Monday, April 26, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: McPherson History, Letters from Uncle Ralph, Oct 7,1980

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.

The following letter, written by my Uncle Ralph, reflected his daily scouring of the newspapers for clippings and bits of news to send to his sister or sisters, as they passed the letters around to one another. The newspaper clipping about the organ was not in the letter, and very few of the clippings remained with the letters. In this letter he was quite interested in the full-size pipe organ that his brother-in-law putting together in their home. (They had a full room devoted to the pipes, while the organ itself was on the other side of the wall in the living room.)

Along with the daily weather and sports reports, as well as his views on local San Diego issues, Ralph writes about his sisters, Olive, Betty, Verna, Helen, and of course his dear oldest sister, Bertha (and Bertha's daughter, Cleona.)

Oct 7, 1980

Dear Olive & Norman,

Thought Id drop a line this AM & send Norman this clipping altho he more than likely knows all about that family if they’ve been in the organ business that long.

Weather here feels like fall, pretty foggy this morning. Of course with baseball winding down to a close & football in full swing we don’t need the weather to say what time of year it is. We are having lots of smog, just like L.A. in fact most of it is from L.A. & the thing is Alpine where a few yrs ago every one would remark on what a nice climate it was is that now with the air curants, it now has a 2nd and rd smog alert which is 3 times what the rest of the county is having.

I think SD G&E our power co has gone absolutely nuts, They’ve raised their rates to the highest in the country & now they are going to raise the cost of a hook up to a new customer from 151.80 o 2,000.00 boy they have all the builders & developers on their ears. O course the buyers will pay in the long run & some banker figured out on a 70,000 home by the time its paid off the purchaser would have paid out 8,875.00 for that hook up. It will really stop a lot of bldgs from going up & mostly people buying a lot & moving a mobile home on it.

Don’t hear from Bertha much but expect Cleona keeps her pretty busy. Of course with the play offs & world series on now & Cleo and Cal being fanatics on watching the ball games. They will be all glued to the boob tube & Berthas like sally she could care less about then.

I like sports but its getting so down here that the tube is getting saturated with sports. The only ones I watch are football, baseball, & once in a while basketball, but in addition to that they have soccor, rugby football, hockey, & a bunch of others.

Getting back to organs. I always thought Norman was a little slow & methodical about putting his together, but according to that clipping you have to be, it takes longer to build an organ than to build a house.

Glad you guys are all doing a lot of walking. I should do more of it as I think it’s the best form of exercise.

Hope Helen & Verna are feeling OK. The walking would be good for both of them. Expect Verna & Rowe will be back in the desert this month some time, but its still getting pretty warm over there.

Is Leland being treated by a Redding Dr & how is Betty putting in her time since she left the unemployment job? The 3 places up there should look pretty different now with all of you building or making improvements.

Well, like I say nothing to write about so better close.

Ralph & Sally


  1. This is a cool letter, and don't you just get an idea what was going on in everyone's lives then! I hope all settles down with your website, soon. I just began one for the gen society in our county, and am clueless on how to make it pretty, or do anything tricky to it! You are courageous!

  2. This is so fun to read. I remember goi g to aunt Olive and uncle Norms and I thunk he was bulidng or just about finished building this pipe organ uncle Ralph refers to here. I truly am enjoying all that you have here.