Blue Mountain Farms
147 Diamond Hill Rd
R.D. 1, Scotch Plains, NJ
June 9, 1941
From: Ruth (Barrell) Gray
To: Robin Barrell
I did not mean to let so much time elapse before answering the letter your father
brought in his suitcase or acknowledging the check enclosed. But time flies – with us all
and now I can only say, forgive the neglect, please.
Perhaps you have heard from your father that I am facing some sort of operation for
treatment of an ulcer in the rectum. It will probably be quite soon but date isn’t set yet. I
have had two examinations. I still am living normally but try to avoid fatigue. Your father
will go to Aunt Dolly’s later this week, after Bob’s graduation, and will be making his visit
there while I am laid up.
I think your father seems in better general health than he has been in a number of
years past. His mind seems clear on all subjects and he is interested in all that goes on. I
think there is no doubt of his having a slight stroke at some time, which accounts for his
bent posture and the weakness in his hands, were noticeable when he is sleepy or tired.
His hearing is keen and he is a true artist when it comes to recognizing all the variations of
the bird songs. He has taught all my family much along that line since he has been here.
He does a bit of trimming and even likes to run the lawn mower at times. He is very slow of
course but the exercise seems good for him and he enjoys being helpful. We have all
enjoyed his visit with us and I hope to be able to enjoy more time with him later in the
He is very proud of Ruthie and talked about her a lot, when he first came especially.
Send along some more recent snapshots, when you take them and you should be taking
them for babies change so fast. Everyone thinks Ruthie looked like a baby at least two
months old, when she was only 3 weeks and 1 day. I expect she is quite a girl now, and
will soon have daddy at her “beck and call.” It will be interesting when she and Billy’s
Thelma get together at some future date. Thelma is growing so fast now and getting wise
to many things. It is nice for you and Ruth to have a time to yourselves without the care of
your father. But when he comes home make him a real part of the family. I mean tell him
about your business and your trips perhaps in more detail than you are used to doing. He
listened interestedly to Edward telling of his work and trips and he enters into the
conversations too. He has traveled so much all over our country and has been interested
in so many things that his fund of information is truly extensive.
I remember in my busy younger years, I had old folks in our house, a father-in-law
and an aged aunt of my husbands at one time, and while at times they may have seemed
tiresome, some of my happiest memories are of the part they contributed in our home life.
All my older children hold those dear memories also. And I realize the younger ones really
missed something, though Charley and Joe can remember Mer. It was cute to see your
father playing blocks (building towers) with Eddy’s one year old Dick and two year old
Judy, when they were visiting here the Memorial Day weekend. Judy, who has a deep
clear voice, like your baby so your father says, had a trick of saying “Good Morning”
whenever she saw her great uncle Bob, which tickled him very much. The years fly away
and older folk slip quietly out of our homes before we realize, and it takes so little to make
their days happy. Much love to you and Ruth and Ruthie,
from Aunt Ruthy
P.S. The night light works fine, just what we needed in your father’s room.