The Complete Letters: 1972 - 1974

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

1.  Mom

May 2, 1972

Dear John,

Well here I am--an hour after your call--writing to "my son, the soldier." It is always strange, writing to some one for the first time but especially mothers to sons. We are full of family gossip, not too up on sonly interests. Of course, this way, you may get to know more about your family's goings on now.

As I told you, we enjoyed your letter, all of us and I do hope you feel the urge to write often. I copied your address and Mike took it right down to John Perk. With the message for Cindy and Blackwell. Mrs. Neff called and I also gave it to her so you may even get a note from her.

She told me that Rob is refueling many ships in "Nam" harbor which makes her a little bit nervous. He probably won't make it home for Pam's wedding. We got Roxanne's invitation this week and Sherry Harrison is being married next month. Kind of clearing the eligible girls from the neighborhood.

Mary Lou is sitting here beside me doing her report on "pearls." I hope she sends you a letter or two. Some of those she wrote to Jim were gems. He still has one of them, I think.

Must go now. I'll talk to you again soon.

Love and prayers,

[5 comic strips enclosed, from Beetle Bailey]

2.  Mom

A large greeting card with a dog in a flowered hat on the front

[postmarked May 4, 1972]

"Missing You When you're not around"


A silly cover but the sentiments o.k. Besides, it is the last card of the box I bought from Keith Becker 100 years ago.

Any way, here are some stamps and maybe a chuckle or two--

Love, Mom

[enclosed Sunday comics from Peanuts, and Beetle Bailey]

4.  Dad

Friday 9:15 pm [May 5; postmarked May 6, 1972]

Dear John,

It is now a pleasant evening of a rather nice day. Your mother and I have recently returned from a very pleasant dinner at the Hillside Inn on Plymouth Rd., almost into Plymouth. We haven't been there for years and the place is nicer than ever and the food was delicious. I had fried shrimp stuffed with Baltimore Crab. We came home via Plymouth and we were surprised it is quite a lively town on a Friday night.

Tomorrow morning we are going to Monroe for Sister Ann Louis silver (25th) anniversary of becoming a nun. Mass is at 10 AM and a dinner at 12 noon. I believe there are 8 or 10 celebrating some major anniversary at this time.

We have a reduced household tonight. Jim's at work, Bill is out with friends, Mary Lou is out to her friend's house for a slumber party (coming back tomorrow afternoon), and Lynn has gone to Buffalo for the shower of Julie's sister. And of course John is in Kentucky. You probably won't appreciate the state for the first couple of months but it is like being a freshman in school, a rookie on a ball team, or a beginner at a job with a new company: everything is new; you are at the bottom of the totem pole but successful toleration and beneficial learning builds a veteran who can be proud he passed the test and can go on to greater accomplishments.

The ball game is on and Tigers are one run behind the Texas Rangers. Still in first place though. Do you get the latest sports news, or any news? How about newspapers?

I am enclosing clippings of the last ad I placed in the News which got 2 calls (it was a Sunday only ad). Also the one in the Observer which ran Wednesday. It will be also in the Saturday edition. I have been taking the car out for a spin around the neighborhood every day or two to keep the engine in shape. Not being used to it I am not sure it is in top shape or not. Oh, it runs ok except it seems hard to get smooth acceleration in the different gears and when decelerating in 2nd or 3rd gear it seems to whine rather loudly so as to discourage downshifting and using the engine to slow down. Is this normal for this combination? If we don't get any action this weekend I really don't know what to do. We could continue to advertise or else try an ad in the St. Norbert Messenger or leaving it in a busy place like downtown in the Edison lot, or a local gas station, or the Cherry Hill Plaza. Well, don't worry about it. You can't lose too much on it except a little more depreciation which shouldn't be much until maybe August. Mrs. Healy looked up the book and deducting $175 & $150 because of manual transmission and the manual steering, the average retail price for the car is $2025 and average wholesale $1625. I could hardly believe that so I think I'll take it to a dealer soon and see what they would offer, just to check this out. If we keep the car for a while I'll probably have to get either a cheap insurance policy or pay the State $35 for Uninsured Motorist Fund.

Incidentally I called the Secretary of State about you renewing your drivers license. Either wait until you get home and renew here (Monday through Friday) if you won't need it sooner, or else write

Michigan Department of State
Dept. of Driving Records
Lansing, Mich 48900

And request an application for a Drivers License. You give them the information about yourself (like on your license and your license number). You can get a renewal this way without a photo.

Guess I'll close now. We pray you are well yet and things go well.

With Love,

[ad in the Detroit News, April 30, 1972: MERC '71 Montego--4spd., 351 V-8, Ziebart, stereo, exc. Cond. Drafted. Must sell. LO 3-2745.

Ad in Observer, May 3, 1972: MERCURY, 1971, Cyclone, 4 speed, 351, 4 barrel, Ziebart, stereo, tach, excellent condition, must sell, drafted. LO 3-2745]

5.  Debbie Franklin

May 8

Hi John!

So how's the Army treatin' you? From your last letter it didn't sound like you were having that rough of a time but then you hadn't been thru Basic yet. That was some letter you wrote--wow, 7 pages It took me about a half hour to read it and then I had to go back and read it again 'cause I forgot what was written in the beginning.

Have you received many letters? I hope that by now your mom or someone has written to you cause then I won't feel so bad about the delay of writing you. But see it's like this--I got your letter on Thursday and Steve's prom was that nite so this is the 1st opportunity I've had to write and I should be doing homework so feel honored. Right now I'm in 5th hour Study Hall. This is the grossest class you can imagine. Its full of spastics. Their whole vocabulary exists of words relating to dope, sex, or rock music. YUK!

Things at this end aren't that bad but they could be better. Teachers are being gross by piling on the term papers. Right now I'd like to be out riding in the sun on my bike [a motorbike]. Oh guess what--this is bad news: the bike is out-of-order until we can order some parts.


I suppose by now you've just about given-up hope for receiving a letter from me--I'm sorry; but if you were here to realize what I've been up to, it might be easier for you to understand the delay. Besides having to get ready for 2 proms (one is tonite) I've been working on term papers, sewing, looking for a job, getting outside as much as I can--and just about everything else. So try to forgive me, okay? And I'll try to do better in the future.

Did you know our dog was sick? He has cancer spreading throughout his body and he doesn't have long to live. My mom is really upset about it and now we all have to be really nice to him!

Did you sell your car yet?

I've seen the ads around school. What are you going to do with the money?

Oh--I've haven't told you about Florida yet . . . it was great! The weather was good, so were the beaches, parties, and guys; I can't wait till I have the cash to go back.

Maybe I shouldn't ask you but here goes--how's Basic. Are you surviving well or just barely making it?

If you haven't guessed yet I'm in school now. Lately its been the only free time I've had. And I've got a test to study for now so I'll end this letter and hope I remember to mail this.


P.S. You said some of the guys had pictures of girls in their barracks--if I get some good ones back do you want one?

Be good!

7.  Greg

May 8, 1972

Dear John:

Gave Sally your address instead of John Perk since I see her every day. She didn't say anything 'cept thanks when I gave it to her.

Coming sometime next week, exactly when I forget, is Cherry Hill's prom. Hopefully next year I will go.

Had a driver's ed. Meeting today for an hour. Mr. La Scola, my teacher said that we should be getting our permit by the second week in June. Probably before school is let out. Gotta drive this coming Thursday at 4:30. We'll go down Michigan toward Ypsi, and thru it too. This would be the fourth time out on the road driving. After Thursday there will be just three more driving times before it's all over. Unless you come home for awhile on leave before July, I will have my license before you see me.

You're lucky if you're getting good warm weather. Since Sunday and for a couple of days starting this week, we are in for cold, wet, and dreary weather. Nothing at all like summer.

Too bad you car isn't getting any buyers despite all the ads as well as an ad on the bulletin board at Cherry Hill. Bill said he wouldn't mind buying it if he had the cash.

Most of next week will be filled with tests. And they're not even the finals. We'll be taking tests on Monday thru Wednesday. On Friday, for the first 3 hours in the morning, there will be an Awards Assembly. We'll have 4th hour and the remaining 2 hours we'll be watching the Senior Swingout.

Other than that, nothing much has been happening. No dances for a couple of weeks and there's only about 3-4 weeks left.

Take care, man

P.S. Mary Beth White asked me about you--when you were going in. I know you don't want her to know your address, so I won't give it to her.

8.  Sally Truss


Hi John,

Wow its great to hear from you!! I've never gotten such a long letter in all my life. By the way I love long letters. Hope you can read my letters, I write really bad, and I also can't spell very good. Just thought I'd let you know. And one thing more. I can't seem to write long letters either. And I'll try to tell you everything that's going on (happening)!!

Macko and I are getting along just great. Gary didn't get his car yet. And he's dating that girl Karen. Do you know which one I am talking about? No, John's not selling his car.

We still have parties here. But they're not the same. You know what I mean? Its not the same rapping to anyone else. At the party Sat (5-6-72) there was this girl there when bent over her butt showed this much--------------------it made me sick. I couldn't eat any brownies..

Yes, I'll tell stone-face hi and I'll give her your address. She hasn't changed one bit. She's going to the Prom, its Fri. (5-12-72) . . . I'm not. I'm a Soph. And you have to be a Jr. or Sr. to ask someone. Well, there's always next year.

So tell me about the guys in your platoon!! I'm still a flirt. Same as always.

Your brother gave me your address. I didn't think you were going to write. If I didn't get a letter from you today I was going to write you a dirty letter. And I mean it.

Did you take that helmet with you? [At my going-away party my friends gave me an Army Surplus helmet and everyone signed it!]

And just what did you have in mind when you said you haven't found anyone who has got what you like? Come on, you can tell me!! It has been said around here that you're probably high all the time. But I know its not true.

So now you know how it feels to do so-called Physical Training under force. Such as Stone-Face. Ha-Ha.

Well John, I didn't have anything else to say but be good--and don't get caught next time. OK.

As Always,

PS I loved to see you in short hair. Ha-Ha.

Joe Mitcheal (I dodn't know how to spell it.) Well any ways he got in an accident. He was smoken and he passed out at the wheel. And he hit the gas [this last page ends abruptly]

9.  Dad

Tues. 5-9-72

Dear John,

I am sitting in the living room watching the Tiger-Chicago baseball game on TV. A little while ago Mother and I went over to Grampa's house. She wanted a ride and I thought I'd see about his lawn needs. It's a mess. It's weedy and needs lawn food. Maybe Greg and I will go over some weekend (Saturday) and fix it up. Since Greg is currently unemployed he might welcome an odd job. Its pretty chilly the last day or 2. Might have a frost tonight; going down to the mid 30's. Grampa has another ('64) Cadillac Fleetwood parked in his yard. My Uncle Marc left it there for a friend, to see if Grampa wants to buy it. Wants $500 and has 62,000 or so miles. Grampa had his friend at a Cad. Dealership check it out and he said it is a good buy. He would have to put maybe $150 into it repairing the air-cond. Etc. but it looks in good shape for an 8 year old car. He hasn't bought a new car since the 1934 Chevrolet which I remember seeing the first time on a rainy Saturday. Funny how isolated incidents stick in your memory.

Speaking of cars, only had one call on the Mercury from the 2 ads in the Observer, and he didn't even ask our address. I got another sign, one on each side now and 1 in the rear window. I am getting on to the shifting now with the practice in taking it out every day or two. I'm thinking of getting a 6 month policy from my Farmers agent. He quoted a basic for about $47 + $12 if I want Fire & Theft. How do you feel about the car? I mean, if you were in the position to take over the car when you get out in 2 years, that is if it were still here and in good shape, do you think you would like to have it again? Forget about money for the moment. If you still like the car as you did the past year perhaps we could work something out to split the remaining cost and keep the car. Let me know what you think--if there are any possibilities along this line. It's a shame to take such a beating on that 1st year depreciation.

As I wrote the page number it reminded me to suggest that you number your pages too. Since your letters are read by so many in this house the sheets are apt to get mixed up so page numbers would help keep them in sequence. Your letters are very welcome and interesting. We appreciate hearing from you and even minor happenings help fill in a picture for us. To tell you the truth I was surprised because Jim didn't write much and didn't give us many of the details.

You certainly are having some training. Sounds like the Marines but at that it probably isn't as bad as they get. I guess your only consolation is that millions of other guys went through it and after the first few weeks it will probably never be as bad again, at least if you stay out of combat which is really what they are toughening you up for. I just hope and pray that this latest strategy Nixon sprung on the N. Vietnamese will do the trick of bringing the war to a swift ending. My first reaction is that he has done the right thing. Now more than ever before the communists have taken unforgivable invasion on another people, just like Hitler did on Poland 30 odd years ago.

When you work @ the Mess Hall do you get to help yourself to snacks like fruit or ice cream? What are you getting to eat? Do you get potatoes, pancakes, sausage, etc. for breakfast?

You said you got your first allergy shot. When do you get another? There is no problem in having to keep it in refrigeration, is there?

We are thinking about the Open House you folks are having May 27. Maybe we can swing it. We would like to, although we can't be sure just yet. Is there much chance we would not be able to see and be with you that day? Do you know if there are motels right near the base? I suppose there would be.

Well, I'll close for now. Tigers lead 2-0.


To check delivery this is to be mailed early Wed. morning. When did you get it?

10.  Mom

Tues, Aft.

May 9

Dear John,

By now the mail must be coming pretty steady. It has been almost a week since your letter of May 4. Hope your "so-oo-o sore muscles" are getting conditioned very fast. Bet you've discovered some you didn't even know you had! That screaming before meals must let off a lot of steam and perhaps untangle some knots of frustration in more than one soldier's tummy. Don't you think that kind of conditioned reflexes make for fast reactions--a life saving technique sometimes?

I know that Lynn and Greg have written to you so that you know about her trip to Buffalo and her birthday. Everyone reads your letters so she did get your birthday greetings. Greg gave Sally your address yesterday since he sees her every day.

John Neph came looking for the platter the cake was on for your party. He evidently lost it somewhere.

Roxanne's invitation to her wedding on the 19th of May came so I went out to Hudson's and bought them a white blanket. Didn't get a wedding invitation from Nephs yet. One of Roxie's friends came over and tore up their front yard with his car last weekend. What a mess. Mrs. C. was so mad she reported it to the police. You can imagine how she felt--she is out there now still trying to repair the damage. When ever this fellow gets mad at some one he uses his car to get even. I guess this wasn't the 1st time.

Your dad told you about our going down to Monroe last Saturday for sister's 25th party? It was a gorgeous, 89 degree day--the last one we had, too.

We would love to get down for the weekend of the 27th but it is still uncertain. I certainly would like to see and hear everything. Your Uncle Bill Dillon was down at the Monastery, Gesthemeni, and said that they could hear the firing noises from your camp during their retreat.

What was the reaction around the camp after Nixon's speech last night? Anyone getting nervous?

Please keep all your cards and letters coming. We do enjoy them. Keep cool and well and safe.

Love, Mother

Couldn't close without telling you-

Haven't heard much about Philip but Tara finally told Chuck and left him standing in the middle of the lilac bushes with his mouth open.

[Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

11.  Mary Lou

May 11, 1972, Thursday

Dear John:

Please send me some patches to sew on jackets. If you can't that's o.k.

Today coming home from school, Mom was locked outside. She was going to the store. When she found out she left the keys in the house. She had to wait from 1:30 to about 3:05. I had to go get Greg for his key.

I sent for some info on Apollo 13 and never got it. I sent for it 2 Mondays ago. That was May 1. I hope it comes soon.

Nothin' to do around here as usual. It's 28 after 8. I've got to go to bed.

Mary Lou

12.  Greg

May 12, 1972

PVT. John J. Schneider
Co. C 17th BN 5th TNG BDE
Fort Knox, Kentucky 40121

Dear John:

I'm typing this letter in 5th hour typing class. Today's a free day so I decided to type a letter.

Man, I was about to go out toking tonight. A friend of mine goes to Inkster High and he can get any kind of drug he wants from Over there. He was going to try to get a nickel bag and I'd split it with him. We planned on going out in the park by ourselves and toke. With any other friends we wouldn't get as much to smoke. But he couldn't get the bag because of such short notice. Thursday he asked around. Friday (today) he's not going to school because all the whites who go are asking for it. It's the blacks' national holiday as he put it.

Sally told me that she got 9-1/2 pages from you. Wonder why we only got 7 pages at one time? I'm just kidding.

Tonight is the prom. All seniors are excused in the afternoon because of the preparations for the prom. They're going to the Rooster Tail.

In case you haven't heard, we might have a buyer for your car. Mrs. Healy told Mom she'd call her sometime last night about someone who might buy it. As far as I know Mrs. Healy never called. That's all the information I know. Mom told Mrs. Healy all about the car. She (Mom) doesn't know who the prospective buyer is.

Next hour (6th) I have a geometry test. I filled up 3 cheat sheet up with stuff I need to know. I gotta get at least a high B to still hope for a B for the quarter on my report card.

The next dance here is May 26 and the last one is June 2. Mike will get guest passes for Perk and Kiester.

Mom and Dad are going to use the money we'd spend on a vacation on fixing up the upstairs bathroom. What they're going to fix I don't know. Mom ordered new wallpaper for the downstairs bathroom.

That's all for now.

Your brother,

13.  Dad

Sat evening [May 13; postmarked May 14, 1972]

Dear John,

The day started nice & sunny but now it is a drizzly, cool day end as we enter our after dinner evening. Not much but reruns on TV and no good movies to go see. So it is a good night to stay in anyway. Bill left for Gow's place in East Lansing I guess. Went with friends for the weekend. His car is still here so he got a ride for a change. Your car is still here too, but John Neph came over last evening to see what we wanted. He is very interested. As you know we have had little response in the papers and I was ready to accept $2000, or even as you said, take what you owe, which is a little less. Anyway I told John $2000. He said his parents said ok except his mother wants to try it so she might be able to take it in an emergency. I don't know if she was serious or not, that's what John said. Anyway, he went to the St. N. Credit Union and got the forms for a loan. And that's where it stands now. We shall see what happens this week. If they give him the loan with his dad as cosigner it is a good bet it will be sold.

I took it for a little spin the other day over to Stu Evens used car lot. I asked the man if he would like to buy a good used car. He said they are not buying now. He indicated a 4 speed is hard to get rid of. Says the kids can't afford the $600 to $1000 insurance, although I told him it only had the 351. I asked him what its worth anyway, to them, and he said about $1400. Well, I had heard they (dealers) offer a below wholesale price for cars anyway. I told him what you have been asking and he suggested asking $1900. Well, as I said before, I hate to see you get less than $2000. That's a big enough loss as it is--more than a lease car would have cost. But you couldn't have known you would have to let it go so soon.

Mickey Lolich won his 7th game today against Kansas City. Was on TV. Our place is so pretty now with the tulips all in bloom out front and the crab apple about to blossom--this week. I spent a few hours this afternoon replacing the wall paper on one wall in our bathroom for your mother. She had picked out a plain off-white with faint random lines in it. I still have to lick the leak from the floor in the upstairs bath that keeps loosening the paint on our bathroom ceiling below. I would like to get a tile floor up there, ceramic tile, that is.

This has been your first week in actual basic training I believe. I guess they must keep you real busy. Do they treat you any differently now than from the first couple weeks when you had less to do? Well, you are 1/3 the way through basic and well on the way to being a regular veteran. I do hope and pray they assign you to some type of job that you might like and that will make your stay fairly acceptable.

Your mother may mention this but if not, do you know of anything now that you would like to receive for your birthday? If it would be better we might wait till you're in your next assignment when you will probably have more freedom and more privileges. Anyway, let us know, ok?

We are thinking very seriously about coming down for the Open House on the 27th. We would like to see you very much, and also it would be interesting to see Ft. Knox. We would probably leave on Friday, get a motel, and then come out 1st thing Sat. AM, according to the schedule you sent. Then I suppose we would spend the whole day there, go back to the motel, and leave for home Sunday. We might even bring some of the kids along if we come. Would there be any disadvantages from your point of view or from what you know about the place, if we do?

If we do go we will miss Pam's wedding. It's on the 27th and they did get St. Norbert's Hall for the party. Roxanne Cloutier's wedding is Friday evening the 19th.

Well, John, I guess this is it for tonight. I pray daily for God to take care of you. He will, to, especially if YOU ask.

With Love,

14.  Debbie Franklin

May 15 [1972]



Hi, Army "Man" . . .you know by now that I'm not one for writing especially with all the things I have to do but I'm in school now with some spare time so I'll start a letter-no telling when I'll finish this. Today is Monday-blah! I hate Mondays! School is so gross but sometimes summer vacation is gross too.

The weekend was a bummer-Saturday a bunch of kids were supposed to go to the lake for the day but my group got lost on the way to Silver Lake and then from there to Cass Lake we got lost again. Then when we got there it rained so we all left. Bummer, huh? It rained all day yesterday too so I couldn't get out and do things.

Tuesday: Friday nite Steve and I went to Cherry Hill's Prom. It was at the Roostertail. Neither of us had a very good time though-we got there too late to sit with our friends, the refreshments were gone, the musicians were duds and didn't play any good jams and the dance floor was too small. Then we went out to eat but my steak wasn't how I like it. Also, at the prom a guy almost ruined my dress by spilling punch on it and I started crying. Oh well . . . I guess I'm used to dining at such places as Huck's; that was a great evening (agreed?). Thanks again!

This Friday is the Senior Swingout. I remember two years ago when you played at it. You (and another guy [Gary Starin]) played Scarborough Fair. Do you remember the first song we ever danced to? It was Scarborough fair. We've got a lot of good memories together, huh?

So, are you homesick yet? I guess you receive a lot of letters from home with that big family of yours. Don't worry though-I still intend to write you!!!!

What kind of rules do you have (about drinking, partying, rest and relaxation time, etc.)? If you have a camera or one of your buddies take some pictures of you and your barracks. Do they provide you stamps and stationary for letter writing? Why don't they have mail call on weekends? How long does it take for my letters to reach you? Be sure and let me know if you need anything like stamps, shaving cream, etc. Also, let me know when and where and the procedure for sending you things. Would you like some home made cookies or fudge? Anything you want, you've got . . . .

Guess what exciting thing I'm gonna do when I get home-cut the grass, wash my hair, do my never-ending homework, eat dinner, and anything else necessary to make my day. OK, also take a bath. (Speaking of grass, what happens if someone gets caught with it? You be careful, okay?)

How's the weather in Ft. Knox? The weather here has been damp and stuffy. It's not really too hot but as long as I'm stuck in school its better and more comfortable if it's cooler.

Almost lunchtime so I'll end for now. But I'll be back!

Love, Me

End of School Tuesday: Well, not much has happened between the time I wrote and now (I'm home) so I'll get this in the mail.

Love you, Take Care

15.  Mom

May 15, '72

Hi John,

It was good to hear you more chipper last night than you were in your last letter. I guess, though, that your letters will reflect the mood of a particular day.

Sorry about your distasteful details but if Army life was pleasant we would be at war all the time-come to think of it, we seem to have been at war forever, as it is.

Strange to hear you complain about the heat there. Our pretty days are so few and far between. Mary Lou and I have sore throats and rotten colds. We would love to bake in 80 degree heat.

John Reifle came over to see Lynn last night. He must have been feeling no pain when he left. He left his jacket in our living room. His family took Mrs. R for dinner at Marino's and he came here afterwards. I have no gory details, if any, from Lynn yet but I will!

Seven of us went to the "Clock" restaurant after Mass yesterday-a mother's day treat for lunch. Received an exotic orchid arrangement (flowers) from Lynn and the twins, Bill gave me a dozen carnations and Mary Lou made me a daisy card. So I was surrounded by lovely flowers. Just after we hung up John Neph came over. He wanted to put $10.00 down on your car. I guess his dad is going to co-sign for him so it sounds promising. I told him this was one used car he really knew about and how well it was taken care of. He agreed. Now if his loan is o.k.ed you will have your car sold. We are going to miss that wedding when we come down to see you but I don't care.

Hope you have thought of something you want or need for your birthday. I know-you mentioned the radio.

And for now-Love and prayers,

16.  Mary Lou

May 17

Dear John,

I just want to wish you a happy birthday because I don't have any money for a card.

We had a spelling bee today. I lost. You know what I went down on? Hibernate. I spelled it H-y-bee-r-n-a-t-e. We're having a spelling contest against another room. We're going to win though. We're having it Wednesday May 31. There are words like hypotenuse, coordinate, and congruent.

Today I was biting my sandwich and my tooth fell out! I had a cheese sandwich. It fell out because people don't close the cheese package tight enough. It was my baby tooth. I put it under my pillow so I can get some money.

I hope this letter arrives on your birthday. If it doesn't happy late birthday. Well gotta go now. Bye.

Mary Lou

17.  Mom

Birthday Card postmarked May 17, 19972

"For you, Son. . . with yesterday memories. . .today wishes. . .and always love. Happy Birthday!"

Mother and Dad

John, these "fancy" stamps are air-mail. These are the closest things to a Birthday gift I could get right now. Love, Mom

18.  Dad


Wed Nite [postmarked May 17, 1972]

Dear John:

It is almost 9:30 and has been a very busy evening. Mother has a cold so I took her to the store. I looked over and advised Bill in installing his cassette stereo in his car. He didn't get the kind that can be taken out easily so we found a hiding place above the other radio and behind a piece of metal on the dash that comes out. It's just slightly awkward to reach in this hole to operate it but it should protect it by hiding it while leaving it in the car.

Then John Neph came over for the serial number etc. for his loan. He expects to get the check Friday night (right after Roxann's wedding which had been called and then reinstated). So we should settle the whole deal right that night. He wanted to check the engine etc so we took it to Ford-Venoy Sunoco where John once worked and is run by a friend of the family. He had him put the scope on it and it checked out good. Just a couple points off on dwell, and a little rich on fuel. Also needs alignment of the front end I guess. Anyway that is something John will take care of after he turns over the $2000. Of course the loan will be paid off and the balance will be deposited in your account.

Sorry to hear the Guest House is all booked up. I don't know if we will get motel reservations or just wait and see what's available. Seems like there should be a lot of empty rooms between Louisville and Ft. Knox. Do a lot of soldiers leave the base on weekend passes and go to motels? Being a holiday I'll bet a lot of them will be off on pass.

Tigers are leading 3 to 1 over Baltimore after losing two in a row to the Birds. Lolich is trying for #7. (I told you wrong last time.)

I don't know who all will be coming down the 26th. Lynn probably won't. She talked to Julie tonight & he is coming down over the Holiday.

This weekend we might go to Greenfield Village for Old Time County Fair Time. And Sunday we might go to Monroe for St Mary Academy's annual fair. Guess I'll close now but I'll let you know the final details on the car this week end.


19.  Debbie Franklin


May 18

Hi Sweetheart, (This means you!)

How's your body? Great, I hope. I hope the Army hasn't been abusing you by making you do strenuous work and exercise.

It's 8:30 in the morning and I'm in American Culture--the teacher, Mr. Masse (remember him) is giving notes on the causes of the Civil War. Big deal, huh?

So tell me, how's the food? Not like home cooking, I bet. It seems we never realize how much we cherish our home, family and friends till we are gone. I suppose by now you've found that out. By the way--have you talked to your parents since you left? If there are any messages for them let me know and I'll get it to them.

Is there any word on selling your car yet? If you don't get an offer or buyer soon are you gonna lower the price? Where is your car now? Do you let your brothers and family drive it?

Right now I'm in Chemistry and it's 12:00. I just found out that tomorrow 1, 2, 3 hours we have awards assembly and then in the afternoon we have swingout so why come for that & 4th hour? I'm just gonna stay home and sit out in the sun and then I might come in to see the seniors cut down everyone at the Swingout! Some real sweats are in for a surprise.

Today it's supposed to get around 83 degrees and is it ever miserable. Tomorrow and the weekend it's supposed to be in the 90's.

Oh, I almost forgot, yesterday I went golfing for the 1st time! Incredible . . . I made the biggest divots and had the most wiffs. Quite an experience!

Disaster---one of my friends just came and told me someone had ripped-off his bike (motorcycle). Could you imagine--getting a custom 450cc stolen from you. Bummer! Ours still isn't fixed so I'm shut down and does it ever bum me out!

What type of things do you have to do? Clean out the johns, k.p., guard, what else is there? Can you have radios or anything like that in your barracks? Is your sergeant really mean? (I asked a lot of questions, don't I; but then if I don't I won't know 'cause I've never been in the Army . . . . did you know that?)

Do you know anyone else on base? There I go again, sorry . . . .

Now it's Saturday. It's about 80 degrees outside. I washed the Capri and now I'm inside watching the Tiger game. They're losing, 2-1 in the 4th inning. There's not much more news so I'll get this in the mail. Be careful!

"Deborah Gay"

Did you get my other letters yet?

20.  Grampa Schneider

Thursday P.M. [May 18; postmarked May 19, 1972]

Dear John:

I wish to say a Holy and happy birthday to you, and the same would be said regardless of where you are. The experience you are now receiving is, of course, something that will serve you well, and though you may not think so at the present, still it is true, for the simple reason that any activity, providing it is good and worth while, always proves at some time in the future to be for the best. Of course, there are times when one can't quite see this, but none the less, it is, in my opinion, quite true; though no matter how difficult things might be, nevertheless, the making the best of the matter, will always prove quite helpful, and very worth while, all of which about brings me to the point of my letter, and of which I am going to speak about now, and that is your FAITH.

You have probably heard it said, that one's faith is a great help to one, in ever so many circumstances; and this, too is true; and the thing about the Faith that should appeal to you is simply because of the truth contained therein; and we do not realize how marvelous it is to have the one true Faith, and to belong to the one true Church; which is altogether too often taken for granted; but believe you me, there are ever so many people who can tell you this is the truth; and the opinion is expressed from experience, and again, because they have found out they are dealing with the truth; and this is something that one should appreciate; and realize how wonderful to have our Faith and all that means. I know it is difficult to understand this, and especially, when one is still young, but believe you me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like one's Faith, and when it happens to be the one True Faith, this is truly the pearl of great price; and it is simply not possible to tell you just what it can and will mean to a person, providing one makes himself available to the inspirations thereof.

I am going to send you the Novena leaflet to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and I don't know whether you know how much devotion I have to her, but it is, suffice to say, something, and I place Her on the top of the list, next to the Heavenly Trinity; and it should not take too much wondering why this should be so; because when you get right down to cases, if the Mother of God is not the most powerful when it comes to intercession, I don't know my marbles; but the truth again is that as a matter of history, there has never yet been a case where one sought Her aid, and went unanswered. It is just not in the books not to be heard; and I am sure that if you would resolve to make the Novena to Her, and make one right after the other, you will understand what I mean; and I am sure there are ever so many things that you would like her help in, so make up your mind to do this; and first of all, She will probably make you strong, very strong in the practice of your faith. This is about it for now, So with the best wishes for everything,

As Ever,
The Old Maestro

[Included was a Holy Card, Official Novena Prayers In Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help]

22.  Uncle Bud

Birthday Card

[postmarked May 20, 1972]

"A Lion's Share of birthday Joy!
Hope these birthday wishes
Will have all come true for you
For then you'll have
enough glad days
For all the whole year through!


Uncle Bud

P.S. I didn't forget your birthday--just forgot to send this card earlier--so you'd get it on time.

Uncle Bud

P.P.S. Hope things aren't too bad--they'll get better as time goes on--also hope you don't have too much trouble cashing this check-B

24.  Dad

Sun. [May 21; postmarked May 22, 1972]

Dear John,

It is a hot & sunny day so far. It has been a full one. I was awake and sitting in the living room when Jim came home @ 5:45 AM. He came in and announced to Lynn who was sleeping that 2 wheels had been stolen off her car out front. I got dressed and sure enough the two on the park side were gone and the hubs resting on rocks. After hunting around later on for wheel nuts I put on her snow tires which had wheels of their own.

Fortunately your former car, the Cyclone was not here, having been sold to John Neph, or really his Mother (it's in her name), Friday night. So now you don't have that debt anymore. In fact after the last month's interest was added you get another $52 which we put in your account. Also you got a refund from the City of Detroit for overpayment of taxes. All in all you now have $943.83 in your account.

The Cloutier wedding was in the Church with no Mass. It was like a homemade ceremony. It lacked a lot, I thought. The party was nice but the band too loud. The egotist leader had to sing most all the songs so it was extra loud, especially during eating. We will be missing the Neph wedding @ St. Norbert Church and Social Hall. They are serving Cold Duck's.

We must remember to toast the happy couple this Saturday. Remind me won't you? We are looking forward to our visit. It seems that Ralph & Mrs. Reyes were there just a week or 2 ago visiting their son, I forget his name, on open house. Do you know him? Ralph works at the Credit Union in St. Norberts. That's not his regular job. It rained the whole weekend he said. They stayed at the Holiday Inn South @ Elizabethtown.

We got a lot of form letters and pamphlets from Ft. Knox and one said if the guest house is full they would help make reservations at a really nice place. I might make reservations myself at someplace like Elizabethtown. Or might take a chance on getting something after looking around. On the other hand, if you can make arrangements through the Visitor's Center to reserve say 2 rooms for a total of 6 people at some nice place right close by, and can let us know by Thursday night, well, go right ahead. Lynn won't be coming since Julie is coming Friday. I guess it will be just Mark, Mary Lou, and the twins accompanying us.

My writing is bad today because my control is off, after exerting my muscles switching tires around today.

I am enclosing the meal reservation in case you didn't make the one for us. Perhaps you can turn it in at the proper place. (6 + yourself)

Still don't know if we will be there longer than Saturday night. We will play it by ear I guess. Just hope it is dry down there.

Not much else now. Probably you get some repeat info anyway from others that write.

Heard that Robbie Neph hates it. Works down below as a Machinist Mate, fixing things that go wrong all the time. It is dirty and hot and this ruined his contact lens and he can't see. Either the glasses they gave him are no good or he can't get any. They are refueling ships off North Vietnam except when they go back to the Philippines for more fuel.

So long. See you soon

[Enclosed are various clippings from the Detroit Free Press, international news and Bob Talbert's column.]

Mary Lou

25.  Mary Lou

[This letter was written with a variety of marker colors. The "Dear" was red crayon, and the rest was in felt tip pen, every word colored different from the next as appears below. Some of the family are coming down to Kentucky to visit me at the end of Basic Training.]

May 22

Dear  John,

Hope   you   had   a   wonderful   birthday !   You will   probably   get   this  letter   the  day  before  we  see  you .   That  is  why  I   am  sending  it  today .   I  hope  we  have  a   good  time  there .   It  will  be  good  to  see  you   again .

How  is  your  poison  ivy  doing ?   My  teacher  had   it  once .

Mom  is  going  to  give  me  a  spelling   quiz  .   She  finished  before  dinner .   We  just  finished  dinner . We  had  stew ,   and  cake  for  dessert .   I  can't  think  of   anything  more  to  say .  Goodbye

Mary Lou

Mary Lou's colorful letter

26.  Mom

Mon. 22nd

Hi John,

Man, this will be necessarily shorter than usual 'cause I am bushed! You know the feeling, I am sure. I said a prayer to St. Christopher to help you carry that heavy pack on your six mile hike. Did it work?

We just called and made reservations for 2 rooms in a Quality Motel about 20 miles away in Elizabethtown. So next Friday we will be pulling in, sometime between 3 and 6 p.m. All depending upon your good behavior, of course. It will be good to see you. I have the feeling that you are a little more relaxed about life now that the fear of the unknown is over. At least, this is my hope for you. Having this business of the car settled should also be added relief.

John Neph got the car none too soon. I am certainly glad that car wasn't parked out in front when those guys stole Lynn's wheels. They didn't touch Harrison's nor Hayes' "Triumph" but they might have stripped Bill's if it hadn't been parked in the back yard. Your dad bought one of those little alarms but doesn't know where to put it yet. With all that new equipment Bill has, he should have some part of protection on his car.

I guess Lynn's friend Julie is coming in next week end and that is one reason she won't be with us.

Well, I have to close now and fall into a hot tub--then into bed.

My love and prayers--especially for the cure of your "really big itch!"

[Beetle Bailey comics enclosed]

29.  Mike

[Birthday card, can't read postmark, 1972]

"Hi! Happy Birthday . . . and all that jazz! Many Happy Returns."

Happy birthday John! Sorry I haven't written but I couldn't find anything to say.

See you on the 27th.

30.  Dad

Tues. [May 30, postmarked May 31, 1972]

Dear John,

I am writing this on this slightly used paper to show you the place we stayed at (over). It was nice, really, and I think the kids got a kick out of their first stay in a motel. We arrived home at 12:30 your time, 11:30 our time. We were going to drive right into Louisville but the traffic was getting heavy and 31W had lots of lights close to town, so we took the 204 arch bypass to get over to 71 and Cincinnati bound. Had an uneventful trip home and ate at Sharonville, Northern suburb of Cinci. I am really glad we went down there. It means so much to see the surroundings you are living in and it is a relief, too, to see you looking so well and fit. So although it is probably a tough life it doesn't seem to be doing you any harm, physically or psychologically, and as they say, you will undoubtedly be better off for your experience. So, I am proud of you, that you can take what they dish out, and also that you are doing what so many before you have, preparing to defend your country and your people from the savages that run some of the countries in the world.

This might sound corny but it is as true now as it was for our ancestors who started up this country, and especially the ones who fought W. Wars 1 & 2 where there was no doubt we were doing the right thing. It's hard to believe that I was in your shoes 29 long years ago. Time flies when you look back on it, especially when you get older.

But I was in for 33 months and I know the time dragged on then, or seemed to. The point though, is that a couple years out of one's life is really short, in comparison, and we should really try and make the most of life as it comes along. I for one really know that it is difficult, because I continually find myself thinking ahead and not really enjoying or concentrating on the immediate moment. I try to correct this bad habit but habits are difficult to change, but recognizing the need for change is half the battle. I admit to the same trouble with my temper which too often causes me to yell or say something I wish I hadn't, or didn't mean. Well, at least we can try to correct our faults, (if we see and recognize them).

On the way home we stopped in Findlay Ohio to mail our films. That's where the Kodak processing is. So maybe we will get them back sooner. I still have a few feet on the last roll. I would like to make some titles with it. This is a busy week. St. Norbert's Festival is Fri. Sat, Sunday and I have a dozen people I have to get ticket collections from, after they have each collected from about a dozen people they are responsible for.

We are sure of school again next year but I'm afraid of after that. More people keep moving away from Inkster School District section of the Parish and financial support of the school is not up to par. The parish owes so much and expenses are so high I don't know if we will be able to afford a school after next year. The Loftus family moved to Dearborn two weeks ago and Sonnenborns and Weltis are ready to go, too, I guess.

I'll see if there is any newspaper clipping you might like. There isn't much news since we saw you. Hope you enjoyed the weekend 1/2 as much as we did. Reminds me of when my Mother came down to Gulfport, Miss. To see me, and my Dad came all the way out to Seattle on the train to be with me one Christmas.

Keep up the good progress, John, and be strong in mind and body. This old world needs all the good people it can get.


[Enclosed are Bob Talbert's column and the International news from the Free Press]

32.  Mom


May 30 [May 30 was a Tuesday, Wednesday was May 31. Postmarked May 31, 1972]

Hi John,

Look at that-the end of another month! How fast they go, unless, of course, if you are trying to push them by.

Our trip home was tiring for everyone. I figured with that extra trip to the Mammoth cave we had about 10 hours of driving. I saw an Army bus stopped by the side of the road in Kentucky and a bunch of civilian-dressed 20 year olds sitting on their luggage. It must have broken down.

Your dad and I were both so pleased with our visit. Hope it did you as much good as it did me. You know-that kind of grumpy look was gone and you seemed more like your own self. Not that I expected "Mary Sun-shine" but a more relaxed attitude about your life will make things easier for you. As a little guy, we always thought you were the best adjusted. Hope that you didn't lose that flexibility. Of course there will be rotten days when you wish you hadn't gotten out of bed. I just pray each morning for a good day for you.

After all that gorgeous hot weather down there it is back down into the 40's and 50's and rain here. Ugh!

Went to Hudson's this morning to buy Sherry Harrison's wedding gift. The last for a while I hope. Mary Lou bought a goldfish at Kresge's yesterday-named him/her "Sparkle." She was quite brave about the death of the other one. She buried it out in the back yard beside the baby bird that fell off our window. We have quite a ceremony out there.

Well I am going to run over to the Post Office with this so that you'll have it by Friday. Be good-Be careful and Be assured of our love and prayers.


[Enclosed 2 comics of Peanuts, Rerun is named, and 2 of Beetle Bailey]

33.  Debbie Franklin

May 31, 1972

Dear John,

I don't know how far I will get on this letter but it's time I write so I better get busy, right? I hope you are well and taking the army as easy as possible. I am doing just fine but I'll be doing better when I am out of school. This week I have exams and that will be rough but after that I will be able to enjoy three months of nothing but relaxation, you seem to get a lot of time to relax from the length of your letters. I couldn't believe it when I got that letter that took up two envelopes. They didn't come in the same day and so I read the first one and I knew it was from you but you didn't sign it and you ended in the middle of a paragraph which I thought was kind of weird, don't you? And then when I saw the "1" on the outside of the envelope I thought you were numbering all the letters that you are sending me or have sent me already but if you were doing that then you would have been wrong because I got one letter from you before this big one! Also, I have some questions: Can I abbreviate your address like you do, which is like this: C:17:5, or do I have to write it all out like I have been? Oh, well. . . .

Now to comment on all the things you wrote in your letter! Yessssssssss-I remember when you used to call me "SWEETHEART" and I called you "ANGEL" because that is what I thought you were and you still are in my opinion!!! So there. . . . You said you left your locker unlocked and the company commander saw it and you had to be on detail; was it just because you left it unlocked or was there something in there that wasn't supposed to be in there like booze? Sally Truss said you got in trouble for that or is she talking about another time that you didn't tell me about? Guess what (pause) as I went to the next paragraph I started reading about you getting caught with booze in your locker-I guess you did mention it but I must have forgot. (Sorry!)

As soon as I get some pictures of just me and not me and my dog or somebody I'll send some to you. The only ones of me I have now are of the prom and I'm sure that you don't want any of those so when I can find someone to take my picture I'll use up the ten pictures that are left in the camera.

Yesterday I went to bake you some cookies but then I figured that they wouldn't get to the base till Saturday and then they would sit and get stale by the time you had mail call on Monday so I'm going to try and remember to bake some next week and if not them because of exams then definitely the next week because I'll be all done with school!

Didn't it hurt you when you went through the gas chamber permanently or is the suffering just temporary? That would be icky. It reminds me of what we did in Chemistry today. WE produced esters (smells) that were supposed to smell like fruits and flowers but this one group did something wrong and it smelled really rank. Well they told me to smell it and so I did and now I think that I burned some of the tissues in my nose.

What is this about one of your buddy's girlfriend being pregnant his wife is expecting? He must be really dumb or so sexy that the girls just can't resist but I would bet it's the first one, anyone who would get themselves in that sort of a fix has got to have a problem of some kind! What is he going to do now or doesn't he know? That is really dumb; I can't get over it. What kind of guys do you hang around with anyways?

