Saturday, December 28, 2013

Issues with aging parents

[Because of their age, Leona and Elmer left Salt Lake City and went to live with Perry and Gene in Claremont, California]

Craig & Harriet Lewis, (top left)
the newest married couple in the family
February 3, 1977

Dear Perry, Gene & Family, also Elmer & Leona

Was so good to get your nice newsy Christmas letter. Thanks so very much. I started to get cards and letters off for Christmas, but I got so sick with the cough and flu I had that Dee just told me to go to bed. So the only thing that got done was the tree decorated. If the neighbors hadn't been so good, we wouldn't have had much of a Christmas.

We got Harriet's announcement for her wedding. It was late coming--must have been delayed somewhere. We are so happy for her and hope they will have a happy marriage. Saw in the BYU paper where Colleen Peppers, who was queen for the 'Y' when Harriet was her attendant, got married. Her picture was in the 'Y' paper.

We are so glad that Elmer and Leona are doing so well. Just hope they can continue to enjoy good health and strength.

We had a granddaughter married on December 22. Venice, Elvyn and Kent came to the temple for the wedding. That was so nice of them. Then Elaine had her son come home from Chili off his mission to be home and go thru the temple.

Did your sons move home from Provo? Dee has tried to call and they keep saying the phones are disconnected. Sorry we didn't get to see them. We wanted to go and visit with them. May the Lord keep all of you well and performing the Lord's work. Surely do love all of you. Have a nice new year. Love Dee & Mary

[In the summer of 1977, Gene discovered a lump in her breast. It turned out to be cancerous. While Perry was helping Gene recover from the operation to remove the cancer, Leona and Elmer went to live with Hope and Grant in Spanish Fork for a short time.]

Perry with his mother, Leona,
Memorial Day in San Diego
August 12, 1977

Dear Perry, Gene and family,

Mother decided she needed to write to you herself this morning, so I decided I'd send a line along myself. We are getting along just fine so far. Dad is surely enjoying our vibrator chair. You might inquire into the Niagra Company down there if they have one. I know the chair helps my back and hips, so I don't think he just has a crush on it nor that he's praising it unduly. If he can find something that helps--why not? Maybe you folks or someone in the family can enjoy it after they're gone.

Mother is getting a vacation. Grant and I do for Dad. The only thing she still has to do that she doesn't want to always do is go to bed at 5:30 or 6:00 pm with Dad. He even likes it if we can go to bed then too, so we just try to read and not come into the kitchen or bathroom. All the relatives have been warned not to ring the doorbell after 5:30 so he won't wonder who's here.

He really is trying really hard to be a good sport and help himself as much as possible. I've been helping Mother--possibly more than she needs--but I think she can stand a little spoiling without expecting it from here on.

I made a mistake one day and complained about how tired I was and what a rough night I'd had. When Venice and Elvyn came that evening, Dad asked her to take them out to her place so we wouldn't have all the burden. I'd seen him looking morose and feeling grumpy all day and had wondered what caused it. So then I had to assure Dad that I often have sleepless nights and that I often have leg-ache and that it had nothing to do with him. I know how it is to have to be waited on and how sensitive one can be, so I shouldn't have been so thoughtless and am more careful now.

We've been having lots of company so that in itself is more excitement than is good for sleep--much as they are enjoying it and them. Uncle Ashel will come later as he's in the hay. One day of Thelma was about all I could handle as she orders me around for her. I don't think she does that with Hazel.

I hope you and Gene are able to rest and enjoy each other and that you, Gene, aren't too sore and miserable. I've had enough operations to know that none are easy and that when they happen to you it's the worst there is. So if it helps any to say that, then I can offer that much comfort. Although no one can really say, "I know what you're going through," we should have enough compassion in ourselves to show mercy and love and to give hope if we can.

We've been talking, singing, playing guitar, organ and piano and remembering words to more songs. It's been fun. Love to all, Grant & Hope

August 12, 1977

Dear Perry & Gene,

It is about time I gave a report of ourselves. We have been here about two weeks, and the time has gone by fast. We are both feeling well. Grant takes care of Dad, takes care of his exercises, etc.

We were sorry to hear about Gene. I was aware that she wasn't feeling too well but didn't know the seriousness of her ailment.

