I know that you are no longer here on this earth to receive this letter, but I am going to write it anyway. You see, I find myself talking to you and Dad in my mind every now and then, so I guess a letter isn't all that crazy.
I wonder sometimes if you knew just how much I appreciated everything you did for me. You lived in a time when mothers rarely worked outside the home. Keeping a home for your family, seeing that they were fed and clothed and taken care of was your job. And you did it well. Much better than I ever could.
I know that I didn't always want to learn the things that you were trying to teach me. I still can't make a bed with hospital corners and have it look as good as yours. And the house cleaning thing...I'm not as good at that, either, as you were. I don't live in squalor, and my apartment is relatively clean, but I just don't like scrubbing and waxing and polishing. That's not your fault, for you tried. That's just me.
Some things you taught me though, I learned really well. I can sew a straight seam and the things I make turn out pretty well. And when I am sitting at my sewing machine, I think about you and about all the pretty clothes you made for me and my sister over the years. All those little dresses with white pinafores and the lacy Easter dresses. I am guessing that you probably wished that I were a bit more girly than I was, for dresses didn't fare too well with baseball and tree climbing, but I want you to know I remember how good I felt when I was wearing such pretty things that you made for me.
I know that I grumbled and whined and complained about having to work so much in the kitchen with you. I hope you understood that at ten years old, I just didn't understand how hard it was for you, what with your feet and hands swelling so badly and the pain in all the joints of your body. I am glad now that you made me stay at it and taught me so much. I am a pretty good cook, and although your gingersnap cookies were better than mine, I make one seriously good apple pie. Maybe that is because of the summer that you had me fill the freezer with pies.
I wasn't real keen on peeling all those tomatoes from our garden, or canning them all. Same for the tons of green beans and peas and sweet corn. But now I am really glad that you had the patience to stick with it, for those skills are helping me make it through these times when everything is so expensive. I think about you often when I am up to my elbows in Farmer's Market produce and my canner is bubbling away on my stove.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, even though I didn't always show it, I appreciated everything you did for me. I don't know where I would be now if it hadn't been for your guidance and patience and understanding.
I know that I have told you in the past that I love you, but I am going to say it again, just on the off chance that somehow you will hear me and know it to be true.
I miss you, Mom. And I love you very much.
Marjorie Mae Paul Matheny
1924 - 1996