Daily Archives: October 6, 2018

Letter to my parents and brother from me: August 1981

Dear Mom, Dad and Kevin,

So this is the second letter I’ve written. Letter #1 is stale (and besides, I’ve already told you everything that’s in it) [1].

Like I said on the phone — the apartment actually is livable now. Each room still has a lot to be done, but at least we can move. Today we cleaned out the desks and put some books away. Our next big project is making the shelves for the stereo and albums and remainder of the books. [2]

We have no hot water yet. The plumber never showed up. I guess it’s quite a job. Ask Dick Palmer why he thinks we are having so many problems. :-) (actually I think our landlady is over-worried about $$$$) [3]

My birthday was really special. Dean made me a wonderful breakfast of strawberries and cream, kippers, pink champagne, soft-boiled eggs, bagels and toast (this was all before we knew how poor we were :-)).

The we went to a festival downtown at Point State Park. That’s where the 3 rivers come together. We watched the speedboats and Dean “frolicked” in the fountain.

For dinner, Dean made a roast and Yorkshire putting. It was all very wonderful.

Dean gave me my favorite cologne, a blue rose, peppercorns, kerosene for my lamp, a bottle of wine, and, from a local garage sale, a salt shaker and  pepper mill set, directly (long ago) from Italy [4]. [5]

After dinner and cake (yes, he baked me a cake complete with 25! [6] candles) we took a long leisurely walk around our new neighborhood.

Cinder has settled in very nicely. It’s almost as if no move ever took place.

We still have to thank you properly. I wish I could have said more in the way of thanks when you left, but I was ready to cry at any moment. [7]

Also, we owe you money for gas, etc. That will soon be paid as soon as we can.

Well, take care.

Love,
Dona

P.S. Got the checks today. Thanks for the loan. I feel awful asking for the money — thanks so much. [8]

Hi again —

Enclosed, you have found the two checks. Thanks, but the bank won’t accept it except to go into our account and that won’t be good until the 8th of September. (That’s the $50.00). Then the $15.00 check — it’s not certified. Seems that certified means the bank guarantees the money. We even went to the assistant manager. But luckily we found that the book store takes VISA (Dean needs books) and that leaves us with enough cash to get by — there is $40.00 in my change bottle. I appreciate your help very much. If you can’t get your money back (but I’m sure you can) [9] send me the check back and I’ll be able to cash it and send you back one of our checks.

Don’t worry — my fingers are still pink — not blue. [10]

I called the school district and they are sending applications for subbing. One district (Pittsburgh) isn’t accepting subbing applications until next week. [11]

Love,
Dona

Notes:
  1. Dean and I had just moved to Pittsburgh []
  2. I think my mom was not impressed with our apartment when she and my dad, brother and cousin drove us to Pittsburgh from Elgin []
  3. I’d forgotten about this []
  4. I remember these — the were a rusty-red with a gold crackled finish []
  5. All I can say is WOW! Dean sure knew how to treat a gal back then []
  6. Damn we were just babies! []
  7. Knowing what I know now about the pain when a child leaves town, I know my mother must have been heartbroken []
  8. None of us realized that even though we had money to put in a banking account, we would not see that money for a couple weeks. We lived on change for a week. Never underestimate the value of a change jar. []
  9. It is apparent here that I had no idea how checks worked []
  10. Mom was worried about my Raynaud’s syndrome kicking in because I was stressed []
  11. I’d forgotten I’d applied to more than one school district []

Letter to me from my mother: January 13, 1979

Dear Dona [1],

We woke up to another snow storm [2] . We already have 39 1/2 inches on the ground [3]. (That is accumulation since the first of winter). Snow fell all last night and is supposed to continue today and tonight.

Your dad took the van to get a new windshield this morning. On the way up north we were going under an overpass just as snow and ice fell down on us and cracked the window — also scared the hell out of us.

When I got home from work on Monday there was a note to call your Aunt Pat. She had fallen Sunday night when she took a garbage bag out to the street. I waited til 3 o’clock and picked Kevin up in case I needed help with her. When we got to her house she answered the door. She had a slipper on her foot because it had swelled. At the hospital I couldn’t find a close parking so I dropped her and Kevin by the emergency entrance. They had to walk up a steep ramp (I didn’t know until later that I could have driven right up to the door). Anyway to make a long story short (we were there in the emergency room until 7) she ended up with a broken ankle and will be in a cast from 6 to 8 weeks.

You’re right, Dona, Cinder doesn’t miss you [4]. She spends most of her time downstairs being scratched and petted. She is even friendly with your dad.

There was an article in the Courier News this wee about your friend from Carlson’s Paint Store complete with pictures of him dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster [5].

Our TV burned out last night. The picture went black and it snapped and crackled. I was afraid to touch it. After I turned it off the room smelled like burnt plastic.

Purcell’s address is Box 308, Minocqua Wisconsin 54548.

This has to be short — your dad wants to leave.

Take care — I hope everything is O. K.

Love,
Mom

Notes:
  1. I was student teaching in England []
  2. This was the Chicago Blizzard of 1979 []
  3. I think that’s a little high based on what I just read in the earlier link, and here’s another []
  4. Cinder was my black cat. I don’t remember thinking she wouldn’t miss me, but I guess I must have predicted correctly []
  5. This was someone I knew from the Manor Restaurant where I waited tables. He was a bit of an asshole, but kind to me. He used to wear stilts and dress as Frankenstein’s monster []