Maybe it is only natural to be a little sentimental this time of year. Can we blame it on the full moon? I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of home and my tests. I have said things to myself such as, “You know you are home when you can walk through a house with the lights out and not bump into things.” or  “You know you are home when you have had to fix something broken,” and “You know you’re home when you can find an old letter hidden in cracks and it is written to you.” After ten years I’m still testing this place.

I was doing some vacuuming this morning that involved moving furniture and behind my desk, almost ready to slip out of sight behind the base board was a letter on airmail paper from my grandmother.

An old letter is about as close as you can get to having the person back and I’m sorry to say I almost exclusively send emails because I don’t think it will have the same effect as a piece of paper with handwriting on it. Last week Harriet asked if George Washington had kids, so I googled him and read that he had had polio which probably made him sterile and also read that upon his death Martha burned George’s letters which seemed unfortunate at the time and today feels like a second kind of death.

Here is the letter I found:

Dear Anna, Its been so long since we have heard from you. Your “diary” was most enjoyed. I will surely keep it for you. In fact Steve keeps all mail from your family in a file. That run you had was something! It was very courageous for you to participate but please don’t exhaust yourself like that again. That can’t be good for ones body.

Glad to hear you are still playing the piano. Haven’t figured out your schooling yet. Everything you are learning and experiencing in Xiamen will surely be of benefit to you. Do you like Xiamen?

We had a lot of snow this year. One storm last Thurs. (Jan. 21) another one last Mon (Jan. 25th) and more Fri (Jan. 29). We are to have more today (Feb 2) and again on Wed. Its been very cold but nice. Its a pretty, dry, fluffy snow. All together we’ve had about 22 inches and Balto. even more than we did. The temp has been down to -10degrees.

We just returned from a week-end in Conn. It was very nice but busy. Jamie and Bernie are really into Hockey. A game for Bernie Sat eve, both of them Sun am in Hartford, Conn. They left at 6:00 am. Home for lunch at 1:30. Then Jamie had a game in Darien at 4:00, Bernie at 6:00. I didn’t go to Hartford (1hr & 1/2 away) but John and Steve did.

Lauren was very happy to receive your letter. She has enjoyed hearing from you. She sent a letter and a tape of her favorite songs to you. I surely hope you got it. She hopes you write again.

Did you ever get the 2 boxes? What a mess! I was so disappointed you didn’t get them before Christmas.

When you get this note Grandma B and Barbara will have visited with you and perhaps have left. If they are still there tell them hello. I’m anxious to hear from them when they get back to California.

How is the weather now? I hope you are not suffering from the cold. That’s hard! Incidentally, I hope you are remembering to take your medicine everyday. Its very important!

You people are having some fantastic experiences. Your letters all read like a book. Tell Dad to be sure to keep the letters coming. We enjoy them very much along with lots of other people. Maybe he can put them all together into a book later.

I’m about to get rid of my ugly kitchen floor. I have never liked it!

Right now I’m at the desk in the den watching about 10 different kinds of birds in the snow. Its quite a scene.

Back to the weather- are you going into rainy season? How long does it last? And when does the warm weather began? Are the mosquitoes bad? I just can’t quite get a feel for your climate? Do you have warm enough clothes and how do the people of Xiamen dress? It all seems so far away and strange. Can enough people understand English and are you able to converse with them? Is your Chinese coming along? Do you miss Hotdogs and Hamburgers? I’ll eat one of each for you.

Soon I’m going to the Lyric theatre in Balto. to see “Cats.” You’ve heard of it, I believe. Everyone says its great! We (4 of us) are going down by bus leaving at 9:00am. First we go to the Inner Harbor have lunch and go to a 2:00 play.

I’ve sent Valentines to all of you. I would loved to have enclosed a little cash for you but don’t believe I’m allowed to send money. And also can American money be exchanged? We are sending a little package of candy, etc hoping it will arrive. To send things is tough!

Last week with the Woodys we toured a Candy factory- “York Candies.” It was great. They make all kinds of caramels. It looked so good in the mixers. It was fun! To see all that delicious looking caramel flowing through the machines really made you hungry.

Its now 8:00 am and I’m getting hungry. I smell coffee so I guess I’ll  get downstairs for breakfast. We did not get home from Conn. until 12:00. Everyone is tired. Steve and John had been to Hartford before leaving for York so they were driving about ten hours yesterday. Almost as much as a flight to China, except on wheels and not in the air.

Anna I’ll be anxiously awaiting a letter from you, I know I’m not the best at getting letters off to you people but I believe you are as bad. Tell your Mom we’d like a letter from her with some of her feelings about Xiamen.

Keep warm and happy. Miss you very much. By the way, what is your time table for coming home? Love to all!

Until later

Much love,

Grandma D.

China, 1987 ish

4 thoughts on “keep warm and happy

  1. What an incredible event–to find this letter.

    “Your ‘diary’ was most enjoyed. I will surely keep it for you.” Do you have it now?

    1. Maybe…my uncles wrote: We think your letters from China were saved, but unfortunately we have not been able to come up with them. We will keep a lookout for them, and hope they weren’t lost during the move from the house.

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