Friday, July 10, 2009

Nana in Letters

Without fail, Nana wrote letters each week. When Dave and I were kids, the letters were to the family, but once we went off to college, we each started to receive our own letters. Some weeks, we each received personal handwritten letters and other weeks, she would write one letter to any number of family members - her children, sisters, and/or grandchildren - and simply xerox the letter and send it off to everyone. She never failed to praise us and take an interest in our interests. Her letters also always included a bit of wisdom from her life experience.

I have kept letters that especially spoke to me throughout the years and, as I look back at them now, I see that collectively they are a window into the person Nana was.

Originally written by Frances Paulk Bredemeier, November 8, 1994.

At the time she wrote this letter, Dave was studying in Florence, Italy as part of an Illinois State University study abroad program.

Dearest David,

This is election day - what a privilege to live in a free country - go to polls not fearing an arrest - vote for whom we choose.

The day I was returning from Uncle Michael's and as I was standing looking out the plane's window as I approached Washington D.C., I saw the Capitol for the first time in my life. Tears filled my eyes. I cannot express the feeling that crept over my body and mind. I thought what a load that building carries. The whole world is looking for guidance, support, finances from that building. The Capitol of our U.S. and the whole world. Such decisions that have to be made. May God guide and care for that building well.

That day meant so much to me. Had it not been for Jessica's forethought to get my ticket changed, I would not have had this opportunity to be in D.C. four hours.

I saw the awful flood in Northern Italy on TV tonight. So many without homes. So much tragedy in the world.

I am proud you have seen so many countries and sights. Whatever you decide about coming home, I am sure will be the right decision. Seems you have to make so many decisions, but seems you have made good ones.

I saw on TV tonight that a man, Fred Curtis, a sculptor for Waterford Crystal, was going to be in Tampa. He had some beautiful pieces of glass, even one for Miss America.

I just finished reading the book "The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci" - was not about a woman-man love life. Was mostly history during the years 1560-1600 or about then and how he painted and never finished some paintings. He was, however, in love with Mona Lisa, but could not give up all his science knowledge. He was always drawing a flying machine and trying to make one, so he's really the first to think of a flying machine. He said later in life that man would have a flying machine. He taught Michelangelo and Raphael about their colors - he was some 30 years older than them.

I love you David and enjoy the times there. I know you have much to tell.

Love you and God's blessings each day,


This next letter is an example of a group letter to Mom, Dave, and Me. Dave had graduated from Illinois State University shortly before Christmas and Nana was in Chicago for about 3 weeks. Unfortunately, Reverend Bredemeier got very sick two days before Christmas, had to be hospitalized, and Nana returned to Florida early.

December 30, 1996

Dear Ones,

Well, I did what I said I was going to do. I did it! Real proud of myself! (Ed. Note: I have no idea what she did.)

Even though I had to return early, the days were wonderful and also David's graduation. Was glad to know his safe trip.

I am enclosing a clipping about Armand Hammer. I have his book. Was an expensive book, but most interesting. I have read it twice and since this clipping will read again. Would either of you like to read - thick book - but one does not want to put it down. Shows good and bad - his father killed a man and stayed in prison long time.

Jessica, I sent your package to the office today. I put your pins in a little plastic box I had here.

Virginia, I mailed your coat today. I could not resist putting 5 grapefruit in. I wrapped each one in a paper and put inside of a bag. I hope they keep. I feel so guilty when I eat a grapefruit each day and you all do not have one right off the tree. I love you all so much. Throw fruit away if not good. You should have box by Friday. Look in your coat pocket. I put some cold medicine in the pocket and package of pins. I threw mine away. Those little tiny ones are dangerous. The lining is exact size of old one. Sleeves same length. When you put on, reach inside and pull lining up. I think old one was tacked in place, but I think best to leave loose. I am keeping old one if ever need again.

Know you will miss Jessica, but we have to get back in a routine and I know you will soon have house in order from having both kids home. I just know this will be a good year for you. Was so glad I could be with you and any time you need me - I will be there!!

I love you and you have not had all easy, but your hardships have made you strong.

Thursday - Glad you are safely back home. Happy for Jessica that she has invitation to inaugural ball. This is great. My granddaughter and your daughter going to the inaugural ball!!

I pray for each of us each night and through the day and especially for David now. Does he have enough funds? Don't want him going without food or place to sleep. He's so great.

Love you all,

Nana & Mother

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