The Letters That Frances Wrote
December 8, (1958) Holiday Students are Home
A lot of racket around here. ‘Tis cold and the chief is home until 3:30, so the youngsters think its fun. For two weeks now he has been on the swing shift and they don’t see him but weekends. As he leaves before they return from school and he is in bed when they take off.
The chief got wise. He has this stubborn cow that won’t stand for a woman. She was raised on a farm with two bachelors. Otherwise she is a good bossy but when Grant couldn’t be her to milk her, Billy and I were to do it together. That is Billy is acceptable to the cow.
Oh we had the most sickening time of it for three days. Not to mention there was no milk from one milking because I got kicked and the cow became a nervous wreck and I did too from trying to hop out each time her hind leg struck out but I couldn’t always be fast enough and though I milked into small container and emptied it into the pail I lost too much. So then I told the chief to either tie her legs, front and back or lets sell her and get a cow I can handle. But the chief makes pets of all his stock, even the ornery things so he decided to teach this cow to milk according to his shifts. She is very obliging. So he milks her at one o’clock p.m. and a.m.
That why the chief does not get up so early in the mornings.
The school will close on the 19th until after Jan. 6th. Grant gets a two week shut-down over Christmas too. Sister Eileen’s school is closed for major corrections. After that terrible Chicago fire the fire inspectors are helping correct the hazards on the old school building. The Hoquiam Sister’s school is an old wooden structure. It is requiring some major changes.
EZ’s were over yesterday but we didn’t get to visit only about an hour with them. The Sisters had planned the children’s procession and special devotions to Our Lady for Sunday night rather than today and our four were all in it. This was Mary’s first time to be in the procession. Oh, she was so thrilled and Billy was one of the two candle bearers who led the procession. Kathy and Patrice were just as important. Each class took a turn at coming up to the altar and singing a hymn. It really was so beautiful I was glad Grant went with me. When daddy comes, it’s always awfully special to the children as well as to me.
We couldn’t see grandma there, the church was so packed. Even standing room was used up but since Joey is like us, he goes early. We know grandma must have had a seat probably way up front. He had gone to St. Peter’s church for Mass, that morning and on Joe’s invitation was staying overnight to attend Mass at St. Peter’s tonight. He will bring her home.
Last week Grandma was home all the time. When she wasn’t writing letters she spent hours altering children’s sleepers which were one-piece with feet enclosed … to two piece underwear for Poland. “Tha not usem sleepers in Poland but kid makem goot pants and shirts an that be warm.”
Til, your box came today. Oh such good towels sis … how come you parted with them? I have hustled these into my own linens else Grandma would take them for Poland. I will divide some of the other items you including and for Ruben’s fine trousers which fit my chief, I will give Grandma three of Grant’s … also only slightly worn, due to his expanding waist line. Thanks for these Sis from us as well as Grandma. And thanks for the letter too. EZ’s read it and I will pass it along now.
Makes sense you are so busy. Tis not easy to keep a home neat and effieient, as well as work at a job, but it can be done. I think you even find delight in helping Ruben at the store. Oh Sis, I thoroughly enjoyed the rush and excitement and work of Christmas when I was at the store. You get tired but happily so. This time I hope business will be even better than last year so Mister Ruben can celebrate when it’s all over.
Hey, I am enjoying a bit of “selling” myself. Our booth is drawing lots of folks to buying religious gifts. We keep our show case locked but have three phone numbers listed for contact to us and we get calls constantly which Marian and Helen fill as they take the students. And we have ample stock here in my bedroom.
Last week Marian had the monthly guild meeting. I couldn’t go but she picked up the box of “samples” and sold $41 worth to the Guild members who were there last night. Most of these were the girls who are not church goers but Catholics. We couldn’t have sold them anything from that booth in the church.
Sr. De, business is so encouraging. We are far from paying off the stock but evidence shows we are started on a goldmine of a little business. Once it is discovered how many articles we have the parish should just stampede.
