Notions: Letter from Mom, Jan 17, 1974

From Ann Oechler, [June’s Mom] Thursday Jan. 17, ’74. The reference to oil and gasoline at the end is probably a reference to the shortages at that time, with lines at gas stations, etc.

Dear June, Jerry, & Jan, Cats, kittens, Rats, and mice, cockroaches and cooties–

I could spend the next two pages — trying to explain — apologize and condone my neglect of all youse — Please understand that you aren’t the only ones. My poor Christmas turkey is still languishing in the freezer –!

Here’s a rundown on what’s been going on — Al [Mom’s older brother] came in alone Dec. 19th — we saw all 2 of his kids Sunday evening. Mon. he took Blazer [car] and saw friends in WMsport — I put up Xmas tree and walked down town — for nothing — just looking for Christmas? Christmas day Al & I got up, poked around and started out — to the Wyants [daughter, son-in-law, 3 grand-children] — all was joy & excitement — ate a bit of turkey etc. Carol had dinner like I’ve been having, Nothing served — but lots to eat. We left there and went to Pine. The O. Jr’s [son, daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren] had a beautiful tree & mostly everything they wished for — warm –well fed and happy. Took off for Betty’s [niece], spent a couple of hours. Over to Doris’ [Betty’s sister]– they had a fine Christmas then home & bed. Wed we went to Wmsport to Mary’s [daughter] for a couple of hours. then down town to pick up Al’s big suitcase (he came by bus and it got sidetracked someplace). Saw May [Mom and Uncle Al’s sister] and home. Friday Al and I went to camp [Cedar Pines, 35 miles up winding country road] — there an hr. and a call from Carol rushed us back to Avis — Al came too so that he could keep the Blazer. Jonathan Michael Wyant arrived at 4:45 — 1/2 hr after admittance. From then on I stayed in Avis. Sun AM Denise got up with the mumps and Grammy [Mom] was busy [she was taking care of Carol’s other three children]. New year’s eve. Chip [Carol’s husband] & I celebrated by taking down Christmas Tree etc. etc. Tues we cleaned house (mostly Chip did). Al came down from Camp and ate saurkraut and went to visit his kids. Wed. Carol came home — Al & Carl [Dad] up there for supper and then home — I stayed in Avis of course — Thurs Carl took AL to bus at midnight — took him 20 hrs to get home (due to snow, etc) Sat A.M. I went to camp and cooked our noon meal in my Christmas present — an electronic oven — it’s a fabulous gadget and if I ever get to use it right –?– I’m going to like it. Sun. noon I was on my way to Avis — Chip had to go to work and I didn’t want Carol heaving “2 ton tessy” (Denise [Carol and Chip’s toddler]) around just yet. — Mon back home & a usual week (Carol’s & home sog-out). Then Piper (Bangor Putnam, Chris Craft) cracked down — Carl started working 12 hr days (7 t0 7) — a bit much but Finn Estelick is working right beside him so —-. On Sat Jan 12th Denise went into the hospital with an infected gland in her neck. So I cooked Sun. dinner (noon) in my oven — a big flop after such a big success the first try — and ran for Avis to keep kids [two older one and new-born] while Carol went to see Denise (Chip worked). Since then I’ve taken down my sick-looking tree & decorations — cleaning a bit and going up each evening to keep Carol’s kids while she goes to see Denise each evening. Chip goes down for a half hour in the afternoon before he goes to work. Denise is having a ball — her infection has tapered off. It never did bother her much but it refuses to dissipate completely and they’re keeping her there –expecting it to flare up again — meanwhile the nurses are spoiling her — she’s so _dear_ no one can help it and they’re not too busy at present. They’re feeding her too much — which is worrying Carol — she tend to be fat (is fat) and will eat on and on– so they feed her on and on!

I haven’t sneaked in yet — we have our usual ban on mid-winter visitors at JS [hospital] and — I’m not sure I can take it. She is a darling kid!

Master Jonathan is really doing fine. Carol is breast-feeding him and he’s gaining weight like crazy — sleeps good — not fussy — and of course cute & cuddly & adorable. The other two are happy about having a new brother and very co-operative.

Mary and family are perking along nicely. I talk to her each morning and see them now and then. She is looking forward to spring. Just waiting to see her tulip bulbs etc come up. I’ve news for her — they won’t even peek thru until about mid-March or early April.

