Overcoming Bloglessness

Dear Granddaughter Alma


Dear Alma

Dear Alma

My grandmother sent me a framed picture of her father that had stood on her dresser forever. Years later, I found this letter behind the photo; a hidden treasure! It’s the saddest letter in the treasure box.

On the last page he begs my grandmother to reply and gives a New York address.  He mentions a photo he enclosed of my grandmother and her grandfather together, a photo I’ve never seen. It’s sad that my great-great-grandfather had lost touch with his son and grandchildren. I wonder why?  I wonder if my grandmother replied?  The letter must have been special to her, to have tucked it away behind a photo.  She may have forgotten it was there.
I wonder too, who wrote the letter? The penmanship doesn’t look like that of a 72 year old fruit peddler; it looks like a feminine hand to me.

Maybe my great-great-grandmother wrote the letter for him.   She looks like a woman with nice penmanship.  She’s about the grandest lady in the old photo album.  I wonder what happened between Grand Lady and fruit peddler
I wish I knew more of their story, but there’s no one left to ask.




Love Letter From Ft. Logan


Love Letter From Ft. Logan

This is the only love letter in the treasure box; potentially the only love letter in the history of my family!


My mother’s mother’s mother was 14 years old when she received this letter from my great-grandfather.  She was 14 when they married; he was 10 years her senior. They had 23 years together before he died.

The letter is falling apart. It’s hard to read so, to save you eyestrain, here’s the text.

Dear Girl,  I received your Loving Letter a few days ago, was more than glad to hear from you;  Dear I am alwish glad to get a Letter from you, as I get very lonesome in Ft. Logan. 

Well Dear it is snowing here today.  I think it will get through snowing in July some time.  I hope so anyway.  Tell Miss Dorthy that Joe is on guard today and I go on Saturday and come off Sunday and I cannot come to see you when Joe comes out this next time, so if you come to Denver anytime next week let me know and I will meet you in Englewood, for I cannot go 2 weeks without seeing you, Dear as I love you to much. 

Well Dear I hope we will have better luck the next time we go hunting, I think it was our fault for we were Loving to much, and it scared all the Rabbits away.  Well I caught #@ when I landed home, for I was 2 hours late in (?) but a scolding does not hurt. 

Well Dear I am loosing several hours Sleep, every night. I think of my Dear so far away.  Well Dear I wish you could of sent those Cards, for I never look at the writing for I cannot write myself. 

Well Dear I have to stop writing every once and awhile and look out the East Window but I cannot see anything for the snowing and I am wondering if you Love me as much as I do you Dear for every Day seems like a week when I am alone. 

Well Dear I will Close for this time.  Best regards to your Father, Mother and Sisters 

A Little Verse

Roses are red, Violets are Blue  I love some one; and that is You. 

Good Bye Dear, Write Soon 

Good Afternoon

All you had to do at a family gathering was say “rabbit hunting” and the snickers ensued among those of us who knew about the letter.

Not in front of Great-grandma Mary though.




Old Letters


Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters
For this week’s challenge, share a photo with letters.

Old Letters

Old letters from my treasure chest, written by my grandmother when she was a little girl.


My favorite one is the circus letter, written in 1908 when Grandma was ten.  She would be embarrassed about the spelling errors and penmanship, but I think she did very well. It’s hard to sound out English words when everyone you know has a Norwegian accent. (I added some punctuation because I couldn’t stand not to.)

I saw a lot at the circus.  I saw four lions and two tigers and two apes with four little ones.  They were funny when they were going to eat nuts and we saw three camels, one rain deer, one lama, one bear and four elephence and the elefence roust around the rings and they had two rings and plat forme or what ever your call it and they had two girls that danced .  One was dressed pink, she had a grey hores and the other one had a white hores and a light blue dress and she leaps on the horses.  I saw some clowns that jumped over the elefence.  I can not tell you every thing we saw.


I’m so grateful to Emma for saving these letters and to her daughter who gave them to me.  Reading them takes me back in time to the place I’d most like to visit: the old farmhouse on the prairie that the old folks spoke of so fondly, a dreamy look in their eyes.





Daily Prompt: Do-over!



Daily Prompt: Do-over!

Go back to a blog post you always thought could be better, or were unsatisfied with — now, fix it.

This is one of the prompts I never got around to. 

Iconic Shoebox 

There was a shoebox in Grandma’s hall closet that used to transport us back in time, to the days when my grandmother was a little girl living on the North Dakota prairie. In the shoebox were sepia tone photographs, some a hundred years old. We’d sit at the kitchen table carefully handling each precious photo, Grandma fondly recalling the names and I, memorizing them. It was important to me to know the names and stories. I longed to visit the grand, old farmhouse my great-grandfather built, to see the kitchen where little Alma, her mother and sisters cooked and baked and ironed. I wanted to play in the hayloft like Grandma had and ride to town in the horse drawn wagon with my great-grandfather.
The shoebox of photos meant as much to me as it did to my grandmother. When she died, the family shoebox became mine. I put the photos in a proper album with acid free paper and wrote down all the names, places and dates I could. I added to the album as new treasures came my way. A cousin sent letters written by my grandmother in the early 1900’s. She also very kindly sent a thick hank of my grandmother’s wavy brown hair, cut when all the ladies were getting The Bob. I have her diploma from nursing school and Dad’s baby shoes and wool cards from the farm. The collection outgrew a large drawer and now is barely 149715_1448139367488_6355040_ncontained in a large rubbermaid tub. There are six generations in that tub. I’m not sure anyone cares. My son and daughter have never shown any interest in the old photos and stories. They don’t know any of the names.

I hope one (or all) of my grand-daughters will care about the tub of old photos and mementos.  I hope they don’t wind up unknown and unloved in a yard sale.   I think I’m going to  have a Dia de los Muertes celebration so the girls can get to know their ancestors. They love a party and they love to decorate, so they can help me arrange some old photos, flowers and candles in a beautiful display and I’ll tell them the names and stories.

Those are my people and I love them as if I had known them, outside the shoebox.


Daily Prompt: Places

Daily Prompt: Places

Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?



In the Outhouse, Upside Down

When mother was a girl it was her job, after the dinner table had been cleared, to take the slop bowl to the outhouse and dump it. I don’t know how old she was, old enough to know better than to drop her mother’s bowls into the shitter, yet small enough to fit, when held upside down by her ankles, through the hole to retrieve the bowls.
Imagine! Lowered, upsidedown, into the shithole!
Maybe that’s what Mom dreamt about, those times she used to wake up screaming.