The Wedel Way

August 17, 2010 – Tuesday 11:42AM
Dear Clint,
I am having my usual problem sending you a letter. For some reason only your name comes up on my address book. When I try to add your name and address it won’t work. I have taken your address from your recent letter and put it on the top and now I will see if it will work. There must be some way to add your address to my address book but it escapes me.

Now I will try to send this, but as with all things having to do with the computer, I have no faith that it will indeed send this letter. Often try these things only to have them lost all of a sudden. And as I get older, it gets worse. I am the classic example of the addage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

I was greatly intrerested in your report that you have been working on the mapping for wind farms, and some of them right here near Rockford. I know there is one such farm south of here near Mendoa and I have seen the big blades slowly turn. Given the political and intellectual make up of the government, it is hard to believe that we will finally get it right.

As you probably know, Nathan left for the ice a week ago and the last I heard was still held up at Christ Church, New Zealand waiting for the weather to clear enough for the planes to take off for MacMurdo Base. As you know too, he will be going down there to commission the new huge wind turbines on which he has been working for two or three years. It is my understanding that he is project engineer now, and will be “commissioning” the new machines and turning them over to the base in working order It has been a long haul, and he is to be there for five months this time, leaving in their Fall just before the ice closes them up. By that time the wind turbines should be in working order and he will have finished his job there. But he will be there 5 months and miss Christmas and his birthday at home.

As the energy crisis deepens, it is some comfort to know that at least somebody is doing something about it. We are no longer particiapnts in the real work of the world, but now are old, decrepit hangers on. As I watch my grandchildren doing interesing and important things around the world I bask in reflected glory.

Susan and Al were in Denver with Nathan the last couple of weeks or more, and during that time they drove to Bozeman and visited Dick and Diane. Nathan and Susan (his Susan, the pediatrician) and Susan and Al took a long motor cycle trip into the mountains and had a great time. They got back last week.

Chris has been home for a cuple of weeks and will be leaving for Abui Dhabi again at the end of the month. He has interesting things to tell about living in so different a culture. Charis is home briefly from Loyola in Chicago where she will be a junior with a straight 4. average. She carries that and two jobs at the same time. There is no doubt about it: I have great grandchildren!

Back in your office you say you will be working on “catastrophic dam failure projections”. What does that mean? Why not build the dams so they won’t fail? The Army Corps had better do a better job than they did around New Orleans.

In doing the maps for the wind farms do you work from aerial photos? Do the maps show the topography of the land which determines wind patterns? I would like to talk with you about all these things and I have many questions. Like how many of those windmills would it take to supply electricity for a city of 50,000? Or 500,000? I don’t know how many of those machines they are installing at MacMurdo base, but they hope to reduce greatly the need for bringing ships full of diesel fuel which they now use.

Our summer has been remarkable for its unremarkableness. It is not easy. I am not able to do much, but I try to do little useful things. Sometimes yearn to go home again, and sometimes I know that maybe I will never be able to do that. We are fed well here. We have a comfortable bed. We are surronded by old people like ourselves, the halt and lame and blind, all of us waiting for the final bell.

It is not the end I would have chosen, as old age is debilitating and remorsless and it is not better than the alternative. But, they say, we are to play the hand we are dealt, and I have the memories of green years when life was full of useful work, and bright, eager growing children and a strong body, and the love that came from my long life with my dear Marjorie.

Now summer will soon fade into Fall, and we keep the hope alive. It is so good to hear from you and know of the interesting and important things you ae doing. Write again if you find time. Each word I write is reflected on the screen you gave me a long time ago. And I am reminded of you as I read it.

I send my love to you and Xan. Keep well. The best is yet to come.
gdpa rcw1

March 5, 2010 – Friday 2:29PM
Dear Clint and Xan,

Today I got a card showing a pigwith red spots on him in a bed. It was pretty good portraiat of me but without the spots.

