The Letters: from Dad, page 1 of 7

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,
Dad

[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.

Love,
Dad

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,
Dad



18.  Dad

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y

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.

Love,
Dad



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.
Dad

[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.

Love,
Dad

[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,
Dad

[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.
Dad

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.
Dad



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,

Love,
Dad



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.

Love,
Dad

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

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