Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Christmas is coming

Thursday (December 9, 1976)

Dear Robin

I think Howard and Dee would appreciate getting a letter from you very much. I know that kind of letter is hard to write but just tell them how sorry you are and then tell them something about school. They always ask about how you are doing. We will try to go to see them while you are at home.

I think the Pixie idea sounds like a lot of fun and good for the children too.

Lisa and I went to Windsor Park Tuesday and I got some more Christmas shopping done. For the life of me I can't think of what to get for Julie or Chad. I hope you will have some ideas when you get home.

I haven't had the car door fixed yet but I fastened the seat belt to it and I can drive to the store but I'd be too nervous to go very far.

I guess I'd better get this out so the mailman can pick it up.



This is the last letter of the fall semester. I'd be home in about a week. The "Pixie idea" was a secret Santa event we did in the dorm - only the final "reveal" present was not for the other person, it was for a toy collection project like Angel Tree or Toys for Tots or something like that. My secret person was a voice major from somewhere who lived a few doors down from me. She used to practice in her room a lot, I remember.

I am picturing Mom driving around with a faulty car door lashed to the car with the seatbelt! It was a new car, too, a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass. I think she probably got it fixed before I got home.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tragedy strikes - sad post

Warning: really sad letter ahead. I really thought a long time about whether I would include this letter. I finally decided to include it because loss is part of life for all families. 

This gives me a chance to say that I have changed almost all the names in these letters. Some folks are still with us, some are not, obviously. For those that are with us I didn't want to subject them to any chance of loss of privacy and I just thought it would be easier to change everyone's name rather than contact everyone to ask if they minded if I used their name.

The back story here is that Ray was my first cousin but was quite a bit older than I (as almost everyone in my generation is/was). In fact, I don't remember ever being around him. My older siblings, I'm sure, remember being around him as kids, but by 1976 he was married, and living far away.

Friday (December 3, 1976)

Dear Robin

Just as I started this letter the phone rang and it was Dee calling to tell me that Ray was killed in a car wreck in Kansas some time last night or yesterday. They don't have any details about it yet or any arrangements for the funeral.

I'm so upset I guess I can't write any more just now.



Friday, November 13, 2020

Winter arrives

Saturday November 13, 1976

Dear Robin

It's wet, cold and miserable and it looks like it is going to stay that way. I had to bring all my plants in yesterday and then it didn't freeze. I'm glad it didn't and I hope it doesn't tonight because my marigolds are so pretty. My zinnias are almost through blooming but there are a few left. Needless to say I've been chasing cats since I brought the plants in. I guess I need the exercise.

Donna was in Tuesday and came by for a little while. I wanted to go down there Thursday and Friday but this bad weather came so I decided not to go.

I went with Lisa to Plate and Platter the other day and they had some custard cups like I've been looking for. They were too high priced but I bought two and then she bought two for me.

If you do get the apartment I'm sure we can find a lot of things around here for you to use if you are not too particular about matching sets and things like that.

The other day Grant was playing in the back yard and then he came in the front door. Lisa knew he couldn't open their side gate and she had been telling him he must not climb over so she asked him if he climbed over and he said - No, I didn't climb over. I was just standing there and a big wind came along and just blew me right over.



Each paragraph of this letter reveals one or more of my mother's priorities for life:




being frugal! I just wonder what those custard cups cost. How much could even a fancy kitchen store like Plate and Platter charge for little bitty custard cups? They looked very similar to these.

When was the last time you made custard? I can remember making custard maybe twice in my adult life, unless you count the custard you have to make to go in lemon meringue or chocolate pie. But just plain custard in a cup? Hasn't happened much. Maybe I should try again. Or, I could make flan, or creme brulee, both of which are custards that went to private school and whose parents bought them a red BMW for their 16th birthdays. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Election outcome - 1976

 Saturday November 6, 2020

Dear Robin

If no news is good news then this is the best letter you ever got.

I guess you were not very pleased with the election results. I wasn't either but since we are stuck with Carter for a while I suppose I'll have to try to find something to like about him.

Yesterday was a school holiday so Nora, Trina and Lolly came in. Nora and I went shopping while the kids played at Lisa's. All of the kids were wishing they could have been with you when you had all that snow.

We are having some beautiful weather now and it makes me want to go fishing.

