Saturday, June 1, 2013

Never enough money

Gene with her mother Leora
April 29, 1966 (Friday evening)

Dear Gene,

I've had several surprises in the last 24 hours or more. I'd gone to get my laundry done at laundromat near Venice Square where I used to live at the apartments on Manhattan Place. Walked over and back with my cart, quite a jaunt. When I returned, my neighbor told me I had a visitor, a cousin, whose name used to be Mary Payne--younger daughter of my mother's older sister who lived near Bloomington, Indiana. (We called her Aunt Fan. Her name was Frances Johnson, maiden name, but married name Payne.) Leola and I got to go to Bloomington in our girlhood days and visited Aunt Fan and Uncle Morton Payne and the cousins. They lived on a farm so were busy people. Anyway, I remember Mary as one of the younger ones.

Anyhow, she was in California. I don't know when she (or they) came to Los Angeles. She wrote a note saying, "Hi Leora, I'm visiting one of my husband's friends in Maywood here so thought I'd look you up. We're leaving for Indianapolis tomorrow. Sorry to have missed you." Signed: Your cousin, Mary Payne Graham. Their home address: 5711 Forest St., Hollywood, Florida. I'm really sorry I did miss her short visit just because I'd gone to the laundromat.

So I'll have to write her when I think she'll be home in Florida. She wrote that she'd be in Maywood last night. I forget where that suburb is around here. I believe Martha Dart was living there when we came to California and we went out one Sunday and ate dinner with them--Dad, you, Pierce and I. Your Aunt Rena was living with Martha. Anyway, I'm sorry I missed seeing my cousin Mary Payne Graham who lives in Florida. She should have dropped me a card since my phone is not listed. No one can find my name in directory. I feel that I should have it listed now. She might have told me more about some of her folks if all are living or not. I'm not sure if I have any death dates of her parents. I'm glad she left her home address in Florida. My sister Minnie might have given her my address if she went through Illinois. I'll have to write my sister and find out.

Oh, yes, got a letter from Rich today. I sent the letter on for Pierce to read, but I told him to send it back. Richard was asking me if I could send $200 to finance Eric's trip to Germany. He'll be leaving May 10th and needs the cash by that time. So I wrote Pierce immediately and sent Rich's letter. I'd loaned Pierce some money a year or more ago like I had done for you and Perry sometime back. So I asked Pierce if he could return the $200 so I could send that on to help Eric to start him out on his mission over in Germany. So it seems that I'm the one who finances our family's missionaries. I took care of new mothers and new babies while Pierce was on his mission. Now I'm called on again to help finance another one of our family's missionaries. I'm glad that I can sacrifice for one more missionary in our family. Lots of love to all, Mother [Leora]

May 4, 1966

Dear Mother,

I am so sorry you missed seeing your cousin, Mary Payne--in fact, I can't get it out of my mind and have grieved about it ever since reading your letter. How nice it would have been to renew your acquaintance with her (or friendship) and might have gotten some information for your genealogy. Do you think she will visit your brother in Oklahoma or Aunt Minnie in Illinois? I'm so glad she looked you up though.

Mother, Perry and I owe you $200 and now that I'm working, I'm sure we'll be able to pay it all back to you by the end of this year. We also owe our dentist $600 which we want to clear off this year too. I can't look that man straight in the face anymore because we've owed it to him for so long--dear me!

I hope I can keep this job--I mean have it again next year. It would surely help us get out of debt. Perry hasn't heard yet from that book editor who interviewed him. He will soon though. In the meantime, he is revising his book for the Harper & Row publishers.

Anyway, I am so glad you could help Dick send Eric on his mission. It is the greatest thing that can have happened to Eric. He has so much potential. I know this will help to make a great man out of him for this has been promised to Eric. Ricky also I have a great hope of this and belief. I know you will forever be proud of them and be so glad you invested this money in him now!

I will be in to see you on Mother's Day, I think, and bring you something! I will talk to you then about this little house of my friend who is going to England for the summer. Maybe you would enjoy staying in her place for the summer (3 months.) Don't tell your old age people though because you won't really be moving--just away for a 3-month visit.

