I've read your letter and I've looked up those prices for your stereo system. Just in case you needed it I got a little more information on the other receivers and other Dual turn tables. I just couldn't find your CX88A speakers anywhere. But here's the info:
Receivers:Pioneer SX 727 - $349.95
Turn Tables:Dual 1929 - $225.00
Of course these are U.S. prices. You save about 65 dollars buying your stereo over there. Sorry about your speakers but if I find your speakers I'll tell Mom to get it in one of her letters, since I don't write too often. Mainly because there's nothing to write about. Everything over here is pretty dull. Nothing to do because practically all my friends have moved away. The best things to do are listening to Tull, Chicago, Led Zepplin & Beatle albums because there's nothing good playing on the radio. And watching T.V. & going on bike rides after school. School's a drag, we have this neurotic teacher who promises us (the class) home-work every day, and he keeps his promise.
Jim just told me the speakers you're buying are almost just like his except yours has one more tweeter and one more mid range. He paid $64 each. That doesn't help you much considering he paid less there than in the U.S.
This paragraph might sound slightly ironic. I bought new headphones. Well, first I had those D/C headphones, remember those. And then I bought those $52 Realistic Pro/s. Then I traded them in for those $83 Realistic HP 100 Electrostats. I thought they weren't worth $83 so I took those back and waited a week for their check to come back to me in the mail. Finally I bought new $44 Sennheiser 414 headphones. [I still have a pair of 414's, excellent headphones!] Those were good but like your Fisher headphones. They had little or no isolation. Dad complained about the "noise" so I took those back and bought $60 Koss Pro 4AA headphones just like yours and Bill's. I'm really satisfied with those.
Homecoming week is next week (Big Deal) that includes some weird days like grub-dress up day, a dance & a football game. Well I shall bore you no longer and take up your time. But remember these words "Hang loose brother."
Au revoir, a bientot
(Good bye, see you soon)Your Brother,
P.S. Please disregard the bottom drawings.
We were happy to hear from you although saddened just a bit on account of your initial reaction to your new surroundings. I assume that that was a natural reaction and now that you are there a while you will be more acclimated to the strange newness and will have a more optimistic view point and outlook.
As you will have noticed I have included a copy of a map of a large area of Germany including one of 2 good ski areas in Austria, Innsbruck. Salzburg is just East of Innsbruck. Gary in our office had this book he got from the German Embassy here in Detroit and I copied a portion of the map. Gary was stationed 3 years ago at Ettlingen near Karlsruhe, just south of Frankfort. He says at least in the bigger towns or cities most of the people, at least the younger ones, speak English. And most good places to see are just few hours away, by car (rentals are easy) or by train. Another friend in the office, a young guy, vacationed there a few years (1971) ago and said the skiing is terrific at both those places I mentioned. It's nothing like we have here so if you go don't bite off more than you can chew. He went to the top and was afraid to take off, it's so terrific. So according to these sources you may have the opportunity of a lifetime while you are there. Paris about 8 hours away. So I hope the personnel are nice there, that you won't have any trouble with your job, and that you will enjoy your stay there. If I may offer just one word of advice in this letter-Don't be impatient for the things at home. You have a lifetime to look forward to here-get all you can out of your travels.
Mark said the price of the amp you mentioned is very good, comparably. One of the boys will be getting you the comparisons for all you listed. I hope if you send anything it will be well protected or insured. Incidentally, if you run into any good cookoo clocks that could be sent back I think one would be welcome here. I don't know if Mother has any particular desires but there is time for that later.
I am writing this on a picnic table along the river outside of Cobo Hall. I drove down on my lunch hour and I want to be able to get this in the mail yet this morning (it's 11:45 now). Tell me when did you receive it? Your letter of last Monday came in Saturday's mail-that's almost as good as Texas mail service.
Things are shaping up for Lynn's wedding just a week from Saturday (Nov 3). We will capture it on film for your inspection next spring. While they mostly could use money as gifts, perhaps you might find something unique that she would like for a wedding gift. If you do send her something from there you could send it to Bob's house at Morristown for that is where they will undoubtedly will live after the honeymoon until they can find an apartment.