Well, I have some more letters to mail so I'll have to go through the painful task of getting the cats in the garage. I stay at home a lot just because I hate to get ready to go.



Sunday, November 1, 2020

Can't believe it's November, already

Monday November 1, 1976

Dear Robin

How did you like the snow?

While you had snow we had rain and more rain. If you are wondering why your mail is late it's because I couldn't get the car out without swimming. I had Doug and Betsy and Lisa's family to dinner Friday night and I thought for a while I wouldn't be able to go to the store for food.

That must have been some game Saturday. They were giving the score every little while on TV and I was surely scared there for a while. I think Tony won some money on the game.

We didn't have very many kids around for treats last night. I had a lot of candy left over.

Have you seen that cat on TV that looks just like John Boy? I think they call him Harry.

I'm still working on the sewing 'chine room but I almost have it like I want it now.

Well, I have to write some checks to pay some bills and that's not one of my favorite things to do.



Oh, I forgot, I had another winning race ticket last Tuesday but just for two dollars.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Halloween care package

Wednesday October 27, 1976

Dear Robin

I thought since I didn't send you a package on your birthday I'd send you a treat for Halloween.

Donna spent the night with me Monday. She had to bring Miss Stacey to the hospital for some tests and then do a lot of errands for her yesterday. I went with her and we ran around all day. She went home last night but probably had to come back and get Miss Stacey today.

I hope you like the cookies.



Cookies! Homemade Halloween cut-out cookies! What a treat that was. These are the actual cookie cutters she used. If you look for them online they are now referred to as "vintage" Hallmark Halloween cookie cutters. I guess they are. I must be vintage now, too. 

And here's the recipe, which she sent to me in February of 1978. I guess the cookies made a lasting impression. I wonder if I have all the ingredients to make them right now? I think I do!

Sugar Cookies

350*                8 min.             3 Dozen

2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift flour and salt.

Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until fluffy.

Stir in flour to make a stiff dough

Wrap in wax paper and chill 3 hrs.

Roll 1/4 at a time on lightly floured board. Cut as desired, put on ungreased cookie sheet - bake.

This is the recipe I used for the Halloween cookies.

I also remember that I took one of the cookies - a cat, I'm sure - and painted it with clear nail polish so it would "keep" and attached a string to it and hung it in my dorm room. Weirdo!

I'm not sure what she means when she says she didn't send me a package for my birthday. I know she sent me a gift - winter gloves and a scarf. I guess maybe she means she didn't send me any treats, like these cookies. My mouth is watering. If I make them today I'll eat them all by myself. I'd better wait until the weekend when our daughter and fianc√© are here so I'll have someone to share them with.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Texas Open

Monday October 18, 1976

Dear Robin

I've had a busy weekend at the Texas Open. Lorelai and Mitch gave me a ticket and took me out Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was windy and a little cool but yesterday was beautiful. The golf was exciting and had a play off and everything. I made some sandwiches (pimiento and cheese on homemade rye bread) to eat out there and when it was over Mitch got some chicken and slaw at Earl Abel's and we went to their house for supper. They both said to tell you hello for them.

Nora and Lolly were here Friday. Nora met Bobby at noon to pick out a birthday present for her. He bought her a big stereo. I didn't see it but she said it is larger than mine. He is going to be out of town all this week so I may go out and stay a night or two with her.

Betsy has got a teaching job. It is a San Antonio district school and is somewhere near Fort Sam. She thinks she is going to like it and they moved back to town. They got a house in the Glen which is near Windcrest.

I'm mailing your birthday present today - I hope it gets there in time and I hope you like it.

I took your check to First Fed this morning. Now I have to go to the post office.



This letter's envelope was packed with news clippings about the Texas Open. It must have been a pretty exciting tournament. One of the most interesting clippings was the leaderboard - which shared how much of the $125,000 purse each finisher received. Butch Baird, the winner, got $25,000 for his efforts. Tom Kite finished tied for 9th and earned $850. The last-place finisher took home $219. In the 2019 Valero Texas Open Corey Connors won $1,350,000!!!!! The ninth place finishers won $90,000 and the last place finisher earned a little over $15,000. Wow.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Glad you're not here

Thursday October 14, 1976

Dear Robin

It really was good to get to talk to you. I miss you very much but I don't wish you were here - that sounds funny but I think it's wonderful that you are having the experience of going to college. I often have wished that I had had enough gumption to have made more of an effort to go.

