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.