It's nice and quiet here on the river. A fog that hid Windsor is slowly dissipating and the sun is starting to take the nip out of the cool air. It's supposed to go into the low 70's today although yesterday was beautiful, in the 60's. Went to Kensington Park. Was surprised at all the sail boats out there.
Well, I must be getting back. Let me know the delivery time of this letter, and also do you have a chapel there, Catholic Services available, a Catholic Chaplain? Is yours a big base? Get pictures (no rush-take your time).Love,
Better take advantage of a lull in the day's activities to write this letter to you. This time next week the family should be all set for the wedding.
Now that you have had a few weeks more under your belt, I hope that the "old" country looks a bit more interesting to you. What you are calling old and antiquated most people call quaint and pay high prices to take tours over there.
You may be quiet but I have never known you to be completely anti social and when you find a buddy it may be easier to check out this new country. Get to know your money exchange so that you won't be overcharged in a shop or restaurant. That does happen to many G.I.'s in foreign cities.
I am waiting anxiously for your second letter and hoping for an improvement in outlook. Your letter took 5 days to arrive home. Not too bad, time wise.
Now about things here:
Lynn is flying in on Sunday. Bob couldn't sell the car (his) and he doesn't like to trust her Mustang on a long trip with her driving alone. So he'll be driving in on Friday. That night is the rehearsal. I guess he'll be using your bed. A bit unusual for the prospective groom to be staying at the bride's home but then, this whole affair has many unusual angles to it.
Bill bought a red jacket to wear with his red & blue slacks, so he is going to stand out like a beacon amid all the navy blues. Jim is going to rent a business suit and so is Greg if he can't find a pair of slacks to match his new jacket.
The house is just about ready. Your father painted the basement hallway and I washed and waxed everything in sight in the recreation part of the basement so that it can be used by guests.
This letter is turning into a book but I have probably left many things out too. I laughed at the picture Lynn told us of you changing into uniform in the parking lot and wearing your cowboy boots into camp! So glad, that dinner worked out. [Lynn & Bob drove me at night to the airport for my flight to Germany, and I had to change from my "civies" to my uniform--and had to do it in the parking lot!]I'll send some odds & ends of mail under separate cover and by all means will send pictures when we get them. Bye for now, Love,
184. Wedding invitation for the marriage of Paula Leyten and Michael McCahill
[Postmarked October 25, 1973]For Saturday, November 3rd 1973
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.
Wedding invitation for Lynn Schneider and Bob Wisnweski, November 3, 1973
[Postmarked October 30, 1973]
[This letter arrived in a Post Office envelope bearing the stamp "Damaged In Handling In the Postal Service" and the three sheets of paper were burned along the right edge and in a couple spots on the folds. Only a word or two was indecipherable in the letter itself due to damage. A postal date on the envelope states 19 NOV 1973.]
Thurs [November 1, 1973]
Dear Brother John:
Whutsa, whatsa happenin'? I can smell your sweet hash all the way over here. It's too bad you miss your guitar, but patience, the time will come faster than you think.
About school, I heard you might want to go to Eastern Mich so you can get an early out. Later on I can, if you want, send information about applying. But first, a few things: what about your job at Edison? In order to have both, you can take night school. But if you want to major in music, you (like me) need sufficient background to qualify. I figure at the pace I'm going, a few years should be good enough, but I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. Also, like you, I'm just going for guitar class. There are about 12 different classes that are required to take (science, English, etc.).
I'm going to quit piano, because both guitar & piano is getting difficult. Just by turning a page in the lesson books I have to practice twice as much for each instrument. Since I'm a bit more proficient at guitar (and it is getting more difficult; different strums reading strictly the music, as if you were blind, [burn mark] like it is suggested to keep your eyes on the music, not at your guitar and play fast.) I think I might want to teach it some day. Anyways, right now, Eastern hasn't much in music night classes. But I can check it out.
[drawing of Bill in handcuffs:] Sigh! My mug shot, for details, read on . . . .
That's right! (if you can tell.) I've been busted, for grass of course. Nobody knows except for Chris V. (he was with me) and Greg (I told him when he asked me for some dope).