Thanks for the card. The last week or so has been less than perfect, and Paul, in his feeling that I had to do something about a growing problem, and unha-ppy about whart I was doing, took over and put me in the cre of Hospice which scared me some as I have always associated Hodpice with the final days. Not that for a while I didn’t think that that day had come and wished it would, I was grateful for all the attention, humbled by all the concern I found, and now, on this sunfilled day I am feeling that I am going to make it after all, and spring is coming.

I was so glad to see your dad a couple of weeks ago when he came. I promised him I would not have another “spell”, but then I did and that brought on the fuss. Slowly I am thinking that things will get better again. Today I walked along the road and picked up a little junk as I have done now for 40 years. I didn’t go far, but got a little stuff and demonstrated that I could still make it back up the hilll to the house.

The last of the stream of new advisor-caretakers left a little while ago leaving with us a schedule we can get for someone to come in and prepare food. I don’t know what we will do about that, but I suppose something, as food getting is one of our really weak links.

The snow today is retreating and it is a welcome sight. Since the first of December now we have been covered with snow, and the cold has been unrelenting. But with the promise of spring everything else looks better. My next challenge is this next week when I must go down to take my driver’s license test which is required every year for we who are ancient. When you get to be 93 you have driven for a very long time. I first drove a model T Ford when I was 12. I would be pretty stuck in the country if I could no longer drive, so I will try to do my best.

Spring faces us here with some new challenges. The winter has been long and brutal, and the number of branches that have broken in ice storms is far above usual. Lots of it is still covered with snow, but when that is gone, all that detritis will have to be confronted.. And this year I won’t be able to do it. I have made arrangements with the young man who does our farm work to put our garden spot back into the field, as my gardening days are over too. Little by little, life is pared down. Finding the worthwhile part that is left is the problem.

I have to conceed that our future is cloudy. That we can survive here at home anymore, even with all the plans, is questionable. But, in spite of us, spring will come, and we have to believe that the best is yet to be.

I hope you are well and happily busy. I hope I can see you again before too long, but if not rest assured that you are regularly in my thoughts and prayers.

Gdpa rcw I

April 30, 2009 – Thursday 10:25AM
Dear Clint,
The sky is very gray and the rain is falling. Puddles lie in the road, dimpled by the still falling rain. The reason I am writing this just now is because I wanted to thank you for your letter concerning a lap top and all that kind of thing.

Actually, I didn’t think anything would work when I finally shut this machiine off last night. It wouldn’t print again, as it has not many times. I have no idea what to do about it, but I just shut it off. When I turned it printed. Since I had a guy come here to “fix” it, it has been worse if anything. Once just after he was here it wouldn’t print and I called his number and got his wife who is also an expert, and very nice. For half an hour at least she told me to do things none of which I remember, but at last it started to print again. But I get very weary of seeing new things on the screen and having it do nutty things. In fact, I am seriously considering giving the thing to someone and trying to find a word processor with no computer, something on whch I can write what I want as I want.

One funny thing about the last trip of the guy who “fixed” it. I told him that I couldn’t get any audio on it as I once did. Your dad had given me a couple of sites from whiich I had gotten sound. No more. The repair man checked it out and said that the reason I wasn’t getting sound was that the wire connecting something to something esle was not there. He showed me where it belonged. Apparently when we moved here it was taken off and must be home or somewhere. At least I could understand that without the wire it wouldn’t work.

I was grateful for your telling me that the printer I have probably wouldn’t work with a lap top. That is important to me as I print all the letters I get and keep them in a file. When I am dead you can have all your letters back. I have hundreds on file from your dad. So the printer is imporant to my records, and the printer is also important as I often write letters that are sent by mail and hence have to be printed.

These questions have come up more as I think about moving back to the farm and I suppose I should try to hook up again with the computer. I had a phone line extended to the place I had the computer and more or less it worked while we were there. I suppose I can hook it up again as it was on the phone line. Some time back Martha gave me a cell phone as part of the hookup they have as a family. I don’t understand that either, but it works and I am wondering why I should not just use the cell phone and not have a land line if I move back. How does that work? Does it save any money? In contemplating the move, I wondered how much space could be saved with a lap top, but if it doesn’t work any better than what I have I won’t bother. One good thing is the screen you gave me. It is clear and big and never part of the problem.

