Summer 1999


Letters and memorabilia from the past have greatly enriched history, adding details and personal perspective to factual records. Museums and libraries contain an abundance of letters and personal keepsakes reflecting the activities and thoughts of people who have affected our history.

My own life has been enriched by examining and keeping family letters and mementos and by recording memories and present activities. Our cluttered attic attests to my love of family keepsakes and my desire to preserve our history.

My mother too was a saver. Though her storage space was limited, she did succeed in keeping many precious mementos. When I come to these, I feel as if I am in her presence. She gave us much to remember in her brief fifty years.

After Daddy’s death, I found much of what Mother had saved through the years. Mother’s and Daddy’s love letters were in their attic in a neat little package tied with ribbon. Finding these, I thought of my parents as a young couple in love. The letters seemed to bring them to life to me in a way I had never known them. I felt the package was almost sacred. My sister Ava and I decided we would destroy these and not invade their privacy. I now feel that, knowing our parents, we would have not been embarrassed or disappointed and they would not have minded if we had read and kept these. I wish we had them yet.

Also in the attic was every postal card and letter my brother Jim had written Mother and Daddy and also the letters Mother had written him while he was away during the Korean Conflict. I was reminded of their great love and devotion to Jim. I have these letters at my house.

Linda Alderson, daughter-in-law of Louise and Vettra Alderson, wife of Harry, shared with me a letter my mother wrote the Aldersons when their young child died. My mother could relate to their pain since she too had given up a baby boy. Linda let me copy the letter and I treasure the copy for it brings to mind Mother and our first little Matt.

When the children harass me about my many boxes, I remind them that Ava has promised to take many of these family keepsakes when I am gone.

I have letters I received as a teenager from friends and relatives and even some of my own letters returned by relatives to my mother. Perhaps this collection was what has prompted me to keep notes from Don’s and my nieces and nephews through the years.

I also have the dutiful letters from camp written by our children and keepsake notes from our grandchildren. Of course I have much handiwork from them all. Perhaps in years to come I shall give them each the folder I have kept for them, or when I am gone my children can do this for me. Some may be quite pleased, and others may not care a bit for the memorabilia—and that’s okay. But it tells of their personalities as children and I hope they will put it away for their own children to see.

I have always enjoyed letter writing and when we moved to Jackson in 1989 I began writing to our grandchildren. I began writing Chase, now 71/2, when he was born. Chase has a detailed account of the ice storm complete with copies of The Oxford Eagle with its wonderful pictures. The grandchildren letters run on and on far beyond birthday thoughts. During granddaughter Mary Beth’s time at college I have written her long, rambling, and sometimes (hopefully) amusing letters, which she often shared with her friends. When she was a sorority pledge, I wrote her of my days as a pledge to a high school sorority. I wanted her to know that I was interested in what she was doing and that I could understand somewhat.

A recent pleasure has been writing to young children in our church. When I see their pretty Sunday clothes, hair ribbons, and ties, I recall how eagerly Jim and I watched for the mailman to bring a Sears-Roebuck package with new clothes, perhaps a new pair of shoes which Mother had had us stand on the catalog chart for sizing. I share my memories in these letters, and parents have told me they read these to the children as a story, talk about "Miss Patsy" in the olden days, then put the letters away for later. In writing letters to the babies, I share my memories of their parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents, enjoying myself in a time of fond reminiscing about those who have been a part of my life.

When Don went in for heart surgery on June 10, I began writing him a letter. I have continued writing it throughout these weeks of his recuperation. I shall probably sign off on it at the end of his eighth week at home, which his guidelines show to be the time when he should be almost his old self again. Don and I wrote very few notes or letters to each other during our courtship—instead, we just got married quite young—and we have had few occasions to write letters since our marriage. This recent letter of mine might well be his only love letter from me. He knows I am writing it—I’ve never been able to keep secrets from him very well—but, as with many of my projects, he won’t show much interest until it is completed.

I have enjoyed watching Don open and read the cards and letters he received and is still receiving since his surgery. I will keep all these along with the log our daughters kept of those who made personal or telephone calls while he was in the hospital. Someday someone else can discard these and also the many souvenirs of his Mississippi Farm Bureau presidency.