I got caught by some of the strangest circumstances only television could reproduce. Here's what happened. Today is Thursday. It happened Monday night, the worst weather, rain/drizzle for about 2 days straight. That night Chris & I went up to S. Lyon to see the Gows. I had just previously bought a 3 fingered dime bag of the greatest, most potently devastating weed I had in years. Gows weren't home, so we cruised (I was driving) to Ann Arbor. My headlight was out, but no one pulled me over. After some time we got back to Garden City and stopped at Ferminio's pizza to indulge in some Italian munchies. If you can remember Ferminio's is on Ford & Harrison, across from Big Boys & Burger King. Just as our pizza was delivered to our table a guy our age comes in and asks us if we could, when we got done, help him move his car. It stalled on Ford Rd., across the street in front of Dance gas station. Well, the pizza was hot, so we decided to help him now. After we pushed it into the station, I ran back across to eat; Chris rapped with the dude for a minute and ran back. Now, the G.C. cops saw him run across into Ferminio's and waited for him. After we were thru, we came out and we saw two police cars parked near mine. The time was about 12:30 AM. Because my stinkin' lock on my side of the door, I have to unlock the passenger side first. After Chris and I went over to see what they wanted (if it was my car) we both went back to the mighty Mustang. The cops observed our unorthodox way of getting into a car and I was fumbling for my keys, still buzzing quite nicely. All of a sudden one car pulled up behind me and shinned his light inside. The thought never occurred to me that they would search me, for I thought they were going to ask some more questions. Just as we both got out they ordered us against the car. Well, they found the dope on me and away we went, to jail. You see, those gosh darned cops thought we were the guys who just busted into a house two blocks away, for we resembled the crooks. Anyway they let Chris go, for when we got to the station and after a few questions, they came to the conclusion that we weren't the thieves. But me, I had my picture taken, with my U of Hawaii T-Shirt, relieved of my possessions including my shoelaces (so I wouldn't kill myself) and threw me in solitary. It wasn't like a normal jail cell with bars and a soft cot. It had an iron door with tiny windows, the room was cinder block with cement floor and a one foot wide bench to lay down on. Next morning, a detective talked to me for a while and Chris came in. Chris knew practically every cop there (except, of course the two that busted us. They were novices). Well, I guess I handled myself alright, for he said I can go, free, 'cause I look like a nice kid (oh brother). All I got was a ticket for possession, a misdemeanor. I go to court 21 of November. I asked the jerk what might happen. He said I could be fined, or jailed, or both. Or I would be let free with nothing except a warning. But I know the judge. His son used to play ball with me during the summer on the team. I hope everything works out alright. Mom and dad know nothing, of course, & I hope they never will.Well, Mike is bothering me to drive him to the barbers for the wedding Saturday. Besides that incident Monday, nothing has changed. By the way, your records and headphones are safe under your bed. Gotta go. Toodle-oo
Nov. 4, 1973
My mind is full of wedding pictures today. The house is back to normal but it will take years to fade the memories of yesterday. We missed you! I am sure that you would have enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did. Greg thought that because there weren't going to be any people his age and no band and no dancing that it would be a bore and he said he probably would leave early. Well, he stayed until everyone left except for the Lynns and the Sheas and he had a good time too.
The day was lovely. Chilly after a week of rain and grey clouds but all blue and gold. Our grass is still green, our flowers still blooming, even some roses left!
Your sister looked beautiful and was very cool and calm holding your father's arm down the isle. You would have been so proud of Mary Lou who led the procession dressed in navy and white and carrying yellow flowers. She walked down that aisle as if it was the Miss America runway. Your brothers all had a special part to play--Jim was best man, Greg an usher, Bill did the reading up at the mike, Michael zipped all over the place taking pictures and Mark was Linda's escort up the aisle.
Bill (in his new red jacket with his red & blue slacks) and Greg in his navy blue took me up the aisle and boy, did I hold on tight to their arms! I was a little nervous.
Everyone loved the music and the way Mrs. Antiue sang and played it. Lynn & Bob wanted "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Now We've Just Begun," "Come Saturday Morning" and "A Time For Us," played while the guests were being seated. She also sang Schubert's "Ave Maria' when Lynn put on a bouquet on the Blessed Mother's alter. That's when I cried. I thought back over the years and wished that all those people who weren't there could share the day with us--you and her grandparents and Bob's family . . .
