Through Any Given Door

1.90 Letter from Mom to Verda

May 1952 • Letter from Mother to her sister, Verda
Monday, Las Vegas, Nevada 1952
Dear George and Verda,

I don’t suppose Carl has let you know yet, his pride would keep him, but I have done it, burned all my bridges behind me.

Don’t let George get any wild ideas about coming over here after me. I’m here and I intend to stay, how long I don’t know. I have a job and a good place to stay. I was pretty sick when I got here what with nerves and all and then I had bronchial pneumonia. I have been down with pneumonia all week and the day it was the worst, the doctor wanted me to go to the hospital. I didn’t have the money for a hospital as Carl gave me a $100 bill and told me to get out and not bother him or the kids again. Well, I will never go back but he can’t stop me from writing to them and I will. Maybe some day I can have them with me, at least part of the time.

Now, you can tell Mom or not. I won’t give anybody an explanation or tell them my reasons. That is my own business. She can just cross me off and you can too. If you all do, I don’t blame any of you. You can do as you like no matter what happens, I will go on living, whereas if I had stayed in Sonora I would be dead and by my own hand, and believe me, I would have made a better job of it this time than I did 2 years ago. I felt it better to be alive and separated from all those I love, than dead.

As to the future, I have no plans. I don’t intend on filing suit for divorce even after six weeks. I haven’t the money for one thing, for another I am not interested in another man and that is about the only reason I can see for getting a divorce, so one can remarry. Not me. I am going to live from day to day and let each day take care of itself. Let tomorrow come. At least I’ll have a chance of being here for tomorrow no matter what it brings.

I will tell you this much why I left. I was well on my way to being a lush. I had begun to like and enjoy the taste of whiskey and I was using it as a substitute for happiness. That’s no good, liquor never solved anything, and I was afraid sooner or later someone would tell the girls their mother was a drunk. Carleen already knew I was drinking so I felt that was one reason to get out. The other reasons are between Carl and I and neither one of us will ever talk about it. I’m not going to hit skid row over here. I just want to be left alone and work my life out myself. If you do write to me, please don’t write anything that is going to make me feel any worse than I do. My nerves are about shot and if I am to hold down a job I have to keep a hold of myself or I will lose it and I need it. If you feel you have to get moral with me and reproachful, I would rather you didn’t write at all.

Love, Noreen.

Note: In May 1952, Mom got a job working in Nick’s Smoke Shop at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. What I thought about reading this was the innocent victims. You children must have felt very insecure a lot of the time. I hope all your lives are more comfortable for you now. Sharing brings back memories

  2. WOW! That letter says so much…honest, vulnerable, fear, courage… thank you for sharing it, Catherine. I can understand why your mother felt the need to run; I felt compassions for her and for you, as the daughter that felt the impact of it all. <3

  3. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    Well, that was a real cheerful note to her sister. Very full of mystery and drama, eh? So sorry you all had to go through those years.

  4. Barbara Jacobsen says:

    Wow, what a good letter. She reminds me a lot of my sister Jane who left her husband and 4 kids, attempted suicide by car exhaust and went to Napa State Hospital for shock treatments. She remarried twice and had another child, finally died of cancer. They called her “Crazy Jane”. Actually, she was a lot more interesting to be around than most of our family… outspoken, flirtatious… I’m sad I didn’t spend much time with her because she was 16 years older.

  5. That’s telling her!

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