Writing can help bring relief and closure when experiencing grief— either at the death of a loved one or with sadness and disappointment of another kind. Experiencing grief at the death of my dear friend Anne whose inspiring letter about her coping with multiple sclerosis was included in a recent newsletter, I wrote her husband, daughters, and other family members. To her husband I sent the original of Anne’s letter and I sent copies to the others. I hope this tangible record of her faith and courage will bring comfort to them. This writing helped bring about my own closure on Anne’s death.

I began a serious commitment to writing letters of condolence when we first opened the funeral home. When I was forced to leave the Funeral Home for health reasons in 1988, I felt I would give myself more fully to the letters. Now I have regretfully been forced to cut back on these personal messages. I have truly agonized over this decision because writing these letters has been important to me. Each letter that I have written has indeed been a sincere effort to convey my concern and to reach out in Christian love to help those experiencing the sadness of losing a loved one. I have received warm responses to these condolence letters and this encouragement has given me satisfaction beyond my power to express. Giving up this letter-writing ministry is especially hard for me as one more concession to the impairment of tinnitus and hearing loss.

I have kept copies of many of the letters I have written to family and friends to be part of my memoirs. Some of these letters were written to recall details of events shared with the recipients. I realize now that I shall never write "Mama Remembers" as I had planned, but I am planning other means for sharing memories and keepsakes.

I have a Thanksgiving album which covers ten years. In it I record the food including who brought what, and I describe the weather, our activities for the day, and other pertinent information. Each person records a thankful thought or just signs being present. The little people there especially enjoy this signing of their names in the pretty book and our usual talk about the first Thanksgiving.

With the Thanksgiving album, copies of letters, annual family Christmas letters since 1977, Funeral Home newsletters, many photographs, and other memorabilia, I have covered much of what I wanted recorded of our family life.

Thank you again for your letters. I treasure these and have kept each one. Sharing of our thoughts and feelings brings us closer as families and friends.



In 1983, 3 percent of the families we served had a pre-arrangement; in 1999, 49 percent of the families we have served have had a pre-arrangement. When prior plans have been made, families have expressed to us relief at being spared the stress of extensive planning during the time of grief.

Forms are available at the funeral home to use in compiling the information necessary for obituaries and death certificates. Personal preferences for the details of the funeral service and interment also can be provided in a relaxed atmosphere and frame of mind. Families are freed from the strain of trying to guess what plans the deceased would have chosen.

Many people have said that their funeral suggestions are included in their wills. Often funerals have already been completed before a will is read; for example, if a death occurs on Friday evening, the family makes funeral arrangements on Saturday morning, and the funeral is held on Sunday, they have more than likely not had access to the will which may be in a lock box or at a lawyer’s office and not available on the weekend.

Payment can be made in full or with an extended payment plan.

Mississippi law requires that 50 percent of the money that is paid toward a pre-arrangement be deposited in a trust account. At Waller Funeral Home we have always and will continue to deposit 100 percent of the money. We are doing more than is required by the law for protection of those participating in pre-payment plans. The Board of Directors of the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association, of which I am Vice President, took a position last year to raise the standard, and I will be working with the Legislative Committee in the next Legislative session to try to get the law changed to raise the amount that is required by law to be deposited into a trust for pre-arrangement payment.

When you prearrange a funeral, you pay today’s price—the cost never goes up. Your family is relieved of financial responsibility and of many decision-making tasks.

To begin the process of pre-arrangement, please give us a call and we will arrange a time convenient to meet with you. We treat all personal information carefully and confidentially.

— Bob Rosson

The Magic of a Note
by Dwight Wendell Koppes

THE LETTER came on one of those overcast, slushy March mornings. My bursitic hip was heralding untimely decrepitude, and the shaving mirror had confirmed my general feeling of the blahs. Self-pity had moved in to stay for the day—or would have, except for the letter. It was from a man I had never met: the father of our teenage son’s best friend.

"Confined to a wheelchair as I am" the note said, "I can’t share much of young Bob’s life. He tells me about the things he does with you and your son, what a good sort you are, how keen and young-looking. I am very grateful that he has the friendship of you and your son. Thank you!"

"Keen and young-looking," eh? My mirror had lied, obviously.

The day’s writing developed a definite lilt, and when the boys came home from school I made it a point to shoot a few extra baskets with them defying the quiescent bursitis. Then I drove Bob home, and met his father. We took to each other at once.