Page 2 (Only the beginning)

John you will never know how ashamed I am because I forgot your birthday--I felt so bad when I realized it that it was on my mind for a long time and I still haven't gotten over it but I hope that I can make it up to you in some other way. I really feel like an --- (censored). Will you promise not to be too mad and accept my best wishes now not only on your birthday but for the rest of your life/ I am really sorry and I don't think I'll ever forgive myself . . . .

Those pictures you had taken and sent to me were just great, in fact I couldn't believe that that guy was really you. Where is your hair. Your head looked like a balloon, no--, I'm only kidding but they did skin you pretty bad. If you haven't sent your mom any pictures yet and you would like her to see those just let me know and I will take them over to your house for her to see. Were those two guys with you buddies of yours? You said that one of the rules was that you had to wear your helmet whenever you were outside but in those pictures you didn't have yours on, how come?

Those rules about lining up your buttons with your fly is ridiculous but I suppose they figure that if they can't get you guys to do simple things like that then how will they ever get you to fight in a war!!

So you don't have any good music. I know how bogue that can be because right now I am driving the Capri without a radio and I really have a hard time without it. You would think that a radio would take my mind off my driving but it does just the opposite by keeping me alert to the things going on in the road ahead of me so I can see how you would miss it. It makes time go faster if you have something other than your breathing to listen to. When I was going through Kentucky on my way to Florida we listened to WKLO, I think. . . .I love "Oh, Girl" also, but I don't know the words very well and I have asked some of my friends if they could help me with the words but they don't know them either so if these aren't right then don't say I didn't try:

Oh girl, I'd be in trouble if you left me now
'Cause I don't know where to look for love, I just don't know how.
All of my friends call me a fool;
They say let the woman take care of you.
So I try to be hip and think like the crowd,
But even the crowd can't help me now.
Oh, girl, tell me what am I gonna do
_____________________________(I can't understand this line.)
Girl, I've gotta get away from here.
O, girl, pain will double if you leave me now
'Cause I don't know where to look for love and I
I don't, I don't know how . . . .

Well, it goes something like that but not exactly. If you want me to buy it for you so that you can have it to listen to in the rec hall, I'll get it for you.

I have just finished commenting on what was contained in the first part so wish me luck, here goes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's a little treat: swear words in code--

[this line was filled with multiple strikeovers--very funny!]

And this is the truth, BLAH!!!!!!!

Our weather in Michigan was or has been in the 80's lately but right after the Memorial weekend it turned cold and now the temp's are about 40 or 50 degrees. In fact I have to type this by the heater or else my typing fingers will freeze. Please excuse all the mistakes but when you are as uncoordinated as me it's a thrill to even eat with a spoon

Congratulations all of you guys in John's platoon for receiving the "honor award" plaque two weeks in a row. That is really proud to be a member of such a fine unit. YEAH YEAH DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT

If you don't mind spending your hard earned money on me then by all means call if you'd like but I can't guarantee I'll be home so if you think that you might be calling then why don't you write and let me know just when so I'll be sure to be here or close by. Okay? Okay! My number in case you have forgotten is (ta-ta-ta-da (Those are supposed to be trumpets.)) 55555 666666 22 333 1 999999999 999999999 or in other words 562-3199.

Aren't you glad I am typing you a letter instead of writing it so that I can put in all these little extras?

Yep--you're an old man now that you are twenty. Gosh, that's really weird to think that I liked a twenty year old once but then you weren't really twenty when we liked each other so that is different. In case you have lost track of time, you've been in there about 5 weeks. So how many does that mean you have left?

Did your parents come down to see you on Battalion Day? Did your platoon win anything?

We all feel really bad about our brother (Peppi). Your mom must have been upset about Dusty just as my mom is about Peppi. She cries all the time and he is getting weak and not as playful as he used to be.

Yes--I still have that note you wrote me on the huge sheet of paper. You know that I keep all of our souvenirs and that includes our notes. And I remember our first kiss. It was on my couch. And even better I remember my first hickey; it was on your couch! Boy, do I ever remember that scene in your dining room at Easter with your mom and relatives; ever since then I get nervous when I am in front of a guy's parents.

Three mile marches--how many months do they allow you for each mile? I bet a lot of muscles will ache after that little journey.

That is really a good idea for you to spend your spare time reading--I hate to read but it comes in handy and you can never read too much. In American Culture we've just finished reading the "Jungle." It wasn't a bad book but parts of it were so realistic that the end which was dull was a real disappointment.

I hope you are only a spectator to those boxing matches and not a participant because they sound really rough and I don't want you come away from there in bad shape but perfect shape so that we can go out when you come home, okay? I know Steve won't mind sharing me with you!! (And so what if he does?)

I have one more letter of yours to comment on but I'll save that until my next letter which I hope will be coming your way soon after this one so be on the lookout for it. Be good and try to stay out of trouble for me . . . .

Thinking of you often
And loving you all the time,
Deborah Gay Franklin, Girlfriend!

34.  Mrs. Neph

[Birthday card, postmarked June 4, 1972]

"It's just so neat . . . You being in the Service . . . I'd like to learn all about it!! Would you mind filling me in on a few things?

How deep is the Motor Pool?
How long is a Parade Rest?
Is the Orderly Room ever disorderly?
Is the Ammo Dump really a dump?
How many foxes per Fox Hole?
What is a Full Colonel full of?
How drab is Olive Drab?
Does M.P. stand for Mother Pig?
Is shingle really a gourmet dish?"

Here is the card I promised you--See I did write, Hope you are adjusting to the service. I know it is a different life but you are a big person and people like you are sure to make it. It was good to see you last weekend.

Had a tape from Jim & Pam. They seem quite happy. I miss her very much.

Heard from Rob. He is quite upset. One of his shipmates jumped overboard. Another 2 had nervous breakdowns. If you get a chance why don't you write and exchange gripes.

FN Robt. Neph B689337
USS Chipola (A.O63)
M Division
F.P.O. San Francisco, Cal 96601

Thinking of you,
The Nephs

36.  Mom

Tues. June 6

Dear John,

Just a short note so that you won't miss mail call on Thursday.

I deposited your $100 in the Credit Union yesterday--Brings you balance up to $1,471.43. Also, in packing your winter shirts away I found the small box with razor, etc. in it. Was that yours? Did you want it put away to use on your leave?

I got a call from Bill yesterday about 3:45 p.m. He just arrived in Daytona, Florida. Had a good trip. He drove 13 hours on his first day. The car ran perfectly, thank God, and he only spent $20.00 for gas which rather surprised him. If everything goes well, he will be back Sunday Night--probably at the very last minute. He works on Monday.

We didn't win any of the prizes at our Festival but that did not surprise me. The Parish made enough money to keep the school open at least one more year.

Sunday night your dad and Greg and myself went downtown to the Irish festival. I was a little disappointed--not enough Irish food on display but I did have some Irish coffee and Dad had some "Hard Lager." Must go now--Love,

37.  Dad

Friday [postmarked June 10, 1972]

Dear John,

Evening now and it's getting quite chilly out. Only 4 of us left here this evening. The twins are out, as is Lynn. Bill is still down South. We haven't heard from him since he called from Daytona. Time seems to go fast. School is out now and summer vacation and all that entails starts for the kids. At Edison the union's contract expires Monday night and there is strong chance of a strike. The membership votes on it Sunday. If there is a strike I have been assigned to go and work at the PennSalt Power Plant down at Jefferson near Pennsylvania Rd. We would be locked in, that is, we would have to stay inside rather than crossing the picket lines twice a day. We would work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week until the strike is over. I don't relish the idea of going there and I hope they don't strike. However it turns out, I expect we will be getting additional benefits and pay, eventually. Besides pay there are better insurance benefits they are discussing or offering, as well as an extra holiday, the day after Thanksgiving, and another week vacation a few years sooner than now; for instance 5 weeks after 25 years instead of 28 years like now. I will be there 25 years Nov. next year.

Well, what's new in your camp? Did your friend get the family car back in shape or maybe just sell it right there? If you can get out on a short pass now I suppose you will see some of the sights in your area. You should try and get to Louisville and see the city while you are there. Even a trip to Mammoth Cave would be interesting, I should think, if you can get the transportation. That probably is the problem, since none of your friends can have a car in Basic Training. I wonder if Greyhound goes down to the Park.

There isn't much new that has happened since you flew back Sunday so I'll close now and hunt up a few clippings you might enjoy.

With Love,

[Enclosed are 2 Bob Talbert's pages and article about Sydney E. Smith Jr. sinking in the St. Clair River]

38.  Cindy Callison



Say there. I got your letter today. I was really glad to hear from ya.

It sounds like you really love the army, it sounds like a lot of fun. I don't think I could take it.

I'm just sitting here all by myself, Debs out with Phil. There's not much happening lately, it's really kind of dead.

So how did you like the party Saturday night? I really got blasted. Then I got sick and then I crashed. (fun)

In your letter you asked about Spic, I thought you knew we broke up. The night of your party (7 weeks and 2 days ago). Oh well, enough of that subject.

I'm finally out of school for the summer, getting high every night (almost).

So do you miss everyone? I suppose you do. Every time there's a party it always feels like there's something missing cause you're not there. Remember the time at Mike's house the first time you smoked? I almost died laughing, it's far-out to see people really high. You looked pretty high out at Deb's house but then again I was a little bit high too.

So did you guys pass your inspection Monday? I hope so. When are you gonna make it home again, soon I hope, I'm always ready to party. I know you are too. Are you gonna make it home for Nels' party? That's pretty far away though. My brother enlisted in the Army too. He's leaving the same day Nels is, Sept 14. I hope it will do him some good. If that doesn't, nothing will. Right!! Perk just gave me your address the other day, but I think it's at home, and I don't go there much. But still write there O.K.?

I hope to hear from ya soon. Well there's not much more to say. Take it easy & be good (if ya can).

Write soon!!!


[The envelope was letterhead from Corden's Candy Carrousel.]

39.  Dad

Tues [June 13; postmarked June 13, 1972]

Dear John,

I am on lunch break at the office. We are working from day to day now, not knowing if or when a strike may be called. The union & the company agreed to extend the contract day by day while negotiations go on, daily we hope, until agreement is reached. Last time they did this and I believe it took about ten days, but they did not go out on strike. I hope they don't. I guess I told you I would go to PennSalt if the strike goes on. Locked in @ 12 hours of work per day.

It was nice to have you home last weekend. Considering you will be in service for up to 104 weeks, the number of weekends home will probably be quite few. I suppose the location of your future assignments will determine the number of visits in the future. I see by the Army ads in the paper they give a month off per year. I think, though, that if a person is busy the time goes fast and life is interesting whether at work or play. Even living at home with nothing to do gets very boring quite quickly.

This has been a cloudy and occasionally rainy 2 days since you left; cool too. They say it may stay this way the rest of the week. We got caught with our grass high. I need a little dry spell in order to cut it.

You undoubtedly will hear about the new family addition we got Sunday. A little white kitten we picked up while visiting the Shea family Sunday evening. Your mother brought it home for Mary Lou who loves it, because she lost her 2 gold fish. She is going to raise it as an outdoor cat, therefore it will be rarely let into the house. Ralph Shea says any cat can be so trained that it won't want to be indoors even in sub zero weather.

Well, when you get this you will have less than 3 weeks to go to graduation. Do you expect that the treatment will change considerably after that, or is AIT [Advanced Individual Training] also considered a rookie status. Well, hold out and do as well as possible. As I said, I am proud of you for doing so well. You are a good reflection of your family as well as an asset to your country.

There is one point I feel I should touch on. Since we didn't see you at Communion the last 2 Sundays I pray you will value spiritual strength such as the Sacraments will give when received in the right spirit as well as the physical build up you are obviously receiving. Nothing in this whole world means anything if a person is not at peace with God. So please don't loose touch. It means as much and is as necessary for young people as it is for older ones.

Next Monday your Mother and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. If I am not on strike duty we probably will go out for the evening, at least to a nice dinner. I have the week reserved for a vacation week although I doubt if I will take it, at least all of it. I could use a couple days just to work around the house. I don't get as much done after work anymore as I used to. I don't know how I ever got the back room built. Just kept after it until it was done, I guess.

Well, I'll close now. God bless you.

40.  Mom

Tues. [June 13, 1972, postmarked June 14, 1972]

Dear John,

Wait until you see our new family member! Sunday night your Dad and I went out to the Shea's house and when we left we had a white kitten with calico markings-very small and very active. The only reason I took it was because it is going to be an outside cat. She (or he, as the case may be) will stay in the garage. It likes to hide behind the flower pot and box of skates on the black table.

Mary Lou was delighted but she may be allergic to it and that would be a shame.

Greg started his job this morning. Mr. Apple picked him up about 8:15. Short vacation for Greg but he is anxious to start making some money.

Well, your dad and I are living with the sword of a strike hanging over our heads. The union called a strike but they are working while negotiating. I really hope and pray that your father doesn't have to work that dirty job at Penn Salt.

Well-must go now.


PS "Fathers Day"-June 18

[Enclosed: Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.

41.  Sally Truss


Dear John,

Well, to answer all your questions, let me see. First, the girl that Neph is going out is his fourth cousin. I guess they have justed going out lately. She is very weird high or not.

Doesn't it feel weird to take a drive in your own car. When you used to keep it cleaner, I guess.

The other night, me, Macko, Perk, Nels, Neph were riding around in your old car. Oh I forgot Gary. Well anyways. Neph was telling us how good the car ran. Then Perk said "Funny, when Schneider had it you thought it was a dog." I laughed so hard I almost started crying. Every one was barking.

Good old "stone face." She told me that you told he that I called her stone face.

We finished, our last exam was the 7th and we went to pick them up the 9th.

Well don't work too hard.


P.S. W/B

42.  Dad

Friday Evening [postmarked June 19,1972]

Dear John,

You may have heard by now that the union called a strike on Edison and at 10:30 or so Wednesday nite I got a call from Joe Geisinger that they were walking out at Midnight and I had to report for at my assigned location which was PennSalt Plant. This is at the Penn Walt Corp in Wyandotte, and this is where I am right now. However, when you read this I hope I will not be here. You see, we are "locked in" and cannot leave. (We would in an emergency or if we were not too concerned about our jobs). This is because of the picketing. The plants must be run and so they can't afford to have any trouble getting personnel in. I have a pretty good job, as jobs go. I am on maintenance as a helper and work days. We started out on 8 hours yesterday but they upped it to 10 today since most the others are on 10 or 12 hour shifts. Yesterday I helped install a Washer & Dryer, and an Air Conditioner, and I hooked up the Recreation Trailer. They have rented 50' or so trailers, panelled walls, etc. 2 for sleeping, barracks style, (I am on the upper bunk over my new boss) and for Recreation (with TV, card tables, and a Refrigerator they stocked today with beer (not for working hours)). And 1 more for dining where I am now. It is empty except for one of the "cooks" who is still cleaning up. We are lucky here. Our chief cook assigned with us at PennSalt is the Company's Commercial Cooking Representative and he has been giving us some nice meals. But this feels almost like the army except we can't get any weekend passes. That is, not unless the Negotiations are successful in settling the Strike. They talked this afternoon but we have no news of any results of these talks. My job today was helping another guy, an electrical Foreman regularly, to fix part of the Precipitators Equipment which cleans the exhaust from the stacks. We were way up on top of the building most of the day. It was a nice day, sunny & cool and you could see for miles including the Detroit River and the surrounding city and countryside. We are just opposite the North end of Grosse Isle so not much river traffic passes on this side of the island.

I suppose you will be writing home telling what exciting things you did this weekend. Isn't this the one which you were to get off Friday?

I guess it won't be long now until you know what your next assignment will be. If it is further training it could be a good opportunity. 1--to learn something at the government expense, 2--to keep busy at something other than combat type activity. Whatever your road is to be occasionally say a little prayer that God will guide your destiny for the best for you.

One of the fellows here said that today's meeting resulted in some kind of agreement that would be voted on by the union next Wednesday. I can't figure why they would wait so long to vote on it and I don't trust the union to really want to go back to work. I'll just pray that it will be over by then. The pay is good but I don't like being here 24 hours a day without even being home for the weekend. I was told we would get 8 hours @ regular time and 1-1/2 time for 6 hours which means 17 hours pay per day for about 10 hours work, but they still have us here 24 hours /day.

And then they say we get 1-1/2 for 14 hours on Saturday & Sunday which is 21 hours pay. I hope this is so because it will help make up for this keeping us inside.

It really has one other advantage by staying in. That is that the other guys who are filling in at other jobs at Warren Service Center, offices and warehouses, have to pass picket lines coming & going, and that can get quite hairy.

Well, I guess I'll close for this evening, so good nite.

43.  Mom

Monday - 19th [postmarked June 19, 1972]

Dear John,

Just got back from E. Dearborn's Western Union office. Wow, it is expensive to send money that way. It cost $5.67 to send your fifty dollars. There has to be a cheaper way to do it the next time. You know, I suppose, that you have to check with the Fort's P.O. if you are in an especial hurry to receive it.

Today is your dad's and my anniversary. First time in 24 years we have not been able to celebrate it together. He left for Penn Walt at 6 a.m. this morning. He took the station wagon this time and is planning to sleep in it instead of the trailer. Did he tell you about having to sleep in the top bunk--over a fellow who snores? That is why he is going to take his trailer bedding out to the car. He would think that he had been gone for weeks--he was so glad to get home for one day after being gone for three days.

Makes us understand your wanting to come home a bit more.

We miss your letters lately but if you are so tired we do understand. Hope you aren't as whacked out as you sounded last night.

Mark had a good time last night sleeping in your bag. The only trouble they had was--the tent kept falling down. The Army could teach them a thing about camping out. Right?

Greg & Mike are working over at Apple's house today so it is very quiet around here--just Mary Lou and me.

Bye for now--Love,

[Peanuts & Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

44.  Pat Bratcher

June 25--72

Dear John,

Hi! How's life? I just thought I'd write you while I still have the right address. So how'd you like the party? Pretty good, eh? I had a real nice time. Well, I don't really know what to say to you, cause I don't really know you well enough to just talk just about anything. Do you think you'll have to go to Vietnam? I hope ya don't. What are you trained to do or are you trained to do any specific thing? Did anything happen between you and George-Ann? Just wondered. I gathered from last nite you don't like beer--eh!? How come? I also gathered you really dig weed. Well that's ok. Do you do any kind of chemicals, aside from T.H.C.? I'm only asking you all these questions for something to talk about or I should say to write about. Well, really must go! See ya around. Be good & be careful


Always smile!

45.  Mary Beth White

June 26th, 1972

Hi, how ya been? Sorry I haven't written sooner. You're probably moved by now. I really haven't had time. I'm in summer college & there's so much studying to do.

Greg & Mike told me that they went to see you & your beautiful hair is about 1/4 inch long. Oh well, it will grow back. Eventually?

I've been seeing your friends around a lot. John & John & Gary etc. It seems strange that you're not with them.

It feels great to be graduated & the partying was a riot. The only thing is I have 4 more years of college to go. I'm going to be an R.N.

I hope you remember me but, how could you forget? I'm the one at the dances, the crazy one!

Gotta go now. I hope you'll write if you have time.

Mary Beth

P.S. Take care!

46.  Mom

Tues. a.m. [postmarked June 27, 1972]

Dear John,

I am sitting here at the desk in the basement writing this letter. After hours of cleaning and changing, this end of the "wreck" room looks 100% better. Got the file out of the kitchen and put it down here. But you'll see for yourself next week end.

Your dad ordered 5 tons of black dirt yesterday, so he and Mike & Mark have been working hard in the back yard. The walk is in and they are filling in the low places where it usually floods during a heavy rain.

I had a humorous conversation with an Army recruiter this morning. It seems that he just received the word that you had an Army physical last September. He was so surprised to hear that you have been in service since April. Some guy down town is going to get torn in half, he said. Any way he wants Bill to come in and see the wonderful films on the "New Army" and hear about all the really great options the enlisted men have now. I laughed and told him no way would I come down for that and not to hold his breath waiting for Bill either. It really gave me a chuckle.

Nothing else new except that maybe the cat ran away. We haven't seen him since last night. I have mixed feelings about him--Mary Lou is so allergic to him that it is pathetic to see.

Bye--see you soon? Love,

[Peanuts & Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

47.  Georgeann Vigil

July 1

Dear John, Hi

Wow! That was a long letter you wrote me. Surprised to hear from you. Well like you said it was awful hard to write much because we only seen each other once & only talked a little bit & it wasn't too much of anything. But I'll try to write something good alright? When do you come home on leave? Every weekend or whenever you have 3 or 4 days off? How long does it take to get home? When are you going to Oklahoma? After your two years I wouldn't go back in and reenlist, but it really is up to you, you know. Thick As A Brick was just on the radio, wow, I swear that's all I been hearing now is songs from that album.

I work in a convalescent home, I been working there for one year now. What did you do when you was home Sat. thru Tues.? Just curious. My friends either call me George, Georgeann, but most of them call me Georgy.

I really don't know why I was quiet Saturday. But I know I shouldn't of mixed drinks & grass. It must have been good grass because I got a buzz off it the first joint we passed around. Remember we had 2.

You know one paragraph you wrote I didn't understand what you meant so I just read it the way I thought it was supposed to be. How many brothers & sisters do you have? You wrote me a super long letter, I was shocked because for 2 reasons why I didn't think you would write so soon, & because I didn't think you had a lot to say. Felt good to hear from you.

I hope my letter makes sense. I'm just writing what comes from my head & trying to answer your letter as much as I can. I hope you didn't get mad at me for asking you all them questions. How long have you been in now? I'm sorry but I don't have a Senior picture. And I don't have a recent one, so how about one that's a year ago or so. Seriously, I don't have a recent one. Would that be alright? I'll send you it next time I write, alright?

How long have you been living in Inkster? We used to live there back ten years ago. We used to live near Parkwood school. You know where that is. Now we live in Romulus. When's your birthday? How old are you?

Well, I'll close for now, because I have to get up for work & its pretty late now!! Talk to you later.


Write Back

48.  Georgeann Vigil

July 3

Dear John,

How you doing?

Wow, there isn't really much to say or write about, but just to write a few lines to let you know how I'm doing. I'm off from work today and tomorrow. Don't know what I'm gonna be doing tomorrow through. I'm supposed to go down for my car sometime this week to get it for a oil change, and have a few other things done to it. There really isn't much happening with me, beside work, and just more work to do when I come home from work. Having a car is just a pain (to me it is anyway) because I have to make sure its running well always, keep it in good condition, finish paying all the payments, & pay for insurance. And after paying for all that I have to start saving for next year's insurance. I always have to be working in order to keep it filled with gas. But I guess I'm not the only one that feels that way. And besides I wanted the car so I guess it's my full responsibility, right!

Today is really beautiful out, the sun is out & it's not too hot.

So how you doing over there?

Sorry if I sounded bossy & demanding in that last letter I wrote you. I really didn't mean it that way, after I wrote it I read the whole thing and it sounded that way to me. I'll send you a picture in the next letter I write, okay? Well, I'm gonna close for now, & I'll write you later. Write back when you can.

Advanced Individual Training (AIT): July 9, 1972--March, 1973

Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas

3rd Enlisted Student Battery

49.  Mom

July 5

Dear John,

Just dash off a note so that you won't be without mail this week. Hope it reaches you before you leave.

Congratulations on your graduation. You do have reason to be proud of yourself and your company. It was a long, hard grind but it put you in great physical shape and I know that you will be just as proud and confident of yourself after your stint at Fort Bliss as 'lil Abner would say, "Ah salutes you!"

Your dad left me off yesterday and I ran all the way back to Delta's waiting room only to see the back of you boarding the plane. Some how, I do like to see the plane take off when I say "good bye and God bless" to my service men. Anyway . . . I went to the waiting room around the corner and had a full view of the plane. (Caught a glimpse of red at a window as the plane turned--you?)

We then went to Greenfield Village where we took Mary Lou on the Petticoat Junction-like train. It runs about a mile down the track--then, because all the tracks are not finished, it backs up again to the old station.

Also took her on a pony wagon ride. About a ten minute ride but nothing like your horse back ride, I am sure.

When we got home it was too cold to eat out doors so we had our picnic lunch in the dining room. Not very traditional but a heck of a lot more comfortable.

And so you are up to date on family.

Remember we can't write to you without a new address.

Good luck on this next phase of your Army life.

My love and prayers are always with you.

50.  Mary Beth White

July 5th, 1972


Hi, how are ya? It was great to see you again last Sunday. I was hoping I would after I talked to Mike the Thursday before. I only wish I could have talked to you a bit longer. It's gonna be two months before you come home again, is that right? That's a long time.

When are you getting transferred to Texas? When you do send me your address, ok?

You left for Kentucky before Tuesday night didn't you? That means you missed the fireworks. They were pretty good. They had this one on a fence that was in the shape & colors of the American flag. That was just before the grand finale.

Are the guys who are ahead of you sergeants, lieutenants, captains, etc. very tough on you? I heard that it's lights out at 9:00. And all sorts of junk like that.

Is what you're going to do in Texas what you wanted or is it just what they're telling you to do? It sounds like it would be really interesting working on missiles & stuff I mean. You were drafted weren't you? I can't remember if you were or not.

I've got a big test tomorrow in Chem. Every Thursday we have a test over about 3 chapters. It's lots of fun!

Tell me about the things you do there & about what you want to do there & when you're out. How long will it be before you are out?

It's gotten real cold here. I wish it would just get hot & stay hot for the rest of the summer. I bet it's beautiful in Kentucky now. I was there last April. It's a fantastic state. We visited Mammoth Caves. They were unbelievable.

What kind of things do you like to do? Besides go to parties! I bet you like to do almost anything, don't ya?

My parents are going to Canada this weekend with our boat. That means I'll be home alone. I enjoy the freedom of not having someone constantly on my back. The peace is great too! When my parents are gone I get to listen to my albums for as long as I want, which is great because I never get to since the stereo is in our closet in the front room & my dad is real touchy about it. If you ever did anything wrong to it, he'd get quite upset about it. Like blow the roof off the house!

Boy what crummy stationary. You know how they give you some printed sheets & some plain? Well I've only written 3 letters with it & the printed sheets are all gone already so I have to use plain. I should have used the printed sheets for the first & the plain for the rest. Oh, well too late now.

I guess I should end this letter now since tonight's Wednesday & I have that test tomorrow. Write soon. Take care.

Mary Beth

PS. I'm sending you a piece of gum for when you get bored & a firecracker in case you missed the 4th! Bye-----------

51.  Dad

July 7, Fri

Dear John,

It is lunch hour and I thought I would write even though you may not get this before leaving Ft. Knox. I trust they would forward it. You may have let us know your new address by the time you get this but this may decrease the time of not receiving mail due to the relocation.

It was nice to have you home so frequently the last couple months. As I may have said before, I am pleased by your performance, not only in apparently doing a great job in what you are there for but in taking it all in good spirits and apparently accepting the ups & downs in strong fashion, that is not letting the "downs" get to you. You have, as well as several others in the family, a quick temper, probably inherited from me. You can use this energy to your advantage if you keep it under control. Try and think before you react. I see that you are doing just that. I believe you have improved considerably in this respect. So, just keep up the good work. We are all proud of you and that should be important, too. We all receive certain talents, even though different from one another, and we should all try to develop these talents as best we can. For some, the fruit of such talents won't materialize until late in life. Only their architect, God, knows when we shall use them. And don't forget to ask Him for help, too. He awaits such requests. (Also wants you to dine with Him--H.C.) [Holy Communion]

It certainly has been cool this week. First time I can remember having the furnace on (at night) on the 4th (&5th & 6th) of July

Lynn & Mike have taken up tennis this week, at least they played a couple times at Cherry Hill.

If you aren't going to be at Ft. Bliss a long period of time you might like a subscription to the paper. If so, let me know. Daily or Sunday, or both. I remember I used to get it and it sometimes was erratic delivery; none for a few days & then a bunch at one time. But that doesn't matter so much if you are interested in hometown news.

Looking at the map I see Ft. Bliss & El Paso are pretty far from any other cities. Perhaps you can get to see some of the nature type things out there. Looks like Mountains nearby. And there is always Mexico and Ciudad Juarez. Incidentally, beware of the characters you may run into down there. They have a lot of men and women both around military camps like that who are out for all they can get, especially when they have a border they can safely hide behind. So, be cautious of all strangers. Watch what you eat and drink and don't carry large sums of money around. I may be suspicious by nature but I'll bet you hear some of this from companions down there, if not from the army itself.

Well, I'll close for now. Congratulations for getting through basic training with such high honors. As they told us down there on your open house day, it is tough there but you go out a better person, certainly more fit, than when you went in. Do you agree?

Waiting for the next exciting chapter,


52.  Mom

Tues. p.m. [postmarked July 11, 1972]

Hi John,

Just a scribble--I want to get over to the P.O. quickly. Talked to Dr. Rogers at Wilhelm Allergy Clinic. He told me that the clinic will air mail your serum down there to you but it can't be left unrefrigerated very long. Someone should be waiting to pick it up. I can think of two options:

Anyway, the clinic's address is:

Wilhelm Allergy Clinic
751 S. Military
Dearborn, Michigan 48124
C/o Dr. Rogers

Mark your request urgent and Judy will get right on it. O.K.?

I'll write a letter tomorrow.

Much Love,

Include your whole address to the clinic and let them decide how to address it so that the serum arrives as quickly as possible. Explain to Dr. R. that I talked to him today and how your allergy has been lately.

53.  Mom

July 12

Dear John

That was such a hurried note yesterday. Hope air mail got it to you in a hurry.

It was good to hear that your situation is looking up. School can't be all that hard for you when the motivation is great enough and I guess the alternative of the Infantry would be great.

Remember Wally? The fellow that drove the ice cream truck-Mark was talking to him yesterday. He said you should have no trouble with the classes-anybody can pass those tests. I don't know how he knows-he is still driving an ice cream truck!

Bill got his notice to report for his physical on August 4. That seems so soon. His 19th birthday won't be until Aug. 17th. He will then be on all the services mailing lists for enlistments, I haven't heard him say lately whether he would even consider enlisting but somehow I can't imagine him wanting to.

All I know is-I hate those envelopes arriving so often. Thank God Mike is only 16. He's got a few more years. Adios for now-


[Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

54.  Dad

Thursday [June 13, postmarked July 14, 1972]

Dear John

It is evening and we had a little rain after dinner. It is the first for a while so the green growing things could use it. It has been hot the last few days, at last. I haven't been swimming yet this summer, have you? Do you want your swim trunks? Or do you own any. You should be able to get a lot of swimming in before Christmas. What swimming facilities have you there? I wonder if they forwarded our last letters to Ft. Knox?

This weekend I am expecting Aunt Gloria Affeld, (over at Twin Towers) and my cousin, her daughter, Jean with her husband Lou, and two youngsters (14 & 12 or so) over Saturday morning for a little visit. Jean & Lou are visiting from New York State and we haven't seen them for many years.

Sunday we are going over to the Dillon Cottage for a visit. They invited us over for the day, including the kids. I guess we are taking Grampa and Sr. Ann Louis, too. The Ambrose family is going also.

I am listening to the Tiger-KC game. The Tigers batted around in the first inning giving Lolich a 5-0 lead. After Baltimore lost about 5 in a row I wouldn't be surprised to see the Tigers win the pennant now.

I suppose you will have told us by now in your first letter(s) what recreation facilities you have down there, such as T.V., movies, and Service Club or whatever, on the base, and what El Paso has that is interesting. In case you didn't get my last letter I must warn you about what I assume is a potential problem in that area, especially South of the border, and that is the people, both men and women, who are out to get what they can from the GIs who must be quite prevalent and numerous in that area. So watch out and be wary of strangers. Don't carry much money around. That reminds me. If you want to send it home occasionally or regularly you can best do it with either a money order or a bank's cashier's check which we can deposit in your account. Or you might find it possible to open an account of your own down there, although if you leave in a hurry that might present a problem in getting out your savings.

The Edison buildings are progressing slowly downtown and I find out today they are going to start modernizing the G.O. Bldg. They have to do over the front of the 1st & 2nd floors along 2nd Ave. since the Plaza Bldg being built between the Service Bldg & G.O. will require a new main entrance at the 2nd floor level of G.O. The next thing, to start next year is a 3 or 4 year program of replacing all the G.O. windows with something more modern. Then they will go through the building with modern lighting, dropped archways, modern partitions, maybe even carpeting. I am just guessing now but it may come, over say the next 10 years. If you elect to stay with Edison after you come back you will find a healthy and here-to-stay company, I am sure. And they don't take a back seat to anybody or other company when it comes to benefits. And I'm surprised at the way young people are getting good responsible jobs at the highest technical and management levels.

What you learn in the next year and 1/2 may be a big help if you elect to stay at Edison. Your time in the service is accumulated service time at Edison so you gain here with certain benefits such as vacation, retirement, etc.

Well, I'll close for tonight. Take care, but still enjoy yourself, and don't neglect your studies. I'll bet they aren't as hard as they would have you believe, eh? Don't let them fool you.


P.S. Mom wants to know what difference there is in mail delivery of Regular and Air Mail-time-wise.

55.  Mom

Monday Aft.

July 17

Dear John,

1st-before I forget-what is that picture you put on so many of your letters? Looks like a grasshopper.

Yesterday we (the 4 youngest kids, dad & me) went to Canada. Eve Ann invited Sue's family, grampa and Sister and Bud too for a swim and steak. The kids cooked their tube steaks out doors and Bill grilled our rib steaks. The meal was good, the water was quite clean and cool and every one had a noisy but good time. We left at 9:15 and it took us an eternity to get home 1 1/2 hours to get over the bridge-bumper to bumper. Cars were over heating and stalling for miles! I have never seen such traffic and I'll never go to Canada on a Sunday again.

Your dad found a four inch spike in the rear tire of the wagon when we got down to Dearborn so we had to put the snow tire on. Mobil didn't have a new tire to fit us. So that started our day off with aggravation and expense! Mary Lou went home with Sue & Al for a vacation at their house. Sue promised to take her swimming and I don't know what all to keep her daughter, Suzy, company while Alicia is in Spain.

Your Uncle Bill bought a boat and Eve Ann and Kathy were water skiing when we got there. You would have loved that! So would Lynn, but she elected to stay here with Julie K. He didn't leave 'til 5 p.m.

Your brother Bill tells us that he is seriously considering moving to Florida. He thinks that he would have no trouble finding a job and he loves Florida and the people.

By the way-your letter took 4 days-regular mail. My air mail to you took two.

Keep up the good work with the studies. It will pay off, I'm sure. Love, Mom

[Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

56.  Georgeann Vigil

July 17 Monday

Dear John,

I really don't know where to begin to answer your letters, so I'll try my best. You wrote me five letters already and that's a lot. I'm glad you wrote, I enjoy reading your letters. I wish you were here, not there.

Pat & I went to Bob-Lo last Wednesday. Why don't you write her a line or two, to let her know how you're doing.

I wish you would of come over that weekend you were on leave. I wouldn't forget you, I still remember how you look. In fact I was over there that Sunday for a little while.

My birthday is February 13th. I'm nineteen.

I hear Thick As A Brick a lot on the radio. I really like it.

Thank you for the sticker, I don't know where I'm going to put it yet.

Excuse my writing for now because I'm nervous or upset one or the other. Because I don't really know what I'm going to do. Stay here or move up with my sister in Lansing. I want to get a apartment with one of friends but nobody seems to care. I don't really know I'm just plain dumb when it comes to a thing like that.

If you don't mind will you really send me that water pipe. I never had one before because I really didn't care for them, I wasn't smoking then, but now its different. I really would appreciate it. Wow you really blew my mind when you wrote that, most people won't & don't

I can't think of much to say right now. Sorry I haven't written earlier but I been working & on my days off I been stripping furniture & working around the yard. How was Alice Cooper's concert? He's supposed to be here in July. I want to go but I know I won't

Well, here's that picture, send it back or better yet throw it out if you don't want it. It's really old, it was when I was a junior, September. Long time, eh? Stupid one too! But you asked for it, so there it is.

Well, I'm closing for now alright? I'll write later.


58.  Carin

[postmarked July 18, 1972]

Dear John;

Hello hippie! How are you Sarg? Fine as ever probably. John I could have gotten you some mesc. & T.H.C. But I thought it over and decided I like you as you are, not as you'd end up, if I got it for you. You're too nice of a guy. So I'm sorry. I ordered a new 1973 van.

Chevrolet Van
Metallic Burnt Orange
Cream Interior
8 Track AM-FM radio 4 speaker.

When you come home will have to go out and get HIGH! In it. I'll be getting it about the end of August. Pretty neat huh!

Dustin says hello [her son] Well trooper I'd better sign off. Cause I have a lot of ironing to do.

Love, Carin & Dustin

P.S. See ya soon, Stay happy & nice like always, okay?

59.  Dad

7-18 (1972)


Dear John,

We received your first letter from Texas yesterday. It is interesting to hear of your new adventures so keep up the good work. You probably won't be getting the letter I wrote to you at Fort Knox so I will repeat the question I asked then, would you like one of the Detroit newspapers delivered there? Since delivery is sometimes erratic and tardy I would suggest a subscription to the Sunday Free Press or News. Or perhaps you would like the Ledger Star or whatever they call our local paper. Tell me (us) your preferences and we will arrange it immediately.

We just watched on TV the special about the Mojave desert. Have you had a chance to experience it? (The desert?) If you would use it I would send you an inexpensive camera which you could capture some memories for your later years. I occasionally get out my old pix of the service days, and just like a lot of usual photos they are enjoyable to see and reminisce a bit about the days of long ago. So, remember, let me know. You could take color or black & white photos.

We went to the Dillon's cottage Sunday but Grampa, Bud, and sister Ann Louis went in Bud's car. We had a very nice time and even had a ride in a speed boat which your uncle Bill recently purchased (used) off somebody. Greg got a chance to drive it a while. The lake (Erie) was just fine and I got in my first swim of the year.

They had a fine steak dinner (for the adults) grilled by Bill on the out door Hibachis.

When we got within 3 or 4 miles of the bridge on the way home about 9:45 PM we hit the traffic jam going back to Detroit. The cars just crept along and after about a half hour and only a mile or so I took a side street and got a block and 1/2 from the bridge entrance with no trouble. At that point traffic was pouring onto the entrance area from all directions. Well, we crept all the way over the bridge and saw many cars disabled by overheating. It took us one more hour and 10 minutes to go that 3 or 4 miles to the Detroit side from where we first stopped. Both uncle Al (Ambrose) and Bud had to stop to cool off or to add water to the car. I don't know why the big jam but it might be because Sunday was the first good weather day we have had for a long time, especially on the weekend.

Tomorrow is Mike's birthday and I am taking the day off so I can pick up Mary Lou in the morning. She is staying at Ambrose's for a little vacation. She went home with them Sunday from the cottage. We are also planning to give Mark an airplane ride for his birthday since there is nothing he wants (which we can agree on). It will be out to that Piper Airport out Ford Rd. They have 4-seaters.

My friend Jack (Artmill, from Inkster and also my office) is getting promoted to boss. Joe Geisinger is getting moved up to head our division and the one next door from the front office. Jack has been in the Dept. about 4 years and is a good man, plenty smart. The company, especially our department, I think, is putting a lot of stress on professional manpower; and they are going to hire 3 or 4 more engineers for our division in estimating.

We had quite a storm on the way home from work today. The wind was blowing so hard it blew a metal sign with the gasoline price (one digit) from a gas station on Michigan east of Livernois across 2 lanes and in front of my car. Passing in front of the car as I was driving slowly in the rain it knocked the "R" off the FORD across the front of my hood. I thought it had done more damage so I guess I was lucky.

Well, so long, and let us know the answers.


P.S. Hope you get the top promotion, but if not at least do your best and you will be satisfied.

[Enclosed are local/international clippings and Bob Talbert's column from the Free Press.]

60.  Dad

[Stationary used was from the Leelanau Homestead Inc., Glen Arbor, Michigan]


JULY 22, 1972

Dear John:

The above location is a resort overlooking Lake Michigan, across from Sleeping Bear Dune. We came up today for a 3 day vacation, just mother & me. It's a pretty place but the inactivity is something we are not used to. I don't mean we are out every night when we are at home but here the rooms don't have TV, no air conditioning and it's been a hot week even up here, and my little radio can't even pick up a station clearly. Oh, it's great if a person can relax and hibernate for a while. Well, tomorrow after Mass & breakfast we will go over to Sleeping Bear Dunes Park and see the Beauty that has made this a proposed National Park. It is pretty country around here and we climbed part way up the hill behind the lodge but your mother got scared off by possible poison ivy up there. It's quite high and is a ski hill I guess because there are ski racks around here. The kids all stayed home. Mike works now at Allen Lumber and is now on 7 days per week. I'm taking Monday off and we plan to return then. Don't forget the address & name of the location to which your medicine is to be sent. You don't want to louse up that program now that you're half way to completion & lifetime cure of the allergy.

I went swimming in Lake Michigan outside our building (couple 100 feet away across a lawn and beach) and the water is beautifully clear and pretty cold. The beach & sand bottom of the lake is perfect. Too bad we don't have such good swimming around Detroit. But maybe we would have if it weren't for the people & industry who have polluted the water so badly.

This paragraph is being written Sunday night in Traverse City in a motel. We both spent a miserable night at the other place in Glen Arbor. It was hot & humid with no air conditioning and even with windows open we got no breeze to speak of. There was enough though on the beach to bang the rope and hardware against the metal mast of one of the sailboats. I finally went down to the beach about 2 AM and fooled with it and stopped the banging. Even though it seemed to be nicer this AM we left. We went to the Dunes and it was really worth seeing. Pictures can hardly get across the impression of seeing and being on them--that is, Sleeping Bear. We decided to go to Traverse City before returning home Monday. It is a pretty place but really not much to do. We had dinner this evening at the Park Place motel which is where the Cherry County Playhouse is located. Pat Paulson and another actor friend came in and sat at the next table to us. Pat is playing in "Three Men on a Horse" starting Tuesday. He really is skinny and he didn't eat much tonight. On the way here today we were passing the Sugar Loaf resort area so we stopped to see it and have lunch. It really is a family place. Has a golf course, swim pool and air strip with several small planes on it. None of the ski lifts seemed to be working for the summer visitors.

Well, I guess I better close now. I'll have to wait till morning to mail this 'cause we are out on the edge of town and I don't know where the mail delivery or pickup is here. It will be faster, closer to town anyway.

With Love,

[Enclosed is a Sugar Loaf village brochure.]

61.  Mom

[Post card from The Leelanau Homestead]

Monday, 24 (1972)

Thought of you yesterday while eating lunch at Sugar Loaf Mt. Maybe you can try it in December?

Take care and Love,

63.  Mom

Thurs. July 27 (1972)

Dear John,

While Mark is cleaning up the basement shelves I will get this off to you. Did your dad tell you about Mark's birthday gift last week? After much thinking I came up with the idea of giving him a plane ride. We took him out to that small flying field on Lilly road in Plymouth and gave him 15 minutes in a 2 seater Cessna. He thought that it was fantastic, particularly since the pilot let him handle the controls for a good part of the ride.

My vacation is over and it was nice while it lasted. Those three days just flew by. I took Mike's Minolta camera and if I did everything right I got some lovely shots from Sleeping Bear Mountain dunes.

Speaking of cameras. Would you like me to send you my camera? It has a flash attachment if you want to use it and takes good pictures. Since photography never was a burning interest for you perhaps you wouldn't want to put 50 or $60.00 in his Yashica right now. Let me know and I'll pack whichever one you think you'll want.

