Sunday, August 9, 2020

Pen Pal--a non quilt post

Letter and envelopes
I have a pen pal. We have exchanged two letters so far. My pen pal lives about a 20 minute drive from me. We used to get together once a week; however, COVID has nixed get togethers until there is a vaccine. My pen pal is my eight year old granddaughter. Most of the time in this blog, I refer to her as "K."

When I was eight, I wrote to my great-grandmother who lived in Homedale, Idaho. She would answer my letters. I felt special getting my own mail! When I was in college, her daughter, my grandmother, wrote me once a week. I answered once a week. I remember catching up on my letter writing when I did my weekly wash! 

I didn't ask my granddaughter if she wanted to be my pen pal. I did ask what she thought about getting her own mail. She, of course, liked the idea. We chatted about what you would need to do to receive a letter. She was quick to determine you would need to write a reply! My first letter arrived at the end of July. It was simply addressed to "Gran" with my post office box information. My second letter was addressed to "Gran Knott." I appreciate the postal employees getting the letters to me! 

She usually includes a story in her letter. It could be about a vacation memory. She shared what it was like to be in
Apples ready to pick
Disneyland when there was an earthquake--she wrote she thought she peed her pants! It could be about a fun time she had in an on line "camp" she attended. Her letters have been one page long which she wrote on college ruled notebook paper. She has been determined to learn cursive writing. With every letter, she is making progress on that goal. I told her that I didn't write much cursive until I was nine.

We have talked about what it was like to communicate in the olden days before phones, internet and computers. She thinks letter writing is a cool way to communicate even though it takes a long time for an answer. She likes being able to re-read the letters. Her mama tells me that Miss K shares no part of her writing with her mama. She told her mama that her letters were for Gran first! I'm excited that I'm that special! She said that she reads parts of my letters to her sister. . .sometimes!

Picking the Apples
I hope that we can continue to be pen pals for a super long time! I wrote to my grandmother for many years even when she lost the ability to return letters. She had developed alheizmer's disease. In the adult foster home, she used to carry the latest letter. It amazes me what pieces of information the mind continues to hold as important. 

When I was eight, my letters didn't contain much more information than what the weather was like, what we had for dinner and what I was studying in school. I know because when my great grandmother moved from Homedale to Madras, Oregon, my grandma, mother and I went to help her close her home. It was there that I found my letters to her tied with ribbon. . .stacks for every year!

The apple harvest
Miss K's letters contain lots of details. I tell her it is like reading a chapter in a book because she can write a series of paragraphs that develop her topic. Spelling is what the word sounds like unless she thinks the word is interesting from reading in her books and then she writes the word. Sometimes, she writes what it means! Receiving her letters are a bright part of the week. Even, her papa makes sure that I know a pen pal letter arrived!

On another family front, our apple trees that I grafted from my grandmother's tree were ready to harvest. These are dwarf trees so it is easy to pick the apples! A bird initially planted the seed of the first apple tree. My grandmother, who loved to garden, nurtured the plant that she thought was a quince for years. She was excited when the plant bloomed because she knew she would be making quince jelly soon! Imagine her surprise when she had apples instead! 

Applesauce ready to consume next winter
My granddad knew all along that it wasn't a quince tree and told her she had an apple tree growing too close to the house that she needed to replant before it grew into the house. She ignored him. Yes, the tree grew almost into the house! She never moved it!

What is special about this variety of apple is that the tree bark is a reddish brown. The blooms are reddish pink in the spring. The apples are red all the way through. Even the seeds are reddish brown! It makes the best applesauce. People think that we've added food coloring to get the color; but, it is just apples and a little cinnamon that ends up in each jar.

Bob has made the applesauce since he retired. He says that it gives him something to do. He does a great job. The green apples are from the dwarf stock. I had one tree that didn't graft. We've enjoyed the bounty for at least twenty five years! This week he also canned 16 pints of hot peppers.

Now for a Covid update:
Worldwide: 19.7M confirmed cases, 12M recovered, 728K deaths
U.S.: 5.09M confirmed cases, 2.49M recovered; 164K deaths
Oregon: 20,636 confirmed cases, 348 deaths

Parts of the state continue to have an increase in cases so much that the governor may move those counties back to phase one which is pretty much only going out for necessary items. Many restaurants have closed or are closing their doors at month end because they can't make a go of the business when they can only have 25 percent capacity. We had another week of more that 300 cases being confirmed. 

Protesting is now in the tenth week. The violence continues every night. Last night, protestors targeted a police building throwing rocks and in explosive devices. The damage to property continues. This was the first week police officers spoke to the media regarding what it is like during a protest. Media reporting contains a lot of information about what the police do and not so much about the protestors. The link above is a chronological account of one evening. Protestors tell officers how they want to hurt the officers. It is a sad state of affairs. 


Anonymous said...

What a loving way to help create an accomplished writer. You certainly know how to make lemonade out of the lemons of Covid. Your post is a lesson for us all. Gail G said...

Gail, Miss K could be a writer, she has a vivid imagination! Covid has been a life disruption for a long time now! I miss hanging out with you and Connie!

Janice Smith said...

You are so lucky to have Miss K as a penpal! It’s lovely that you are continuing the tradition that you began with your great grandmother.

Thank you for including the link to the reports on the rioting in Portland. It offers another perspective on that terrible situation.

Stay safe. Stay strong. said...

Janice, yes, I am fortunate to have Miss K as a penpal. Today, I received my third letter! My husband will post my answer tomorrow. The rioting is awful and has been going for so long. I wonder if the special places I used to enjoy will be left in downtown to share with my grandkids like I did with my kids. Thanks for stopping by!