When I was back home in Florida, my dad gave me a copy of a letter his grandmother had written to one of his cousins back in the 1950s. She grew up near the border between Arkansas and Missouri. Any time I start to think my day-to-day life is demanding, I'm going to read this letter.
Nov. 11, 1955
This is Veteran's Day formilly known as Armistice Day, and I will write a little scetch of my long happy life as I remember: I was born about two miles from here where Gussie Dent now live. My father was drowned in Eleven Point River. When I was 2 1/2 years old. And I came very near being drowned. Mother died when I was about 5 years old. I was reard by my grandparents who was very poor. but honest people. I was almost grown before I had a dime I could call my own. I lived in a log house all my life. and went to school in a one room log house. with homemade benches to sit on. Of course I dident learn much in books as I dident get to go but very little. but I did learn to work at home. here is some of the kind of work I did. I carried water more than a half mile up a steep hill every day. cut sprouts many times with a grub hoe. plowed and rode blind horses and mules. Sawed timber for ties, boards, rails and wood. built fence. and cleared land. helped make ropes. Sheard sheep. and took care of them. carded and spun wool thread for socks and shalls. Picked geese & ducks for fethers to make pillows. made quilts. wove carpets. painted houses. papered rooms. choped wood. hauled hay. and helped build 2 houses. hunted rabbits and traped quail in the snow. and walked four miles sometimes twice a day to church. Was baptised when Seventeen years old. Married when twenty two. And blessed with five wonderful children. ten grandchildren, & seven great grandchildren and a loving companion. What more could I wish. Only that I had done more good.
From Grandma, age 75 to Howard, 16(Photo: A bakery and hair salon (?) near Tottenham Court Road, London.)