I picked up Ben about 7 o'clock Monday morning. Nora had everything ready to start fishing when we got there. We didn't catch much. Nora did catch a nice big catfish. We had a wonderful day and Ben seemed to enjoy it a lot. We took him home about 6. Nora and I fished almost all day Tuesday. She caught 2 nice bass and I caught 1. She is ahead of me now so I have to go back soon and see if I can beat her.

I've been working in the yard some and I finally started painting that old chest of drawers. As soon as I get the sewing 'chine room fixed up I'm going to sew all the time - well maybe most of the time.

I cut a big bunch of zinnias this morning. I have my green pitcher full and they are so colorful but I guess John Boy and I will fight over them all day.

Well I want to get this out before the mailman comes by.



Among her many other accomplishments, my mother could grow anything. She loved growing flowers the most, though. I can't match her zinnias. Mine get powdery mildew and the leaves turn brown and shrivel up. I've done pretty well with morning glories this year, though. My daughter took this picture when she was over today. There are tons more buds on the plants.

Mother loved trying any new plant she could find. Once she had a load of dirt delivered by a local plant nursery. She had put some of it in a planter she was going to buy plants for, but she noticed after a few days that something was sprouting in the planter. She later told me that it was such a pretty little plant with the prettiest leaves that she couldn't bear to pull it out and she was curious about what it might be - that is, she was curious until she read in the newspaper about a raid the police had made on a marijuana growing operation - complete with pictures of pretty plants that looked a lot like her little seedling! She was mortified and yanked that seedling up super quick and cut it into a million pieces, she said.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

High tech cooking

Can you imagine inviting someone over to your house because you have a new microwave oven? That was an exciting event in 1976, I guess.

Friday (October 8, 1976)

Dear Robin,

I surely was glad to get a letter from you yesterday - it had been so long I was getting worried.

I have been at Lisa's all morning. I went over to see her new microwave oven and stayed to watch her decorate Karly's birthday cake. She is taking a cake decorating course at Scrivener's. The one she is making is Holly Hobbie and it is so cute. We went to a shop that sells everything you can imagine for cakes. I got a set that has a small Holly Hobbie pan, bowl, mix for cake and icing, pastry bag and tips, spatula and spoon for Karly's birthday present.

If the weather is good Monday morning I'm going to get Ben and we are going to Nora's to fish. We will take him home in the evening but I will probably stay all night. 

The apartment idea sounds good as long as you realize how much more work it will be - like cooking, cleaning and washing dishes.

It really got cold here this morning. We have had some rain and also some beautiful weather.

I've got to go get some stamps and a few groceries.



Do you know anything about Holly Hobbie? She was big in the 70s - there were dolls, greeting cards, books.... I just learned that the artist who drew the old-fashioned girl in the big blue bonnet and patchwork pinafore was actually named Holly Hobbie herself. Apparently there's a new version of Holly Hobbie - who knew? So now there's "new" HH and "classic" HH.

Mom made several of her granddaughters their own Hollie Hobbie dolls. I wonder if any of them still have theirs. She made me one, too, for my dorm room. I was supposed to imagine it telling me, "Study, study, study," every time I looked at it. In the mid 1980s we had a puppy who chewed on poor Holly's head and  in 1996 my husband and daughter and I moved from Alabama back to Texas and it was packed in a box with a gallon jug of distilled water. When I unpacked the box I found that the water had opened and spilled and the doll was ruined by mold. I was devastated. I was able to rescue the dress and bonnet, though. I have the pattern she used and I keep saying that someday I'm going to make another doll, but...I don't know. It wouldn't be the same.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Still making the scene

Saturday (October 2, 1976)

Dear Robin,

We are having some beautiful weather - I can hardly stay in the house. However if I go outside I see how badly the grass needs mowing and I don't want to do that.

One day this week Lisa and Grant and I went shopping and Lisa had to go to Music Mart on Blanco to get a book for Kim - on the way we stopped in to see Dee and Howard. We all went to brunch together. They are fine and Howard looks really good.

I played golf Wednesday with Myra and Lorelei. I didn't do so bad and even had a birdie. I think I might buy me a season ticket to the Texas Open.

I hope Julie and Lulu both visit you. Julie said she thought she would but she seems to have so many things going I don't see how she does it all and has any time to study. 