Trying to decide whether to move back to the farm has been a long and trying matter. Iolene doesn’;t want to go, and that is the first problem. She enjoys her life here, surrounded by old people who can talk endlessly to each other, she plays bridge and is happy sitting in the “great room” watching people go by. She sees going back to the farm as going back to isolation which she finds hard. I understand that. Here all our meals are served, cleaning is done, entertainment is provided, we are signed in and out and if one is late in coming to breakfast they call to see that everything is all right. I call them the gentle Gestapo, as they are kind and concened for our welfare. But there is no useful work to be done. I know I am failing and my strength is a small fraction of what it was. My balance is precarious so I walk with a cane, and take exercise walking with a walker. Everything takes a lot longer to do than it used to. I can work only in short spurts, and sometimes only every other day.

Always off balance, I fall every once in a while, a most embarassing and infuriating incident. Only twice have I hurt myself, once wen I hit my head on the corner of a cement step and the other when I fell over the wood pile. The tirst resuted in a moment of blackout and loss of scalp and the second a cracked rib. But I have repaired and do my best to keep going. I can think of nothing that would fit better in my plans than to one day expire doing some useful thing.

This week Erin and David moved inito my house. They asked some time ago if they could rent the lower part of the house with the understanding that we might move back upstairs, They will do the house-keeping , do the yard work and keep things in order. I have arranged for a woman to come in every week to prepare some meals which she will leave either in the freezer or refrig. ready for us to eat. So with the housekeeping and general maintenance taken care of, and most of the cooking, we should get along rather well. But it is not yet a done deal.

I have started a garden at the farm and have spinish already up. Potatoes are planted and radishes and a few other things. Early this spring I bought a new rototiller, as I sold my old one in the sale we had before our first move. It works well, but like everything else, I can’t handle it as I once could have. But I have done a little and done it slowly. I know I can’t take care of things as I used to, but I want to get an A for effort. At home there are always useful things to do, and I want to end my days where I have spent so many happy years with the people I have loved the most.

At this point Erin and D have their things here and there, not having had time to get things in order. In a week or two when they have had time to get things in order I will talk with them about our moving back and how we can share the kitchen, of which the house has only one. There is agreement that it is a good idea to have someone else in the house with us, as we both are creaky and there is no telling when one or the other of us will give out and someone could be there to call 911.

At our age there is no future except the final exit, and I would like to walk toward that future surrounded by familiar things and involved in small but useful activity. If ever we get the move done, I hope you will come to see us once again. We hope your dad will come this spring on his way to the Big Sky country. It has been a long time since we were in the West, and though we would like to drive out to see all of you, the distance seems a little out of our reach. Iolene can no longer drive, and my capacity is limited to short trips to the store.

But again I want to say thanks for your letter of instruction about the lap top. Writing this now is an act of faith as I am never sure I can send it, and if it doesn’t go I don’t know what to do about it. But in case it does go, I send my love with it.

gdpa rcw
November 14, 2008 – Friday 3:00PM
Dear Clint and Xan,
A little while ago Dick sent to me a clipping from the Lawrence paper showing a big picture of Xan and the story of the long delayed letter. Reading it, I thought how 60 years might seem like a long time to the young, but to some like me was fresh in my memory.

Just for fun I went to my files and got out my journal written in 1948, and turned to the 11th of November only to find I had not written on that day because, as I noted the next day, we had gone to Brookfield Zoo where “Dicky took it all in and was impressed by it”.

“Dicky said to me this morning that he saw a ‘thinking monkey’. He referred to the chimpanzee who sat in such a pensive position that I remarked he looked like ‘the thinker’.”

“It was a nice day. Mom {my mother} stayed with Martha. We went to the municipal airport {Ohare} in the afternoon and watched the big planes take off and come in. Average — one every 100 seconds.”

