This is the second half of a letter, dated April 11, 1943, addressed to: Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight) AND, of course, Jean. It includes a request from Grandma Peabody.
What struck me as one of the saddest letters I have ever received reached me last week from Grandma – – sad, not so much in what she says but in what it implies. Here it is: “Dear Alfred: I am in bed and it’s nearly midnight, and as much as I am in quite a predicament and not very good at beating around the bush, I thought I better write to you, plain as possible. I am very anxious to leave here and I wonder if I could come and stay at your house again. I could not do any more work than I did before but I would like to come if it is possible for you to let me. I went to stay with Kemper last May against my will, the same as I went with them to Vermont, against my better judgment. But at the time it seemed the only solution and Ethel told me she wanted me. These two people are very trying to live with day after day, month after month. I have kept out of their way, staying in my room hunched up in my chair, so to speak, ever since we came here. I am feeling fine now, thanks to some vitamins I have been taking regularly for many weeks. I have plenty of bedding for my use and as I am not very big, a cot bed would do me very well. Please let me know as soon as possible. This maybe, is a strange letter, but if I see you I can explain things. I have been so lonesome and you know I believe that most of my children are not welcome here. Not for a night or a meal. Do write soon and let me know. Mother.
It must be cold. My window is completely covered with ice, but fortunately the wind is from the south somewhere so my room is warm. Dorothy’s apartment is too small for two people. I hope you can take pity on me. Mother.”
This is due notice to you all, that if or when the time ever comes when I am not welcome at my children’s homes, that is the time to drop a big load of arsenic in my coffee.
After discussing the matter with Dave and Aunt Betty, I wrote to Mother and told her to come ahead, and after she arrived we would talk over room arrangements. I told her as tactfully as I could that no changes could be considered as far as Aunt Betty’s and Jean’s room is (or are) concerned, but that, as Dave plans to sleep on the sleeping porch this summer and the attic room could be used as a spare room for the boys on furlough, if she didn’t mind the lack of privacy, the room off my room would be available. Up to this writing I have had no further word from her.
A letter from Dan, bearing evidence of manfully struggling with a post office type of pen, says: “Notice has been posted that Co. D must devote this spring and summer to training for overseas duty, and must be prepared to leave at any time. How much significance can be attached to this notice can only be conjectured. Our work has not been altered yet in any manner.”
Saturday brought a welcome letter from Jean. Her train arrived three hours late but model husband Dick was there to meet her. His C.O. had given him an overnight pass, and later in the week another, so he ranks high with Jean. Dick thinks he is tops also. Jean is in a small hotel just across the street from the beach, and likes it very much. Dick has a nice tan and looks the picture of health. He seems to like Army life very much, including his C.O. (Yes, Jean dear, I shall send your check by airmail as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, however, if the family vaults can be rifle for your benefit, just say the word. And tell that lanky son of mine, will you please, to answer my letter about his insurance premium so I’ll know how he wants it handled.)
Alaska and California didn’t report last week, but here’s hoping this week may bring some news from these far Western outposts.
Catherine Warden came back from the hospital today. Paul had painted the apartment and some of the furniture and the girls had put up some draperies. Barbara (Plumb) had furnished a beautiful bunch of flowers and altogether the apartment looked very attractive. The children come home next Sunday, according to plan, as the German reports have it.
Well, for a fellow with headache and bloodshot eyes, I seem to have done right by you little Nell’s as far as two pages of correspondence this evening is concerned, and now methinks I will take a well-earned rest, but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you won’t forget to write your one and only DAD
Tomorrow, a letter from Lad, written on Hospitality Center of South Pasadena stationery. Thursday brings another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, another letter from Lad.