Last Letters

 

    1987 [from Linda]  Mrs. Gladys is fair today.  She has good days and bad days.  She taught me in the 1st grade.  Never dreamed I would be taking care of her.  She is a mess, but I love every minute seeing after her.  Take care and write her back.  She’ll be looking in the mail box till she gets an answer.


    July 3:  Dear Nea,  This is Linda answering your lovely letter to Mrs. Gladys, Gary and family.  She just isn’t up to par this A.M.  It’s to be expected though.  Lately our bad days are outweighing our good ones.  She said to tell you she was pleased the way you observed the different beauties at the wedding.  She wanted someone else to say it besides her....


    1987 August 2:  Dear Janice [returning to Gladys’ letters], I’m a little bit excited by all this now, and I can’t make it sound right at all.  All in all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am ready to die anytime from now on, and will be so glad to go.... So for the time being, I’m just an old aunt that is too comfortable to be undone....


    August 11:  Dear Janice and Tom,  ... Yes, for me, I could hardly wait for the time to call Greg.  I lay on my bed and thought about what to do.... I will go right along with it.  Go to London!  I will abide here the best way I can.  Linda is a princess in her realm of taking care of me until his return.  Then he can resume his work in the park.... Greg says that what I said was digested and accepted...so I left him with his problem and returned to my problem....


    August 14:  Dear Wanda, How are you doing? Are the days so dark and dreary and slow? We change from day to day as the weather changes, then so do we. Are your children all well and happy?

I don’t have much to write, but I will do the best I can....

How is Michele? I think about her a lot...

Did you listen to the news on CBS about North? I think they all lied, and it was a very pitiful story. I listened to every one of those men....

Do come to see me. I’m all set to try to show you a good time. I’ve been waiting for a sister who cares for a long, long time....


    September 2:  Dear Neauthia,  You will never know how glad I was to hear about your scheme to buy [your mother’s house in Mulberry].  You just can’t  know how good it makes me feel to die with my boots on.  To know that Greg will always have you and Janice to talk to, to confide in, and to get your advice on whatever he wants to do....  Love, “Me” 


    September 12:  (to Wanda)  We have a very rainy day here...don’t really mind at all because it comes in down-pours and then it is very hot and dry and we pray for rain....

    ... see your way to come...pictures to show you and a tape of the wedding [Kim’s].... I don’t do very much. Just stay awake to eat all the food Linda makes for me. Think it over and come on.


    October 29:  (to Neauthia)  Aunt Gladys called Aunt Lelia today....  That is all. They had a very nice time and a delightful day. Love, Aunt G.

        [on lower half of page]


October is gone.  Now it is November 7.

A Good Lord’s Day to you.

A Sad after date to you too.

A very happy day to you

and a very sad Lord’s day

for all the fallen days.

Today it makes me think

it will rain.  I hope it

does rain.


    1987 December 5:  (to Wanda)  ... People all over the place are being laid off from their jobs and it is not easy at all. I feel so sorry for all of them.... I keep all my money under lock and key.... April came over to see me on her bike a few days ago...come to see me.


    1988 November 7: Dear Wanda, [from a nursing home in Savoy] How are you? I am the very first sane. I am very extra firm. I hope this letter turns out right.... I should try to write to Michele.... All is well and swell in my hotel room now. Just listen all I need to do is listen to the clock. So take care and be careful.... Now be ready and I will send for you as soon as I can. Bye bye for now. A very very big surprise for you.... I hope you go Go Go Go go go go go go!... Greg came by on his way to Denton and fixed my room. All ready to go....


    November 8:  (to Neauthia,)  I have been trying to sleep for awhile but didn’t get much done.  Just a bit of sleep and no working at all.  I wish I could have gotten a bit of sleep done.  I wish I could have gotten a lot of sleep done for awhile.... But no sleep came and a lot of blame on the [illegible].  I have a window real close to the cornerstone of the earth store.... Loving you, Adios Mom!


    November 11:  Hello dear niece.  I am so lonesome that I don’t know what to do.  I am fully recovered from all wounds here at the Nursing Home.  I think I might like to travel for awhile.  I feel very worried about Gary.  He sat down here in my room for awhile this evening.... I don’t care how many things I lose at the nursing home. I don’t care for that at all.... Otherwise I worry about Gary being so heavy with sighs. I worry that he is worried. Our home looks so nice on the out side of the front now. The road. I think Gary has too much lined up in front of him. Write him a note and tell him I am so worried. He will get it.  If it comes to me.  Love Aunt Gladys


1988


Dear Greg,

    Just finished talking to you over the phone and felt real good about it all.  I never saw such a lovely thing as the court house [Savoy post office].  Yes, the court house is pretty, but it is also very pretty to look at.  You will see for yourself when I call you tonight or in the morning.  I can’t write.  Can I?  Not at all.  So you saw my brother before I did.  Yes, I can write.  Yep.  I sure can.  When I got to my room this morning—cleaning up my floor closet.  Yep.  I sure did.  I hope this letter gets to you.  I sure do!

    Now for the news.  Gary put me in the car & light out toward Bonham.  I left my rain coat with a hood to be cleaned.  My life doctor says I will grow out of this.

