Mary Lou’s introduction to the extensive letters her mother wrote was at a family reunion to celebrate her mother’s 80th birthday in 1984. Miriam used the occasion to present her three daughters with a large notebook with the following introduction:
Dear Gals: Washington, D.C.
You all know my former habit of writing the weekly family letter on the typewriter, with carbons for parents, aunts and uncles, etc – and one for me to keep. Working at cleaning out [our family home] these piled-up carbons needed throwing away. But not before I “just glanced at them.” And then I couldn’t! So I copied off parts of some of them, and present them herewith to you three, to be shared, as something of a record of your growing-up days before you left home. They begin in 1934 on our way to China with eight-months-old Mary Lou, and end the year Eleanor graduated from Friends and went off to college .
As I reviewed them, I was truly surprised at some of what I had written. Quite a few events I had totally forgotten, and enjoyed being reminded. Some of my editorializing I would not agree with now – growth? Or just plain change?
Much of what I include was written with the Judd family particularly in mind, since I had taken over writing the weekly letter Walter had always sent previously. I felt Dad’s parents and siblings needed to know some detail (at least from my point of view!) of his life and doings, and particularly of these their only “next generation.” How were they growing and developing? And obviously what was his wife doing with most of her time? So you will find this a partial record of your Dad’s doings also. The long-kept carbons are now all gone. What remains I hope may be an enjoyable and useful record for you three and perhaps for your children, of some of our family’s doings and thinkings when you were all young and impressionable. Please forgive all typos and irregularities and inconsistencies: Editor.
Presented with all my love to my life’s accomplishments, Mary Lou, Carolyn and Eleanor. Mom