We have had quite a few visitors. I told Hope that most of them had been to see her and Grant, but she said not, and she wrote a list, which I am sending. The weather is nice, and we still can eat "three meals a day." One day Grant took us up in the canyon to what they call "the ranch." That was a nice experience. One time when we stopped, I counted the train cars that were going by on the hillside and there were seventy-one. I don't know how many engines it took, but that was quite a sight. Love, and best wishes, Mother & Dad

Gene, Perry & Renee
August 13, 1977

Dear Mother & Dad,

We miss you here--no busy activity from your end of the house, and when we walk through the door back there we feel a "pang" of lonesomeness. It was good to hear your pleasant voices on the phone this morning and to know you are having such a good time there with Hope and Grant.

With Perry and Renee taking such good care of me, I am getting well really fast and waking up so happy every morning. Best wishes to you both and love always, Gene

Saturday, December 21, 2013

We are going to be grandparents four more times!

Gene with birthday flowers
February 5, 1976

Dear Mother & Dad,

I have your letter before me, Mother, and I am so glad you can still see to read, and of course to write too. I have noticed when we are there that you still can sit and read from some of your old books. And you enjoy it so much. I am sure that helps to keep your mind active and alive. Gene always comments on what a good letter you write.

We are having a good rain now after the longest period of drouth in the history of Southern California. I'm wondering if this means you are getting a lot of snow there now. I am glad the people like Mrs. Sperry can come and help you get the snow off your walks. And I am surely glad that Hazel and Walter can come in and help you. How are both of you feeling? I hope you can avoid the flu this winter.

Renee and Harriet are hoping to get up to see you soon. Perhaps they have already. We expect to be up there to see you in April for spring vacation. That will be during the week of April 11-17. Please take care of yourselves and be careful. Love, Perry

March 7, 1976

Dear Aunt Minnie,

I'm so slow with my writing. Please forgive me. We think of you often and Mother talks about when all of you were small, nearly every day. She is remarkably well this winter. No colds or flu and she eats and sleeps well, helps with the dishes every day and sweeps the porches and walks.

Gene with granddaughter Charlotte, Spring 1976
Dale and his wife Carolyn and their three children have moved to Utah. They are buying a home in a small town just north of Provo where he works and tries to continue his education at BYU. Jan and Cara Lee have been married almost a year and a half now and are both planning to graduate from BYU this spring. They are such hard workers.

Renee graduated last August in the field of Health Science and is working now in a medical lab there in Provo. Harriet has finished her classes and will graduate this summer. She's working part-time in a bank close to the campus. She and Renee are still together living with their roommates.

I miss them so much. Perry and I are planning to drive up there at Easter vacation and see all of them--also his parents in Salt Lake City. Of course we will plan to see Dick and Betty at that time too. Do you ever hear from them. Their girl Jewel is a college student now. She attends Ricks Junior College in Idaho. We heard from them at christmas time.

Linda and Eric have a little home of their own in Upland. We see them often. They have 5 children now. Marian and Warren have moved to Riverside--that's about 25 miles southeast of us. It's so nice to have them living closer to us. They have two girls and two boys. Warren works for the health department there.

We've had a dry winter this year until last month when we finally got some rain. It's spring here now, and we are doing a lot of yard work. I am attending some art classes in a junior college close by. This is my 2nd semester. I am enjoying it so much.

Surely hope you folks are all well this winter and staying away from that awful flu. Please write us and I promise I'll answer immediately. Am so anxious to know that all is well with you. Love from your "slow" niece, Gene

Springtime trip to Provo
March 30, 1976

Dear Mother and Dad,

It has been some time since I heard from you, but I assume everything is all right. I heard from Hazel last week, and she said you were fine. If you have missed the flu or any bad colds this winter, you are really blessed.

I have been trying to get our property in a little better shape--get it looking better. I have neglected it for some time. I went out and bought a little garden tiller like we used to have. That helps. I even planted a garden last Saturday. I have planted vegetables along with my flowers. I hope we have something edible as well as something good to look at. But we are always plagued with so many pests. We have innumerable gophers here and little birds fly down and eat the tender shoots just at they are startng to emerge from the ground. But we are going to give it a real try.

We keep counting the days until our spring vacation. It will surely be good to see all of you again. With Easter coming a little later this year, perhaps we won't have a snow storm such as we have had the last two years when we came. But then it could still happen.

