The Letters: Dad's Complete Letters

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

4.  Dad

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

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Love,

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

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

9.  Dad

Tues. 5-9-72

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

13.  Dad

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

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Love,

18.  Dad


Wed Nite [postmarked May 17, 1972]

Dear John:

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

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

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

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

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

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


24.  Dad

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

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Long. See you soon.

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

30.  Dad

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

Dear John,

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

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

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

On the way home we stopped in Findlay Ohio to mail our films. That's where the Kodak processing is. So maybe we will get them back so0ner. I still have a few feet on the last roll. I would like to make some titles with it. This is a busy week. St. Norbert's Festival is Fri. Sat, Sunday and I have a dozen people I have to get ticket collections from, after they have each collected from about a dozen people they are responsible for.

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

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

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


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

37.  Dad

Friday [postmarked June 10, 1972]

Dear John,

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

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

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

With Love,

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

39.  Dad

Tues [June 13; postmarked June 13, 1972]

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42.  Dad

Friday Evening [postmarked June 19,1972]

Dear John,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas

3rd Enlisted Student Battery

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,


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.

59.  Dad



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 Hibatchis.

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 for get 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.]

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.]

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.


Bill's birthday on Aug 17.

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

77.  Dad

Mon. 8-14

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 Grinel'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 Grinel'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 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.]

81.  Dad

Sun. Aug 20

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.


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.]

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 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.]

88.  Dad

Thursday [September 7; postmarked September 8, 1972]

Dear John,

I'm sitting & listening to Fiddler on the Roof after turning the TV ballgame 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.]

91.  Dad


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 al 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.]

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 loosing 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.


96.  Dad

Wed. 27th

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.]

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.]

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 Columbo 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, 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.


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.]

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, Baily, 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-


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.


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 rover 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).


123.  Dad

Friday [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' 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 its 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.]

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.


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, lets see what new 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.]

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' 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.

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.]

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 0r 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.

Quartermaster School: April 1--September, 1973

Fort Lee, Virginia

Company P (Stu Enl) 2nd Bn USA, QM Sch Bde

144.  Dad


Dear John

I am at this moment attending a meeting at the Warren Service Center, first thing Monday morning. I have not too much to do in this meeting. The Dept. is going over the work that is supposed to be done by June and I answer questions only on jobs that I have estimated. I am taking advantage of my unproductive time to get this letter out to you. I thought last week I should have written then in case you didn't get home this past weekend but then you did think there was a good possibility. I thought I would be writing this on our new typewriter which we bought at Sears the same afternoon you & Bill left. It's a fine typewriter except I took it back for a repair or replacement already Saturday. The ribbon changer doesn't work due to a tiny plastic part breaking. It works alright on one or other level of ribbon.

Bill really enjoyed the return trip, especially the Sky Line Drive which he spent 6 hours exploring last Monday. He spent the night near that town where you would get on the Penn Pike. He would like to go back there again I guess and spend more time.

We saw an ad from the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce in the paper yesterday. You are right in the middle of a big tourist area. Hope you get the chance to see some of the sights.

Mark spent some of his hard earned money Saturday, & bought a 10 speed bike. It took a while to get it properly adjusted but now it works fine and he loves it.

Did you get all your income tax returns in? You should have one for Detroit, too, if they took any out. Especially if you are due any refund.

Easter is coming April 22. I wonder if you will get a long weekend off including Good Friday. Seems like a good weekend to get home. In case you get stuck without an airplane reservation on any future trips home, you should consider taking the bus. It might take a little longer than hitchhiking but it could be more sure and you could catch some sleep during the trip especially if it is at night. I guess the Greyhound line even stops in W. Dearborn on some lines, but maybe not on the Toledo run.

Spring is giving us some beautiful weather now although tonight's forecast is for rain & snow. It can't last.

Greg and I spent most of Saturday working on paneling in the basement. We got all of it up except a couple of small sections on the wall at the driveway end. I have to patch up some damaged ceiling tiles, clean the floor tiles, and get rid of a lot unwanted toys and stuff, and the place will be looking pretty good. Oh, I forgot about the stairwell. We have to decorate that too. Well, I am sure all the jobs will be done by the time of the June wedding. Now that the old homestead is getting so improved I hope the neighborhood holds up so that we won't feel like we have to get out for safety or other reasons. Personally I don't think that this will happen. At least for quite a long time yet. Although quite a few people are moving out not all are being replaced by blacks, and those blacks who are moving in, so far, are quite nice people, as far as we can see. An integrated neighborhood can be quite acceptable. It really depends on the individual people. If you remember some of our neighbors who have lived where Hayes live now color has nothing to do with the type or desirability of neighbors. Even our good long time friends neighbors we seem to have so little to do with it seems a shame. I really would welcome more sociability in the neighborhood but it seems we have so little spare time, or mainly more correctly, so little interest to have a lot of parties. Perhaps large families have less need as well as time for a lot of socializing. This is not to say this is the best arrangement or consequence. Well, life is more interesting with changes and challenges to keep us busy trying to solve them; even when we need a rest once in a while.

I have applied for a job-change here at Edison. There is an opening in the Buildings & Properties Dept. for an Engineering Supervisor. The job reports directly to the assistant Director of the Dept. and has a couple technicians working under the man. It is an A-15 which would be another 2 grade jump if I were to get it. It has to do with heating and air conditioning and alterations, etc. in the office buildings & W.S.C. mainly. I am enthused about the possibility. I think I am qualified, but I suppose so are a lot of people. So the chances may be slim but I pray for the best, God's will be done, and we shall wait & see.

So Long for Now,

147.  Dad

Monday [April 30; postmarked May 1, 1973]

Dear John

It has been quite a while since I have written, hasn't it. It was good you didn't come in this past week end, or rather Easter because the weather was rainy and not so nice. This past week end, though was pretty good here although I read that you had some rough weather on the coast which would have been bad enough to drive through I'll bet. I checked into the cost of renting a car from Budget Co. I figured that if 3 or 4 were coming all the way to Detroit area it would be cheaper than a bus or even flying, although I don't know if you have to be 21 or not. The cost would be about $200 round trip at the rate of $11 per day including total insurance coverage, and a fee of 9 cents per mile. It would be more complicated though to get 3 or 4 guys to agree on a schedule. Maybe flying wouldn't be that much more.

The latest news here is Lynn got her diploma from Marygrove today. She skipped the ceremonies at the college yesterday and stopped by today to pick it up. We did have a little party here, though, with our family plus grampa and Sr. Ann Louis. And Friday is Lynn' birthday, 24. She really is getting to do a lot of celebrating this spring.

And may I be one of the first to congratulate you on graduating from QM school. I hope you will have made it more than satisfactorily so that you will be given the best of assignments.

I got notified today by Employment that I do not qualify for that job I applied for because it calls for a mechanical engineer and I am an electrical. I called them and the guy in employment said that all the 14 applications would be sent to the requesting department anyway so maybe they will want me anyway, although then they might have to advertise the job over again making electrical eligible. So it seems slim that they would go to that trouble unless the other 13 were not anything to chose from.

Well, how's the sightseeing going? You probably won't have much more time down there to see the territory. I imagine it wouldn't be too bad in that area during the summer. Bill is leaving his job this weekend. I don't know what he is going to do all summer but I know he wants to go out West for a couple weeks. He may do that before the wedding.

Guess there isn't much more news so I'll close now. Let us know when you get word of any new assignment. Maybe we will see you first.