Your allergy extract is another problem. I can't send it just to you when a doctor or nurse has to administer it. I wish that you could find out quickly. You must be way over due for a shot by now. Can't your C.O. help?

Your letters have been coming regularly and I am pleased that your studies aren't causing you trouble. Do you study much after classes? I remember a high school student who used to fall asleep in class. I'll bet that you don't do that any more! It would be great to be sent to the site near Pontiac, I'm sure but that sounds too good to be true. Still . . . you never know.

By the way--is that the Army's sign for peace?

Well, let me know about the base hospital address and the camera.

Also--please be careful in Mexico. It sounds unsavory and weird!


[Enclosed are a few Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

64.  Greg

July 30 (1972)

Dear John,

While you're busy there in the Army, things have been quite slow around here for me. I work only a couple days a week--whenever my boss calls me in. And when I am working I'm just sitting around with nothing to do in the warehouse.

There was a street dance last night on Morely Street. The one section of the street was blocked off. Two live bands played in someone's driveway by the garage opening. The first band played some of Black Sabbath, Mountain, Hendrix, and of their own. It was pretty cool. The first band was better than the second. There were a lot of Cherry Hill kids there. It lasted from 7-11.

Friday night I went out with a couple of friends and we went out in the park across the street behind the woods and toked up. I smoked five "j's" and was stoned. We heard that the street dance was that night, but we soon found out it wasn't 'till the next night. We were going to go.

Last Monday morning, while Mom & Dad were still up north, I took the car out and a friend of mine and I went and bought a dime bag off a cousin of my friend. Then we split it up. I still have about ¾ worth.

Couple weeks ago I bought some rolling paper from the WarehouseII. Kevin Newell asked me about you.

Some friends, Mike, and I are going to see Bread at Pine Knob Sunday, Aug. 27. We're going to sit on the grass for $2.50 per. Starts at 7:30. I hope I can get the car for that night.

Signing off,

65.  Dad

Sunday AM [postmarked July 30, 1972]

Dear John,

Mother just left for Mass with Mary Lou & Mark. Greg is watching TV. And Mike is at work at Allen Lumber (10-3 on Sundays). Bill, I guess, is out at Gow's and Jim, who may be over for a birthday dinner, is ?

It is a beautiful day in Inkster which reminds me I saw that yesterday the Hi-Lo in El Paso was 100-70. How do you feel about the weather. Is 100 there like 100 would be here? Is everything air conditioned. You mentioned the cooling of your barracks. How was that, by fans? Do any swimming yet?

I forgot to tell you about the paper subscription til mother mentioned it this morning although we got your answer you'd like it a few days ago. I'll call them in the morning and order a Sunday subscription. Let us know what kind of delivery they (Free Press) give you. On our trip I lost the chrome strip that is along the bottom length of the LTD. Must have come off in the wind as we drove along. The front end had been bent and the refastening must have come loose. Anyway I went over to the junk yard on Middlebelt, north of Michigan you know, and luckily I found one in good shape on a wrecked '66 LTD 2 door. Funny but they were the same length, that distance between the fenders, on the 2 door & my 4 door. I also got a "R" to replace the one that got knocked off my hood in a recent windstorm. Only cost 3 bucks and it looks even better than before, since the old trim had that crease in it.

Lynn could probably replace her fender fairly cheaply the same way. We will have to look into that. Last Sunday at this time we were just about through with the Dunes trip. When I told you about Sugar Loaf in the letter I didn't have the brochure which I picked up at Traverse City Chamber of Commerce office before mailing, Monday AM. I also got another piece on the place which describes all the rates and stuff.

We got 3 of your letters this week. I guess we didn't miss any. The time between your writing and receiving an answer by us of that writing can take well over a week to 2 weeks depending on how soon we reply.

Mike was going to be working 2 days but they decided to give him a day off which is Wednesday.

Last night Mother & I decided to go out dancing, seeing as how I was all dressed up anyhow, having been Lector at 4 PM Mass. So she got dressed up in her new long green dress and we went over to Westwood (on Mich near John Daly, you know). Last time we were there they had a nice 4 piece orchestra which played "our kind" of music. We were surprised to see that they had a young band and a young crowd which dressed very informally. We had one drink and left before the band came on. But the recorded music that they played in the meanwhile, well, you would have liked it. So not getting any dancing there we went to Dearborn to the Topper. It's a nice place on Michigan at Oakwood I guess where there was a 3 piece combo who played some nice music although not completely the old style. They did play one fairly slow set. Not too much of a crowd there, though.

Our new rug came yesterday. Plush, blue, and pretty, for the Dining/Family Room. I finally painted the ceiling, the acoustical tiles. 1st time, and the room is 16 years old now.

Well, keep your nose to the grindstone. It may be dull and the work after graduation might be boring, but an assignment in the infantry, artillery, or whatever would be just as boring or worse. And lets pray there is no more war to liven things up. So, as they say, keep the Faith, (and if you pray occasionally, you will).

With Love,

[Enclosed are a couple of Bob Talbert's columns.]

66.  Pat Bratcher

Monday, July 31-72

Dear John,

Hi! I'm ok! How are you? So, how do you like the army? Most guys I know don't particularly care for it. Are you majoring or involved with any particular subject in the army? I mean are you going to jump from planes or work on planes or tanks or what are you doing? Are you going to go to Vietnam? Or will you go to Germany? Or just stay here in the States?

I'm doing ok. I see George once in a while. Yes she talks about you. Says you write long & extra ordinary letters for a guy. Says you're very interesting, too. I've known her about 9 years & I still don't understand her. To me she's really a strange person. Yes, George told me about Alice Cooper-sounded Like you had a really god time. I consider all pills chemicals no matter what's in them. I myself would rather pop a pill, than smoke some weed. I don't know, I guess dope just isn't for me, cause I always go back to beer. I tried Choc. Mesc. & didn't get nothing but a body high, so back to beer. I really was digging on blue T.H., but I can't never find any, so back to beer.

Are you going to be able to be home for Christmas? I hope so-I wish all the guys in the services could at least be home for Christmas. Yeah, we had fun at Bob-Lo-it would have been more fun, if she wouldn't have gotten rid of all her pills so quickly. It would have been a riot if we were high. Oh well-it was still fun. From the letter I got from you-I assume you didn't get my first letter-did you? Well-I wrote one to ya. I can't remember what it said, but I did write it. Well, not much happening here-so see ya later.


Write when ya can,
Be good & always smile!

68.  Mom

Wed., Aug 3 (1972) [should be the 2nd which was Wednesday; postmarked August 2, 1972.]

A gloomy, rainy day here. Greg is washing the kitchen wall for me and grumping about it. Mark says that I would make a good drill sergeant-the way I give orders. He did the stairwell. Mike painted the downstairs bath so every one is getting a turn at something. Lynn is away so many Saturdays but one of these weeks she is going to be drafted for her room. So you see-we all have complaints once in a while.

We haven't heard from you in 10 days or so. Maybe today? I hope classes and studies are going well for you.

Jim came over Sunday and stayed for dinner. It was his birthday & luckily I baked a cake just in case he showed up. It was a small, what you might call intimate, dinner with you and Lynn not home. Grampa and Bud didn't come because we didn't know if Jim would show up. Each one of you leaves a big space when you're not here for family celebrations.

Yesterday a man from Sonatone Corp. came over to test my hearing. Someone called their office last May and told them that I had a hearing problem. No one around here will admit it. The test didn't tell me anything I didn't know already but it was interesting for Greg & Mary Lou to watch. Greg asked about teenagers getting deaf from loud music and he verified my position. Not only are they going deaf from loud music but also from much snow mobiling and motorcycle riding. He said most rock musicians now put their amplifiers out in front of them on stage and also wear ear plugs. Did you know that 3 of the 4 Beatles have hearing aids now.

Wish I could convince Mark about the loudness he tolerates with his earphones.

Well, we are going to the zoo tomorrow-weather permitting. Mike wants to get some animal pictures for Mary Lou's birthday (on the 23). By the way . . .Bill's is the 17th of Aug.


[Enclosed are Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

69.  Mom

Thurs. Aug 3 (1972)

Dear John,

Just got back from Wilhelm's Clinic with your extract! Tomorrow A.M. I will send it out Air Mail, SPECIAL DELIVERY to the dispensary at Fort Bliss. Please be on the look out for it. Inside the package will be the sheet of instructions with your dosage listed. Remember to tell the attending doctor or nurse that you missed a dose (or more, if that is the case).

I called the Red Cross here about where to send it & he (whoever "he" is) didn't advise me to send it at all until you had contacted the Red Cross at Ft. Bliss. I do hope that my way does save you about a week and that there is no "snafu" down at your end. Your name & serial number will be on the letter and I wish you luck. Please let me know right away, will you, when you receive this note & your arrangements with the dispensary? You will tell them right away that the extract is coming, won't you?

More about your guitar in a few days. I told your dad to look into it.

Wow! What a day!

Much love & easy breathing.

71.  Mary Beth White

August 5th, 1972


Hi, how are you? I was wondering if they would forward my letter to you from Tenn. It did take them a long time! I'm glad they did forward it. I haven't seen your brothers so I couldn't ask them for your address in Texas & I wasn't sure if you were transferred when I wrote or not. I was so happy to get your letter. It was my birthday & it wasn't a very happy one since my uncle died the day before. Your letter made things a lot better.

For my birthday I got a Melanie album & Mud Slide Slim by James Taylor, I'm listening to them now. I also got $15, a watch, a purse, & a smock top that my sister made for me. I also got this stationary & some Chantilly Cologne.

In the mail along with your letter I got my voter's registration card. I'm now a legal voter. My first chance to vote will be Tues. Aug 8th. It's something I've been looking forward to.

Tomorrow night my sister is taking me to see 3 Dog Night, also for my birthday. I can't wait. They were here once before last year & I was sorry that I didn't get to see them, now I will.

The other night I went to the Drive-in & we saw Easy Rider, Getting Straight, & Bob, Ted, Carol & Alice. Easy Rider was good but I didn't like the ending because the good guys got killed. Bob, Ted, Carol & Alice was really dumb. It was mostly about group therapy & how married couples should be perfectly honest with one another. We didn't stay to see all of Getting Straight, it was crappy too.

I wanted to ask you, what is a Nike Hercules site? I know nothing about things like that. Also if you go to one will you be moved out of Texas?

Bliss sounds fabulous! I love mountains!! I've only seen them once live & that was the Smokies in Tenn. It's funny because of all the things I had hoped to do in my life times I did all 3 in a week. I went to the Bahamas with my senior class so I was able to fly & see the Ocean, both were all I'd hoped they would be. Then I went camping in Tenn. The mountains were the most fantastic thing I've have ever seen! I plan to do all sorts of traveling. First over the U.S. & if there is still time left the world!

The weather here is really crazy. It got real cold. I couldn't believe it, freezing in the middle of August. August used to be unbearable. I really love hot weather but we've had none.

Is Ft. Bliss anywhere near Amarillo? My parents were down there last year & said it was beautiful. With all the red clay on the way. I would love to go further south, the states there are so pretty & so different from here.

I made it through my summer classes. I have to go to orientation August 11, 12, & 13th. It should be fun. I can't wait to start in September!

Melanie & James are great! I love them both.

Well, I've got to be going now. Write soon.

Mary Beth

72.  Mary Lou

Sun 6 (1972) [August 6, 1972]

Dear John,

Today is a rainy day. A miserable day. Yesterday I got a flat tire on Helen. I had to walk it home. Today I got a new tire and inner tube. Which took pretty long. We went to Ace, Kmart and the Ace on Ford finally got it.

Know how much money I have? 11 dollars and 94 cents. By my birthday I will have enough money to buy an aquarium. Which will cost around 17 dollars. I'm gonna start out with 2 guppies. A male and female. I'll get them from the pet shop in Detroit. When I get a population explosion I'll let them eat the babies because I wouldn't be able to afford to take care of all those babies! Don't you think that's a pretty good reason?

In the St. Norbert's Messenger it said that Lawrence Suchyta is getting married to Patty Sleek. Isn't that a surprise?

If you still want Jim's camera it's going to cost a lot of money! 50 dollars! I doubt if you'll buy it.

Since Mike and Greg began to drive, I think it's getting to dad. Now when I'm driving with dad he's getting me a little nervous. You know, the way he pulls out in front of cars.

There's nothing else to say. Goodbye for now.

Mary Lou's drawing of me coming home Mary Lou

P.S. I hope you like my picture. [A picture of me coming home from the Army; "Mom I'm home!" "I'm glad you're home!"]

73.  Dad

Mon. 8-7-72

Dear John,

A rainy evening, cool and quiet, to usher in a new week. Just yesterday I was thinking, only 6-7 weeks or so til Fall officially arrives. It has been a most peculiar summer; the coolest I can remember, but one that has been remarkably conformable, but which my allergy or whatever causes my nose to run (occasionally in spurts) has not left it as it usually does early in July. I hope the allergy hasn't expanded. I have been tempted to go to the doctor about it. It could be sinus problems instead. Well, maybe it's just unusual weather.

We saw our slides tonight, the ones mother took up north with Mike's newest camera. They turned out very good. It's so nice to look back on things with pictures. We also viewed our Toronto slides and I think as we look back it seems better than when we were actually there. We seem to be slow about getting things to you. We delay now with the guitar til we get more info. I checked with Continental Bus & they would take it down, very carefully the young man says, and they guarantee it from loss or damage up to its value. Mother wanted to check at the Post Office. I guess the bus line would take it to the depot in El Paso and you would pick it up from there. I could pack it so it wouldn't rattle and enclose it in heavy paper and bind it. The case is rather soft but with warnings on the wrapping I think it would be ok, especially by passenger bus since they wouldn't pack the baggage compartment like a train's mail car. Since you expressed some doubt about the safety of sending it, perhaps you should give us the word about going ahead with it.

As for the camera, I expect we can get that packed safely soon and on its way.

Mother's camera takes fine pictures without flash if the light outside is fair at least, and inside with inexpensive tiny flash bulbs.

You should take a bunch so you can have this to remember and to show us for a long time to come. All those we took on our trip seemed so few and the viewing time so short when we sat down to see them tonight. Mother just reported to me what the guy at the Post Office told her today about mailing the guitar. He said it might get some rough treatment and said that shipping by bus would be very much safer. So, again, we will wait for your ok on sending it.

Jim was over yesterday, he comes once or twice a week for his mail or to wash his car. He may change jobs at Pepsi and drive a truck to get a jump up to 4 something an hour. This would be full time days so he says he would stay at school nights for a subject or two. This delay of the education he seems to want might be a mistake. This guy at work who is about 25 or 26 and has been getting turned down on job applications he has made in the Construction Dept. is now considering going to school nights. And this will cost him because he is a good mechanic and he works at a neighborhood station 5 or 6 times a week at nights and Saturday.

I am anxious to hear how the medicine for your allergy turned out and if the personnel there handled it ok. I should have thought about the Army supplying it since they are supposed to take care of your needs and you don't have any outside health insurance which would normally take care of the expenses, or partially. I can't get over the temperatures I see reported for El Paso lately. Is it really that hot, I mean does it seem that bad?

Have you taken any trips? What about the mountains? See any movies or TV lately? How does the Free Press hit you? Are there many guys from Michigan there? Is Mass celebrated weekly and are you making it? Gee, there are lots of things to write about aren't there.

Well, I guess I have about run out for now. Oh, I found those LTD emblems that were snitched off the rear top side of my car at the junk yard today. Only 1 buck & they are in perfect shape. Shouldn't have waited so long.

With Love,

Bill's birthday on Aug 17.

[Enclosed the Feature Page from the Free Press Monday, August 7, 1972.]

74.  Pat Bratcher

Aug. 10-72

Dear John.

Hi! I sure was surprised to hear from you so soon! So you ain't been up to much, eh? Not much happening here. Well, I see nothing wrong with smoking dope or "popping" a few pills-just so you don't get so hung-up you just gotta have it. Ya know what I mean? Cause I've smoked dope-didn't care for it but I still don't knock it cause lots of people really dig it. I've also "popped" a few pills-for kicks & to feel good, but I don't consider myself a dope addict or anything. A pill here & there can't do much harm that liquor couldn't do. I have nothing against dope just so long, as you say, you don't abuse it.

No, I wasn't tired of hearing you talk about dope-it's a very deep subject-that should be talked more about. I disagree to the statement that you feel "you're still the same-but only going through a few minor changes"-cause I don't think if you're not hooked badly on dope that it can change you. Understand?

No, Mike hasn't had any more parties lately. Mainly cause he hasn't had the money. You see his Barracuda quit running & it's gonna cost $700 to get it fixed, I guess. That's what I heard anyway. You're right "you don't get rowdy when you're stoned cause when you're stoned everything's beautiful."

I baby-sit from 2:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. for a 14 month old baby boy, 8 houses from my house. It's not bad-just boring, I make $25.00 a week for it. It's ok!

I'd like to go to Vietnam. Maybe I will. I'd also like to go to Germany-it's supposed to be beautiful there. I think the war is a bad thing-and-I can't wait till it's over. Well, I'm happy that at you at least get to come home for Christmas. I really feel sorry for the guys that can't come home. Especially the ones in 'Nam. I wish they'd all just stop fighting & come home.

Well, I guess that's about all for now, John. See ya later! Write when ya can.


75.  Greg

14 Aug (1972)

Dear John,

After a lot of confusion I finally have my ride up to Pine Knob settled. Lynn will drive us up there to see Bread. I was hoping dad would let me take the car up there. But he wouldn't.

Only 24 more days until school starts on the 7th. I really can't wait to get back into school. This summer really has been drab. Last summer there were rock concerts every Friday in Garden City Park! None this year. Only one party that I knew of -Cloutier's. And when you don't have the car, it makes it worse.

This is about the fourth week since I've worked. I don't think my boss will call me in ever again. Right now I really could do with some money.

There's this guy, some friend of yours I think, who always waves whenever I see him. And I don't know who he is. He drives an orange Volk's and he's got blond hair, all combed back. He's been to all your parties I think.

Looking through the past couple yearbooks has me thinking that I'm going to miss going to Cherry Hill. All the dances, sports events, and float meetings are really what make up Cherry Hill. It really made me sad to think that I only have two more years left of high school. Up to junior year, school's been pretty fun but it won't be half as fun as my last two years. I've never really had what you call a girlfriend, like what you and Mary had. It'd really be beautiful to have a girl who cares about me and likes me a lot. I hope during this school year I can find one like that. That'd really make the year. Having the car will open new doors in my social life. No more dumb walking around Garden City on Friday nights. I am really looking forwards to school. Hope it turns out like I hoped, or better.

Getting back to the business about the girlfriend. I look around me everywhere I go and I see these kids you'd never expect they'd have a girl, and yet they do. And then I look at myself and say, why not me? There has been some girls who have liked me before but most of them I haven't. Three years of my teenage life has passed by-three practically wasted yrs. I'm determined not to waste the remaining three years. I gotta start making something of my life. The teenage years are supposed to be the best of anyone's life.

If only I had the guts to just go up to a girl I like and ask here out or to dance. But I'm afraid I'm too chicken, and that's what's hurting me. Hopefully, this school year will be different. But it's up to me. It must be nice to have a steady girl. Maybe this year I'll experienced it.

I'd be interested in any thoughts about this from you. Thanks a lot.

Your brother,

76.  Dan White

[Postmarked August 14, 1972, from Co-C 3rd Sch Bde, Ft. Gordon, GA]


What's happening brother head! How ya doing out there in Texas? Got your letter bout a week ago and decided to return the blessing. Ft. Bliss sounds like a far out joint. I'm glad you like it. We're out in the middle of Georgia. This post and this whole state is screwed to the bone. We have it real easy like yourself but I still don't dig it. Maci and Marz are in my room. Maci and I got stoned last night. It was sweet as ever. I've got about six more weeks here. Then I'll go wherever they decide they want me. All I do is type most of the day and then a few classes between typing classes. Not hard at all. I've been home about three times and that is always nice. Say, tell Austin Dan said "High."

I'm about 900 miles away from home so it is in driving distance. I'm gonna drive home next weekend. I guess I'll have to stay here this weekend. We're going to a Bloodrock concert in two weeks. That'll be nice.

I'll bet Mexico is really nice. I'd like to see it sometime. You guys are really a long way from home though. Do you make it home much? I found out what a round trip ticket from Germany costs. $500. Wow, I guess if I go over there I won't be coming home.

Well buddy! Write back and let me know how Sam's treating you. Be cool and don't let them screw you over.

Your Pal,


77.  Dad

Mon. 8-14 (1972)

Dear John,

We got your letter of last Thursday and Mary Lou got hers also, both today. How did it feel to go get out driving in a car? I suppose your trips into town and across the border have been on buses. Am I right or do you travel regularly with a guy with a car? We are anxious to hear if the guitar arrived all right. You might keep the box and foam for shipping back even if you bring it with you when you come if it would have to travel with the luggage. We sent it without waiting for your answer when Mother assured me you didn't express doubt about wanting it. Therefore we didn't pack any albums or music but we will try and get some of your requests out. You ask for records. What facilities have you for playing them? I got the box at Grinell's downtown where the man in the shipping dept. gave me the box and even wrapped and taped it; very nice guy. I was going to send it with the case just wrapped in paper but the lady at the bus depot said it might get picked up by somebody if they could tell what it was so the box seemed safer from that and also from damage.

It happened so fast I didn't have much time to get any film for the camera. I stopped at the drug store at the Hilton on the way to Grinell's and they only had black & white film-I was going to get color. Well, if you use it you can take a lot of pictures. Black & white make good pictures anyway, and they are a lot cheaper to print. Color, of course, is really the thing to have, especially for scenery.

Are you saving any of your income? I hope you don't come out of service like Jim with nothing in the bank, or very little saved. Well, maybe he felt it was worth it to spend it all. It is really difficult to advise young people any more. Who is to say which is the correct thing to do. And, even more, maybe most things are more a matter of personal opinion or preference rather than a question of right or wrong or wise or unwise.

What made me realize I'm getting older [dad is 48 in 1972] is last week at work these guys in the office who are 28, 29 years old were discussing the party one was having Saturday night. And they, or he, invited one other 29 year old and a few of the young girls in the next office, too I guess, but no mention or apparent thought of asking me and your mother (they are married too) or Jack Cartmill or the others my age. Even though we all act equally toward each other in the office and even had been at a Christmas season party at Cartmill's last year.

This doesn't bother me because I wouldn't want to go to their party anyway, not because I don't like them, but because they probably do things differently and have different tastes. This judgement is from hearing conversations in the office, and they are real nice people, too.

Anyway, a parent still has to try and help, advise, guide, and maybe even lead his offspring. And all parents will make some mistakes along the way but their experience and whatever other assets they have makes them someone to reckon with and their words should not be taken lightly. Generally a parent has the son or daughter's best interest at heart.

I see you are still getting the hot weather. I thought it would not be as bad as you indicate. It has been hot today but the night is cool now, we had some rain today, and tomorrow promises to be pleasant.

The Power Club Annual Picnic to Bob-Lo is Saturday and Ma, Mark, and Mary Lou will accompany me for a day down the river.

We went to the Polish Festival behind Cobo yesterday. They had a big crowd, nice dancing entertainment, and lots of booths with good food and games.

Well, try and not think of the 2 years as a drag and a waste. It will be all gone soon and the balance of your expected lifetime will be a long road ahead. You have much to look forward to so stay and be patient and take a step at a time-


[Enclosed is the feature page of the Free Press, Monday, August 114, 1972.]

78.  Debbie Franklin

Tuesday, Aug 15 (1972)

Dear John-

Hi, what's new? Not much is happening here in fact if I waited until something really exciting happened before writing, you wouldn't hear from me til Christmas or after. Yes, things are pretty dull here in Inksterville. I really shouldn't complain though, at least I'm not in school yet but that begins in 3 weeks. Bummer . . . .

Let's see now-okay; ready for a big rundown on my not-so-exciting summer?

First of all, we had to have Peppi put to sleep June 7 because his cancer got uncontrollable.

The week after we went to New York to see my step-sister and her family. We had a good time and they were really beautiful people. The weather was a disappointment though. We had planned on doing some sunning and swimming. They surprised us with a new poodle puppy, Piere'. He takes after me; in other words-he's a brat.

I got home from there and had just enuf time to rest and repack before leaving with a girlfriend and her family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That place was fantastic, better than Daytona Beach or Ft. Lauderdale. There was an Air Force Base nearby so there were a lot of eligible males to choose from. That has been my best 2 weeks so far this summer. We swam, sunned, golfed, drank, hussled, partyed, went to amusement parks, drank some more-really a tits time!

But when I got home things were a bummer again. No job, no money, a broken scooter and nothing to do. I did go boating and water skiing a couple of time. And I've been to a couple shows and out to eat. Now the bike is fixed but I always ride Elie's 450cc custom whenever I go some place. They other day, Sunday, we rode 100 miles down Edward Hines and to Kensington. Really a mind blower.

My sister and John are in California and my parents just got back about 3 hours ago from a week visit down South. I stayed here with the dog. Every nite people were over, drinking, smoking, having sex, you name it. It really makes me nervous and wears me out worrying about things so I'm glad they're back. I can't believe I'm actually glad to be restricted again but it's kinda good.

Not much else new here so I'll sign off. Take it easy . . . .

Debra Gay

Hope you like the enclosed picture of ya!

79.  Mom

Tues. Nite

Aug. 15 (1972)

Dear John,

Just got in from evening Mass. Hope you made it to Church on this holy day of obligation.

Wow-has this been a busy two weeks for me! That is why I haven't written in the last few days.

First of all, though, let me set the record straight and "make it perfectly clear"-I do not want you to buy me any silverware (e.g. knives, forks, spoons). The silver I meant was jewelry silver-you know-silver bracelets, aquamarine (turquoise) and silver earrings, etc. I can remember my brother, Paul, buying me a solid silver pin from Texas. Anyway-I was just thinking that perhaps you might find something pretty for Mary Lou's birthday. She will be 10 and that is so much more grown up that 9! She was so pleased to receive a letter from you.

I am sorry about the medicine. What a waste! Was the letter that came with it ant help to the Army to make you up some more or shall I call Wilhelm's back again? Let me know, o.k.?

I have been busy painting for the past week. Greg gave up on the dining room job-shelves, wall and cupboards-so I had to take over. Gave them two coats of pale blue to blend with our new blue shag rug. I still have the insides of the cupboards to do. Maybe tomorrow.

I have also started my hex sign for the garage. Remember the Pennsylvania Dutch "distelfink" bird over the kitchen table? Well, I am doing it as a 3', 10" good luck symbol for our garage. Enamel on enamel, a slick combo to work with but so far it looks o.k. (at a distance).

Mike is here in the basement building a box for his camera equipment. Just like Bill made a box for his tapes. Hinges & locks and all done with Allen Lumber. Very nice-but heavy.

Mom & her dystlefink painting

Bill passed his physical. The Army didn't think his bad skin on his back was bad enough to disqualify him. So he decided to grow a beard, etc. before he has to be shaved like you. He expects a call from Uncle Sam in April but I hope not.

Until later-Much love, Mom

P.S. Got your request for your records after we sent the guitar. Pretty music to you!

[Enclosed are Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

80.  Georgeann Vigil

Aug. 16.72

Dear John,

Sorry for not writing. I was really surprised to see that you were still writing, because I haven't wrote you at all for a long time. I just got your letters today, because they were over at my Aunt's house and she just mailed them to me, & I got them today. I moved to Lansing with my sister, it's been three weeks now. I found a job in one week, that's pretty good. I been working lately. I work at Imperial 400 a hotel. It was ruff at first, but now it's easy. I guess it's okay for now, until I find a better job.

I been toking up lately. I met quite a few kids up here. The kids up here are really friendly & nice. They're mostly school kids. Sure are a lot of freaks, & strange people here.

They have quite a few bars here that are for the young ones, or teenagers, or whatever, you know what I mean, don't know. Have bands every night, & old flicks, I can really get into a flick when the band plays cos it looks like the movie goes with the music. I got the album "Thick As A Brick." That's really a heavy piece of work there.

No, I didn't go see Alice Cooper. Bummer if ever one. Yes, Pat smoked before but not much that I know of. Do you play chess much? That was a steal [my buying an onyx chess set in Juarez]. You were pretty lucky with the chess & the boots. How do you like basic training? What do you like best out of all of it?

That's nice now you can have your guitar to play. I bet that made you feel good, eh? Who's Barbara Jane Mackle? What happened to her? Did you hear from Pat? Do you hear from Mike or write to him? I went to go see "The Last Picture Show." It was pretty good, but grose at some parts what they said & done. Did you ever see it? Do you get to see any flicks there?

Well, I haven't written much, but it's better than nothing because I can never get my stuff together. That's pretty good for me anyways. I'll write later. I can't think of nothing else to write about for right now. It was good to hear from you, thank you for writing. Sorry for not writing.

Stay High,

81.  Dad

Sun. Aug 20 (1972)

Dear John,

This one is being penned from the front porch. It is a pleasant day, warm, but a nice breeze here in the shade. Our tree nearest the living room has really blossomed out this year after getting a sickly start but which was remedied with a couple spray applications of bug killer. The ball game is about to start and the Tigers are back in first place. Glad you got the guitar o.k. We still have to find the albums you wanted and get them off. It's nice to get the pictures, too. Hope you can get a bunch now that you have the camera.

Also, your first $25 Savings bond came. Glad to see you got it. Are you in a regular deduction program or do you just get one whenever you feel like it?

We had a nice day at Bob-Lo yesterday which was Edison Power Club Picnic day. We didn't get the boat at Del Ray Power Club because we would have to go back downtown and it would become the 11 o'clock boat. Instead we took the 10 AM from downtown. Greg & Mark with Mary Lou & Mother were the troop. The others worked or didn't want to go. They get more rides each year and the layout is somewhat rearranged this year. Bill went also but he took a girl on the 9 o'clock moonlight, and got off at the isle too.

Last night was bad with a few of drunken bums talking too loud over in the park all night. The police were called and I don't know what they did but the guys were still there at 6 AM. Finally a couple of cars (police) came over and hauled all but one away. But they were back later in the day. There is a picnic advertised with signs, for the Buzz Troop," whatever they are. A bunch are over there now and pretty quiet, too. But they are like skunks, they do their foul work after dark when the are good and loaded.

Seems funny that the summer is almost over. School starts Sept. 6. I haven't even been to Belleville Point this year, although Bill has been there a couple times and took the younger kids once or twice.

That labor day weekend your friends are going home-how much time are they really getting off-Friday nite to Tues AM or Mon. nite? Was that price you quoted a coach or reserved or standby figure?

Bill is washing his car out front under the tree and it sure looks good. I think he got a real good car. The new cars keep costing more and they keep adding more plumbing to them making them more complicated to maintain and costly too.

At Bob-Lo yesterday a Canadian car club had a bunch of old cars on display and up for Competition for closest to original condition. They had some cars from the 20's, 30's and a '51 Kaiser. It was remarkable how well kept some of them are. Even the upholstery looked like new.

The LTD of ours still looks so good I sometimes think I would like to keep it preserved for, say, the rest of my life; not to use continually, but just to have, like some of these at Bob-Lo.

Well, Mary Lou would like to go for a bike ride and I said I would go with her so I will now, and say so long til next time.


82.  Mom


Aug 21 (1972)

Dear John,

Sorry I missed your call last night but here is your $ order. Hope the car doesn't cost a great deal in repairs while you have it. I know that it will make your time off a great deal more enjoyable. See all that you can. The chance may not come again for that part of the country.

Well, knowing that your dad wrote to you yesterday and talked to last night there probably isn't much for me to add today.

You still haven't told me whether or not the serum was any good. Did a doctor check it out for you? I have waited to hear from you before I called Dr. Wilhelm's again.

We are checking that list of 4 records for you. I'll get it out as soon as possible. If you decide to reject the teaching job, won't you have a lot of stuff to move to your next assignment? We were pleased, by the way, with that high 90's score. Keep up the good work and don't fall asleep in class.

I'm off now to your friendly credit union-- Bye, bye, Mom

Your balance is $1276.25

83.  Mary Lou

Tuesday [Postmarked August 23, 1972]

Dear John,

Got my guppies today. Male and Female. I think the female was already mated. She's got the pouch which means going to have babies pretty soon.. I don't know when. It looks like they're getting along pretty good. Do you know how much money I spent on them? 10.45!

It's hard to believe we're surviving this weather! It's so hot! I guess it would be hotter down there [El Paso, Texas]. How you doing there? [The following sentence is crossed out in the letter: Do you have a list of birth dates in the family? If you don't, mine's tomorrow.]

When you get home you going to bring the Chevy with you?

Entered the love is . . . contest. They are going to announce the winners next Sunday. They're going to be 5 grand prize winners and 15 runners up for each age group.

When are you going to be able to come home on leave? Soon I hope.

Bye for now.

Mary Lou

P.S. I'm sending you a reminder of you're good times in Kentucky.

[Enclosed is a post card of a "Blue Grass Horse Farm in Kentucky."]

84.  Dad

Sun. [August 27; postmarked August 28, 1972]

Dear John,

Sunday evening again. Now let's see what has happened since last Sunday.

Right now Jim is upstairs. He is staying with us for a couple weeks until his new apartment in Southgate is completed. Came in Friday. He has had trouble with his car. Finally found out one of the cylinders is no good, bad valve I guess.

The boys (twins) are at this moment enjoying the final moments of "Bread" out at Pine Knob. Lynn & Bob Wisnewski dropped 4 of the guys out there and were planning to go on to Frankenmuth for dinner and then come back to pick them up when it is over. It is just a one night stand which is unusual for Pine Knob. The show must be popular because the reserved seats are $7.00 & $4.00, and they are getting $4.00 also for sitting on the grass outside the covered section. They usually get $2.50 or $3.00 for that area. But each show out there is priced independently.

Mother finally finished painting her Distlefink, the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex sign she was doing for the garage. We got it mounted this evening and it is quite a work of art. I plan on taking a picture of it and I'll get you a print. How's your picture taking? Did you get started? Perhaps before you get this we shall know the answer to that one. The Tigers took two today from Minn. & are 1-1/2 ahead of the O's again. You didn't say if you followed their progress. We will ship Jim's camera on to you this week hopefully. So you can sell it for $50.00 or more. You can keep whatever you get over that amount. If you do sell it and want to keep the cash and want us to take the $50.00 from your account, confirm it in a letter after it has been accomplished.

This is the best week of the summer season but we have had such a wet & cool summer I wouldn't be surprised if the Fall was warm and dry.

This has been a busy week & I still didn't get your albums out. Mom has them set aside but I still have to find a way to pack them & do it. I worked two nights this week also, usually 3 hours when I do. It's seasonal stuff although the overtime last year and this has been drastically reduced. In fact this week was the first this year. I really don't care much for it although the extra pay is welcome even though they have eliminated time & a 1/2 for the A&P roll (A-11 and over).

I slip the Bob Talbert column in occasionally because I think you enjoy it and I don't know of anything else you would particularly would want. If there is anything else let me know. It's easy to clip an article or 2 from a newspaper. Conversely, if you don't want the Talbert sheet, also let me know.

Did you hear about the Polish elevator operator who got fired? He couldn't learn the route.

There doesn't seem to be much more news at this point. I guess Mary Lou didn't get your birthday card yet. She did get the guppies, you know. Two at first, and then there were 5 the next day. And all are still getting along quite well.

Still waiting to hear about your allergy shots progress.


[Enclosed is a Bob Talbert column.]

85.  Mom

Monday p.m.

Aug 28 (1972)

Hi John,

Hoped to hear from you by today-don't know whether or not you received the money order I sent to you last week.

Everything o.k.? Things are moving along so fast here-only a few weeks before school begins. Winter clothes are in all the stores-Pre season sales an skis and equipment. Back to school signs in Kresge's windows. I wonder where the summer went?

The so-called lazy days of summer are a figment of someone's imagination. I haven't seen any.

Your dad & I hung our hex sign on our garage yesterday-no champagne but I really am quite proud of it. Have had some nice comments on it. Now, your dad is going to paint the garage door.

Lynn and her friend Bob W. took the twins and a couple of friends out to Pine Knob last night. Just dropped them off to see Cream (no - "Bread") and picked them up after the show. The boys paid $4.00 to sit on the grass for a 2 hour show. I guess that they enjoyed it. After much rain the evening turned out nice. Greg now wants to see Black Sabbath at Cobo H. next Sunday but he is out of "bread" (that's a pun, son).

Speaking of school-did Lynn tell you that she is going back to school to get her degree? Needless to say I am tickled pink. She is going to do it at both Mercy and Marygrove. She figures on graduating next April. Hallalooia!!

If this letter seems a bit disjointed and silly, it is because I have had a long, hard day and my brain is tired.

But I saved you my love and prayers and hope to hear from you tomorrow.

P.S. What about your allergy serum????

86.  Dad

Monday [September 4; postmarked September 5, 1972]

Dear John,

The 2 day holiday weekend is drawing to an end and today we (Mother, Mike, Mark, Mary Lou & Me-the 5 M's) went to the State Fair. It was pleasant and we went early enough not to be bothered with Labor Day crowds. Oh, it was full of people but they are dispersed over quite an area. We didn't go on even one ride, just walked around and saw all the sights and animals, even a horse show, and had a little lunch. It was nice.

I hope you had a nice weekend. We got your letter Saturday and I kind of know how you might feel, kind of like the weekend we were down at Ft. Knox. I can almost feel the loneliness I felt when I was in the service down in Mississippi and Long Beach and Seattle. I was more of a loner than you are-I think. But I guess there is no way of avoiding the issue. You are committed to 2 years, less if you are lucky and the big consolation is that you will hopefully not have to risk your life in battle. Also, hopefully Bill may just possibly avoid the draft, even with his #8 or 9, whatever his "Lucky Number" is. I just hope they halt the draft by January. As for you I hope you can make the best of it. Believe me, 2 years out of a lifetime is not very much. I know you cannot appreciate it at this time, but you are doing something, and you are seeing things that you wouldn't otherwise and it will be valuable, more or less, to you later. So, take life as it comes. Your friends back here aren't as fulfilled as you might imagine.

Lynn & Julie are here after spending a few days back East. She was in Julie's sister's wedding and they had a deuce of a time Saturday driving the happy couple to Toronto's airport so they could catch their charter to the Mediterranean. Julie is in town for 4 more @ U-D.

Next Monday I am supposed to start a month or so in the field, probably at the Newport Rd. Warehouse which is under construction. The job-"field Engineer" which came about because our department has bid for 14 more engineers & technicians and the Civil Engineer at the Newport job which is contracted out is being sent to Fermi II and our estimating engineer who is a Civil Engr. who is going to the field, until some new people can be hired, he is going to Spain on vacation. Anyway I am going to the field in his place; until he gets back. I am looking forward to the experience. I "estimated" this job and am therefore familiar with it. There are so many changes and additions in our department, coming or accomplished, that it is quite an exciting atmosphere. I might and very likely will get into a couple new fields in Estimating, such as electric stations & substation estimating, or Power Plants. Or even field work. Well, one step at a time.

Did someone take that picture in front of that house with your camera? Where was it. How come you didn't explain the circumstances? I just sent a new roll in for processing. I hope to get some good photos to send to you.

Greg has worked this weekend with Jim Hayes next door. He got 4 loads of dirt & some R.R. ties and is fixing up his place, back & front. He even took a big clump of trees out on the far side of his rear yard. It really looks like they intend to stay. He went to Calif. For a month for Topps department stores where he works as a supervisor, for a training course. He now has a better job as an instructor for the women's wear dept & he expects another promotion next year. We got a new black family down in the new house which finally got built next to the Minor's. A young mother & child. Harold said she is on A.D.C. but the husband/father is there, too.

School starts tomorrow and on a more optimistic tone than I expected. We still have the 8 grades and when we only had Sr. B. Mary a couple months ago, she has recruited 4 other nuns including 2 Dominicans (one from the Philippines) Sr. Joseph, and an I.H.M. nun. So we shall have at least one more successful (I hope) year of St. Norbert School. Sr. B. Mary is now Principle and I think she will be a good one.

Well, dinner is almost ready. I must go but I promise to send your records soon. They are already in a box I picked up @ Ross's Store. I was waiting for the camera booklet but Jim doesn't have it. I still don't know if I should send both together or not.


[Enclosed is the Feature Page which includes Bob Talbert's column.]

87.  Mom

Wed. Aft.

Sept. 6 (1972)

Dear John,

It is hard to believe but the kids have started back to school today. The summer is gone-flown by so fast that I feel it was just a couple weeks ago that we were all down in Ft. Knox. Time is probably standing still for you except that you were wrong when you said you had two more years in the Army-Say 1-1/2 Psychologically, it sounds better.

By the way-where was that snap shot taken? Whose house? Thought that you would have a batch of snaps sent home by now. I considered putting them in an album for you to laugh at and groan over when you get out.

Not much new here. Lynn also started her night classes last night. It makes a long day on Tuesdays and Thursdays but it will be worth it to her next April when she receives her diploma and degree. Jim dropped out of day school to drive a Pepsi truck. Says that he is going to night school but I don't know for sure. An expensive apartment (if he ever gets in it) and lots of new furniture may keep him tied to a pay check instead of text books!

Mark joined a little league hockey team a month ago. Got him new skates and he is spending his paper profits on equipment plus $2.00 to practice every week. A new, huge indoor rink opened up on John Daly an Wick road so your dad and I take turns with Cartwrights driving the boys to and from practice.

Talked to your uncle Jim by 'phone last week. He asked for you and sends his greetings. Your dad wants to get to Chicago for a weekend this fall.

When he saw the new Ford campers at the State Fair he got the idea of owning one. One that sleeps 6 and costs about $6,000.00! Looking at those things does bring out the gypsy in him.

Well, down to the P.O. with this and your magazine. Keep up the studies, John, and God bless.


Also glad about your new stripe! Any change in your address?

88.  Dad

Thursday [September 7; postmarked September 8, 1972]

Dear John,

I'm sitting & listening to Fiddler on the Roof after turning the TV ball game off in which the Tigers lost to the O's. We finally got your albums off today. I couldn't find the cord to the radio. If it turns up we will send it on. We have delayed sending the Yashica because Jim doesn't have the instruction booklet any more and without it I don't think someone unfamiliar would be able to handle it, unless someone showed them. If you think you still have a buyer let me know and maybe we can get some pages copied out of the booklet I have. Also tell us how long it takes for the box of records to arrive. They went Parcel Post (Mail).

Tomorrow, the 8th, mother & I go over to Grampa's, it's his birthday, and the Dillons & Ambroses will also be there as will Sr. Ann Louis. No kids; he just wants to talk to us and distribute some of the things he isn't using I guess. Did I tell you I am going to be a Full Engineer starting the 11th for a month or two? I will be assigned to one or more building jobs which are contracted out, and have to watch out for Edison's interest. At least I think that's what is store. More on this next week. At least it should be ideal weather to be working outside.

Did I tell you a job vacancy notice came through for an O-7 ($144+- to $180+-) as a junior draftsman or some such title similar to that. Anyway I think it is the one that you had waited for or would be able to move into. Edison seems to be making news lately as a cost conscious outfit. The latest is that they will start charging for appliance repairs sometime before Jun 1. The other day they announced they were not going to try and develop the area around the G.O. Edison owns so much of the empty property but will sell it to a developer, all or in parts. The new Cisler building is well along as is the Plaza. They will be ready for occupancy sometime next summer.