That day too was the election day for Harry Truman, the election he didn’t have a chance to win. Everybody said so. The Tribune’s early edition showed Truman holding a banner headline, “Dewey Wins”. When the Christian Century came out the next day with a long article why Truman lost, I was so mad I wrote to the editor wondering if it was a good idea to continue my subscription when they couldn’t get even the election right. In my journal I have several pages from the Christian Century reviewing the election a week later. The article pointed out that there was a “voiceless America” who had found their voice.

“It was this voiceless America the pollsters and the press and the radio pundits and the politicians – and The Christian Century, trotting right along in the tracks of the others – missed.”

And on the day after that we had our first snow.

And now we are getting ready to see what will come of another historic election. Who could have imagined in 1948, or even in 1968 that an African American could be elected to the presidency. Since that letter was written in 1948 we have taken big steps into a new world. Whether it is a better world is yet to be seen. My generation did what it could, good and bad. Now it’s up to you. I note in my journal that I wrote on November 16, “The election is still the most interesting topic of conversation, and in some ways the most heartening.”

So much for all that. When I read the article, I wondered what record I might have of that time. Going back one is always struck with how much more one should have said and didn’t.

I would have written this on email, but that, alas, is just another blip in my descent into senility. It has worked for a long time and then suddenly, it would not go on line. Al came up and worked on it a long time several times. He called someone and they said it was not in our machine but on their line and they would work on it. It came back again and again went out. Over and over it has happened so last week it stopped again and I have given up. I miss reading the Times and Washington Post and writing emails which are so much easier than getting an envelope and a stamp and getting it to the mail box. But I have given it a try, and I feel defeated. Perhaps I am just too old and this is not for me. But I can still write this on paper and the new clipping moved me to do so.

I hope you are well and happy and working hard and always being kind and true. Our lives here are unremarkable except for their dullness and our increasing inability to do the work there is to be done here. It is a year since we moved back home, and I am glad to be here, surrounded by memories and familiar things, but how long we will be able to make it this way I don’t know. I will keep trying and hope to die in the attempt.

This past summer I had a new sidewalk put in to the wood box which would make it easier for me to haul the wood. It works fine, but the wood is getting heavier than it used to be. Sometimes I think nature just conspires against us old ones.

Take care of yourselves. Write if you get a chance. Tell me what you are doing and when you will be in your new office and so will not have to travel to the city each day.

I send my love,
Gdpa RCW

August 22, 2007 – Wednesday 4:10PM
Dear Clint and Xan,
It seems so long since you were here for a visit. Nice interruptions in our long, quiet life are something to remember. We remember your visit.

Our lives here like all lives I guess, as Browning said, are in a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities, the one all ready dead, the other struggling to be born. Our time is quiet, except on Wednesdays, when we are invaded by the machines. The machines that mow and blow and spray and fertilize, all powered by motors that roar defiance to any grass that may consider growing out of place or too long. Listening to the beat of the noise, one imagines acres of lawn between dozens of houses where the elderly repose, comforted and maybe a little smug, about the acres of green that serves no purpose but to insulate them from the surrounding world, and to proclaim that here is the place to be.

That is probably too harsh. But when the noise subsides, there is the quiet growing of the grass that challenges all the machines. And eventually it will win.

We think of you often and suppose you are in far places and doing unusual things. We hope your lives are unfolding as they should. We hear regularly from Dick and Diane and we cheer them as they create a life that fills them with satisfaction as it blesses those around them. I understand they are to leave for home this coming Sunday. And, leaving the house unrented, they will be able to return there for some time in the fall or winter. I have suggested to Iolene that in the fall after they get back I would like to go out and see them. Just once more. It seems a long way to drive these days, and we would have to do it in two days. But I would like to try. If I died in the attempt, that would be a good way to go.

I spend lots of time at the farm, and have all spring and summer. It looks as if Paul will be moving from there this fall, and I have been working to fix things, clear things out, prepare for the next tenant. And I need not tell you that I would very much like to be that next tenant. We have had rental companies there about renting it, and we have talked about selling. But selling right now seems not the best choice, and getting it ready to rent to some new person will be expensive and hard. Among other things, we would have to partition the barn so we could keep our machinery and leave part of the building for a garage.