Camp A. P. Hill, Bowling Green, Virginia, (TDY - i.e. temporary duty) May 10--Sept. 1, 1973

149.  Dad

Friday Night [May 11; postmarked May 12, 1973]

Dear John,

I write this not knowing whether or not you might come in tonight or tomorrow. I suspect you won't, though, since we haven't heard from you in this regard. You should be having some news soon I imagine. If you have not heard by the time you read this the latest news here is that Lynn and Bob's wedding has been postponed. Lynn really hasn't determined that Bob is the one yet. She really doesn't know him as she should because he has for so long been living so far away. Therefore, she is going to move to Morristown a week from Sunday, May 20, so that she can see him often enough to become more aquatinted. Then after a while she should be able to know for sure whether she should marry Bob or perhaps marry Julie whom she has been seeing for a bit before he left for the east last week. He still is trying. So, all the plans are being dismantled and shall be put away for a while. Perhaps there could be a Fall wedding but don't ask me who.

Bill has left his job and has been taking it easy for a while. He has been out to Eastern and is planning to take an audition for a music course of some sort. I don't know the connection but I am sure he will fill you in when you meet again. Do you write anyone anymore? Do you get any mail yourself, aside from the family? We haven't had very much warm weather yet. A lot of rain this week. A river just north of here was raised so high by all the rain that you could [sic] see under it.

Hope you are having a good time now that you are a graduate ( I hope). See you soon?

158.  Dad

Sunday [May 20; postmarked May 21, 1973]

Dear John

It is late afternoon of a beautiful day. Your mother and I went out to Romeo where they had a series of six old homes on display. These were fine old homes all built in the middle 1800's and wonderfully restored by the latest owners. The town is full of these places and it was very interesting to go through the three we did see. There such lines at most of them we didn't have time to see them all.

We got your first letter from Camp Hill on Friday. Not too swift a service but the word was very welcome as we were becoming concerned that we hadn't heard from you in such a long time. I hope and trust that the place isn't as bad as you thought on first impression. It certainly is in the midst of historical and important vacation land and I presume you will get more freedom to get out and see the sights than even Ft. Lee. My friend at work is taking his family to Virginia Beach next week in their camper and will be staying overnight at Bowling Green. Hope you get to see Washington this summer.

Lynn left yesterday with Julie for Arlington Del. Julie starts to work at a Chemical Co. there as soon as he finds a place to live and she went with him to find a place nearby so that she can decide for once and for all if she should marry him, or maybe Bob. It looks from here, though, that poor old Bob is a distant 2nd and fading fast. But the way that she keeps changing her mind you really can't bet with too much certainty on what she will do next.

I am sorry you won't be here for the anniversary or for a furlough but I should think you might get a weekend or several free to come home if you wish and maybe they might give you more than that, what with them owing you some leave time from last year.

I hope the forwarded your mail, not that you got to much from here but there was some including the money order Mother sent. I renewed your Free Press subscription for 6 mos. Yesterday. You should resume receiving it in a week or 2. If you really do stay down there without getting home I wouldn't be too surprised if someone from here got down there for a visit. That would be one good way to get your guitar back although I don't know how soon it would be if at all.

Well, Mother wants to write tomorrow so I had better leave something for her to say.

160.  Mom and Dad

[Western Union Mailgram dated May 24, 1973]


165.  Dad

Sunday Evening [June 10; postmarked June 11, 1973]

Dear John,

It is a hot one, just about the hottest day of the year. We didn't have much spring. Just a lot of rain and then, plop, summer. But then, it could all be changed in a day or two.

This has been a real busy week for me. Relating it backwards. . . . I went for a spin in Bill's car with Mary Lou and the top down this aft. It started out for a 15 minute drive to see if the anti-leak stuff I put in would stop a rather big leak at the water pump. I thought it was a seal behind it. The stuff, Bars Leak, did the job fine, and the ride turned into a two hour venture out to Northville for a sip at the old artesian well, a stop in Plymouth for a pop, and a visit to the nature center in Hines Park. It was a perfect day for a ride in a convert. Although I probably won't get one.

Then last night we went to a surprise party at the Marge Healy house. It was for Sr. Barbara Mary. There was quite a large crowd of St. Norbertites there including our former pastor, Msgr. Horkan. Which reminds me. Fr. Boyce, whom you should remember, died this past week. It was heart. The crowd chipped in (ahead of time) and bought Sister a ticket (round trip, of course) to Florida. She has an aunt in Ft. Lauderdale. That plus spending money for all she has done for St. Norbert's especially the school.

Then, I spent the daylight portion painting the kitchen. I never thought I could do it al that fast but mother helped with the windows and I finished just in time for the big horse race. The inside of the cabinets were not done but that can be done any time. About 1 a.m. I had finished putting on a primer coat, having worked since after supper on Friday night. I had been patching it where needed at odd intervals over the previous couple weeks. But now it was coming down to the wire where I had to get the job done. You see, we are having a party here next Saturday night. Well Jim had to tell us because mother was planning on having one, too, and about to send out invitations. So the surprise party is no longer a surprise but we are both looking forward to it with more enthusiasm than ever. We think it is wonderful that our kids would throw a party in our honor, just because we stayed together for 25 years. Well, I know It's not just for that. We expect to see you here, of course. That reminds me of my parents 25th anniversary. They had a big party at home with all their friends an relatives and I was over seas in Saipan. So I saw the pictures. I hope you can make arrangements with Lynn to come back together. If not you could probably catch a plane. I hope she got word to you. She left the apartment (in case you haven't heard) and moved to Morristown N.J. Julie took over her apt. lease.. Maybe Bob will be bringing her back here although I thought she was to come in Friday. I will look up Wisnewski's address in case you need to get in touch with her.

I worked 3 late afternoons this week, only 1 1/2 hours each, but that helped to make the week fill up.

I wonder how your allergy is. I am on serum C now but it isn't preventing the symptoms from bothering me. I take a Contac occasionally when it gets bad. I got a late start on the program but I expect next year it shouldn't be bad at all if this thing really works like it has for Mike. You probably will have to start over. Giving the shots daily to yourself in the leg isn't bad. . It's a lot better than going to the clinic every day or two. After the C serum is gone (about 3 weeks) I will have to start on the heavier stuff with shots by a nurse at the G.C. Clinic, first weekly, then bi weekly, then monthly for a year or two.

The rain then the sun for the last 3 or 4 days has really made our place colorful what with the extra flowers we put in the garden a week ago. Looks real nice.

Guess I'll close now so see you Friday or Saturday be the good Lord willing. I remember you every day in my prayers so I am confidant everything will turn out all right for you as long as you have faith too.

With Love,

167.  Dad

Monday Night [June 25; postmarked June 26, 1973]

Dear John,

It has been a little over a week since the really big party and it seems so long ago. It was such an action-filled weekend that it will live in memories forever. Once again thanks a million for your part in the party and especially that immense gift which you all participated in. It really floored us and we will be eternally grateful that you were all so generous. And I was very glad that you were able to be here. It made the weekend perfect.

We had a real nice Tuesday. Bill thought the little ceremony at the anniversary Mass was very impressive. We went up to the alter step and renewed our marriage vows with Fr. Petitt. And then we went to the Dearborn Inn for breakfast. Eve Ann, Grampa, St. Ann Louis, and both the parish priests joined the family. Jim left his Pepsi truck in the parking lot as he joined us for breakfast. Then your mother and I finished up the day with dinner at the Fox and Hounds, the fancy place out in Bloomfield Hills. Fr. Petitt gave us a Metro Passbook coupon for the place which knocked about $6 off the bill.

Yesterday late afternoon several of us went to Cobo Hall for the Italian Festival for our supper but after walking through the crowded waterfront we decided to go to the restaurant instead. We didn't find a very good one but it wasn't a total loss.

The weather has been perfect here this past week. Of course, we waited long enough for it. Mom just left for bed and she says hello. Say goodnight, John. Did I tell you I have an interview appointment on July 11 for that job I applied for in Bldgs & Properties? 14 applied for it the last time and this time the requirements are a little more varied. I really don't know if I want the job but the interview on the 11th will let us both know a little more about each other.