It must be the cool weather, I don't know what else has go in to these cats. They had the wildest running and playing spree ever last night and they are at it again this morning. John Boy still wants to play ball but I don't play with him very often.

I guess I'd better get dressed and water my plants. I hope a get a letter today.



Monday, September 28, 2020

Out of order

 Oops! I found another Monday, September 20 letter. We're a little out of order now. Oh well.


Dear Robin

I'm sorry I didn't get these letters mailed Saturday but I had to go fishing. Lisa, Callie and I went to the lake and stayed all night. Lisa caught two nice bass Saturday evening and I hooked two big ones Sunday morning but they both got off just as I was about to land them. The lake is very low and there's lots of moss so they got in that and got off. I was casting with one of those old lures that you found. It rained a little on us but it made it nice and cool. It's still raining here this morning.

John Boy and I are having a constant battle. My zinnias are blooming and I have some in the house and he wants to eat them. Also Jim Bob is trying to get the berries off the cactus. They have turned red and so far he hasn't got through the thorns.

Lisa gave me a picture that she painted and framed. It's real pretty - a bird on a nest and a pot of flowers on a fence. Also I finished and framed my titmice.

I got another kit of Filo. There are two pictures in it - one a windmill and one a farm house. I'm also making a baby afghan for Valerie.

Doug and Betsy just came by. They have moved out near Brandon but they don't like it very much for various reasons. As soon as Betsy gets a job they will probably move again.

I'm glad you are getting to do so many things that you never had a chance to do before. (Editor's note: Oh, if she only knew....) 

There is a place for you to sign on the telephone paper so I didn't send it to the company.



Here's a photo of the kit she bought. I don't think I ever saw either of these finished. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

My mother the social butterfly

 Monday (September 27, 1976)

Dear Robin

I'm waiting for Nora and Lolly - they are coming in today. No, Lolly is not doing much talking yet. If she wants something and you make her she will say what it is but she doesn't volunteer very much.

I had a good time Saturday. Last week Gary called and asked me to go to San Marcos with them. Angelo State was playing there and Julie was there with the band. We got there about 3:30 and they came a little after 4:00. We got to visit with Julie until 5:30. Then we got a hamburger and went to the stadium about 6:30. The game was at 7:30 but we enjoyed people watching and there were some weird ones to watch. It was a good game and Angelo won. The band show at halftime was very good. Julie is doing fine at school I guess - she seems to be very busy and not homesick. She is coming home next weekend for Cotulla's homecoming. Dilley beat Cotulla last Friday 7 to 6. Heights didn't have a game.

Gary and Donna stayed here for what was left of the night. After the game we got Julie and went out to eat then took her back to the motel and talked a while and we didn't get back here until 2:00. They went home right after breakfast.

Lisa brought me some flowers, a box of candy and a Christmas ornament kit from Houston. She had a wonderful time there and I got along fine with the kids. You know I said I wasn't going to make any ornaments this year but I saw a kit in a magazine that I just had to have - it's Goldilocks and the three bears. I had told Lisa about it so that's the one she brought me.

I've decided that I can't stand Carter so I'm definitely going to vote for Ford. I'm not crazy about him. Lisa says she has an absentee ballot for you if you don't have one.

I'm glad you got your package. I hope to get started on your jumper this week. I haven't done any sewing since you have been gone.



First Federal sent the book back here so next time why don't you just send the check here and I will take it over. Make it out to First Federal and I will deposit it. If you don't want to do that I'll send the book back to you.

I think this is the Goldilocks kit she got. Over the years Mom made a ton of these kind of ornaments. They were the only ornaments she had on her Christmas tree. She always said she didn't like Christmas, but she always made more ornaments every year and she always had the whole family over for Christmas dinner - always. After she died in 1983 my sisters and I divided up the ornaments. I'm sure I wanted these - but there were so many I wanted. And luckily enough, I got the angel for the top of the three which I was excited about.

I got a kit last year and tried to make my own set of ornaments - they were trucks and cars with presents on top and in the back of the truck. I quit after the first one. Just too fiddly for me and I knew I wasn't working at her standard. I'll stick to quilting, thank you.

This letter makes me a little melancholy. She seems to be having such a good time without me! I doubt my social life lived up to hers at that moment!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

She's a winner!

