The Letters That Frances Wrote
December 29, (1958)
Oh it was good to hear from all of you, almost all of you. Most perplexing we didn’t hear from Sister De. Hey Sister, you aren’t sick?
Oh what noisy livewires these children are. The chief has to sleep as he is working graveyard, so it is necessary to confine the children to this dinette. I removed all furniture and they have it converted to their liking. Janie is visiting (Flo’s adopted daughter.) They have removed the decoration from the windows which they had painted with glass wax for Christmas and now with a fresh batch of paints they are renovating for New Years.
Flo and family brought Mom G home Sunday night. Now Mom will stay home for the next four months at least, so she thinks. She has had enough “visiting.” The Swansons (Flo) are leaving today for Seattle.
Everyone is concerned about Bucks wife, Billie (Isabel Gurrad). Christmas day when Grant went in to bring them out for the day as they were going to be our guests, Billie didn’t feel well. Buck felt maybe they better not come. So Grant came back and picked up their gifts and the Christmas dinner which we packed warm, and went back to see them. Even while he was there Billie became worse and so he stayed to see how things would go. Billie started hemorrhaging and after two bad attacks Buck and Grant overruled her protests and took her to the hospital. She lost a lot of blood from a terrible vomiting attack. She had one bad spell after another and got so weakened as there was no blood for transfusions of her type. The blood was brought in from Portland late next day. She has been on the critical list ever since.
Well Harold’s (Gurrad) wife left for California to be with her family so Harold and Polly his daughter were alone. We asked them to have dinners with us Friday and Saturday and to bring Buck (Gurrad) out. They did. That’s how the days have gone.
Sunday and yesterday Buck was out in between his visiting at the hospital and here. He plays Monopoly with the youngsters.
Sunday night Mother left for Eddies to be there for three days. Pat has been working for Whitneys in their office. She didn’t finish up before Christmas and since Eddie’s job is not too steady these days they wanted to take this extra one.
Eddie is on graveyard too so he gets to sleep during the day if Grandma is there. I am selfishly glad it happened and they needed Grandma just now as she was itching to begin working on parcels for Poland and I am not quite in the mood. I want to get some notes written and I do have lots of laundry unfinished.
Otherwise all is fine and Christmas was such a happy one for the children. This year they seemed to be delighted with fixing the tree and decorating all over the rooms, (messy-like but they think it’s beautiful) and for once they were doing a lot less arguing. [Editor’s note: We were probably ILL.) Everyone seemed to like everyone. Most unusual situation, sez Daddy.
Christmas day all of us went to 7 o’clock Mass and Patricia sang, oh sweeter than all others, so she thought and I too. We opened all childrens gifts after breakfast and Grandma opened all hers too as she thought she would be leaving for Jim-Berna’s before other company arrived. Oh Grandma got so many lovely things. Some were for her birthday, the day before, but if she had peeked into they she had erased that evidence. She got a lovely dress and Keeno articles (something she looks for to fill in her share of the Rosary Society Bingo parties). She got Novena gifts, Mass cards, money, a curling iron, nuts and dates and candles, a good pen, stamps and stationary.
Then at Jim’s house she got more money gifts. Gen and her girls couldn’t get to Jim’s so they phoned they will give Grandma their gifts and see her this Sunday. She had a wonderful time at Jim’s with so many youngsters.
Jim bought an organ for his girls. I can’t quite describe it. He said it’s small, cost only $159 and it is set to play low so there won’t be much noise from the practice he expects will be constant. He said they can all learn to play on it, later to graduate to a piano. He himself enjoys it. Said he can play several pieces already. All of them are excited about this organ.
But Grandma doesn’t appreciate it at all. She said it’s just like “somborry moanin’ alla time, that no make goot music.”
Sunday Grandma didn’t stay in town. She came home and rested until Eddie picked her up in the evening. She so loves the Christmas carols and beautiful music and this year it just seemed more beautiful than ever. Of all things, I am so enthralled over that “Drummer Boy” record. And it was played over and over on the radio. Kathy tried to buy it and it was sold out everywhere.
Friday Harold took some of the children and Grant to Olympia to shop at Sears and Montgomery Ward stores. Grant wanted to view their transistor radios. I had given him one for Christmas, the best on the Harbor, but all of us feel there are better ones than this. I wanted him to see. Well, they had a good time.
Then the youngsters had some exchanging to do. They had shopped with their $8 total luxury money for a bird and cage and had bought a parakeet, food and cage for $7.86. Then Grant felt they would enjoy a canary a lot more. They agreed. Canaries cost more though. So Grant took them back to the store and they got a beautiful canary and cage and now everyone is so thrilled. This $8 was the JBF Club earning. (Editor’s note: The JBF Club was initiated to get us four kids to get along with one another. The JBF Club had a short life.) The last spurt of goodness and kindness ran them up to $12 and they wanted something real special to show for the money.
Only once before they did such purchasing and that was when the Club saved up to $17. They bought Missals for themselves and one for me and Mary got a little book. They wanted it all at once so I had to advance them some more money. Well now they have scraped bottom, on the club funds.
It’s wonderful what fun we have had over this Club and how much good we get from it. Grant doubled their money to purchase this last thing. I doubled their $4 which they took out to send to Bishop Sheen. He gets a portion each time for his poor children. Kathy sends her share to the Maryknolls.
Mom G. told the children once that her pair of canaries raised as many as 14 babies over the years. Now Bill is eager to make a cage from his window seat to the ceiling and buy a male canary and we will have lots of baby canaries. We can hardly wait. (Editor’s note: Bill’s cat ate the canary while we were at church, the following Easter.)
Happy New Year everyone.
God bless you all,