Right now I have the typewriter in my lap in the living room while the Tiger-Red Sox game is on TV on Toledo's station. Bill is out in the wagon. He had more bad luck with his car. The water pump really is shot. It leaks water like a river. He was lucky it happened at Inkster and Avondale while on the way home from Allen Lumber in Redford where he is working a couple days per week while doing a couple at the Inkster yard, in addition.

That about sums it up for now. So long for a while.


169.  Dad

The Fourth of July

Dear John,

Fire crackers are popping around the neighborhood, mother is resting on the bed after a bout with her allergy which gave her a tussle when she mowed some of the back yard this afternoon in preparation of our picnic (nothing serious, just some blowing), Greg and Mike have left for Belleville Point for a dance which they are having this evening, and Bill has gone his way for some leisure and recreation after a good day's work at Willow Run. Yes he has a new job, just started yesterday. Mr. Polak hired him on as a summer help for Zantop Airlines to load and unload cargo planes. It's good pay and promises lots of overtime, like today at double time, and he can save up enough for school plus what he has already in just the 2 months left before school starts.

Jim and Linda still don't have a wedding date, waiting till she finds a hall I guess. He must be getting kind of disgusted. Seems the Berrezini's are the problem so far, like expanding the list so the hall they had was too small. Have you heard from Lynn? Being so close I thought you might have gotten together again. But I guess she has her problems, too. We talked to her today on the phone. She and Julie might tie the knot after all. That Bob must be really an understanding guy. She is still at his house, though.

I suppose you had the day off this holiday. What did you do? Where did you go? Did you see any of the tourist type sights around that part of the country yet? Speaking of going. Mother and I went to Pine Knob Monday night and saw the old Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, Helen O'Connell who was quite a good and good looking singer when I was your age, and the Mills Brothers who recorded songs in the late 1920's. And they still are very good. Ever hear them? You must have. In August we are going to Meadow Brook to see the old Glenn Miller Orch. I got tickets for Greg for the Carpenters and America, and for Mike for Chicago in August.

Well, your last summer in the service is well on its way through. And soon you will be getting a new assignment. After your reaction to every place you have been so far I have little hope that you will be very pleased at your next place. So I just hope you can make the best of it. If you do you won't believe how beneficial these experiences are for you. They can teach you fortitude which is the ability to stand up to tough things and under tough circumstances. This old life is no bed of roses any where along so the better a person can face it the happier and better off he will be. And it would be nigh impossible without Christ so don't you lose Him.

You should see Hayes's new 4000 miles LTD next door. Blue with a white top. Gets one to thinking. But still would like to get 100,000 on mine. It just turned 87 which leaves me about a year from my goal. It still runs good, though.

I don't suppose you have a camera with you. I wish you had more pictures of the places you have been. It would be nice for us to see and you would appreciate them later in life. You don't believe that do you?

Guess I'll close now. You really must be kept busy since we don't get too many letters. Incidentally we are leaving for L.A. Sept. 13, on to Hawaii on the 15th, back to Frisco the 23rd and home the 26th. Really looking forward to this trip.

so long,

172.  Dad

Friday [July 14; postmarked July 14, 1973]

Dear John,

It is hot & windy today. Of course, in the uncooled Service Bldg. I didn't notice it, even at my noon time walk, but it wasn't as hot then as now. It's 93 I think. But it will cool off tomorrow just as it did yesterday. It has been rather fine weather here lately. Funny, when I wrote my last letter and mailed it on the way to work, it was the very day we got your letter in the mail delivery.

It was rather different and I'm glad to see you have some interest and diversion now, what with the swimming and your new friend. I hope things are still going ok. They seem to change so fast for you. Same here, though. These wedding plans can't seem to get settled for Jim, and we haven't heard from Lynn for a while. Why not write her and maybe she would like a visit, or could come down. She is working now & Bob's company, but what has happened in the last week or 2 I don't know.

Your letter revealed how moved and emotional you can become so quickly. You must not feel the worst, rather be optimistic and not expect too much from a girl too soon. A man, any person I guess, can feel smitten with a person of the opposite sex and feel like he has never felt before. I realize this, I am not too old to remember the emotions of sudden falling in love with a girl. This is natural, but remember this, it doesn't always mean the feeling is the same from the other person, no matter what. They can feel for you in any of a variety of degrees and it is not your fault or credit nor is it theirs. It just seems to happen. Therefore, a close relationship may grow, or it may decline. But to be of any value it must be mutual. And to be very meaningful it must be lasting and this takes time. No couple weeks or couple months can really be a sure sign of lasting happiness.

Mother says hello. Said she wrote-Probably gave all the news.

Let's see . . . . cleaned the LTD plugs last nite, had my job interview Tuesday. Will be a miracle if I get #1 out of 20. Cartwrights are moving out, using a "U-Haul" van. Doing it themselves. Mike helped them yesterday. They can't get in their new place yet so they have to move twice. They are moving their stuff into a friend's place now.

I really got to get at the painting around here. The house needs painting, at least in part, on the outside, and also the garage door. Well, tomorrow is Saturday so maybe I'll get a start.

Our union people in the Construction Dept at Edison voted to go on 4, 10 hour days per week, for a 2 month trial period, I think. They may offer it to us but I think it would be optional, because I don't think I would want to do it myself. I have been getting some overtime in the last couple months and I have so far limited a daily stint to 9 1/2 hours. That isn't bad a couple times a week, and you get paid, but 10 hours a day, 7:15 to 6, 4 days in a row, no thanks. At least that is what I say now.

Guess there isn't much more now. But, please stay cool, keep your senses, don't overdue anything, keep the faith (you had in grade school), and don't underestimate the power of prayer.

With Love,

174.  Dad

Sunday [July 29; postmarked July 30, 1973]

Dear John,

It has been quite a while since I have written hasn't it. This does not mean that I don't think of you often because I do. In fact I think of you daily in my prayers asking God to watch over you and take care of you.

Our trip is settled now. We leave for Frisco Sept. 18. After 3 days there we go on to Hawaii for 7 days and nights (2 islands), and then back to Los Angeles for 2 nights, returning to Detroit on Sept. 30. I got a AAA book on those places and reading about the sights makes it sound so inviting that we are anxious to try it out. We may also take the kids on a little vacation the first part of August. Lynn wants to take Mary Lou on a plane trip so she may drive home with Julie and fly back with M.L. Then we would follow down with the car in a couple days and pick her up, at the same time visiting New York City for a day or two. Then return via Canada and visit Niagara Falls on the way. If we did that it would be nice if you could come up for the weekend visit, say in Morristown or wherever we may land. If there is any chance or interest why not write and see if we could set up a schedule. We probably leave on a Sat. or Sunday so Mike could work thru Sat. He has told them he wants a Mon. thru Fri. off. Our only limitation as to time is we must be back on August 10 to go to Meadowbrook for the Glenn Miller Show.

We got the station wagon full of repairs the last 2 weeks. Troubles always seem to come in threes. This meant new brakes new muffler and pipes, and new tie rod ends on the steering. It just turned 71,000 miles so I hope It's all set for a while, like until we want to get rid of it. It's a peppy little car, though, and I hope it can last a while.

Don't you have a chance to get pictures taken there. We would like to see some of the sights of the area and the places you go. It would be nice if we could come down there and visit. If it weren't for our big trip we probably would. Well, we can see what your next stop will be. Any word or rumor on where you go next?

I guess grampa is about set to move into an apartment in Farmington with the next week or two. He went out today to try to settle the matter.