Jim moves into his new apartment tomorrow evening. I saw it from the outside last evening. It's rather impressive. He's on the 1st floor and has 3 windows along the front (which you can stand in front of and look in from the lawn). He hadn't signed the lease yet so we couldn't go in. Has a good sized bedroom, bath, Living Rm, Kitchen and dinette or dining end. Brand new as he was waiting for completion. He bought a bunch of furniture and this week started making twice as much as before by driving the Pepsi truck.

How you getting along with your music? Strumming the guitar a lot? How about the sale of your skis things. Is Julie going to buy or would you like to have an ad placed in the Synchroscope. IF you let me know before the 10th or 12th I could get it in the following month's issue. So you see it now would be November before the ad would appear.

Now I just asked Lynn and she said she would buy the boots and Julie would take the skis & the poles. You should write and reaffirm the asking price(s). Please itemize.

The kids are now back in school for the season and it looks optimistic for both schools..

St. Norberts is about to get a new pastor, a Fr. Petite. I'm not sure of the spelling and I don't know anything about him except I saw him Saturday when he dropped in at the rectory at the time I and Greg were there. We went over to adjust the front speakers at church.

Sunday Mother and I hope to drive down to Marshall Mich. and tour a bunch of new homes & buildings during their annual open house days. They have restored buildings which are lived in and occupied dating back 100 to 200 years, or even older I guess. This is a busy weekend. I was going to the old car festival @ Greenfield Village but probably won't have the time. I thought I would like to take the kids to Willow Run Saturday for the annual air show. It's going to include a mass parachute operation from helicopters. I just may have to work at the office Saturday, though. I may not, but the recently appointed assistant boss in our Construction Dept. really stirred things up saying our offices should look more professional and not so sloppy. So we have to get rid of all papers, plans, etc. from sight, which we are not working on. In other words, clear out the junk from tables, cabinets, and desk tops. So today we started throwing out old papers and records especially in filing cabinets so we can stow away the stuff we need to use. Sounds silly but maybe there are advantages to it. Well, it draws late so I'll close. Keep the Faith, lad.

With Love,

[Enclosed is Bob Talbert's column.]

89.  Mom

Sept. 12 (1972)


Hi! I had the machine out to do a little typing for your father and decided to write your weekly newsletter.

Yesterday Jim and I spent most of the day in the emergency ward of two hospitals. He called here at 6:00 yesterday morning to tell us that he hadn't slept all night because of an injured knee. He pulled some ligaments in the right knee playing "touch football" Sunday afternoon. Someone "touched" him too hard. Anyway, I took him into Wayne County General emergency at about 7:00 and stayed until almost 10:30. They wanted him to come back at 2:00 so that a professor from U. of M. could examine him and decide whether or not surgery was necessary.

(I just called him at his apartment and he decided to make an appointment with the doctor at the Vet's hospital for Friday.)

We spent three hours at the Vet's hospital in the afternoon trying to get some service. I thought that as long as he was a veteran he might as well get some of the benefits. Well, we shall see.

Grampa had his 75th birthday on the eighth and his sons and his daughters went over to celebrate with him. Well really, Sue and Al could not make it so it was only a partial party.

It seems like November is here today. It is gray and rainy and the driveway is full of fallen leaves. I can't believe that Fall is here already! The "last rose of summer" has been here and gone.

We are quite proud of you and your high score on your last test. Do keep up the good work. Who knows? This experience may lead you on to bigger and better things in the Edison Company on your return next April of '74.

Bill told me that he is in the process of buying a whole new wardrobe. Perhaps he is counting on the volunteer draft after the first of the year. I forgot to ask him that. But he gave away a pajama top and several of his old shirts and has been buying new pants and sport shirts lately.

Mark has gym class this year and I think that the gym shorts I resurrected are the ones that you and Bill and the twins wore for their gym classes. Doesn't that give you a nostalgic kick?

This past Sunday your dad and I took a tour of the 100 year old houses in Marshall, Michigan. I thought that it might be something to look into as a possible future move until we discovered that these old homes cost around $65,000; and then you have to put in a great deal of money to renovate them. Wow!

Let's see, what else is new?

Well, Bill, of course, wants to move out on his own and thought that maybe he could take over Jim's apartment expenses while Jim is out of work. The place is nice. Brand new with living room, bedroom, bath and fully equipped kitchen (including dish washer). It is carpeted in avocado green. Do you know the district around Goddard and Allen Road?

Well, here comes your dad home for his dinner so I will have to close this chapter.

Bye the bye, I bought that album I mentioned in my last letter and have two pages with pictures of your camp life. Would you care to add to the collection?

Much love,

90.  Greg

Tuesday-Sept. 12 (1972)

Dear John,

We're finally back in school after a long summer. I'm pretty well satisfied with my classes. It'll take a while before I can get to know the people in my classes.

One of my classes is Basic Drama fifth hour. Debbie Franklin is in there. I wonder if she writes to you.

I looked over the list of scheduled dances. The first will September 22. Homecoming is Oct. 14 and the Prom is May 8, (I think).

Despite having my license since July 9, I still can't have the car out by myself. I don't know how long it will be when I will. Too long.

I have been helping Mr. Hayes next door changing his backyard as you knew it before, into a beautiful bi-level yard. He brought in loads of dirt into the yard and we have covered it with the top soil. He is going to plant grass seed. It'll look really different by the time of your next leave.

Hayes's going to take me rabbit hunting when he goes. He's also promised to take me "skeet shooting" practice is what I think he calls it. He brought home from work some lights and a strobe light. Couple of the lights flash color. The strobe needs a new bulb. He's selling them for about $16 apiece. I might buy his strobe light.

So much for this little letter,

91.  Dad

Thurs-9/14 (1972)

Hi John

It has been a very eventful week since last I wrote. I started Monday A.M. on my new temporary job in the field. It's like an Edison job coordinator at the Edison station where a couple new Maintenance & Storage Buildings are being built on contract by Barton-Malow. I spend full time there to watch that we are getting what has been specified and what is on the drawings and also to answer or get answers to questions that come up or on changes that the contractor wants to make (or we want to make). After 4 days, 3 really, there is more action and it's more interesting than I imagined. I really am learning a lot. I had seen what been done in various stages of construction but not a lot of the details on How it was done, in the past. It should be a big help when I get back to Estimating or any other phase in the Construction Dept.

I couldn't help but think of you when I arrived on the job Monday. It is located on Ecorse Rd across from Taylor Town Shopping Center just East of Telegraph in Taylor.

The Barton-Malow trailer was already on the site and just the job superintendent was there that first day. Anyway-the site-all grass just outside the Station fence-was laid out with little sticks with yellow ribbons and a few nails in the tops. Of course you recognize the picture and I was about to see the fruits of the Edison Surveyor's labors and how this initial effort finally turns into a couple fine new buildings.

So for the last 3 days I have seen how carpenters have used those nail heads to measure from and line up on to set boards and string and nails to make the corner points and the sides of the foundation so the backhoe operator, after stripping the site of topsoil, could dig out the trench, and the carpenters could set forms and the concrete truck could come and pour the foundations. I even had to call Surge's office to confirm the B. Mark which we found as a railroad spike in the side of a pole and marked 100.00. The drawings had the B.M. as a Bolt on a Tower about 10 yards away. The guy in the office said they usually mark up or sketch a drawing showing these changes but we never got a copy. But he had a record of the job the surveyors did and he confirmed it right handily. So you are not surprised to hear your old cohorts had done a nice job.

Well back to Monday again, you may have heard that Jim called before I left and asked to be taken to the hospital because his knee pained so due to a clipping in touch football Sunday. Mother did, since I was just starting on this new job, and I'm so glad she is good at this sort of thing. I really think she should have taken up nursing.

It seemed Jim lost his job, not being able to work and particularly drive. He had been driving Pepsi Trucks 1 week. And just after signing a 1 year lease on a $175 apt. and buying $700 worth of furniture. It sounded very calamitous and things like that make me very upset. Well, 4 days later and after many prayers, at least mine and I'm sure his Mother's he seems to be remarkably improved. He now goes about without crutches and drives his own car. He says the boss said he must get a physical and if he passes he will probably get the job back, since filled it with a part time employee. Well, I hope it turns out alright. He had the world by the tail last Saturday what with a new well paying job and the apt & all and then Sunday it was all but gone.

I hope you don't get set back too far with your allergy program. Mike was hit by something akin to the allergy the last couple weeks. He thought it was a cold but Mother doubted it. He called the clinic and the doc said he could come in for a shot of some kind. Said he could expect this for a while but I'm sure there is more to the story than that. Anyway, he has been particularly free from allergy symptoms all summer up to this point.

Mike had this tape deck & separate speakers, you know? Anyway, he went to Lafayette and bought an FM tuner in the shape of an 8 track stereo tape and it plays just fine thru his tape deck. It was on sale for $29 and worth much more than all the tapes he could get for that amount. I always figured FM was much more practical than tapes or albums.

Fall is in the air and on Sunny's TV weather show I see that a cool line all the way from New England to the Texas pan handle was cooling off that vast segment of the country today. Did you get it? I'll find out in Fri or Sat's newspaper. I'll bet you will be in store for some of your finest weather the next few months.

That was very impressive, that stuff you had on the tests. If you really understood much of the theory behind all those terms systems you should very well qualify for a good job in civilian life (if you don't decide to stay with the Military) especially with a technical kind of company such as Edison, etc.

I'll write again after my weekend retreat at St. Paul's.

[Enclosed are Talbert's clippings and a humorous sports clipping.]

92.  Mom

Tues. Sept [September 19; postmarked September 19,1972]

Dear John,

Here I am-on the corner of Plymouth road and "the Hair Shop for Men" waiting for Mike to get his hair styled. Your dad isn't quite ready for the twins to take the car by themselves so I had to come along for the ride. It will be worth the wait just to see his face again (Mike's, that is). He has been looking like Hairless Joe in the 'Lil Abner comics for weeks now.

I was delighted to see those report cards. Looking at those marks, I thought back a few years . . . .

Your side trips around that part of the country must certainly help make life a little pleasant for you fellows. It isn't skiing weather but mountain climbing sounds healthy.

Speaking of skiing-Lynn keeps waiting to hear what you want for your old skis-and would the boots be included? These are for Julie, of course.

Jim is back to work today, I guess. Boy, that knee is really something. He is limping and the orthopedic surgeon won't check it until next Monday but he fibbed to the Pepsi boss about it not bothering him. He was really afraid of losing the job.

Mark started a letter to you a few says ago. Don't know whether he finished it. (He didn't think that you would be interested in hearing from him.) Anyway, he wanted to tell you about Bo McCahill coaching their team in hockey.

Every once in a while Bo will pass me in his car and hang out the window, waving wildly and making silly faces while he yells, "Hi, Mrs. Schneider!" Still seems to be kind of nutty.

Saw John Neph with a cute little gal the other day. How does he get 'em?

Still am waiting to meet your brother Bill's girl, Gail.

Have to start another page now. It does take some time to get a fellow's hair styled. Some money, too-about $10.00. Doesn't that make the Army's sound better.

We thought that you might be interested in seeing my art work on the garage so we are having a reprint made to send you. It will be ready in about a week. I am anxious to see yours, too.


Oh wow! Mike has a Shag. Need I say more?

I'll say so long for now. I want to get this out today. Also am sending your magazine out..

Love, and prayers

93.  Dad

Tues. [September 19; postmarked September 20, 1972]

Hi John,

You heard it hear first. The Tigers will not win the pennant in 1972. They just have no hitters. At this moment, 9:23 PM they are losing the 2nd game today, to Cleveland, too. The rest of the season they play 9 games against pennant contenders, so if they can't beat the Indians how can they hold first place while playing Boston, N.Y., and Baltimore. Too bad.

We just watched a few of the more recent movies I have made. I don't think you saw the end of our trip to Ft. Knox. I've just had a few scenes at Mammoth Cave and the parachute jumpers from out by the jump site (target area, I guess the jump site would really be way up in the sky).

We got your letter in which you respond to our mention of interest in travel trailers. One catch I think is your Mother who I don't think appreciates roughing it, especially if she has to prepare meals. But I think it might be fun and we could share it among you kids when you are all old enough to take it out on your own. Of course you and Bill would be old enough already. Well, it isn't something we will be doing in the foreseeable future but maybe in a couple years something would be developed. Maybe we could all buy one together and get a real nice one. It could easily pay if it would get the frequent use from several families. That is presupposing we wouldn't want to be going out every other weekend. Something else to plan ahead for although I really never thought too much about it until I started writing about it.

Instead of waiting for prints I am enclosing our original pictures I recently took. Mother probably told you of her work of art, the Distlefink, of Pennsylvania Dutch origin. It looks great.

Our color TV went blooey Friday and I find the evenings are longer now. It's amazing how much time that idiot box takes up. I could watch the one in the Dining Room but I haven't although I will occasionally if something good comes up. At least, so far I have been content to let it along and do other things like watch a few home movies, paint the trim on the front door, read, and write a letter.

The outdoor job is coming along all right but it is on the dull side, just watching the other's work. But I am learning a few tricks and methods of how they do it and also doing some time-study which will be helpful, I think, when I get back downtown and back to Estimating.

But today was nice and sunny and comfortably cool. Very welcome after so much rain lately. So you did get a lot of rain, eh. Did you see any of the flash floods your uncle Jim told us about that come roaring along out of the desert? I hope you get to see the inside of Carlsbad before you leave. Especially since you missed Mammoth cave.

Jim is back at his job driving. He was lucky. Although his knee still bothers him and he still will be seeing a specialist Monday, I anticipated he wouldn't be able to even get around at all for weeks. Not the least of his problems is he doesn't have medical/hospital insurance. Since he is independent from me he no longer is eligible to be covered by my Edison insurance. I warned him early in the summer to buy some coverage. No one should be one minute without this kind of insurance.

Horton just got a 3 run homer and now we are only 3 runs behind.

You will probably want to obtain and absentee ballot for the November election. I presume you are registered here in Inkster. Right?

Congratulations on the fine scores you got on those exams. You will have a fine scrap book when you get out. I still have the documents I got from the several service schools I went to in 1943. Wouldn't it be typical if they sent you to a different school up North for the winter.

Guess I'll close now, so, keep the Faith.


95.  Mom

Monday Nite

Sept 25 (1972)

Dear John

How are you? Everything is going well for you, I hope. I am waiting for the last load of washing before I can call it a day (it is 7:45). The basement corner is not bad now, to sit and write letters or study. Mike dusted and swept up a bit today because he and Greg are expecting a bunch from the float committee tomorrow night. They will be making up paper flowers for a couple of hours down here. Greg told me not to pull my Erma Bombeck act and I was instructed not to come down stairs in my pajamas or underwear. Imagine!! Mike doesn't want to have to introduce me to all those kids.

The floats this year are to have a song title theme and the Juniors song has something to do with jelly or jam, I forget.

Mark and Mary Lou went out to the orchard with us yesterday and we picked up 2 bushels of Jonathon apples. We had to pick in between the rain showers. It rained today, too. This has been the rainiest summer in many, many moons.

You will see another change in the place when you get home.. Your dad and I ordered new carpeting for the living room & hall-not wall to wall but room size rugs. It is a bright and pretty shag . . . shades of green, gold and melon. I also have picked out a wall paper for the upstairs-stair well. Now, if I could only get someone to finish yours and Bill's bedroom!

Dad and I took Saturday night off and dined out and dances 'til the wee hours (at least 'till 11:30) at the annual 300 Club bash. Didn't win any prizes but had a good time and a good chicken dinner. Saw young Fran Redouty there with his new bride.

Mrs. Neph said that Gary K. and, who's the big guy, Nels?, have been called for their physicals. Have you heard from any of that crowd lately?

Danny Perk is on a medical ship somewhere near Greece and will be there for three years or so. That is really a long way from home.

We got some bad news about our color T.V. It needs a new picture tube--$140.00 so we are watching on good old black and white again. Black & white may cure me from my soap operas, though,

Can't think of anything else right now except a hot bath and bed.

Hope we hear from you 2 morrow and your latest travelogues.

Love and prayers,

96.  Dad

Wed. 27 (1972)th

Dear John,

I'm starting this without anything in particular to say. Let's see what might come to mind. First, the sad thing, at the moment, is the Tigers losing their first game to New York in the final stretch for the pennant. As you read this the standings can change quite a bit if it goes as it has lately the scene can be quite the same. In fact the last day of the season can tell the tale.

Your second bond came. They can really grow as do all regular savings so that after a while you look back and be quite satisfied with the nest egg that you have built up. Like us; we are having taken out of the check a certain amount that was being taken out for our last loan from Edison Credit Union. I never stopped it after the loan was paid up so the deduction continues to increase our "balance" which we are building up for our proposed big trip to Hawaii next year to celebrate our big "25th," anniversary that is. Whether we actually go through with it remains to be seen.

I suppose Mother mentioned Jim. After working again for a week or two, saw the doctor and got a cast on his knee area of his injured leg. He still can walk and drive somewhat, but can't work. We hope this will fix it up without requiring an additional stay in a cast or surgery.

The job outside is progressing nicely, that is the two buildings are progressing. Probably won't be finished til mid November. I think I'll welcome getting back to the other job by then. There just isn't enough to do on this nor is there much responsibility or authority especially.

Got a new set of tires for the LTD. Uniroyal Belted twin stripe. Were on sale at the Uniroyal stores so I bought these rather than the regular type since these were cheaper than the older type. These ought to outlast the car which has over 77,000 miles on it. Still runs very good, looks good, and just could use a new starter I guess. Sometimes it misses or stops cranking and I have to try it over again a few times.

John Neph seems to be taking good care of the Mercury although his mother told me that he had trouble with the transmission, and it sounded like it might have been the same trouble you had repaired.

Mother ordered wallpaper and got some green paint and we are finally going to redo the stair well and second floor hall. She probably told you we got a new living room rug to replace the worn out carpet. It's supposed to come later this week.

The Dillons just announced signing up for a new house to be built before Spring out in Farmington off Drake between 10 & 11 mile road. It is really expensive although I don't know how much but the way she talks they are going over their heads, or being very optimistic about Bill's potential as a lawyer, although I guess he must be doing pretty good.

Well, I guess I was right, there isn't much to talk about tonight so I'll be moseying off to bed and maybe I can find a clipping or two for you before mailing this in the A.M.


A.M. Wow-the Tigers won in the 8th & 9th-6-5.

[Enclosed are Talbert's columns.]

97.  Mary Beth White

Oct. 3rd, 1972


Hi, how ya been? How is school going? I bet you can't wait to get home. That is if ya haven't been home yet. I haven't seen anyone to ask how you're doing so I decided to write you.

I'm away at college now. I've been here for 5 weeks & I love it. All my classes are great. So are the instructors. My roommate is great too. All the people are really nice. The food is ok except it's fattening. It's all starchy.

I've been working weekends on campus. I get $1.80 an hour which isn't bad, it helps a lot for extra spending money. The work is fun too. I work in the dish room. Okay, go ahead & laugh. I don't care. It's money.

I haven't been home for a month now so I'm going home this weekend. It seems so strange to have been away for that long. I suppose you know how that feels, huh?

Tomorrow I'm going to a Tiger game. We only have to win 2 out of 3. Isn't that great?

I'm not sure if you will even get this or not but, if you don't that's the breaks!

Take care!

Mary Beth

98.  Mom


Oct. [October 4; postmarked October 4, 1972]

Dear John

Happy to get your letter and snaps. Say, if that is the little camera we sent to you that took those pictures, it is doing a pretty good job! Those mountains and hills are quite different from the ones you saw in Pennsylvania, aren't they? It is impressive looking country and I hope that you get to see more of it.

Bad news about the theft of your $200. Does every locker have the same lock? Of course, that doesn't make sense, does it? Perhaps someone had a master key.

Thank you for the kind words about my painting. Right now we are in the middle of another paint job-the stairs and upstairs hall. We are putting wall paper on part of it. Hope every one likes it but whether they do or not, it is going to be there for a while!

After this, comes the living room floor plus the hall. I have an idea that they will require refinishing to make the new rug look o.k.

As much redecorating as I have been planning this past summer and fall, it is nothing compared to your Aunt Eve Ann. She took me out to Farmington to see the model of the home they are planning on building and like "Wow!" It is going to be gorgeous. The house is huge and the area is beautiful . . . but so much for our rich relations.

I don't know what coverage these past two Tiger games were given in the press that you have seen but this town is going berserk with pennant fever again. Mike & Greg were lucky enough to get to both games and didn't get home until 1:15 this morning from last night's chaos. They were really thrilled with all the excitement of the post game madness. Almost 52,000 fans and I guess most of them tore around and up the field after the game. But more about that later, I'm sure!

Keep those snaps and letters coming.


[Enclosed is Joe Falls column on the final win by the Tigers clinching the pennant in the American League East.]

99.  Dad

Wed [October 4; postmarked October 5, 1972]

Dear John,

Well, I never thought they could do it but the Tigers at least got the American East Championship. Now to conquer Oakland in 3 out of 5 for the American League Champions. When they won last, in 1968, they still had the one full league, no East & West, (if I remember correctly).

We got your pictures and are delighted with them. I can see how attractive that country must be. That camera does take nice pictures, except it must have enough light, which is hard to come by in the evening it seems. It would be nice to have you home for a week end. Which one would it be if you were to come, do you know? The reason I ask now is that Mother and I might take a weekend in Chicago within the next 4 or 5 weeks and we certainly wouldn't do it the week you would come. And if it is soon enough maybe it would be better to hold Jim's camera until you come & you could carry it back. I still might send it, though, and not wait for your reply. What makes me dilly dally is the odd shape requires a box that is not easy to come by unless it were way oversized.

I was shocked about the theft of your money. I assume since you said it was locked in that thief broke in buy breaking the lock, right? Isn't there a safer way to keep money? At least you could make out a money order to yourself and it would be safe to keep on the premises than cash. I do pray that you do get it back although I don't see how it would be possible. The army wouldn't reimburse you would they?

I had the city clerk send you an application for an absentee ballot for the November election. I do hope you exercise your voting privilege. We also need your vote, if you are so inclined, to defeat the ballot proposition that would permit abortion in Michigan up to the 20th week of pregnancy. The Church, among other groups, is waging an unprecedented war against this legalized murder of the unborn humans and I certainly agree that abortion just for any reason the woman might give is wrong. There may be exceptions but this proposal is a blank check proposition.

Your Free Press subscription which was for 3 months will expire soon. If you would like it, even mildly, I would be happy to renew it for another 3 months. If you move sooner than that it can be transferred with you.

Well, I see Mother just wrote yesterday so I'll close for now since you must have all the rest of the new from her. Do let us know which weekend you might come, if it is pinned to a definite one. Incidentally, what determines that you get 3 day weekends?


[Enclosed are Talbert's column and the free Press Front page about the Tigers.]

100.  Mary Lou

Sat [October 7; postmarked October 10, 1972]

Dear John

Hope you had a good time in the Grand Canyon. [I ended up not going.] I wish I could go to Colorado but I'd rather go to Oklahoma.

How is your classes coming? Mine's coming along fine. In Phys Ed. (gym) we played about 7 games of kickball. My team won about 4 games.

If I didn't tell you before, my guppies had babies right after I bought them (on my birthday). That was 6 weeks 4 days ago. They are 45 days old. She should of have another bunch. They're supposed to have it every 4 weeks. She's late!

I just came back from the store. This boy made a mess in the store. I guess he was sick.

Last week Greg drove Mark and me up to Jim's place. [in Ann Arbor?] He got lost and we had a hard time finding his apartment. We were running around for about 2 hours. Mom and Dad were sure mad! He wasn't supposed to take the car out. Well Goodbye for now.

Mary Lou

101.  Mom

Wed., Oct 11 (1972)

Dear John,

If I don't stop everything I am doing and sit right down this letter will never get written. It is hard to believe that a week has passed since I last wrote.

While I remember-we are in the process of looking for a box or something to send that camera in. One of these days we will get it down to you. My friend at the post office was killed last week by a robber. He gave the guy the money from the cash register drawer but I guess he refused to come out from behind the counter so the maniac shot him. I feel badly about it because he was so nice to me when I had mailing problems for you and Jim. Police know who did but haven't caught him yet.

A piece of news about Bill. He is planning on moving out this weekend. He seems so excited and I think that several of his brothers & sisters are turning a bit green with envy. I haven't seen his place yet. He tells me that he will share living room, bath and kitchen with two others, (fellow) of course. It will be something for him to do his own cooking, cleaning and laundry!

Tonight we are having a tile man come over to estimate a job on the upstairs bath room. I tell you, you won't know this place come next December! I had to send the wallpaper back because the eagles didn't match on the edges so that job is still to be finished.

Well, by this time your tip to the Grand Canyon may be over. I am sure that you must have loved every minute of it. I could get excited about a weekend to Chicago, myself.

Greg is excited because he is going to the "homecoming" dance this weekend. (Did I tell you this?) His date is SENIOR Ann Vivian. She is darling-I met her to talk to a couple of times. I'll tell you more about it when the week end is over. Or perhaps he will tell you, himself.

Anyway-bye for now-Love,

102.  Dad

Sunday Evening [October 15; postmarked October 18, 1972]

Dear John,

I am well filled with ham and assorted goodies and wondering what to tell you this evening. I guess there is a good deal of news, trivial as it might be, so it's a question of where to begin. What staggers my mind is the latest problem of how to get the new rug on the living room floor and the hall floor. You see, it is not wall-to-wall, therefore the floor that is to be exposed around the edges, up to 18", must be in like new condition or it will all look uncool. I already removed the hall carpet & I can see that it needs resanding. That means the big heavy machine which I can rent. The biggest problem is the time needed to do it and put on 2-3 coats of varnish or other finish. What to do with the furniture and how to get from room to room to room while the finish is drying. I guess I might have to take a day off and try to sand the whole thing, and then apply the finish in stages or sections.

We took a nice drive today out past Ann Arbor on to Dexter, along the Huron River Drive. The Huron Clinton Authority have developed some nice parks along the river between Ann Arbor & Dexter and there is a pretty section with rapids etc. You can also rent canoes which we saw, but I didn't find the source (of the rental company). Just Mary Lou & Mother & I went. The family is really dwindling. Bill moved into a flat Friday night in Redford Twp. On Shiawassee near 8 mile & Telegraph. He has a room as do 3 or 4 other guys in the place. They share 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room I guess. We haven't seen it. He hasn't signed anything and at least he says he will try it out for a month.

Jim took his own cast off his knee Friday and is planning on returning to work tomorrow regardless of the knee. He says he is so far in debt he can't afford to be out of work any longer. What with his $175 rent, car and insurance payments, and also a huge new furniture loan to pay off (if $700 is huge), his accident really came at the wrong time. Of course an accident at any time is the wrong time, but you know what I mean.

I will be on my outside job one more week before going back in the office. They have told me that instead of returning to my former field of estimating Warehouse and office jobs I will be on electrical station & substation jobs. I visited a couple of these Friday since our little job at Elm Station was down to 2 carpenters working. Anyway, it looks like it will be interesting work, at least initially, and after I get to know it better and get bored with it, who knows, I'll probably get a chance to change again. After spending 14 years in that original job with Herb Cook and the Electrical Association I sure have found a variety that past 6 years (or 7 I guess).

Mark is going to hockey practice tonight. About 3 or 4 of his friends go and the parents kind of share riding them down to Wick Rd & Inkster. Well, he said he has arranged for us to pick them up tonight. The bad thing is that Colombo is on TV and it is usually good and I have missed that last couple he has had on. I suggested he ask the Mother who is to take them to switch times and I could take them. I am now waiting word of this.

We saw Cavalcade of Bands Thursday night and we enjoyed it very much. (At the Masonic Auditorium which is a beautiful place, indeed). Franke Carl is 69 years old and he can play piano as well as anybody. He is terrific. You would have enjoyed Bob Crosby. He provided some comedy for the otherwise all music show, but also he lead the band and his own "Bob Cats" as well in some real fine "Dixieland" type music. It really moved. But hearing all the old songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's and even a couple from the 50's was really nice. I wonder if the people in your generation will be able to look back 30 or 40 years to their youth and appreciate "their own" music as much as the older adults of today can.

I realize all today's young people music isn't all hard rock, but its difficult to imagine this holding and nostalgia for a long time since style might not last, at least in its present form, or in the Beatles original form. What do you think about this?

This was a beautiful day. We have had a bunch of them this past week although it has gotten quite chilly. Was 30 degrees last night and the days get up into the 50's.

I wonder if you will be coming in soon. Haven't heard for while again, although I expect we will before you get this. Mom found the box from her camera we sent you and I think it would be ok for Jim's camera but I am reluctant to send it until I hear if you are coming here or not. You could take it back and then it wouldn't be sitting around someplace while you are gone although I guess you wouldn't be gone that long anyway. Well, if I don't hear more in your next letter I guess I'll pack it up and sent it out anyway.


103.  Mom

Wednesday [October 18; postmarked October 19, 1972]

Dear John,

Like you, I guess I could say "nothing much happening." As you know, we have been involved with home work. The upstairs bath is now completed and the stair well finally got its eagles papered on. Your father and I worked 5 hours on it the other night and I got the distinct impression that it would NEVER, EVER be done again. Oh well, it does look good.

Bill has been in the process of moving since last Friday. Last night he came here with a trash bag full of dirty laundry. I gave him lesson I in "How To Master the Art of Sorting and Washing Clothes."

You wouldn't believe how neat and tidy your room looks now with both beds made and no clothes draping over everything.

Do you know what I wish you could send me? About 60 degrees of your heat and sunshine. Would you believe that we have had snow flurries forecasted for the past two days? The nights are down into the 20's. Wow, I can't remember a colder October. Hope you appreciate your weather down there, if nothing else.

How does it go? You haven't mentioned the rumor about the other school, since that 1st time. Anything new? Any more trips? Do you think that you will be home this month?

Now, with all those questions in front of you--how about sitting down and writing some answers. In the meantime, take care.

Love and prayers,


104.  Pat Bratcher

Oct 22-72

Dear John,

Hi! What's new? Why come you haven't written me lately? Like for 2 months? Are you mad at me or something? Have you heard from George? I got a letter from her a while ago & she moved to Lansing with her sister. So, how ya been? Nels went in the Navy about a month & a half ago. Mike got a letter from him a while ago.

I just got done writing George a letter and I thought I'd write you one, too, cause you hadn't written in so long. I guess I'll write Nels one, too. By the way--when's your birthday? I just thought of that and decided to ask. Well, I have nothing more to say, except you better write back this time.

Happy Halloween!


Write soon & let me know what's happening!

105.  Dad

Sat. A.M. [October 28; postmarked October 28, 1972]

Hi John,

Gee, it was nice having you home last weekend. You looked just fine and it was good to see you apparently feeling fine. We just hope you can remain patient in the service while filling out your term. If the peace really is signed and works out in Vietnam it may or may not mean a more boring time in duty. If they let you go to school it should be a profitable experience, even if you should never use the particular knowledge. Any school is somewhat like high school and College in that it trains the mind to think and learn how to find answers, and in this it is valuable. The hardest thing is to realize it because it is happening in the mind and the intellect and doesn't readily show like black & white. True education is not a "How To Do It" course although this can be included, but in reality is a course in Technique.

This is a warmish and damp morning. Kind of dampens ones enthusiasm to go out and do outdoor chores. I am not too ambitious today yet because we were up comparatively late last night entertaining Bill & Eve Ann Dillon & Sue & Al. Lynn has gone East to visit friends for the weekend--in New Jersey & Rhode Island I think. She flew down yesterday; no, Thursday I think..

Did you finally sell the camera? And how was the investigation going on the airplane here at Metro? They stopped everyone carrying a bag it seemed. I suppose you made your connection at Chicago all right. That city is pretty from overhead at night, isn't it.

I have been recuperating all week from that blitz I put in on the Living Rm. Floor last weekend. That sure was tough on the old muscles. I don't feel that old yet.

I have one more week on this field job and then back to the office Nov. 6. The fall season also brings a rash of new and old things I get involved in @ St. Norberts. I am going to teach CCD High School again this year--This time they have 4 teachers with classes @ 4 different times, so the kids can select their teacher or class time. We shall see how this works out next week--Monday Nite for me. We also have the Arch Diocese's "Church-World-Kingdom" series which meets for group discussion on 4 successive weeks once a week. I wonder if you get encouraged to participate in any Church activity or special service down there. I wanted to ask you how well you are keeping up your obligations in that greatest organization of all, the Catholic Church. It's not the greatest because of the goodness of the people in it but because it was founded and is guided by Christ--God. And we all have an obligation to make it better and more in keeping with the purpose Christ intended. I just hope young people won't write it off as extinct or archaic because it is these same people who will have to shoulder the responsibility of keeping the Church & Christianity going as the older people die off and the younger ones take over. The chain has been going now for almost 2000 years and Christ promised to be with us forever, so it must survive. Just hope it does so on a grand scale.

One of the members of Cherry Hills new advisory board to investigate the possibility & feasibility for a trades type program is John Neph. We wondered if young John, your friend, is the one. Did he mention it? That is a good example of young people being interested in a good community action.

Well, guess I'll close. Watch yourself this Halloween, Wed. is All Saints Day, and good luck on your next program down there.


[Enclosed is the Feature page with Talbert's article.]

106.  Mom

Oct 29 (1972)

Sunday Aft.

Dear John,

Back in the routine again after a happy, stimulating weekend home. Right? I sincerely hope so.

By now you probably have received your ballot. The city clerk told me to warn you about sending it back before the 7th. Anytime after that and they file it in the waste basket. And quite a few ballots are lost that way, which surprised me.

I went over a sample ballot this morning and read about the candidates then marked the sample to take with me into the booth.

We had quite a noisy discussion Friday night when Dillons and Ambroses were here. It is really true about politics making the temperature rise.

I gave Scotty's dog house away to Rufus Dillon but I couldn't watch Bill D. & Mike load it into their station wagon. Even with the change in the back yard I can still see those two mutts sitting in that doghouse door. I'll bet that I haven't taken more than two walks in the park since the dog is gone.

Your dad is having trouble with the LTD again. It wouldn't start for him after Mass this a.m. Bill was here at the time and drove over with the boosters but they couldn't start it. This is the second time in the last few weeks. Once I had to have a professional boost. Anyway, that is the way we are spending Sunday afternoon.

The twins will be sorry to see Lynn come home tonight. She let them use her car for the weekend. They had to supply their own gas and come to amicable agreement on use. She is very generous, I think.

She is visiting the sights (?) around Morristown, N.J. with Bob Wis. (I just can't spell his name) and staying at his sister's home. Isn't that a lovely relationship? She has a real "boy" friend in Bob.

Must start dinner now and whoops! Your father wants me to check out a '70 L.T.D. from a paper ad.

More about that later, perhaps.

107.  Debbie Franklin


Nov. 2, (1972)

Dear John-

You probably didn't expect to hear from me so soon and to tell you the truth, I didn't expect to be writing this soon. But my working schedule was pretty lenient so I thought I'd better take advantage of it and write while I've got the chance.

I hope you're well and that your trip back went ok. I bet you hated to go back. I'm better now, or should I say that my tonsillitis is better but I'm still very anemic. In fact, just yesterday I went back to the doctor's for my weekly B12 (iron) shot. It lays me out of action for about 4 hours. Oh-after you left the other day, I had a muscle-spasm in my neck, shoulders, and back. I thought I'd had it and if you've ever had a muscle spasm, you know what I mean. I had to go for treatment and get some more pills. I'm turning into a pill-freak.

The weekend was pretty much a bummer-didn't do much except work, homeroom, and other necessities. Sunday nite I did go to the airport and play some pinball but you've got to be in a pinball mood to win and I wasn't.

Oh-last Saturday at the Nixon headquarters in the same building as where I work I shook Tricia Nixon's head (head?) I mean hand and I got a kiss from Bob Bradley. Big deal, huh!

Today I went out to lunch with some girlfriends, took a nap and then washed the car. It was pretty warm out even though it kept drizzling.

I hear that the twins have the lead roles in the Junior class play; that ought to freak out the audience!

I keep hoping that my mom will call me for dinner, we usually eat at 3:30 or 4:00 but company dropped in and now it's 6:00 and we still haven't eaten.

Hey-"Happy Belated Holloween." Don't feel bad about not being able to go trick 'or treaten' this year-I didn't go either.

Guess I'll end for now, write when you get the chance but don't worry if it isn't right away-I understand how busy you are.

Take care and stay together.


108.  Dad


Election Day [November 7; postmarked November 8, 1972]

Dear John,

It is a lazy, rainy, Tuesday, this election day of 1972. Your mother and I went to vote at The Twin Towers at 8:30 this morning and we were finished in 45 minutes including about 42 minutes waiting in line. They expect a record vote today in spite of the rainy weather in this area, and the waiting lines will be considerable, I am sure, as the day evolves. In fact some lawyers have petitioned the courts to permit the polls to remain open longer than 8 PM because in Detroit especially, the ballots are so long due to the many offices and propositions to be voted on that some people will be taking 10 minutes or so to vote.

Well, by the time you read this it will be history and the outcome will be known. I hope you got your vote in. So many in the area requested absentee ballots and didn't get them in time due to extraordinary long mail delivery time. It's almost as though someone deliberately held them up. Speaking of mail, I hope we will be hearing from you soon. Last we heard was your good bye as you got on the plane.

I renewed your Free Press subscription on Monday so you will get next Sunday's issue, after missing one or two I expect. They seem to discourage this mail subscription since they didn't ask us to renew it and they more than doubled the price to that of regular Sunday Home delivery price. Previously they gave Servicemen's subscriptions at about 1/2 the price.

Bill, of course hopes they won't be drafting any more into the service. I think he would like to find a better job and maybe even get some more schooling. But he feels he shouldn't make a move until the draft picture is settled. He is about to make another residence move, however. In the middle of November or so he is going to move out of the place he has been in and probably into another one of the same landlord's places.

The twins are working real hard on the play, "Mr. Roberts" which they have the lead in. They practice at Cherry Hill nearly every weekday evening.

And you should have seen your little brother Mark play hockey last night in their opening game. They beat the Northville team 4-1, or 5-1. Mark plays right wing and he can skate and play real well, especially considering he has only been playing and practicing once a week for about 6 or 7 weeks. I was surprised at the quality of play all the boys on these teams displayed.

Our U of D class of 1950, Electrical Engineers, are having our 22 annual reunion dinner dance at the Western Golf & Country Club in Redford on Friday night. It's a special event there called Greek Night and will have a buffet type dinner with all Greek dishes, Greek wine at the table, Greek & American music, and a belly dancer.

Jim was just about all set to buy a Triumph. He finally reconsidered after thinking about the terrific monthly payments he would be in for. Not only for the expensive car but also for the extra high insurance rates due to the kind of car he would have. He still has a lot of furniture to pay for and his cougar is not worth as much as he owes on it if he were to trade it in. That is all why I refused to cosign a loan for him @ St. Norberts JWK credit union, although he says he could have gotten the loan @ the Brewery Workers C.U. without a cosigner. At JWK they won't give any single guy a big loan without a cosigner because they have had some bad trips with a few, even one guy 32 years old ran off without paying up.

I was wondering whether I should finally give up on the L.T.D. a week or so ago. Did I tell you? Found it was only a loose wire connected to the Starter. Had visions of a new Started & flywheel like Grampa just had done. But the old car runs fine now, even though it just turned 79,000. Mike likes it too, and would love to be permitted to buy it. I kind of would like to hit 100,000 miles on it. Never did that. I think it would go a lot longer but it won't be more than a couple years that rust will be telling a lot on the body. There is only the one at the rear door handle that is clear through yet.

Started on my new job in the old dept. yesterday. I'm glad to get back down to the office. Got a desk at the window now. We saw a terrific Circus Sunday @ Cobo Arena. Barnum, Bailey, Ringling Bros. Circus. It was really fabulous, good acts, 13 elephants, 13 lions, 13 tigers, loads of horses, and misc. other types. The net collapsed under the jumps of one trapezist and it looked like he got hurt badly. But he walked a way after about 20 minutes on his back although they took him away in an ambulance. Probably for x-rays etc. Well, so long-


109.  Mom


Nov. 8, '72

Hi John,

All the hoopla is over now concerning the election. Your dad and I went over to the Twin Towers early and only had a 40 minute wait but Lynn had an hour to wait when the polls opened at 7 a.m.

This was all your 1st presidential election, wasn't it? Jim stopped in for dinner before he voted, then later told me that he had seen Bill in the lines. I don't know whether you would get the same feeling filling out an absentee ballot as you do pulling the levers in the booth. Wonder what the next four years will bring for all of us. By then Mark will be almost 18--draft age--a thought I keep pushing aside.

Well, what have you been up to recently? Are you keeping the orderly room orderly? We keep wondering, from mail to mail, how you are and what you are doing, and where you're doing it.

Just talked to Bill on the phone. Called for Dr. Becker's number. Sore tooth. I guess that he is going to be moving around the 18th of this month. His landlord has another place that sounds better to him.

The enclosed clipping from the daily eagle explains what has been keeping Greg & Mike busy the last few weeks. [The Junior Class play, "Mr. Roberts."] That should be a fun evening for all of us!

I see a FOR SALE sign up on the Minor's lawn this morning. Wonder why. Wonder if their new neighbors have anything to do with their wanting to move.

No more tidbits of information except that Mary Lou's papa fish died yesterday and we don't know why.

Oh yes, your dad and I watched one of Mark's hockey games the other night. I was quite impressed with them. Of course they won but what surprised me was how big they looked on the rink. And Bo's "little brother" is quite tall, isn't he? Bo doesn't do any more coaching, I guess.

Bye for now, love, and please write to us soon.

110.  Mary Lou

Nov. 13 (1972)

Dear John,

Wanna buy some Christmas seals? We have to sell 5 books. They're a penny each. 100 in a book. If you buy a whole book it'll cost you $1.00. I sold one already. The money goes to the Holy Childhood. It had on it Merry Christmas.

Last Tues. my male fish died. Now I only have the Mother and her 4 babies. A couple of days before that I found a little spider in there.

Sunday Jim got a cast on his knee again. He hurt it playing football.

In school we play a new game called quizzmo. It's just like bingo, but you use math. You play it like this: someone calls out the card. Like 5 x 8. You look on your card for 40 (the answer). If you get 4 corners, 4 in a row, or 5 in a row you call QUIZZZMO! The person who has it says the answers. Like if he has 4 in a row, he might call out 36, 14, free space, 64, and 81. If the caller can't find the number then the game continues. I've won about 7 times!

Next Friday we get our report cards. I sure can wait. We had a test in Math Friday. I got 3 wrong. In art we're making collages on different subjects. Mine is on people. What we do is we cut out pictures and paste them on some matting board. Mine's coming along great. We've been working on it for 1 week.

We got your letter today. When you were in California you must have had great eyes to see the Atlantic Ocean! You were facing the Pacific.

Last Thursday we got our pictures taken at school. We had to dress up.

Well see you next Christmas!

Mary Lou

111.  Mom


Nov. 14, '72

Dear John,

Her I am sitting in the dining room and watching the rain and snow turn the back yard into a winter scene. Can imagine how you loved California. Hard for you to understand surfing in November? Hard for me to understand this blizzard in November!