I’ve finally gotten time to read my New Yorkers — had been nibbling here and there — now I know what I want to read first etc. Love the thing from the jokes to the dumb parts I only read because they’re there.

Mike [youngest son] is really serious about his European out (12 mo extension on his fare home after discharge). I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for him — if he can support himself in the duration but it will be so much longer ’till I get to see him!! Whatever he decides I’m for — and I hope it will be the best for him. I’d kind of like him to come home — get more education and started on “life” — but then he’s only 21 years old and when will he get another chance? As far as I can see and feel — he’s still the same brat he ever was! I have a beautiful album of pictures that he has sent home — the Alps (I hate to admit) seem much more impressive than the Am west! –Don’t hit me! –The few pictures I’ve gotten of him seem to get more and more German each time — old Kaiser mustache and so forth. He really seems to be having the best of his overseas tour. Played and sang for 2 kindergartens — an orphanage — and the U. S. service children over Christmas — right up his alley — kids — guitar– etc. He wrote about his ears — says they’re no worse than they’ve been — he’s just smarter than their electronic testing machines that got him out of field work — big ordinance and riding in transports that are big and noisy. I don’t know if he’s snowing _me_ or not –? Any way he’s got 9 months to go — 1/2 of his overseas are behind him and 1 and 1/4 of his draft time — without it getting him down.

We just can’t believe the weather you have been having 60 degrees — 70 degrees oh no! You’re sposed to be cold & miserable. We had about 6″ of snow — in two falls. a lot of melting –now it’s dirty ice and black mud — a bit of sunshine and a lot of overcast. Typical Pa. January thaw!

Our apt is quite comfortable — 72 degrees to 74 degrees. Camp has lots of oil. Gas can be bought anyplace — most any time. Everyone is relaxing — I’m afraid we’re going to get clobbered later or is it only a scare? I’m pessimistic — as usual — not scared! I’ve done without before and with Carl’s ability & ingenuity I’m sure we won’t be suffering — just inconvenienced. He talks more and more about retireing at 62 and I’m with him (much as I like money). I’ve always been willing to go along with him and I’m getting much too old to change– you’ll never believe I’ve reached 112 lbs. don’t look like a war orphan anymore –just like a badly put together old lady — I’m beginning to try camouflage (loose blouses –etc) the first step toward acceptance–! “Old Rocking Chair’s got me”

Well, I’ve spent the whole Today show sitting here scribbling when there’s lot to be done — Today I want to go to the P.O. with your pkg — mike’s big envelope that has to be weighed. Get check cashed — take Cora to Wmsport & be back by 2 — Mary’s coming up — Thurs is her day. –poor Mary — she’ getting a call saying — sit tight — I’ll get there eventually. Then supper cooked and read for dishing up & off for Carol’s at 6 pm until 8 — outside of that I just might flop on the bed and take a nap — “You come too”

Love Mom

11:30 Hi again — your 1973–74–75–? pkg. will go out same time as this letter if USPO will accept the Rube Goldberg packing.

Not too many people get gifts for Ground Hog Day — but have a happy — Me.

Sent to the Underwoods, Laramie Wyoming, from Jersey Shore Pennsylvania, and found in a box of memorabilia that had been untouched for 30 years. Mom was 60 years old.


Ann Oechler, Christopher Oechler (on her lap). Odd family members all ’round. Perhaps 1983.

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2 Responses to Notions: Letter from Mom, Jan 17, 1974

  1. june says:

    I was struck by the hospital times, also, Kathy. Didn’t realize that they were so short by the time Connor was born — and with a C-Section too! Nowadays I think they keep you for 12 hours — it’s probably an outpatient procedure –snort–. I guess Uncle Al did have a lot of time with Mom, although they seem to have been gallivanting around quite a bit. Did you notice that he went with her to Carol’s at the call for Nurse Anne, but only so he could keep the Blazer so he could travel around more?:-)


  2. Kathy says:

    I’m struck by so many things in this post. One is that Carol had Jonathan on a Friday and went home on a Wednesday. I had Connor on a Friday morning (3rd C-section)and was home for lunch on Sunday. Times have changed. Also, that was probably one of Papap’s favorite trips home – being that he came alone ;). Plus all that time with his baby sister.


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