Wednesday (September 22, 1976)

Dear Robin,

You will never guess what happened to me yesterday. I think I told you about Lisa and I and her friend MJ going to Helotes. There was a little craft shop next to the barbecue place where we had lunch and while we were looking around the lady asked us to sign up for a drawing they were going to have. She said they hadn't even decided what they were going to give away. I had forgotten all about it but yesterday she called and said I had won a wood piece. She described it as having daisies and a bird on it. All the things they have are supposed to be hand made. Lisa wanted to go with me to get it and she can't go until after three today. I'm real anxious to see just what I won.

But that's not all. I had two Handy Andy race tickets and won $10 on one of them. Horse no. 5 named Split Morse won the third race so I walked up to Handy Andy this morning and collected my $10. How about that. Winning something twice in the same day.

Tomorrow night I'm going to stay over at Lisa's. Tony has to go to a meeting in Houston and she is going along. They will be back Friday. I'm going to stay over there so the kids can go to school.

As soon as I get my prize I'll write and tell you all about it.



I remember that "wood piece." It was tiny - not sure it was worth driving out to Helotes to pick it up! It was a little log of wood with a tiny bird and some dried moss and flowers stuck on.

But the race win - now that's exciting! How it worked was, you got a "race ticket" every time you visited the grocery store. At the end of the week you watched the "Let's go to the Races" show on TV. If one of the horses listed on your ticket won its race, you won the prize shown - from $2 to $500 depending on the race. Here's an example.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Good night, John Boy, good night Mary Ellen

Have you ever seen "The Waltons" TV series from the 1970s about a rural family in the Great Depression? If you have, you have seen the character John Boy, aspiring writer, use a Big Chief tablet to write stories about his family and Walton's Mountain home. We loved "The Waltons" at our house and watched it faithfully. Well, I guess that's obvious since we named our cats after two characters in the show: John Boy and Jim Bob.

The feline John Boy was quite a story-teller, too, as you can see from the story I received (written on a Big Chief tablet, of course) shortly after his trip to the ranch. 

September 20, 1976

The Trip, By John-Boy

We thought something was going to happen when Grace-Boy got up early and started putting things in the car. When she got that awful yellow basket and put it in we got scared because we both remembered what happened to us the last time we were put in there. (Editor's note: Let's just say it was a trip to the vet that "altered" their lives). When she started to put me in I tried my best to get away but she held too tight. However, after she got us both in and started to open the garage door we managed to squeeze out - was she surprised! I got caught again right away but Jim-Bob got under the car and she didn't have an easy time getting him out. Then we got out again before she could get the door open. That time she didn't let us get out of the car and when she put us back in the cage she tied it so tight we couldn't get out again. By then she was so hot and bothered she said she either would throw us in the lake or jump in herself. We didn't know what a lake was so that didn't bother us much. Then she put Holly-Boy in the front and we took off. There wasn't much we could do about it then but Jim-Bob tried howling once in a while.

After we rode a long way we finally got there. Nora-Boy was glad to see us but we knew right away we wouldn't like it. There were a lot of strange creatures running around. Some were supposed to be cats but they didn't look like us - country cats, I guess. Then there was Killer-Boy, LeRoy-Boy, Skunk-Boy and Rat-Boy and we didn't like them a bit. One of the cats did look a little like Jim-Bob - you know what I mean - he didn't have a tail. His name is Frog-Boy and he walks around howling all the time. As soon as we got out of that cage we went under the house. Grace-Boy made Nora-Boy let us stay there. She was still mad and didn't care what happened to us. It was dark and cool under there so we stayed. 

After it got dark outside we came out. Nora-Boy took us in the house and tried to get us to eat. We pretended not to be hungry and waited till we got outside and ate when they were not looking. After a while it didn't seem so bad being outside and the other animals didn't bother us. Killer-Boy even got friendly - especially with Jim-Bob. All this time Holly-Boy seemed to be having a good time. I heard that she even waded in the lake when Grace-Boy was fishing. 

Saturday morning Grace-Boy started loading the car again. She brought the yellow basket in the house where Nora-Boy had me. Jim-Bob was still under the house but Trina-Boy crawled under and got him out. We got fastened in again and came home.

