Saturday, June 4, 2011

Letters From Grampa Joe - excerpts 1972

My grandfather wrote letters to his large, extended and wide spread family for years. A retired Yakima hop farmer, he had taken up the task after my grandmother died. He used carbon copies on his typewriter.  Some came pretty faded but readable. He was faithful--every week the letter came.  Written in his 70's and 80's they are pure Grampa Joe.  Here's one:

Grampa Slavin's Family Letter  January 6, 1972

Grampa Joe's house on Slavin Road

My Dear Ones:
Family letter writing has come around again. I always feel a little closer to my family when I communicate this way. Why?  Because I feel my letter lingers longer about your homes, visiting with other dear ones about the house. I keep a copy of these family letters. In a way your could ask me the second time, just what I wrote, if you should lose the letter down the sink.

My, my--24 hours later.  1AM Sunday.  To St. Josephs for confession with Ted. Of course I did not need to go. But as long as Ted needed to go I felt it would not hurt me either. Confession is always a beautiful heart warming experience. Ted then treated me to a Sambo low calorie supper. We then drove to Uncle Tony's for one hour of talking mostly about Sister Jean's memoirs. At 8:30 evening we also visited Aunt Laura, talking about all our Grandchildren; also the changing of Sister Nun's dress styles. I found Laura and Ted old fashioned along this line. Aunt sputters over this idea, while Ted, squints his eyes, pulls his ear and drops a tear for a goodbye-yesteryear.

Ted has gone to bed 2 hours ago. I suppose cuddled under a new electric blanket. Ted told me, never to cover over an electric blanket. It felt so light and comfy. How about that? Is Ted right? Let me know. There are a few times when I do not know everything. YES?

Wind just started to blow. Light warming winds has been the last three days ---has been chasing cold blasts back north over the mountains. I hope Spokane and Plentywood will soon enjoy some of this warming weather too.

The kittens think Ted is a little queer yet. They do a little more rubbing on his pants leg now and then. In a way Ted has charmed the Kittys. Now if the Kittys can charm Ted, tomorrow, this household will be one big contented foursome. 1:30 Saturday nite. Must say goodnite, until tomorrow afternoon.

Goodness and the way we go. At 1AM Tuesday morning. Ted goes at 7pm. Monday evening. and such a pleasant 3 days we had together. We discussed probabilities, possibilities and successes and failures in Grange and basked in the glory's of its successes. As Fred Yahn, Chairman of the 1972 Annual Convention Committee said  "This turnout today at Broadway Grange Hall is fantastic. It seems like every one is anxious for June to come to show off Yakima Grangers brand of hospitality." Sure, WE pot-lucked that day at Broadway. Thanks, TED, for all the meals you treated me to at Sambos. Your coffee tasted so good at breakfasts, I couldn't put it down.

April 14, 1972

.......Here I am Tuesday, 2AM 24 hours late and off schedule. Never to catch up, never.  I know you won't mind for an 80 year old pal to be a little slow when he tells you how lost he was in happiness with Ted and Neita here to enjoy -- just 30 hours and they were gone. Back to their nest farther West.

When Ted and Neita left the house for Seattle they were stopping at Fruitvale Grange hall to a banquet honoring the State Grange Executive Committee who had spent the day familiarizing themselves  with the convention facilities........Neita had on the dress she wore at my 50 year surprise party. The dress looked delightful in its simplicity and Neita looked beautiful in the thing. No wonder I married her Mother. There is no difference between the girls, except Neita has a more talented husband. I don't envy Ted. I do wish my Anna was around too. I'll confess up. Neita has a prettier neck and shins. 2AM Better go to bed. I could talk all nite about my two Girls - Neita and Anna, and all next day about my Sunrise Montana Sweetheart in Plentywood.  (Joanne O'Toole)

Love, Your brother Joe

Oil by Joe Slavin