Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Letter from America

Theme ~ Good Things:

My mom saved all my letters from America; after she passed away, I brought them back with me. Earlier, I was considering posting some of them here, but as I dug deeper into my first year in the U.S. and into my youth, it became difficult and emotional. This first letter is just for fun. I had been able to get away from my first American family, the one that treated me badly, and moved to Princeton, where I would spend the next nine years. In the spring of 1963, I was 22 years old


Excerpts from my first two letters from Princeton, N. J. ~ 1963

Princeton, Tuesday, February 19,1963

Dear Mom and Dad,


Mrs. Smith and I are already getting along great, it's almost like when I lived with Elizabeth in London. They treat me as part of their family, they lend me their books, and they have a lot of books, so you know I'm happy. I watch TV with them, and we sit and talk in the evenings. The Smiths have three children, two girls, four and five years old, a a boy who is two, and a baby due within the week. I'm so excited. Mr. Smith's mom* is coming up from Pennsylvania, so I won't be alone with the children. 
The Smith's house looked very much like this.

My room is very pretty, if a little old-fashioned, with a super-wide bed, a bookcase, a chest of drawers, a chair, a table, and a two-person couch, which I believe is called a "love seat" here in America. There are large open
 fields across the street and I saw a man on horseback, trotting down a lane; and a German shepherd dog playing with another large black dog. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the lake and there's even a small white church in our neighborhood. 


I make $30.00 a week, in addition to room and board. In New York City, mother's helpers make at least $50.00, but things are so much more expensive there. I have saved $50.00 already and have $15.00 in cash. I only spend money on cabs and at the deli. When spring gets here, I can take a bus to town. I will soon open a checking account because that's something one has to have here. As soon as I have saved up some money, I must find a dentist and get my teeth fixed. 

I went to a party where I met a nice Englishman. And I met some college boys, but they were very young and seemed a bit spoiled to me. I also met three more Swedish girls who work in families here. So, as you can see, I'm already making new friends.
 
Mom, you'll be glad to hear I have gained some weight, even though Americans usually only eat sandwiches for lunch. 

It's snowing as I write this and I'm in the mood to bake. Does anyone know how many ounces there are to a gram or hg to a lb?

Love you,

Inger

*My best recollection of the older Mrs. Smith, is that you were not allowed to write down "toilet paper" on your shopping list; it was some shame attached so you had to call it something else, what exactly, I don't remember. Other than that, she was great.









31 comments:

  1. Inger I truly love reading all about your life ! I remember last years A-Z challenge I was always fascinated when you spoke of your life and road trips !
    Hugs,
    Willow

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  2. What a treasure these letters must be to you Inger! You are living a wonderful full life and I can imagine it is great fun, most of the time, reading and remembering the journey that got you here. thanks for sharing this.

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  3. your letters are treasures and will allow you to remember things you have forgotten or might forget.
    to funny on the toilet paper. back then we did not talk about bras or under pants or monthly periods and menopause. i think i liked it better when it was not splashed all over TV. the fifities were great and major changes started in the 60's. i ws 18 the year you were 22

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  4. Mrs. Smith's house (well the similar one) looks lovely!

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  5. what a neat look back. thanks for sharing. :)

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  6. Hi Inger,
    I'm sure that reading those old letters brought a flood of memories back to you. Your mother must have looked forward to receiving them.

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  7. Can't mention the toilet? She must have had a Victorian family. They had euphemisms for everything. Arms and legs were 'limbs'.

    I like hearing how your young adventurous mind thought, and as for those weights and volumes used in European recipes, I was at a loss when a friend gave me a UK cookbook. So confusion goes the other way, too!
    Hope your day is nice, Inger.

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  8. What lovely dip into your past - thanks for sharing :)
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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  9. Reading your thoughts from back in that time period must be wonderful. Calling up memories and knowing you were sharing your life with your mother the only way possible. Thank you for sharing them.

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  10. All I can say is THANKS for sharing!!