Last night we went to the wedding of the Cartmill girl Denise. Did you know her? I work with her dad and I think she went to Cherry Hill. She teaches in Ohio now. We were at Shay's last Friday night. We heard the bad news that Ruthie Shay who had married a couple years ago just got a divorce. The guy who seemed so nice before turned out to be a bum who wouldn't work, played around with other women and even physically abused her. Now her life is ruined at 23. So more than ever we are concerned that Lynn doesn't marry somebody just because she is tired of trying to figure them out or because it seems the easy way out. I wonder if young people ever learn by other's example or experience.

No news on the job I applied for yet. As I said before I really don't care too much because in our department there promises to continue to be a lot of changes and this job I have is not bad and it pays well. The Company is continually searching for cost cutting and it may even get down to layoffs although I really don't expect to see this. It's a funny thing to think of this at Edison when the auto Companies like G.M. are going great guns and even hiring people.

It's a beautiful day here. The twins went to Cass lake and Bill is up at Higgins Lake with some friends for a couple days. Will be back tonight. He spent a night at Eastern on a get acquainted-orientation program they had Thurs. He starts school in a few weeks or at least before Labor day.

So long for now and do write unless you have done so the last day or two.


177.  Dad

Sunday Eve (Saturday) [September 9; postmarked September 10, 1973]

Dear John

I wonder how your first week back at Lee went [Ft. Lee]. I hope you have found smooth waters there. I suppose we shall be hearing soon the latest news even if it is only how things are going there. This weekend finds us in a very different weather situation from last week end. It is rather cool although not too cool for me, still shirtsleeve weather during the day.

Today was grampa's birthday and we had him and Sr. Ann Louis over for dinner. Tomorrow at noon we are going to a brunch at Eve Ann and Bill's new home in Farmington. I haven't seen it yet but it is really supposed to be fabulous. I'm anxious to see it. They are having a big crowd over between noon and 2 to show it off to their relatives.

I got your keys back which were found in the rear of Perk's station wagon. I presume you don't need either one of them now. Incidentally, the Perkovich family is moving to a home they bought at Mohawk and Cherry Hill, That's just this side of Telegraph in Dearborn. They have been moving this weekend except that a couple of the boys are going to live here at the old house until it is sold.

Gerry Perk had her car stolen Tuesday from the parking lot at 8th & Beech, a private lot. She works at Edison you know. Well, the next day the police found the car somewhere down on Fort St. near Dix. The trunk had been punched open, the spare tire had been stolen, the ignition all goofed up, and a tire flat. I don't think it had any more damage. She was lucky. It is being fixed up at some Ford dealer's. She just had it repainted and had a few pieces of trim still off. They must have taken hers because they knew how to start a Mustang.

I guess Lynn is planning to come home the day after we leave which is on the 18th of Sept. She will probably be here until we return from Hawaii. I changed your subscription address so you should not miss getting the Free Press. The sub. runs to November. For your sake I hope we can change it again soon, unless there is a change of heart at Lee. That's about all the news for now.

Love & prayers,

179.  Dad

Sat. Nite [September 15; postmarked September 16, 1973]

Dear John,

This is a cool and clear evening. The sun has yet to set and the day has been beautiful, as we are rather used to in this part of the country in the fall of the year. Fall really doesn't start until about the 21st but It's funny how after Labor Day the weather automatically starts to turn cool, at least in the evenings. It's my favorite time of the year.

When you read this we will probably be in Frisco, Tuesday, right? As I told someone at the office yesterday, if the trip is about half as good as the anticipation is it will be a great success. Lynn comes in Monday nite and we leave at 9 AM the next morn. Friday about noon we take off again for the Islands. . aloha . . I expect we will be sending cards out along the way so you can look for them. I have four rolls of 35mm for the Yashica and still am planning to get 8 rolls of movie film.

Tonight Mother and I are planning to drop in on the Las Vegas nite party at St. Norbert. If we don't win something at the wheels maybe we will win the trip to Las Vegas. Wouldn't that be a gasser? Maybe you will win it. I put your name on a few tickets.

Did I ask you if I got the right address for the Free Press? If you are getting it there it must be all right I suppose. I think I added Bowling Green; maybe not.

Quite a house the Dillons have. Beautiful family room with the peaked domed ceiling and massive stone fireplace. Looks like a lodge. Have a horse farm right behind their shallow back yard and the horses come right up to the edge of the fence. One even got into their yard, while the little Andrea, or someone, was out there. In the meantime houses on this street are just not moving. Miners moved without selling and if it doesn't go by Oct. he says he will rent it out. The Cartmills are supposed to move out soon into a new home and theirs isn't sold yet (on Stollman). Jim and Lucy next door took theirs off the market. First he isn't changing job location and second the interest rate on mortgages is so high those who can are waiting for a drop in the rates. I hope things stay alright here in this neighborhood so we can stay here if we want to. The place will be all paid up next summer.

Well, as the sun slowly settles in the west I shall sign off until say Tuesday or Wednesday when probably in the room at the Chancellor Hotel in San Francisco just a block off Union Square I will make out our first report of our journey.


European Tour: October, 1973--April, 1974

Hanau, Germany

Company A, 503 Supply & Transport Battalion

181.  Dad

Monday Morning

10/22 [1973]

Dear John,

We were happy to hear from you although saddened just a bit on account of your initial reaction to your new surroundings. I assume that that was a natural reaction and now that you are there a while you will be more acclimated to the strange newness and will have a more optimistic view point and outlook.

As you will have noticed I have included a copy of a map of a large area of Germany including one of 2 good ski areas in Austria, Innsbruck. Salzburg is just East of Innsbruck. Gary in our office had this book he got from the German Embassy here in Detroit and I copied a portion of the map. Gary was stationed 3 years ago at Ettlingen near Karlsruhe, just south of Frankfort. He says at least in the bigger towns or cities most of the people, at least the younger ones, speak English. And most good places to see are just few hours away, by car (rentals are easy) or by train. Another friend in the office, a young guy, vacationed there a few years (1971) ago and said the skiing is terrific at both those places I mentioned. It's nothing like we have here so if you go don't bite off more than you can chew. He went to the top and was afraid to take off, It's so terrific. So according to these sources you may have the opportunity of a lifetime while you are there. Paris about 8 hours away. So I hope the personnel are nice there, that you won't have any trouble with your job, and that you will enjoy your stay there. If I may offer just one word of advice in this letter-Don't be impatient for the things at home. You have a lifetime to look forward to here-get all you can out of your travels.

Mark said the price of the amp you mentioned is very good, comparably. One of the boys will be getting you the comparisons for all you listed. I hope if you send anything it will be well protected or insured. Incidentally, if you run into any good cookoo clocks that could be sent back I think one would be welcome here. I don't know if Mother has any particular desires but there is time for that later.

I am writing this on a picnic table along the river outside of Cobo Hall. I drove down on my lunch hour and I want to be able to get this in the mail yet this morning (It's 11:45 now). Tell me when did you receive it? Your letter of last Monday came in Saturday's mail-That's almost as good as Texas mail service.

Things are shaping up for Lynn' wedding just a week from Saturday (Nov 3). We will capture it on film for your inspection next spring. While they mostly could use money as gifts, perhaps you might find something unique that she would like for a wedding gift. If you do send her something from there you could send it to Bob's house at Morristown for that is where they will undoubtedly will live after the honeymoon until they can find an apartment.

It's nice and quiet here on the river. A fog that hid Windsor is slowly dissipating and the sun is starting to take the nip out of the cool air. It's supposed to go into the low 70's today although yesterday was beautiful, in the 60's. Went to Kensington Park. Was surprised at all the sail boats out there.

Well, I must be getting back. Let me know the delivery time of this letter, and also do you have a chapel there, Catholic Services available, a Catholic Chaplain? Is yours a big base? Get pictures (no rush-take your time).