My efforts there are limited to slightly more than half a day at a time. I run out of energy and have to come home, then start again the next day. It is slow going. Leaving here and going back home is as major a move as it was to move here in the first place. But I would like to go home where I spent most of my life and where I raised my family, and lived so long with one I so dearly loved. And when the time is right, I would like to die there.

I’m not so sure that most of those around me support my plan. Iolene has great reservations, and many of our friends wonder at such an idea. But I find the idleness here unacceptable. I was not put in this world to be waited on, to be watched for signs of some system failure. At home I have useful things to do, even if they would be greatly less than I used to be able to do. And every Wednesday I would not be beset with the din of machines mowing the same grass over again. (Observation: on most areas, it is mowed at least twice-to make it look really nice. What a waste! Just now, outside our window, a man is mowing with a big walking mower the same grass mowed this morning with a big riding mower. That’s nuts)

So, when I go to the farm in the morning I usually come back early afternoon dragging and a little desperate. (Quick note: right now a guy outside our window with a blower to insure that no stray strand will escape. These machines make more noise that all the others. I must report that all the work is done by Latinos whose legality is in high question) But what greater good can they do but to keep the affluent elderly comfortable?

Now why am I writing all this on a real, honest to goodness letter, one that will have to have a stamp and envelope? Well, let me say first, that in writing this I am using that fine big screen you brought and in which I delight. But, alas, the rest of the machine is dead. Some time ago the thing I think is called a modem, which stood next to the screen ad was attached to the cord that came out of the wall and then sent a couple of wires to the computers, went dead. All the lights that flickered and looked very efficient went the way of all good lights. They shine no more. And a sign comes up on this screen telling me that they can’t get a connection to the internet. The word processor still works (as indicated by the fact that I am using it right now) but nothing else does. I am no longer connected to cyber space. And maybe since I have never been very comfortable there, it is as well.

I am wondering if it would be a big deal or very expensive to get a new thing to put in the place of the place of the old thing. Where would I get it? How much should it cost? Would it just be hooking it up as it was? When you write again, let me know what you think.

I have been writing my letters and sending them by US mail. I find it slower than it used to be, but I have done it for many years and I can do it again. But not as often as I have when it takes only a push of the button.

It is past five now and I can still hear in the near distance the last of the roaring mowers finishing there second or third time over. Is there a place to live where one does not have to deal with the 21st century? I am tired and would welcome a long reprieve.

Write when you can. I’m afraid it will have to be on real paper, as I can’t get email. But I would welcome even so out-dated a missile.

I send my love and best wishes,
gdpa rcw

July 17, 2007
Dear Clint and Xan,
This morning a neighbor came over to see if she could find some pictures Dick had sent. I can’t do that. She found one. That was all. But in the process she showed me how to enlarge the screen so that I can see easily what I am writing. I couldn’t do that either. But now I am wondering if it will be too big when it gets there or if there is some way of making it smaller on your end. I have given up any pretense of knowing how to use this machine. But the wonderful, big screen you gave me is so clear and so bright that it is a delight even if I can’t get much on it. It was that thought that moved me to write a brief note to you.

I suspect you two are busy as usual, and I am wondering if you have been on some big trips seeing great things. Old people trapped in gilded cages have to rely on you younger, mobile ones to tell us something of the passing parade. Our lives here plod along. Dick says to me that “attitude is everything” and he is right. I have trouble finding meaning here, and no doubt the fault is in me. I would like so much to be home where I can do useful things. But at the same time I have to recognize that my ability to do useful things has been drastically reduced. Making lemonade from the lemons I have been given is the challenge I am not doing well with.

However, the other day when I fell in the bean patch, sprawling over the vines and flattening some of them, I slowly got my bearings and decided that nothing was badly hurt as the ground was soft. So while summoning my strength to get up if I could, I saw right before my eyes, not three inches away, were dozens of beans hanging from their vines quietly wondering what I was doing down there on the ground.