Must close. Must make out a special menu for Perry's birthday! We are both on a no sweet, no starch diet! Loosing weight too! But it's kind of hard. Ha! See you soon. Love, Gene

May 4, 1966

Happy Birthday, Perry!

Dear Perry, Gene & All,

We were glad to get Gene's Easter card, and it brought up a question, Perry. Do you teach a Seminary class? We often mention you and wonder what you are all doing and what you will all be doing when school is out.

Elmer went to the temple this morning, but I am going to get rid of some cheatgrass in the lot, do a little ironing, and write this letter. We are having some lovely weather lately, and it is good to see the green grass, flowering shrubs and tulips. Our apple trees, peach and cherry trees are in bloom too. Our apricots froze.

Last Saturday, Hazel came down with her pruning hook and trimmed the shrubs then burned rubbish in the orchard. She doesn't trust me, and she is so afraid of a fire. Then Marie (Dee's daughter) brought her five children, and they dug grass from around the flowers. It does look good around here at present. That was a real welfare contribution!

David's farewell testimonial was good, and quite a crowd went to the home afterward. Helen Wahlquist rushed up to me and said "Hello" before I could think who she was. Clyde said he and Helen both thought that Hazel gave the best missionary mother's talk of any they had heard.

Genevieve is working at the laundry in Provo for awhile to increase her Social Security status. She has invited us to go down with Floyd Saturday evening for a little sociable before Afton and her husband leave for Denver where he has work (but I don't know what.)

Venice and Kent spent a few days with us at conference time. Glenn went with Wilda to Michigan where Norman was transferred. Glenn was interviewed by the bishop there for a mission. So he and Venice and family are hoping it will be a call.

Oh, I meant to say that Grant and all of them were here for David's testimonial and it is sure good to see June looking so much better. She says she feels so much better too. Kerry Dee is doing better there. Jan, I am sorry we missed your birthday, but we think of all of you on all of the days. Love from Mother and Grandmother [Leona]

One of Perry's many school pictures
May 5, 1966

Dear Mother & Dad,

I thank you for the nice Easter card and your remembrance. I have been home from school sick all of this week, so I hope to get a few letters written. Sunday is Mother's Day and the following Saturday is Dad's birthday, so I will make this a special greeting to both of you.

It seems that we get caught in such a whirlpool of activity that we hardly know where to get off. I guess the only way to get off is to get sick and that's where I am right now. Also I am still trying to revise my book for the 4th time (or is it the 10th?) It is very frustrating to be so close and yet so far away.

I received a special airmail letter from the editor-in-chief of the American Book Company, New York. He wanted to meet with me to discuss a project for a new supplementary reader series. I met him at a hotel in Hollywood and after he had dined me sumptuously he explained that he would like me to write a complete supplementary reader for 5th grade. Deadline: Sept. 1, 1966!! I had been recommended to him by one of the professors at the Claremont Graduate School. He wanted to see a sample of my work to take back to New York with him before a final decision is reached. Anyway it sounds so utterly preposterous that it seems more like a crazy dream.

By the way, this book is to be all new, original material! I would not receive any royalty payments until April 1969! And for one who is always in need of money this definitely lacked appeal. I told him I would feel relieved if they should decide for me not to do it. I don't think he liked that very much, but that is my true feelings.

I am enjoying my work as a remedial reading teacher. I guess I talked about that with you before. Gene is working part-time as a teacher's aid at the high school. The pay is small but it helps. I expect to get a raise this year plus extra as a specialist. Someday I may have enough money to make ends meet. I hope I live to enjoy it. I really don't mean for that to sound bitter because I am really thankful.

I am gong to try to get a letter written to all of the girls today. That will be quite an accomplishment. I do hope you are both well. Spring is always so beautiful in Utah. Hope you have a specially happy day Sunday, Mother. And may your day be a pleasant one as well as the whole forthcoming new year. We think of you always, although my lack of correspondence would make you believe otherwise. Much love and God bless you both. Perry

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 44. Dad, I can remember when you were 44. Hope, June and I hid behind the house and then slipped out and spanked you as you went to milk the cows in the morning. Anyway, as Jan used to sing: "Happy Birthday to Me!"

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