Grace’s letters and journals

Journal entries

Grace and I were on our way to India for an extended visit. We stopped at my mother’s ranch before leaving, and the docs told her she had pancreatic cancer. Success Valley in Tulare County became our India. This is how Grace experienced life there. Vairgen was our copper colored Siberian Husky. Harry, my brother, Kate, his wife.

Sept 22, 1982

Vairgen to obedience training 14 dogs & nervous owners.  Mostly Shepherds & 2 Dalmatians – 1 Bouvier and mutts & us.

Vairgen went crazy!  He had been walking & heeling the country road just fine.  But all the smells drove him crazy.  He sniffed & pulled.  I pulled & snapped.  Can you picture 14 of assorted breeds, the yups, whines & barks in a circle or marching across the field with shouts of no! heel! good dog!  What a sight.  To teach this weeks lesson –stay! The teacher asked for a consensus of the group as to which dog would be the most difficult and everyone pointed at Vairgen.  She said – oh, this probably won’t work.  Then he went right along with the drill and did it perfectly.  By the end of the hour I was sweaty, exhausted and had a sore back.  When we got back home I asked Vairgen if he still loved me and he gave a lick on the cheek.

Its warmed up again.  Back up to 90 today but fall is coming soon.  Grandma – in Sta. Barbara for 3 weeks with more to go according to the Doc in Berkeley at the rad lab  – Liver only functioning at 1/4 it’s capacity.  Jeanne & Ron say they see only 2 more months of this for her.  Maybe she can change and regain her will to live.  Harry says Kate keeps her cheerful and bright.   Harry won’t look at me when I talk to him.

I’ve been alone for a week now.  Finally sleeping upstairs listening to every sound – Cats fighting, owls outside the window, cans banging, horses kicking their water troughs.  Cows & bulls singing to the moon.

Crescent moon – wondrous starry sky last night.  Really nothing to fear.  Aggie called.  She wants to go to Carmel for a night owl walk.

First day of Fall!

Looks like rain. There is a new feeling in the air. Vairgen lifts his nose to smell and I do too. A light breeze rustles the trees. Birds know its going to rain, rustling around in the trees, looking for a place to settle. Much earlier than usual. Mama cat who always looks so skinny and emaciated looks now full & sleek with her belly full of kittens.

The following is a note to a friend who edited the Growing Native newsletter

Dear Louise,

When I was 6 and newly arrived in California from South Dakota the school I went to had a “victory garden”.  While waiting for veggies to grow I became fascinated with pill bugs.  Daily I would collect one to take home in my sweaty little fist only to discover the creature crawling across my hand that so delighted me was curled up in a tight ball. Thinking it dead I would bury it in the flower bed.  This went on all year, after which I pretty much forgot these little bugs.

Recently, in a Sue Hubbell book I’m reading , I found a whole chapter devoted to pill bugs and their kin.  Seems they are isopod crustaceans related to crabs and shrimps and eons ago crawled out of the sea, shook themselves off and began a new life on land.  Sue agrees with me that they are appealing little animals.  They do a good job processing dead leaves and waste material into soil.  They do no harm, cause no disease and are quoted as being amiable companions to mankind.