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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Conversations With The Dead: July, 1975, Greenville, Texas


Dear Teresa,

Hi honey. I'm sorry I didn't get to call you today but I'm kind of low on money, so I'll just write.

I left Houston & I'm spending some time at Nanny's (in Greenville). I haven't decided yet weather [sic] I'll stay here & try to get a job or move to Fort Worth. Without a car it might be best to stay here a while. Mother said they're hiring at some factories here and that you can always find a ride to work. So maybe I could save enough before long to get me a car. Then I could move back to Fort Worth (you just about have to have a car to live in Fort worth). Anyway, I'm closer to you now & I can get up to see you more often. Of course I don't have a job yet. I'll just have to wait & see if I can find something. If I do get a job I guess I'll stay. If not, I'll do something else. Anyway, at least I'm closer to you. And if I can, I want to get a job at a factory because you have weekends free, where if you work as a waitress you always have to work weekends, & after you start back to school that's the only chance I'll have to see you. And I want to spend some time with Mother Wise. I hadn't seen her in so long & she's not getting any younger. You know when I was a little girl, I lived with her for a couple of years, & she's always been like a second mother to me. After Daddy died, I felt so bad because I hadn't spent more time with him. I don't want to make the same mistake with Mother Wise.

I got a letter from David yesterday. He said he'd get out of the hospital in about a month. He sounds like he's doing o.k. I need to send him some cigarettes. I sure hope I get a job.

Well honey, I guess this is all. Write me here at Nanny's. Have you heard anything from Charlotte? I wish I could see all of them. Well, I'll close now. Write me & be sweet. I love you very much.


*It's good you'll be spending time with Mother Wise. She's in the early stages of Alzheimer's you'll soon learn. She doesn't have long so your instincts were right. I'll spend a month of summer with you at Nanny's. You'll find a job at a nearby factory. During the afternoons while you're at work, I'll watch soap operas with Nanny, help her garden, run errands with her in her Cadillac while Ronnie Milsap sings, "I'm having daydreams, about night things, in the middle of the afternoon...". You'll be tired each night when you get home from work, so I'll sit on the floor at your feet and rub them. They're so calloused but I find them beautiful. My memories of this summer will be full of Nanny's okra gumbo, rhubarb pie, picking tomatoes, petting her cats -- Sam and Bitty-Bit -- and feeling at home with you so close. I've missed you so much and this visit feeds a terrible hunger. We'll walk over to Mother Wise's trailer next door and play the organ and sing. After this visit she'll begin to deteriorate. I'll never see her again. This is also the last time you'll see Nanny until 1983 when she decides to call a truce on your off and on war, and you'll go to her hospital bedside to tell her good-bye.

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