    Look at this.  I have just noticed a car driven up in front of the Post Office.  She thought she would leave the child in the car, but it would go.  Anybody.  Anyone.  Who tried to persuade it to go with them.  He went with his mother.  I was glad she took him.  The brat.  All the nurses were very tired to see that some had so much family to care for.... So much for news!!!  Adios


Dear Gregory,

    Dear me, this loose board sure does get in my way.  It swings back and forth along with my feet!  You should have been here today and noticed how this fireman handles the bull dozer.  He has been working on the south part of this building all day.  Certainly does look beautiful.  Very pretty.  My room is the most active place in this whole dwelling.  You would enjoy every bit of this.  I notice these workers quit at 5:00 o’clock.  Goodbye.  I’m having to reduce all my letter writing techniques.  We had a very good meal today.  I ordered a— 

    Before I end this letter I want to say thank you for all that you did for me today.  You agreed to get the slippers at Wal Mart and to let me get the other things I needed at the Walmart Store.  They are all so beautiful to me.  I was so glad to get the pencil and the ink pen.  And so glad for the underwear and all.  It was all just perfect.  Believe me.  How can I go to sleep tonight now.  Nothing to think about and the fits are perfect.  I was all acting and very perfect.  So thank you for everything.... The evening.  I have forgotten what to say. Good bye to you My Son and may God’s blessings rest upon you my dear child.  I love you I really do.  I do love you all my loving I give to you my boy.


Dear Greg!

    Look at the horse on the envelope.  I remember the Lightening.  Janice says she remembers Lightening very much in her memory.

    Nea says you were looking good on Sunday.  I was happy to hear the good report.... The mist rises a ring across the [?] of shining mist.  Have a good weekend.  I love you.

    I shine when I think of you.  I shine when I even think of you.  I am full of love every time I think of you.  I love you and think of you every time I think of you.  I am not here.  I am here but not in ideal at all.  I am not here at all.  Think of me and give me all your love all your love.  Your cooking.  With all my love love love love.  But keep some for yourself.  The hair dresser is coming tomorrow.  Adios, Mother


Dear John Gregory Hall

    If you really want to know how I am going then please call me.  I have just had a long last call of Roosevelt Red Velvet?  He had a bad case of it when he came to see Texas in that year.  I am very fine fine and very very juberous.  I feel glittery on the inside myself.  I soon found out about myself.  It is a common letter a very common letter, common letter.  I do not mean to [mail] it.  My glittery glittery fury state I am all bruises.  But inside I am almost inside myself.  I had to ask the nurse to come in to take the case.  I told her I meant to take an ordinary day.... This diaper really takes the cake.  I hate the red apricot place.  I really have said a lot of.... 

    Your darling Mother alone Mama


1988 August 18.  Dear Greg,

    Your very lovely card came today at noontime.... Just this note to you to understand my gentle concern.... After lunch 2:30 I did remember to sing.... So many small things to tell.  Doubt if I can get them all told.  I will try.  Good Bye  Mother


1991 March 9:  Gladys Maudie Gregory Hall


In the emergency room before she closed her eyes, she grasped with both hands my jacket, drew me closer and pointed to the ceiling. I couldn’t say then, “I understand,” but rushed to find a doctor, only then held her hand all day, and talked, and talked to her. As morning and her time approached, a monitor over the bed flashed, “All alarms off.”  Again and again, “All alarms off.” Gary, April and John were present in the room. “Thank God,” I blurted out. No tears at all. She was buried beside Clayton under an oak tree in Mulberry. A Methodist minister read the poem about robins she’d copied on a page and pinned up-side down to her blouse, to memorize, so long ago in her father’s tomato patch.





The Robins

author unknown


The robins never brag about the sweetness of their song,

nor do they stop their music when ’ere a poor man comes along.

God taught them how to sing, and when they’d learned the art,

he sent them here, to use their talents day by day,

the dreary lives of men to cheer.

The rich and poor, the sad and gay, can stop most any day in June

and hear a robin’s melody.

I stand and watch them in the sun, using their gifts from day to day,

swelling their little throats with song regardless of men’s praise or pay.

Just being robins, nothing more, nor claiming greatness for their deeds,

but just content to gratify one of the big world’s many needs,

singing a song to us to be ourselves

and scatter cheer by using every day the gift God gave us when he sent us here.

Why should we think we favor men because we use the gift that God has given?

The robins never ask applause nor count themselves remarkable,

nor strut in a superior way, because their music sweeter is than that God gave the jay.

Only a man conceited grows as he makes use of talents fine,

forgetting that he merely does the working of a will divine.

Lord, as the robins let me serve. Help me to live the best I can

to make this world a better place, and happier for my fellow man.

If gift o’ mine can cheer a soul and hearten him along the way,

may I not keep that talent hid. I would make use of it today,

and since the robins ask no praise or pay for all their songs of cheer,

let me in humbleness rejoice to do my bit of service here.



Neauthia’s son, Larry Young, read one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson:


I have a Bird in spring

Which for myself doth sing—

The spring decoys.

And as the summer nears—

And as the Rose appears,

Robin is gone.


Yet do I not repine

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown—

Learneth beyond the sea

Melody new for me

And will return.

Fast in a safer hand

Held in a truer Land

Are mine—

And though they now depart,

Tell I my doubting heart

They’re thine.


In a serener Bright,

In a more golden light

I see

Each little doubt and fear,

Each little discord here

Removed.



A week after the funeral, as I sat in this room in a quiet evening hour, her presence for a few seconds was unmistakable, and comforting. “I just wanted to be sure that everything is alright, as you promised.”