Through Any Given Door

1.96 2nd Letter to Verda

1952 • Second letter from Mom to her sister
Tuesday P.M. Las Vegas (prob Sep) 1952 
Dear Verda,

As I did not receive an answer to my letters I guess I am going to be given the silent treatment. It’s a little hard to understand. I can see why Mom would cut me off of all contact because I left the kids. I don’t think she would blame me much for leaving Carl, but the girls are different. I know no one has suffered as much over it as I have. I have been sick a lot and was in the hospital again for four and a half days two weeks ago. I have a viral infection in my respiratory tract, and it is especially bad in my throat, of course. If I can just stick it out, I think this climate will in time help me get well.

I am working at a place called “Bentley’s Trading Post”, 205 Fremont St. I like it, the people are different, nearly all tourists from all over the world. They do a terrific business, it is a jewelry store, camera shop, souvenir and novelty items. They are open from 8 A.M. until 10 or 11 P.M. I stay from 1 P.M. until they close. I close up, check the registers, make out the bank, turn off the lights, etc. As soon as they get some good help, I will run it myself at night. I guess the owners haven’t had a night off in six months. They pay me good, last week I got paid $60, and I like them. He is a very crude sort of person, very fat and a cripple, but good natured when he is feeling good, but boy, can he chew a person out when he doesn’t. He never has me yet. He starts to chew hell out of me but before he gets started, I just snap right back at him and stand there and call each other everything we can lay tongue to, while his wife who is a tiny little thing just stands back and laughs. She says thats the only way to handle Jack, just don’t take anything off of him, and I don’t.

I have a tiny little apartment, one room, with a bath and a kitchenette. It’s not much but its O.K. There is a washing machine in the shed for all the tenants to use, so I can do my own laundry, For this dump I pay $60 a month, but its a lot better than what some have for that money. Believe me, I have sure learned the value of a dollar since I have been getting some, but it sure feels good to get a pay check on Saturday night.

Well, tomorrow I have to be at work at 8 A.M., so I guess I had better try and get some sleep. That’s about my biggest trouble now is no sleep.

I would appreciate knowing how Mom is anyway. I am afraid she will die and no one will tell me. I usually get the Sacramento Bee and I look for news of the family, but have never seen any. I am dying inside of lonesomeness for the kids but I can’t go back to them. Carl wouldn’t let me but then I won’t go back to him. I had to leave or die so I guess I just have to take it and keep on missing them. Carleen has written to me three times and they aren’t very nice letters to get so I know she feels like I am no good too. Well, I guess I can’t blame her. Poor kid.

If you want to write my address is 205 Fremont St. I don’t care what or how you write, but I wish you would write. If I don’t hear from you I won’t write again. I am half in the notion of just up and leaving, going to Arizona or someplace and try and forget I ever had a family and never writing to anyone again. I don’t know why I do as I guess no one wants to hear from me anyway. Well, I’m going to bed now.

Love to all, Noreen.

Note: This is Mom’s second place of employment while living in Las Vegas; in May she was working at Nick’s Smoke Shop

to be continued…

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Deborah Bennett says:

    This helped me understand and relate to your Mom, and mine too, though other people could never possibly empathize. As easy as it is to demonize a mother who is not behaving as society expects, and though it may not be a popular opinion, I empathize with her. Like my Mom, your mother was apparently not cut out for motherhood, mine neither, but at the time other options were not available. I sense that she really did care about her children, and she felt badly about the situation, and that what she did and how she behaved didn’t come down entirely to selfishness but more so being caught up in a situation and unknowingly and unintentionally getting into something way over her head and then desperately fighting for basic survival. It’s easy to villanize someone when they really, through no fault of their own, simply did not have the emotional ability to cope with the overwhelming responsibilitites of being a mother to so many children, and that put one’s life at peril and for your Mom ended in suicide.

  2. Susan Davidson Dalberg says:

    What was her relationship like with your dad? Boy, she sure can turn on the Pity Party, can’t she? I swear she was my mother’s sister!!! 🙂

  3. Was your mom ever diagnosed? She seems pretty complicated and out of touch. Yes, hard for everyone involved.

  4. Sad for the entire family, your mom included.

  5. How hard for her, she does not get it. How hard for the kids. They don’t understand why. And then hard for the dad. No solution.

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