185.  Dad

Sunday 10-28

Dear John

This is a rainy Sunday afternoon and really the first rain we have had for quite a while. It started last night, just in time for the big Homecoming dance of Cherryhill High. Actually it was not too bad because both Greg and Mike said they had a terrific time. I believe it was due mainly to the fact that they each had nice dates and that the group, about 14, went to the Vineyards Restaurant for a midnight dinner afterwards. They only had a 1/2 hour wait and they got real good service for delicious dinners.

Tonight Lynn gets in for her final week of single life. She has several presents to open when she arrives. But they will be starting life together on a shoestring as the saying goes. I hope they will be able to afford an apartment of their own soon but they are going to start out at Bob's folks place, which won't be an awfully different situation from before.

We got the last of our vacation slides back this week and they make a nice program. At least I enjoy them.

Your 2nd letter from Germany arrived yesterday and was quite interesting, particularly the part about delivering in the dark. I hope the places to which you make the deliveries have lights so that the contents and addresses can be confirmed. Also I would think that flashlights would be provided. Reminds me of the stay I had at the Air Base at Salt Lake City. We were awaiting orders for shipping out when I was included in a work detail taking a truckload of material to some other location up in the Wasatch Mountains. It was a nice warm sunny day when 3 or 4 of us piled into the back of the truck for the trip up. Well, it was after dark when we got there, but we unloaded and headed right back. I suppose we stopped to eat, I don't remember, but I do remember just about freezing in that truck. It got quite cold and I just had a tee shirt on (top). They should have warned us, but that's the army.

You should be relieved now about the Arab-Israel situation. I doubt that we will get involved with anything of any consequence. The U.N. seems to have been able to handle this very nicely, although it is only because the U.S. and Russia have deemed it in their best interest not to interfere militarily. As for Nixon, I am not quite sure. It is hard to be sure of what the papers say. He and the media don't get along very well and he could be right when he says they have lied and blown things out of proportion and stirred up the pot unnecessarily. Of course, he could be lying too, at least in part, so it boils down to having faith in our system in this country. This is difficult to do due to all the scandal and problems we have been having. But we know that we also have many honest and dedicated people in our government, our papers, TV and radio, as well as the ordinary folks, and these people will not let the crooks run the country down the drain. The problems being international are not easy to solve, therefore, the solutions are not going to be easy to determine and quick in coming.

I do hope you get to enjoy at least some of your stay in Europe, and also that you don't get to Asia or Africa, unless it is just a pleasure holiday.

The house is pretty well set for the Wedding Saturday. I worked yesterday on the basement which we expect to use for the overflow crowd. I took all the extra plywood, lumber, and even the ping pong [table] top out to the garage and I must say, it looks pretty good down there now, what with the new paint on the stair well and post. I hope to recover the pool table top this week. Which reminds me, I must go put another new tip on one of the cues.

They are rearranging our department's offices now and the Estimators will be further to the West of where we are now, sort of in the middle of the building's north end. You will enter one door over, I guess. I don't know why they are bothering because we are supposed to move to the G.O. Bldg. when that had been modernized; probably in a year or two. They have already started on that. And there is also a lot of rumors about changing the method of operation and the engineering dept. possibly partially merging. It isn't clear anyway or even firm.

Hope you are getting the Free Press in a reasonable time but the Stars & Stripes goes back to my day and I thought it was pretty good for information.

Guess I'll go so for now, so long.

P.S. Evening: Lynn got in. Said they found an Apt. 3rd floor just down the street from Bob's parent's house.

No P.F.C. yet? What is S. & T.? [Supply and Transport]

189.  Dad

Sunday, 10th

Dear John,

It is a cold and dreary winter-type Sunday afternoon. But it is a good one to stay at home and indoors and read, or write or watch the Lions on TV, playing at Minnesota, which is what I am doing now.

We got your Tuesday letter yesterday and that is very good service. You mentioned the classes you were taking and it seemed things are not going too badly there now. You haven't mentioned lately what you are doing for recreation so I presume you haven't been doing much out of the unusual like visiting historic old European scenes, traveling, skiing, or whatever. Have you gotten any leaves where you can get away for a weekend or more?

We got the wedding pictures back which Mike [shot] and they are plenty. We shall get some reprints and send them to you. The happy couple are at last report fixing up their apartment at 47 Western Ave. and will be, or have now, moving in soon. Bob's folks live across the street at 44, you know, where Lynn and Bob are presently living. We thought we would go there to see them and take some of their stuff which they left here, but I guess we won't go in the foreseeable future. I do have the long Thanksgiving weekend off, the new paid off day after Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, we got our new phone directories this past week and I see you are still listed at the Del Ray location just like you never left.

We will probably get something in the mail for you soon for Christmas because they say to sure of delivery by regular mail it should be sent by Nov. 11. Air Mail by Dec 10. These sound like very early dates, do they tell you about Christmas mailing? Anyway, is there anything in particular which you would like that you could suggest? Please comment in your next early letter. Also, how long has mail been taking in reaching you? Do you think it would be practical to send to you your guitar? Would it be safe to send, safe to keep there, and a problem to get back. Or could you get one there, say a used one, and then resell it before coming back? Let us know if we can be of help. The Free press subscription is up for renewal so I shall renew it for 3 more months and then monthly until you get out.

The energy shortage is really getting attention as being serious in the States. The early cold weather is causing people with oil heaters to be concerned, if not actually running short, so they are talking gasoline rationing in the Spring or adding a 35 or 40 cent a gal. Tax to discourage driving. Perhaps if they can settle the Arab-Egyptian thing the Arabs will release their oil and resume selling to the so called free nations who are supporting Israel. I think this is the cause of it all. There was a little shortage last year on the East coast so there isn't much room for losing sources of supply. The utilities like Edison who have recently converted to gas and oil generation are now especially hard hit to be able to supply the power which they should. Michigan and Edison are especially hurt because most of the oil Canada has stopped selling the U.S. was used in Michigan. So now conservation is the word and government is calling for reduced driving, eliminating Christmas decorating lighting. It's almost unbelievable how fast this situation has come about.

We went to St. Norbert's 300 club party last night and it was very nice, as usual. The Nephs say John is still apprenticing [as an Iron Worker], and still has class work ahead. I don't know what your other friends are up to, not having seen them since you left. Do you hear from any of them?

Not much else new now so til next time, so long, and keep those letters rolling.

192.  Dad

Sunday Evening [November 18; postmarked November 19, 1973]

Dear John,

As I write this we are siting in the living room watching the old pro, Mr. Music himself, Frank Sinatra. This is followed by Dinah Shore and her special. Real old timers night, eh? Do you get to see any TV? What movies do you have? Are you on a regular base with a P.X., theater and the things the American Bases have? How about a word picture of your area.

Thanksgiving this week and a 4 day weekend. If everything goes well I will spend it looking over, inspecting, and trying out the car I put a deposit on today. It's owned by a young couple in Farmington and he works for Ford Engineering and gets it through the company. Anyway, it is a '72 Ford LTD, 4 door, brown with darker brown vinyl top. It now has vinyl interior, all brown (carpet is cloth), AM radio & air conditioning. It doesn't have FM, or electric windows or seat like my '66 but it really is nice and the guy has 3 new tires, not even on the wheels yet, & the spare unused. The car has 23,400 miles on it. Bill says he would like the '66 LTD which is in pretty good shape considering the age and mileage, 92,000. It should have some good mileage left and Bill's car needs a new exhaust system, 2 new tires, and the driver's window doesn't work, so, he might buy the LTD & sell the Mustang.

We talked to Lynn & Bob on the phone tonight. They just moved into their apartment yesterday and now they can begin to settle down. She hasn't begun to look for a job yet, being too busy getting the place ready. I believe she said she heard from you. I think you said the same, too. I believe they will drive here around Christmas. Mark went to the Auto Show with Bill Fields, his C.C.D. teacher and a couple others in the class. It just started yesterday. Friday we are taking Mary Lou to Cobo Arena to see the Royal Lippizaners, the white horses trained for dancing or tricky riding. Cobo area is quite busy with a lot of different shows, one right after the other, including a couple of groups which I don't remember the name of but one I noticed is already sold out. We took Mary Lou to see Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Friday night. I liked it. It is a slow moving movie but it has wonderful photography of beautiful scenery and it is well done, with the music and the story woven in with the picture to make nice entertainment.

