Monday, April 12, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: McPherson History, Letters from Uncle Ralph, Sep 26, 1980,

Amanuensis: a person employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts.

I read about Amanuensis Monday in Heather Rojo's blog "Nutfield Genealogy," who read about it in  Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings” and he read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch”.  That said,  for me this is a great way to transcribe and post my Uncle Ralph's letters.

As I previously  noted, my uncle, Ralph Jabez McPherson, was an everyday sort of guy.  He loved family, read 6 newspapers a day and wrote letters nearly every day to one or another of his sisters.  In this letter,  he mentions sisters Helen, Verna, Olive and Bertha.  He  and Bertha were the two oldest of the siblings and were close throughout their lives.   Ralph fussed about the fact that  Bertha's daughter had moved her mother from her home in San Diego, and placed her in a Missouri nursing home, far from southern California and her siblings but closer to the daughter's  own home. Other than writing about family, Ralph gives of a running commentary about his life and times in San Diego in  the 1980s.

Dear Olive & Norman

I don’t know wether I owe you a letter or you owe me but as long as I have a little time will write altho there really isn’t anything to write about.

So you guys up there are doing a little walking for exercise, well walking is one of the best forms of exercise there is, its even better than jogging. I should do a lot of it.

Verna sounded a little more cheerful in her last letter, hope those drs are right & that it can be cured in a yrs time. How is Helen. She don’t write much so I have to get any information on her from you girls. Finally had a letter from Bertha, she doesn’t say much, but outside of being lonely & unable to go out & eat at various places, guess she is doing OK

Our weather is still holding up. Has been nice all thru Sept.(can’t think of a time when it been better so long at a stretch.

Well its sports time of the year again & the tube will be full of all the sports, like tomorrow the Aztecs and Missouri play at 10 a.m. but will listen on the radio as the T.V. will be a delayed broadcast & as a general thing I don’t watch a delayed broadcast. (The game is over & I know the score so the interest is over.)

Expect your nights are cooling off pretty good now. What are you burning for fuel this winter. I know you will use the fireplace & have Monte & you guys been able to gather up fuel enough for this winter. Timber is harder to get even up there & down here its out of the question @ 135.00 a cord. I have gas heat but don’t need that except in the eve later on.

Went over to Solano Beach last week to visit Sallys sister & brother in law. They were down for the races at Del Mar, as a general rule they last 6 weeks but this year they added 12 extra days. Each year they rent for a certain length of time & these landlords try to keep there rentals going so as fast as 1 moves out another one is in. so this year they were stymied as they had to get out and rent a motel the last 10 days but they said the rent was the same 175.00 a week.

Do you watch TicTacToe on T.V. The guy that’s on there now has won 275,0000 so far & still going strong. Hes in the navy stationed at Mira Mar & lives at Poway, 10 mi from Escondido.

Rancho Santa Fe a mostly residential community between here and the coast are trying to get the state to put in another highway or two so traffic won’t have to take the Del Dios highway thru the ranch land sells for 100,000 an acre & there are no addresses or mail delivery. The quaint little town has some exclusive shops, a post office, 1 service station & has quite of pop. of several thousand. The land is up & down, full of gulleys, brush & trees and crooked roads so outside of the town theres nothing to see really.

Another item, there been a 3rd more banks robbed this year than last & the one the other day in Pacific Beach they got 287,000 quite a haul. They had it timed pretty good as they were in the bank but got it all from a lomis bank truck delivery.

Well haven’t said anything, just filled up the blank spots. Write when you get time.

Ralph & Sally


  1. Joan, interesting narrative of the times. I found it particularly interesting because my daughter and her husband are currently living (renting) a condo in Rancho Santa Fe. We went and visited and it is very nice. She is about 1/2 mile from the Del Mar racetrack. Sometimes it seems like such a small world. I have also joined this Amanuensis Monday blogging.

  2. Oh, the power of a letter! One letter from my grandmother's basement sent me on a journey that has yet to end, and was the inspiration for my middle grade historical novel. I'm thrilled to have found your blog and I look forward to digging for more treasure with ya!

  3. Hi Joan, I love this letter! Don't you wish people still remembered the art of writing a good letter. Email doesn't count. I suppose writing in this little comment box doesn't count either. But thank you for sharing this, and thanks, too, for all the nice comments you always leave at my blog. You always make my day!

  4. What a great letter - brings us back to the time before email. Letters are so much more personal and fun (I still send them). I love him asking about TicTacToe. I remember that show!