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  11. Now that is an awesome letter. Whew! We lived in the city for a while (NYC) and I was amazed at how many families hired helpers. We never could have afforded it, but I could have made some extra cash teaching other people's kids (home schooling) if I'd really wanted. The city is a strange place.

    True Heroes from A to Z

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  12. Inger, thanks for sharing this letter. I'm sorry some letters are painful for you. It was a different time and people had different values.

    I love reading your letter. It sounded like you were settling in nicely.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  13. I enjoyed reading your letter. It was have difficult being away from your family, and and pleased you found a loving family. The toilet paper part was amusing. Treasure your letters the way your mother did when she looked forward to getting them from you. All the best Inger. Michelle http://www.writer-way.blogspot.com

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  14. Your life is a sweet adventure.

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  15. What a wonderful letter. I need to come back and explore this blog.

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  16. Härliga inlägg . Kul att få lite av din historia.
    Kram Majsan//

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  17. This is lovely, it's nice that you have those letters to read back, often letters we wrote to relatives reflect more memories. When I first went to Spain 3 years ago to teach English, I stayed with a Spanish family, and I kept a diary which I still have and read back now and then, even though it was only a few years ago. It was such an adventure and I'd never been abroad before so as I'm sure you know it was all very exciting! Did you first go to America for university? I can't recall ever reading why you first went to the USA.
    Have a great day Inger!

    PS, there is a post on my blog which is directed towards yourself, and other blogger friends, some of whom I have met after you shared one of my posts last year. National M.E day is coming up in May so perhaps you'd like to share something again, it's always particularly good to raise awareness at that time of the year. I could post something about diabetes on my blog or do some sort of guest post.

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  18. Now, when reading a recipe from Europe, all I need to do is search for the weight translations on the computer. What a long way we have come since the 60's.

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  20. Oh my gosh that was so cool! Very interesting too. I can see why the letters would be emotional for you. I almost cried with this one. It must have been hard to let you go. I know from experience. sandie

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  21. No writing Toilet Paper, huh? I guess she would have frowned on you writing corn cobs instead, right?

    Now, everything is yelled from the TV. Like Sandra, I liked it better in the old polite days!

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  22. Oh, I hope you post more of these. It is so interesting to see us as someone from another country would.

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  23. Oh you have lived such and interesting life


    Consider Mockingbird for your chatterbox visitor. They are mimics so when they get tired of their native vocalization they can start imitating other birds.

    they can sing far into the night

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/northern_mockingbird/id

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  24. How neat..thanks for sharing your letter home. I'm sure it brings back lots of memories. I have kept journals for years and sometimes it is surprising to look back in time! Enjoy your week my friend! Hugs!

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  25. Inger, I enjoyed the entire letter and the best part was when you asked about ounces to grams!!!!...:)JP

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  26. My sister lives in Princeton and it is a lovely town and a far cry from the city. How fortunate that you found a good family to live with and to help you explore life in America.

    Of course, your letters are precious and a beautiful way to remember the years gone by. The young people of today will never be able to have this written history of their lives because everything is done electronically now.

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  27. What a treasure to have all those beautiful letters full of memories!

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  28. What a treasure to have those precious letters! Thank you for sharing this! :)

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  29. Hi Inger - how funny about the loo paper -as I'd call it here! But a fun simple letter home to start your time in the States rolling .. and life begin for you.

    Pounds and ounces .. and I'm not surprised you put on a little weight ...

    But so wonderful to have all your letters home to be able to draw on those memories .. very precious indeed ..

    Thanks for letting us have an insight .. Hilary

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  30. Inger, your Mom was a lovely and wise lady, saving all your letters from America. They are really a treasure and will allow you to remember many moments and memories of your life in America.
    I love reading your letter. Thank you for sharing!

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  31. Having these letter is almost like reading a journal. I can understand that you would find that some of them might stir some emotions! It must be interesting, as well, to read your early impressions of American life. I thought the comment about "sandwiches" was pretty funny! When possible, or I should say "if" possible, it would be delightful to read others. I did enjoy this one. :-)

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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