Saturday, November 04, 2006


Before I begin, thanks Russell. I appreciate your kind words. You were always my favorite kid.

As the saying goes, timing is everything. Our home has so much stuff in it, 2,500 square feet of stuff including the garage and a storage shed out back . . . all full of stuff. There can be no move from this house to another with all of this stuff. It would either break my back or empty my wallet to pay movers to haul it just across town.

We inherited a lot of stuff from our parents. For example, my mom and dad never threw anything away. I have every letter my mom ever received stored in boxes. Every letter. This would include every Christmas, birthday, Thanksgiving, and Save the Whales Hallmark card ever dropped in the family mailbox. This is not to mention every cancelled check they ever wrote and everything else that is or is not worth saving in this life.

While in the military I wrote my parents at least once a week unless I needed money. Then it was two or three times aweek until I got the money I was asking for. Multiply four years of miltary service by 52 and this stack of letters alone is huge. Then there's all the letters I wrote to mom and dad during the time they were away working for the Diamond Lake Company in Diamond Lake Oregon. What we have here is another box filled with six years worth of frequently written letters.

Today I figured that something had to be done. I want all of this stuff to be a done deal. Done with stuff deal. Who wants to read all of those letters? Not the kids, not the relatives. And I'll be damned if I'm packing them up when we decide to move.

Shredder to the right of me, garbage can to the left, I embarked this morning on the task of shredding years and years of history. I know the history so it doesn't matter if I shredded it. Besides, without the history in writing, I can exaggerate about the past all I want and get away from it. Who will know?

As luck had it, I opened one letter when I had not been opening any letters. This letter kind of jumped out at me. When I opened it I found that Mom had wrote this letter in the 1980's following our Thanksgiving visit to Diamond Lake. I couldn't have started Chapter 2 any better, mom. Here's what you wrote:

"Saturday morning.

Dear Robert:

Really hated to see you leave and head down the road. I know my mother (and grandmother) used to say 'love to see you come but hate to see you leaving.' Guess that is true no matter what generation.

Sometimes there are so many things I'd like to say but never do. You are a very good son and we really appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration. As we get older these things become more and more important.

When you were little and Don and I were first married, things were kind of different. We never had anywhere to live, housing was scarce right after WWII and we had very little money. First we lived with Don's mother which wasn't easy for any of us. You were a normal 2 1/2 yr. old and she was 67 yr. old. Then she became ill so we moved into Don's sister's home with her family. They had a 2 bedroom on Arthur Street.

That was really difficult. We were in 1 bedroom and they were in the other with Steve and Larry (. . . their kids). Steve had asthma real bad and Larry and you fought and hit each other. I used to take the bus to the park a lot with you and we'd spend the day or stay in the bedroom and play the record player and read. You and I were great companions for those 6 months we lived with Don's sister and her family.

Don't imagine you remember any of those days (. . . Oh yes I do) but don't know whether I've ever talked about them or not.

It was during that time that my sister and her husband came to visit and you and I drove back to Louisiana with them and stayed a month. Then we took our first plane trip back to Fresno and I was sick most of the time. You were such a good little traveler - it was a long trip in 1947 on a prop plane.

Well enough remembering . .. but I do want you to know how much we love you and I worry about you and your health.

These pressure jobs take their toll and you've got to fine some way to relax more. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself a prime candidate for an ulcer or a heart attack. Even if it's just going for a walk around the block and noticing the flowers and trees - it is a form of relaxation.

No job is worth our health - they just find someone else to do it.

The snowmobiles are starting to buzz (. . . Diamond Lake Resort is prime for winter snowmobiling) - it is 10:35 and I'd better get to work (. . . mom was the book keeper for the resort) - temperature is up to 20 degrees and it is getting cloudy.

I'll be thinking of you all day and worrying about road conditions.



This is one letter that's not hitting the shredder - it's a keeper.

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Max said...

It's kind of a shame to shred all those letters, but at the same time I can understand. My apartment is so small that I find myself getting frustrated with the lack of space every couple of months, ushering in a round of "spring" cleaning with bags of clothes left on the sidewalk for whatever scavenger finds them first.

Now most of my mail is email and my archive stretches back to 1998, although I don't think I kept much until 2000. But some of those emails in 2000 are junk. Literally.

Bob said...

At first it seemed liked a shame to shred those letters then I asked myself (a) Who will really care to read them twenty years from now? and (b)Do I really want some of the information contained in the letters to be revealed?
The answers: A: No one
B: Not really.
This is not to say all of the letters have been destroyed. They have not. Some, because of their content, have been preserved.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States