Spent the day yesterday driving your brothers and sister around for various and sundry reasons. Mary Lou told you about Jim's second knee accident. Same knee-just threw it out in running at "touch football." Took him in to Wayne County General where they put another cast on. In three weeks it will come off and the doctor will tell him whether or not surgery will be necessary. So he is off work-again-

Yes, it would be wise to get your Christmas leave settled and your plane reservations made now. Lynn is going east to New Jersey to visit Bob W. again on December 26 and she made her reservations last Saturday. The airline told her that she should not wait to book even her return flight now.

Speaking of Bob W. (I can't spell his name), Lynn invited him here for Thanksgiving dinner. Don't know how Julie feels about it.

We certainly will miss your smiling face around our Thanksgiving feast next week. You know, you didn't say where, in Oklahoma you were going last week end. Oklahoma City, by any chance?

My your brother would certainly like to move back to California! Of course, he was in a depressed mood yesterday and this rotten weather did not help at all.

No more family news but your remark about your voting made me wonder. If "what I don't know doesn't hurt you" should I be concerned about other church relations? My prayers are very fervent these days for all my children.

Much love,

112.  Dad

Fri Nite [November 17; postmarked November 19, 1972]

Dear John,

It is now 10 PM and the house is quiet. Mike took Mark and some of his co-players to tonight's hockey game. Mike wanted to get some pictures and they needed a ride back anyway. I would have gone but I was a bit tired this evening. I have been bothered by a cold for a while that I can't seem to shake. The weather here has been terrible. The sun came out for a bit twice the last couple days. It was the first time in 9 or 11 days, I believe. It's been cold and rainy and a bit of snow that's about gone. You may have read of the terrible storms along the shore especially down near Monroe. Many homes were flooded and the Guard was out evacuating those who wanted to leave and protecting the property in the area. It was caused by the high winds from the East blowing the already high water in over the land. The Great Lakes, and the rivers are very high and apt to go higher in the spring.

You can bring the camera booklet home with you. I don't use the camera too often. I haven't even used the movie camera at all this past year or two. Seems we have shot all the usual scenes so often although I would like to get more of the family as you all grow older.

Well, we will get more at Christmas, I am sure. Besides Mike has added a lot of pictures to the photo albums around the house, besides his slide collection. He bought his Christmas bunch of film just today.

I am glad you have been able to get in those trips to Calif. & Oklahoma. That Thanksgiving weekend I expect will be on Sat. & Sunday rather than Thursday itself. It's nice of them to invite you and nice you can get in on something like that.

I am surprised to hear of your new possibilities. From what you say it looks like you won't be going to school as you had figured. Very strange. Looks like the army might have gotten word to cut back on everything although Air Defense should remain a top priority. We will be anxious to hear if they will give you a different assignment, especially if it is away somewhere else.

Jim was over today, says your mother. So it looks like the new cast on his leg is not hindering him completely. She said he was pretty mad at Pepsi because they apparently won't be taking him back. Jobs are getting scarce there and veterans are returning and will be need [sic] old jobs back.

If this peace ever comes it will be a great chance for the economy to ride on in good style with all that this country needs to develop on the home front.

I am working tomorrow for the first overtime this year, I guess. This new work I am in, estimating on stations, substations work, is really the busiest area in the Edison Company. That is, the whole construction program is just filled with new stations, enlarging stations, new lines, larger lines. We just can't get the work out fast enough and can't really do it the proper way. Design is never complete until a job is almost done. They have to virtually rush the prints out to the field as the job progresses. So I will be able to get quite a bit of overtime in although I really don't relish it and will probably not do as much as I could. It would come in handy, even at straight time which is what I get for overtime pay, what with Christmas and the color TV needing expensive repair. Fortunately the car is running very good, so barring accidents I won't need to worry about them for a while, although, those new cars are really nice looking. We may go to the Auto Show at Cobo Hall next Friday. It's a company holiday so I'll be taking a long weekend. But I really don't expect to get a new car whenever I do get another. As long as we have new young drivers and are paying higher than usual insurance, I would expect that a 2 or 3 year old car would be the best kind to get. It will be interesting to see what kind of results the new Insurance Program developed in Mich. will bring.

Mark and Mike came in although Mike left again. Went over to the closing minutes of the dance at Cherry Hill. Greg is there and has the L.T.D. which I had promised him. They and their friends will probably go to McDonald's afterwards.

Mark's team won their 4th in a row in their Bantam Division. The one tonight is from Northville.

Mark got his name in the local "Eagle" paper by getting credit for an assist on one of the goals in the last game.

Well, I got to get to bed so I can put in 6 hours tomorrow.

Have a nice Holiday weekend. And don't eat too much turkey.


113.  Mom

[Thanksgiving Card; postmarked November 20, 1972]

Have a good day wherever you are.
Love, Mom

115.  Mom

Sunday aft. [November 26; postmarked November 27, 1972]

Dear John,

This was a really busy week around here--getting ready for Thanksgiving, then the day itself, having a houseguest and now tonight your grandfather and Sister Ann Louis are coming for dinner. Starting tomorrow I have to get myself ready for Christmas.

Lynn's friend Bob left this afternoon at 2:30 and Julie pulls in at 3:00. I really have to laugh at that triangle. Bob was no trouble at all. He brought us a bottle of French Champagne which I served with our turkey dinner. Then Saturday he brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers. Now, Lynn has made reservations for Christmas Eve for a flight to N.J.

Hope your $50.00 arrived in time. Your bank balance is now just $991.00. I have saved receipts for you in case you want to audit your account. I am really curious about your next assignment. When will they let you know, I wonder? If your friend was sent to Okinawa, what are your chances for that place?

Time out for dinner.

----------------------- 30 ----------------------


I want to finish this up now and get it down to the P.O. Hope the address is okay! Course you'll never know if you don't get it, will you?

We had a nice dinner last night. Grampa conned Lynn into driving Sister home--she is stationed down at Redeemer now. She is going to have to spend X-mas in Providence Hospital--gall stone operation. Not a fun way to spend a vacation.

Have to get to the store. This is our 1st day for left-over turkey and I'm not quite sure how to disguise it yet. I enclosed part of it in this letter for you and a friend. May you both get your wishes!


[Enclosed in the letter envelope was the wishbone from the turkey. It is no longer extant.]

116.  Dad

Tues [November 28; postmarked November 29, 1972]

Dear John,

Mr. Perkovich just left the house after trying to readjust the color TV. He had just brought it back about a week ago after replacing the big tube and several small ones. But the picture never really was good on this new tube. So after a while he decided something was wrong that he would have to take it to the shop to repair. So he has left it here until Monday when he will pick it up. He said Danny is still in Frisco waiting for the trip to the Mediterranean. Says they will have WAVES on board, that they will probably deliver the ship there and get transferred to some active and moving ship since this is a medical (or Hospital) ship and will remain there. I was talking to an acquaintance at Edison who has a son-in-law who went through missile school, or is it anti-missile?, anyway he is stationed at one of the six bases they have such things, this one down in Alabama or some place down south. He doesn't like it because he says he only works two days a week and being married with a working wife, all he does is keep house, or else be bored. So perhaps if you get a decent job for the next 15 months it may be a good thing they took you out of school. By decent job I mean one that will keep you reasonably busy, for to be totally unbusy and unnecessary would be terribly boring and depressing I would imagine. I hope you don't wind up like that, now that I've said that. Well, anyway, anything would be better than fighting in a war. Danny says the hippies and people around their base are so bad they must leave the base on a bus or in two's, it's so dangerous. Says a marine got shot just outside the gates recently.

Still not any snow that has stayed. I see you have had a variety of weather from cold to "not bad." If you stayed down there would you still get a chance at skiing? I imagine you are closer to good skiing there than you would be at home. Am I right?

I guess I better keep the LTD for quite a while yet. Not only did I get the new tires, about a month ago, but yesterday I got new shocks and an idler arm installed, on sale up at Uniroyal. Now, there must be nothing left to do. If only the rust doesn't get going too good on it this winter. The auto show was real nice and it sure would be nice to have a new one, but I was impressed at the high price tags on all the new cars. A new LTD equipped like mine would have a sticker price of $4700 to $5000. I really don't know how so many people can or do pay out so much, especially for, say a $3000 car with $1200 worth of extras on it.

I am taking a course this week at Edison's that they usually give (and are) to electricians. It is to teach me a few of things pertaining to "safety" in stations and substations. Included is a first aid course. We saw some bloody movies and today we had Mouth-to-Mouth resuscitation on a special dummy. It is very worth-while even if only for the 1st aid course. We will also learn heart massage. Thursday they will give us some demonstration of working with and around Hi Voltage lines. The new ones are going up @ 345 KV.

We had a nice Thanksgiving as you have probably heard in Mother's letter. Hope your weekend was fun. I imagine you received the money in time.

Are you getting the Free Press ok again? Well, it won't be long until you back home for your furlough. We will be anxious to know what the plans they have in store for you will be. I hope it won't interfere in your furlough.

Well, so long for now, My Son,


Is that you're correct address??? 3rd ESB was so easy

117.  Dad

Wednesday [December 5; postmarked December 8, 1972]

Dear John

We are gathered around the tv in the dining room to watch the Apollo 17 blast off. Bill is here listening to a record on the earphones. Mother is in bed with what she feels is the flu. I guess it came on yesterday. It was nice to hear that you phoned although I am sorry to have missed you. I was also sorry to hear that would feel so badly about certain aspects of the service that you would even think for a second that you might be better off taking off. Do you think you would feel better if you were in the middle of a lot of action or that if we were in the middle of a really big war? I realize that today the boredom and futility of it all can seem monumental there are many times in life when our lives seem to slip out of gear and we must idle along for a while. The best answer is for one to count his blessings because most of us particularly in this country are so much better off than the majority of the rest of the world. Please believe your father when I say that a sincere faith in God can perform miracles and is even necessary to face the problems we must face through life on earth. Jim has been out for over a year now and I'll bet there were times when he felt his service life would never end. Well, I hope you get the job which you want, in the band, eh? That would be a good experience. Might even get to more traveling then. Gee, we will be seeing you, hopefully, in just a couple weeks. Be glad it's not tonight. It was in the 30's this morning. The snow is practically all gone so now we can start over.

As you know I worked late today and will also tomorrow. We have a lot of catching up to do so there may be more next week. We will taper off the last week before Christmas and then I will be off til after New Years as I finish up my vacation. That's another thing you can be thankful for and look forward to, a job when you return. If you choose to stay at Edison there are lots of advantages as you know. Jim got his cast off his knee and he was delighted to be assured he didn't need an operation. He must be careful and build up the knee but at least it will be ok. He still has to find work. I hope he doesn't lose his apartment because of all this. He has it fairly well furnished and it is a nice place, even though expensive. Since tomorrow is Thursday and you probably won't get this by Friday I think I'll go to bed and finish this up tomorrow.

Here I am back again. I worked again this evening. I may work Saturday, too. This is the big weekend. Tomorrow night is Fr. Pettit's installment ceremony as new pastor. It is at the 7:30 pm Mass and following is a reception in the social hall. He really is a very nice person and says a devout Mass and gives very excellent sermons. The parish is giving him a gift which is an intinctoriom, which is a bowl-like vessel with a cup in the center which carries the wine in which is dipped the hosts for Communion under both species. Did you ever receive like that? I do hope you receive regularly such as weekly at least. Then Friday, I mean Saturday is Mr. Roberts, the play Greg and Mike are starring in. I have never seen such enthusiasm as they have displayed. They go to practice every evening and have gotten all their costumes together and today helped get a goat from some farm. Did you ever see the movie? It was very funny.

Jim seems to have gotten his job back at Pepsi today. He is to start Monday. His knee isn't all better yet although he goes to the Club regularly to build it up. He was supposed to use crutches for two weeks but he hasn't done it. Our color set is back at the shop. John P. took it a couple days ago. It definitely wasn't a good picture, colorwise. It is going to be cold again tonight and then warm up tomorrow. How has it been there? Get quite a temperature range?

Well, I guess it is time to close. Maybe we will be getting in one more letter before you leave for the Northland (here).


118.  Pat Bratcher

[Christmas Card, postmarked December 9, 1972]



119.  Thomas A. Edison Post #187, American Legion

[Christmas Card; postmarked December 12, 1972]

120.  William G. Meese, President of the Detroit Edison Company

[Postmarked December 13, 1972]

Dear John:

At this Holiday Season, I wish to express to you my gratitude for your many personal sacrifices while serving in the Armed Forces.

Your fellow employees share with me, I'm sure, the continuing hope that peace is close at hand, and that you may soon return home to your loved ones.

We send to you our very best wishes for the happiest Christmas and New Year possible wherever you may be at this time in the service of our Country.

William G. Meese

121.  Debbie Franklin

[Christmas Card; postmarked December 15, 1972]

Hope you're enjoying your leave, just don't get into any trouble! If you can catch me at home, call or come over. Maybe I'll see you at some of the parties . . .

Love, Debbi Franklin

122.  The McCahill's

[Christmas Card; postmarked December 19, 1972]

Roy, Janet (Michael) (Ray Jr. Steven Larry & David)

123.  Dad

Friday (1972)[Not dated or postmarked]

Dear John,

I hope this letter finds you well and prosperous. You will be leaving there in a couple days, I presume, on Wednesday or is it Tuesday? We are both rather anxious after that mysterious phone conversation with you last weekend. I certainly pray daily that all goes well for you and that you don't lose physically, financially, or especially spiritually. Really, all we can do in your regard, as well as with Jim and Lynn and even Bill, is to sit in the background with help and friendly advice and hope the background and upbringing we tried to manage you all with will see you through any problem you may encounter, not without God's help along the way, of course. I say these things not knowing if you have any serious problems or not. We both trust you very deeply which is something we did not have the consolation of with your older brother during some of these past years. Happily he seems to have changed for the better and maturity and experience seem to be gaining a toehold and making him a better person. But as I said we as parents do get anxious and even worried sometimes when we see signs of something unusual which of course we are constantly on the lookout for due to our many years of training which was our duty, you understand. You may not but you probably will someday. I have taken off this afternoon with the intent of going shopping with Mike in Livonia but a snow storm came a little while ago and now we shall wait until the streets can at least get resalted. We have had a lot of snow this fall so far. It really isn't winter yet but it seems like it should be half over. Mother got reservations for your return to El Paso but American takes you through Chicago if you want to take the last flight or a changeover at any other city would be preferable, perhaps on some other airline. You can see about that later if you wish. There really isn't much else to say that can't wait until you get here except I finally got the pictures from my last roll back which had two of you which turned out real good. One listening to records in the family room and one out front in your leather jacket. The rest were pictures of "Mr. Roberts."

Have a good flight and we shall see you soon.

124.  Dad

Saturday [December 30, 1972; postmarked December 30, 1972]

Dear John,

Here is the letter I have been planning to write all week. Not of any particular matter but just some friendly words from home. I have postponed it several times due to our anticipated phone conversations and delayed mail service due to the holidays. I have been on vacation all week and it has been a busy one. The Lynn's were down from Gary Thursday and Friday AM when they left for a day at Mt. Brighton on their way back home. We had a few empty beds so we were able to put them up overnight. Greg has been redecorating your bedroom, with my help. He is living in their now in Bill's spot, you know. We finished paneling the one wall by the other bed, painted the ceiling, and now he is ready to paint the blue end wall sort of a gold color. Well its not really gold but a rather nice shade of a yellow tan they call Sierra Gold. New Years Eve we are going out with the Dillons after a cocktail here for diner at Metro Inn. We expect to be home early and avoid all the crowds thereby spending a quiet midnight watching probably Guy Lombardo on TV.

Everything else you know about the holiday season I guess. Those phone calls were nice and I hope we can talk to you again New Years Eve or day. I don't know about you but it is reassuring to me to be able to talk to you personally on the phone. Like the ads say, It's the next best thing to being there. That is why when we are anxiously awaiting particular news it is best to phone. I suppose it will be a while until you get any results of this affair but we will be a little nervous about it until we know for sure the outcome. Like I said before you are mature and old enough now to make your own decisions but a good parent has a hard time not trying to interfere when they see their offspring in troubled waters. In your search for liberty and independence, however, don't forget that "no man is an island" and we all need help, encouragement, and even advice from time to time, all our lives. Too many don't realize this fact until too late in their lives and then there is no one around any more and then, finally, they turn to their Creator to seek and beg the help that was there for the asking all along. You know, I am so afraid that I may turn you off whenever I talk like this. Jim had made comments about Grandpa's letters to him when he was in the service that they were always the same. I realize this and try to refrain from it or keep it to a minimum. So please stick with me and it would be a help and reassurance that you would understand and tell me so in your next correspondence.

When we were at Ft. Knox I felt real proud of you and that you were able to adjust to the military life and all it's hardships. Remember, guys were going AWOL even then. I know you have the same strong guts now to get through this problem and the rest of your term regardless of duration the same way you did the basic camp.

I got my bowling ball that Mike gave me for Christmas all, drilled and am ready to try it out. I hope to go more often now. I would like to get a decent average. Don't even have one now. Enclosed is an article from this week's paper which I urge you to read and study. I know a lot of good people use pot but they really don't know the potential effects. I would like your studied reaction to this. Til next time,


[Enclosed is most of the Feature Page with Talbert's column.]

125.  Mary Lou

Wed, 3 [January 3, 1973]

Dear John,

This paper I am writing on was a Christmas present. There are 5 colors. White, green, blue, yellow and pink.

We just started school today. We had 13 days off.

I had a real fun Christmas. I'm sorry you couldn't come home. Hope everything turns out great for you.

Did you get my present? I hope you like it. It should keep you pretty busy.

Our school has 2 newspapers. One is from the 5th grade and the other's from the 6th grade. The one from our class is called the Phantom. It only cost 2 cents. I put one in the envelope. 4 boys in our class writes it. We also have a popcorn sale. They sell the popcorn for 5 cents. We have about $90 in the missions now. Well, bye for now.

Mary Lou

P.S. Happy New Year!

[Photo included of Mom and her Distlefink on the garage. References in the above letter: The stationary has the name at the bottom of "Mary Lou Schneider" and next to the name Woodstock stands in front of Snoopy's dog house while Snoopy is on top of it standing on his head. I couldn't come home for Christmas as I was confined to the barrack for my Court Martial. I don't remember what the present was. The newspaper is not now enclosed.]

126.  Dad

Thursday [January 4; postmarked January 5, 1973]

Dear John,

We just got back from a meeting at school for the parents of those who can get confirmed this Spring. They are the 8th graders and Mark is the one. It is different now in that the kid is supposed to want to be confirmed and agree to it, that is agree to want to be a Christian. If you have been following the new Theology you will recognize the Church's attention has been recently focused on the message and example of Jesus Christ and the active belief in it by the people rather than a stiff application of rules, outside of which people could act and do as they please.

I do hope you have been active in your faith-life and trying to patter yourself after the man that Jesus was on earth. That is why he came.

The cold weather is back although there is no snow at this writing and none forecast except for up North. I guess the next two months will be as usual the dreariest of the year what with continuous cold and snow, although we have had so much already maybe the balance of the winter will be a little easier than usual.

I hope you got your mail that must have piled up. Not that it was much but I remember how it was to receive mail when I was in. Do you ever hear from any of your friends or other relatives? Do you ever write to anyone outside of home?

By tomorrow the Airport @ Metro will have all the concourses closed to visitors. Only passengers will be allowed passed the beginning of each of the long corridors out to the planes and all the carry-on luggage will be searched. All to halt these mad men who try to take over planes.

I had 2 examples told to me recently of experiences that had a relevant meaning to me. One friend was awaiting appearance before a Traffic Referee in an accident case when he heard all the cases preceding his. It was in Dearborn. All had so many dollars or days dispensed to the guilty, $100 or 10 days, until my friend's $25 fine. The point was he told of several instances of young people charged with possession of marijuana. This is particularly tough when so many people use it and so many want to make its use legal. But that doesn't alter the fact that it is now against the law and one who does have it or use it is subject to punishment if they are caught. Just like one who violates other laws such as speed regulations in a car. If you read that article I sent last time you can see there is justification for banning pot.

The 2nd example was from another friend who related being caught with a friend in a stolen car. He didn't know his friend had stolen the car but he got apprehended with him but was released. The point was that even though it hadn't been a long friendship, he stopped seeing this person because he felt he didn't want to risk marking his own record and perhaps spoiling his own future life and that of his future family for the sake of someone whose values of rights of others were that low.

I can realize your position, too, John. You have good friends who perhaps are very nice, friendly, thoughtful and law abiding citizens whose only problem, possibly, is too agree on what should be legal re: pot. I used plural, maybe only it's one.

Anyway you have the free choice to make about whether you should continue to pal around with someone who has knowingly broken the law. If you choose to forgive and if he doesn't repeat, no harm can come from continued relationship. The alternative can lead to something you could be sorry for in the future sometime.

Honestly--no preaching, just pointing out some ideas that a smart person must consider. We just don't want to see you hurt, now or in 10 years. Please take this in the spirit in which it is offered. Again I would like your comments.


127.  Greg

Jan 10, 1973

Dear John:

How's life been treating you? I hope you can look optimistically about life during your stay in the Army. That may be the only thing to save your sanity down there.

Well, so much for the introduction. You won't be able to get a POW bracelet for still a while. They stopped selling them at Cherry Hill this year. VIVA is an organization in California which sells the bracelets. I just got the address yesterday. But a friend in school can get one in Detroit by picking one up. So, instead of writing to California, I'll have my friend get one. It may be a couple of weeks before you will get it. I'll send one as soon as possible.

Don't know what the weather's like down there, but up here it's been cold. Despite the temp in the 10-20's, we've had little snow. The ground is all bare and brown right now. Out in the park there's a natural ice rink where I've gone skating the past 3 days.

Mom's really anxious to know whether or not you have gotten your clothes yet. She has them insured. Dad wants you to write as soon as possible.

That girl, Vera Gregorian, who you met on that ski trip 2 years ago, keeps asking when you coming home on leave. I keep telling her since your orders were changed, you don't know when your coming home. Wonder if she still interested?

Since I have moved into your bedroom, I have made some "drastic" changes. The rest of that wall was paneled, the other wall and anything else that was blue has been painted "sierra gold." Your posters on the paneled wall are undisturbed. In addition to the 3' x 5' flag on the opposite wall, there's a James Taylor poster on the right hand side of the mirror. The room looks really great now. Even the ceiling was repainted.

Mark wants to know if you still want those old, brown cowboy boots you have. The ones you wore to work at Edison. He's interested in them.

Bill and Lynn are sharing Grandpa's house for 3 months while he vacations in Florida.

Mom and Dad are anxious to hear from you via mail.

Signing off,

128.  Greg

Jan 15 (1973)

Dear John:

Finally got your POW-MIA bracelet. I'm sure you'll like it. On the back of the card included with the bracelet, is an order form, in case you want another one.

This is sorta my Christmas gift to you.

Your brother,

[This was enclosed with mom's next letter.]

129.  Dad

Tuesday Night [January 16; postmarked January 17, 1973]

Dear John,

It is very quiet in the house right now. The steady hum of the refrigerator, the occasional chime from the living room clock as it even now rings off nine bells to reveal the hour, and just the faint noises from Greg's music upstairs is all that penetrates the night. Mother has retired early. Mark is out playing hockey beating the Northville team, and Mike is out to see Cherry Hill play basketball. Lynn has moved out to Grampa's while he is in Florida, Bill has also moved in there.

The mailman delivered two letters today, including Mary Lou's. The news which you revealed was, I must confess, disappointing. It was not however, entirely unexpected. I am relieved that you had nothing to do with the procurement or storage of the material. You must know how much of a risk you took not to abandon your friends immediately if they would not change there plans. I can feel your predicament at the time; not wanting to let them down, and hopefully, not quite agreeing that they were acting innocently and without harm to some unknown strangers who would later purchase the stuff not to mention your own selves. Well, you took a chance on hanging around and you lost. I hope and pray daily that you will get off without harm to you or your reputation or your record. I am relieved you will have a separate hearing or trial. Not having actually done anything wrong yourself I would hate to see you suffer the rest of your life by being penalized with a blot on your record for this.

I think if you ask for God's help you will have an excellent chance for coming out of this unblemished.

Your letter also painted a picture of the John we knew and loved in our home. I really was wondering lately if we were losing you to the outside influences, the ones of your local surroundings which perhaps could be a bit foreign to our ways. I am glad you revealed your reactions to some of my messages and that you do understand what I am trying to do. It continues to give me confidence that with your education and your upbringing and with your sincere desire to do what is right that your future will turn out alright. Gee, after all this it will really be extra nice to have you home again soon. And I would rather have it just a furlough with a good record than an early discharge that could hurt you.

Well, let's see what news we have around here. Mark came in while I was on the last page and says they beat them 6-3 but he didn't figure in the scoring. I am glad he got a couple of goals early in the season. He really likes hockey, though. In fact, ice skating really caught on with several of us this past couple weeks. The river flooded the park during a recent warm and wet spell. Then the weather quickly turned very cold and a large area of water got trapped in the park across by the woods straight out from us. It froze just perfectly and a lot of the neighborhood boys including Mark have been playing a lot of scrub hockey there and I even got my skates out and tried the ice. It was so much fun and I did fair enough that I got the skates sharpened, can't remember doing that before, and went out several days for an hour or more. Then while doing nicely last Sunday I did a backflip and got the wind knocked out of me. Although I didn't come in right away the back between the shoulder blades really was sore for a while. It was much better this morning and another day or two should see it perfect again. The temperature is rising again, though, and the ice may be gone by now. I didn't see it this evening since I worked til 5:30. There is still a lot of overtime work in our office but I am trying to keep my share of it to a minimum. I had 6 extra hours last week. They do pay for it so it isn't all bad. They have interviewing and we expect 3 additional estimators in our office soon. Got your city tax form which I will hold for your arrival or at least till your Edison forms come. It's now 10 and I must close. Do write again, it's such a pleasure hearing from you.

With love and prayers,
[not signed]

[Enclosed is Bob Talbert's page.]

130.  Mom

January 18 [1973]

Dear John,

This has been a long time coming, I know, but as I told you on the phone last month it has been hard to write. Actually, hard is not the word. Impossible is more like it but I think that you can understand why.

So this will not be a letter in the usual sense . . . no tidbits of family goings on or gossip. Suffice it to say that all are well as far as I know.

This will not be a lecture, either. As a young man almost 21 you would not appreciate it nor listen to it. Just a few thoughts that have been running through my mind along with some mental snap shots.

Your brothers, and I imagine you too, have accused me of being "too emotional" about this misfortune (and this is your word) you find yourself in. Perhaps this is true. Even my mother's love and concern for my children when they find themselves in trouble is no excuse for my "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." However, this is something that I have been working on very hard lately. So do not be afraid that I am going to jump through the phone at you. What ever comes up feel no hesitation in telling me. I know that your father is quite cool in situations and I am trying.

You haven't been far from my thoughts in the last few weeks and in between thoughts of wondering--about your future mainly--these pictures flutter through. A three year old in a brown suit holding a large yellow cat . . . The back of a 17 year old in the front window of the high school . . . A very proud fellow in light blue ruffled shirt . . . the working man with a great deal of hair and moustache with a tiny navy hat perched on top . . . a young man in a hospital bed talking a blue streak before surgery . . . your rocking a path in front of the picture window . . . a first glimpse of a good looking soldier minus all that hair and moustache . . . and finally the last one-watching you leave on that last big jet.

I told you that this wasn't going to be a regular letter. Be assured of my love and support in all you do!

131.  Dad

Sunday- 1-28-73

Dear John,

The snow has been falling since we got out of 11 o'clock Mass and the temperature having dropped to 26 is permitting a gradual accumulation which is probably a bit difficult as the ground must have warmed considerably during the last week or so of rather unseasonably warm weather. It was nice while it lasted with temperatures in the 60's. It did make January more bearable although while I was in that ice skating kick I must confess that I was hoping the subfreezing temperature would stay. An article in the paper commented that while the ski places around lower Michigan could cope with the lack of snow and warm temperatures, the people don't seem to be as interested in the sport when it is mild out. Psychological thing I guess. Speaking of ice I took Mark and his friend to the Olympia yesterday for the Red Wings matinee (which they lost to the Rangers 6 - 3). I had gotten a couple tickets from a friend at the office who had extra two 2 he wanted to sell. I planned to go to the game too then if I could pick up some tickets out side from anyone who had extras. The game had been sold out for days. Well, I did find someone who had extras and the one I bought was right on one of the blue lines in the lower balcony which they call the mezzanine. It was much better that the two boys had although a couple seats were vacant for the 3rd period and I got them so they moved over then. In 20 minutes their Sunday game will be on TV from Montreal. The reason for the mild excitement is that they are trying desperately to make up 4 points on Buffalo in order to get into the playoffs. Do you still want the Free Press? I presume you do and I presume you are getting it. I must look it up but I think the subscription extends into February or March. Last night mother and I went to diner at Joey's Stables up the street a couple miles from the Del Ray plant you know. It is very popular for such an old and industrial area. It is very nice, though and has been there for years. I had never been there before but your mother was taken there on her 2nd date over 30 years ago, and it was a nice place then.

This promises to be a big week or should I say busy week. Wednesday evening we are attending a party for the committee members of St. Norberts various commissions. There will be cocktails at the social hall followed by dinner at the Copper Door, up Inkster Rd. at Joy Rd. Then Thursday I am having lunch at Carl's Chophouse with an old parishioner, John Kamigo, who works at Mich. Bell and with Fr. Kinzle. Fr. Is still editor of the Michigan Catholic while also holding down the new job as being pastor of some suburban parish. I never think of Fr. Kinzle without thinking of you and your matter-of-fact statement to him long ago that you were the smartest person in the, what was it, first grade? A lot of water has certainly gone over the dam since then, eh?

Bill really got the best news of his life when your mother called him at work a while ago. He hadn't heard of the news announced last night about stopping the draft. It was a relief for us all and know we hope they will start releasing guys like you who were drafted. At least let you out some time before your term is up. I really don't look for much of and early discharge because without the draft and the fact that the national guard is below strength they probably will need those they have for a while to keep their minimum strength.

Lynn's friend, Bob from New Jersey, is in town for the weekend, which indicates that her relationship with Julie is back on low burner again. I wondered if you ever communicate with your old friends when I ran into John Witkowski or whatever his name is [Mackowski], at the ACE store last week. He asked about you.

The hockey game started a few minutes ago and miracles of miracles the Wings scored a goal at 6 seconds of the opening period. Now the other team tied it with a fluke goal.

That's about all the news from here, so til next time.

With love,

132.  Dad

Monday [February 19; postmarked February 19, 1973]

Dear John,

Today is a holiday for us Edison people and I am here at home finally getting out a note to you. I had intended to for a while now but I don't know why I didn't get to it.

Mother and I took a little vacation this past weekend. We went to Oakland county. Stayed at Botsford Inn Saturday night, went to the camper show where we got real enthused over Travel Trailers and campers. We think it might be a good idea to invest in one. We shall look more into it. Might rent one for a week this summer to try it out. We also saw Man of Lamancha at the movies. We also took a Sunday afternoon drive out M59 as far as Alpine Valley where we stopped for a while to watch the skiers which were out in droves. That place seems twice as big as the last time we were there.

I was so very grateful when mother called me after talking with you about the good news. We can change the intention of the St. Jude Novena this week from one of petition to one of thanksgiving. That's really service for you. I am firmly convinced that if a person really tries to what is right (in the eyes of God) that things will work out well for them. Now what is the next step, waiting for a new assignment or possibly requesting a particular line such as the musical position? Again, the order of the day is going to be 'patience' I suppose.

After a cold snap we are again getting a little warm spell, at least in the low 30's.

Incidentally, do you type as well as I do? I hope so. A lot better, I suspect, otherwise you would have been doing a different job long ago. I suppose I should really go slower but I get carried away and start flying (relatively).

Greg hurt his shoulder by falling a couple times skating yesterday. He couldn't lift his arm above his chest this morning so mother took him in for x rays and they showed just a sprain, nothing broken. So he is back in school this aft.

I'll close for now, hoping you get what you want in an assignment.

133.  Pat Bratcher

[Greeting Card; postmarked February 21, 1973]

"If you ain't got nothin' to say . . . Why don't you write and say so . . . " Love, Patty

Dear John,

Hi! How ya been? I been just fine. So, what's new? Not much here. My sister Cheryl told me today that when you were home on leave last you came over & said hi. Well, hi! Sorry I missed-it would have been nice to see you. I guess that since you were home, you know I have a son. H's 2 months & 3 weeks last Friday. You'll have to come see him next time your home on leave. If you answer this in my next letter, I'll send a picture of him, so you can see what he looks like now, when is your birthday? Did I miss it? If so sorry. Gotta go! Drop a line sometime.


134.  Mom


Feb. 22 (1973)

Dear John,

While awaiting for Mary Lou's cookies to come out of the oven, I thought I could get this "hello" down on paper to you. How are things working out for you now? Slowly, I suppose. Every day I keep hoping to hear from you saying that you have been reassigned into some fantastic new job.

In the week since you left here we have had 3 new snow storms and I have shoveled six more inches of the white stuff. Did your dad tell you that we stopped at Alpine last Sunday and just how packed it was?

Last night, we had your father's birthday dinner. Two missing this year. Lynn came late--9:30--because she had to attend a class at Marygrove. It was a short but enjoyable evening--a few laughs. You know how your brothers can get!

Lynn is going to New Jersey tonight to spend the weekend with Bob W. at his parents home. She told him that she really couldn't afford his invitation so he is paying half her fare. He certainly is persistent.

We are (Dad & I) going to a play at Meadowbrook tomorrow night. Sue & Al are giving us their tickets. Hope that it will be worth that long trip to Rochester.

Well, the cookies are finished and so am I. They smell wonderful and now I have to shop for dinner.

Hope to hear from you this week. Good news, I hope.

Say hello to your sergeant for me--a nice person!


135.  Mom

Feb. 26 [1973]

Dear John,

Your letter arrived this afternoon and I must say that it made me happy to hear such a positive attitude shining through it. You will be o.k. and work things out, I am sure, for your ultimate happiness and satisfaction!

Your father's "camping fever" is wondrous to watch develop. Of course, his idea of a camper right now is one of those 20 footers with the canvas extensions.

I, however, lean to the 28 footer with the tile shower and luxury appointments. You know--air conditioning for the desert and electric heat for the upper Michigan. We have dozens of pamphlets and we walked through about 4000 models at the show. One thing surprised me, though.

I told the family when Bill was here for dinner, that I would trade my Hawaii trip for an extended camping trip out West. Would you believe that Mark & Mary Lou were the only ones who would even consider it? Everyone else, like you, would like to borrow it for themselves--even the twins. Well, we'll have to wait and see what develops.

You heard about Greg falling on the ice rink and spraining his shoulder, didn't you? Well, 4 days later Mark's hockey coach called and told me that Mark had been hit with a hockey stick and would need some stitches. So, I again trotted to Annapolis hospital emergency room. Mark had 5 stitches taken in his chin. Maybe he'll have two dimples there now. Dr. Procailo (remember him?) will have to remove them tomorrow.

And so life and injuries at the Schneiders goes on. Tune in again next week for more excitement!


137.  Mary Lou

Mar. 2 [1973]

Dear John,

How are you? Dad just sent me this and envelopes to match. We played kickball 3 time this week. My team won 2 times out of 4. The first time the score was 6 to 3. The second time was 4 to 3. I scored twice.

At Lynn and Bob's wedding (I suppose you know) I'm going to be a bridesmaid. I don't know what I'm going to get her because I do not know what to get that I can afford.

Today it seemed like spring. It was really warm out.

The fish are getting bigger now. Big enough to mate. I hope they do so soon.

Well, goodbye for now.

Mary Lou

[The new stationary is pink with her name and address printed fancy at the top as Miss MaryLou Schneider in Park Avenue BT script.]

138.  Dad

Sunday [March 4; postmarked Sunday 5, 1973]

Dear John,

It seems like a long time since I wrote. Actually for the last few days I have been waiting for Lynn to get her letter out because she wanted to be the one to tell you the big news. Lynn said she was to mail it yesterday so I presume you will have it before this one.

Anyhow, I am pleased the way it has turned out, (if it doesn't change again) and I expect that by July 1 she will be happily married. For a long time I had thought Bob was a good and sincere man and I think that Lynn and he can have a good and happy life.

And how's your life? Your last letter sounded good. How did TR or whatever his name is, come out in his problems with the authorities? And did you get skiing with your other friend? I suppose we will here [hear] some of the answers this week, in the mail.

Mother has been after me to start getting the place ready for June wedding and so I started yesterday by repairing or replacing a few of the basement floor tiles. That floor needs a good cleaning too and then I must finish the walls down there, add the insulation and paneling around the pooltable end. Mother wants the stairwell at the side door paneled too. And later when the weather warms and drys up I must do some painting outdoors. Not the whole house but some of the trim And also she wants the kitchen repainted. So you see, the place while it looks pretty good now, is going to be in tiptop shape this summer. What with our silver anniversary coming in June and our anticipated trip to Hawaii tentatively scheduled for October, and the wedding, it is really a big year in store for us. I really hope you will be here for it in June. I am leaving the door open on out trip, though, because we might feel it might be better to postpone it. And then there is the idea of the camper or travel trailer which may substitute for the trip or may be postponed, although it is still in the "idea" stage. A guy at work has a foldup type trailer which he rents out. I think before we ever buy one we should try it out first, on a weekend or a week trip.

It has been warm the last couple days and it is getting to feel more like spring. I will gladly welcome the greening of all outdoor things.

Last night we attended the JNK Christian Credit Union annual party at the hall on Van Born Rd. The music was really terrific by Paul Maceri's band. He used to be in the parish, you know. Well, he played the old songs that we were so fond of and so well that it seems a shame that he must do this work only on Friday and Saturday nights while making a living at Ford during the week. He is as good as any professional band on tv or in clubs. His music is to us what your favorite groups are to you.

Guess I'll close for now. Drop us a line if you haven't done so. We are happy to hear what's new with you. By the way; what's doing with your transfer?

[Enclosed are some columns clipped from the Feature Page of the Free Press.]

139.  Debbie Franklin


3-7 [1973]


There's not much time to write before the mailman picks up down at the box but while I've got what I hope is your present address, I'd better write!

The other day I got a card I the mail saying a John had given me a subscription to SKI magazine. I called up my sister's boyfriend, John, to thank him but he said it wasn't him! Boy-did I feel dumb. So I figured that it must have been you. I don't know why you did it but thanks so much for even thinking of me. I haven't received my 1st issue yet but I really dig seeing and reading about great skiers.

It's so nice outside-yesterday was the first Sunny weather we've had. That's not such a big deal to you Texans, is it?

Work's been really a drag so they cut my hours to 19 per week which is fine with me. We've sold our house and most of our furniture. We plan to be out by June 15th.

Not much else is new and interesting so I'll get this mailed. Sorry so short. If this isn't the correct address but somehow you get this letter anyways, let me know your new location!

Be cool-

Luv ya,

140.  Mom

March 8 [1973]


Dear John,

You must have received your sister's announcement letter by now. I can imagine that you were as surprised as the rest of us. We held off writing to you because she wanted to tell you herself. Now we can understand the trips to both Buffalo and New Jersey. It just was not in the cards for Julie and thank goodness her decision was made now and not 2 years from now.

She is very happy and I am happy for her. Bob treats her as is she were a princess, she tells me. Anyway, we are knee deep in wedding preparations and I am really enjoying every minute of it. Remember, I told you to save up your leave days for a really big celebration in June! I didn't think that it would be for a wedding but you certainly will be able to get home for this, won't you?

This will really be a Schneider spectacular. Everyone will have a special part (if I can change Mark's mind about serving the Mass). Mark is being confirmed next Monday evening. Lynn is giving her seminar paper on the 29th. Then her graduation, Mark's graduation from 8th grade, your father's and my 25th anniversary. Wow-plus all the birthdays coming up-this will really be an exciting Spring around here.

Now tell us about yourself. I wanted to call but I knew that if I did I would talk too long and the phone bill would rival the national debt again. We have been wondering about you, of course, hoping things were shaping up tolerably well. It is a good thing that you wrapped up your skis. I think that perhaps winter's back has been broken. We have been having 60 degree + weather for the past week. Did Lynn tell you that the skis she bought from you came apart on Julie? Poor guy-one more thing breaking up on him. Those are the breaks. Lynn asked him to come to her wedding! Can you imagine? He refused, tho.


141.  Dad

Sunday [March 11; postmarked March 12, 1973]

Dear John,

It is nearly the end of a warm and partly rainy day. Things are turning green and spring is definitely in the air. Of course, it could snow any day again but today at least it was spring, and very welcome, too

We didn't hear from you this past week so I am wondering what is up and how are things going. Have you found out what of the bail bond you will get back? And how close did that tornado get to you?

Mike is down at the Olympia with Mike Said whose father gets free tickets near the bench. The wings are leading at the moment 2-1 over St. Louis. This hockey season seems to go on too long when it stretches into this warm weather, especially when the Tigers are now warming up in spring training.

Tomorrow night Mark gets confirmed with me standing up for him. The bishop (Gumbelton) will be there as they work the Sacrament in with a Mass and follow it up with a little reception an the Social Hall.

Lynn and your Mother are busy making plans for the wedding. They will have everything settled long ahead of the big day it seems, so that there will be little to do for the last couple months. I really have little to do, myself, except to have money ready as needed, although I guess they will let me have the responsibility for the bar at our at-home reception. The house looks so nice I think it will be a lot better having it here than in some rented hall which seems so cold and commercial.

We received news this week of the death of (Mr.) Arnold Demmon, our former neighbor I'm sure you will remember. They moved up North to a place which he built although I think one of the older kids still lives here, Jeannie who got married maybe. Anyway, he had a heart attack which was fatal. He smoked like a chimney all the time I knew him and wouldn't be surprised if that caused it. It is good that Mrs. Demmon is resourceful and has the hair styling business so that she can keep going independently because I think the younger girl is still at home although I don't know if Dennis is or not.

Jim was over here and says a friend who lives near here is going to sell him his 2 year old Corvette in a couple weeks. It may be nice but it burns me up the way the insurance companies take a person with their exorbitant rates. I got my renewals this week and they raised the wagon's insurance $100 for a 6 month policy. I called and he said they didn't charge mother's 1971 accident last October. So that plus the two points they charged for Mike's accident where he allegedly forced a young guy off the road last summer cost us 4 points which really cost us. And it takes 3 years to eliminate them, too. Even a ticket costs you one point. Anyway the 2 cars cost about $720 or so a year in insurance, total. I lost my eraser; that makes it difficult to type good.

I took Mary lou and Mark to see a couple Marx Bros. Movies last Tuesday. They really are funny and I would recommend any of their movies if you ever get a chance to see one. They were mostly made in the early 40's I guess. They are never on TV yet.

I was thinking of calling you. Are you still in the office by your phone each day until 4PM?

So long for now. Don't forget to say a prayer for yourself, and all of us while your at it.

