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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Conversations With The Dead: 3/21/1979, Houston, Texas


Dear Teresa,

Got your letter today and thought I'd better get busy and answer it. We had to go buy groceries and get me a new pair of shoes. It rains so much here, the shoes I wear for every day get ruined in no time.

I'm real glad about you getting to work in the hospital as a candy striper. I loved working at the nursing home. But I sure got myself involved with them. Even when I was off work, I talked about them all the time. I think Jimmie even got jealous after a while! I just hope you can go on to be a nurse. It doesn't pay a whole lot of money (more if you go on to be a RN) but it's rewarding in a lot of other ways.

I'm studying to get my GED since I didn't get to finish high school, and when I get it I think I'll go to the VA (Veterans Administration) and see about going to school. You can take just about anything you want to and they pay you $260/month to go. I'm eligible for it because of being Jimmie's widow. As long as I don't remarry, I can go to the base and buy groceries, etc., and I have insurance that pays 75% of all my doctor, hospital and drug bills. Plus the $314 I get a month. So you can see why I don't want to get married. Anyway, I'll get my GED first, then after I see what courses I can take, I'll probably start school. May end up a real "brain child" at 39 years old! Ha, ha.

This summer we're planning on getting a bigger apartment. I sure hope Charlene will let you spend some time with me. Maybe we could take off and go down to Galveston. There are a lot of places to go around here and we could have a lot of fun.

Charlie seems (our dog) to be a lot better, so I don't know if that vet was lying just for the money or not. But I'm still going to take him to another vet and have him checked. Phil's working but I'm still trying to pay off a bunch of bills in Fort Worth with my money (thanks to Buddy!) so it's still kind of tight. As soon as I get those paid off, I'm going to get me a car. Phil's real funny about my money. Won't touch it but by this summer, we ought to be in pretty good shape.

When you write, give me Charlotte's phone number and address. I had it but lost it. And tell the fart to write me. It wouldn't kill her. She was supposed to talk to my lawyer for me and find out some stuff and let me know, but I never heard from her. Tell her it doesn't matter about that now. I talked to Buddy's mother and I can go one of these weekends and get my stuff. I'll let you know when. I think he's already gone out to get his. I hope I have something left. He started "getting his" for being blind this month and she said he bought him a car. Now what does a blind man need with a car? I smell something very fishy. I talked to those doctors myself so I know he was blind. But you can't tell about him. You just can't trust him about anything. But as soon as I can, I'll go get my stuff. Maybe he'll move from his mother's (that's one reason I'm in no hurry) and I won't have to see him. Oh, and tell Charlotte I closed out my bank account. And tell her she'd better write.

I wish I knew where David was. He'll be 21 on his birthday this month. I just hope he's okay.

I'm sorry your daddy's having so much trouble with Patty. But like I said, I'm really glad that you're with Charlene. I halfway raised her because she spent so much time with us when your dad and I got married. I think she was just seven when we married and she didn't get to go places very much so we'd go get her and let her stay with us. I think a lot of her although we haven't been around each other much since she got married and after your daddy and I divorced.

I'm glad you like the poem book. I've written a couple since I gave it to you that I'll send you to put in it.

Well honey, I guess this is all for now. Be sweet and let me hear and be sure and send me Charlotte's phone number and address. Call her and tell her I said Hi. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get a phone. But I may wait until I move. It costs so much to move a phone.

P.S. What does W/B/S mean?

Mother & Phil

This letter is postmarked 3/21/79. David's birthday. He'll resurface in a year but for now he's living between Arizona and California. He likes the weather in both states since he never knows when he'll have to make a bed out of a park bench. His schizophrenia is still untreated.

The book of poems you referred to is a notebook you gave me for my twelfth birthday. You filled it with songs and poems you wrote and a few you didn't but that meant something to you. You wrote a personal note to me in the first few pages:

This isn't a very expensive gift but I hope that by giving you a copy of all the poems and songs I've written over the years that maybe I'm giving you a part of myself. They show a lot of my thoughts, joys and fears that I have found hard to express any other way. I hope that you'll read them and know that even though I've failed in may ways, hurt many people, it was only because I'm human, in spite of the fact that I do love the Lord and those close to me.

Teresa, never give up on yourself or give up on God. And I know in my heart that He'll never let you because He's never let me and I've had many a dark place that I don't believe you'll ever have to be in. As I've told you, before any of you were born I dedicated each of you to God and asked Him to keep His hand on you and help you. I believe with all my heart that he will, in spite of me or anyone else. Three different times over the years when I was worried about you kids, I prayed, and just opened my Bible, expecting to see a verse that would be my answer. Three times it opened to this verse in Isaiah 13, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children." That was no accident.

The last part of this book are some favorite poems of mine that I didn't write but that mean a lot to me. The first one I dedicate especially to you. Maybe this book won't mean much to you now, but I believe it will some day.

I love you very much.


I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Roy Croft

Oh, and W/B/S means "Write Back Soon" and just so you know, I haven't given up on myself. I fired God instead. He never returned my calls.

1 comment:

  1. T - is it from your mother that you get your 'writing gene'?

    This use of letters is endlessly fascinating - I hope it is easing you to deal with them this way.