Grandpa Alfred Stadems's Birthday Letter

to 12 Year Old Grandson Darrell Ginther

Note: Look how respectfully the following letter marks Darrell's Coming of Age as a "Mr"! This Letter from a Grandpa to a Grandson Takes Us Back to The Good Life in the Christian Family Circle and still mostly Christian Society in America in the 1940s. He encourages Darrell to use his growing mathematical expertise to figure the buying of acreage in a sale of local Bryant area School farm property [which added 80 acres to Plain View Farm!), and also look to personal saving and thriftiness for the future purchases of home and property of his own, with his Uncle Arthur serving as his example of how to work hard and save and then have something for such purchases instead of nothing, if he had spent instead on candy, peanuts, pop and ice-cream, which have only a momentary pleasing effect in the throat!

Then look how gently, lovingly, he warns Darrell about other youthful vices and wrong habits developing that can damage and even ruin ultimately a young boy's body and soul. He also gave the admonition that Darrell watch himself to see that he served as a good example to all his younger cousins, as Darrell was the oldest of them all.

Did you notice the admonition that could pertain to our own generation? Meaning us, the "entertainment-driven" generation?--Ed.

Bryant, South Dakota,

October 23rd, 1946

Mr. Darrell Ginther,

Puyallup, Wash.

Our Dear Grandchild Darrell:

Now do not be surprised to receive this letter addressed to you. We have not forgot the card you sent us when you were on the way home this summer, and intended to answer it sooner of course. And now you are 12 years old already. Congratulations with another birthday when reaching the one dozen year mark. Yes we talked about you that day and I planned to write you a postcard and tell you we were too late but for you to give Wayne [Darrell's younger brother by four years] some gentle pats on the back also from Granma and Granpa as we know he had a birthday the 8th of this month.

We were digging out the potatoes just then, but I planned to tell you we were expecting your Uncle Arthur Thursday evening as we planned to go to Clark Friday morning when he planned to buy a farm at the School landsale. Now he has been there, Hans, Alida and two pretty girls too. They got here about midnight. We got up early, your Uncle Arthur and Granpa went to Clark got there over an hour early. When the sale started your Uncle bid $25.00 per acre on 80 acres, $12.00 pr acre on 40 acres and $15.00 pr. acre on the other 40 acres. And he got it, the land on the west side of the road here. So he will be our landlord for the next few years.

Now Darrell you try to figure out how much this farm cost [your] Uncle Arthur, and also how he could have enough money to buy it, as he barrowed only a few hundred dollars. Your Grandpa knows something about it. He knows God gave your Uncle good health so that he could work hard and earn money, and then instead of buy nicks-knacks such as candy, peanuts, pop and ice-cream every day. Yes, not even every week. And just figure out how much he would have spent for cigarettes had he smoked a package a day since he was 14 which so many think is so smart that they even crow about it. Not to say anything about how harmful it is to the body, yes even to the soul. [Darrell never smoked, but he did have in later years a terrible time with chewing tobacco, but finally with Christ's power he was able to stop taking it, but that habit no doubt cost him a lot of money, and it ruined his teeth before he stopped.--Ed.]

And then you know Darrell there are so many other ways people spend their money that are not always wrong or sinful in themselves, such as Circuses, fairs, weekday ball-games, etc., but when they get old and need a home the question is not "How much did you injoy those things?" but why did you not save and have, the way others have done? And after all the true fun or happyness is in the possesion of things worth while and not in what we gobble down our throat and feel only a pleasing taste or flavor the moment it is on its way to the stomack where it often causes harm if not sickness. [Darrell must have had a problem with eating too fast that Grandpa had noticed earlier, for many years later he went with a group of us, and he ate so much, so fast, at a restaurant, he lost it all in the shrubbery outside afterwards! I determined that was the last time I would take him to an all-you-can-eat restaurant, as my hard-earned money from landscaping that paid his meal was utterly wasted!-- Ed.]

But now I must hasten to tell you, we just got letters from the whole Waterloo bunch (all in one letter or envelop)[Darrell's uncle and aunt, Bill and Myrtle Svanoe and family] yes even DelVone [the one lone Schaefer boy cousin to Darrell] and Mirriem [Darrell's younger pretty cousin, Miriam Svanoe]. Of course we could not make out what it was supposed to be, but we sure injoyed to think they were scratching away to make it a letter to Granma & Granpa, Gerald (cousin later, called Victor or Vic Svanoe) had drawn a rabbit house on one side and a squirrel on the other, and had help to print "This is your squirrel Grandpa, & Love, Gerald. Laverne [Alfred or "Alf" Svanoe, later called that] of course had a lot of news, but it was all hand printed, but that Rennard [oldest Svanoe boy] is the proffesor that done the real writing, spelling and stile so perfect as can be.

To be sure you have a lot of fine cousins, just think---12 of them, but you are the oldest and largest yet anyway and I am sure they will be watching you in the years to come. So you must be careful to set the right example. Wont you? O yes: I just got a letter from Chloe [Rangen cousin to Darrell, like him oldest in her family, parents are Darrell's aunt and uncle, Estelle and Joseph Rangen] too on some fancy stationary she had got from her Aunt Hellen. Also told some considerable news but must have had help in writing, as she had just started school.

Myron Stadem and his Dad was up here visiting and Myron did hunt Pheasants. Myron is 14 now and has started Hi. Sch. said he would like to attend the Academy. But guiss he has not saved any money for that. He sure acts nice and wants to be a good boy. Poor Myron has not had a very good chance in life. And his Dad is not expected to get well either.

But now I must close this scrib [Granpa's word for letter] for this time hoping to hear from you soon. And please greet your brothers and sisters and thanks to your Mama for the letter we just recieved and thanks to your Daddy for that long newsy letter recieved some time ago that we forwarded to the rest. And while the inclosed scrib may not measure up to that tell him it is intended as a remuniration [repayment]. Hence they will be the dettors again by now. With Love and well wishes from Grandma & Grandpa

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