A few weeks later, Bob Senior died. After the memorial service, I pondered things that no ordinary day would admit—and quietly the revelation came: If this "man, an invalid whose days were numbered, could reach out and touch me, a stranger, and make my gray day brighter, and me more attentive to the interests and needs of others, then surely any man can do the same for someone."

I thanked my departed friend for his example, and went to my study, glowing with what I thought I had discovered. This revelation, I told myself, could become my own "magnificent obsession." And I would waste no time. I tried to think of someone to whom to send a note of thanks and encouragement, and decided on the mechanic who had recently repaired my wife’s car. Soon my typewriter was clattering away.

The next time I visited the garage, I thought the mechanic gave me a peculiar look. Later, my wife said casually that she had given the garage man a piece of her mind for his exorbitant bill, and told him she’d never patronize him again!

What had gone wrong? I went back to my friend’s note, and the circumstances surrounding it. His had been an honest emotion, simply expressed. My note to the mechanic had been calculated, forced and somewhat insincere. Maybe, too, I shouldn’t have written. Wouldn’t a warm spoken word do just as well?

The acid test came soon. A friend named Fred did a beautiful job running our club’s ladies’ night. Afterward, we all told him so. But I had had my turn at the job, and knew how much time and thought it took— so I put that into a note and thanked Fred, even though the theme by this time seemed outworn.

Not so; emphatically not so. At the next luncheon, Fred put his arm on my shoulder. "Thanks, pal," he murmured. "Thanks!"

No big thing—just a little note saying something like, "You did a great job. We owe you a lot. Thanks." But because I had taken the trouble to put it in writing, it had meant more to both of us.

From time to time, we employ a Mexican gardener whose work I haven’t always been happy with. But, a while back, I noticed that he had painstakingly replaced and reinforced some foundation plantings that our dogs had knocked over, and had glued together a Mexican urn that had been lying abandoned at a back corner of our house. I wrote him a thank-you note.

The next time Ernesto came, he said nothing about the note—until I paid him at the end of the day and he took out a worn wallet to deposit his money. My letter, much the worse for handling and folding, was there in the center clip of the wallet.

"My boy esplain for me," he said, beaming. "He read for me, many time. Muchas gracias—I keep!"

That day, he had done his best work since we hired him. Because observe: he was a fine gardener, and he had a letter to prove it! Now all of us who use his services get better and happier work—and to myself I seem a thoughtful employer. Two enhanced self-images, two better people—all because of a brief note.

This little miracle happened again last June. A member of our school board had charge of the outdoor commencement exercises. Just as the program began, the loudspeakers conked out, even though they had been carefully tested an hour earlier. Nobody could hear the ceremonies, and some mean things were said about it. I wrote this school-board member a note: "I know how hard you worked on the arrangements—and how much you have done to help our schools. Thanks for that—and forget the other; it was no fault of yours. We need you.

His wife came to see us soon afterward. "Several friends spoke to Jim to encourage him," she said. "But he paid little attention and was all set to resign—until your letter came. Now he’s staying on the board."

He did, and subsequently was elected president. In a way, my little note had done that. What if I hadn’t written it?

And a funny thing: the unexpected note that says, "I noticed, I care," can never fall fallow can never be ill-timed. We all need the good feeling that we are appreciated. This is especially true of those who are unaccustomed to public notice, to applause as a routine thing; the gas station attendant who does extra things for your car; the school-crossing grandfather who guards the children’s safety with such care and good humor; the librarian who goes all out to help you find that special book; the newspaper boy who puts the morning paper just where you like it. Which of these would not be charmed and cheered—and confirmed in his good work—by your "thank you" in writing?

The time has come now when my wife can sense a note-prompting happening, and she smiles at me knowingly She even suggests a note now and then. But she wasn’t prepared to become a recipient.

It occurred to me recently that I never reach into my dresser drawer without finding clean shirts and socks; that I rarely eat anything she hasn’t selected and cooked; that she never fails to counter my dark moods with humor and devotion. For the first time, I put my appreciation in writing, and actually mailed it. Then, quickly, I wished I hadn’t. How corny can you get?

