Saturday, April 25, 2009

Have You Ever Re-read An Old Letter You Wrote?

Ray & Edith Moore - my "parents" in Kansas City, Missouri

Our home in Kansas City, Missouri on 67th Street

My last three years of high school were spent living in Kansas City, Missouri with Uncle Ray and Aunt Edith Moore. After graduation in 1952, I moved to California to attend Pasadena Nazarene College.

My High School graduation picture - 1952

Communication between us was through letters to each other. Postage was 3 cents and we wrote each other on occasion. My Aunt Edith passed away some 15 years ago and Uncle Ray died a couple of years ago. His second wife, Nelda, was recently going through some of Ray’s possessions and found seven letters that I had written them that he kept. The dates of the letters were January 11, 1954, February 18, 1954, October 7, 1954 ( all written in my Sophomore and Junior years of college.)

The next one was written April 13, 1959 three days before my 25th birthday and three days after our son, Ricky’s, 3rd birthday. Ann was very pregnant with Brenda who was born 11 days later on April 24, 1959. [This year she turned 50.]

I wrote a letter on October 4, 1959 that Ray kept. Ricky was 3 ½ years old and Brenda was soon to be 6 months old. Ann was enrolled in what became California State University at Fullerton taking night classes.

The sixth letter was written March 23, 1962. The next month Ricky will be 6 years old and Brenda was coming up on her 3rd birthday. I had written about the passage of time -- 10 years ago I graduated from High School, 6 years ago from Pasadena Nazarene College, and I came to live with them 13 years ago. Time was flying.

The last one I received from Nelda I want to comment on some items. I will publish most the letter and add comments to some of the items. This was written June 19, 1965 when we were living in our first home that we bought on Marty Lane in Santa Ana. That is almost 44 years ago. Comments will be in brackets [ ]. This was to Ray only as it was in a “Father’s Day” card.
Dear Ray,
This card is coming to you a little late. I bought the card early enough but wanted to write a letter to you at the same time the card came. Consequently, the card is late waiting for this letter.

I wish to say “Happy Father’s Day”, as you have been one of my fathers throughout my life and I am very glad that you were. I don’t consider myself as a kid that had bad breaks in his life. On the contrary. I feel that I had many good breaks and feel very fortunate to have been born into a family of Moore’s that are interested in helping each other out when things don’t go according to plan. [I was one of 5 children born to Ray’s brother, Leonard. Our dad died suddenly in 1940 and the family floundered for a couple of years before being split up by court order. Instead of Foster Care, we were moved to homes of our dad’s family. My brother, Ben, and I went to live with our grandparents. The other three kids went to uncles or aunts in the Moore family.] [I moved to Kansas City in September 1949.]

I am very proud of you and the family that I was associated with during my teen years. You were understanding when it was needed and also stern when it was needed. Thank you.

Dad [Ann’s dad Robert Edwards] is visiting us now and has been for a few days. He returns to Kansas City next Thursday. That is, he leaves then on the train. It sure is nice to have him here. He attended Ann’s graduation from college. She finally did it! And she did it “With Honors”. We are proud of her and her hard work that she has had to put in in order to attain this. One item of note -- Cecil Miller [who Ray knew] is registrar at the college that Ann graduated from -- California State College at Fullerton. He was in that capacity at Pasadena [Nazarene College] when I graduated 9 years ago. [Cecil signed both of our diplomas.] We got to talk with him on graduation day. I guess he was a victim of the last purge at Pasadena. He has a very good position with this college as Ann was only one of 502 that graduated. Incidentally, she was one of 18 who graduated “With Honors”. How about that?

I hear by the grapevine that you will be leaving Kansas City and have accepted a position at Olivet [Nazarene College - Kankakee, Illinois]. The way things were going in KC I imagine this is a great load off your mind and a better chance to do what you are really interested in. I also hear that you may set up a radio station at the college. When things are such that you can write about it, please let me know. I hate to see you leave KC as it is very nice to stop in one place and see all relatives on both sides. You seem to be a permanent fixture there. I know the kids and particularly Kathy are probably upset and it has been her only hometown. This will be a new experience for them [Kathy, Philip, & Harlan] and I know they will adjust. I’ve had quite a few hometowns now and find it just as easy to live in one town as another. Perhaps on those rare occasions that I may have to visit our home office, I can drop in on you at Olivet. It’s not far from Chicago and we have to go via Chicago. [State Farm Insurance home office is located in Bloomington, Illinois.]

Since you are moving and I have some items at your house yet, would you please box them and give these to the Edwards for me. I haven’t driven back that way yet and haven’t had a chance to pick them up. I believe I have my stamp collection, and memory box [still have these in the garage] plus anything else that you may find that was mine. I’m not interested in the ice skates if you still have these. Let your kids have them. It would be interesting to know just what I do have there. Even after 13 years in California I guess I’m not settled down. I expected to come back there after college but that didn’t work out. Things here are looking good for both of us work wise and unless there is something drastic, we will be here for some time to come.

We’ve been considering buying a different home and getting settled but the prices of homes now is terrible. I paid $13,250.00 for my 4 bedroom home. I can get about $16,500 for it now. But then buying a different one would run $25,000 to $30,000 and that is too much at this time. My mortgage is under $12,000 and by investing a little I could fix up my house to make it quite livable. We don’t know exactly what to do. [Can you relate to any of this? We ended up buying a new home in Westminster that cost $28,000 and I thought I‘d lost my mind!]

Ann just finished teaching the first semester of her career. She is teaching 1st grade and loves it. [She spent 30 years in 1st grade with 25 years in the same room.] She has a ten month contract for next year at $590 a month. [WOW!] Not bad for a teacher. Of course California is probably the highest paying for teachers. This next year should be easier for us financially. We will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next month [In July 2009 it will be 54 years] and all ten years have been pretty rough. Things are looking better.

Ricky has been promoted to the 4th grade now and Brenda will start 1st grade next fall. These kids are growing up too fast. More and more people are noticing how gray I’m getting too. I guess that is part of life.

Love to all,
(signed) Dick

I mentioned in the letter that time was going by so fast. That was 44 years ago! I have no idea where it went but I can remember so many things that took place in all those years in between that letter and today. I guess this is what “getting old” is all about. I thought you’d enjoy making comparisons to today from things in this letter. Perhaps some of you can relate to this as well.


Harlan Moore said...

Your post brings up so many memories. The picture of the house on 67th looks just like I remembered growing up there. Grandpa and Grandma Ewald lived right next door; I think their house burned down a number of years ago. I had to laugh when you listed the housing prices, especially after having lived in San Diego; $28,000 couldn't buy you a car port these days! I was born just after you left for Pasadena and I guess I felt cheated not having you as the "oldest brother." I'm thankful Dad and Nelda kept those letters to reconnect with the past. You were a good writer then as you are now. You and Ann continue to be in our prayers. God bless you both.

Dick Carter said...

Wow, how time fly's by. It seems like yesterday that we had dessert after church in Melodyland at your house in either Westminster or Garden Grove. Our kids really grew up quickly and now the grandkids are getting up in school and college. Retirement has been great. We are fortunate to have had wonderful uncles and grandfathers who helped raise, all the more so since they were Christians and gave us a Godly up-bringing. Thanks for sharing the old times. I remember buying our new house in Huntington Beach, Ca. back in 1968 for ONLY $24,000. My how those days have gone.
Wishing you the best--God Bless

Anonymous said...

Dick, I was not aware that Cecil Miller was registrar at Fullerton where Ann got her degree. He was on a choir tour with us one year while at PC and we all enjoyed his presence with us. The letters are interesting.

Dave Cole