried to get on a 3-meal a day schedule (somewhat, I mean - I told them they could get something if really starving) so that Ican get things done other than routine preparing food and cleaning up afterwards. They ate big breakfasts - shredded wheat, taost, juice - and waited until lunch to have cheese toastwiches, carrot-raisin salad, uice. Then dinner was corn on the cob, protein patties, cabbage slaw, juice and a fresh peach for dessert before bedtime.
They are beautiful - and good - and we love them. Don't know how you can stand to be away from them, but guess situations demand sacrifices. They seem to be happy - get about 12 hours sleep a night so far (9 to 9). Have read very little, and watched TV almost not at all until yesterday, when they saw Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and Electric something. Have had regular BM's - spasmodic face and hands washing - regular toothbrushing. Change clothes when they choose.
I am amazed at how much they help me - I've oriented them as to where various items are (bread, butter, peanut butter, juice, milk) and what snacks there are they can have (pretzels, fruit, granola).
So - I'll try to read the instructions again sometime - when and if there ever is enough time. Need to do some cooking/baking for the weekend, tho there won't be nearly as large a crowd as had been anticipated. None of my siblings, with the possible exception of Harold, will be present.
What's the matter with me - I can't continue indefinitely at this -
Handwritten: Grandma Helen
Was going to send you some tapes - but figured the postage and it would be what you could buy them for. So I'11 save the money and send them with J&J later.
- The all-caps is presumably because Marcy had indicated in the instructions letter that pizza was a big favorite of ours.
- “P & L”
- My uncle Paul and aunt Linda.
- George and Helen and Paul and Linda had recently bought a beach house together.
- Paul and Linda’s first (and only, at the time) kid. (Thus, Jay’s and my cousin.)
- I was very confused about the timing until I figured out that the “bulletin” and the “newsletter” were different publications. At least, I’m assuming they were.
- “The boys adjust so well, just take whatever is planned in their stride”
- Heh. I’m surprised and impressed to learn that I could do that at age 8; these days, I have a very hard time adjusting to unexpected changes in plan.
- “cheese toastwiches”
- I like this term. Possibly even more than our traditional name for them (“cheese-toasties”).
- “protein patties”
- Huh—now I’m curious about what kind of vegetarian protein patties were available in Tacoma in 1976. A quick web search led me to an article about Canadian non-meat burgers in the 1970s, but even so, I’m a little surprised that Helen managed to find such a thing.
- “Don't know how you can stand to be away from them, but guess situations demand sacrifices”
- I still don’t know why this trip happened. A later letter seems to imply that it was mainly to give Peter & Marcy some time to catch up on various things; not sure whether that happened.
- “12 hours sleep a night”
- !!! Yet another thing that I don’t remember about this time of my life.
- “Electric something”
- Heh. Electric Company.