Thursday, July 30, 2015

Golf Gypsy: The Man I Love

Thirty-two years ago, at 6:25 pm Las Vegas time, Jack and I married in a simple and swift ceremony at The Little Chapel of the West.  We had met two years previously as single parents, both raising children who would soon be teenagers.  When we met I was a mother, librarian, professional storyteller and puppeteer, and my golf clubs were hiding in storage in an old leather golf bag.  Golf was the farthest thing from my mind.

The summer after we married, I intended to be the mother extraordinaire, but my plans went awry by that July.  I spent my mornings cleaning house, washing clothes, and getting meals ready for the day, little did I realize what three pre-teens could do to a house in a few hours. One evening as I vented my motherly frustrations, to a loving patient husband who had worked all day, he said, "Don't you have a set of
golf clubs in the garage?"  "So!" I mumbled.  He continued, "Why don't you get up several mornings a week and go out to Westwood and play golf, then when the kids get up you will have enjoyed your morning outside."  He was a smart man, and I was wise enough to follow his advice.

My life changed.  Our love and lives blended.  Three decades passed.  Three children became happy healthy and wise adults.

All those years he supported me with smiles, hugs, and thoughtful words: when I practiced and performed my stories; when I created puppets and plays; when I traveled and taught college classes and workshops; when I said yes to projects and committees that I didn't have time for; when I said, "Yes, I will write that book with you Dr. Laughlin."  We
played golf together, and I learned not to coach him. Sometimes he caddied for me in golf tournaments, or took me down to the river bottom to practice sand shots; When I pondered becoming an LPGA teaching pro, he said, "Go for it." When the van of traveling gypsy golfers broke down, he traveled to far ends of
The Original Golf Gypsies
Oklahoma to bring us back, clubs, dirty clothes, woes, and all.  And when my parents died, he and our children cried with me. 

One evening, he glowed with excitement as he told me about a job offer in Hutchinson, Ks. I followed that man I loved, and our lives changed again.  We became a couple without children, as they had grown and left home.  I was lost and empty without my family, my school, my kids, and my friends. I cried.  Once again he said, "Why don't you go play golf and meet some new people."  I growled, "because it's winter in
Kansas!"  But the sun came out, the ice began to melt on the ponds. One warm winter day, I drove to the Highlands Golf course and played golf with new friends, who enjoyed laughter and competition, in that order. Still I taught school and continued to tell stories,all the while playing golf whenever time allowed, and meeting new friends through work and play.  

After the USGA announced that Prairie Dunes would host the 2002 Women's Championship, we joined the Dunes, knowing it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even though my parents weren't there to enjoy the event, Jack's mother came up with our nephew to see Nancy Lopez play golf in person,
Nancy Lopez, 2002
because her husband, Albert, had been a fan of Nancy Lopez.  Golf had touched us all in many different ways. 

Letty, Peggy, Manon
I retired in 2008 and became a golf gypsy--traveling with friends and Jack through out Kansas;  to California, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, and Oklahoma; to Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, too. When I wasn't playing golf, my mind was spinning
Tony, Lora, Jack
stories, and a blog called "Literally Letty" was created.  What fun it's been sharing our universal stories.

We are both retired and living back were are roots were formed, in Oklahoma. Jack plays much more golf and travels with his buddies and his wife, and has found time to relax with life.  

Lucy Beeler, Jonya Stapp,
two State Champions
This year the Kansas Women's Golf Association KWGA and
Letty and Hannah Martin 
the Oklahoma Women's Golf Association WOGA
 both are celebrating 100 years of women's golf.Their history is like our lives, filled with up and downs, and yet they are building for the future, for the girls who will one day tell their stories through golf, through parenthood, and through careers as yet unimagined. I am grateful for all of the women whose lives helped to make in difference in my life, through work and play.

Through it all, I am most proud and thankful for Jack, the man I love, who stood with me as we raised our children, and who has chosen to travel this time with me.   
Jack and Letty, The Gallery in Marana, AZ


  1. I so enjoyed reading your story; although, I must admit, it made me a little lonesome for the man I love. I'm so glad you and Jack have had, and have each other to love and live life together. That's the way it should be. May God bless and keep you both in His care. kw

  2. Congratulations on 32 years of wedded bliss!! I enjoyed reading

  3. You are so......good! lb

  4. A wonderful story. It is amazing what a hobby can do to help you relax from worries while out golfing. My hobby, scrap booking does the same for me which I need to get back too. Seems like I did more of it before I retired. I do pet setting and really enjoy this. Wish I knew how to start a blog about the animals I care for. jr

  5. Loved this story and I can so relate.. So wonderful to have a supportive, loving mate. I know I am, also, thankful for mine and our years of raising 5 (blended) kids, and then 2 grand kids. Am loving our first alone time in our 36 years of marriage as our last one is now out on his own for the past two years. gf

  6. Lovely piece. It will be a great read for your grandkids. pwm

  7. This was a fun read for me. I like to know where people are "coming from," and it's nice to know you a little better. ab

  8. What a lovely tribute to a very good man. Thank you, Letty.

  9. I've just had so much fun reading through some of your posts. I don't golf, but I'm an avid fan of the game and love watching the pro golf broadcasts. And I hope if you go traveling to other courses in the future, you'll think about sending along a postcard to me and Stretch! ;-)

    1. This is so funny. I will soon have a post out about postcards. Then I had to send out an email update to about 400 friends asking them to discontinue the old "email" and use the new "email. Along with that I posted a note about missing postcards. I then asked them to send me their address if they wanted a postcard in the mail from me, when I travel. I actually have 5 people to immediately replied and said send postcards. Guess we've started something.

    2. Thanks for supporting me and Stretch in our efforts to save the postcard. And we're not the only ones, as you saw in one of my blog posts National Geographic received over half a million comments from people who like getting postcards after they ran that story about whether the postcard was obsolete. So let's keep those postcards coming everyone, some of us really do enjoy finding old fashioned "snail mail" in our mailboxes, especially fun postcards. And look at where this can lead you--Stretch and I have made a great new friend because of our silly postcard campaign. :-)

  10. Love this! The picture of all of you on the sofa is so cute. nv