Letters From Mama

Last week our Tulips finally came to full bloom here in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We have experienced some quite cooler weather and intermittent chilly winds. We had quite a lack of snow this past winter. We have no abundance of rain so far this Spring. Fire danger throughout the state of Wisconsin is very high.

 I was low on camera batteries last week. I failed to get out and get pictures of the Tulips then.  I got out to take a few pictures of our Tulips today, just a few minutes ago. Not delightful is my shadow seen taking the photos in every picture overshadowing the Tulips. They aren't usable to upload into the computer and post here. I find myself too exhausted (exasperated?) to try it all again.  Some days there is 'no win' except that prominent shadow of mine means we certainly do have some very bright sunshine here today.

Amidst all this, I got a wonderful memory of how all of this today reminded me of  'letters from Mama', the letters I would receive from Mama when she was still alive.

She lived in a very small town and she wrote me one to three times each week.  Her letters always began with the current weather report. She mostly walked everywhere she went, the town was so small.  She would let me know where she had been adventuring to like the post office, the small grocery, the diner, the church and she was often at the church. In fact, between church services, church cleanings, church socials (potlucks and dinners), choir practice and the other church ladies working groups.. Mama usually was in the church at least seven times each week. Mama was quite a church lady.

One of her church ladies working groups 'did rags' ~ that is tore up highly unusable old clothing and other items made of  fabric  into 'rag strips'  & bundled them for a buyer. The money from 'doing rags' went to their annual missionary project.  However, some of the old fabric things, though no longer wearable or usable were too good to go into 'rag strips'. Those would come home with Mama for a good washing,drying, folding, ironing if necessary and then returned to the church to be set aside for the ladies' quilting projects which was yet another group she really loved.

The quilts were also shipped out to missionary families, usually in third world countries. The ladies were prolific quilters. If there was a home fire or other home disaster in the near region, they made sure those families got quilts.

 If there was other families in particular need, a couple of quilts along with a paste board box of flour, sugar, Crisco, crackers, cans of soup, a bag of potatoes, along with fresh apples or oranges would just show up at their homes. This was done as anonymously as possibly could be done, although there were times when that random act of kindness could not be delivered anonymously.  I always admired that in a tiny place where everyone knew everyone else's business and it seemed that gossip was a bountiful effect of such close proximity, all the church ladies and two of their particular husbands who were singled out for this delivery duty had this beautiful 'as anonymous as possible' policy.

Even in her letters, Mama never would reveal families' names, only they had done this deed. It wasn't out of any since of pride over having done the deed, but very much from her chronicling her days to me via her letters. Mama allowed me to step into her daily life and see if from her eyes. It was the best way she had to share her life with me so far away from her and the home of my youth.  Her letters usually ended with, "well, that's all for today, I love you" and then closed out with "Love, Mama".

For years I kept my Mama's letters bundled in my cedar chest. We needed that cedar chest several years back and I don't recall throwing my Mama's letters away. I can't remember and I'm so hoping I put them in my picture boxes (many are pictures Mama sent me before she died) which is yet another pretty huge project to be sorted through and figured out.

I have a lot of guilt. So much of my life I spent 'working', in the work force and I would call my Mama every week, but I did not send her letters back.  I remembered her birthday and other holiday cards to Mama. Other than that and a little sharing on the telephone, I didn't open my daily life back to her open heart.  Chasing the dream of 'earned income' was my top priority. I'll live and eventually process this guilt and get to where I  find some peace and forgiveness about it.

Mama would have been happy with me this week, maybe she even was, I was searching a scripture in her big old heavy family Bible and found a birthday card she sent me decades ago in that Bible. It cheered me so. I can't recall how that card got put into that Bible. I'm only human, I was hoping it my my little reward for seeking out a particular Bible verse I had lost a month or two ago.

And if this helps any one person out here in cyberspace today ... "well, that's all for today, I love you" ~ Love @grammakaye.
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I'm @grammakaye on twitter. Anyone is welcome to leave a comment. If you twitter please leave your twitter handle (ID) along with your comment. Thanks.


  1. Oh my Kaye! I just read your post and I'm sitting way over here in Egypt with my heart so deeply touched that I'm bawling my eyes out! That was so bittersweet! I so long to be back home with my Dear, Precious Mother who is going to 83 years old next month. I long to spend time with her, take care of her, and do for her during these late years of her life. May God help you, and all of us find inner peace and strength, and a way to forgive ourselves and let go of our guilt for all of our shortcomings. You are a precious, dear lady and I know that your Mama understood, and knew just how very much you loved her! Thank you for this beautiful post! May God Bless you Kaye.

  2. Thank you Lisa. I often see mostly celebrities on television here that say they have lived and are presently living with 'no regrets'. I can't change the past of what I consider to be my 'complete lack of appreciation'. It was joy to give my Mama's letters some appreciation now even in distant hindsight, even if I did 'kick' myself for my 'short sightedness' of then, it was an honest kick.

    You are so very correct. My Mama did understand, we did have a week's lovely visit the year before she died and came to a peace between the two of us. Be gentle with yourself Ms. Lisa as physical distance currently separates you from your own mother. Stay connected with her as very best you can. I simply 'know' your own mother appreciates your loving heart.

  3. You are so very welcome Kaye, and thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your kind and comforting words! May God Bless you today, and every day hereafter! :)

  4. I often regret not keeping the letters from my grandmother. I have one letter from her sister (my great-aunt) that I stumbled on and a giant dictionary that she bought me 30 years ago. I treasure those two things.

    Lovely post:)

    1. Talk about 'timing' ~ I so appreciate you coming to my blog. Of course, I sought out if you had a blog and where it was at and went there first thing after reading your comment. Absolutely you were sent to 'rescue me' today. Your 'Crab Buckets' post was exactly what I needed. I thank you so much! HUGZZ cuz Ima hugger.

  5. This was so lovely. It's sad, isn't it, that letter writing is becoming a lost art? I treasure the cards and letters from my little sister, my mom and dad and my grandparents--all who are gone now. I love bringing them out every year and spending an afternoon reminiscing. I do a lot of crying then because I miss them all, but they're also happy tears because those wonderful memories of the fun and good times we shared come flooding back.

    We moved to Oregon from Chicago a decade ago and I miss our trips to Wisconsin. We traveled to Green Bay a number of times, where my husband (a Bears fan) would get together with his Packers fan buddies and go to the games. :) The Pacific Northwest does remind me very much of Wisconsin's North Woods. So beautiful!

    1. Thank you most ultra-talented Super Earthling for visiting my blog today. Your pure comment straight from your heart about reminiscing brought up the misty eyes here for me. The Pacific Northwest is such an enchanting and creative place. I'll never be mean about your husband being a Bears fan (I don't think I will) ~ I have some great tweeps that are also Bears fans.


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