The Letters: from Dad p.2

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.


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