I recently found some old letters that my grandmother had sent me before I left for college at Evangel University and one during my sophomore year. I know there are more of them in my boxes somewhere, but these are the first ones I found. I loved the memories and advice she shared, so I thought I'd share it with you all. :) My grandmother passed away years ago, but I still have the good memories of time I spent with her and of the advice she would send me in her handwritten letters. Some of it is funny and some of it is just good stuff to think about...especially the italicized part in the third letter. Enjoy!
July 23, 1993 (The day before my 18th birthday, summer before I went to college)
I hope you have a happy birthday tomorrow...I know you are having a good time with the Myers family. Greet them for me and you teenagers have mercy on the grownups - parents and such!
I guess you are planning a lot for next year. I hope the Mississippi River doesn't block your way. I remember how excited I was when I packed my trunk for college. I had a new trunk and a hatbox traveling bag. Everyone who was anybody had a hat box! I made the money for mine by wiring tags for the Ennis Tag and Printing Co. (Now Ennis Business Forms). It was black, shiny and looked like patent leather.
I found it was best to travel light and don't take everything you have. At first take the kind of clothes and what you'll wear between Sept. and Christmas - or the first time you go home. Make you a budget and don't use all your spending money the first week you are there. Keep your Bible handy and use it every day. Remember a college has rules. You'll learn what they are, so obey them. (Me: HAHAHAHAHA!) If you don't want to obey the college rules you might consider building your own college! Ha!
With love now and always,
October 28, 1993 (During first semester at college)
I intended to write long before now, but I've had a lot of interference...
I know you have really got initiated into college by now. Whether it is long ago or now, some things about college never seem to change: the long lines at registration, the wait for the mail, the gripes about the food. I think if they served pheasant under glass and finished off with nectar and ambrosia, it would still bring gripes (because it doesn't taste like "Mama's cooking")!
Homesickness is another common experience of all ages. Just be thankful you have had a home life that is worth being homesick for. Imagine what it would be like not to have had a home worth being lonesome for. And you will always have those beautiful memories. Sometimes when you think you can't stand it another minute, take a walk on the campus and look at the nice places and the nice people who are now part of your life. Some you will forget, but many you will always remember and your life might be richer for your memories.
I remember standing with the usual group of students near the dining room waiting for the supper bell to ring. One girl started to sing "Home Sweet Home", and we almost murdered her right there. That was one time that memories of home were most poignant.
I was so doubtful that I would ever get to college. I would sometimes want to pinch myself to see whether I was dreaming or whether I was really in college. Sometimes at night I would console myself by trying to imagine how different my life was and would be because I was fortunate enough to be in college instead of clerking at Perry's the rest of my life.
I worked there (Perry's) on Saturdays and during one year I had to miss college, but I decided that whatever it took to get back to college was worth it. I thought I'd go crazy if I knew I had to look at those four walls the rest of my working years or folding lingerie and putting it back in its bin after some customer had pawed through it...
I love you and I'm very proud of you. So keep your mind on the positive things about college! Why don't you keep a section of a notebook for a diary to write down something you want to remember that a prof. or one of your friends said that day? It will make nice reading for your granddaughter sometime when she wants to know how it was with grandmother when she went to college!
Love now and always,
P.S. By the way, do you have enough money for your books?
January 26, 1995 (2nd half of sophomore year)
I hope you are settled down and happy at college this semester. Time is passing fast and the semester will be over before you realize it.
I hope you will have something as exciting this semester as you found your teaching practicum.
Whatever you decide to do with your life, I hope you will always be happy in it. And I hope it will be something that will have permanent value and will honor God. I have always felt that way about teaching, even when I felt tired and frustrated. There many other jobs similar...
Do you have a journalism dept. there? I wouldn't take anything for the journalism work I took at Baylor because of what it did for me. It seemed to whet every skill I had and really made me get over timidity and not be afraid to meet people and talk to them.
I hope you can use the money. I don't want you to go hungry at snack time!
I love you,