Here is the first letter I think I received (or at least that I have a record of) after leaving my aunt Jerina and Uncle Rons.
I moved from Fremont, CA to French Camp around March of 1971. My new home was Mary Graham Hall, a children's shelter named after a nurse if I'm not mistaken. Mary Graham Hall was designed as a temporary housing facility for children from broken homes and other various reasons. Some were unruly but were too young to be place at Peterson Juvenile Hall (now called Juvenile Justice Center).
From Vada Overall
241 E. Downs
To Carl Pruitt
Dependent Children's Home
I'm sorry I waited so long to send your birthday card, but
I've been busy as usual. I did send it by grandpa and told him to put $2.00 in it and give it to you, but he said he forgot all
Was glad I got to see you last Sat even if it was for just a short time and I know Elvada was happy to see you again.
Carl, I haven't got you a birthday present yet because I still would like to take you roller skating or ice skating for your birthday and Mikie would like to go too. So some week end when you aren't going to Grandma Lois', you can write me a letter and let me know and I will take you. Of course I'll call Mr. Francois first and see if it's o.k. I won't try to take you while you are with her, because while you are with her because when you are there, she is so possessive, she doesn't wish to share you with any one else. Or perhaps, you just prefer to be over there. I think that is the reason why Jerina became so discouraged when you stayed with her and Ron, no matter how nice they were to you or how much they did for you, you showed no affection for them and did not seem to appreciate the fact that they were able to open many doors for you.
What you did not seem to realize was that you had a much better opportunity there than perhaps you will ever have any where else. They were offering you a place in their home, and the security of a good education and of college. All they asked in return, was for you to show a little appreciation and to do a few chores at home. For some reason this didn't make you happy. Perhaps you weren't old enough to realize that with a little cooperation from you, it could have been a permanent arrangement, at least, much more permanent than what you have now.
Anyway, maybe you are happier where you are. I hope so.
What I am trying to say, Carl, is that life isn't all taking and having things done for you. In life, there has to be a little giving, also. If we expect favors, we sometimes have to give favors and we also have to show appreciation for them. And if you expect love or affection from others, you will have to give love and affection yourself. Not to yourself, but of yourself.
I know grandpa tries to tell you these things in his own way. If he becomes upsets, it is because he can't make you understand. It is not because he doesn't care for you. In trying to do everything for you, I think perhaps grandma Lois has made you prejudiced against the rest of us. I hope not. We would like
to see you learn to be more independent and to do thing for yourself instead of growing up to be just a drifter-someone who can't even hold a job. Remember, the rest of us love you, also.
And when you want to come for the week end and spend the week-end with us I will come and get you but you will have to mind when we ask something of you.
Love Grandma Vada.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
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