The consequence of having too much time on your hands is finding yourself reminiscing and digging through old stuff. I am a fan of personal history (packrat) and so I have a box of things from the past. As I was digging through the box I found hand-written letters from my mum sent to me while I was in university.
Here they are:
Letter 1, (found in my trunk while unpacking having arrived in Ottawa at Carleton University in September 1987):
Just a few reminders.
Peter, when you wash your clothes don’t put your good sweaters in the wash, wash by hand, or dry-clean them. I guess you’d have to hang them in your room or lay them on a towel to dry.
Don’t wash the dark and light colours together, read all the tags, just put a cup of soap in the washer.
Try to save change for laundry and quarters to phone long distance, you can phone once a week collect, we won’t be able to talk long but at least I’ll know how you’re doing. Phone on Sunday, after 1 will be best.
Peter please try to stay away from booze. There’ll be a lot of partying there, try to have fun by being yourself, you don’t have to follow the crowd. I know you’ll probably like it there, just remember why you’re there. I’m very proud of you for going as far as you have with everything you’ve done and I know you’ll do good. This is a chance to make your life better for yourself, don’t let the parties ruin it for you.
If you feel like talking, phone, even if its not Sunday. Phone person-to-person for me and if I’m not home it won’t cost anything.
Now I know you have said you’re used to keeping your problems to yourself and not asking for help or advice but everyone is human Peter, even if you’re 95 years old you still need to talk to someone about a problem sometimes. So remember there are older guys there that are supposed to help if you need them.
Also, if you can’t keep up with everything at once, like the Militia and school, remember your school is important to you. Don’t try to do everything at the same time.
I guess it will be kind of hard to get home a lot, since it costs so much and takes so long. Maybe someone from there will come from here and might have a car that would drop you off and take you back some weekends.
Well take care of yourself and let me know how you’re doing.
You have to try to understand that its hard for a mother to let go, but I know every mother has to do it. Remember we all love you very much and remember St. Jude.
P.S. and remember, this is still your home.
Letter 2, September 17, 1987
I hope you are being patient waiting for your cheque. I phoned on Tuesday night. The girl checked and said they’re waiting for all the cheques to come in which won’t be for at least a week.
They didn’t know if yours is there or not but she said you’d probably get one. It will be sent here, so when it is I’ll mail it to you.
I hope everything is going ok for you. Did they give you a part-time job on campus yet? You should write a letter to Nancy and Doug and thank them for helping you. Also write Brian and thank him. You could send it in care of Gramma, 2 Quebec Street, Apt. 1212.
Susan went to Air Cadets the first night it started. She hasn’t made up her mind as of yet. She’s having her sleepover tonight which put me out about $25 otherwise I would have sent you money. I will send you that $30 from your typewriter as soon as my cheque comes.
How are your studies coming?
Angel started taking her driving lessons last week. She had to pay $41 for a book for biology. Well when I get a newspaper I will send them to you. By for now. Love Mom.
P.S. I’m waiting til Saturday to mail this. Mom gave this $20 money order to cash at a post office.
Letter 3, October 10, 1987
How are you doing these days? I’m glad you like it there. I hope you and your roommate get along ok, and that you are making friends. Please don’t get upset when I mention not to party and drink and all that too much, I just worry about you. I worry about the other kids too.
Just read Doug’s letter. If things start bothering you.
Anyway it will be nice for you to be doing some film work. I’ll pick up your plaque from cable T.V. for you.
Susan is doing good in Air Cadets so far. She’s supposed to get a job at Zeller’s for Christmas so she’d like that. April is in Guides – so far so good.
Let me know when exactly you can get home before Christmas.
Anyhow I’ll let you go for now. Tamara has a job at a Hairdressers on Willow Rd. in the A&P plaza so that’s nice. Here’s a picture of the girls.
Lots of love, Mom.
Letter 4, Feb. 28, 1990
I thought I’d write a few lines and let you know everything here is good.
We are still going to A.A.
Susan goes to a group called Pals, they meet at a church every week and she’s doing good in school. She’s taking advanced French and doing pretty good.
We’ve gotten memberships to the YMCA. It will be good for Susan & April, and Ron and I have cards too. We all went bowling last week for 2 and a half hours. I thought it would be a change. It was fun.
April didn’t want to at first because she thought she’d be laughed at but we got her going and she did really good and I think she liked it. Susan did good and her friend from school came with us and had fun. Ron and I did pretty well – about 100 and something each, not great but good since we haven’t bowled in years. Ron was a little stiff the next day. I guess he thinks he’s old, he’ll be 49 on March 4th.
Your birthday’s coming up soon too. It’s so hard to believe you will be 22 soon. The years have gone so fast when I think back to when you were small and you’re doing so good. I’m really proud of you Peter (and Angel). The saying goes “you only reap what you sow”.
The more you go after what you want in life, you know you’ll get it.
April might start riding school this spring, for handicapped kids, if I ever get all the papers filled out that they gave me. It should work out ok for her, she’s growing so fast, gets a little mouthy sometimes but maybe she’ll grow out of it. She does very well in school but still has a few problems having friends. I guess her kind of problem is something the rest of us don’t really know about — everyone has some kind of handicap. I’ve told her that her’s is just one that is seen – I think she’ll be ok though.
Angel is doing pretty good in her bank job, a few mistakes but she’s overcoming them. It’s too bad that she has two part-time jobs because neither one hires full-time so I guess it’s a little tiring for her.
Her and Keith and April and Susan were there for the weekend and they had a good time. I wish you weren’t so far from Barrie you guys could see each other more often.
Well I hope you enjoyed your trip. It’s nice to remember times like that.
The dog’s great – house-trained, which is nice except he wants out every 10 minutes so he’s got us well-trained.
Well that’s about all for now. I’ll send your other T4 slip separately if you go to Bentax or one of those places you’ll get your money in a few days. Also tell them your rent amount from August 1 to end of December. Take rent receipts or cheques with you because they’ll ask for them.
Here’s a few bucks to buy something – it’s between you and I.
Lots of love.
Of course there were lots of other letters but these are the ones that survived.