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

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