We are going to be grandparents four more times this year. All of our married children are expecting. That will be sixteen for us. Wow! We will be arriving in Provo probably on the 10th, so we will likely see you on Sunday or so. Anyway, we will call you when we get there. We are surely looking forward to it. I must go now. Love to both of you, Perry

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Grateful for Family Near & Far

Leona & Elmer Manwaring
January 5, 1976

Dear Perry & All,

The mail has come and gone but this can go tomorrow I hope. I have just been reading your letter over again and thinking of Christmases past and thinking of what it still means to us. Although it is really not our Savior's birthday, it is still a wonderful time.

We received a lot of Christmas cards and Hazel took care of most of them for me. We have had a visit from Grant and Hope recently (a short one) and he is still suffering from that hernia operation of long ago. Nelson called one day and played our organ a short time.

We get a lot of satisfaction from our nice carpet and compliments too, and I still like to play a few tunes on the organ. June sent us the "New Era" and the "Ideals" Christmas issue, and they are so interesting. I am glad I can still see to read with glasses. There is a lot to read about and to think about since this is the Bi-Centennial. On the last issue is the Goddess of Liberty with her raised arm, holding the lighted lamp. I am thankful for having had the privilege of seeing that statue in the New York Harbor when Grant and Hope took us back to get Nelson on his return home from his mission.

We have quite a bit of snow, but the roads are kept clear. I shoveled and swept a path to the gate. Mrs. Sperry came once with her snow blower and cleared the path to the garage. Looking out at the snow, I am reminded that your grandchildren don't see a "field of white."

Dad often laughs at the time you rode on the merry-go-round and got so dizzy and sick and wanted to "go home to Momma." Being sick and dizzy is not so funny either. I am very thankful for my health, and Dad feels ok most of the time, but he is so nearly blind it makes him rather helpless and dependent on me or somebody. Ruth and Arvel Stone came recently. We are glad they come once in a while. Ruth and I are the last ones living of the thirty-two children of our father.

Well there is a lot to think about and read about. We were glad to see Linda and Eric and children, and I enjoy seeing the picture of Marian's children on our organ. It brings a smile and wish we could all see each other more often. Well tell everybody hello, and I will get this in the mail. We hope you are all well and can have a good and happy new year. Love and best wishes to all, Mother & Dad

Bryan & Wilma Young
Fairview Park, Ohio
January 8, 1976

My Dear Sister Leora,

We have been separated (all of us) all our lives (almost) but so close in loving thoughts. God has kept us close together in love. I hope you are well and healthy. Wilma and I are fairly well--I can't hear any too well even with an aid. Wilma has had one eye operation (cataract) and now has another one on other eye. My eyes are not what they used to be, but thank the good Lord, with glasses, I can read and get around pretty well.

Minnie called me a week ago and talked to both Wilma and me for several minutes. We were in bed but sure glad to hear her voice. Arthur and she are just fair but up and around. I was so pleased to get your Christmas card and above all your nice picture. That was the nicest present of all. I am enclosing a picture to you of Wilma and me taken recently.

Try to stay well and may the good Lord bless you and keep you is our wish and prayer for you. We are always glad to hear from you. Love to all, Bryan

Perry Manwaring family all together
January 17, 1976

Dear Mother & Dad,

It was good to get your letter, Mother, and to know that all is well with you--your health and all. I wrote you two letters for Christmas. You didn't mention if you received them, but I suppose you did. They may have been a little late in arriving as we had so much company here for the holidays that it was hard to get any letters written. I surely hope you can keep in good health. And I am glad Hazel is there to help look after you. She is certainly competent.

The weather here has been so warm it is just like summer. But I know the rains will have to start soon, and I will get very weary of that because when it starts, it just rains and rains for weeks and weeks. Is it snowing there?

This letter is brief, but I wanted to let you know we are all well and also how much we love and appreciate you. At our high priests' fireside Sunday night, I was asked to speak a few minutes, and I could only talk about my parents and grandparents. I am certainly grateful for you. Much love, Perry

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Leona & Elmer Celebrate 65 Years Together

Leona & Elmer celebrate one of many special occasions
August 27, 1975

Dear Mother,

Your birthday is coming this Sunday. Happy birthday! I hope I can be as well as you when I am 87. I wish I could be there but with this distance, all I can do is wish. I shall certainly be thinking of you.