We were surely glad to be here again but I must admit I was beginning to like it there especially at night when we got out and explored some. We haven't decided if we want to go on another trip but if we do I'll have another story to write.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The lectures continue

Tuesday (September 14, 1976)

Dear Robin

I'm sorry I forgot to send your savings book.

I went to Nora's last Wednesday and stayed until Saturday morning. I really had a good time and caught some fish - one real nice catfish. Bobby ate it and said it was the best he ever had.

I wasn't feeling very well when I left there Saturday and by the time I got home I was real sick. My stomach was upset and I had a lot of fever. It didn't last long. I felt much better by Monday. Lisa, Callie and Karly all were sick yesterday - they have flu so I brought Grant home with me for the afternoon.

Night before last I had another one of my nightmares. Since you were not here to wake me I don't know how much yelling I did but it was some weird dream.

I'm sure you had a good time at the ball game especially since Tech won.

I haven't felt like getting that telephone paper signed yet. I did want to know though if I am signing for both of you. Also I must make a little mother talk and say that it is very easy to run up a big bill when you are fooling around with Ma Bell. Direct dialing just seems to make you forget that every second you talk cost money.

I finished the birds I was working on so I'm going to have to get me something else. There is a kit with two pictures in that same kind of work that I want to get next. Also I have an idea I'm working on to use my old calendars on my Christmas tree skirt.

I haven't been watching the shows very much so I don't know what's happening. I did see a little of General Hospital yesterday and Tom Baldwin is alive in prison in Mexico. He has a lot of hair and beard but it's not the same Tom. That old story of someone being dead and brought back is worn out.

It's time to see what I can find to eat for lunch.



Back in the day before cell phones, you had a land-line telephone in your dorm room (some dorms had one phone for a group of rooms!) and you shared it with your roommate. You couldn't make long-distance calls without permission from your parents - long distance calling was expensive and they wanted to know that someone was going to foot the bill! I have never been a big telephoner - I'm not sure what she was worried about. My roommate rarely made long distance calls. 


"Ma Bell," otherwise known as the phone company, had an ad campaign in the late 1970s and 1980s with the tagline, "Reach out and touch someone." Not exactly appropriate for the pandemic!

General Hospital was and still is an ABC soap opera. Here's some more information on Tom Baldwin in case you don't remember back to 1976! I haven't watched General Hospital in years and years. Probably not since my daughter was a toddler (she's 28 now) and napped in the afternoons. I tried to watch one day recently - just couldn't get into it.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Making Trip Plans

Tuesday (September 7, 1976)

Dear Robin

I just got your letter and you got a couple of letters from the bank so I opened them to see if there was anything about your social security. It's a good thing I did because now I won't have to loan you any. It didn't take them so long after all.

I've been cutting the grass and watering outside all morning now I'm washing some clothes and then I'm going to shower and then go to the store. Tomorrow I think I'll go to Lakehills. N calls every day or so wanting to know when I'm coming. I'm thinking of taking the cats and Holly with me so I can stay a few days.

Yesterday L, K, and I went to North Star Mall - there was an art show. It was really crowded out there; all the stores were having Labor Day sales. I didn't buy anything. The rest of the weekend I mostly watched TV - tennis and golf.

It sounds as if you and your new roommate are getting along pretty good.

If you need anything while I'm at N's her number is (XXX) XXX-XXXX. You can have the call charged to this number here at home. You can also call me when you want to - you don't have to just need something.



Taking the city cats (John Boy and Jim Bob) and Holly (fox terrier) on a trip to a ranch where there are kids, cows, deer, and lots of other dogs and cats? Oh, this will be an adventure!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

You may leave home, but the Mom Lectures will find you.

Thursday (September 2, 1976)

Dear Robin,

I really was glad to get your letter. I have mailed two to you but I put your room number on them so I hope you got them.

I don't know how often I will be able to write to you - there is just not that much to write about. I went to Lisa's for supper Tuesday and Grant missed you very much. Every time I see him he keeps asking where you are. He can't understand why you don't come home from school like you did before.

It sounds as if you have some very interesting courses but hard

I know that getting high grades has never meant much to you or seemed important but it is to most people and when you get out of school your grade records may have a lot to do with your getting a job.

Gary and Donna were on the south side of town yesterday and she called. She said Julie is doing fine. She is going to Tammy's for Labor Day. 

I really enjoyed the trip to Lubbock. If I had been able to sleep more at the motel I would not have been very tired at all.

