The Letters: Fort Bliss, Texas, p.1 of 8

Advanced Individual Training (AIT): July 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

Next Duty Station: Fort Lee, Petersburg VA