I needn’t have worried. When the tears of happiness with which she greeted me at the end of the day had been dried, when she had marveled again about "a letter from you when you weren’t even out of town, and the sweet things you said," we both felt so good that we decided to go out for dinner, see a show and make an event of it.

There it was again, that little bit of magic!

from Our Sunday Visitor
— Huntington, Indiana

[Untitled Devotional]

A young girl was very late in coming home from school. Her mother watched the clock nervously and with growing concern. Finally she arrived. Her mother, nearly frantic at that point, hugged her daughter, and after giving her a thorough appraisal and realizing nothing appeared to be wrong, demanded, "Where were you? What took you so long? Haven’t I told you to be home by 4 o’clock?"

The girl answered her mother’s first question, "I was at Mary’s house." "And what was so important that you couldn’t get home on time?" her mother scolded. Her daughter replied, "Her favorite doll got broken."

"Did you break it?" the mother asked. When her daughter shook her head "no," she then asked, "Could the doll be fixed?" Again, the girl replied with a "no." Both bewildered and frustrated, the mother asked a third time, "So what was the point of staying so long?"

Tears began to well up in the little girl’s eyes and stream down her face under her mother’s inquisition. "I helped her cry," she said softly.

The Scriptures tell us to "rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15). Mothers may not be able to do everything for their children, but they all can do that!

—from God’s Little Devotional Book for Moms, page 309 with permission from Honor Books, Inc.


Recent improvements have been made at Eastover Memorial Cemetery. Old shrubbery was removed and white crepe myrtles planted along the drive and around the edges of the cemetery. Overgrowth and refuse have been cut and cleared from the outer edges of the cemetery and mowing extended. We invite you to drive out and see how great the cemetery looks!


A Grief Education and Support Group sponsored by Baptist Memorial Home Care/Hospice Division meets the third Tuesday of every month at Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi in the Magnolia Auditorium from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Participation is free of charge. Call 234-8553 for more information.

We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who died and whose families we served from May 27, 1999, through August 17, 1999.

Mr. Quay Bolen / May 27, 1999

Mr. David Lewis Rushing / May 28, 1999

Mrs. Lucille Shaw Holcomb / May 28, 1999

Mr. Leonard Wallerstein Levy / May 29, 1999

Mr. Burl R. McLaughlin / May 29, 1999

Mr. Joe Glenn Kisner / June 1, 1999

Mr. Carlton Upton Cooper / June 4,1999

Mr. Robert David Oesterling / June 8,1999

Mr. William W. "Billy" Martin, Jr / June 13,1999

Mrs. Nancy Johnson Pelton / June 14, 1999

Mrs. Jessie Mae Morris Sneed / June 19, 1999

Mr. Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Brewer / June 27, 1999

Mr. Christopher Mathias "Chris" Elmore, Jr. / June 28, 1999

Mr. Tipson Elzie "Tater" Bowles / June 28, 1999

Mr. Larry Dempsey / June 30, 1999

Mrs. Glynn Ullen Roy / July 1,1999

Mrs. Sherry Locke King / July 2,1999

Mrs. Julia Ruth Fudge Addison / July 3,1999

Mrs. Nellie Meek Burgess / July 6,1999

Mrs. Ludie McCoy York Hall / July 15, 1999

Mrs. Betty Brown Corban / July 16, 1999

Mr. Orval Hugh McAuley / July 16, 1999

Mrs. Connie Maude Baird Smith / July 19, 1999

Mrs. Nora Woolfolk Cotton / July 20, 1999

Mrs. Doris Kisner Tarver / July 21, 1999

Mrs. Kathryun Rutledge Mackie / July 27, 1999

Mr. William Earl Ralston / July 29, 1999

Mr. Walker Hale Houston / July 30, 1999

Mr. John Buren Sykes, Sr / July 30, 1999

Mr. Howard Miller / July 31, 1999

Mrs. Ola Mae Lindsey / July 31, 1999

Mrs. Margaret Gurner Davis / August 1,1999

Mrs. Stella Ellison Jennings / August 7,1999

Mrs. Mary Frances Russo Chandler / August 8,1999

Mrs. Agnes Jerolyn Grimes / August 12, 1999

Mrs. Juanita Hodges Jordan / August 17, 1999

Leave a Reply 0 comments

> More Comments

We appreciate your interest in this topic
In accordance with our policy, this
message has been declined.