“Letters from Mom”
Mom wrote me hundreds of letters and would often send me greeting cards with snipped comics or articles from newspapers or magazines she thought I'd enjoy.
Here’s another rather long letter mom wrote me during my first semester away at college. She wrote me almost every day and I wish I’d saved them all. In this one she details how hard she’s trying (and failing) to make ends meet, a common theme. Sadly I must have lost the “bigoted and sexist joke” she enclosed; I probably taped it to the wall of my dorm room.
Sept. 15, 1991
It’s Sunday afternoon, really quiet, nothing much to do. I think if I can come up with any energy later, I’ll try to start my great American novel. Jenny’s asleep on her bed – she’s already gone through a pile of tissues today so she’s pretty beat, too.
It’s been a long time since she’s had her shots. It seems as if every time I try to get her there, something comes up. Thursday, the car broke down on the way. Supposedly, it was the fuel filter ($48.00), but it was bucking again this morning and the air conditioner is making that noise it made a couple of years ago. They fooled around with the wiring – I wonder if they did something to the air? I guess I’ll go over there again tomorrow morning. (Rambling paragraph — watch this when you write.)
C B ’s mom is coming over tonight so I can sign 170 checks for used books. I hope there’s one in there for us!
I’m going to ask Anne to loan me $5000.00. Actually, I don’t have the balls to do it in person, so I’m sending a letter. It’s a pretty brazen request – I hope it doesn’t blow our friendship. I’m desperate enough to try the D ’s if Anne doesn’t come through.
Hey, they just said Don Shula is going for his 300th win today. Then the only coach with more would be George Halas, and Shula would have a good chance to catch him.
Jenny and I missed church again. We just can’t seem to get going on Sunday mornings. I think it might be mostly because I’ve been so depressed about money. I wish I could figure out how to get more. I’m sick of being broke all the time and, consequently, obsessed with money. I’m going to try to get to the mall tomorrow night to put in more applications. God, I hate to have a second job! It’s not that I’m lazy; it’s just that I only have Jenny for 2 years and then I’ll be alone. And the time goes by so fast.
Maybe I should have worked two jobs when you guys were little. I guess I was pretty selfish – I just always wanted every moment I could get with you, and I know Dad wasn’t around. I remember a lot of great times, not just Disney or things like that, but, more, talking and sharing and tickling and giggling and sharing a love for special movies and, of course, moments. I hope there’ll be a million more. I hope you and Jenny remember some, too.
What do you mean, my letters are “pointless?” What a twirp! I write great letters, full of wisdom and humor and a touch of pathos. Ask anybody.
I thought you might get a kick out of the enclosed bigoted, sexist joke. I got them from a Daytona Police sargent who comes in once in a while. Ok – I thought they were pretty funny, too, but don’t tell Lanie.
The reason I haven’t told you much about the “difficulties” here is that there’s nothing you can do and you’re away and it’s tough to hear things long distance. I feel as if I’ve been a drag on you a lot, especially this last few months. They’ve been tough on all us aging parents, you know. It isn’t because I don’t think you can handle things. Maybe it’s because I can’t. Or maybe it’s because I think you’d help and I don’t want to take any more from you. I may not say it often, but what you have done by working and helping support the family for three years is not taken lightly. I am really, really grateful, especially since you’ve never said a word of resentment.
It’s Monday morning. Just before I got out of bed, I remembered that they’re going to take the $58.00 out of my checking account on the 20th. I’ll get around $700.00 in my paycheck and $65.00 from Dad and I have to pay $734.00 on the mortgage, $242.00 on the car insurance plus a few other assorted small bills. It doesn’t work, does it? I guess I’ll have to call you and see how much you want those magazines. I could really use that $32.00 towards Jenny’s tuition. God, I feel like slime, taking from my son at school. God, I don’t know what to do, and I don’t see any end to it.
Jenny’s going to Ponderosa and Publix tomorrow after school and she has applications for Burger King and MacDonald’s and Pic’ N Save. I’ve gone to Sears and Albertsons and I have one from Builder’s Square. I guess I’ll have to go tonight to the mall and put in more.
I feel so helpless and so frustrated. Daddy is sending $80.00 less a month here and your income is gone and now I have to pay Jenny’s tuition. And, so far, very little other expenses have gone down. I must not be living right.
Anyway, that’s why I was trying not to tell you, because it’s all so hopeless. I’m sorry. I wish I could have done better by you and Jenny all these years. At least I hope you know, I gave you both all the love and time I could. That sounds like a “goodbye.” Great, in my present frame of mind, I’ll worry myself sick that one of us is going to croak before we see each other.
Oh, God, David, I love you and Jenny so much. You’re the best kids — not because you’re perfect, which you’re not — but because you’re you. You guys are the miracles in my life. I’m really so blessed.
Just Broke — there’s gotta be a joke in here somewhere.
I guess I’d better go. I love you to pieces. I’m sorry for all the “downer.” Feel my hug?