It was then that I thought of the lemonade metaphor, and, reaching for the pail I had in my hand when I fell, I laid there and picked the beans that were so close. Never before had I had so close an encounter with the beans, and I think I was the better for it. And then I knocked down more vines getting up.

So are the stories from the land of the elderly. Funny, but a little sad too. I do work at the farm almost every day, at least for a little while. Our garden is almost wildly enthusiastic. The season has been good, the small amount of rain coming when it was most needed. Most energetic of all are the vine crops. Each of them have claimed its own territory and that of its neighbors as well. Cucumbers cohabitate with the watermelon and cantaloupe. And the squash, who are like bullies on the playground. They are big and tough and they can run everywhere. And so. With the harvest we will have to go along in the thicket picking first a cucumber, then a melon or a squash wondering what will come next out of the mass of intermingled vines.

The garden has come to be the focus of my life at the farm. Taken a little at a time, these things I can do, thus avoiding that dreaded prospect of being a total parasite. I am having some of the old symptoms of congestive heart failure, and I know this is neither to be avoided or feared. If while facing the beans or untangling the maze of vines my heart would be overcome by it all, I would count that a blessing and a wonderful setting for the next stage to come.

I do hope your lives are progressing as they should. I think fondly of your last visit and live in hope that we will have still another. And in the words from that favorite plaque on my wall, “Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

And I send my love, gdpa rcw


March 27, 2007
Dear Clint and Xan,
I have just gone thru my birthday cards and I came to the one that claimed I said eating hot donuts would give you worms. Now I don’t remember saying that, but then ….

It was good to hear from you and I can report that we had a good time as the family gathered for my birthday. Ninety years is so many that it is hard to imagine–when you look ahead from middle age and when you look back once you have made it. Where have all those years gone? Pondering that can be troubling.

But with my family together, I am reassured that it has all been worth while. My children are strong, bright, resourceful and loving. At the end of a long life could anyone wish for more? And when there is added to it grandchildren who have continued the tradition, now in various parts of the world, I am both humbled and grateful.

I got a call from Mara who is in Geneva, Switzerland. I got an email from Nathan writing from Bali in the South Pacific. I got another call from Chris in Mississippi. And from Kansas. And from lots of others all of whom are forgiven for thinking that they won’t have to send many more.

My children are such a delight with their always helpful, always cheerful, always quiet, steady support. each in his or her own way until I wonder at the amazing grace of it all, and find myself thinking how my dear Marjorie would be warmed by it .

Dick tells me you have flowers out and trees leafing there. Here, the huge pile of snow shoveled into our yard thru the winter by the big machines is at last giving way to the slow yet relentless attack of spring. It was eight or nine feet high and thirty feet or more long, shutting out our view of the street and becoming part of the landscape, taking on the grime of its environment until it was almost black. It looked formidable, imposing, immovable. Yet without fuss or attack, the quiet rains and rising temperatures have done what frontal attack could not. I think George B. would have sent the Marines after it, but the slow negotiation of spring had the victory.

As spring seems nearer, I have gone often to the farm to work in the shop and try to figure out what must be sold and what must be saved when in May we have our sale. I look around the barn at so many of my old friends that thru the years have hung on the walls faithfully waiting a call to duty, and what they will think when on some warm day in May they will be handed over to some stranger, separated from at least two generations who have used them and to whom they have given their best. I am reminded that life is a series of separations and farewells.

The grass is greening and robins have returned. The eternal cycle has again begun . And one of the things we look forward to is a visit from you when spring will be at its best. We continue to make it one day at a time. And I try to remember what Paul sent me on my birthday card:
When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
I guess that’s about the best thing I can leave with you..

