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Pragmatic Thoughts on Life & Death October 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, People.
50 comments

Much of my grandfather’s letters dealt with the day-to-day dramas of life in the Vermont legislature, keeping weeds out of his garden, chasing deer around during hunting season, and keeping up with Mother Nature’s efforts to paint a winter wonderland of white.

But he paid passing homage to the arrival and rearing of his grandkids and to the passing of friends and family:

1956

8/20 ~ “We are remembering October [Jamie’s arrival] is not so far off and it won’t be long now. Tell Barbara it is OK to rush about with a wash cloth or something during the moving process but not to lift the piano. Let me know if we can do anything else.”

3D-Cow

1958

2/4 ~ “Dear Richard, Barb and “the Problem” ~ I was much interested in your account of feeding Jamie.  In learning calves to drink it was generally necessary to get them just a bit hungry.  I used to discourse on this to your mother and Aunt Lucy and get them quite indignant.  You and Marjorie were NOT calves!  I think Lucy thought me a bit brutal.  It wasn’t, it was just simple common sense.  The same basic strategy applies to all young creatures I think.”

My paternal grandparents with dad and Marjorie

My paternal grandparents with dad and Marjorie

6/29 ~ “As it is nearing July we will be looking for NEWS soon.” [My arrival]

7/20 ~ “We were pleased to get your call and the good news that everyone was OK. We expected it to be but it was nice to know it came and is over.” [“It came” = ME]

1959

2/26 ~ “Tell the children I think of them.  Possibly that will not mean much to Nancy.”

10/6 ~   “Margaret was quite worried over poor Nancy.  It must have been quite bad while it was sore.  [After spilling out of a run-a-way baby carriage, I required stitches in my tongue.]  It is wonderful how children get over such things.  I remember how worried we were when you upset your arm.  I was worried it might be stiff in the joint.  Lots of love and we will be happy to see you any time you can make it.”

1960

3/31 ~ “We just got a special delivery letter from Marjorie saying Louis Stevens died Sunday night.  She also said Douglas Bruce was born and that you called Aunt Pete.  [My younger brother’s arrival.]  We were pleased to hear of it.  We could not feel too badly about Louis as he wasn’t enjoying life much at the last.  He told me he doubted if he would be there when I came home from Florida but he had had so many ups and downs it was a question.  I feel sorry but it is a relief for Rae, I believe, to know it is over.”

Doug's First Birthday

Doug’s First Birthday

5/21 ~ “We had quite a shock tonight. Mr. Hubbard, the minister, dropped dead with a heart attack. It was wholly unexpected. Margaret was very upset. He was erecting a flag pole at his place when it happened. So this is most of the news and tragedy. Like life is ~ some good ~ some bad. Come up any time if you feel like it.”

11/14 ~ “We still chuckle thinking how cute the children were at times.  I guess we would help spoil them if we were around all the time.”

12/23 ~ “Dear everyone, Probably I should write a line and throw in a few bright and salty remarks.  Douglas is too young for me to sum up yet but as far as Jamie and, especially Nancy, is concerned I have to say you are doing all right.  I have to grin internally every time I take a good look at her.”

C'est Moi!

C’est Moi!

1961

2/19 ~ “We enjoyed your letter and account of the kids.  I could picture what you meant ~ that is, the cross currents of your under-6 society.”

6/30 ~ “The sick people are as usual.  We are looking for news!” [Arrival of #4.]

7/16 ~ “I expect Barb is home and the problems in your home are different than those up here. Have courage, Barb, the first 100 years are the hardest. Hope baby will be good enough to sleep nights.”  [My younger sister’s arrival.]

1962

10/15 ~ “It was 28 degrees this morning and sunny.  Hope everything goes well and that you can come up.  I realize it is quite a trip with children to consider but we would love to have you.  Margaret wants to see the children ~ not you! ~ the children!”

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

 Aah . . . that’s better!