Letters Home: Cutting the Grass & Feeding Sheep
Even something as simple as having a crew come to cut the lawn can become an event when living in Abadan! They arrive on their bicycles with a cart to haul away the trimmings to feed the sheep – cutting the grass entertains for an afternoon. In this letter, Weezie wishes her mom a happy birthday and shares details about new foods and socializing with new friends.
The quilt details include:
- Bicycles stenciled on the fabric
- Grass clipping with seed embroidery stitch
- Stamped flies – that seems to be a persistent issue
- Sheep from a vintage unfinished linen that I picked up at a resale shop.
April 19, 1959
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU DEAR MOM
Dear Mom and Dad,
Wow, this is Sunday morning and YOUR birthday is Wednesday. We do have a gift for you, but so far, no way to get it out of the country and on to you. We bought your present two weeks ago and it has been sitting on the mantle ever since. Won’t tell you what it is. We all wish you a very happy birthday and we will take a drink to you Wednesday night at 9.
How do you like the date? It is really April 19th, 1959 – even the years are different.
Friday we all went to The Wilkinsons for a Persian dinner. They are also Gulf people. I wish I could remember the names of the foods that were served. Rice was the main part of the meal – you heap it on your plate, put a big piece of butter on it, then the yolk of a raw egg and mix it up so the egg cooks a little – ground spices are sprinkled on top. With this was served a kabob that was very tasty and similar to our hamburgers except very long and thin. Then there was a thing that was cooked in grape leaves – don’t know the name of it and it tasted sweet, sour and full of herbs, all at the same time. Don’t think there was any meat in it – it did have a little rice, a red bean about the size of our split pea and some chopped plum which was very sour – there were other things, but I don’t know what. Anyhow it was a very good lunch. We went from there to the golf club and Herb and Gordon went out and played nine holes. The temperature was 106 in the shade. Just after they came in, the wind started up and we had a really terrific dust storm. The sand here is brown color and it really blew and made everything messy – then two or three drops of rain and it was clear again.
Herb is taking a little time off from work this morning and we are going to church. An Anglican priest is here and there is a communion service. In fact I’m going to go change my clothes now and then try to finish this letter for him to take back. He is going to pick me up in 20 minutes.
The house is so much quieter since Bobbie has gone back to school. Lynn plays outside most of the morning with the long pieces of grass and few flowers – she even talks to the birds and tries to shoo flies back home to Grammy. Bobbie seems to be doing okay in school and enjoys the companionship of children her own age. Yesterday she brought a little girl home in the afternoon and they really tore the house apart. They did have a good time and Lynn enjoyed watching them.
We bought a washing machine – now we have to get it to our house and get a transformer to use it. It is a ringer type Whirlpool – just 3 years old but only used for 2 years. The people we bought it from are on their second term and brought their automatic back with them this time. I’ll be glad to have it as washing in the bathtub is for the birds.
Well, I didn’t make it! We have been to church and back home for a cup of coffee and Herb has just left to go back to work. The prayer book is slightly different from ours and since Herb and I were the only ones in the church the minister altered the service slightly so as to make it a little more familiar to us. It was really nice, but every mistake I made was noticed. There were very few. It just seems strange to have a communion service with just the two of us in the congregation and a big empty church behind us.
Right now our “lawn” is being cut. Three men and a boy are doing it. One man is pushing the lawn mower “with the catcher in the front”, one is standing by the front gate watching, one is sitting on his heels cutting the tall blades of grass and the boy is carting the grass clippings away on his bike (most likely for food for the sheep). Whoops, another bike, another person to watch. If anyone calls me lazy again, I’ll bat them one.
Have a very happy day, Mom and don’t forget the ice cream and cake. Wish I could make it for you – the cake – and that we could all be together. If you have steak, please eat lots of it- medium rare for us. The girls both send hugs and kisses to both of you and Herb and I send some too. With very best wishes for a happy day.
Weezie, Herb, Bobbie and Lynn
Happy birthday I’m home for lunch and I will mail this when I get back to the office. We still are not sure when the mail leaves this place, the only thing we know for sure is it is virtually impossible to send a simple little package out of the country. Your gift may very well be the XXX until we get home. Literally, we cannot count on getting any gifts home at a predictable time.
Letters Home is a collection of letters written by our Mother (mostly) and our Father ( sometimes), that chronicles their life overseas, with two, then three, then four young girls. The letters were written to their mothers and are full of daily life, unique challenges, and humor. As we live in uncertain and challenging times, it seems fitting to share.
Browse through more Letters Home and the art quilts inspired by our parents adventures.