Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Saddest Letter in the World

Found in a book bought at the thrift store more than 20 years ago, although I believe it dates from even earlier than that. Transcribed below.


















TRANSCRIPTION
[I have kept the mistakes and the overuse of commas, as I think they add to the effect of the text.]
Burlington, July 3:
Dear Forrest and Evelyn:

This is rather a lonely evening. Janell has been here, but since we were not going to do any special celebrating, she has gone to a friend’s home for the night. Some friends invited us both to their home to watch the fire works across the Lake( and for dinner) but, I hesitate to accept invitations that I know would only obligate me, as I can’t repay them.

I worked this afternoon, and think I am to work tomorrow. Must ask about that again. They have been calling on me pretty often, to work day times. I am glad for this as I know this Pneumonia will have run up a big bill. Beside that, I do enjoy the store work.

Went to the Dr. This A.M., and he checked me again for a 'tender spot' below my ribs. He suggested that I go to the Xray Clinic when I have a free day, and make sure it is alright.

I am really feeling very good again, except that I do tire too easily. But, I think this is a part of Pneumonia.

How are you doing, Forrest? And, did your Dr. call yours Pneumonia, too?It seems there are so many people around here, losing their voice. Janell, was terribly hoarse, for a couple of days. She is much better again, but it is still apparent.

Janell is picking strawberries, and thoroughly disgusted. The berries are so rotten.I am not real sure she will go back. Today, she killed more time, than she spent picking.And the farmers feel rather unkindly to those who ‘goof off!She won’t be here so very long anyhow, and may as well have fun with her old friends, while she is here.

We have been having the most unbelieveable weather!Now, it is 9:30 P.M., and nearly75’. It has been real warm in the days. We need rain again, too.

We went out to pick the gooseberries, and the mosquitoes were so bad that we gave it up. Will have to do that in daytime. I don’t think they will be so bad, then. So, Janell decided to go away for the evening, and night.Some kind of insect gets on the goose berries every year, and strips off all the leaves by the time they are ready to pick, that is bad enough, but, this year, it looks like every berry is damaged. In the morning, I will stem these,and check if they are too bad to use. I cant eat pies made of them, but do surely like jelly and jam. The raspberries are ripening now, too. I don’t have any desire to put up things this year-- not even to freeze berries, but, I am sure I will.

A friend brought us a big supply of fresh potatoes, peas, and carrots, and small beets with the greens still on. I think I will have to eat these alone, as Janell says she does not care for them (The beets, I mean)

I read an article a few days ago, about Salmonella. It said that the symptoms are so like other things, that it is often undetected, without w complete check up, with Salmonella in mind. It is a pretty serious thing, and I did wonder if it was possible that some so- called stomach flu, could be that.

I think you, Forrest, must feel like I did. I thought that if I was in a dryer climate, I would better off. But, now that I feel well again, and the weather is so fine, I can’t quite think of leaving.But no one can deny that the past winter was “LOUSY”.

I did have the nicest Birthday, in spite of myself. An unusual number of nice cards, gifts, phone calls, etc. etc. So, at least, I did not sit alone and mope and feel sorry for myself.

How is the shorthand coming Evelyn? I hope you either have passed or are ready to take your Exams, and pass with high grades. I think this may be like some of us think about College degrees. You are already proficient in Short hand, anent you? But to pas certain requirements you must be TOPS.

Of course, I know that to be a full fledged Court Reporter, a good speed is needed.I don’t see how any one can interpretor translate into short-hand, what is said, so fast.

I am glad that more new students are coming into the school, and hope they continue to come in. Have you gotten any students with Gov’t. Aid, as you had hoped?

Your Plainview house sounds interesting, and I hope it will work out to your advantage- whatever ou do with it. It does sound like it would make a lovely home for you. If you do the necessary work on it, to sell, it should be ready if you want to keep it, too. I have always thought it is nicer to live in a HOUSE than an APARTMENT, but there is a lot of yardwork involved, and in an apartment, the repairs are taken care of, and I am feeling it would be nice to be in one, so, we must each do as we feel is best,for ourselves.

I think I will get this to the P.O.and get ready for bed
As I said, “It is a lonely evening,” may as well sleep it off.

I almost forgot to thank you for your very generous Birthday gift to me. I have not yet used it, but will get something I, especially want, with it. I have put it away with other ‘Gift Moneys’ and am thinking of a real comfortable new chair.But in the meantime, Thank You very much!

Much Love to you both,

[signed]
Mother

P.S. I forgot to tell you that Harold was here Saturday night and Sunday A.M. He had some business at Oak Harbor, and it took more time than he had thought it would. This was all done as a favor for a couple of his friends, and the paid his way up here to work out some Corporation Papers. Sat. eve. We all three, visited athomes of 4 friends. This is doing pretty well in such a short time.His plan was, to start backlast night, or this morning. He thought he had a new job, but he had not been called to it, before he left home.

I can hear fireworks, but cant see anything.I think I have lost my Youth. Even Fireworks , no longer fascinate me.
Love,
[signed]
M

5 comments:

arlopop said...

It feels like a Carver short story. It's what it doesn't say that makes for the deep sadness. And how I deeply want to know what happened to them.

As always, thanks for disturbing the soul.

Blaize said...

I don't mean to be un-cheerful. I am just so glad that I am not as passive-aggressive and Eeyore-ish as the woman who wrote this. Fireworks still fascinate me.

chez shoes said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Heartbreaking.

I guess I must be doing pretty well though - I still love fireworks :)

Blaize said...

I hadn't read it in years, then I found it and was reading it to two guests, and the last sentence of the postscript brought tears to my eyes.

futuregirl said...

Heart rending.