Well, there isn't much news around here so I'll close. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving Holiday, that they don't overcook your turkey, and that you are getting some enjoyment out of your tour in the "old country."

With Love,

195.  Dad

Sunday Evening [December 2; postmarked December 3, 1973]

Dear John,

I sit here to write you with a throbbing jaw. I apparently have a tooth problem which I went to see Dr. Becker about twice in the last month. Then it wasn't too bad and he couldn't find anything wrong. Well, there is something wrong and now somebody better find out what it is. I will attempt to see him again in the morning.

In the meantime we had a nice sunny day and tomorrow is supposed to get into the 50's while today was 40 degrees. No snow yet and probably there will be none this week, which is fine with me.

I have had the new car almost two weeks and it looks real good. I did clean the plugs yesterday and changed the points & condenser. Perhaps I can improve the 13.6 miles per gallon I got on the 1st half tank. The former owner said he got 12 in the city and 16 on the highway.

I painted a white 4" boarder along the edge of the driveway to cut down on the driving off the lawn while backing the cars down. It has been difficult to se the edge in the dark, especially when it has been wet. We shall see how it works.

Jim gave mother a couple tickets to see a benefit at Ford Auditorium Friday night. We both went and saw Robert Goulet and Joe Garagiola. M.C. was J. P. McCarthy. It was a very good (and loud) show. Garagiola is very funny and you know how well Bobby Gullet sings. Afterward we went across the street to the Gas Co. Bldg. And went up to the Top of the Flame for a couple drinks. We sat in the cocktail lounge, the area on the West or opposite side of the place from where we had lunch. It was very pretty sitting by the window looking out over the cities, the river, and the millions of lights.

They are cutting down on the Christmas decorative lighting due to the energy shortage but street lights and most store signs are still being lighted, although some stores and commercial places are reducing the number of lights and the length of time they leave them turned on. This was the first Sunday which the gas stations are asked to voluntarily close for the day. I didn't see any open in a ride to wonderland on Plymouth Road. The price went up at least at some stations yesterday and regular is now around 46 cents a gallon although Maverick at Inkster & Avondale closed Saturday at 42.9 cents.

I do wish I knew what you are and have been doing in your spare time. We haven't, as I write this, heard from you for over 3 weeks, I guess, and we can't help wondering why not. I am sure your mother gets worried when we don't hear for so long a time. You did say you would write once a week. We would appreciate if you would at least drop a line more frequently so we can be assured you are all right, that is, if you are all right. I was mentioning to your mother just the other day that even with the 2 or 3 letters you have written so far from Germany we don't have very much of a picture of what it is like where you are or around that part of the country, if you have seen much. So you see, there are some things to write about; even if they seem trivial to you they would be of interest to us.

I hope you get your Christmas box in time. I really suspect you will get it way ahead of time. Then you could wait to open it until Christmas if you like. There isn't much we can get under the circumstances so we can wait until you get out in the Spring before we really celebrate.

The twins this past week sent in their applications to Wayne U. and Michigan. Mike wants to go to U of M & Dearborn. Greg still wants to be a lawyer and he wants his first 4 years & Wayne. At least that is what he wants now.

Bill is planning his 2nd semester at Eastern to start in January. He's figuring on continuing his music specialization.

Will close for now. So long

In case the mail is especially slow, Merry Christmas, son.

198.  Dad

Dec 10


Dear John,

I hear that Bill got a letter from you today. We are relieved to hear that you are all right. It has been about a month since anyone here had heard and we were worrying. Merry Christmas, but then the mails haven't slowed up much I guess. Got some snow today. Not much but It's going down into the low teens tonight. Got our Christmas Tree yesterday out at the farm of my friend in Construction Dept at Edison across from Mt. Brighton. Took Eve Ann out with her kids and we had a nice time picking out 2 beauties.

The energy crunch has us turning down our thermostats (voluntarily) to about 70 degrees--So we wear sweaters more. Gas costs anywhere from 40.9 cents/gal to 48.9 cents/gal now. Goes up every week it seems.


205.  Dad

Christmas Morning [December 25, 1973]

Dear John,

I would share with you some of the feeling & spirit of this Christmas day. With you so far away you undoubtedly have had by now your own celebration of Christ's birthday, and with your own friends for this year anyway. When you finally read this the season will be fairly well just a memory but when you stop to think of it half of life's feeling is from memories of the past, and the other half from anticipation of the so uncertain future. If you are much like me you relish too little the "present" and miss the opportunities of "enjoying" what we have now. Well, maybe you aren't like that, but every once in a while I try to realize that now is where I am and slow down and try to enjoy it. So it is this A.M. at the dining room table with carols from the loudspeakers and members of the family each doing their thing this morning.

Greg eating breakfast. Mother splurged today and has cooked bacon & eggs. Mark has been drawing with his new charcoal pencil & sketchbook set. Mike has been trying on his new sweater set, Mary Lou fixing up her snoopy "stained glass" decals for her windows, Bill back to bed! He, Greg, & Mark went to midnight Mass. We shall go to 12:30 to enable Mother to get some preliminary cooking tasks done this morning.

Bob & Lynn are still asleep. The had a long drive in Saturday with a couple hours of driving on Pennsylvania snow covered highways. Mary Lou had flown down Thursday (and got sick on the plane. She used the bag which Mother had briefed her on) and of course came back in the Mustang. Bob had sold the MG but that Mustang still looks and drives very well.

Jim was over last night as we had our usual gift exchange and he will be back this afternoon for evening dinner. Grampa also will be here. Uncle Bud only goes to Uncle Cyril's today and Sr. Ann Louis will visit Grampa and subsequently us later in the week.

After 2 or 3 weeks of below freezing weather and 1 foot of snow on the ground it finally has gone over 32 degrees and perhaps some of the slippery stuff will melt away.

I think as I was checking the world weather a couple days ago it was 42 in Berlin. I wonder if your snow is still there although I suspect that even if you are farther south that the snow remains in the mountains all through the winter. From today's reports the winter resorts are well filled throughout Europe. I hope you have a chance to do some skiing. Your last letter describing your travels to the mountain cabin sounded exciting.

Your tour over there grows shorter & shorter. Are there any others expecting to leave as soon as you do. Do you have any plans for after, I believe you did say you would not ask for an early out. Do you think you will not be going to school? Of course, Edison is still in business and will be even more so in the future. The energy shortage, I believe, is going to make electricity production more in demand than ever before. We won't be converting to oil & gas like we had planned and there is plenty of coal. The government will just have to be more lenient on pollution standards for a while. I don't like the way the oil countries are flaunting their power. I can't see the rest of the world putting up with it too long. I just hope & pray there will be a peaceful solution to this latest in problems of man getting along with his fellow man. Of course, the whole solution is the real Christmas message story, of loving ones neighbor, his fellow man.

My old LTD sits in the yard without license plates or insurance. I haven't pushed selling it because Bill was going to buy it but he couldn't sell his readily and thinks he should keep it. I hesitate selling mine too fast because what with the twins graduating this spring and planning on purchasing late model cars and with you planing to be back even before then and possibly wanting to use a car, there might be a need for this car. I suppose you are planning on getting a car shortly after you get back but do you think you would want this '66 LTD, at least for a while. It seems in good condition. It starts right up as I try it out once or twice a week and run it up & down the driveway to warm it up. It lacks pep of course and engine might need encouragement until it gets heated up but the upholstery is still luxurious, the clock & air conditioner work, the windows & seat still operate, so there is still life in the old crate yet.

