Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cards and letters

I have only ever known one of my grandparents. Grandma. My mother's mom.

Grandma was already 73 by the time I was born. I never knew her as a “young” grandparent, but fortunately for me—and for many others—Grandma lived to be 97.

And from time to time, I still think of this Christian woman from Rose Hill, Kansas.

I was telling a friend recently that all I had from my grandmother was a pocket version of The Acts of the Apostles. The trembling cursive inside reads:


Michael Allen


   All my love


It has always been a treasured keepsake.


So … at the beginning of the summer, my wife gave me the simple task of cleaning out a couple of boxes and a grocery bag that we’d been carting around for about 20 years. Really? I had many more important things to do. Like watching America’s Got Talent and stuff like that.

So for three whole months, I successfully showed my wife that she wasn’t the boss of me. Then, I decided that maybe she was the boss of me, and I began cleaning out the Piggly Wiggly bag.

I should have done this years ago.

Inside, I found a bunch of cards and letters I'd received as a kid, including a good-sized stack from my grandma. Who would have thunk it?


A few highlights from my find:

I had forgotten how much Grandma liked cats (and kittens). She mentioned them in just about every note, and pictures of cats were often on the cards she sent. Grandma wasn’t so crazy about her dog ...

Grandma: My white cats are beautiful … The dog barks as much as ever.

But also some practical advice about pets ...

Grandma: It is expensive to feed so many cats.

A few encouraging words for young Michael, an aspiring artist and writer ...
Grandma: You sure do color nice. That lion was very good.

Grandma: Dear Michael … you do write the nicest letters.

A note to my mom about a couple of my cousins (children of Uncle Leslie and Aunt Marciele) who had grown up and moved away ...

Grandma: It is not the same at Marciele’s without Roe and Marcia. I miss them so much.

A widow, Grandma reminded me that she still thought of Grandpa ...

Grandma: I was married 60 years ago today.

My favorite story from the farm ...

Grandma: Yesterday two beautiful peacocks came here. They flew up on the barn and sat side by side. The dog barked at them – They were so pretty. Uncle Leslie came after me to take me to their house for dinner. He said peacocks are worth quite a bit of money. He got to see them – But when Aunt Marciele brought me home – they were gone.


Cards and letters that still warm my heart … after all of these years. 

Grandma at my sister Cindy's wedding


  1. That's so beautiful! I wish I had kept more of the cards and letters from my grandmother. She never missed a birthday or anniversary for anyone, and she often wrote beautiful letters about daily life.

    Such a treasure.

  2. Exactly, Lisa. I loved Grandma's stories about the daily things. There's nothing quite like the love of a grandparent.