Chapter 21: Letter from my mother (age 26) to my father’s sister living in Minnesota: Watsonville, Cal. Nov. 22, 1941
Dear Amelia and all:
I started working in an apple dryer here the first of September and got through the day before Thanksgiving. I don’t mind working for a couple of months but I don’t want to any longer, my house is in terrible shape. I had an old lady in who took care of Betty and got Larry and Carleen off to school and that was about all she did.
We put the house up for sale. I want a place in the country with a cow, chickens, and pigs. Milk is 14¢ a qt., eggs 50¢ a dozen, butter 45¢ a lb. It takes every nickel you make just to eat. Meat is such a luxury, even hamburger is 31¢ a lb. and pork chops are 43¢, as for beef, well I don’t even glance at steaks any more, you can’t buy a steak for less than 50¢ and it takes two big ones for my family.
You asked me in your letter to send some snapshots but I haven’t any, we took three rolls while on our vacation and Betty got into the boxes and pulled the films out before I ever had a chance to send them away, but we have some large ones for Xmas this year again.
My sister and her family from Vallejo just drove up so will finish this later.
The Days left this afternoon, things are so hectic while they are here with George and Verda and four kids. Junior is nearly seventeen and the baby is a year old. George and Carl are such good friends, they really think the world of each other. They go off out in the car or someplace by themselves and talk by the hour. I would think they’d get tired.
We got new furniture. We really couldn’t afford it but it was such a wonderful chance, we’ll never again get such a break. This couple we know broke up and we took over the contract. We got a chesterfield set, dark red, blue rug, occasional chair, table, floor lamp and big mirror to hang over the fireplace for the living room, a dinette set, walnut colored with cream seats, a Hot Point washing machine, and a swell big white enameled stove. Altogether we got $425 worth of stuff for $204. We pay $11.50 a month on it. I sure am glad to have some decent looking stuff, my old living room furniture was in an awful shape.
Everyone here is fine, the kids and I had an attack of stomach flu but it only lasted one day. Betty is so cute and growing tall, she talks a blue streak, she calls her daddy, Carl, which I think is cute but he doesn’t think much of it. Her hair is blonde and real curly and her eyes blue and they just sparkle with the devil in them, then she has a dimple in each cheek and the evenest little white teeth and pinkest cheeks. Larry and Carleen are so proud of her that they take her every place they go, just to show her off.
Well, this turned into almost a novel but I must stop now, Betty is under the card table and she keeps bumping it and making me scribble all over.
Write when you can and my love to all.
To be continued…
Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir, available as a series at Sevenau.com. A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country. [email protected]