A Letter from My Mother

On this Mother’s Day I thought I would let mine speak for herself. She kept all personal correspondence addressed to her and copies of a lot of letters she wrote to others. I found this one while getting ready for her funeral last year and felt like it reflects a sense of what it was like for a Mormon mother to raise eight children in a rural setting nearly forty years ago. Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and I suspect today’s readers will be able to relate. 

The letter was dated 9/10/75 and addressed to her in-laws and sisters. The original was typed but the “p” key did not work and that letter was filled in by hand. I have replaced the names of the persons referred to in the letter with their relationship to her in brackets. Without further ado:

Last Fri. night the babies slept through the night for the first time, both together [note: this was almost six months after they were born]. Until then, they were both getting up at least once and usually several times. Anyhow, it would’ve been perfect if it hadn’t been for [son #2’s] ‘slumber’ party for this birthday. [Husband] got up a couple of times to holler at them. Finally, I got up at 1:30 and they finally believed that they should shut up and got to sleep. Then Betsy [the cow] started bawling, and bawled the rest of the night. So the next morn. I called to see if we could borrow [family friend in the ward #1]’s horse trailer to take Betsy to visit her boyfriend. The [family friends in the ward #1] were just about ready to leave with their trailer full of goats for the local goat show. So I thought that the only thing to do was just to rent a trailer over near the Host [a bar]. Well, they went out of the rental business. Everybody I know of with a horse trailer also would be going to the goat show. So I asked [family friend #2] if she lends or rents hers, and she said no, but she would take it herself if we would go along too. So [husband] and [son #1] did. It was a big hassle getting Betsy into the trailer because it doesn’t have a ramp. Finally [husband] made one real quick, and stuffed her in. Well, the lady said to let her know when to pick up the cow, and lo and behold, [ward member who let Betsy come for a visit] called early in the evening and said to come and get her. I was at Safeway, so [husband] came clear over there because he didn’t know where the lady lived. Anyway, we all came back to her house, and [husband] and [son #3] went with her because [son #1] was over taking care of [ward member #3]’s animals and [son #2] was gone to the show with his friend. I started home with the girls and babies, and right away the muffler fell off again, and dragged enough to bend and ruin it and some tail pipe. So I waited for [son #1] and he tied the muffler up with his shoelace so we could go on home. Well, the lady with the trailer ran out of gas, but fortunately it was just by that little gas station on [address]. They finally made it home and things settled down somewhat. O, yes, before I had gone to Safeway: One of the kid’s friend was getting baptized at 5 Sat. so [daughter #3] and [daughter #2] and I started out, but the muffler fell off right by [ward member #4], so I asked him to fix it because it makes an unbelievable amt. of noise and I would surely have gotten a ticket. So we were late enough to just miss the baptism. We made the closing song and prayer.

Sometimes making the closing song and prayer is all we can do, and that can be quite a lot.


  1. That is a great slice of from real mom. Thanks.

  2. Slice of *life!

  3. Love it. This kind of thing only gets more and more valuable as time goes on and the 1975 setting gets more remote and unfamiliar.

    My mother’s typewriter developed a problem with the “q” key, so her letters to me from the early ’80s have the occasional “kwick” and “kwiet” and “skwirrel.”

  4. J. Stapley says:


  5. MDearest says:

    I know she wrote this as a straight-up narrative of her experiences, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as an allegory of motherhood in general. Which was probably intentional on your part, but I thought I’d state the obvious and say thanks for one of the better observances of our over-the-top festival of functional uteri. Thank God for shoestrings!

  6. Thank you, all.

  7. This really was a great snapshot. Thanks!

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