Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 42

By | December 11, 2023

[December 11, 2023]  The Satterfield family lived in the countryside on the outskirts of the small city of Bastrop, Louisiana, just west of Cypress Bayou, recently moving there from the town we’d grown up in.  Our new red-brick home was in a sunny place with giant oak trees, a child’s swing set, woods in the backyard, and a large grassy yard to play in.  There were many places to run and have fun, mainly in the woods and ponds out back where a kid not paying attention could get lost, or get rattlesnake bit.  We adapted to the country setting, made new friends, and explored open fields, wooden areas, and dirt trails.  It was a fun place, with our nearest neighbors living on a farm where I worked.

Then, Baby Paula Marie Satterfield (your great aunt) was brought home to us on a chilly January day; she was beautiful, healthy, and loud.  The months before her birth, our Mom sat us down to explain how the new baby, due very soon, would keep her busy.  She needed us to pick up just a few extra chores, only a little extra, and try to stay out of trouble.  Mom promised a nickel increase in our weekly 25-cent allowance to compensate.  She extracted a pledge from the three of us to behave ourselves, and that we would assist with cleaning baby bottles, warming milk on the stove, changing cloth diapers (yuck), and folding baby clothes she had recently washed and dried.  It is incredible how often baby diapers had to be changed, and wow, they sure smelled.  We promised!  Mom expected me to take the lead despite working afternoons on the neighbor’s farm and having a “girlfriend,” the farmer’s daughter next door.  Mom’s request was okay with me; family comes first, as always.

Christmas had passed a few weeks before, and we were back in school when Dad rushed Mom to the hospital.  She was gone for three days.  Dad stayed home with us for those days and cooked supper for us kids.  Cheeseburgers and beans.  I wouldn’t say I liked cheese, but my brother loved it.  Dad did, too, so I had to eat cheeseburgers anyway.  I complained that Mom did a better job of it, and I’m sure Dad didn’t care what I said.  Dad was strict and didn’t put up with any whining.  Phil and Terri were excited about the new baby, too.  Then suddenly, baby Paula was home.  Then, our world changed, and we did not realize it, not entirely anyway.  I wanted the new baby to be a brother, more to play with and, looking back, rather selfish of me.  These were the days when you didn’t know the baby’s sex until the moment of birth.  I remember hiding in the closet for a few hours to protest, but everyone ignored me since they were busy with baby Paula, who was very cute.

Kids, lots of kids, were typical where we lived.  A family of five or six kids or more kids was ordinary.  We all knew about babies, a little anyway, since it seemed every family had one, or so it seemed.  Those babies make a lot of noise and require immediate attention.  But baby Paula was extra good, much to Dad and Mom’s relief.  Today, when we have conversations in our family, we refer to days before Bastrop as “pre-Paula days.”  Things went pretty well in the Satterfield household that winter, and then we were told we were moving again to another city, this one a “real” city.  We were headed to Little Rock, Arkansas, the home of our Aunt Rea (great aunt Marie Tabor) and the person from whom Paula’s middle name came.  This big city is where our adventures began in earnest and where taking care of the baby was difficult for us.

For those first few months, we were on the go, keeping the house clean (Dad helped), washing dishes, and playing with the baby.  Baby Paula turned out to be a great addition to the family.  When we went shopping downtown, taking baby Paula along, all the teenage girls stopped us to ask questions.  Those girls were pretty.  I stared.  But I didn’t forget about my girlfriend, no matter how good those teenagers looked.  Then we left for the big city by train.  Dad followed us, and we spent a day riding on a passenger train.  My brother and I had a great experience running up and down the aisles and having fun in our train passenger car.  Little Rock would be a flash because our next stop was in south Texas, to the town of Harlingen.


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.

34 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 42

  1. Cow Blue

    Gen. Satterfield has given us another wonderful letter. I know that many have suggested that he put these into a book and do a “connect the dots” narrative on these letters that talk about his childhood and how they affected him and helped him in his rise to senior rank in the army. But let’s let him work through this. I read the comments here and I’m sure he is doing it too.

  2. Patriot Wife

    This entire series is lovely. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for sharing your most innermost thoughts when you were so young and impressionable. I’m loving each of these letters and have an appetite for more.

  3. Emmanuel T.

    Gen. Satterfield, these letters are wonderful. Thank you, sir, for making them available to us.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      I agree and the more he writes, the better each gets. Many of us want him to turn these into a book. I’m not sure how it would come across in this crazy modern world, but I hope it is something that becomes popular.

