I really found a treasure buried deep in the back of a closet. It is a letter my mother had written to her sister, Marty, on July 10, 1962. The letter is about helping her dear friend and neighbor, Dusty, to get ready to move. At this time Marty lived in Napa, California, married and raising her three boys and daughter. We lived in Los Angeles and also a family of six. From the letter it seems both my sister and I (4 and 2 years old) were up with my aunt and uncle, while cousins, Lee and John (14 and 12) were visiting us. A bit of kid-swapping.
I felt like I had just unearthed a pirate’s treasure. I held the envelope and inspected the postage date along with the four-sent stamp. When I pulled the letter out it was cleanly folded and made a crinkling sound, as if to say, “I’m still here!” It was typed with a Remington style typewriter (and this would not be electric) on crisp, slightly transparent typing paper, where the edges are now slightly discolored.
Within the letter my mother talks about helping Dusty pack her home and clean the new one, and how kitchens are always “the biggest time stealers of all”. She helped with scraping paint and varnish off the bedroom floors, followed by washing and waxing. She mentions how much fun the boys had running the new polisher that Dusty had bought with her “green stamps”. However, the part I thought was the most tender was how she felt about her friend leaving. She wrote:
“To have Dusty for a neighbor for the past year was the most wonderful experience for me. I don’t ever expect to meet anyone so kind and thoughtful and so entirely good hearted again in my lifetime. This all sounds as if we’ll never see each other again, but I know from past experiences, that you never have the closeness in everyday life when you just see each other once a month or less. But still we learn from each other and grow with each friend we make. right, right.”
Since my mother passed away in 1976, it is deeply moving to feel her words as she talks about her friend. It is some thing that we may have all experienced at one time in our life and certainly something she felt 50 years ago. I love you Mom.