Mom’s Letter to Me At My Daughter’s Age (52)

My mother’s handwriting has always been difficult to read. She never apologized for it. When she sent me to the store with her list, those college summers I was home, long before cell phones, I learned to have her read them to me before I left. I suspect whenever she took a pen or pencil (or eyebrow pencil) to paper, to jot something down — she even wrote on a calendar in lipstick — she was just  operating on the principle of carpe momentum.

Why she so carelessly scripted what I would consider important letters was harder to explain, as she made it her lifelong duty to make things more beautiful.

Lately, I have been going through some family memorabilia, and now wonder if Mom, born in 1919, suffered from the insecure feeling of not being entitled to write things down at all — other than grocery lists. Or, perhaps she  was embarrassed that no one had been patient enough  to teach her to write nicely, by the Palmer Method. I gather that she was a somewhat rebellious only child, and I know she hated  school. She was, nonetheless, an A student. My mother was always smart, and sometimes crafty, as this late-in-life letter shows.

(For your convenience, I have copied it in type below the photos.)

Mom's Letter page 1Mom's Letter page 2



[perhaps around March 25, 1985]

Hi, my darling -

I had my first experience with a “machine” today at the drug store. I used a Xerox to do these [whatever she enclosed] – and the poor young man I asked to help was as nice as could be but I know he thought me STUPID. It’s so easy but I forgot to put in the sheet I was copying. Can you believe it? I kept waiting for the machine to tell me where and when to put mine – and blanks popped out! Ah, me!

Tell Ann [her granddaughter] she was so sweet not only to send me a gift, but to put on the outside “Open Immediately.” Almost took the fun out of teasing myself to do same but not being allowed to! (I’ve already eaten 3 pieces of WONDERFUL chocolate. Thank you, Ann.



P.S. I don’t feel too old today cause I was called by an older widowed neighbor to thank me for something I’d done for her- and she told me I  was young! So you see, all of life is a matter of with whom you’re comparing your own situation.

I do believe you’re into menopause, so every time you worry, divide the degree by 2 – and you may have the right amount!! Just remember, if you are going to have problems, you’ll feel often like a girl in puberty, and with your normal rather emotional responses to things – God help you!

Just kidding – but you will feel teary occasionally -


You loving advisor -





1 comment to Mom’s Letter to Me At My Daughter’s Age (52)

  • Kay

    Mom Arletta always looked like a “model”. I remember the albums of your father’s photos of her. She seemed quiet, a little withdrawn. I LOVE the salutation of “Darling”. And signature of “M”….did that mean that she thought no much of herself as a mother? Or just trying to be modern? Interesting exploration. Kay xo

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