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‘Grandparents’ jot down memories in their letters

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POSTED September 23, 2013 10:09 p.m.

Evelyn Moore remembered her sporty two-seat car.

That was back in her days in Ponca City, Okla. She and her husband, Paul, purchased the red 1952 MGT some 60 years ago on a 90-day bank loan.

“Back then, you paid whatever you can,” Moore recalled in her Letters to Grandchildren piece shared at the class held Thursday in the Manteca Historical Museum.

About a dozen seniors took part in this first of eight sessions, including Dianne Driever, who is a docent at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum.

She was impressed with the brainstorming that took place, with suggestions consisting of looking at old photographs, writing in a short story format, and some of the early school experiences.

Judy Vasquez recalled when she was age 13 and growing up in Jamestown. She attended the grammar school there with 15 students in her eighth grade class.

“I played baseball – I liked to pitch,” Vasquez said. “I also played basketball, volleyball and was also in band.

“I was editor of the school annual.”

She took ballroom dancing classes and classmate Norma Jean later became her best friend.

Donna Stafford grew up in San Lorenzo. Back then, this Bay Area community was, as she described it, a “nice, sleepy town.”

From her childhood memories, Stafford recalled her suburb having stately trees including the sycamore in her yard. Squirrels were in abundance, scaling trees and other obstacles like “tight-rope performers,” she wrote.

Safford would watch the squirrels from outside her window while doing homework.

In 1955, Norma Jean Bologna, the local museum docent, was living in Alameda. That was during a time where public drinking fountains were everywhere. “The idea of paying for drinking water was unheard of back then,” she wrote.

Bologna preferred taking a sip of water from a tin cup rather than a canteen or a drinking fountain.

Her letter along with the others will be passed on to the grandchildren.

Moore called them legacy letters that can be saved for future generations.

“Your grandchildren have never seen you as young,” she said to the group.

The next session is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 1 .m. at the museum. Those attending will be asked to share some early childhood memories.

Moore added that they could jot down chores and responsibilities along with memories of pets, siblings, special outings, and illnesses from their past.

“Write the way you talk,” she said. “Don’t worry about misspelled words or run-on sentences.”

For more information on the Letters to Grandchildren class, call 209-825-3021 or log on to www.mantecamuseum.org.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail vrembulat@mantecabulletin.com.

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