Let me know your thoughts on this car. I won't lose anything but little by keeping it in the yard for the winter. In fact with the cost of new (and I suppose, used) cars going up the value will drop little or nothing. I doubt I could get more than $400 now for it.

Well, I will close for now, hoping you are having a nice Christmas. It will probably be different from any you have had or will have.

God bless you,


209.  Dad

Sunday - Jan 6

Dear John,

I am at this moment waiting for the time to leave for St. Norbert School at which I am to resume teaching the 6thgrade C.C>D. class. We had 2 weeks off for the holidays and now we start in again for that long stretch into Spring. It seems long because January & February in Detroit area are the gloomiest months of the year. You might not agree if you like all the snow we have had on the ground (and in the air) since the end of November.

Bill sold his mustang to a young friend of Jim & Lucy Hayes. He is going back to school in St. Louis with it. (if he makes it). So Bill decided to buy the '66 LTD. He hopes to get a later model in the Spring, so old faithful will be around for a while yet.

I saw an article in the Sports Pages this A.M. about Ski Games in Garmiesch-Parten Kirchen and wondered if you got down to see them. I wonder if you have done any good skiing, too.

We went out with your aunts & uncles Dillon & Ambrose last night. Started with cocktails at Dillons and then dinner at Danny's Gin Mill in Farmington. Was real nice all around. We hope to do it again so that maybe each in turn will have it in their end of town say once a year. I think it is very important for families & relatives to be close. There is so much loneliness in the world due to people having nobody to really care for or be cared for. I hope our family can stay close. Not necessarily geographically although that would be preferable, but at least in thought & spirit.

It is now late in the afternoon as I finish this letter. They had the Red Wings game on TV today, NBC Network show, even though it was a home game. They won a high scoring, exciting game 9 to 7 as I remember. It's been a quiet day at home except for that dog across the street where Cartwrights used to live. Barks when anyone comes within view. Then the owners came home and that seems to quiet him. But they are away most of the time. The twins worked today as usual at Allen Lumber. Bill works at Forest City in the lumber dept. He works part time about 3 part days a week incl. Sat & Sun.

Saw the Nephs after Mass and they said their son John got a letter from you. Said he has been working 7 - 10 hour days a week lately. Lots of money but lots of time, too. Things are beginning to pile up at my office now so I may put in some overtime for a while at least, starting this week although I would want to limit it to 5 to 8 hours per week. They are having meetings tomorrow & Tuesday at Vivian Farms to try & settle what additional changes they want to make in our Dept. Michigan went on daylight Savings Time today along with most of the other states in an effort to conserve energy. Since Construction people are going to start & 8:30 for 4 weeks, then 8:00 for 2 then back to 7:30, with the stopping times pushed back proportionately. At least our Estimating section will remain on the 7:15 AM starting time, which suits me ok.

Well, dinner is about ready so I'll close for now.


Do you want us to send you your Income Tax Forms?

213.  Dad

Wed. [Jan. 16?, 1974, not dated, no envelope]

It has been a while hasn't it. Time does fly although while we had that terribly cold and sloppy weather I thought it would never end. But it did for a while and it has been fairly nice lately although there was so much snow around that it took a long time to melt and there are still some bits left from the piles that had accumulated. But tonight it will get into the teens again and maybe snow a little again.

Lynn called a couple nights ago and was very pleased to tell us of her new clock which they just received. It works beautifully she says and she loves it. I am sure she will be filling you in on the goings on in Morristown so I will continue with the latest in Metro Detroit. There isn't much you don't know about I am sure because I know a couple others in the family have written within the week. Mike has completed his plans to go to Florida during the Easter holiday. He really is excited. Going with Mike Said, if he doesn't back out on our Mike. He called and made reservations at the Holiday Inn at Daytona.

Bill is still at school and working about 3 evenings a week at Forest City. He has a little trouble with the old LTD. I think it is a bad connection on the battery cable. It won't start now. Outside of that it runs fairly well.

You can hardly tell there is a gas shortage any more. Not too much is said and there are stations open any day although they do get a bit scarce at night. The only bad thing about it now is the price, 45.9 cents at Maverick and very few others on up to 49.9 cents a gallon at many of the stations. That is for regular.

I enclose your tax blank. I believe you need one and if you do your mailing address for refunds or reference is here at 1387 according to what I read in the instructions. I presume you will get a refund. Right? You are supposed to add any interest or dividends, too. So mark this down, you got a receipt from J.N.K. Christian Credit Union for $31.08 for either interest on your savings or refund on a loan. I guess you had no loans in 1973. Anyway this is income and they have sent a copy of the dividend to the government so you should report it with your pay.

St. Norbert is starting the fund drive for redecorating the church on Sunday. The memorials all sold out before the drive actually started so it looks like it will be a success. They hope to begin right after the drive is over, probably by March. Should be about complete when you get home. I'll try and send you a brochure on it. Our family is pledging a memorial, one of the stained glass windows. The cost is $500. All the kids are going to contribute something toward it over the next 2 years so it will be truly a family memorial. You will be welcome to participate in this family venture when you rejoin us. I don't expect a lot from the kids, like maybe 5 cents a week from Mary Lou, but just enough to make them feel a part of it.

Well bewitching hour just rang so I better toddle off now but I won't let the writing go so long again. You too.


217.  Dad

Monday [January 28, 1974; no postmark]

Dear John,

I sent the night letter today from the office after Mother called and told me about your letter of the 23rd. What can I say now. I don't know at this moment know what has happened, what effect it will have, or when we will see you. If you have done something that will delay your release from the service is there something we can do to help. If there is anything you can do to prevent things from getting worse won't you please do it. For our sakes yes but for your sake especially. You can have a long and good life. You mustn't let a few people spoil it. Believe me there are mostly good people in this world. Many are victims of a mean minority but no one is perfect and while I myself get discouraged from time to time with the behavior of many of my fellow men, I can usually look around and see people who are friendly, who will help out the troubled, and who might only need a smile at themselves to turn on. So please don't do anything to spoil the days ahead when you can get back doing what you want to do.

Your 2 part letter we received a week ago seemed so nice, you seemed rather happy. You asked for a new Pogo book. You had laughed. What a shock 1 week brought. I pray, deeply, that things are not as bad as you intimated. I remember some of Jim's letters. He hated the service and the letters were very disturbing. But he came back and he seems better than ever. Really enjoying life. I looked at Hudson's today for a new Pogo. They don't carry it. I will try the "Little Professor" book store in Dearborn where I got the first one. I hope I can remember which one you have.

I worked till 7 tonight because a big snow storm came up and I didn't want to chance driving home at 4 o'clock. I tried to clean the car off but the windows got snowed over before I could get around the car once. It was about 32 degrees and the snow soft & big flakes. By 7 it was stopped and the salted roads were pretty clear of traffic. But til about 6 I could watch from the office window & see the traffic just creep along, on the freeway and Grand River.

It is supposed to warm up tomorrow.

Your local U.S. Congressman is William Ford. The U.S. Senators are Robert Griffin and Phillip Hart.

Gosh, we wish you were here safe at home. Please pray for help and guidance. God is no myth. He can and will help, if only you ask. If you try to go it alone you are bound to fail. Try it our way, please, at least until you are out. Anxiously awaiting word,


218.  Mom & Dad

Telegram, sent January 28, 1974, 2:00 PM, delivered 29th, to the Deutsche Bundespost, Hanau, Germany



full image 75 kb

219.  Dad

Sat. Feb [February 1, 1974]

Dear John:

At this writing we don't know any more of what's going on over there since our last letter to you, so we leave it to our imaginations as to what situation you are presently in. I hope you will be pleased with the enclosed Pogo book. They are such great sellers they are hard to find. I must remember which ones are bought. The last one, I believe, is "We Have Met the Enemy And They Is Us," right?