142.  Mom

[St. Patrick's Day Card; postmarked March 14, 1973]

John Joseph Francis-

Also a kiss on the top of the head from

Quartermaster School: April 1--September, 1973

Fort Lee, Virginia

Company P (Stu Enl) 2nd Bn USA, QM Sch Bde

143.  Greg

[Postmarked March 30, 1973]

Dear John:

It's been a long time since I've written to you. Maybe you'll like Virginia better than Texas. I am glad you were stationed closer to home. Last Saturday and Sunday nights Cherry Hill put on performances of "To Kill A Mockingbird." I was in the play portraying a prosecuting attorney convicting a black man of assault and rape. The play was very successful. The half-filled auditorium for both nights was a pretty good crowd. After the play Saturday night, the cast and crew went to Little Caesar's for a party. The live entertainment consisted of a piano player and a guitarist. Songs to sing along with were shown on a screen from a slide projector. In all, it was one of the best times of my life.

Mom wants to know if you received a subscription notice from SKI magazine. She sent one notice down to you in Texas with your Texas address on the envelope in place of the Inkster address. She wrote your Texas address on the cellophane window of the envelope and she's afraid that it might rub off. Another notice of subscription arrived here today.

I heard that Gary Kiester was getting married from Debbie D'Angelo. Did you know about that? Who is he getting married to?

Mike told me that Debbie Franklin was dating one of the teachers at Cherry Hill. The teacher was the junior class sponsor, Mr. Bihun. That surprises me.

Wedding plans are being made now and that's what we hear a lot about now around the house. I'm looking forward to being an usher in the wedding party. I've never worn a tuxedo before.

Only about nine more weeks to go until we are out of school. That's one thing I'm not looking forward to. My entire social life centers around Cherry Hill. If I can get a job this summer it won't be so bad.

With Grandpa coming home from Florida this Thursday, Lynn and Bill will be coming home. Bill will be sharing Mike's and Mark's bedroom when he gets back. So I'll keep the bedroom to myself. I really enjoy the privacy of that room very much.

There isn't any room in your record cabinet for the records you sent home, so I'll just put them on your bed, along with your guitar.

Mom sends the stamps with love.

Signing off,

144.  Dad


Dear John

I am at this moment attending a meeting at the Warren Service Center, first thing Monday morning. I have not too much to do in this meeting. The Dept. is going over the work that is supposed to be done by June and I answer questions only on jobs that I have estimated. I am taking advantage of my unproductive time to get this letter out to you. I thought last week I should have written then in case you didn't get home this past weekend but then you did think there was a good possibility. I thought I would be writing this on our new typewriter which we bought at Sears the same afternoon you & Bill left. It's a fine typewriter except I took it back for a repair or replacement already Saturday. The ribbon changer doesn't work due to a tiny plastic part breaking. It works alright on one or other level of ribbon.

Bill really enjoyed the return trip, especially the Sky Line Drive which he spent 6 hours exploring last Monday. He spent the night near that town where you would get on the Penn Pike. He would like to go back there again I guess and spend more time.

We saw an ad from the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce in the paper yesterday. You are right in the middle of a big tourist area. Hope you get the chance to see some of the sights.

Mark spent some of his hard earned money Saturday, & bought a 10 speed bike. It took a while to get it properly adjusted but now it works fine and he loves it.

Did you get all your income tax returns in? You should have one for Detroit, too, if they took any out. Especially if you are due any refund.

Easter is coming April 22. I wonder if you will get a long weekend off including Good Friday. Seems like a good weekend to get home. In case you get stuck without an airplane reservation on any future trips home, you should consider taking the bus. It might take a little longer than hitchhiking but it could be more sure and you could catch some sleep during the trip especially if it is at night. I guess the Greyhound line even stops in W. Dearborn on some lines, but maybe not on the Toledo run.

Spring is giving us some beautiful weather now although tonight's forecast is for rain & snow. It can't last.

Greg and I spent most of Saturday working on paneling in the basement. We got all of it up except a couple of small sections on the wall at the driveway end. I have to patch up some damaged ceiling tiles, clean the floor tiles, and get rid of a lot unwanted toys and stuff, and the place will be looking pretty good. Oh, I forgot about the stairwell. We have to decorate that too. Well, I am sure all the jobs will be done by the time of the June wedding. Now that the old homestead is getting so improved I hope the neighborhood holds up so that we won't feel like we have to get out for safety or other reasons. Personally I don't think that this will happen. At least for quite a long time yet. Although quite a few people are moving out not all are being replaced by blacks, and those blacks who are moving in, so far, are quite nice people, as far as we can see. An integrated neighborhood can be quite acceptable. It really depends on the individual people. If you remember some of our neighbors who have lived where Hayes live now color has nothing to do with the type or desirability of neighbors. Even our good long time friends neighbors we seem to have so little to do with it seems a shame. I really would welcome more sociability in the neighborhood but it seems we have so little spare time, or mainly more correctly, so little interest to have a lot of parties. Perhaps large families have less need as well as time for a lot of socializing. This is not to say this is the best arrangement or consequence. Well, life is more interesting with changes and challenges to keep us busy trying to solve them; even when we need a rest once in a while.

I have applied for a job-change here at Edison. There is an opening in the Buildings & Properties Dept. for an Engineering Supervisor. The job reports directly to the assistant Director of the Dept. and has a couple technicians working under the man. It is an A-15 which would be another 2 grade jump if I were to get it. It has to do with heating and air conditioning and alterations, etc. in the office buildings & W.S.C. mainly. I am enthused about the possibility. I think I am qualified, but I suppose so are a lot of people. So the chances may be slim but I pray for the best, God's will be done, and we shall wait & see.

So Long for Now,

145.  Mom

April 11, '73

Dear John,

Seems like a long time since I have written a letter to you with your phone calls and your visit home. I rather expected to see you home this past weekend.

That's what you planned when you left here with Bill. Saving your money for Easter leave?

Bill really loved his ride back over the mountains skyline drive. I think that he is hoping to go back this summer some time after he quits work.

Speaking of work--I suppose your dad told you how the work in the basement is coming along. He and Greg worked most of Saturday and Mike helped him after dinner last night. The paneling really looks pretty but the basement itself looks like a disaster area. Slowly but surely we'll have it completed for the festivities in June.

Lynn spent the weekend in N.J. with Bob and said they made a mistake in naming the date in June. It should be next month or sooner! So she is more sure than ever that her decision was the right one.

Mary Lou and I are going downtown this noon. Eating lunch at Edison with your dad then hopefully buying my Mother-of-the-Bride's dress. It is kind of fun to go shopping for something you really have to buy even though it is going to put a dent in the budget.

Well, I have to get Mark's peanut butter sandwich made now and get ready to pick up Mary Lou.

Haven't asked you about your schooling because you seem to be so bored with it a few weeks ago. Hope things have improved for you.

Take care--Love,

146.  Mom

[Postmarked April 25, 1973]

Dear John,

Mom's puzzle letter, faceMom's puzzle letter, back

Hope to see you this weekend--not that the weather is supposed to be hot. Your checks are deposited in your acct. Not much new since last we talked but my thoughts and love are with you.


[This letter is a puzzle from Kellogg's, a card 3" by 10" with a writing side and a picture on the other of a toaster sailing in a boat on a lake. Milton's Puzzling Notes. Write the letter and break up the pieces for the receiver to put them together to read.]

147.  Dad

Monday [April 30; postmarked May 1, 1973]

Dear John

It has been quite a while since I have written, hasn't it. It was good you didn't come in this past week end, or rather Easter because the weather was rainy and not so nice. This past week end, though was pretty good here although I read that you had some rough weather on the coast which would have been bad enough to drive through I'll bet. I checked into the cost of renting a car from Budget Co. I figured that if 3 or 4 were coming all the way to Detroit area it would be cheaper than a bus or even flying, although I don't know if you have to be 21 or not. The cost would be about $200 round trip at the rate of $11 per day including total insurance coverage, and a fee of 9 cents per mile. It would be more complicated though to get 3 or 4 guys to agree on a schedule. Maybe flying wouldn't be that much more.

The latest news here is Lynn got her diploma from Marygrove today. She skipped the ceremonies at the college yesterday and stopped by today to pick it up. We did have a little party here, though, with our family plus grampa and Sr. Ann Louis. And Friday is Lynn's birthday, 24. She really is getting to do a lot of celebrating this spring.

And may I be one of the first to congratulate you on graduating from QM school. I hope you will have made it more than satisfactorily so that you will be given the best of assignments.

I got notified today by Employment that I do not qualify for that job I applied for because it calls for a mechanical engineer and I am an electrical. I called them and the guy in employment said that all the 14 applications would be sent to the requesting department anyway so maybe they will want me anyway, although then they might have to advertise the job over again making electrical eligible. So it seems slim that they would go to that trouble unless the other 13 were not anything to chose from.

Well, how's the sightseeing going? You probably won't have much more time down there to see the territory. I imagine it wouldn't be too bad in that area during the summer. Bill is leaving his job this weekend. I don't know what he is going to do all summer but I know he wants to go out West for a couple weeks. He may do that before the wedding.

Guess there isn't much more news so I'll close now. Let us know when you get word of any new assignment. Maybe we will see you first.

148.  Mom

Wed. Morning [May 2; postmarked May 2, 1973]

Dear John,

Here it is-just in time, I hope. Only thing new since we talked last night is Bill's ball playing. His first game is tonight at 9:30 under lights at Garden City East. He will be disappointed if it rains because he is getting a big kick out of playing. He discovered some new muscles in his practicing every night. Dad and I are going to watch.

I am off now to the Credit Union-then to the post office. Your C.U. balance is now $429.64

Luck in your tests!


Camp A. P. Hill, Bowling Green, Virginia, (TDY - i.e. temporary duty) May 10--Sept. 1, 1973

149.  Dad

Friday Night [May 11; postmarked May 12, 1973]

Dear John,

I write this not knowing whether or not you might come in tonight or tomorrow. I suspect you won't, though, since we haven't heard from you in this regard. You should be having some news soon I imagine. If you have not heard by the time you read this the latest news here is that Lynn and Bob's wedding has been postponed. Lynn really hasn't determined that Bob is the one yet. She really doesn't know him as she should because he has for so long been living so far away. Therefore, she is going to move to Morristown a week from Sunday, May 20, so that she can see him often enough to become more acquainted. Then after a while she should be able to know for sure whether she should marry Bob or perhaps marry Julie whom she has been seeing for a bit before he left for the east last week. He still is trying. So, all the plans are being dismantled and shall be put away for a while. Perhaps there could be a Fall wedding but don't ask me who.

Bill has left his job and has been taking it easy for a while. He has been out to Eastern and is planning to take an audition for a music course of some sort. I don't know the connection but I am sure he will fill you in when you meet again. Do you write anyone anymore? Do you get any mail yourself, aside from the family? We haven't had very much warm weather yet. A lot of rain this week. A river just north of here was raised so high by all the rain that you could see under it.

Hope you are having a good time now that you are a graduate ( I hope). See you soon?

150.  Mom


May 14

You hoo-John!

Where are you hiding yourself these days? We thought that we might have heard from you yesterday. Maybe all the lines were busy?

I do get concerned when I don't hear-Did you get your money order o.k.? Did you pass your final tests? We presume that your new assignment has not come through yet.

I don't suppose Lynn wrote to you yet. She has been putting off some important phone calls although the lines from N.J. and N.Y. have been hot and heavy recently!

She has postponed the wedding and as of now she has no definite plans as to when, where or to whom it will be. Details are confusing but I do know that she isn't too happy right now. Bob is coming in by Greyhound Saturday and she is moving out there to stay with his folks until she finds a place to stay and a job. He is driving her back in her car on Sunday. She said that she wanted to move to N.J. anyway, because she loves it out there and perhaps she can make her decision between Bob & Julie this summer.

I know this reads like a soap opera but I could not see her marrying Bob next month still being so unsure of her feelings for him.

Anyway, that is the latest in the saga of Lynn versus Bob, versus Julie.

Now, will you please sit down and tell us about yourself? Please?

My love and prayers be with you!

151.  Greg

[Birthday Card postmarked May 15, 1973]

152.  Mark

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 17, 1973]

Dear John:

It must be weird, I haven't written a letter since you've been in the service. It's just that there's never anything to say. Life here is just a drag, school's a hassle, and I'm really bored out of my mind. It will change once I'm safely out of school if I ever get out of school where I'm floating along on the usual D's & E's (just kidding). Know that I have my new bike (a Ross 10 speed). I'll be going everywhere hopefully. Dad brought up going to Niagara Falls & Toronto but I was hoping we would be sliding West, like Colorado. I sincerely doubt it but it still a dream, to ski the Colorado mountains if I learn to ski which I hope to learn to do as soon as possible.

So the next time some exciting news breaks out I'll write, meanwhile Happy Birthday.

Your brother,

153.  Mike

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 17, 1973]

On Friday, the 18th, I am taking Ellen Flavin, a sophomore, to our Prom at the Roostertail. I rented a tux at Valentie's for $30.00. A blue, single-breasted model with black lapels and a yellow ruffled shirt. Bet you still remember your prom date with Mary. I'll probably eat at the Chicago Road House afterwards.

I am running for Senior Class President right now. My chances are favorable. Only a few weeks left of school, thank heavens!

I am working steadily at Allen Lumber. Greg just started working there last week. Bill quit there a few weeks ago, and I got a raise up to $2.00/hr.

That's all for now. Bye

Happy Birthday!

154.  Mary Lou

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 17, 1973]

155.  Mom

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 17, 1973]

John, your dad and I will send you your birthday gift when we hear from you-where you'll be stationed. It would be great to be able to hand it to you personally!

In the meantime think happy thoughts today-Love, Mom

156.  Bill

May 17 [1973]

Dear John.

Happy Birthday, brother. I read that you moved to a more exciting spot in VA. (balling green?) A few of us wrote letters & things and hope you are going to receive them, for they were addressed to your previous alma mater.

Anyways, I quit work for the summer, and I have a lot of time to spend. I would like to drive down there again this summer. I can bring your guitar, if ya just write to me & tell me how to get there. I can make the trek in the last part of May & part of June.

June 8th I have to audition & take a one hour exam at Eastern to qualify for Music classes. July & August there are days here and there that I have to go down to EMU (register, orientation, etc.) and Aug. 27 is my first day of school. So, write me soon so I can see you soon.

Take care-Bill

157.  Lynn

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 18, 1973]

158.  Dad

Sunday [May 20; postmarked May 21, 1973]

Dear John

It is late afternoon of a beautiful day. Your mother and I went out to Romeo where they had a series of six old homes on display. These were fine old homes all built in the middle 1800's and wonderfully restored by the latest owners. The town is full of these places and it was very interesting to go through the three we did see. There such lines at most of them we didn't have time to see them all.

We got your first letter from Camp Hill on Friday. Not too swift a service but the word was very welcome as we were becoming concerned that we hadn't heard from you in such a long time. I hope and trust that the place isn't as bad as you thought on first impression. It certainly is in the midst of historical and important vacation land and I presume you will get more freedom to get out and see the sights than even Ft. Lee. My friend at work is taking his family to Virginia Beach next week in their camper and will be staying overnight at Bowling Green. Hope you get to see Washington this summer.

Lynn left yesterday with Julie for Arlington Del. Julie starts to work at a Chemical Co. there as soon as he finds a place to live and she went with him to find a place nearby so that she can decide for once and for all if she should marry him, or maybe Bob. It looks from here, though, that poor old Bob is a distant 2nd and fading fast. But the way that she keeps changing her mind you really can't bet with too much certainty on what she will do next.

I am sorry you won't be here for the anniversary [Mom & Dad's 25th wedding anniversary] or for a furlough but I should think you might get a weekend or several free to come home if you wish and maybe they might give you more than that, what with them owing you some leave time from last year.

I hope they forwarded your mail, not that you got to much from here but there was some including the money order Mother sent. I renewed your Free Press subscription for 6 mos. Yesterday. You should resume receiving it in a week or 2. If you really do stay down there without getting home I wouldn't be too surprised if someone from here got down there for a visit. That would be one good way to get your guitar back although I don't know how soon it would be if at all.

Well, Mother wants to write tomorrow so I had better leave something for her to say.

159.  Mom

May 21, '73

Happy Birthday, John,

Hate not able to bake you a birthday cake today. Especially a rather momentous one. It has been such a swift 21 years. Little kids always seem to live in the future but I'll bet you are doing some of that too, these days. Well, only 11 more months-maybe less. Hope your cards arrived by now and you got my message. What would you like us to send you for your birthday gift?

Lynn left home on Saturday. 24 years of accumulations stuffed in the little Mustang. Julie flew in from his parents home in Buffalo so that he could drive her to Wilmington, Delaware where she hopes to find a place to live and a job.

Just like a couple of gypsies. Taking off for an unknown city with no place to live-(Julie doesn't have an apt. either.) Lynn has your new address and told me that she would write to you and tell you all about her latest escapade.

So today I washed walls, ceiling, curtains, windows, etc. and gave the room over to Mary Lou who will most likely turn it into a jungle. She has two huge posters of dogs to go up on the walls and along with Snoopy and a 3 x 5 memo board filled with pictures of animals it will look more like the Humane Society than a little girl's room.

Greg and Mike have to get down off cloud 9 again and get back to school work. Greg took his girl, Cindy Jones, out for dinner Saturday night-to the "Top of the Ponch." He didn't go to the prom.

Mike's tux looked very much like the one you wore-blue suit, light blue ruffled shirt and black velvet bow tie. Ellen looked pretty in her pink gown. I hope the pictures turn out-they both looked very nice.

I feel badly about your idea of not being able to get home, especially next month. I did so want my whole family with me that day. Lynn is coming home that weekend. She has a fitting for her wedding gown that Saturday. Maybe by then she will have her head together. I don't want her to rush into anything again.

Well, back to work. The washer and dryer are calling my name.

Let us know what's going on with you. Ok?


160.  Mom and Dad

[Western Union Mailgram dated May 24, 1973]



2219 EST


161.  Mary Lou

May 27 [1973]

Dear John,

mary lou's newspaper

[The Newspaper called The Editor was 3 sheets of her pink, 5.5 x 7 inch stationary with 3 side staples. The first page had 3 columns of news; page 2 had 2 comics glued (Peanuts and Marmaduke), and a continuation of a column of sports, and 2 advertisements: one for Beautiful Betty's Beauty Salon, and one for Hudson's (the word Hudson's above a pencil drawn girl in a long dress). The 3rd page had 4 more comics pasted. The news is as below.]

Page 1

Weather Cold and Rainy

5 Cents

Vacation Time.  The kids of St. Norbert School is having Memorial day off. The next week is a full week. Then they have only the next week and 3 days the next. In total there is 12 days left.

Family Going Away.  Everyone seems to be leaving! Lynn's in Delaware. Jim is going to Toronto, Bill is visiting brother John in the Army. Only 4 out of the 8 children are at home!

Weather.  As you can see from the top of the paper it is cold and rainy. It was supposed to get up to 70 degrees but I doubt if it did!

Canceled Because of Rain.  The Tigers were scheduled to play the Oakland A's today at 1:30. But because of the weather it was canceled. Hundreds of disappointed fans had to go home.

Tigers Win Again.  Tigers beat the Oakland A's the second time this series. The score was 8 - 5. The first game it was 1 - 0. (continued on p.2)

Freehan made 2 hits, Northrup had 3 hits. Rodregez and Brinkman scored once. And a couple more scored once. The Tigers continue to hold their First place lead over the Yankees.

I hope you like my newspaper. It's one way to tell the news!

Your Sister,
Mary Lou

162.  Mom

[no date; no postmark]

Hi Love,

Enjoy your visit with Bill! This enclosure is for your birthday. I really ache for your happiness but hope that your inner strength will carry you over these dark days. I have every confidence in you to shake these blues. ("Blues" have inspired some beautiful music in the past. Perhaps you can come up with another "Stormy Weather."

At any rate, take this with our love, prayers, and hopes for better days.

163.  Mom

Wednesday p.m. [May 30; postmarked May 31, 1973]

Dear John,

Put down your guitar and hear the latest bulletin from the Schneider news.

Jim brought Linda Barrazini over last night and announced their brand new engagement Can you make an October wedding? Honestly, I am getting wedding fever now-with all the talk and plans and cancellations from Lynn-now, to hear from the "swinging bachelor" that he is going to go double instead of single-wow! Do you know Linda? Ever met her? She seems like a very nice, down to earth type of girl-pretty, too. She will be 21 in August and Jim will be 23 in July-Both Leo's-a healthy combination. Jim called tonight asking advice on buying a diamond. He called and told Lynn last night. She was quite shocked but I hope it doesn't pressure her into any ill advised decision.

Bill got home at 3:30 this afternoon. He spent a few hours sleeping (?) in a rest stop near Breezewood last night and started for home about 5 a.m. No problem with the car but he only had $1.00 in his pocket and hadn't eaten all day. His ball game was cancelled but he is out now. It is great to be so young and resilient-like you young people.

Hope you enjoyed your leave. I am glad you weren't alone on a holiday. Now that you have your friend guitar with you perhaps you won't hit the panic-depression button. Anyway, you can run up to Wilmington and your sister will be glad to share a pad with you. I sent her money that was borrowed for the car so she won't be caught short before she gets a pay day.

Perhaps we will be able to see you one of these weeks. You know that I'll be thinking of you often so please write and tell us how things are going with you. O.K.?

Much love,

PS. Loved those pictures from Ocean City!

165.  Dad

Sunday Evening [June 10; postmarked June 11, 1973]

Dear John,

It is a hot one, just about the hottest day of the year. We didn't have much spring. Just a lot of rain and then, plop, summer. But then, it could all be changed in a day or two.

This has been a real busy week for me. Relating it backwards. . . . I went for a spin in Bill's car with Mary Lou and the top down this aft. It started out for a 15 minute drive to see if the anti-leak stuff I put in would stop a rather big leak at the water pump. I thought it was a seal behind it. The stuff, Bars Leak, did the job fine, and the ride turned into a two hour venture out to Northville for a sip at the old artesian well, a stop in Plymouth for a pop, and a visit to the nature center in Hines Park. It was a perfect day for a ride in a convert. Although I probably won't get one.

Then last night we went to a surprise party at the Marge Healy house. It was for Sr. Barbara Mary. There was quite a large crowd of St. Norbertites there including our former pastor, Msgr. Horkan. Which reminds me. Fr. Boyce, whom you should remember, died this past week. It was heart. The crowd chipped in (ahead of time) and bought Sister a ticket (round trip, of course) to Florida. She has an aunt in Ft. Lauderdale. That plus spending money for all she has done for St. Norbert's especially the school.

Then, I spent the daylight portion painting the kitchen. I never thought I could do it all that fast but mother helped with the windows and I finished just in time for the big horse race. The inside of the cabinets were not done but that can be done any time. About 1 a.m. I had finished putting on a primer coat, having worked since after supper on Friday night. I had been patching it where needed at odd intervals over the previous couple weeks. But now it was coming down to the wire where I had to get the job done. You see, we are having a party here next Saturday night. Well Jim had to tell us because mother was planning on having one, too, and about to send out invitations. So the surprise party is no longer a surprise but we are both looking forward to it with more enthusiasm than ever. We think it is wonderful that our kids would throw a party in our honor, just because we stayed together for 25 years. Well, I know it's not just for that. We expect to see you here, of course. That reminds me of my parents 25th anniversary. They had a big party at home with all their friends an relatives and I was over seas in Saipan. So I saw the pictures. I hope you can make arrangements with Lynn to come back together. If not you could probably catch a plane. I hope she got word to you. She left the apartment (in case you haven't heard) and moved to Morristown N.J. Julie took over her apt. lease.. Maybe Bob will be bringing her back here although I thought she was to come in Friday. I will look up Wisnewski's address in case you need to get in touch with her.

I worked 3 late afternoons this week, only 1 1/2 hours each, but that helped to make the week fill up.

I wonder how your allergy is. I am on serum C now but it isn't preventing the symptoms from bothering me. I take a Contac occasionally when it gets bad. I got a late start on the program but I expect next year it shouldn't be bad at all if this thing really works like it has for Mike. You probably will have to start over. Giving the shots daily to yourself in the leg isn't bad. It's a lot better than going to the clinic every day or two. After the C serum is gone (about 3 weeks) I will have to start on the heavier stuff with shots by a nurse at the G.C. Clinic, first weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly for a year or two.

The rain then the sun for the last 3 or 4 days has really made our place colorful what with the extra flowers we put in the garden a week ago. Looks real nice.

Guess I'll close now so see you Friday or Saturday be the good Lord willing. I remember you every day in my prayers so I am confidant everything will turn out all right for you as long as you have faith too.

With Love,

166.  Mom


June 22

Dear John,

Sitting in Dr. Dodrill's office just waiting for him to give Greg his annual check-up and to O.K. Michael after his little episode a few month's ago. My writing is being done on my lap thus explaining how it looks like hen tracks.

Your dad and I are back to normal after our long and wondrous three day celebration. We missed those of you who could not share our special Mass celebration on Tuesday. You probably would have thought that it was "far out" to see your Mom and Dad clasping right hands and repeating those famous lines, "I, Audrey, take you Lou. . . ." etc. My voice, and your dad's too, was a bit unsteady. I was very conscious of five of my children witnessing these vows.

After Mass we took Fathers Petit and Cusmono, Grampa, Sister Ann Louis and Eve Ann to Dearborn Inn for breakfast. Jim had to pick up his truck at 8 so he missed the Mass but he did meet us for breakfast-Pepsi uniform, chunky shoes and all. The 13 of us had a great time!

That evening your dad and I went to Fox and Hounds for a great roast beef dinner.

Now the streamers and balloons are gone but I will be a long time remembering the joys of having my family and good friends around me to help me celebrate!

Guess it is too soon to hear from you but don't forget your promise to write more often, even if it is just to say "there is nothing new." You looked so grim and unhappy last weekend. I wish that there was something I could do to lighten your burden-like push the clock faster for you.

Love and kind thoughts for our "minstrel of the dawn." [A reference to Gordon Lightfoot's song of that title, a favorite of mine.]

167.  Dad

Monday Night [June 25; postmarked June 26, 1973]

Dear John,

It has been a little over a week since the really big party and it seems so long ago. It was such an action-filled weekend that it will live in memories forever. Once again thanks a million for your part in the party and especially that immense gift which you all participated in. It really floored us and we will be eternally grateful that you were all so generous. And I was very glad that you were able to be here. It made the weekend perfect.

We had a real nice Tuesday. Bill thought the little ceremony at the anniversary Mass was very impressive. We went up to the alter step and renewed our marriage vows with Fr. Petitt. And then we went to the Dearborn Inn for breakfast. Eve Ann, Grampa, St. Ann Louis, and both the parish priests joined the family. Jim left his Pepsi truck in the parking lot as he joined us for breakfast. Then your mother and I finished up the day with dinner at the Fox and Hounds, the fancy place out in Bloomfield Hills. Fr. Petitt gave us a Metro Passbook coupon for the place which knocked about $6 off the bill.

Yesterday late afternoon several of us went to Cobo Hall for the Italian Festival for our supper but after walking through the crowded waterfront we decided to go to the restaurant instead. We didn't find a very good one but it wasn't a total loss.

The weather has been perfect here this past week. Of course, we waited long enough for it. Mom just left for bed and she says hello. Say goodnight, John. Did I tell you I have an interview appointment on July 11 for that job I applied for in Bldgs & Properties? 14 applied for it the last time and this time the requirements are a little more varied. I really don't know if I want the job but the interview on the 11th will let us both know a little more about each other.

Right now I have the typewriter in my lap in the living room while the Tiger-Red Sox game is on TV on Toledo's station. Bill is out in the wagon. He had more bad luck with his car. The water pump really is shot. It leaks water like a river. He was lucky it happened at Inkster and Avondale while on the way home from Allen Lumber in Redford where he is working a couple days per week while doing a couple at the Inkster yard, in addition.

That about sums it up for now. So long for a while.


168.  Mom


July 3

Dear John,

What a beautiful, sunny, hot day here. The days are slipping away and before I know it the summer will be gone. I'd like to grab and hold on to each one and you would like to push them away faster and faster. Right?

We have been busy around here lately. Last Friday morning four of us helped Grampa move some of his things from Longacre to Kundig Center. He has taken a room down there to be near Sr. Ann Louis for the summer. It is like a motel complex for senior citizens. He likes it but it is so tiny in comparison to his house.

Michael and Jim Dillon are removing all the wallpaper and paint. All grampa's things are stored in the basement. Wow, what a mess!

Then, your brother James has been helping to fix up his and Linda's prospective house. They bought Grampa's old stove and kitchen set. Your dad helped him move it Saturday.

But the biggest news of all is about our newest star border. Her name is Pepper. Mary Lou picked her out at the Humane Society Friday afternoon. She is about 6-8 weeks, is black with brown boots and brown eyebrows and Mary Lou is taking complete charge of her starting with paying $15.00 towards her purchase. Maybe she will write to you about her new "baby."

Bill started a new job this morning. You know how he hated working at Allen Lumber. Well, your dad and I were talking to Mrs. Polak Saturday. She told us that her husband needed a fellow to help load cargo planes at Willow Run airport. 12 hours a day, six days a week, (about 66 hours a week) at $3.25 an hour. At time and 1/2 after 40 hours he will be making a nice little bundle a week.

It will be hard work, perhaps, but it may eliminate part time work while he is in school. This job only lasts for about 2 months. Most of the men working on this job are college men, working their way through school. Isn't it nice that I have friends in high places?

Think that I have brought you up to date on happenings around here. Now, what about you? I keep watching for the mail from Va.


169.  Dad

The Fourth of July

Dear John,

Fire crackers are popping around the neighborhood, mother is resting on the bed after a bout with her allergy which gave her a tussle when she mowed some of the back yard this afternoon in preparation of our picnic (nothing serious, just some blowing), Greg and Mike have left for Belleville Point for a dance which they are having this evening, and Bill has gone his way for some leisure and recreation after a good day's work at Willow Run. Yes he has a new job, just started yesterday. Mr. Polak hired him on as a summer help for Zantop Airlines to load and unload cargo planes. It's good pay and promises lots of overtime, like today at double time, and he can save up enough for school plus what he has already in just the 2 months left before school starts.

Jim and Linda still don't have a wedding date, waiting till she finds a hall I guess. He must be getting kind of disgusted. Seems the Berrezini's are the problem so far, like expanding the list so the hall they had was too small. Have you heard from Lynn? Being so close I thought you might have gotten together again. But I guess she has her problems, too. We talked to her today on the phone. She and Julie might tie the knot after all. That Bob must be really an understanding guy. She is still at his house, though.

I suppose you had the day off this holiday. What did you do? Where did you go? Did you see any of the tourist type sights around that part of the country yet? Speaking of going. Mother and I went to Pine Knob Monday night and saw the old Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, Helen O'Connell who was quite a good and good looking singer when I was your age, and the Mills Brothers who recorded songs in the late 1920's. And they still are very good. Ever hear them? You must have. In August we are going to Meadow Brook to see the old Glenn Miller Orch. I got tickets for Greg for the Carpenters and America, and for Mike for Chicago in August.

Well, your last summer in the service is well on its way through. And soon you will be getting a new assignment. After your reaction to every place you have been so far I have little hope that you will be very pleased at your next place. So I just hope you can make the best of it. If you do you won't believe how beneficial these experiences are for you. They can teach you fortitude which is the ability to stand up to tough things and under tough circumstances. This old life is no bed of roses any where along so the better a person can face it the happier and better off he will be. And it would be nigh impossible without Christ so don't you lose Him.

You should see Hayes's new 4000 miles LTD next door. Blue with a white top. Gets one to thinking. But still would like to get 100,000 on mine. It just turned 87 which leaves me about a year from my goal. It still runs good, though.

I don't suppose you have a camera with you. I wish you had more pictures of the places you have been. It would be nice for us to see and you would appreciate them later in life. You don't believe that do you?

Guess I'll close now. You really must be kept busy since we don't get too many letters. Incidentally we are leaving for LA Sept. 13, on to Hawaii on the 15th, back to Frisco the 23rd and home the 26th. Really looking forward to this trip.

so long,

170.  Mom


July [July 10; postmarked July 10, 1973]

Dear John,

Here the east has been having a heat wave and I can just see you and your friends swinging on some vine and landing in a river! Sounds like something out of Tom Sawyer.

Your letter was gratefully received but did leave me with some questions. It was the first time you have mentioned "chicks" in any letter and you were very vague about this particular "chick." Just a first name. Would you like to tell us how you met her? Is she a local girl?

I pictured the camp as being out in the middle of nowhere. Is there a movie house or a soda bar or a bowling alley or someplace to dance around your camp?

Not much new here at home. We haven't heard from Lynn since we called her on Memorial Day.

Jim's wedding plans seem to be finally getting organized. They have, at last, been able to get the hall for the reception and the church settled for the same date. It is now set for November 9-Friday evening at 5 o'clock.

Your dad and Mark helped Jim move into the house last Sunday. A good way to protect the place. His knee is bothering him again. It seems that he jumped into a pool from someone's garage last Saturday night. Must have been a wild party! Anyway he has to stay off it for a week and have X-rays again-just like last time.

You were luckier than he was. That fork lift race could have hurt you. Is this the way you guys spend your lunch hour? [A friend and I were goofing off while high on the job inside a food storage warehouse and backed up our forklifts to a closed warehouse door in order to "race" a short distance. I forgot to shift out of reverse into drive, and when the race started I backed into the door--lots of damage! I was ordered not to drive a forklift again!]

We got a new glider for our patio and this is where I am writing to you from. It is very nice, I think.

By the way these cartoons are by Mark. I noticed that he has every page in my writing pad drawn on.

Bye, bye.

171.  Mary Lou

Thurs. Morn. [July 12; post marked July 13, 1973]

Dear John,

It is early in the morning now. I just got finished feeding Pepper. (Pepper's my dog.) I feed her puppy food but today dad came down. He couldn't find her puppy food so he gave her Rice Krispies! I can hear her chewing them. Now I will tell you what Pepper looks like: she has brown feet and brown eyebrows. She is black on top and a black head. Part of her cheeks are brown and there is a little brown on her stomach.

Nothing much else to say except that Lynn wanted me to come and visit her. Mom said that some Friday I could come out on a plane all by myself and they would drive up to talk to her about something.

I just saw the sports page that he Tigers beat the T. Rangers 14 - 2! How's that for a game.

Well, that's all for now.

As always,
Mary Lou

172.  Dad

Friday [July 14; postmarked July 14, 1973]

Dear John,

It is hot & windy today. Of course, in the uncooled Service Bldg. I didn't notice it, even at my noon time walk, but it wasn't as hot then as now. It's 93 I think. But it will cool off tomorrow just as it did yesterday. It has been rather fine weather here lately. Funny, when I wrote my last letter and mailed it on the way to work, it was the very day we got your letter in the mail delivery.

It was rather different and I'm glad to see you have some interest and diversion now, what with the swimming and your new friend. I hope things are still going ok. They seem to change so fast for you. Same here, though. These wedding plans can't seem to get settled for Jim, and we haven't heard from Lynn for a while. Why not write her and maybe she would like a visit, or could come down. She is working now @ Bob's company, but what has happened in the last week or 2 I don't know.

Your letter revealed how moved and emotional you can become so quickly. You must not feel the worst, rather be optimistic and not expect too much from a girl too soon. A man, any person I guess, can feel smitten with a person of the opposite sex and feel like he has never felt before. I realize this, I am not too old to remember the emotions of sudden falling in love with a girl. This is natural, but remember this, it doesn't always mean the feeling is the same from the other person, no matter what. They can feel for you in any of a variety of degrees and it is not your fault or credit nor is it theirs. It just seems to happen. Therefore, a close relationship may grow, or it may decline. But to be of any value it must be mutual. And to be very meaningful it must be lasting and this takes time. No couple weeks or couple months can really be a sure sign of lasting happiness.

Mother says hello. Said she wrote-Probably gave all the news.

Let's see . . . . cleaned the LTD plugs last nite, had my job interview Tuesday. Will be a miracle if I get #1 out of 20. Cartwrights are moving out, using a "U-Haul" van. Doing it themselves. Mike helped them yesterday. They can't get in their new place yet so they have to move twice. They are moving their stuff into a friend's place now.

I really got to get at the painting around here. The house needs painting, at least in part, on the outside, and also the garage door. Well, tomorrow is Saturday so maybe I'll get a start.

Our union people in the Construction Dept at Edison voted to go on 4, 10 hour days per week, for a 2 month trial period, I think. They may offer it to us but I think it would be optional, because I don't think I would want to do it myself. I have been getting some overtime in the last couple months and I have so far limited a daily stint to 9 1/2 hours. That isn't bad a couple times a week, and you get paid, but 10 hours a day, 7:15 to 6, 4 days in a row, no thanks. At least that is what I say now.

Guess there isn't much more now. But, please stay cool, keep your senses, don't overdue anything, keep the faith (you had in grade school), and don't underestimate the power of prayer.

With love,

173.  Mom

July 24

Thursday p.m.

Dear John,

Mark has "The Orphanage" on (in the dining room) and the All Star game is on in the living room so if this letter is a little bit incoherent you'll know the reason why.

We have had another birthday this past week, Mark is 14 now & a real Kung Fu devotee. He prances around here just like these cartoons on the bottom of the page. Can you believe he enters high school in September? Greg and Mike find it hard to believe but then I find it hard to believe that they will be seniors in Cherry Hill in September. So you see, time does pass and come next April, you'll be home, too!

Speaking of Mark's birthday. . . .we did miss you and Lynn at our dinner. Jim brought Linda, and grampa and Uncle Bud were here. Jim's 23rd birthday is the 30th and he told me that Linda wants to make Lasagna for us all. Hope she makes enough-everyone here loves it.

Lynn has called us a couple of times in the last few weeks. Nothing has been decided as far as her future goes.

How about you? What have you been doing with your days, evenings, and weekends? When is the end of this temporary duty?

Your father is deep into maps and tour books trying to plan two trips. One to Hawaii, of course, and one to the East, trying to cover Toronto, Niagara falls, Morristown and New York City. That trip is supposed to be within the next 3 weeks or so. Lynn wants Mary Lou to fly in to visit so that angle also has to be worked out if possible. I am just sitting back waiting for the word before I get too excited. So many plans have been made in this family this past spring and summer and then been cancelled that I hesitate to count on anything as positive. It is good to remain flexible. If things don't work out as you hope then you can bounce back quicker and with less unhappiness.

And that is my Polly Anna thought for today. Please write and let us know your thoughts?


174.  Dad

Sunday [July 29; postmarked July 30, 1973]

Dear John,

It has been quite a while since I have written hasn't it. This does not mean that I don't think of you often because I do. In fact I think of you daily in my prayers asking God to watch over you and take care of you.

Our trip is settled now. We leave for Frisco Sept. 18. After 3 days there we go on to Hawaii for 7 days and nights (2 islands), and then back to Los Angeles for 2 nights, returning to Detroit on Sept. 30. I got a AAA book on those places and reading about the sights makes it sound so inviting that we are anxious to try it out. We may also take the kids on a little vacation the first part of August. Lynn wants to take Mary Lou on a plane trip so she may drive home with Julie and fly back with M.L. Then we would follow down with the car in a couple days and pick her up, at the same time visiting New York City for a day or two. Then return via Canada and visit Niagara Falls on the way. If we did that it would be nice if you could come up for the weekend visit, say in Morristown or wherever we may land. If there is any chance or interest why not write and see if we could set up a schedule. We probably leave on a Sat. or Sunday so Mike could work thru Sat. He has told them he wants a Mon. thru Fri. off. Our only limitation as to time is we must be back on August 10 to go to Meadowbrook for the Glenn Miller Show.

We got the station wagon full of repairs the last 2 weeks. Troubles always seem to come in threes. This meant new brakes new muffler and pipes, and new tie rod ends on the steering. It just turned 71,000 miles so I hope it's all set for a while, like until we want to get rid of it. It's a peppy little car, though, and I hope it can last a while.

Don't you have a chance to get pictures taken there. We would like to see some of the sights of the area and the places you go. It would be nice if we could come down there and visit. If it weren't for our big trip we probably would. Well, we can see what your next stop will be. Any word or rumor on where you go next?

I guess grampa is about set to move into an apartment in Farmington with the next week or two. He went out today to try to settle the matter.

Last night we went to the wedding of the Cartmill girl Denise. Did you know her? I work with her dad and I think she went to Cherry Hill. She teaches in Ohio now. We were at Shay's last Friday night. We heard the bad news that Ruthie Shay who had married a couple years ago just got a divorce. The guy who seemed so nice before turned out to be a bum who wouldn't work, played around with other women and even physically abused her. Now her life is ruined at 23. So more than ever we are concerned that Lynn doesn't marry somebody just because she is tired of trying to figure them out or because it seems the easy way out. I wonder if young people ever learn by other's example or experience.

No news on the job I applied for yet. As I said before I really don't care too much because in our department there promises to continue to be a lot of changes and this job I have is not bad and it pays well. The Company is continually searching for cost cutting and it may even get down to layoffs although I really don't expect to see this. It's a funny thing to think of this at Edison when the auto Companies like G.M. are going great guns and even hiring people.

It's a beautiful day here. The twins went to Cass lake and Bill is up at Higgins Lake with some friends for a couple days. Will be back tonight. He spent a night at Eastern on a get acquainted-orientation program they had Thurs. He starts school in a few weeks or at least before Labor day.

So long for now and do write unless you have done so the last day or two.
[not signed]

175.  Mom


Aug. 4

Dear John,

It is unusual for me to take time out for letter writing on a Saturday morning but the next few days will be so busy that I may not have another free hour.

We are into another month and if I remember correctly, you said that your temporary duty down there would be up by September. Right? Any rumors concerning your next assignment? You realize, I'm sure, that you have a little over 8 more months to go. It wouldn't surprise me if you know the number of days and hours!

Bill says that today will be his last at the airport job. I thought that another two weeks of pay would tempt him but he says that he wants to rest before school starts in these three weeks. He did take a long weekend last week to go up to Higgins Lake with a bunch. While they were there, they ran up to Macinack Island (that doesn't look like the right spelling but no one here knows how). Only spent 2 hours there-can't imagine any one spending that short of time, especially when it is his 1st trip.

Lynn is coming in on Wednesday to pick Mary Lou up and they are going to fly back to N.J. on Thursday. Lynn promised M.L. a long time ago to treat her to a 'plane ride and is now going through with it. M.L. is quietly excited about it.

Your Dad, Mike and Mark and I are going to drive over and pick her up next Sunday and show them N.Y. City and Niagara Falls. Hope the weather is nice. I do wish we had the time and money to drive down to see you.

Greg doesn't want to take time off from work. He is salting his money away with visions of a car dancing in his head. He won't be allowed to buy one before he is out of high school but their graduation will be here before I know it. Powell's did a nice job on Greg's picture. I'm waiting to see Mike's proofs now.

And now, on to the Post Office and Great Scott. [A grocery store.]

Much love,

PS Mark gave Jim 10 free car washes for his birthday last week so Jim brought the "Ray" over for his 1st wash today. Mark's home made card was cleverly done.
That was one of Jim's best gifts, I think.
Linda made a Lasagna dinner for us all the next day and we all enjoyed it.
Their wedding was postponed, too, but I guess I told you that, didn't I?

176.  Mom

Aug. 15, 1973

Dear John,

The five of us are zipping along route 81 at 65-70 miles per hour with Mike driving. Mark & Mary Lou and Dad & I and Mike left Swiftwater Inn about 11:30 this a.m. We only spent the night there, coming from N.Y. City where we spent part of Monday and Tuesday showing the kids the sights and sounds of "sin city." Remember I told you that we were going to pick up Mary Lou?