I went with Myra and Howard to see what that 1 hour golf is all about. It doesn't seem as if it would be too much fun but it would be good practice.

I talked to Nora yesterday she said she has had her hair cut real short. Bobby wouldn't speak to her at first but he finally admitted that it looked sexy. I promised I'd go up there next week.

Well I had better get this out for the mail man to pick up.

Write often.



Sunday, August 30, 2020

Bank Robbery?

Monday Morning (August 30, 1976)

Dear Robin

I was wondering all weekend what you were doing. Lisa and I went to an antique show at Wonderland Saturday afternoon. Yesterday it was raining off and on all day. We didn't have much rain but the northwest part of town had a flood. The other night when Ricci Ware was giving the weather he said someone from Roosevelt had called asking about the weather in Lubbock - their children had just gone there to school.

I got me a new piece of work it is a picture in filo of three cute little titmice on some branches. I thought it would be easy but there are so many of those tiny little lines that I get cross eyed trying to see them.

I don't know what is the trouble with these cats - they keep getting into fights. I think it's Jim Bob who yells the most so I guess John Boy must be the winner.

Some one must have found out that you put all your money in American State because they tried to rob it last week.

I have so many jobs I want to get started on I guess I'll have to write them all down and draw one out of a hat so I'll know where to get started. 

But right now I have to pay bills.



Mom enclosed the newspaper article about the bank incident. Glad no one was hurt and my whopping $300 balance was safe!

Picture 2 of 6

I found this picture on eBay of the filo embroidery kit she got for her new "piece of work." I wish I had the finished project - I'm thinking my sister may have it. I have a filo owl that she did that needs to be framed that was a kit that I bought her for a birthday or Mother's Day. Not exactly sure why it's called "filo," but it has something to do with the pen-and-ink look of the final product.

She always had some kind of handwork - embroidery or crochet going.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Love, Mother

I went away to college in 1976. I was graduated from high school in 1975 but spent my freshman year living at home and attending the local community college. My mom wrote letters (yes, actual paper letters!) to me at school several times a week, starting the day after she and my sister dropped me off at the dorm. I was the last of her six children to leave home and I guess it came as quite a life-changing experience. 

I saved most of the letters. When Shelly Pagliai started her Hazel's Diary blog I thought about including my mom's letters in my blog and now, only TEN years later, I'm actually doing it. Where did the last ten years go? So much has changed in that time.

Anyway, here we go with her first letter to me.

August 25, 1976

Dear Robin,


We left the motel this morning about seven - had some coffee and toast - then got the car gassed and we got to Lisa's about four thirty. We made a gas stop in San Angelo and we stopped in Mason - first at the Dairy Queen and then at the watermelon stand. The man said the melons were grown around there but the one I got didn't have the same taste I remembered. Then we went to the cemetery. I didn't have any trouble finding the graves. The Wood lot, which is enclosed in an ornamental iron fence, was overgrown with weeds. I hope to go back there when it gets cooler and clean it.

The animals were glad to see me and rewarded me by finishing off that grasshopper that they had already eaten on. I think they did it while I was asleep. After Nora and Lolly left I sat down to look at the paper and as you know I went to sleep. I didn't sleep much at the motel.

I hope you had an exciting day and didn't have too much trouble getting around.


You won't believe that I slept until almost 7 o'clock this morning. I had to water all my plants then Lisa called. We went to a place called Gardendale. It's on a road off Nacogdoches way out near where that new bridge is. It is a vegetable farm and sort of health food store and they also have some herbs. Lisa wanted some okra to pickle but they didn't have any. Her friend MJ went with us and she suggested we go to that herb farm at Helotes. It is an interesting place. I didn't buy anything at either place. After her car stopped at an antique store we had a barbeque sandwich in Helotes. She had to restrain her car from stopping at some more antique shops but it was getting late and she had to get home before Karly. I guess we will have to go back again.

I'm very anxious to hear all about what you are doing.

Good luck tomorrow.



I recently finished this crazy quilt (à la Brian Haggard) using pictures I took when Dave and I visited the cemetery Mom talks about in her letter. The big picture is not actually the Wood lot, I just liked that big tree. The three pictures at the bottom of the quilt are from family headstones. The gate below is my depiction in embroidery of the gate of the Wood lot.