I send my love.
gdpa rcw
January 12, 2007
Dear Xan,
I was delighted to get a letter from you. A real, snail mail letter! I love those kind. And secondly, I was delighted with your suggestion that you might be able to come to see us over Memorial Day. I can think of nothing that would please us more. As the winter moves inexorably thru the storms and cloudy days toward that far off event of spring, we will have that bright light at the end of the tunnel.
I was grateful too for your offer to “transcribe any musings” I might have. I am not sure any “musings” I might have are worth transcribing, but it is a generous and flattering suggestion.
As if my problems with the electronic world aren’t enough, the other shoe fell when my faithful, workable, understandable IBM word processor quietly decided that almost 20 years was enough, that as long as I had taken it to a retirement village, it would sharply reduce its activity and now will type and print out only one page at a time, requiring that I shut it off and start if again if I want another page.
Here at Wesley Willows they tell the old broken down ones like me that I can go on living here happily and they will take care of the details like lawn and maintenance and exercise and cooking if you want that. And a health center thrown in.
My IBM friend it is more honest. I went to the repair man. How old is the machine? he asked. I told him. Long silence. He was trying to break the news gently. “Im afraid we just don’t have the parts for those anymore. I’ll look to see if I can find something and I will call you.”
There have been no calls. I know there will be no calls. The same is true at the Willows. But they don’t want to say that.
So my old word processor and I will have to part, as one day or another we all have to part. And that leaves me with this machine, the problems with which I need not go over again.
But I was always a fighter, so one fight more, maybe the best and the last. (apologies to Robert Browning) I still have a few things to write and I hate to think the lousy machine will muzzle me. Many years ago I wrote everything long hand on a piece of paper, and it was years before I learned how to compose on a machine. But now, here in retirement land, I find the effort of writing by hand is more than I remember it and I can’t read my own handwriting much anymore. Senility spreads in many directions.

So in the days to come, little by little I will try to find out how to make this machine do my bidding. If I could get a real expert to write down, step by step what I should do under e

ach circumstance that would help.
No matter. If I can send and get a few letters from you and others who now are so important to me, I will be content. And if I can send and get them in cyber space I have decided to make the best of it. Dick and I have a long history of correspondence thru the years, and when those letters changed form handwritten to email I was able to adjust and, printing them out, I have hundreds of them, many of them I have now returned to Dick for his own use. Letters can be a wonderful, low key autobiography and we must treasure them.
In regard to the Wedel web page we have been talking about, maybe you could tell me ju

st how to do that and where to write. One day if I know how to do it, I may make a small contribution. But I am still unsure where it goes and what becomes of it.
This breaking down of my old IBM friend comes at a time when I have decided to finish as well as I can something I called The Story, my story beginning with the coming of my grandparents and great grandparents, one from England and the other from Germany.
I guess no one knows why we have an urge to write it all down, telling the story of how ones life fits into the pattern of generations. But it is a challenge and sometimes even interesting to read again. I have more than 70 years of journals from which I have been able to remember things otherwise long forgotten. And in these past few months as I get ever nearer the finish line

, I am moved to continue what I stopped when I lost my dear Marjorie, Clint’s grandmother, and felt my life too had stopped. In a way it did, but always I am comforted and warmed by my memory of her and the wonder of our life together with the children even as the shadow of grief never is lost.
This last part of my life has been blessed with new companionship and always there have been the concerns and the glories of four wonderful children whose lives and achievements have been the benediction of my life.
So I am moved to write it all down, for myself, if nothing more. And it would help if I could learn to run some good machine that would make the job easier.
This is a great deal more than I planned when I started this reply to your nice note. But I suppose that is what letters are for.
This morning I went to the farm to clean out the greenhouse which I have not done since we moved. The greenhouse has been thru the years a wonderful place where first Marjorie and then Iolene spent many hours, making it in the winter a place filled with color and fragrance. Now it has been neglected and I hauled to the dump many dried plants and emptied many deserted pots. It is the first real job I have done for a long time and I came home at noon feeling that hauling one more pot would have done me in.
The forecast tells us that we will have snow by Sunday, maybe lots of it, and today the lowering sky tells us that the wicked witch of the North is holding counsel behind those sullen clouds, and we mortals can only watch and wait.
Thanks again for your nice letter. I hope I have put your address right. With the prospects of a visit in the spring, we will never surrender to the winter.
gdpa rcw