We side tracked a bit today and stopped at my grand parents old home in Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania]. Saw some of the results of that big flood from hurricane Agnes.

We may reach Niagara Falls tonight. I would like them to see the Falls lighted up at night as well as in the daylight. Then we leave for home sometime tomorrow.

It has been a whirlwind of a trip since 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Michael certainly has been getting some different driving experiences. He drove through one of the heaviest rain & wind storms that I have ever seen. Many cars pulled over and stopped along the Penn. Pike but your dad had him keep going-sometimes 30 miles an hour. I was really nervous and he was too, I'm sure. It was a long, long, two hours.

We thought that Bill would come with us but he changed his mind at the last minute. He didn't want to miss playing ball in the tournament game.

Mary Lou is probably quite anxious to see if her brothers took good care of her pet fish and dog and also her seedling fir trees.

I hope that when we get home there will be a letter from you waiting for us. I am beginning to worry about you again.

Enclosed is a glamorous picture of our motel in N.Y.C. It is located in the Puerto Rican district-Did you see the film "West Side Story"? Well, that was the neighborhood they shot the picture. Remember the song, "Slaughter on 10th Ave."? Dirty place! I would hate to live there.

I'll mail this at our next stop. Take care of yourself!


[The postcard of the Skyline Motor Inn, 10th Ave, NY City; Mom wrote: "Everyone but Momma swam in their 9th floor pool. Crazy place to put a pool!"

The letter was written on the Inn's letterhead.]

177.  Dad

Sunday Eve (Saturday) [September 9; postmarked September 10, 1973]

Dear John

I wonder how your first week back at Lee went [Ft. Lee]. I hope you have found smooth waters there. I suppose we shall be hearing soon the latest news even if it is only how things are going there. This weekend finds us in a very different weather situation from last week end. It is rather cool although not too cool for me, still shirtsleeve weather during the day.

Today was grampa's birthday and we had him and Sr. Ann Louis over for dinner. Tomorrow at noon we are going to a brunch at Eve Ann and Bill's new home in Farmington. I haven't seen it yet but it is really supposed to be fabulous. I'm anxious to see it. They are having a big crowd over between noon and 2 to show it off to their relatives.

I got your keys back which were found in the rear of Perk's station wagon. I presume you don't need either one of them now. Incidentally, the Perkovich family is moving to a home they bought at Mohawk and Cherry Hill, that's just this side of Telegraph in Dearborn. They have been moving this weekend except that a couple of the boys are going to live here at the old house until it is sold.

Gerry Perk had her car stolen Tuesday from the parking lot at 8th & Beech, a private lot. She works at Edison you know. Well, the next day the police found the car somewhere down on Fort St. near Dix. The trunk had been punched open, the spare tire had been stolen, the ignition all goofed up, and a tire flat. I don't think it had any more damage. She was lucky. It is being fixed up at some Ford dealer's. She just had it repainted and had a few pieces of trim still off. They must have taken hers because they knew how to start a Mustang.

I guess Lynn is planning to come home the day after we leave which is on the 18th of Sept. She will probably be here until we return from Hawaii. I changed your subscription address so you should not miss getting the Free Press. The sub. runs to November. For your sake I hope we can change it again soon, unless there is a change of heart at Lee. That's about all the news for now.

Love & prayers,

178.  Mom

Sept. 10, '73

Dear John,

Just received your letter and it did relieve my mind concerning that discipline action. I am glad that you are, outwardly at least, a bit cooler. These two years do test the mettle of a man, don't they? I'd like to think that the next several months will be easier for you.

As for that man you hitched a ride from-It is always a shock when you find yourself in a bad situation. Now you know why I worry about my boys almost as much as my girls. This crazy world has so many minds that begin and end with that three letter word. So many subtle ways to brain wash adults as well as youngsters into believing wrong things-books, (most of them best sellers) movies, gay libbers, etc. ad nauseum. You really have to develop quite an inner strength, don't you? [Mom's referring to me hitchhiking back to Camp A.P.Hill from the Richmond airport at night and got picked up by a guy in a VW bug, who after a short period, put his hand on my leg and kept it there, obviously wanting to get "physical." I froze, and just sat there calmly, heart racing, not knowing what to do, but asked to get dropped off when the next exit came up. He finally removed his hand and stopped to let me out.]

We had a nice brunch at Eve Ann's yesterday. Their new home is quite big and very lonely. Still not finished in spots but one always has something to work on when he buys a home. After 23 years we are still working on this one.

Your dad told you that Lynn was coming home to help out next week? That pleased me a great deal and left Bill with an easier time at school-he won't be tied down to be here at 3:00 for Mary Lou's protection. Old worrisome Mom again.

We will have our address in San Francisco and Hawaii listed here on the board if you have any reason to reach us. I hope your new assignment comes through soon so we can send you cards on our trip.

Gary Kiester (Watch the ie)
285335 Hazelwood 48141

We'll be talking to you soon.
Much love and crossed fingers on a new assignment!

179.  Dad

Sat. Nite [September 15; postmarked September 16, 1973]

Dear John,

This is a cool and clear evening. The sun has yet to set and the day has been beautiful, as we are rather used to in this part of the country in the fall of the year. Fall really doesn't start until about the 21st but it's funny how after Labor Day the weather automatically starts to turn cool, at least in the evenings. It's my favorite time of the year.

When you read this we will probably be in Frisco, Tuesday, right? As I told someone at the office yesterday, if the trip is about half as good as the anticipation is it will be a great success. Lynn comes in Monday nite and we leave at 9 AM the next morn. Friday about noon we take off again for the Islands. . aloha . . I expect we will be sending cards out along the way so you can look for them. I have four rolls of 35mm for the Yashica and still am planning to get 8 rolls of movie film.

Tonight Mother and I are planning to drop in on the Las Vegas nite party at St. Norbert. If we don't win something at the wheels maybe we will win the trip to Las Vegas. Wouldn't that be a gasser? Maybe you will win it. I put your name on a few tickets.

Did I ask you if I got the right address for the Free Press? If you are getting it there it must be all right I suppose. I think I added Bowling Green; maybe not.

Quite a house the Dillons have. Beautiful family room with the peaked domed ceiling and massive stone fireplace. Looks like a lodge. Have a horse farm right behind their shallow back yard and the horses come right up to the edge of the fence. One even got into their yard, while the little Andrea, or someone, was out there. In the meantime houses on this street are just not moving. Miners moved without selling and if it doesn't go by Oct. he says he will rent it out. The Cartmills are supposed to move out soon into a new home and theirs isn't sold yet (on Stollman). Jim and Lucy next door took theirs off the market. First he isn't changing job location and second the interest rate on mortgages is so high those who can are waiting for a drop in the rates. I hope things stay alright here in this neighborhood so we can stay here if we want to. The place will be all paid up next summer.

Well, as the sun slowly settles in the west I shall sign off until say Tuesday or Wednesday when probably in the room at the Chancellor Hotel in San Francisco just a block off Union Square I will make out our first report of our journey.


European Tour: October, 1973--April, 1974

Hanau, Germany

Company A, 503 Supply & Transport Battalion

180.  Mark


Dear John,

I've read your letter and I've looked up those prices for your stereo system. Just in case you needed it I got a little more information on the other receivers and other Dual turn tables. I just couldn't find your CX88A speakers anywhere. But here's the info:


Pioneer SX 727 - $349.95
Pioneer SX 626 - $279.95
Pioneer SX 526 - $239.95
Pioneer SX 828 - $429.95

Turn Tables

Dual 1929 - $225.00
Dual 1218 - $155.00
Dual 1215 - $125.00
Dual CS16 - $125.00
Dual 1219 - $185.00

Of course these are U.S. prices. You save about 65 dollars buying your stereo over there. Sorry about your speakers but if I find your speakers I'll tell Mom to get it in one of her letters, since I don't write too often. Mainly because there's nothing to write about. Everything over here is pretty dull. Nothing to do because practically all my friends have moved away. The best things to do are listening to Tull, Chicago, Led Zepplin & Beatle albums because there's nothing good playing on the radio. And watching T.V. & going on bike rides after school. School's a drag, we have this neurotic teacher who promises us (the class) home-work every day, and he keeps his promise.

Jim just told me the speakers you're buying are almost just like his except yours has one more tweeter and one more mid range. He paid $64 each. That doesn't help you much considering he paid less there than in the U.S.

This paragraph might sound slightly ironic. I bought new headphones. Well, first I had those D/C headphones, remember those. And then I bought those $52 Realistic Pro/s. Then I traded them in for those $83 Realistic HP 100 Electrostats. I thought they weren't worth $83 so I took those back and waited a week for their check to come back to me in the mail. Finally I bought new $44 Sennheiser 414 headphones. [I still have a pair of 414's, excellent headphones!] Those were good but like your Fisher headphones. They had little or no isolation. Dad complained about the "noise" so I took those back and bought $60 Koss Pro 4AA headphones just like yours and Bill's. I'm really satisfied with those.

Homecoming week is next week (Big Deal) that includes some weird days like grub-dress up day, a dance & a football game. Well I shall bore you no longer and take up your time. But remember these words "Hang loose brother."

Au revoir, a bientot

(Good bye, see you soon)

Your Brother,

P.S. Please disregard the bottom drawings.

mark's sketch

181.  Dad

Monday Morning

10/22 [1973]

Dear John,

We were happy to hear from you although saddened just a bit on account of your initial reaction to your new surroundings. I assume that that was a natural reaction and now that you are there a while you will be more acclimated to the strange newness and will have a more optimistic view point and outlook.

As you will have noticed I have included a copy of a map of a large area of Germany including one of 2 good ski areas in Austria, Innsbruck. Salzburg is just East of Innsbruck. Gary in our office had this book he got from the German Embassy here in Detroit and I copied a portion of the map. Gary was stationed 3 years ago at Ettlingen near Karlsruhe, just south of Frankfort. He says at least in the bigger towns or cities most of the people, at least the younger ones, speak English. And most good places to see are just few hours away, by car (rentals are easy) or by train. Another friend in the office, a young guy, vacationed there a few years (1971) ago and said the skiing is terrific at both those places I mentioned. It's nothing like we have here so if you go don't bite off more than you can chew. He went to the top and was afraid to take off, it's so terrific. So according to these sources you may have the opportunity of a lifetime while you are there. Paris about 8 hours away. So I hope the personnel are nice there, that you won't have any trouble with your job, and that you will enjoy your stay there. If I may offer just one word of advice in this letter-Don't be impatient for the things at home. You have a lifetime to look forward to here-get all you can out of your travels.

Mark said the price of the amp you mentioned is very good, comparably. One of the boys will be getting you the comparisons for all you listed. I hope if you send anything it will be well protected or insured. Incidentally, if you run into any good cookoo clocks that could be sent back I think one would be welcome here. I don't know if Mother has any particular desires but there is time for that later.

I am writing this on a picnic table along the river outside of Cobo Hall. I drove down on my lunch hour and I want to be able to get this in the mail yet this morning (it's 11:45 now). Tell me when did you receive it? Your letter of last Monday came in Saturday's mail-that's almost as good as Texas mail service.

Things are shaping up for Lynn's wedding just a week from Saturday (Nov 3). We will capture it on film for your inspection next spring. While they mostly could use money as gifts, perhaps you might find something unique that she would like for a wedding gift. If you do send her something from there you could send it to Bob's house at Morristown for that is where they will undoubtedly will live after the honeymoon until they can find an apartment.

It's nice and quiet here on the river. A fog that hid Windsor is slowly dissipating and the sun is starting to take the nip out of the cool air. It's supposed to go into the low 70's today although yesterday was beautiful, in the 60's. Went to Kensington Park. Was surprised at all the sail boats out there.

Well, I must be getting back. Let me know the delivery time of this letter, and also do you have a chapel there, Catholic Services available, a Catholic Chaplain? Is yours a big base? Get pictures (no rush-take your time).


183.  Mom


Oct. 25

Dear John,

Better take advantage of a lull in the day's activities to write this letter to you. This time next week the family should be all set for the wedding.

Now that you have had a few weeks more under your belt, I hope that the "old" country looks a bit more interesting to you. What you are calling old and antiquated most people call quaint and pay high prices to take tours over there.

You may be quiet but I have never known you to be completely anti social and when you find a buddy it may be easier to check out this new country. Get to know your money exchange so that you won't be overcharged in a shop or restaurant. That does happen to many G.I.'s in foreign cities.

I am waiting anxiously for your second letter and hoping for an improvement in outlook. Your letter took 5 days to arrive home. Not too bad, time wise.

Now about things here:

Lynn is flying in on Sunday. Bob couldn't sell the car (his) and he doesn't like to trust her Mustang on a long trip with her driving alone. So he'll be driving in on Friday. That night is the rehearsal. I guess he'll be using your bed. A bit unusual for the prospective groom to be staying at the bride's home but then, this whole affair has many unusual angles to it.

Bill bought a red jacket to wear with his red & blue slacks, so he is going to stand out like a beacon amid all the navy blues. Jim is going to rent a business suit and so is Greg if he can't find a pair of slacks to match his new jacket.

The house is just about ready. Your father painted the basement hallway and I washed and waxed everything in sight in the recreation part of the basement so that it can be used by guests.

This letter is turning into a book but I have probably left many things out too. I laughed at the picture Lynn told us of you changing into uniform in the parking lot and wearing your cowboy boots into camp! So glad, that dinner worked out. [Lynn & Bob drove me at night to the airport for my flight to Germany, and I had to change from my "civies" to my uniform--and had to do it in the parking lot!]

I'll send some odds & ends of mail under separate cover and by all means will send pictures when we get them. Bye for now, Love,

184.  Wedding invitation for the marriage of Paula Leyten and Michael McCahill

[Postmarked October 25, 1973]

For Saturday, November 3rd 1973
Mrs. Catharina Leyten and M. and Mrs. Raymond McCahill

McCahill - Leyten wedding announcement

185.  Dad

Sunday 10-28

Dear John

This is a rainy Sunday afternoon and really the first rain we have had for quite a while. It started last night, just in time for the big Homecoming dance of Cherryhill High. Actually it was not too bad because both Greg and Mike said they had a terrific time. I believe it was due mainly to the fact that they each had nice dates and that the group, about 14, went to the Vineyards Restaurant for a midnight dinner afterwards. They only had a 1/2 hour wait and they got real good service for delicious dinners.

Tonight Lynn gets in for her final week of single life. She has several presents to open when she arrives. But they will be starting life together on a shoestring as the saying goes. I hope they will be able to afford an apartment of their own soon but they are going to start out at Bob's folks place, which won't be an awfully different situation from before.

We got the last of our vacation slides back this week and they make a nice program. At least I enjoy them.

Your 2nd letter from Germany arrived yesterday and was quite interesting, particularly the part about delivering in the dark. I hope the places to which you make the deliveries have lights so that the contents and addresses can be confirmed. Also I would think that flashlights would be provided. Reminds me of the stay I had at the Air Base at Salt Lake City. We were awaiting orders for shipping out when I was included in a work detail taking a truckload of material to some other location up in the Wasatch Mountains. It was a nice warm sunny day when 3 or 4 of us piled into the back of the truck for the trip up. Well, it was after dark when we got there, but we unloaded and headed right back. I suppose we stopped to eat, I don't remember, but I do remember just about freezing in that truck. It got quite cold and I just had a tee shirt on (top). They should have warned us, but that's the army.

You should be relieved now about the Arab-Israel situation. I doubt that we will get involved with anything of any consequence. The U.N. seems to have been able to handle this very nicely, although it is only because the U.S. and Russia have deemed it in their best interest not to interfere militarily. As for Nixon, I am not quite sure. It is hard to be sure of what the papers say. He and the media don't get along very well and he could be right when he says they have lied and blown things out of proportion and stirred up the pot unnecessarily. Of course, he could be lying too, at least in part, so it boils down to having faith in our system in this country. This is difficult to do due to all the scandal and problems we have been having. But we know that we also have many honest and dedicated people in our government, our papers, TV and radio, as well as the ordinary folks, and these people will not let the crooks run the country down the drain. The problems being international are not easy to solve, therefore, the solutions are not going to be easy to determine and quick in coming.

I do hope you get to enjoy at least some of your stay in Europe, and also that you don't get to Asia or Africa, unless it is just a pleasure holiday.

The house is pretty well set for the Wedding Saturday. I worked yesterday on the basement which we expect to use for the overflow crowd. I took all the extra plywood, lumber, and even the ping pong [table] top out to the garage and I must say, it looks pretty good down there now, what with the new paint on the stair well and post. I hope to recover the pool table top this week. Which reminds me, I must go put another new tip on one of the cues.

They are rearranging our department's offices now and the Estimators will be further to the West of where we are now, sort of in the middle of the building's north end. You will enter one door over, I guess. I don't know why they are bothering because we are supposed to move to the G.O. Bldg. when that had been modernized; probably in a year or two. They have already started on that. And there is also a lot of rumors about changing the method of operation and the engineering dept. possibly partially merging. It isn't clear anyway or even firm..

Hope you are getting the Free Press in a reasonable time but the Stars & Stripes goes back to my day and I thought it was pretty good for information.

Guess I'll go so for now, so long.

P.S. Evening: Lynn got in. Said they found an Apt. 3rd floor just down the street from Bob's parent's house.
No P.F.C. yet? What is S. & T.? [Supply and Transport]

Lynn's Wedding Invitation

186.  Mom

Wedding invitation for Lynn Schneider and Bob Wisnweski, November 3, 1973

[Postmarked October 30, 1973]

187.  Bill

[This letter arrived in a Post Office envelope bearing the stamp "Damaged In Handling In the Postal Service" and the three sheets of paper were burned along the right edge and in a couple spots on the folds. Only a word or two was indecipherable in the letter itself due to damage. A postal date on the envelope states 19 NOV 1973.]

Thurs [November 1, 1973]

Dear Brother John:

Whutsa, whatsa happenin'? I can smell your sweet hash all the way over here. It's too bad you miss your guitar, but patience, the time will come faster than you think.

About school, I heard you might want to go to Eastern Mich so you can get an early out. Later on I can, if you want, send information about applying. But first, a few things: what about your job at Edison? In order to have both, you can take night school. But if you want to major in music, you (like me) need sufficient background to qualify. I figure at the pace I'm going, a few years should be good enough, but I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. Also, like you, I'm just going for guitar class. There are about 12 different classes that are required to take (science, English, etc.).

I'm going to quit piano, because both guitar & piano is getting difficult. Just by turning a page in the lesson books I have to practice twice as much for each instrument. Since I'm a bit more proficient at guitar (and it is getting more difficult; different strums reading strictly the music, as if you were blind, [burn mark] like it is suggested to keep your eyes on the music, not at your guitar and play fast.) I think I might want to teach it some day. Anyways, right now, Eastern hasn't much in music night classes. But I can check it out.

[drawing of Bill in handcuffs:] Sigh! My mug shot, for details, read on . . . .

That's right! (if you can tell.) I've been busted, for grass of course. Nobody knows except for Chris V. (he was with me) and Greg (I told him when he asked me for some dope).

I got caught by some of the strangest circumstances only television could reproduce. Here's what happened. Today is Thursday. It happened Monday night, the worst weather, rain/drizzle for about 2 days straight. That night Chris & I went up to S. Lyon to see the Gows. I had just previously bought a 3 fingered dime bag of the greatest, most potently devastating weed I had in years. Gows weren't home, so we cruised (I was driving) to Ann Arbor. My headlight was out, but no one pulled me over. After some time we got back to Garden City and stopped at Ferminio's pizza to indulge in some Italian munchies. If you can remember Ferminio's is on Ford & Harrison, across from Big Boys & Burger King. Just as our pizza was delivered to our table a guy our age comes in and asks us if we could, when we got done, help him move his car. It stalled on Ford Rd., across the street in front of Dance gas station. Well, the pizza was hot, so we decided to help him now. After we pushed it into the station, I ran back across to eat; Chris rapped with the dude for a minute and ran back. Now, the G.C. cops saw him run across into Ferminio's and waited for him. After we were thru, we came out and we saw two police cars parked near mine. The time was about 12:30 AM. Because my stinkin' lock on my side of the door, I have to unlock the passenger side first. After Chris and I went over to see what they wanted (if it was my car) we both went back to the mighty Mustang. The cops observed our unorthodox way of getting into a car and I was fumbling for my keys, still buzzing quite nicely. All of a sudden one car pulled up behind me and shinned his light inside. The thought never occurred to me that they would search me, for I thought they were going to ask some more questions. Just as we both got out they ordered us against the car. Well, they found the dope on me and away we went, to jail. You see, those gosh darned cops thought we were the guys who just busted into a house two blocks away, for we resembled the crooks. Anyway they let Chris go, for when we got to the station and after a few questions, they came to the conclusion that we weren't the thieves. But me, I had my picture taken, with my U of Hawaii T-Shirt, relieved of my possessions including my shoelaces (so I wouldn't kill myself) and threw me in solitary. It wasn't like a normal jail cell with bars and a soft cot. It had an iron door with tiny windows, the room was cinder block with cement floor and a one foot wide bench to lay down on. Next morning, a detective talked to me for a while and Chris came in. Chris knew practically every cop there (except, of course the two that busted us. They were novices). Well, I guess I handled myself alright, for he said I can go, free, 'cause I look like a nice kid (oh brother). All I got was a ticket for possession, a misdemeanor. I go to court 21 of November. I asked the jerk what might happen. He said I could be fined, or jailed, or both. Or I would be let free with nothing except a warning. But I know the judge. His son used to play ball with me during the summer on the team. I hope everything works out alright. Mom and dad know nothing, of course, & I hope they never will.

Well, Mike is bothering me to drive him to the barbers for the wedding Saturday. Besides that incident Monday, nothing has changed. By the way, your records and headphones are safe under your bed. Gotta go. Toodle-oo
brother bill

188.  Mom

Nov. 4, 1973

Dear John,

My mind is full of wedding pictures today. The house is back to normal but it will take years to fade the memories of yesterday. We missed you! I am sure that you would have enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did. Greg thought that because there weren't going to be any people his age and no band and no dancing that it would be a bore and he said he probably would leave early. Well, he stayed until everyone left except for the Lynns and the Sheas and he had a good time too.

The day was lovely. Chilly after a week of rain and grey clouds but all blue and gold. Our grass is still green, our flowers still blooming, even some roses left!

Your sister looked beautiful and was very cool and calm holding your father's arm down the isle. You would have been so proud of Mary Lou who led the procession dressed in navy and white and carrying yellow flowers. She walked down that aisle as if it was the Miss America runway. Your brothers all had a special part to play--Jim was best man, Greg an usher, Bill did the reading up at the mike, Michael zipped all over the place taking pictures and Mark was Linda's escort up the aisle.

Bill (in his new red jacket with his red & blue slacks) and Greg in his navy blue took me up the aisle and boy, did I hold on tight to their arms! I was a little nervous.

Everyone loved the music and the way Mrs. Antiue sang and played it. Lynn & Bob wanted "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Now We've Just Begun," "Come Saturday Morning" and "A Time For Us," played while the guests were being seated. She also sang Schubert's "Ave Maria' when Lynn put on a bouquet on the Blessed Mother's alter. That's when I cried. I thought back over the years and wished that all those people who weren't there could share the day with us--you and her grandparents and Bob's family . . .

The party here was great! I took all the chairs out of the D.R. [dining room] except for the blue one so everyone could mill around & talk to one another. Which they did. The food was plentiful and good. It was demolished. Good drinks, too.

The basement looked good and people wandered down there (we had a second bar set up by the 'phone) played pool and listened to Mike's stereo.

Lynn and Bob received many nice things including money, the exact amount is unknown right now but it was so appreciated--it made a honeymoon to Newport possible.

Bill--hanging wall ornament
Greg--crystal candle holder +$20
Mike--her wedding photos & album
Mark--electric can opener-sharpener
Mary Lou--whistling tea kettle
Mom & Dad--cash and a savings bond

I packed them a lunch to take along while they packed the Mustang--you wouldn't believe how they packed that! They left about seven o'clock and then I cried--not too bad for an emotional mother--right?

Bob promised to take good care of her, said I wouldn't believe how much he loved her! But I do believe him.

I want her to be so happy and put the past where it belongs--behind her.

And so another era begins. Hey, would you believe that I am a MOTHER-IN-LAW? Hope she writes to you and gives you her version. She had hoped to hear from you, I know.

Bill said to tell you that he is going to the Moody Blues this weekend and will tell you about that later.

Pictures should be ready in a week or so and I'll send some on to you then.

Keep well, I hope your mind is a little more relieved about that crisis now. [A Middle East Crisis] Mine is. Nixon did pull that off o.k.

Much love,

189.  Dad

Sunday, 10th

Dear John,

It is a cold and dreary winter-type Sunday afternoon. But it is a good one to stay at home and indoors and read, or write or watch the Lions on TV, playing at Minnesota, which is what I am doing now.

We got your Tuesday letter yesterday and that is very good service. You mentioned the classes you were taking and it seemed things are not going too badly there now. You haven't mentioned lately what you are doing for recreation so I presume you haven't been doing much out of the unusual like visiting historic old European scenes, traveling, skiing, or whatever. Have you gotten any leaves where you can get away for a weekend or more?

We got the wedding pictures back which Mike [shot] and they are plenty. We shall get some reprints and send them to you. The happy couple are at last report fixing up their apartment at 47 Western Ave. and will be, or have now, moving in soon. Bob's folks live across the street at 44, you know, where Lynn and Bob are presently living. We thought we would go there to see them and take some of their stuff which they left here, but I guess we won't go in the foreseeable future. I do have the long Thanksgiving weekend off, the new paid off day after Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, we got our new phone directories this past week and I see you are still listed at the Del Ray location just like you never left.

We will probably get something in the mail for you soon for Christmas because they say to sure of delivery by regular mail it should be sent by Nov. 11. Air Mail by Dec 10. These sound like very early dates, do they tell you about Christmas mailing? Anyway, is there anything in particular which you would like that you could suggest? Please comment in your next early letter. Also, how long has mail been taking in reaching you? Do you think it would be practical to send to you your guitar? Would it be safe to send, safe to keep there, and a problem to get back. Or could you get one there, say a used one, and then resell it before coming back? Let us know if we can be of help. The Free Press subscription is up for renewal so I shall renew it for 3 more months and then monthly until you get out.

The energy shortage is really getting attention as being serious in the States. The early cold weather is causing people with oil heaters to be concerned, if not actually running short, so they are talking gasoline rationing in the Spring or adding a 35 or 40 cent a gal. Tax to discourage driving. Perhaps if they can settle the Arab-Egyptian thing the Arabs will release their oil and resume selling to the so called free nations who are supporting Israel. I think this is the cause of it all. There was a little shortage last year on the East coast so there isn't much room for losing sources of supply. The utilities like Edison who have recently converted to gas and oil generation are now especially hard hit to be able to supply the power which they should. Michigan and Edison are especially hurt because most of the oil Canada has stopped selling the U.S. was used in Michigan. So now conservation is the word and government is calling for reduced driving, eliminating Christmas decorating lighting. It's almost unbelievable how fast this situation has come about.

We went to St. Norbert's 300 club party last night and it was very nice, as usual. The Nephs say John is still apprenticing [as an Iron Worker], and still has class work ahead. I don't know what your other friends are up to, not having seen them since you left. Do you hear from any of them?

Not much else new now so til next time, so long, and keep those letters rolling.

190.  Mom

[Postmarked November 15, 1973]
Thanksgiving Day Card

191.  Mary Lou

Thurs. [postmarked November 17 or something 1973]

Dear John,

I thought you would want to know what's happening with Pepper. I'm going to watch the Waltons in about 10 minutes. Pepper got spayed last Tues. Its hard to concentrate with Bill playing his guitar. Well anyway we picked her up yesterday. She got to sleep with me. It's hard for her to lye down because her stitches hurt I guess.

Even though Lynn's wedding was a couple of weeks ago I'll have to tell you, I was sick when Father was giving his sermon. I wasn't sick from his sermon I was sick because it was so hot and all the excitement. Well that's at least part of it. Boy the thing that bothers me about Mr. Shea is that he always says everything is "cool!" Mrs. Shea was kind of high like. I guess she got a little too much to drink.


I watched the Waltons last night and it went till about 10:00 so I couldn't finish this letter.

I was wondering. Does Germany have a fuel shortage, too? If not you're lucky you're in Germany during the winter.

Our class made our first paper today. It had a news page, a sports page, an entertainment page, and a story page. We sell it for 3 cents. Bye for now.

Yours Truly (and all that jazz)
Mary Lou

192.  Dad

Sunday Evening [November 18; postmarked November 19, 1973]

Dear John,

As I write this we are siting in the living room watching the old pro, Mr. Music himself, Frank Sinatra. This is followed by Dinah Shore and her special. Real old timers night, eh? Do you get to see any TV? What movies do you have? Are you on a regular base with a P.X., theater and the things the American Bases have? How about a word picture of your area.

Thanksgiving this week and a 4 day weekend. If everything goes well I will spend it looking over, inspecting, and trying out the car I put a deposit on today. It's owned by a young couple in Farmington and he works for Ford Engineering and gets it through the company. Anyway, it is a '72 Ford LTD, 4 door, brown with darker brown vinyl top. It now has vinyl interior, all brown (carpet is cloth), AM radio & air conditioning. It doesn't have FM, or electric windows or seat like my '66 but it really is nice and the guy has 3 new tires, not even on the wheels yet, & the spare unused. The car has 23,400 miles on it. Bill says he would like the '66 LTD which is in pretty good shape considering the age and mileage, 92,000. It should have some good mileage left and Bill's car needs a new exhaust system, 2 new tires, and the driver's window doesn't work, so, he might buy the LTD & sell the Mustang.

We talked to Lynn & Bob on the phone tonight. They just moved into their apartment yesterday and now they can begin to settle down. She hasn't begun to look for a job yet, being too busy getting the place ready. I believe she said she heard from you. I think you said the same, too. I believe they will drive here around Christmas. Mark went to the Auto Show with Bill Fields, his C.C.D. teacher and a couple others in the class. It just started yesterday. Friday we are taking Mary Lou to Cobo Arena to see the Royal Lippizaners, the white horses trained for dancing or tricky riding. Cobo area is quite busy with a lot of different shows, one right after the other, including a couple of groups which I don't remember the name of but one I noticed is already sold out. We took Mary Lou to see Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Friday night. I liked it. It is a slow moving movie but it has wonderful photography of beautiful scenery and it is well done, with the music and the story woven in with the picture to make nice entertainment.

Well, there isn't much news around here so I'll close. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving Holiday, that they don't overcook your turkey, and that you are getting some enjoyment out of your tour in the "old country."

With love,

193.  Mom

Thanksgiving Day [November 22, 1973]

Dear John,

Our turkey is turning golden brown in the oven. The pumpkin pie is baked. The biscuits are ready to be popped into the oven at the last minute and the Schneiders are almost ready to devour untold caloric delights once more.

We miss you and Lynn this year. We are just family this year. Grampa and Uncle Bud and Sister Ann Louis are eating at Eve Ann's this year. Last year Bob was here and he and Lynn took Mary Lou down to the parade. My, the changes that have occurred this year!

Did your father mention his "new" car to you? It is pretty-an elegant brown with darker brown vinyl roof. I haven't driven it yet. So now we have an exceedingly used (94,000 miles) L.T.D. to get rid of.

Pepper has had her stitches removed and is back to her old frisky self, again. Now Mary Lou can get the cut rate on her license because she has been spayed. Did anyone mention the new glasses in the family? Mary Lou got hers-at her own request for an eye exam. She has very bad vision and is reluctant to wear the glasses even though she sees much better. She picked out gold rimmed hexagon shaped-not too bad looking.

Bill also found out that he needed them so he started wearing his new ones this week. Which makes me wonder about your eyes. Have they been tested recently? Bill said his army eye exam didn't mention his need for any. Mark is worried about the possibility of his wearing them and perhaps keeping him out of the "Blue Angels."

Can you believe that the Army has been sending recruiting literature to the twins lately? They file them in the circular file immediately! Graduation and register for the draft will be upon them before I know it. Hey, you'll be home for their graduation, won't you? Wonderful!

Lynn couldn't make it home today but they are promising to come back for Christmas. She has been (both of them, in fact) working so hard on their apartment and seems a bit discouraged at the results. She hasn't had time to look for a job to ease the financial strain they seem to be having.

Our snaps should be back early next week and I'll send them to you right away. Lynn was quite happy with them, thank goodness.

Loved your last letter. Try it again soon.

Much love from all of us.

194.  Mom

Wed. Nov. 28

Dear John,

Well, here they are--10 views of our wedding! I just picked them up yesterday. We have more, of course, for you to see when you get home but these will give you some of the highlights. Mike ran out of film so we asked Bud to take some of the cake cutting. I haven't seen those yet, and I think that your dad has some in his camera yet.

Yesterday I sent out a Christmas box to you. I sent it Air Mail so let me know how long it took to reach you, will you please? Don't get all excited when you see the size of it. More a remembrance from home than anything gift wise. If I knew your needs over there I could have done more but you never answered my questions as to what you wanted. Come to think of it, you are long overdue to write us. We know so little of what you are doing or seeing over there. Saw a glimpse of Frankfort the other day on the noon news show when they were discussing the gasoline crisis. Gas at $1.49 a gal.!

Our is up to .42--.48 per gallon for regular-premium. If no one is allowed to drive on Sunday over there it would hamper your weekend passes, wouldn't it? You do get them though, don't you? If your Free Press is arriving you know that we can't buy gas from 9pm on Sat. till 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.

Lynn said that she was planning on coming home for Christmas. I do hope this new crisis won't hamper her chances.

Talked to Mr. Perkovich yesterday (as he put in $30.00 worth of new tubes in our set) and he tells me that Danny will be home on leave on the 29th of December so they are going to wait for him before they celebrate the holidays.

Wish you could be here. Of course, the only consolation is in knowing that when you do come home, it will be for keeps. That thought must warm you, right?

Must close now. I want to get a note out to Lynn today too. Write soon and tell me how you like the snaps-come to think . . . . write and tell me anything!!

Much love,

195.  Dad

Sunday Evening [December 2; postmarked December 3, 1973]

Dear John,

I sit here to write you with a throbbing jaw. I apparently have a tooth problem which I went to see Dr. Becker about twice in the last month. Then it wasn't too bad and he couldn't find anything wrong. Well, there is something wrong and now somebody better find out what it is. I will attempt to see him again in the morning.

In the meantime we had a nice sunny day and tomorrow is supposed to get into the 50's while today was 40 degrees. No snow yet and probably there will be none this week, which is fine with me.

I have had the new car almost two weeks and it looks real good. I did clean the plugs yesterday and changed the points & condenser. Perhaps I can improve the 13.6 miles per gallon I got on the 1st half tank. The former owner said he got 12 in the city and 16 on the highway.

I painted a white 4" boarder along the edge of the driveway to cut down on the driving off the lawn while backing the cars down. It has been difficult to see the edge in the dark, especially when it has been wet. We shall see how it works.

Jim gave mother a couple tickets to see a benefit at Ford Auditorium Friday night. We both went and saw Robert Goulet and Joe Garagila. M.C. was J. P. McCarthy. It was a very good (and loud) show. Garagiola is very funny and you know how well Bobby Gullet sings. Afterward we went across the street to the Gas Co. Bldg. And went up to the Top of the Flame for a couple drinks. We sat in the cocktail lounge, the area on the West or opposite side of the place from where we had lunch. It was very pretty sitting by the window looking out over the cities, the river, and the millions of lights.

They are cutting down on the Christmas decorative lighting due to the energy shortage but street lights and most store signs are still being lighted, although some stores and commercial places are reducing the number of lights and the length of time they leave them turned on. This was the first Sunday which the gas stations are asked to voluntarily close for the day. I didn't see any open in a ride to wonderland on Plymouth Road. The price went up at least at some stations yesterday and regular is now around 46 cents a gallon although Maverick at Inkster & Avondale closed Saturday at 42.9 cents.

I do wish I knew what you are and have been doing in your spare time. We haven't, as I write this, heard from you for over 3 weeks, I guess, and we can't help wondering why not. I am sure your mother gets worried when we don't hear for so long a time. You did say you would write once a week. We would appreciate if you would at least drop a line more frequently so we can be assured you are all right, that is, if you are all right. I was mentioning to your mother just the other day that even with the 2 or 3 letters you have written so far from Germany we don't have very much of a picture of what it is like where you are or around that part of the country, if you have seen much. So you see, there are some things to write about; even if they seem trivial to you they would be of interest to us.

I hope you get your Christmas box in time. I really suspect you will get it way ahead of time. Then you could wait to open it until Christmas if you like. There isn't much we can get under the circumstances so we can wait until you get out in the Spring before we really celebrate.

The twins this past week sent in their applications to Wayne U. and Michigan. Mike wants to go to U of M @ Dearborn. Greg still wants to be a lawyer and he wants his first 4 years @ Wayne. At least that is what he wants now.

Bill is planning his 2nd semester at Eastern to start in January. He's figuring on continuing his music specialization.

Will close for now. So long

In case the mail is especially slow, Merry Christmas, son.

196.  Mom


Dec. 4

Dear John,

Where are you and how are you?? Another week has gone by and still no word--4 weeks is a long time to go without writing--Trouble, perhaps? I keep wondering--did you receive the pictures and what are your thoughts about them. Did you receive your box and did it make you smile? I know that this is a bad season coming up for you. You'll miss not being here and we will miss not having you but this will be the last time. I hope that you'll keep your balance--all things considered.

I remember your plans for sending stereo equipment home. Also building up your credit union balance from your paycheck. What happened to those plans? See? So many questions.

Jim has taken on another job--working at Hughes-Hatchers part time--to help pay for his new car, I guess. Although he won't get it for about a week. His Cougar has no brakes so it is parked in the yard and he has borrowed our old L.T.D. rather than put money in a brake job.

Your dad just came in from the dentist--a root canal job so I guess he'll be sipping dinner through a straw while his tooth drains.

It looks like Spring here. Our grass wasn't this green last August. Which reminds me of another question! I keep sending your Ski magazine out to you every few weeks or so. Do you get them?

Come on now . . . sit down and erase my concern about you by sending us a letter. Pretty please?

Much love,

197.  John Neph

Sun. 12-9-73


What's happening, junkie? Hope you are fine and keeping a steady buzz with all that good hash over there. How do you like it over there. Talked to your old man and he told me you didn't like it over there. Sorry to hear that, lucky for you that you are getting short.

Haven't been doing too much lately but hitting the bars every week-end.

Mackowski moved out of the house and into an apartment. It pretty nice place and he has some really nice furniture.

Wanted to drop a few lines to ya to let you know a few of us still remember you. I am also wondering if you ran into some connections for some hash for us and if you think it's possible to send us some. Don't even try it if you're scared of being busted. It's not worth that you know. Robb talked to some guy in school who sent some home from Germany when he was in the service. He sent them in cassette packages weighing close to 1 once or 1 pound. He also got some stamps at the army post office that were special stamps for officers, Lieutenant or Captain or something. Hope this make sense to you. They never checked packages from officers or something. Anyways write back and tell me what you think. If you feel it's too risky don't hesitate to forget about it.

In case I don't get another letter to you by Christmas--which I probably won't--Have a nice Christmas and a Happy New Year and we will all have a drink for you at the parties we will probably have.

Hope to see you or hear from ya soon--Take care

Your buddy

198.  Dad

Dec 10


Dear John,

I hear that Bill got a letter from you today. We are relieved to hear that you are all right. It has been about a month since anyone here had heard and we were worrying. Merry Christmas, but then the mails haven't slowed up much I guess. Got some snow today. Not much but it's going down into the low teens tonight. Got our Christmas Tree yesterday out at the farm of my friend in Construction Dept at Edison across from Mt. Brighton. Took Eve Ann out with her kids and we had a nice time picking out 2 beauties.

The energy crunch has us turning down our thermostats (voluntarily) to about 70 degrees--So we wear sweaters more. Gas costs anywhere from 40.9 cents/gal to 48.9 cents/gal now. Goes up every week it seems.


199.  Mom

Christmas Card [postmarked December 12, 1973]

200.  Uncle Bud

Christmas Card [no date or postmark]

201.  Mary Lou


Dear John

We are having a snow storm. The snow is about 4 or 5 inches deep. It took dad 1 hour and 1/2 to get from Southfield and Michigan to Brady. Boy a big limb fell off our tree into the Harrison's driveway. The boys had to cut it off. Then we had drag the smaller branches across the street.

I'm in a Christmas pageant at school. I'm an angel. Its tomorrow and I never had any practice. It is Fri and Sat. I can't wait.

We got a Christmas tree last Sunday. Mom and Dad and Mark cut it down. It is really pretty.

Mike took some pictures and I'll enclose a picture of Pepper. I thought you would want one.

It's almost time for the Waltons and the dishes aren't even done we have to do it in 10 minutes if mom would start.

How come you aren't writing us? Maybe you're too busy to write like me.

Mary Lou

202.  Bill


Dear John

Hadn't a buzz in a while, but I haven't quit. Bill Dillon is representing me in court Jan 7. He told me I might get off on probation for a year, then go back (if I keep clean) and my record is erased. He also thinks they searched me illegally, but a law just passed yesterday dammit, giving all the stinking cops the "right" to search any person for anything even if the offense was so minor a traffic ticket would be sufficient. But I'm not worried, since I have no previous record, but the judge is a bastard, crew-cut type holy roller. Yes, mother/dad know. Mom was very upset when I first told her, but she's over it. She now just worries a bit.

Goes to show what a screwy government this is. One of the worst a man can think of. But, the only good thing about it is it is 20 times better than any other contrived today. Enough speeches.

Now for the bright side of me life. Moody Blues were beyond outstanding. They put on one hell of a show, did 4 cuts from my favorite, "Children's etc., etc.", and a couple from every other album. Lead guitarist Justin Hayward is the genius of the group, behind him Pinder, the mellotron artiste', in my opinion. After my excitement died down, I went to see ELP. (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) They were also beyond description, playing all of their new album "Brain Salad Surgery" (which I bought along with "Quadrophenia"). They also did "Take A Pebble", y'know, the one with amazing piano solos. Emerson is one hell of a pianist/organist composer.

No, I didn't see Who, but a friend of mine, damn him, was 3 rows back from the stage, in the middle. He said they were one of the best groups he's seen this decade. I saw all the groups I wanted to see this year (Tull, ELP, Moody Blues, Wishbone Ash) except for Zeppelin.

Sky is overcast now, sleeting, snowing, raining at the moment. I'm out of school, except for a piano exam I have to take Friday, tomorrow. My guitar class has been over for 2 weeks now; I finally got my major official-Music of course. I have my classes all set for next semester (Jan-April). Since I am now majoring in music instead of minoring, I have guitar once a week for an hour, instead of once every 2 weeks for 1/2 hour. I'm learning quite a bit, a lot of new techniques. There was so much I was doing wrong before I started, so I think I'm really benefiting from it. Piano is handy to know, too. I'll be getting a B+, probably and A if I get an A on my exam. I have a "B" in guitar class, "B" in speech, and either a "C" or "D" in lit class. Man, I hated that class. One hour and fifteen minutes of nothing but taking notes on books we have to read. The books are good, but I hate note-taking. It's the only class I had to do it.. The reason I've done poorly is due to the fact I failed badly on one exam. Shoot, I didn't even read the book the exam was about. Oh, well; my average at least will be raised a bit.

