Cards from My Grandma

Among the treasures I unearthed while packing and unpacking my belongings for my recent move from New York City to Boston: a lapel pin bearing the likeness of Mary Tyler Moore; a handwritten love poem addressed to me by a college classmate who contends that I am “silly on the phone” before praising my “manly tone”; and a small bundle of cards mailed to me over the years by my Granny Jewel, who died in 2006.

I left home for college (and the splendors of romantic light verse awaiting me there) in 1997. Grandma would periodically send me notes and letters, most of which I have lost.

At least the few missives that remain in my possession capture something of her spirit—along with her idiosyncratic spelling and grammar. I have preserved her house style in the following excerpts from three notes she sent me in 1999. The names you’ll encounter belong to relatives and church friends. Ruffles was my dog.


Dear Zac:

How you doing? I hope you are well + keeping warm. It’s 24° this morning supose to get up to 60° to day. the sun is shinning Teresa + Tommy came Sat. Tommy went to the Ball game with Kirk + Teresa stayed with me. She + I had a good Vist. We went to Wal-Mart. Kirk + the girls came after the ball game. We missed you. Nicole + a girl friend was home the week-end. Debby was busy with Kim White’s wedding Teresa didn’t even see her. I’m embroidring Gina’s baby a crib quilt and Teresa helped on it. What is it you call Teresa? Aunt ,,Em,,? When is Spring break? What are you going to do? I hope the weather will be nice. Write me if you have time. Love you




Dear Zac:

I got your letter to day. So good to hear from you, and that you are fine + well ha!

Well, of course Kirk said the dinner was wonderfull. We’ll go out some where + eat when you come home O.K.

I’ve got appointment to go see my Dr. the 11th of Aug. for a check up.

It is hot here to day, 100 degree’s

I got 3 cucumbers off my Vines to day. I gave Doreen one + some garlic.

Mary Lawrance gave me a sack of green beans + 4 ears of Corn Wed night. I put them in the Frezer Yesterday.

It’s 8:20 A.M. I just beat ole saul ha! So I’ll finish this and get it in the mail. Love you Granny


Dear Zac:

Hi sweetie, how you + ruffles doing by now? I’m going through my scrape books finding a lot of sheets don’t have any thing on. I must have run out of glue or got lazy one ha! Wish you were here to help me.

Kirk called me this morn. he, Eden, Kelsey + Clay were going to Little Rock to the ball game.

I’ve been busy this week with church stuff, been thinking I would get you a note off. It’s suppose to get cold this week end.

Well, I give all the raspberry plants to Ed Hess and got my yard mowed this week. Getting ready for winter.

I hope ruffles is happy up there ha! Let me know how your doing

Love you

,,Grandma Jewel,,

I also have one of her old shopping lists. It pierces my heart, as mundane leftovers from the daily lives of departed loved ones are liable to do. The cooking-for-one quantities, the misspellings, the shaky cursive, the specific items desired by a specific person who has since left this world and taken her glorious specificity with her—it’s enough to make me glad I don’t keep a scrape book of my own because I’m pretty sure the thing would make me bawl my eyes out.

Thank goodness Granny had the foresight to put the funniest item at the end of the list. It really cuts the pathos ha!

48 oz. oil
pt. grape jelly
½ gal. 2% milk
lite parkay sticks
pam cooking spray
Coffee Mate
5 lbs patotoes
banana nut creal
2 cans cut green beans
1 can sliced peaches
1 can fruit cocktail
1 lb ground beef
hamberger buns
1 head lettuce
1 tomato
2 cans chicken soup
2 chicken Pot Pies
1 rice + chicken bowl
gal water
12 Cokes
6 dough nuts
Clorox bleach
Poop medicene exlax tablets

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