As far as I know you could be confined. I got the enclosed note about Bishop Walsh in the mail yesterday and thought you might find some encouragement in it. At least don't be offended or angry.

Also enclosed is the sketch of the promised redecorating at the church, part of it.

Jim said Article Fifteen could result in a fine or being jogged [?]. He seemed to think it is better than a court martial, but then we don't know the details.

Hope these will cheer you up. A new month now, 4 weeks to March-don't louse it up, ya' hear?

Nothing much new here since the last letter. Presume you get the Free Press. Yet we got more snow but today it doesn't look like the Groundhog will see his shadow, so Spring-where are you? Will write again soon, son.


222.  Dad

Tuesday Feb. 12

Dear John,

I write this about noon, on my lunch hour, in my office. I can look out the window and see snow and also sunshine, which is a rarity. It is supposed to climb into the 30's so maybe the sun will melt the snow again. We haven't seen much green this winter. It does plod on though and I hope it is passing for you well enough. I, or we, wonder what you are doing and where you are, or even if you are getting our letters. At this writing we haven't heard for a long time.

Tonight, even though it is Tuesday, we plan on going to the Calvin to see a nature type film. Mary Lou likes animal-type movies (as well as books, etc.) and I find them usually very interesting. There are so many rotten-sick-movies out that we don't go too often. We did see another Disney one lately, "Robin Hood." That was god. I would rather see a good, funny, even dumb movie, rather than these serious, violent, sex muddled films that they put out. Why people go see the "Exorcist" which shows such sickening stuff I will never know. People actually become sick while watching it, yet they flock to it. I just can't figure some people's idea of entertainment.

Mom & I had a nice dinner the other night at the Hilton Inn by the airport, just down the road from the Sheraton we took you to once. Reminds me of our lunch we had up on top of the Gas Co. Building. Seems like not too long ago, especially when [abrupt stop before turning to page 2!]

I look forward to the day (soon I hope) you will be heading our way. I find out from friends that time in the hoosgow doesn't count so I hope you are not confined like that so as to delay your return. Of course we can't know but we can imagine all sorts of things. That is why, if you are able, it would be a good idea to write frequently, even if you don't say much. We had you for 18 years and we want you back as good as when you left.

Bill still goes to Eastern, except for the time he skips. He doesn't seem to take it seriously enough. He dropped that nature course, I can't think of the name-you have a lab course & dissect insects, etc. But he enjoys the music courses and plays the piano and the guitar pretty good. He has seen a few long hair-type concerts lately, I guess, and he, (or his class) met with the members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last week when they were at Eastern for 3 days.

Lynn says gas is hard to get in New Jersey but we have no trouble except that it costs a lot now. Although Maverick at Avondale & Inkster Rd. has it for 48.9 for regular, most stations have it for 51.9 and up. Of course both the twins want to get cars when they graduate. AS you know, their insurance, especially Mike's with his one accident, will be high, even with this new kind Michigan requires now. Small cars are the thing now and large cars are hard to sell. We still don't know if gas rationing might come although now at the end of winter they will start making more gasoline and less fuel oil.

Well, I guess I better get back to work, so God be with you-

224.  Dad

Monday- [February 25; postmarked February 26, 1974]


Only 10 months from today is Christmas. May I be the first . . . .

Anyway, in 2 days Lent starts and in 6 1/2 weeks will be Easter. I wonder if you will be here by then. It should be warmer anyway. Our cold weather persists. Nobody got my message, Enough." I hope I appreciate the summer.

I also hope we don't have as bad a gasoline situation as Lynn says they have in New Jersey, or my co-worker Harold Powers says they have in Florida. Last week he got disgusted waiting in line for gas down there and sometimes getting only $2 worth. Here it still is easy to get but more stations seem to be closing down and most of them close in the evenings and on Sunday. And toward the end of the month many run out of gas entirely.

Now the good news. Last Friday the mortgage co. sent a letter notifying us our house is paid for in full. We now own it, completely, all by ourselves. Such a wonderful feeling. Of course, about 60% of the monthly payments have been going for taxes and insurance so this expense shall go on. But it sure is cheap rent in these days when apartments go for $150-$200 a month (and up).

I renewed your Free Press for 1 final month, March, maybe into the first week into April.

227.  Dad

Tuesday Evening [March 12; postmarked March 13, 1974]

Dear Lynn and Bob and John,

I am trying an experiment tonight. I am writing the same letter to each of you with the use of a carbon. The one who gets the original wouldn't know it if I didn't mention it but the one who gets the carbon might wonder. Most of what I write could be the latest news so why should either of you suffer by not hearing from me just because I wrote the other. Now you can both hear my cheerful words twice as often, maybe.

As you probably are experiencing your selves the weather is shaping up nicely into a prelude of Spring. The grass here is getting greener little by little and your dear father has gotten the bikes oiled up and takes a few evening cruises about the neighborhood. I even got the LTD oiled up today, changed various filters in it yesterday and really am ready to plunge into the Spring renaissance. Got my dining room captain's chair cleaned and re-varnished and it looks so good I think I will do all the chairs back there as well as the Danish chair in the living room that has looked so bad the last few years. We did get nice new cushions for it but the wood looked bad. As we may have mentioned we got our new bedroom set except for the chest of drawers (mine) which will take longer and it looks real nice. It is not too bad waiting for things. So many start out by thinking they have to have everything all at once but it is kind of nice to add things as you go along and have something to look forward to. And speaking of looking forward that should be approaching which we have all looked forward to for so long, eh John, and that is your return to civilian life. Right now you have been away for over 10% of your life but when you get my age it will be only 4%. I really honestly can say that each phase of my life has been interesting and enjoyable but I wouldn't want to return to any part of it but look forward in anticipation to an even more enjoyable future.

The gasoline situation has eased considerably after a few trying days at the end of February. I didn't really have trouble getting gas but saw a lot of lines and didn't do much traveling anyway. I hope it gets easier so we can drive to Morristown maybe in May for your birthday Lynn. Maybe we can work it into a little vacation with a swing down to Williamsburg or even up into Vermont. Nothing is being planned now but we love to think about things like that. I suppose you will have had enough of traveling John and will be ready to settle down among your friends for a while. Mom doesn't want to leave Mary Lou for very long, much more than a weekend, but school time would probably be a good time to go unless we took others. John, do you suppose you will have any time or way to stop in and see Lynn and Bob while you are in N.J. Perhaps they would discharge you right from there although I wouldn't be surprised if you might have to o to some base first.

Bill will be out of school within a month and then he wants to get a different full time job and get another car. The old LTD uses too much gas and is sluggish and not too stylish for the youthful generation. But it does run and it is overall better than the Mustang he got rid of. Too bad he didn't have the luck of your Mustang, Lynn. His was only a '67.

I saw that this carbon paper I used isn't so hot. Don't know why. Looked almost brand new. To not play favorites I'll send each of you one original. Now how original can you get. This is almost like a 3 way conversation.

Our church decorating is coming along nicely with the walls all plastered and the fabric or vinyl covering selected last Saturday. Your complaint about the light fixtures, Lynn, must have been heard. The drive for funds for this project was so successful that Father Petit wants to get some good fixtures now. Even the regular Sunday collections have gone up to near where they belong since this started so maybe this project was a good catalyst to weld our parish into a solid community more than ever before. I hope so.

Got the weather report which says temps in the low teens tonight and tomorrow night although the daytime temps will be in the 30s & 40s.

Well as I took off time to see Banacek on the TV it is now a bit past my usual weekday bed time so I better close for now, so with lots of love to you all, until the next time,


The Final Four Years of Emails from Lou Schneider
In honor and as a Memorial for my Dad