Eddie has a job in his mill now, which requires regular graveyard shifts. He said he is lucky at that as some fellows do not have a full time job. Things are rather tough in the plywood and lumber business. Pat is working with her students on a yearly pageant they put on at the church. Father wants it on Sunday the 21st. It’s held in their church parlor. So Eddie wondered if Grandma would come for that Sunday to their place and stay with the children so he and Pat could attend this. And since Grandma love to bake bread for the hospital sisters as a gift they jointly do together, EZ’s and her, she will stay to bake that before returning home.
But Grandma already expressed a wish … that she would have Christmas here so she could spend the day (after church) at rest and prayer and enjoying Christmas programs on TV and radio as in earlier years.
I guess she thought because we kicked up our heels on Thanksgiving we might dispense with the tradition of Christmas time too and not have celebrating at home. She shouldn’t worry. Not while these youngsters are still small.
They can’t bear the idea of leaving all the presents and going some place once we get home from church. Some Christmas’ we did spend part of the day at Grants mothers but this year we don’t know where she will be. Flora, her youngest daughter, was suddenly taken ill with great pain. They live in Seattle. Have one adopted child. Ed, her husband phoned for Mom to come help out. Flo spent ten days in the hospital and is now out but not fully recovered.
They treated her for a kidney infection, however, they aren’t satisfied with her slow improvement. She is having terrible headaches now and is so tired. Just drags all day long. It could be after effects of the sulpha but mom thinks it’s something else. Mom wrote me couldn’t make any plans where she will be at Christmas time because it depends on Flo’s progress.
Mom has been very well. Still taking heavy doses of insulin. Ages ago Dr. warned the family if mom didn’t come down from taking 50 units a day she could go into a coma. However her tests show she can’t take less. She laughs, “I have outlived two doctors now who predicted I was going into something or other that would finish me. I will outlive this last one yet.” That’s mom and she is 84 years young.
She is the nicest Christian Scientist I ever met. For sure she lives her faith and leaves all the worry to God. She is a love.
We had Harold and his family out for Saturday evening for dinner. He’s Grant’s favorite brother. They are such fun but we don’t often get together as their idea of going places is always on Saturday night.” They sleep until noon Sundays. Well, this Gurrad bunch has to get up before 7 a.m. Besides all the baths and hair setting, confessions and marketing and general activities of Grant, the students who welcome a Saturday for doing as they please; it is just one day that I do not like to entertain … no way.
Althaea, Harold’s wife, is student advisor at the Junior High School. She majored in child psychology, etc. and is brilliant. I could listen to her for hours as it is an interesting field anyway but also she has had lots of experience.
However I was shocked and saddened to learn of how times have changed even in small town schools. Just recently they found 9th grade girls carrying switch-blade knives in their purses. Of all things, Girls. Oh Althaea says this Junior High has very low morals among quite a few young teenagers. Beer and cigarette users are the least of their offenders. Good night, I hope Billy won’t be influenced by this availability when he enters those halls next year.
Pat is awfully happy. She and Eddie shopped around and decided on a new Kenmore range from Sears. It will be delivered before Christmas. It’s her first new stove. It’s got a big oven and glass door.
Joey arrived with Grandma. He wants her to come have dinner Christmas eve at his place since she doesn’t want to go anywhere Christmas day but she hasn’t said yes. She is going to consult with Bernie just in case Bernie would like to attend midnight Mass with Jim. Grandma would baby sit there. Otherwise Bernie doesn’t try to get to Mass. She finds her little ones too demanding to be left at home or taken to church.
We had a bake sale at St. Mary’s Sunday. I am glad all that’s over with. I need to begin on Christmas cards and house cleaning and then there is all the holly to cut and pack.
From now on it’s awfully exciting … the getting ready for Christmas.
Joey said he has to worry how to find, cut and drag out of the woods, six trees. Three big ones for the church, one for Uncle Carl, Uncle Ben and one of his own.
Bye now. God bless you.