4 Replies to “Letter to Sissy”

  1. Wow, interesting all-around. Stephanie’s letter to Aunt Sissy, who may not ever have received it; and your “Reply”, Tate. I mourn for poor Aunt Sissy, that her disease was never treated. However, one thing must have been true…she had nine lives!

    1. When I went to see Sissy in the hospital after her first suicide attempt, she was sobbing. She said “Tate, I didn’t expect to wake up”. This was just the first stage of several (maybe not 9), but at least 5-6 attempts that I knew of. Very sad, but a pain in my ass.
      for many years.

  2. Agreed, Patrick’s notes suggest that there should have been more pages.

    I can’t be sure, but I think this image is of a carbon copy. (The youngsters wouldn’t understand!)

  3. Alas, poor Aunt Sissy – Lillian Ruth Gracely Spaulding was the middle child, my Uncle older and my Mother younger. Uncle Carl became a Reverand Canon in the Episcopal church after retirement and lived the last part of his life in Walnut Creek, CA. Sissy live to be 85 although she made numerous attempts to end her life including rat poison, prescription drug overdose, driving her car into the Ohio River (twice) and finally driving her car in front of a freight train. She survived with a mere scratch on her arm that required no treatment. While Sissy wanted to die, my Mother who had a zest for life and wanted to live died of cancer at age 53 in 1969. Sissy was in our house when the small Shepard family, including Stephanie (who came home from Ibiza after the Red Cross found her after my request 3 months prior). Anyway Sissy, always a drama queen, was not going to let my deceased Mother get all the attention so she faked a faint, collapsed on the floor of the hallway and we all stepped over her on the way to the funeral service. When we returned home, Sissy was gone. This was in June of 1969. That Christmas day in 1969 my first wife and I invited Sissy to come to our house for dinner. When she was a no show, we went to her house only to find her completely unresponsive, but with good vital signs. Merry Christmas to us! After that incident followed a series of attempts to do herself in over a 2-3 year period. The train fiasco was the last straw. I had her committed to a mental hospital where she stayed for a while. Then she went to a share-a-home where she and several others had a room, 3 squares a day and a caretaker. One January night she turned left instead of right out of her room on the second floor and fell to the snowy ground below where she remained for several hours. At that point she entered a nursing home and lived several more years.
    Mental illness is brutal. When Sissy was young she was an accountant for a large department store and played the church organ for decades at our Episcopal church. She and her alcoholic husband, Ed, lived in a tiny 20×22 foot house that had one bedroom that fit a single bed and nothing else. The room eas 4 feet by 7 feet. I suppose Ed crashed on the day bed in the living room. Strangely enough the house did have a grand piano which I heard Sissy play once in 30 years. They had no children. Something about an RH factor that her father, a physician for 55 years, said was not a valid reason to not have a child. She, I believe was insanely jealous of my Mother who bore 3 childen, the first a boy who died at birth on Christmas day in 1938, Stephanie born in 1940 and me, Tate, born in 1946.
    So readers, I’m sure you’re about to doze off this tragic tale – so am I.
    The letter Stephanie sent to Sissy in 1976 was first seen by me today, July 20, 2018. I don’t believe Stephanie ever saw Aunt Sissy after 1969 and it’s interesting to see the letter doesn’t seem to be complete and was not signed. Hmmmm.

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