We surely had a lovely time up there this last visit. It was brief but certainly pleasant. And I'm glad I was able to attend the Goodrich reunion. Keep staying well and maintaining that spirit with your little touch of humor. I'm glad Hazel can help you. Love, Perry

August 31, 1975

Dear Perry & All,

I guess I am one year older now, but things go on about the same. We eat three times a day, sleep plenty, try to read the daily paper so we will partially know what goes on in the world. A wind is blowing, and the big trees across the street are swaying back and forth, making one feel that fall is on the way.

Floyd and Sharon came Saturday bringing a beautiful cake. She said, "How old are you, Grandma?" And Floyd said "twenty-one." June came in and handed me a book by Carol Lynn Pearson, "Daughters of Light." Then Walter and Hazel came Sunday and took us out to Sandy where David and Barbara live. They have a real nice home. It was good to have a little get-together when we met on our back lawn and had some fried chicken, etc. The BYU boys and girls were here (that was a week ago.)

Well, I better get this out for the mailman. We hope you are all feeling "fit & fine" and let us hear from you once in a while. Love, Mother & Dad

September 10, 1975

Dear Mother and Dad,

Congratulations on your 65th anniversary! Sunday the 14th. I remember well the story you have told about the long trip by wagon from Vernal to Springville. Then from Springville to Salt Lake by train. On this day I want you to know how much I appreciate all the sacrifices you have made for me and your constant demonstration of love. You have been superb examples. May this day be filled with pleasant memories. Love, Perry

Perry, Gene, Renee & Harriet
October 12, 1975

Dear Mother,

I am certainly glad you had such a good remembrance by so many of your children and grand-children on your sixty-fifth anniversary. It must be a joy to know that so many of your descendants honor you and have such a deep love for you. Truly, I hope you can get some idea of what it means to have "joy in your posterity." They truly do all love you and Dad. I pray that I may have that kind of respect.

We listened to Conference on the radio. It always makes me think a lot of you and Dad. I knew you would be listening too, and it made me feel "at one" with you. The weather here was particularly beautiful at the time, but it has turned real cold the last few days--truly fall weather.

Jan & Cara Lee, Provo, Utah
Gene is up in Provo this weekend to go through some of the homecoming activities with Harriet. Renee is here with me, and we are doing just fine, but it does seem rather empty without Gene. I don't know if she will be able to come and see you--probably not--as her time is so limited and her transportation is limited too. But maybe she can write you about it when she comes back. She is coming back tomorrow.

I am certainly glad to know that you and Dad are both well. I have a prayer for you constantly. I am grateful that Hazel can be there to give you so much assistance. Please let her help you all she can. She wants to, and it is reassuring to us who are so far away to know that somebody so capable as Hazel can come and give you some help.

Yes, Sister Fast is still with us. She is quite well but is failing. We have to give her a lot of assistance.

Best wishes to both of you. Be careful. I hope you won't take any falls. I am grateful every day for parents who have given me such good days of remembering. Love, Perry

December 27, 1975

Dear Mother & Dad,

I recall how Christmas greetings and letters kept arriving all through the holidays when I was a child. I quite liked it, and besides as I view it now, it gives me a good excuse to delay my Christmas letter to you. But then one should not require either deadlines or special occasions to write a letter. That should be dictated by the heart.

I cannot help but recall with thanks the beautiful Christmases you gave me. As we were driving in to Los Angeles last night, the children, those who were riding in my car, started asking questions and I spent most of the time telling about Christmas and life on the farm. We went in to see an opera, which has been made into a movie, "The Magic Flute" by Mozart. It was very good and we all enjoyed it.

All of our children are here this Christmas. This is the first time we have had them all together for Christmas for a long time. We don't know when it will happen again--I'm sure such times will become less frequent as time goes on, so we are enjoying it to the fullest.

We have certainly thought a lot about you this Christmas. Mother, please write and tell us about your Christmas this year even if it was very quiet and all by yourselves. We certainly love you. Please keep yourselves well. We hope you can get through the winter without colds. I am glad that Hazel can be as close as she is and gives you so much help. Love, Perry