Family Memories Revisited

Earthly Angels - A Letter To The Burnam's


Cathy Lynn Burnam Tepper

March 1994

Hi, everyone. Jeff, Lauren and I are doing well and living in Homewood,
Illinois. We've lived here for over 5 years now and we were feeling that
the winters weren't all that bad--UNTIL THIS WINTER--TOO COLD!

Jeff is working with his two brothers and father in their discount
clothing business in the Chicago area.

Lauren is 13 years old and is having a great year in the 8th grade.
She's in the school musical, The King and I, plays tennis, sings and
and plays the piano, and she's an A student.

I'm teaching Transcendental Meditation in our area. This has been a
very rewarding profession for me since I became a teacher in 1971.

Most of you know the history of my earlier life. Some of it was good
some bad. But, all during my life I have felt that I have been blessed
with the care of many guardian angels here on earth.

Two of them are Granny Pearl and Granddaddy Burnam. They were
there for me when I was really young. I'm sure it was a hardship for
them to take care of small children again, after spending their lives
raising their own family, but I'm thankful that they were there for me as
much as they were.

Some of the dear things I remember about them are:

"Waking up in the morning and smelling honeysuckle and looking out
the window and seeing Granddaddy working in his beloved garden. Every
vegetable and fruit you could imagine (at least to me) were in that garden.
I loved the smell of the water and ground. Granddaddy would let me help
him as he worked on his carpentry. he even made toys! (Those long
hooked nose clown faces that he made so that we could play hook the
ring on it's nose). He played guitar, fiddle, he sang. He was a fisherman,
a carpenter, a gardener, as well as working on the DoodleBug train when he
was younger. He was very creative and loving. I loved being near him. I
liked the smell of his pipes and even cigars. He was truly a sweet soul."

"Granny Pearl was wonderful. She was very organized and she told me
that when I was very little I would tell her how beautiful I thought her house
was and it really was to me. I became her personal hairdresser and manicurist.
I really loved it. And, I was good! She always bragged about it.
When we couldn't go to church, she had the sermon on the radio so
we could hear it at home. This may sound boring, but actually it was
very pleasant for me. I enjoyed sitting next to her in church and looking
at all the women in their nice clothes and Granny Pearl was, in my opinion,
the most beautiful. She was always coordinated from head to toe. To
keep me from getting bored she would let me look through her purse, which
smelled like juicy fruit chewing gum. Everything in it's nice and neat place.
She had a little pad of paper and a little pencil for me to write on and as
I sat next to her full body, I would listen to the sermon, sing the songs,
and imagine a tiny little ballerina dancing, jumping, and sliding over the
beautiful hats of the women in front of us. Granny Pearl was my first
spiritual leader and I love her for it.

Living for awhile with Uncle Kenny and Aunt Edna will always be a happy
memory for me. I loved being with all the kids! Such a sweet family.

Then Uncle Lonnie and my Aunt Louise wanted me to live with them the
summer before I became a Freshman in High School. I was very happy
to be with them. Lynette and I shared a bed and she use to draw an
imaginary line down the middle of the bed and say this is my side and that's
your side, Ha! What a thing to have to, not only share your room with a
new older cousin, but your bed as well. Thank you Lynette. I might not
have ever told you, but even then I realized you did this for me even
though it may not have been that much fun for you.

I thought their home was big, but now I realize how small it was and I feel
very grateful that they decided to let me join their family. I loved and still
love being Ron, Jerry, and Lynette's sister.

My Aunt Louise is another earth angel who has helped me through my life.
I feel she is my true mother and was probably meant to be from the very
beginning. I just got side tracked for awhile. Thank you for finding me.

Nina Louise, my mother, is a very special person with a great heart--so
loving. Her sense of humor and good nature made my life with her very
happy. I loved watching her cook. Sitting on a kitchen stool and watching
her make wonderful foods. Now that I'm a mother, How, oh How, did she
make working outside her home and inside her home look so easy. She was the
beginning of the super moms. A great example of a successful working

Another couple of angels are Neal and Reva Manning. So sweet, both of them.
How generous they are to so many people. I can't express how much they
both mean to me. At a time when they could have been footloose and fancy
free, they agreed to let me live with them while I attended the University
of Arizona. Wow! Thank you.

My husband, Jeff, is the most precious person to me. He came to me at a
time when I could have easily taken another road in life. He opened up a
whole new world to me and literally changed my life. I am very blessed to
have met him and of course from us has come our beloved Lauren. I love
her beyond words and she is a gift of nature for both Jeff and I. We know
that she will always be the joy and light of our lives.

I will end here, with an explanation that this has all come from my heart
and I usually don't go on like this, but I feel that at least once in your life
you should not hold back your true feelings. My love and good wishes
for all my families. I came into this world by way of Doug, NavaJo, Douglas
& Betty. I can't seem to be apart of them, but I wish them happiness.

I feel in writing this that it is very good for all of us to write down our
feelings and history. I look forward to reading all of your thoughts.
Thanks Lynette.

Cathy Lynn Burnam Tepper
March 22, 1994 (Age 47)
Chicago, Illinois