“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.

Mom wrote me this letter in a greeting card. The outside of the card has a cartoon of the planet sort of melting into a puddle with squiggly odor lines and flies around it. The print reads, “When I woke up this morning and realized you weren’t here, things really Looked dark and the whole world seemed stinking and rotten…” On the inside it says, “…then the dog rolled off my face.” Har har har.


Sorry — as thick as this is, you were probably expecting a check!!!

It feels like forever since I sent you a card or letter. I’m sorry. Hopefully, you’ve been getting dozens from everyone else.

The Nat. Honor Society ceremony was nice. At least there were more people there. Jenny caught my cold, however, and I “made” her stay home today. (I wonder if 2 all-nighters in a row affected this. Who told her it was OK to stay up all night? You?)

I remember having to study for the first time when I got to college. It was easier for me, though, because we were on a mountain, pretty well isolated, and I didn’t have the chances or the desire to get into the extra curricular activities you do. I think my first semester was not so hot – especially calculus. But, I don’t think I had as much riding on my grades as you do. I hope you take my advice just to check it out early so you don’t have any surprises. The bottom line is, even if you lose all your scholarships, there would still be some way we would get you through. I mean, it wouldn’t be the end of the world – it might take longer, but it will happen. So, I wasn’t trying to pressure you when I said to find out what’s what from the Honors Office. I just don’t want you shocked later.

I know you can handle whatever comes up. Just remember, I’m here, and we’ll figure things out if you run into trouble.

I love you lots. Take care of yourself.


There were four items inside the card which surprisingly didn’t fall out in the quarter-century since she wrote it.

  1. is a cartoon snipped from a magazine showing two chemists in a lab with bubbling beakers and test tubes. The caption is, “I know this sounds silly, nevertheless, EUREKA! I’ve made gold out of sawdust with a by-product that cures the common cold!” I honestly have absolutely no idea why she included this comic.
  2. is a 1″ square clipped from a music catalog. I’m not sure why she put this in there, either. On one side is a listing for the collected works of Simon & Garfunkel on three compact discs for $49.95 and on the other side is a listing for “THE COMPLEAT BEATLES!” on sixteen (?!) compact discs for $224.95.
  3. is the program from the October 15, 1991 Father Lopez Catholic High School National Honor Society induction ceremony, which lists my sister as a new member.
  4. is an article titled “The Winner’s Credo” snipped from a pulp magazine of some sort:

The Winner’s Credo
By Dennis E. O’Grady, Psy.D.

Having a winning relationship with our inner self, with loved ones and with life requires we follow some of these fail-safe beliefs:

  • Winners say, “Yes,” while Losers say, “Yes, But.”
  • Winners say, “I did,” while Losers say, “I didn’t.”
  • Winners appreciate, while Losers denigrate.
  • Winners say, “Now,” while Losers say, “Later.”
  • Winners persist, while Losers quit.
  • Winners give things away, while Losers hoard everything.
  • Winners say, “I’m sorry,” while Losers say, “You should be ashamed.”
  • Winners accept others, while Losers judge others.
  • Winners say, “I’ll do my share,” while Losers say, “Do something for me.”
  • Winners say, “I’m responsible,” while Losers say, “It’s not my fault.”
  • Winners make something work, while Losers tell you why it won’t work.
  • Winners listen to criticism, while Losers block them out.
  • Winners say, “I owe you,” while Losers say, “You owe me.”
  • Winners laugh at themselves, while Losers laugh behind backs.
  • Winners say, “I can,” while Losers say, “I can’t.”
  • Winners say, “Thank you,” while Losers say, “You don’t appreciate me.”
  • Winners are open, while Losers put up walls.

Be a winner — it’s easy!!

Dennie E. O’Grady, Psy.D., is a psychologist based in Dayton, Ohio.