Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Letters to Eva, Part I

 Letters from my grandmother to her cousin.  Grandma and her husband were running the farm that her parents had owned for years south of Portland (now the grass seed capitol of the world).  Her cousin, Eva, was living on the coast of Oregon with her daughter Ruth, who grew up to be a distinguished Oregon artist/painter.  My mother's small family had relocated to the country from Portland about a year before this letter was written.  My mom stayed in the small community of Hubbard from age of 10 through high school.

Sunday Oct. 22, 1939
Dearest Eva-
       Maybe if I get a letter started, I might finish it. I have tried for days to get caught up and do a few little extra things but so far I haven't caught my breath yet. The combination of playing around in Portland for two weekends and extra things to break in my time during the past week, have shown that I need a week of at least 9 days. Suppose you are laughing and wonder what I find to do. Monday is too far back to remember but I know I had a huge ironing from Monday's washing and I didn't even start it until afternoon. For one thing, I had to go to Monitor for Art and that broke the morning nicely. The afternoon was broken by having to take Carolyn to Woodburn at 3:30 for her music lesson. Wednesday morning, it was real wet (too wet for Art to plow) so he wanted to know if I wanted to look for mushrooms. Alright, I rigged out and we went where he, Ruth and Carolyn had gotten the others. In an hour's picking time, we had filled 2 buckets and a shopping bag and wished we had something else to fill. I had the idea then that I would call Jeannette and proposition her to use her pressure cooker. That afternoon I had to go to Woman's Club so good-bye to that day. In the evening I called Jeannette and she was glad to know we had mushrooms. She works Mon. Wed. and Fridays in Meier and Franks and is home other days.
Then comes Thursday and I leave about 9A.M. with mushrooms, jars, knife and such and takes myself to Jeannette's. Only having 8 empty pints, that was all I could fill. She filled the same amount, we and her husband had them for lunch and they again had some for dinner. The remaining ones, she took to the 2 Cramer cousins in Portland. If we had had jars for all, we could have canned at least 25 pints.  I left there in time to pick Carolyn up after school. On the way home, I had the inspiration to stop and get some grapes for juice. I picked a bucket full for 25 cents. Jeannette had given me some fall pears and quinces so I came home well supplied. Getting the grapes had delayed me so Carolyn was halfway home before I overtook her. When I did arrive, I fixed 4 quarts of juice the easy way before dinner. I cooked the rest after dinner and let them drip there in a sack all night. Then I bottled the juice in the A.M. I probably should have gotten more.
 Art has been plowing with the tractor all week except Wed. A.M. when we got the mushrooms. He decided last night he would work today (Sun) because it is such grand weather and he is afraid it will rain soon. We planned to pick up walnuts first. While we were there picking them up, here drives Bessie, Harold and Lillian Gilbert. They hadn't been here for yeaers and they had passed our house, not knowing it and were turning around in front of the barn yard gate to go up the rode towards Woodburn to look for our place. even Harold didn't recognize or notice the old farmhouse or barn or anything to know where he was. Isn't that goofy? If we hadn't been out there, they were going on to Broadacres to look for us. They were on their way to Eugene to see Paul.  Lillian took some black walnuts and chick weed. They were here about an hour, Harold, Art and I went over in our woods so Harold could see where he had played as a boy. He picked some mushrooms, mostly specimens to study. Even tasted some raw! After they went their way, we resumed our walnuts. after that it was nearing noon and hardly worthwhile for Art to start the tractor and come in so soon so we ate a hand out sandwich and anything else in reach.

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