  4. Forrest Gump

    With the 42nd installment of his series on “letters to my granddaughter,” Gen. Satterfield has once again entertained us and, as well, educated us on the importance of family and the impact of important events in our lives, and how those events shape us, and those around us. In this letter, his youngest sister Paula is born, years after Gen. Satterfield as a boy has reached his teenage years. In this letter he tells of the times loving his new sister (although he wanted a brother), and how their lives changed for the better. Gen. Satterfield, thank you again for sharing your life with us. Oh, this one too made me smile.

  5. Good Dog

    More great content, sir, thank you for your wonderful blog and may you and your bride have a wonderful Christmas.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      Yep, best book I’ve read on the Iraq War. Anyone looking for a Christmas present, get a copy of this book and give it to them. This book “Our Longest Year in Iraq” tells the story of our troops in combat from the perspective of combat engineers. Great book to make a gift.

      1. Silly Man

        I agree Mikk and Pink Cloud, this is why I’m always reading these comments. 😊

        1. Eddie Gilliam

          Great job my friend. Your granddaughter will love this one very much which related to her mom. Yes I know the feeling you got with the new addition in the house. A new baby is alot of word. I help my mom raise a few of my cousins. The bady smell so good after a bath. The change of the diapers the afford smell. How can such a small child make such a great mess. As soon as you change them. a few minutes later do it all over again. I was so glad to see them potty trained. Yes no more getting peed on . I loved them dressed up for church. They were so cute. My mom still have a picture of Lamont baby pics . He is now 50 years old.

  6. Xerces II

    Pre-Paula Days, LOL
    “Kids, lots of kids, were typical where we lived. A family of five or six kids or more kids was ordinary. We all knew about babies, a little anyway, since it seemed every family had one, or so it seemed. Those babies make a lot of noise and require immediate attention. But baby Paula was extra good, much to Dad and Mom’s relief. Today, when we have conversations in our family, we refer to days before Bastrop as “pre-Paula days.” “

  7. Maureen S. Sullivan

    Sir, will you have a Christmas Letter to your granddaughter? I hope so. These letters are indeed revealing in many aspects. They could be a study in the differences in raising kids today vice in the 1950s/60s. The difference is revealing in that kids your age, sir, are independent and resilient. Today’s kids are fat, stupid, and lazy. Your generation is active, fit, hard working, and smart. And the trend is continuiing in that direction. See this article, “Leader Trends: Are We Too Pampered?” https://www.theleadermaker.com/leader-trends-are-we-too-pampered/

    1. Jerome Smith

      Nailed it, Maureen. Thanks for pointing out what we all can see with our own eyes. Imagine being an adult and being so ‘triggered’ by someone’s opinion that you need a safe space and coloring books. That is what our society has come to.

  8. Rusty D

    Hanukkah (Chanukah) Celebrated in 2023 is good. Started 8 Dec. Happy Hanukkah. 🕯️🕎🔥

  9. JT Patterson

    Another spot-on letter to your granddaughter. Thank you, sir!!!!!!!!

    1. Lady Hawk

      Exactly. Great to see you on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership forum again, JT. I know that we are probably the longest running fans of this leadership website and blog.

      1. DaveV

        Great content in this Satterfield blog. I’ve been reading it for now several years and each day is a new adventure. Hard to predict what Gen. Satterfield will write about. His ‘letters to my granddaughter’ is obviously a big hit among his regular fans but it also appears new readers have now decided to comment and give their thoughts too. Good for all of us. These letters show that a person can make their own path from poverty to achieving noble goals without government help.

        1. mainer

          But But But, I need gov’ment help. I’m poor (read that I’m stupid and lazy). so the gov’ment owes me.

          ME ME ME ME ME ME

  10. Tom Bushmaster

    I’m not yet ready to give up on these letters. Each one opens a new look into the life of a little boy, Gen. Satterfield who came from poverty (although he denies it) to a US Army General Officer. I say Gen. S. denies it because he wrote that he grew up priviledged because, “our house had doors and windows, unlike others.”

    1. Sadako Red

      Point well made, Tom and of course we are all enjoying and learning (too) about what made Gen. Satterfield who was to become. Sometimes poverty is the best place to start because it makes you humble. 👍

      1. Harry Man

        Hey, RED, big fan, just like Gen. Satterfield said. I really do love this website and some of the smartest folks around are regular readers and also post comments. Oh, BTW, Merry Christmas early.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.