Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 1

[May 20, 2023]  If there is one thing I would want from my grandparents today, it would be letters they wrote to me, telling me about their lives, what they believed in, what made them good men and women, and how they saw the world.  Those letters would be more valuable than any token, money, or property.  So, I decided to write my grandchildren letters for that reason.

Let’s be clear from the outgo.  None of my relatives had much money.  They lived modest lives, traveling little, doing what they thought was right for their families, going to church, believing in God and his principles, scratching out a living from what was around them, and hanging on tight to their family because that was what made them who they were.  They were not politicians, robber barons, professionals (in the modern sense of the word), formally educated, or money rich.  Still, from everything I know, they were happy with their existence and humble to their very core.

Here is my first letter to my eldest granddaughter.  She is seven and the only grandchild who can read.  The title might be a surprise.

I was rich growing up.

Yes, I was rich growing up.  By the standards of that time, some 70 years ago, we were among the rich in the small town we grew up in.  I was the oldest of four children.  We lived in a tiny town in Northeast Louisiana with a population of about 300 families.  We lived in a small house with a roof that did not leak except when it rained.  There were no traffic lights, no movie theaters, and no grocery stores, but we did have three bars and two churches (one Southern Baptist and one Catholic).

How did I know we were rich?  The difference between rich and poor was clear for everyone to see.  The rich had wooden doors and glass windows in their homes.  The poor had screened doors and screened windows (no glass).  In the poor’s’ homes, you could look through the walls and see from the front of the house into the backyard.  We also lived on a paved one-lane road.  The poor lived on dirt roads.  Also, the rich had electricity and running water.  The poor had lanterns and pumped their water.  We lived in the Deep South, and there was no such thing as air conditioning; the summer months were always hot and humid.  Both rich and poor suffered from the heat.

We were rich because there was one playground in town, and we could use it.  We had a grade-school playground with a metal slide, a small merry-go-round, and a swing with two seats.  The ground was dirt, which helped cushion any fall we might make.  We also had a Little League baseball team, and we had uniforms.  You had to bring your own glove, but the town’s working men provided the bats, baseballs, and ballfield.

Everyone went fishing, rich and poor.  My dad would take the extra catch to some poor single mothers he knew, and we kids would go with him.  They were very poor, especially by today’s standards.  I never gave it much thought but was thankful for what we had.  My dad worked on the railroad, and my mom stayed home like all the other mothers.  We ate dinner every night together, and, yes, I hated leftovers.  We were a happy family, and I got to see my grandparents and cousins nearly every week.  The family was most important.  I saw the poor every day.

I was rich growing up.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 1

  1. Mother Picasso

    All mothers should pay attention to this article.

  2. Idiot Savant

    I starting this as a new tradition in my family. Great ideas deserve duplication. I don’t yet have grandkids but in time, perhaps I will. Their letters from me will be waiting for them.

    1. Eye Cat

      IS, while most of us “guys” are not so inclined to write letters, I do see Gen. Satterfield’s point. Let us also not forget that Gen. S. wrote his first book “Our Longest Year in Iraq” for his grandchildren and the book is also dedicated to them. He makes it perfectly clear that is the origin of why he wrote the book in the first place (I only wish I knew what he left out that only his grandchildren get to read about). Great job everyone in the leader forums. Good ideas never die.

      1. Patriot Wife

        Right, we should all be doing this. Family and God and America are first. Everything else is second……….

  3. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Excellent post today, Gen. Satterfield. Keep this website going for us fans.

  4. Emma Archambeau

    Excellent and while this is no new idea, it is worth the little time it takes to write these letters. All the better that they are handwritten to show the value of those letters.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      Right Emma. I have one letter from my grandmother but all of my grands passed away young. This letter is the most valuable thing I possess.

  5. Goalie for Cal State

    You gotta be strong to write about the good and the BAD. Go for it.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Janna, yes, Susan Tate here is giving a last letter in her will. She gives advice to her grandchildren. Gen. Satterfield is telling his grandkids (granddaughter in this case) about his life and what made him who he is today. A bit of a difference. I think Gen. S. explains why quiet clearly and I agree with him on it. Who would not want to have in their hands a written letter by their grandparents to them. Well done, Gen. Satterfield. I look forward to reading more in the future if you so decide to publish them.
      “I grew up rich.”

      1. Liz at Home

        I’m going to start this tradition as well. Thanks for the idea, Gen. Satterfield. ❤❤❤❤❤ Love to our grandchildren. Some folks are not so lucky.


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