Catherine Dunn



How we Met:

Catherine and I have been writing to each other for approximately 25 years or more. I met Catherine on a trip to Nebraska. Our destination was Fargo North Dakota. Ilene and Bob were over one night and we wanted a destination, so Skip took out a map, put it on the coffee table, closed his eyes circled his finger around and it landed on Fargo, North Dakota. Then, we began to plan. That trip took us up through Nebraska,

We landed in Omaha, Nebraska, traveled up through Nebraska, South Dakota, stopped in Fargo, of course, up to Winnipeg, back down through Minnesota, Iowa, and then back to Omaha to travel home. Between those travel days we have many memories, but the memory of Catherine is most vivid.

Bellevue Nebraska was on our map and as we drove around the lovely little quintessential small town we went off the main road and happened upon a travel scene. There were huge brambles rolling down the street, and to the side of the road was a little thrift type of shop; perhaps it said collectibles. Its doors were swinging and smacking in the wind and those sounds called us loud and clear to come in, and we did. There, sitting in the corner of the store, was a beautiful Nebraska woman quilting a lovely quilt. I asked her if she had more and she motioned that she could not hear me, so I wrote my question. I desperately wanted her quilt. She wrote in reply,” I can’t finish this one in time, but I have one at home and if you wait a few minutes I will get it for you. We waited. She scampered up the hill and shortly thereafter, returned with the finished quilt. I paid, we exchanged addresses, and we were off. I did write to ask her to send the finished quilt and sent the money along. The quilt arrived a week later and this is how Catherine and I have become friends and have written back and forth all of these many years.

Letter asking Permission to post Catherine’s letter:

Dear Catherine,

Maybe I have read your letter 10 times or more. I read between the lines into your soul. You are a beautiful woman sharing so much hope and pride. I just love you and your spirit. Your letter gives me a step up each time I read it. Thank you.

I hope it will be ok with you if I share it with some others I know that they would love to read the beauty in your thoughts and help to get to 95 or much more. If you say Yes, I will share it.

Do you have a photo of you? I would love to have one, but if not you know all the nurses and helpers have phones with cameras in them. Ask if they will take a picture. Have them keep taking until you like or approve. Then ask them to email it to me if they will. It is easy and I would love it!!

You will see how easy it is to take the photo and email it. Electronics are a wonder. I am into some of it, but each new step is a giant one.

Have to get a new doctor. Our oldie but goodie is retiring. How sad. I had a little girl doctor for an appointment and she talked so much, she got all out of breath and left. I didn’t even get to say anything. Gosh I surely don’t want a little talkative girl for my doctor, all said and done, she did her job well.

Love, Sheila

Catherine’s Letter

Dear Sheila,

Thank you for the money. I don’t really need it, but will probably use it at the Good Will.

I am still sewing, but don’t know for how long. My eyes are going bad and there is nothing they can do.

I am on the 25th row of this quilt for a nurse that went to the hospital with me when I had a reaction to too many shots too close together. I will soon start your quilt and go as far as I can.

Yes, I know my writing is getting bad too. But what do you expect at 95? Then again, I am not the oldest one here. On this floor there are 5 over that. One is 99 and one up on the 3rd floor is 105. I hope I don’t live that long. It’s just too lonesome alone.

The weather has finally gotten to spring. It was quite cool till now and it gets over 80. I’m enjoying that. I will walk about 1 1/2 hours every day outside when the weather permits. I do need a walker for balance. I love the outside. I like to eat so have to keep my weight down some how.

You really made a splash with your writings. Keep up the good work.

I have a friend here in town that will take me almost any place. She took me to the cemetery on Memorial Day. Then we went to the Senior Center for lunch. It was the only place open to eat. It is usually full of people I know, but this year very few.

My niece is a cook there and she called a nephew close by and he and his family came in and we had a nice visit. It was a very nice trip.

We do get out of here some, but right now we are short of help so they are quite limited. I sign up for just about everything, even if it is just shopping at Walmart. It’s an outing when I don’t even need anything.

Another friend of mine here in town does embroidery work on denim jackets. Beautiful work. We get the jackets or vests at Good Will. She has a son-in-law who is quite an artist and he draws flowers, birds, and butterflies on them. They are really nice when she finishes them. She then gives them away. I told her to sell them, but she has too soft a heart.

It’s almost dinner time so had better close for today.

Take care.




12 Comments (+add yours?)

    Aug 12, 2016 @ 13:30:52

    What a lovely letter. How nice that you have been friends all these years. I like to read about people, so enjoyed this. Have a good day, dear Sheila.



  2. Sheila Clapkin
    Aug 12, 2016 @ 17:39:34

    What a wonderful comment. Thank you so much.
    Love and hugs to you dear, Joyce!


  3. nuala ryan
    Aug 12, 2016 @ 18:44:49

    You have unique stories to tell, Sheila. Thank you for sharing them.


  4. Ilene Meyers
    Aug 12, 2016 @ 23:23:18

    I remember her very well and I remember the shop…only you would have found a thing of beauty in such an unlikely place.


  5. Sheila Clapkin
    Aug 13, 2016 @ 09:08:25

    Thank you so much for your comment and your precious friendship for over 60? years. Awesome…


  6. Sheryl
    Aug 17, 2016 @ 19:34:10

    It’s amazing how a chance meeting 25 years ago resulted in correspondence that has lasted all these years. People like Catherine are my heroines. I admire people who do interesting things, and are engaged in their communities no matter what their age.


  7. Nina Shashkoff
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 05:27:58

    After reading the letters between you and Catherine, I started to think of how long we have known each other. It must be over 20 years as well! It is unbelievable how the years fly by faster and faster as we get older. Sheila, you are my inspiration and a woman who I look up too. You always find the best in everything and everyone you meet everyday. You an amazing woman – thank you for your blunt honesty in all that you write. Nina


    • Sheila Clapkin
      Aug 24, 2016 @ 11:41:35

      Oh Nina, you have no idea how I want to print this response, and put it up all over the house and into every room. Oh it really makes me happy and does serve to erase some of my doubts. God Bless YOU!!!God Bless ;your family and say hello to them from me.


  8. jacqui
    Sep 09, 2016 @ 11:27:53

    this was inspirational. thank you for sharing it. i wish i could express myself as fully and as gracefully as you and Catherine do. i’ve been away from your blog for a bit (gmail put it in a separate folder) but i’m back to stay now. it continues to fortify me. love to you from nyc.


  9. Sheila Clapkin
    Sep 10, 2016 @ 09:04:03

    Jacqui, I am inspired and fortified by your comment. Skip and I are thrilled to receive your love and again from Skip’s favorite city New York!!!


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