I'm reading a good book "Stranger in a Strange Land." Science Fiction at it's best. Mom is worried that you didn't write for a while. She thought you were busted, but Dad and I tried to convince her otherwise, but it didn't help much. Now I got your letter couple days ago and it eased her mind. Sorry I didn't send you a present. If I found the shirt before Mom mailed the packages, you would be wearing a lime-colored long sleeve shirt with a portrait of the dude on Tull's "Aqualung" album with the title "Aqualung" on the front. Looks nice on me, though. Sorry.

Well, signing off now. I'm gonna see if I can score on some dope tonight. Write.

See you in April,
Guitar-brother Bill

203.  Lynn

Christmas Card [postmarked December 14, 1973]

Dear John,

We all miss you so much, & even more on this holiday. Hope you will be able to keep some Christmas spirit while you're so far away. Please write me, ok?

Lynn & Bob

204.  Mike

Tues. 18th [December 18, 1973]

Dear John,

Your letter arrived today, and we all were slightly amazed at all the detail you had in it. Usually, you don't seem to feel like expressing yourself too much in detail, so I imagine your spirits are pretty high, considering where you are spending the holiday this year.

Let me tell you some of the things that have been happening around here lately. For me, it's college-hunting time, and I've set my sights on the University of Michigan, either Dearborn campus or Ann Arbor. Because of costs and fuel shortage, it'll probably be Dearborn. I sent my application in a couple weeks ago and I know I'll be accepted at Dearborn. I'll probably be put on a waiting list at Ann Arbor, however. My field of study will be Business Administration. My interests lie there probably because of my background at Allen Lumber.

Speaking of Allen, Bill just quit there and got a job at Forest City, just north of Westland Shopping Center. I hope he settles down just a bit. He's having a difficulty selling his car, and Dad is eager to sell the old LTD.

Speaking of cars, I can hardly wait until I graduate, so I can buy a car. Having been through it all, you know how exciting looking for a car can be! I'll be looking for one in the $1200-1990 range.

Changing the subject slightly, I imagine you're missing the chicks here in the States a bit. Right here, I'm trying to "land" someone I can start a relationship with and have a good time with. As you probably know, I'm not the "quickie" type; you know what I mean. I feel I'm missing something if I don't get a girlfriend. There is this one girl I really like; with good looks and a helluva personality. I really enjoy being around her. Too bad she's going with someone else, who is a friend of mine, too. She told me tonight at the Christmas Concert at school, that she probably'll have to move to Pittsburgh after graduation next June. That's kind of a shocker, especially to her and her boyfriend!

I've been having some fun times lately with my friends at school. I really hope they don't stop after next June. I hope to see a lot of my old friends during the college years, but we don't always get what we want, do we? I don't know about you, but I value friendship higher than anything else in the whole world. Last Friday and Saturday night, a bunch of us went tobogganing at Garbage Hill in Edward Hines. What a blast!

Being class president has it's good points and it's bad points. The good points are the glory that goes with the position, and the bad points are the responsibilities. I'm expected to go around chasing down seniors who haven't put down any deposit on their announcement orders. That's a bunch of baloney. No way am I going to do that! If they want announcements, they'll see to it themselves that they get their money in on time!

Our senior trip is planned for 4 days and 3 nights, starting June 3rd, at a dude ranch in Gaylord Mich. Horseback riding, water-skiing, hayrides, card games, swimming, dances, 3 full sit down meals; it really sounds like fun doesn't it!? Even though I'll be 18, we still won't be allowed to drink while up there. A hitch, in otherwise beautiful plans!

I am on the yearbook staff at Cherry Hill, and I think this year's yearbook will be the best ever, for years to come. Color for the first time, and other new techniques used never before in the past. You'd be most interested in the foxes of our class, and there are some great ones!

Everyone around here is doing well. Mary Lou is flying to New Jersey on the Thursday before Christmas. She'll come back with Lynn and Bob on Saturday. Only 7 more days 'till X-mas! Although, you will probably read this letter after the 25th. So this is where I'll close for now. Hope you have a blessed and fun holiday season. R-day (release day) won't be too long!


205.  Dad

Christmas Morning [December 25, 1973]

Dear John,

I would share with you some of the feeling & spirit of this Christmas day. With you so far away you undoubtedly have had by now your own celebration of Christ's birthday, and with your own friends for this year anyway. When you finally read this the season will be fairly well just a memory but when you stop to think of it half of life's feeling is from memories of the past, and the other half from anticipation of the so uncertain future. If you are much like me you relish too little the "present" and miss the opportunities of "enjoying" what we have now. Well, maybe you aren't like that, but every once in a while I try to realize that now is where I am and slow down and try to enjoy it. So it is this A.M. at the dining room table with carols from the loudspeakers and members of the family each doing their thing this morning.

Greg eating breakfast. Mother splurged today and has cooked bacon & eggs. Mark has been drawing with his new charcoal pencil & sketchbook set. Mike has been trying on his new sweater set, Mary Lou fixing up her snoopy "stained glass" decals for her windows, Bill back to bed! He, Greg, & Mark went to midnight Mass. We shall go to 12:30 to enable Mother to get some preliminary cooking tasks done this morning.

Bob & Lynn are still asleep. The had a long drive in Saturday with a couple hours of driving on Pennsylvania snow covered highways. Mary Lou had flown down Thursday (and got sick on the plane. She used the bag which Mother had briefed her on) and of course came back in the Mustang. Bob had sold the MG but that Mustang still looks and drives very well.

Jim was over last night as we had our usual gift exchange and he will be back this afternoon for evening dinner. Grampa also will be here. Uncle Bud only goes to Uncle Cyril's today and Sr. Ann Louis will visit Grampa and subsequently us later in the week.

After 2 or 3 weeks of below freezing weather and 1 foot of snow on the ground it finally has gone over 32 degrees and perhaps some of the slippery stuff will melt away.

I think as I was checking the world weather a couple days ago it was 42 in Berlin. I wonder if your snow is still there although I suspect that even if you are farther south that the snow remains in the mountains all through the winter. From today's reports the winter resorts are well filled throughout Europe. I hope you have a chance to do some skiing. Your last letter describing your travels to the mountain cabin sounded exciting.

Your tour over there grows shorter & shorter. Are there any others expecting to leave as soon as you do. Do you have any plans for after, I believe you did say you would not ask for an early out. Do you think you will not be going to school? Of course, Edison is still in business and will be even more so in the future. The energy shortage, I believe, is going to make electricity production more in demand than ever before. We won't be converting to oil & gas like we had planned and there is plenty of coal. The government will just have to be more lenient on pollution standards for a while. I don't like the way the oil countries are flaunting their power. I can't see the rest of the world putting up with it too long. I just hope & pray there will be a peaceful solution to this latest in problems of man getting along with his fellow man. Of course, the whole solution is the real Christmas message story, of loving ones neighbor, his fellow man.

My old LTD sits in the yard without license plates or insurance. I haven't pushed selling it because Bill was going to buy it but he couldn't sell his readily and thinks he should keep it. I hesitate selling mine too fast because what with the twins graduating this spring and planning on purchasing late model cars and with you planing to be back even before then and possibly wanting to use a car, there might be a need for this car. I suppose you are planning on getting a car shortly after you get back but do you think you would want this '66 LTD, at least for a while. It seems in good condition. It starts right up as I try it out once or twice a week and run it up & down the driveway to warm it up. It lacks pep of course and engine might need encouragement until it gets heated up but the upholstery is still luxurious, the clock & air conditioner work, the windows & seat still operate, so there is still life in the old crate yet.

Let me know your thoughts on this car. I won't lose anything but little by keeping it in the yard for the winter. In fact with the cost of new (and I suppose, used) cars going up the value will drop little or nothing. I doubt I could get more than $400 now for it.

Well, I will close for now, hoping you are having a nice Christmas. It will probably be different from any you have had or will have.

God bless you,


206.  Mary Lou

[For Christmas of 1973 Mary Lou copied the 1973 Mad Magazine Christmas Poem. No date or postmark.]

Dear John,

Here is Mad's 1973 Christmas Poem

As Christmas roll around again
And New Year's Eve is nigh,
We offer up this roundelay
To those we glorify;

Despite the fact that Santa Claus
Prepares a lengthy list,
Herewith are gift suggestions
For folks he may have missed.

For Richard Nixon and his mate
A weekend at the Watergate.
And should they weary of the scene,
We'll toss in Mitchell, Hunt, and Dean.
We're stripping Mickey Rooney down
To pose for Helen Gurley Brown-
He'll be the perfect choice in case
Her magazine is tight on space;
Let's send a vocal coach or two
To Gifford and Dandyroo, And then let's buy and giftwrap well
A Midas Muffler for Cosell.

We'll rip off someone's souped up Honda,
As a present for Jane Fonda,
Hoping that it won't be lacking
Noise to drown her endless yakking.
Next upon our Yuletide list
Is Steinem, big-shot feminist;
We think we've found a gift that fits-
A set of towels marked "Her's" and "Its;"
To swimmer Spitz we next bequeath
A set of drills for pulling teeth,
He can't do worse in dentistry
Than what he's doing on TV.

We'll send Charles Schultz an armored car
Or maybe one huge cookie jar
To hold the cash he's pulling down
From merchandising Charlie Brown;
We've found a gift that's really keen
For Linda Lovelace, porno queen--
She'll be surprised come Christmas day
When she gets 20 guys--all gay;
For Liz and Dick, that split-up pair,
We've got a gift that both can share--
We're taping them a serenade
Of records Eddie Fischer made.

Because we've got a Vietnam peace,
Bob Hope's announced his trips will cease;
In hopes he'll entertain some more.
We're giving him a brand new war;
We've picked a gift to show we're fond
Of Roger Moore, the new James Bond--
The next 12 months he's getting free
Instructions from Sean Connery;
And lets remember Johnny Cash
Whose every record is a smash--
We're sending him this holiday
A year supply of nasal spray;
A book for Paar sits in our stack,
Called "How to Quit--And Not Come Back."

We've left out many folks we fear,
Like Ringo Starr, and Germaine Greer,
Kareem Jabbar and Al Pacino,
Billy Graham and Lee Travino,
Spiro Agnew, Robert Young,
The Prince of Whales and Moa0tse-tung,
John Chancellor and Monty Hall,
The Boston Pops and Lucille Ball,
John Wayne, Bill Cosby, Howard Hughes,
And countless others in the news;
To those we skipped, be of good cheer--
We'll get to you another year.

Pretty Good, wasn't it? I left out a couple verses though.
Mary Lou

207.  Uncle Bud

Christmas Card [No postmark or date.]

208.  Mom

Dec. 29, 1973

Dear John,

Here we are right in the middle of our holiday. I can't believe it was a whole week ago that we were putting up our tree and waiting for Lynn, Bob, and Mary Lou to come in from Morristown. Mary Lou flew in the previous Thursday, spent a day shopping and making cookies (the same kind she made for you). It was a rough flight for her--she was deathly sick on the plane and at Lynn's place that night. She said, "Never again!" will she fly alone.

Anyway, it was a nice Christmas. Poor Bob--he had to spend an evening watching slides of Hawaii and old movies of you kids. They haven't received your gift as yet--I asked--didn't tell them what it was. [It was a German coo-coo clock. Same as I gave Bo & Paula for their wedding present.]

Jim drops in every day for lunch. He has been making plans for a week's vacation. Maybe the Bahamas. Boy, would I like that right now. Certainly hope that we don't get 11 more inches. Mark loves it, of course, because he has been using Lynn's skis on our front hill. You'll have company when you come home and want to go skiing.

The dog jumps around it like a jack rabbit and chases the kids and the sleds down the hill across the street. They are both out in it now, making tracks in the fresh cover.

I have been delighted with your recent letters. Glad that you are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! These last few months will go by before you know it. Happy days! This coming year has much brighter promise, doesn't it?

Hope Bill has the same bright promise. I'll know after Jan. 7. That's his next court date and I know you can imagine how he feels. I guess, though, that you knew about his trouble before I did. He is looking forward to his second semester. Got good marks--A in piano, B in guitar. Say a prayer for him, o.k.?

Well, my blessings on you for this New Year, as always.

Love and prayers

209.  Dad

Sunday - Jan 6

Dear John,

I am at this moment waiting for the time to leave for St. Norbert School at which I am to resume teaching the 6th grade C.C.D. class. We had 2 weeks off for the holidays and now we start in again for that long stretch into Spring. It seems long because January & February in Detroit area are the gloomiest months of the year. You might not agree if you like all the snow we have had on the ground (and in the air) since the end of November.

Bill sold his mustang to a young friend of Jim & Lucy Hayes. He is going back to school in St. Louis with it. (if he makes it). So Bill decided to buy the '66 LTD. He hopes to get a later model in the Spring, so old faithful will be around for a while yet.

I saw an article in the Sports Pages this A.M. about Ski Games in Garmiesch-Parten Kirchen and wondered if you got down to see them. I wonder if you have done any good skiing, too.

We went out with your aunts & uncles Dillon & Ambrose last night. Started with cocktails at Dillons and then dinner at Danny's Gin Mill in Farmington. Was real nice all around. We hope to do it again so that maybe each in turn will have it in their end of town say once a year. I think it is very important for families & relatives to be close. There is so much loneliness in the world due to people having nobody to really care for or be cared for. I hope our family can stay close. Not necessarily geographically although that would be preferable, but at least in thought & spirit.

It is now late in the afternoon as I finish this letter. They had the Red Wings game on TV today, NBC Network show, even though it was a home game. They won a high scoring, exciting game 9 to 7 as I remember. It's been a quiet day at home except for that dog across the street where Cartwrights used to live. Barks when anyone comes within view. Then the owners came home and that seems to quiet him. But they are away most of the time. The twins worked today as usual at Allen Lumber. Bill works at Forest City in the lumber dept. He works part time about 3 part days a week incl. Sat & Sun.

Saw the Nephs after Mass and they said their son John got a letter from you. Said he has been working 7 - 10 hour days a week lately. Lots of money but lots of time, too. Things are beginning to pile up at my office now so I may put in some overtime for a while at least, starting this week although I would want to limit it to 5 to 8 hours per week. They are having meetings tomorrow & Tuesday at Vivian Farms to try & settle what additional changes they want to make in our Dept. Michigan went on daylight Savings Time today along with most of the other states in an effort to conserve energy. Since Construction people are going to start @ 8:30 for 4 weeks, then 8:00 for 2 then back to 7:30, with the stopping times pushed back proportionately. At least our Estimating section will remain on the 7:15 AM starting time, which suits me ok.

Well, dinner is about ready so I'll close for now.


Do you want us to send you your Income Tax Forms?

210.  Lynn

Wed. 1-9 [postmarked January 12, 1974]

Dear John-

Hi there, stranger! How come you haven't dropped me a line letting me know you're alive & well? Have you been skiing at all over there? I hope you get the chance, cause after you're back in the States with no chance to see Europe again, you may wish you had tried those slopes for experience!

How have you been? Are you happy over there? Has your job changed from loading trucks? One thing I pray, especially after seeing some TV commercials, I hope you're staying out of trouble, (Texas-type trouble), & not encouraging it to find you. Sometimes I worry about you-please write & let me know how you are, ok?

Mom says a package is on the way for us from you-I'm so anxious to see what it can be! I'll let you know when it arrives (I hope it does soon).

When you get back you'll have to visit our place, of course. It's small but we did a lot with it to fix it up; lots of painting, tiling, making shelves & buying rugs. It's an expensive job & you don't even get an expensive looking place in result, but It's cozy * homey looking. We haven't invited people over yet until we get the bedroom rug in next week & can cover up the ugly tile on the floor now.

I haven't been working since before Christmas-Bob sold his MG (a '72, he still only got $1900.00 for it--$550.00 was ours after paying the loan off), so I couldn't drive to any job. This week I'm applying to a couple of banks in town (just a few blocks away) & I'm sure I'll get a job in one of them. I don't like the idea of working full time-It's great having the whole day to do as I please with it. And sleeping in is terrific! But, I want some money in the bank in case I have to go home or buy myself something. I haven't adjusted yet to the idea of living off of Bob's income & getting an "allowance" from him. I have to be more financially independent.

Things haven't been going their best here on the marriage scene-sometimes I'm not very happy & I'm not sure why. Bob's a great guy & is making a wonderful husband, but still, I guess I'm not used to making a life with anyone other than Julie. I'm working on it tho-I hope everything works out ok.

We got a good 6" of snow here last night & It's beautiful out. I wish I could get outside now but there are 2 electricians here & I don't want to leave them in my place alone! Julie went up to Killington & Stow last week for a couple of days-it was fair skiing, a lot of ice, but he enjoyed the slopes for their length, winding turns & scenery. The trails are a lot of fun to ski, & I remember some from Killington last year. I wish I could of gone again!

Not too much is happening here-Christmas was great, being home with everyone again-but driving 11 hours back in the rain was horrible. Bob says we'll take 2 days next time we drive. I hate long distance trips like that, esp. in lousy weather.

Well, as nothing else is new, I'll say goodbye & hope you'll write me soon-ok?? And by the way, why don't you call mom & dad collect some day?? They'd be so happy to hear your voice-they wished you would call on Christmas but 'cha didn't-so think about it, ok? The cost is nothing compared to the happiness you'll give them.

Hoping to hear from you soon,



P.S. Hi! I saved this a few days hoping to send you a couple of photos of this place-we had a roll of 30 pics to be ready today & none of them turned out! I'm so mad-I've been dying to see them-we had pics from Newport, R.I. on them. Oh well-by the time you get this letter you'll be home anyway! It's raining a little-all our snow is starting to melt. Tomorrow should be clear & we hope to drive to White Haven, Pa. & stay at Bob's aunt's house. She works and It's sort of like taking a 2nd honeymoon when we go. Pretty up there too.

[Enclosed are 3 pictures of Lynn and Bob from their Newport honeymoon trip.]

Newport--Bob set the camera & jumped in to get one of us.  It was extremely cold up there but I loved being there.  The Fall is the best time to go - no crowds, water still a little warm, & the colors! Newport--our honeymoon!  Me--looking out at the ocean (one of my best profile shots!) Newport--taken in the parking lot of Christie's Restaurant--we ate overlooking the water & the place itself had a huge fireplace & very atmospheric

211.  Mom

Jan, 11, 1974

Dear John,

Happy New Year! Did you ring out the old with much jubilation? Your dad and I spent our usual quiet evening. Greg and Mike went out to a friend's house but Bill stayed home. Believe it or not.

I asked him to write to you and tell of the outcome of the trial. Don't know whether he did but anyway . . . Because of his age and this being a first offence, Judge Hammer put on a year's probation, under what he called "home rule" and told him to pay the court $100.00 in $10.00 installments. He is not to "smoke," of course, no drinking and stay away from people (friends, I guess) who do. If he keeps his record clean for a year, this offense will be wiped off. If he gets in trouble it means jail. He said that he is warning all his friends about Garden City but I really hope that this is the end of his problem. That weed has been nothing but trouble around here for the past year and I hope 1974 sees the end of it. As with yours, I was quite nervous and so was he, and as with your results, I am extremely grateful that he has this second chance, too. Hope neither of you men blow it!

Jim is supposed to leave for Nassau tonight for eight days in the sun and surf. Not being a snow lover, I kind of envy him. We have had 25 or more inches of the stuff so far and I feel as if I have shoveled every inch of it personally. We have a pile 4 feet high in front of the garage painting and that is only one scattered around.

Lynn said that she hasn't heard from you in a while and keeps hoping (like me) for a letter. She writes often to us but her brothers and sister are lax in writing to her and she says that she is lonesome. Not as happy as I would like to see her, either.

I sent for what I thought would be a pretty ski poster for your room over there. It tuned out to be too commercial to make a good wall hanging but they offered some other free stuff-tanning lotions and other things. I can't remember. Maybe by the time you get home in April they will have arrived. Then you can use them for water skiing.

It would be nice if you could get some pictures while you are over there. Don't you know anyone with a camera to borrow? I was thinking of your snap shot album.


I waited to close this until after the mail but all that came was your Ski Magazine. I'll get that out to you next trip to Post Office.

In the meantime "hang loose."


212.  Mary Lou

Wed 16. [postmarked Jan. 17, 1974]

Dear John,

Yesterday the 6th grade went to see the Free-Press building. They told us that when the F.P. first came out it only came on Thurs. It was first started in 1831. It is the 3rd largest morning paper by having a lot of subscribers. We drove to it on a Baptist bus, too. They gave us a folder and in it was "an utterly useless compilation of truly astounding data."

Did you know that:

The Free Press publishes an average of 350 pages per week, excluding special supplements and the comic sections.
The free press consumes more than 1,000 gallons-or 4 tons-of ink per day. On a yearly basis this would be equal to 23,446,240 bottles of ink such as you could buy from the corner drugstore.
They also tell you how to make a pressman's hat

I just came in from walking Pepper. Everything around here is slushy. That's why I decided not to take her in the park.

When mom came from the store she said that soon the shelves would be empty. That's because of the truck drivers strike. You're lucky to be in Germany but that might be bad, too.

There's a lot of good movies out that I want to see like Robin Hood and His Merry Menagerie, Superdad, Day of the Dolphin, and The Sound of Music. Well, that's all for now.

As Always,
Mary Lou

213.  Dad

Wed. [Feb 6, 1974]

It has been a while hasn't it. Time does fly although while we had that terribly cold and sloppy weather I thought it would never end. But it did for a while and it has been fairly nice lately although there was so much snow around that it took a long time to melt and there are still some bits left from the piles that had accumulated. But tonight it will get into the teens again and maybe snow a little again.

Lynn called a couple nights ago and was very pleased to tell us of her new clock which they just received. It works beautifully she says and she loves it. I am sure she will be filling you in on the goings on in Morristown so I will continue with the latest in Metro Detroit. There isn't much you don't know about I am sure because I know a couple others in the family have written within the week. Mike has completed his plans to go to Florida during the Easter holiday. He really is excited. Going with Mike Said, if he doesn't back out on our Mike. He called and made reservations at the Holiday Inn at Daytona.

Bill is still at school and working about 3 evenings a week at Forest City. He has a little trouble with the old LTD. I think it is a bad connection on the battery cable. It won't start now. Outside of that it runs fairly well.

You can hardly tell there is a gas shortage any more. Not too much is said and there are stations open any day although they do get a bit scarce at night. The only bad thing about it now is the price, 45.9 cents at Maverick and very few others on up to 49.9 cents a gallon at many of the stations. That is for regular.

I enclose your tax blank. I believe you need one and if you do your mailing address for refunds or reference is here at 1387 according to what I read in the instructions. I presume you will get a refund. Right? You are supposed to add any interest or dividends, too. So mark this down, you got a receipt from J.N.K. Christian Credit Union for $31.08 for either interest on your savings or refund on a loan. I guess you had no loans in 1973. Anyway this is income and they have sent a copy of the dividend to the government so you should report it with your pay.

St. Norbert is starting the fund drive for redecorating the church on Sunday. The memorials all sold out before the drive actually started so it looks like it will be a success. They hope to begin right after the drive is over, probably by March. Should be about complete when you get home. I'll try and send you a brochure on it. Our family is pledging a memorial, one of the stained glass windows. The cost is $500. All the kids are going to contribute something toward it over the next 2 years so it will be truly a family memorial. You will be welcome to participate in this family venture when you rejoin us. I don't expect a lot from the kids, like maybe 5 cents a week from Mary Lou, but just enough to make them feel a part of it.

Well bewitching hour just rang so I better toddle off now but I won't let the writing go so long again. You too.


214.  Mom

Jan. 20, 1974

Dear John,

Jim just left here. His lovely vacation is over now. It must be somewhat depressing to leave Nassau at 80 degrees sunshine and come back to, as he put it, "this garbage." He has a nice tan. Got it lazing around the beach. Did some scuba diving in those beautiful waters and some para-________, where you are pulled into the air from a boat. Maybe it's para sailing. Anyway, those were two firsts for him and, of course, the week flew by much too fast. He went alone which I wouldn't enjoy as well as being with a friend. I asked him to bring me back a conch shell and some French perfume I liked. Thought I might have to give him $3.00 or $4.00 for the shell but it was only 50 cents-they run $15.00 down in Florida!

Mike has the traveling bug now and has made plans to fly down to Florida-Orlando for Disney World and Daytona Beach for whatever he can find. Kids still go down there on their Easter vacation. Greg won't go. Said that it is too expensive.

Lynn is good about writing to us and calls every once in a while. She has a job now working in a bank in "beautiful downtown" Morristown. Low pay but she can walk to work and come home for lunch-saving gas & lunch money. She doesn't want to work next summer but wants to build up a personal bank balance. She still hasn't heard anything from you.

Hope the days are going fast and well for you-only three more months now. You will let us know when you hit the States, won't you?

Love as always,

215.  Mom

Jan. 27, 1974 [Postmarked 28, 1974]

Dear John,

Enjoyed your letter very much and as you say, a little bit more of you peeked through.

By now you probably have received Lynn's thank-you letter. She called us the day they got it and, of course, she loves it. I knew that she would! I haven't seen Bo since their wedding but then the don't live around here anymore so I wouldn't know if they received their clock.

Jim is home from his Bahamas vacation-nice tan. Brought back a pretty, big, conch shell.

If you ever hear from Bill it would be a letter of complaints, mostly car trouble. I wonder if he is sorry he took on the debt of our old LTD because he has been having trouble with it. He thinks it is the battery but your dad thinks the alternator. At any rate, it will have to be repaired to get him to work and school. He is working too many hours at Forest City-takes away time from his studies and piano. He says that he enjoys piano, now, more than the guitar lessons.

Today was the "kick-off" day for our "church renovation and beautification" drive. The parish is going to raise $50,000.00 for the job. Every family is being asked to donate $100.00 over the next ten months. It really is going to look good with stained glass windows and covering up the cement blocks and paneling and carpeting, etc., etc. It should be finished by the time you get home. The Schneiders are going to donate one of the new stained glass windows. Too bad that it wasn't done for the wedding.

Your letter mentions how cramped you will be when you get home with all the stereo equipment. I know that Bill would love to have more room, also, so perhaps the two of you could work something out to your satisfaction. Of course, I realize that all your plans call for money, perhaps more than you can raise immediately so don't be in too great a hurry. You do have some bonds, remember? At any rate, that long awaited future will soon be here and we'll all be glad.


216.  Mom

Monday, 27 [Postmarked January 28, 1974; but Monday was the 28th.]

John, dear, what in the name of God has happened to you? I just received your letter full of anger and despair but no facts!

I had your dad send a night letter which by now I hope and pray that you have answered. I can't stand being so far away from you, knowing that something is wrong and not being able to help.

I hope and pray that you have regained some composure and have sat down and explained what happened to you and what may happen to you in the future.

Please, please, don't do anything to hurt yourself. We know that as a young man of almost 22, you are pretty much on your own but we still feel such deep, deep concern for you and your welfare.

Gather your strength and know that, whatever it is, we'll fight it together-ALL OF US!

Much love and Many prayers,

217.  Dad

Monday [January 28, 1974; no postmark]

Dear John,

I sent the night letter today from the office after Mother called and told me about your letter of the 23rd. What can I say now. I don't know at this moment what has happened, what effect it will have, or when we will see you. If you have done something that will delay your release from the service is there something we can do to help. If there is anything you can do to prevent things from getting worse won't you please do it. For our sakes yes but for your sake especially. You can have a long and good life. You mustn't let a few people spoil it. Believe me there are mostly good people in this world. Many are victims of a mean minority but no one is perfect and while I myself get discouraged from time to time with the behavior of many of my fellow men, I can usually look around and see people who are friendly, who will help out the troubled, and who might only need a smile at themselves to turn on. So please don't do anything to spoil the days ahead when you can get back doing what you want to do.

Your 2 part letter we received a week ago seemed so nice, you seemed rather happy. You asked for a new Pogo book. You had laughed. What a shock 1 week brought. I pray, deeply, that things are not as bad as you intimated. I remember some of Jim's letters. He hated the service and the letters were very disturbing. But he came back and he seems better than ever. Really enjoying life. I looked at Hudson's today for a new Pogo. They don't carry it. I will try the "Little Professor" book store in Dearborn where I got the first one. I hope I can remember which one you have.

I worked till 7 tonight because a big snow storm came up and I didn't want to chance driving home at 4 o'clock. I tried to clean the car off but the windows got snowed over before I could get around the car once. It was about 32 degrees and the snow soft & big flakes. By 7 it was stopped and the salted roads were pretty clear of traffic. But til about 6 I could watch from the office window & see the traffic just creep along, on the freeway and Grand River.

It is supposed to warm up tomorrow.

Your local U.S. Congressman is William Ford. The U.S. Senators are Robert Griffin and Phillip Hart.

Gosh, we wish you were here safe at home. Please pray for help and guidance. God is no myth. He can and will help, if only you ask. If you try to go it alone you are bound to fail. Try it our way, please, at least until you are out. Anxiously awaiting word,


218.  Mom & Dad

Telegram, sent January 28, 1974, 2:00 PM, delivered 29th, to the Deutsche Bundespost, Hanau, Germany


Mom's worried telegram

219.  Dad

Sat. Feb [February 1, 1974]

Dear John:

At this writing we don't know any more of what's going on over there since our last letter to you, so we leave it to our imaginations as to what situation you are presently in. I hope you will be pleased with the enclosed Pogo book. They are such great sellers they are hard to find. I must remember which ones are bought. The last one, I believe, is "We Have Met the Enemy And They Is Us," right?

As far as I know you could be confined. I got the enclosed note about Bishop Walsh in the mail yesterday and thought you might find some encouragement in it. At least don't be offended or angry.

Also enclosed is the sketch of the promised redecorating at the church, part of it.

Jim said Article Fifteen could result in a fine or being jogged [?]. He seemed to think it is better than a court martial, but then we don't know the details.

Hope these will cheer you up. A new month now, 4 weeks to March-don't louse it up, ya' hear?

Nothing much new here since the last letter. Presume you get the Free Press. Yet we got more snow but today it doesn't look like the Groundhog will see his shadow, so Spring-where are you? Will write again soon, son.


221.  Mom

Monday Aft.

Feb. 11, '74

Dear John,

Another day--another mail come and go and still no word from you. You can't imagine how patient your dad and I are trying to be in waiting for you to write and tell us what happened over there.

All I can think is--if he is in some kind of trouble, why won't he let me know instead of my spending so much time wondering and worrying?

If there is nothing the matter--a short note even would certainly alleviate the knot in the pit of my stomach.

I have even considered writing to your C.O. and I still may have to do that of one of us doesn't hear from you soon.

I am trying to keep calm by remembering that you only have about two and a half months to go.

Please, won't you sit down and write to us now and explain any difficulties you may be having or have already had?

Life goes on here much as before but somehow the trivial happenings of family life don't seem to be too important until we know how you are.

Everyone sends their love and concern, especially


222.  Dad

Tuesday Feb. 12

Dear John,

I write this about noon, on my lunch hour, in my office. I can look out the window and see snow and also sunshine, which is a rarity. It is supposed to climb into the 30's so maybe the sun will melt the snow again. We haven't seen much green this winter. It does plod on though and I hope it is passing for you well enough. I, or we, wonder what you are doing and where you are, or even if you are getting our letters. At this writing we haven't heard for a long time.

Tonight, even though it is Tuesday, we plan on going to the Calvin to see a nature type film. Mary Lou likes animal-type movies (as well as books, etc.) and I find them usually very interesting. There are so many rotten-sick-movies out that we don't go too often. We did see another Disney one lately, "Robin Hood." That was good. I would rather see a good, funny, even dumb movie, rather than these serious, violent, sex muddled films that they put out. Why people go see the "Exorcist" which shows such sickening stuff I will never know. People actually become sick while watching it, yet they flock to it. I just can't figure some people's idea of entertainment.

Mom & I had a nice dinner the other night at the Hilton Inn by the airport, just down the road from the Sheraton we took you to once. Reminds me of our lunch we had up on top of the Gas Co. Building. Seems like not too long ago, especially when [abrupt stop before turning to page 2!]

I look forward to the day (soon I hope) you will be heading our way. I find out from friends that time in the hoosegow doesn't count so I hope you are not confined like that so as to delay your return. Of course we can't know but we can imagine all sorts of things. That is why, if you are able, it would be a good idea to write frequently, even if you don't say much. We had you for 18 years and we want you back as good as when you left.

Bill still goes to Eastern, except for the time he skips. He doesn't seem to take it seriously enough. He dropped that nature course, I can't think of the name-you have a lab course & dissect insects, etc. But he enjoys the music courses and plays the piano and the guitar pretty good. He has seen a few long hair-type concerts lately, I guess, and he, (or his class) met with the members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last week when they were at Eastern for 3 days.

Lynn says gas is hard to get in New Jersey but we have no trouble except that it costs a lot now. Although Maverick at Avondale & Inkster Rd. has it for 48.9 for regular, most stations have it for 51.9 and up. Of course both the twins want to get cars when they graduate. As you know, their insurance, especially Mike's with his one accident, will be high, even with this new kind Michigan requires now. Small cars are the thing now and large cars are hard to sell. We still don't know if gas rationing might come although now at the end of winter they will start making more gasoline and less fuel oil.

Well, I guess I better get back to work, so God be with you-

223.  Mom


Feb. 24, '74

Dear John,

After talking to you last week I got the impression that you were going to send me the name of the person and how much money should be sent to you in the form of a check. Did you change your mind? You have about $250.00 in your account, perhaps a little more because of end of year dividends.

You do understand how dangerous it would be to send unsigned traveler's checks through the mail? Of course, all this is academic if I receive your request this week

I called Paula's mother as you asked. Perhaps by now you have Paula's and Bo's thank you note. The clock arrived about three weeks ago. Perhaps, also, they didn't tell you that Mrs. Leyten had to pay $7.00 to get it out of the post office. She gave me a tip on how her relatives send packages to her avoiding the high cost of mailing.

On the gift to be sent you should label the customs declaration as "GIFT." For your insurance payment, she suggested estimating the gift as 1/3 its worth. (e.g. if the item was worth $30.00, you put down ten, thus paying lower insurance rates.)

Mrs. Leyten said that they loved the clock, (incidentally, what happened to the one I asked you to send us? I offered to pay for it. Remember?)

Well, let me know your decision about the check. Time is running out. March will soon be here.


224.  Dad

Monday- [February 25; postmarked February 26, 1974]


Only 10 months from today is Christmas. May I be the first . . . .

Anyway, in 2 days Lent starts and in 6 1/2 weeks will be Easter. I wonder if you will be here by then. It should be warmer anyway. Our cold weather persists. Nobody got my message, "Enough." I hope I appreciate the summer.

I also hope we don't have as bad a gasoline situation as Lynn says they have in New Jersey, or my co-worker Harold Powers says they have in Florida. Last week he got disgusted waiting in line for gas down there and sometimes getting only $2 worth. Here it still is easy to get but more stations seem to be closing down and most of them close in the evenings and on Sunday. And toward the end of the month many run out of gas entirely.

Now the good news. Last Friday the mortgage co. sent a letter notifying us our house is paid for in full. We now own it, completely, all by ourselves. Such a wonderful feeling. Of course, about 60% of the monthly payments have been going for taxes and insurance so this expense shall go on. But it sure is cheap rent in these days when apartments go for $150-$200 a month (and up).

I renewed your Free Press for 1 final month, March, maybe into the first week into April.

225.  Mary Lou

Tues [the 26th; postmarked February 26, 1974]

Dear John,

Today we got out at 2:00 instead of 2:30 because of 2 funerals. We only had 1/2 hour for lunch though. Tomorrow we won't have any school in the morning.

Tomorrow I'll probably have to go to mass and after the mass you'll get ashes.

You're probably wondering why I'm printing. Well I write better that way. Besides its easier. [All her letters were printed.]

I'm only feeding Pepper once a day now but I'm giving her a little more to eat. That way she will eat her food.

I have about 16 fish now. I have six in a separate bowl (hopefully) so that they will reproduce. I was going to buy some more but I decided not to.

I changed my room around again. Now the bed's under the window by Harrison's drive and I am writing on the desk that mom and me took up from the basement!

I sent away for some stickers (100). Then I find out that this girl's sent away for the same thing and she told me that you have to lick them to get them to stick. The ad said that they were free but you would have to send 50 cents for p. and h! Included you get their catalog so that you might want to send a way for something.

Well I hope you're doing fine and hang in there because your time is almost up.

Mary Lou

226.  Mom

Saint Patrick's Day card [postmarked March 11, 1974]

227.  Dad

Tuesday Evening [March 12; postmarked March 13, 1974]

Dear Lynn and Bob and John,

I am trying an experiment tonight. I am writing the same letter to each of you with the use of a carbon. The one who gets the original wouldn't know it if I didn't mention it but the one who gets the carbon might wonder. Most of what I write could be the latest news so why should either of you suffer by not hearing from me just because I wrote the other. Now you can both hear my cheerful words twice as often, maybe.

As you probably are experiencing your selves the weather is shaping up nicely into a prelude of Spring. The grass here is getting greener little by little and your dear father has gotten the bikes oiled up and takes a few evening cruises about the neighborhood. I even got the LTD oiled up today, changed various filters in it yesterday and really am ready to plunge into the Spring renaissance. Got my dining room captain's chair cleaned and re-varnished and it looks so good I think I will do all the chairs back there as well as the Danish chair in the living room that has looked so bad the last few years. We did get nice new cushions for it but the wood looked bad. As we may have mentioned we got our new bedroom set except for the chest of drawers (mine) which will take longer and it looks real nice. It is not too bad waiting for things. So many start out by thinking they have to have everything all at once but it is kind of nice to add things as you go along and have something to look forward to. And speaking of looking forward that should be approaching which we have all looked forward to for so long, eh John, and that is your return to civilian life. Right now you have been away for over 10% of your life but when you get my age it will be only 4%. I really honestly can say that each phase of my life has been interesting and enjoyable but I wouldn't want to return to any part of it but look forward in anticipation to an even more enjoyable future.

The gasoline situation has eased considerably after a few trying days at the end of February. I didn't really have trouble getting gas but saw a lot of lines and didn't do much traveling anyway. I hope it gets easier so we can drive to Morristown maybe in May for your birthday Lynn. Maybe we can work it into a little vacation with a swing down to Williamsburg or even up into Vermont. Nothing is being planned now but we love to think about things like that. I suppose you will have had enough of traveling John and will be ready to settle down among your friends for a while. Mom doesn't want to leave Mary Lou for very long, much more than a weekend, but school time would probably be a good time to go unless we took others. John, do you suppose you will have any time or way to stop in and see Lynn and Bob while you are in N.J. Perhaps they would discharge you right from there although I wouldn't be surprised if you might have to go to some base first.

Bill will be out of school within a month and then he wants to get a different full time job and get another car. The old LTD uses too much gas and is sluggish and not too stylish for the youthful generation. But it does run and it is overall better than the Mustang he got rid of. Too bad he didn't have the luck of your Mustang, Lynn. His was only a '67.

I saw that this carbon paper I used isn't so hot. Don't know why. Looked almost brand new. To not play favorites I'll send each of you one original. Now how original can you get. This is almost like a 3 way conversation.

Our church decorating is coming along nicely with the walls all plastered and the fabric or vinyl covering selected last Saturday. Your complaint about the light fixtures, Lynn, must have been heard. The drive for funds for this project was so successful that Father Petit wants to get some good fixtures now. Even the regular Sunday collections have gone up to near where they belong since this started so maybe this project was a good catalyst to weld our parish into a solid community more than ever before. I hope so.

Got the weather report which says temps in the low teens tonight and tomorrow night although the daytime temps will be in the 30s & 40s.

Well as I took off time to see Banacek on the TV it is now a bit past my usual weekday bed time so I better close for now, so with lots of love to you all, until the next time,

228.  Mom

Thursday a.m.

March 14, 1974

Dear John,

Had a dream about you this morning about six a.m. which reminded me that your army career is fast drawing to a close. Forgive the sarcasm! You did say that somewhere around the 14th of April you would arrive at the east coast base, didn't you? I presume that those plans are still in effect.

By this time your discipline should be pretty much over with. Since we haven't heard anything from you since "the phone call," (I should have put it in Capital letters. It was so expensive!) I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything is working out for your departure in a month.

And around here, life goes on, pretty much the same. I know that your dad just wrote to you the other day so there isn't much news. But I just wanted to remind you of our interest. Our days are more blue and gold now that spring is just around next week. One of these days you will be here to enjoy them with us.

Much love,

229.  Mary Lou

Thurs. 21 [postmarked March 22, 1974]

Dear John,

Today is supposed to be the first day of Spring but I don't believe it. It is snowing and kind a' cold. There isn't much snow on the ground.

While I am writing this Pepper is licking my knee! She comes up to you and licks you. It drives me crazy.

Today was hamburger day instead of Hot Dog day at school. The hamburgers were from Mac's and they were 1/2 of 1/2 an inch thick. They cost 30 cents over here now. It seems the higher the price the smaller the merchandise.

Mom found an American Wildlife book upstairs in that little cupboard in the wall in your bedroom. She was wondering who's it is. It might be yours.

My teacher is getting crabbier and crabbier every day. She calls on you when you don't have your hand up and she makes a fool of you! I can't stand her.

Lynn sent me 2 little rabbits (china). They are really small and cute. She is also making me a scarf. (if she ever finishes it).

Have a happy Easter!

Mary Lou

P.S. Our class is going on a field trip to Henry Ford Museum March 29. But I wish we weren't because I've been there so many times.

230.  Mom

March 22, 1974

Here is the check that you asked for in the letter we received yesterday. Your credit union account is down to about $63.00 now. I had to take the $200.00 from the C.U. over to Manufactures Nat'l. Bank where they made out this New York draft.

Have you considered the differences in the money exchange? Will your $200.00 American be the same as the German Mark? Perhaps you will have to adjust the payment in some way. You might even get some money back.

This just may be my "bon voyage" letter. Hope the next few weeks fly by smoothly for you. I am also hoping that the change in you that I read in your letters will not be permanent. It would be extremely uncomfortable to live with such anger and cynicism for very long. Three years is long enough-because this harsh outlook on life started a year before you even left for Fort Knox.

At any rate, we will be waiting for your arrival.

Much love,

P.S. I sent your 1973 Michigan Tax form under separate cover.

231.  Mom


April 1 [1974]

Dear John,

Here it is-from two years to two weeks and before long it will be two minutes. I suppose that you are all packed and ready.

By the way and before I forget-if the Army sends you home with your winter jacket-keep it-keep it. Mark loves the one Jim brought home but Greg claimed it and wears it every cold day we have. You know the one-with the hood and zipper?

Anyway, even if it is very warm when you get to the east coast, take it home with you, o.k.?

Saw Jim's new apartment yesterday. He just moved in on Saturday. The complex is big with lots of facilities but is unfurnished and quite raw looking yet. [The Huron Towers in Ann Arbor, MI.] He is on the top floor and likes the quiet of the place. No one can hear his stereo going full blast, I guess.

Bill only has two more weeks of school left. That year passed so quickly, I thought but had its dragging moments for him.

Mike wants me to go to the paint store with him now so I'll close and drop this at the post office.

See you soon,

* * * THE END * * *

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