While it as been almost 24 years since his death, I can picture him sitting at the desk, deep in thought, writing a reply but keeping a watchful eye on my grandmother. By the time this letter was written, my grandmother's memory failure had not quite become the debilitating descent into Alzheimer's that was yet to come, release coming with her death 11 months after this letter was written.
I find it comforting to read Grandpa Harley's letters despite the fact this period of his life was heartbreaking and yet, I have many wonderful memories of time spent "at the farm." I remember when you walked into the dining room from the kitchen, the floor made a cracking sound where the linoleum had a permanent buckle. The windows faced south and in August the sun would have not quite reached the back wall; Grandpa would be anxious to get the letter written and out to the mail box before the arrival of the mail lady.
The desk was situated in the dining area facing the north wall; after all these years, it's only now that I wonder who owned the desk before Gram and Grandpa. There were three drawers down the left-hand side, several of which were difficult to open but always a source of curiosity to granddaughters at any age. Stamps and the "glass" could always we found in the long top "draw." The glass being a magnifying glass that belonged to Grandma's father, Charles Finley Polar. Today "the glass" resides in a "draw" on my desk, one of the many family treasures in my life.
Dear Cindy & All!
We got your nice long letter and enjoyed it very much.
We are going to town this P.M. and get some things & get Grandma out for her ride. She expects a ride every day and I try to do it for her if I can.
We had or I did some company last Sat. & Sun. One person was a son of his father that was borned on this place here, and he & I had a real visit as he wanted to know of things that happened before he was born and I could tell him of what he wanted to know, as he was the same age as Bud, born in 1922.
I'm real lucky that my mind is sure good and I feel so sorry for Grandma that can't remember but I have to remember for her & I hope I can keep it up.
Tell Al we got bear hunters around setting out bait for them when the season opens. The two Sykora boys I gave them permission to set baits in the woods out here so maybe I will get some bear tracks to eat. Ha.
Did I tell you, we saw an old mother bear on Monday going up to Summit Lake, and also a big timber wolf west of our place.
We were at a birthday party last Sat. at Millie Somers son-in-law, Hank Holy. His Dad and I was real good friends when he was alive & I remember Hank was born in 1917 as I was logging for his grandfather and they use to bring him up there to visit but he's a grandfather also now. Time marches on and if you live long enough you can see the changes and it all makes memories to think about.
It was nice Mother & Dad could get away for a few day, as that is nice to relax for awhile.
About a year ago we were in Montana for the James [family] reunion which I sure glad we went. Guess it is over with by now and they wrote wanted to know if we would be able to come but I said it was too far for us old people but I sure would have like to go if we were younger. I guess I could stand it but Grandma would want to come home soon after we would get there. I know she can't help that but she can walk around better than I can.
The boys will be going to school soon, so will Lori also the summer sure is going fast. I hate to think of the winter. I saw a woodchuck out here on the well platform the other morning, I guess he is the only one around.
Mother called us when they got back last Sat.
It sounds like Las Vegas got another bad rain storm which is the second one, as Sis wrote and said that they were O.K. from the other one.
Well Cindy, thanks for such a nice letter & write when you get time.
Love from Grandma & Grandpa
"Letter From Grandpa Harley." Digital image. Dated: August 15, 1984. Original
document held by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski (c) 2011