Do you think I offended the paper-feeding gods?

(Notes from Alexis: Well, I’m back from a summer of “doing,” and ready to get back to posting letters. Here are Gwen’s thoughts from 1990, all about genealogy books, bread, and printers, and a wild and crazy dog.)

December 28, 1990

Dearest Lex,

Loved your card and stationery, You always have such good taste.

We were just sure you would have problems of one kind or another with your freezing weather. We had both bathtubs freeze up (drains) but Dad figured out how to thaw them out real quick and easy. Boy, it’s nice to have a handy handyman.

Our neighbors (P.B.’s) waterworks froze up, and Dad & L. got it about halfway thawed out, but she has such a Rube Goldberg setup that it is pitiful. I talked to her at the P.O., and she said the man (plumber?) came out and worked from 7 PM until 3 AM getting the pipes thawed out. Can you picture her bill!

I have had a super response to my Tuttle genealogy ad. So good, in fact, that I have to print up another set of books. I’m sure it can’t last, but it’s fun getting the letters and the money.

I have started working on Henry Puthill. Not exactly Vol 5, but out of the same source. So many of the people who have written, are from Henry or Shipwreck John, so I decided to go ahead and do them. It will mean more sales and make life easier for me.

The McGuffins have responded so well that I am really encouraged. One lady sent me a big envelope full of info – about 150 names. Altogether I have over 700 names now. Not a book yet, but a good start, and lots of clues for further research. Lots to keep me busy.

Speaking of busy, Mom is now working away on two projects. She is finishing up the third quilt of birds & flowers. I decided there was not enough to do another quilt, so got her interested in doing butterflies. These will be on pale blue blocks if I can find the sheets, What fun!

I made up my a recipe for raisin-nut bread, by combining two recipes, and had my first failure. I baked it in the “bakery,” and the center didn’t cook – just dough. I put the dough in muffin pans and baked it in the oven. It tasted super. I’ll try again, and this time bake it in a small bread pan. I dreamed the other night that someone had made this great bread and I just had to have the recipe. Think maybe I’ve got bread mania?

Well, you created a monster with that dog bone for Hanzi for Christmas. As soon as we got the box and saw the bone, we hid it down under everything else. He scratched and smelled of the box. By Xmas, he was growling at anyone who touched the box. When we gave him the bone, he turned into a lion. First he licked it all over, and if anyone even came in his direction, he growled. It was so funny, because he knew it wasn’t safe anywhere. He slept with it under his head or paws. He ate the last of it this morning. I don’t know what was in it, but it sure found his weak spot.

By the way, we love the flannel sheets. Dad said he never slept on anything but flannel sheets, until he was grown. So here is a one-upmanship. I got myself an electric mattress pad. Talk about luxury! My old bottom is always cold. Can’t warm up no matter what, and that pad is heaven! I have slept warm for the first time, ever. I have washed the new sheets, and they will go on the next time I change the sheets. It broke my heart to have to throw out all that lovely fuzz on the dryer screen, wouldn’t that make great paper?

I took the DeskJet printer into Micro Age, and they said it would be about $200 to fix it. It wouldn’t feed the paper through. So I said, “no thanks.” When I went in to pick it up, the young man who worked on it, carried it to the car for me and told me a secret. All I had to do was flip a wheel in there, and it would work fine, and it did. Those bums!

Meanwhile, my daisy wheel printer had broken. The platen knob just fell onto the desk, so the paper wouldn’t feed through it either. Do you think I offended the paper-feeding gods?
I ordered a Diconix printer, it is a nice printer, but in my anxiety I overlooked one vital point -it doesn’t have the same typeface, so of course, I can’t use it. You can see what a dither I was in to ignore something so important. If this printer is something you can use, I’ll loan it to you because, at this time and space. I can’t use it.

Well, got to quit, and go to work printing. Keep us posted as we love your letters.

Love,

Mom

Well, I wanted something for my old age, I just hadn’t reckoned it would be sewing 47 state birds & flower quilts

Notes from Alexis: Genealogy has taken over, she has worked her way through the Tuttle’s and now is moving into the McGuffin’s. But bread rises and the music plays on.

October 31, 1990

Dearest Lex,

Well Love, here 10/12ths of the year has gone by, and I swear I can’t imagine where it went. Well, actually, I can account for three weeks. I got the flu and was sick for two weeks, and have spent the last week trying to get back up to speed. It irritates me to have to give up three weeks of my wealth (I have always been rich in time) to no good purpose.

I finished Vol 4 of the “Tuttle’s,” all but the binding, and will get to it next week. I have started Vol 5, “Shipwreck John” Tuttle. He is not one of Dad’s “people” but decided to do him anyway.
I am also working on the “McGuffins,” Mom’s maiden name is McGuffin. I decided to do them because I have had no luck finding them. I put an ad in the “Genealogical Helper” and got a couple of nice letters. I also came up with some names to write to, and got the dearest letter from a Major Barry, 91 years old, who would put both of us to shame for his energy and exploits. He sent me a biographical sheet showing his life “doings,” and gracious, it made me feel like a slug.

Anyway, so far my research has shown me that I have been looking in all the wrong places, so I was smart to start this project. Also decided I better write a “How to Write a Surname Book” which I presume will be a booklet, not a book.

I did this to have a cheap item to put in the catalog, and to set out how I do, the thing I do. Believe me, I have to look in the “Guide” to do Datastar if I’m away from it for a while. Thank God I wrote that book, I would be sunk without it.

I am sitting here watching bread rise, and listening to Irish Harp music. It rained a little last night so the pines smell sweet, and I’m caught up enough with all my “must do’s,” to take a day off and write letters.

Mom is already half through painting the birds and flowers for the second quilt, and hinting that she doesn’t know what she’ll do when she’s through. I asked her if she wanted to do another one, and she said she wouldn’t mind, so I guess I’ll cut her out another 50 blocks one of these days. She gets better with each one. I can foresee having to open a shop to get rid of the overflow. Well, I wanted something for my old age, I just hadn’t reckoned it would be sewing forty-seven state birds & flower quilts. I am laughing. The whole thing amuses me no end. God, life is weird!

I saw the best play, “The Three Little Pigs” on Fairy Tale Theater. Unfortunately, I tuned in half an hour late, so couldn’t tape it. It was just the best, it was on PBS, so catch it if you can. I guess there were several others that I missed. I sure hope I get a chance to see them all. Dad & I watched, “You Can’t Take it With You” last night. I’ve seen it three or four times, and have it on tape, but I can’t resist it. We both tee-heed all the way through it.

Well, guess I better quit and get this ready for P.O. Thanks for the glue and material, and I am so pleased with the blouses you did for me.

Love,

Mom