The party here was great! I took all the chairs out of the D.R. [dining room] except for the blue one so everyone could mill around & talk to one another. Which they did. The food was plentiful and good. It was demolished. Good drinks, too.
The basement looked good and people wandered down there (we had a second bar set up by the 'phone) played pool and listened to Mike's stereo.
Lynn and Bob received many nice things including money, the exact amount is unknown right now but it was so appreciated--it made a honeymoon to Newport possible.Jim--$100
I packed them a lunch to take along while they packed the Mustang--you wouldn't believe how they packed that! They left about seven o'clock and then I cried--not too bad for an emotional mother--right?
Bob promised to take good care of her, said I wouldn't believe how much he loved her! But I do believe him.
I want her to be so happy and put the past where it belongs--behind her.
And so another era begins. Hey, would you believe that I am a MOTHER-IN-LAW? Hope she writes to you and gives you her version. She had hoped to hear from you, I know.
Bill said to tell you that he is going to the Moody Blues this weekend and will tell you about that later.
Pictures should be ready in a week or so and I'll send some on to you then.
Keep well, I hope your mind is a little more relieved about that crisis now. [A Middle East Crisis] Mine is. Nixon did pull that off o.k.Much love,
It is a cold and dreary winter-type Sunday afternoon. But it is a good one to stay at home and indoors and read, or write or watch the Lions on TV, playing at Minnesota, which is what I am doing now.
We got your Tuesday letter yesterday and that is very good service. You mentioned the classes you were taking and it seemed things are not going too badly there now. You haven't mentioned lately what you are doing for recreation so I presume you haven't been doing much out of the unusual like visiting historic old European scenes, traveling, skiing, or whatever. Have you gotten any leaves where you can get away for a weekend or more?
We got the wedding pictures back which Mike [shot] and they are plenty. We shall get some reprints and send them to you. The happy couple are at last report fixing up their apartment at 47 Western Ave. and will be, or have now, moving in soon. Bob's folks live across the street at 44, you know, where Lynn and Bob are presently living. We thought we would go there to see them and take some of their stuff which they left here, but I guess we won't go in the foreseeable future. I do have the long Thanksgiving weekend off, the new paid off day after Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, we got our new phone directories this past week and I see you are still listed at the Del Ray location just like you never left.
We will probably get something in the mail for you soon for Christmas because they say to sure of delivery by regular mail it should be sent by Nov. 11. Air Mail by Dec 10. These sound like very early dates, do they tell you about Christmas mailing? Anyway, is there anything in particular which you would like that you could suggest? Please comment in your next early letter. Also, how long has mail been taking in reaching you? Do you think it would be practical to send to you your guitar? Would it be safe to send, safe to keep there, and a problem to get back. Or could you get one there, say a used one, and then resell it before coming back? Let us know if we can be of help. The Free Press subscription is up for renewal so I shall renew it for 3 more months and then monthly until you get out.
The energy shortage is really getting attention as being serious in the States. The early cold weather is causing people with oil heaters to be concerned, if not actually running short, so they are talking gasoline rationing in the Spring or adding a 35 or 40 cent a gal. Tax to discourage driving. Perhaps if they can settle the Arab-Egyptian thing the Arabs will release their oil and resume selling to the so called free nations who are supporting Israel. I think this is the cause of it all. There was a little shortage last year on the East coast so there isn't much room for losing sources of supply. The utilities like Edison who have recently converted to gas and oil generation are now especially hard hit to be able to supply the power which they should. Michigan and Edison are especially hurt because most of the oil Canada has stopped selling the U.S. was used in Michigan. So now conservation is the word and government is calling for reduced driving, eliminating Christmas decorating lighting. It's almost unbelievable how fast this situation has come about.
We went to St. Norbert's 300 club party last night and it was very nice, as usual. The Nephs say John is still apprenticing [as an Iron Worker], and still has class work ahead. I don't know what your other friends are up to, not having seen them since you left. Do you hear from any of them?Not much else new now so til next time, so long, and keep those letters rolling.
190. Mom[Postmarked November 15, 1973]
191. Mary Lou
Thurs. [postmarked November 17 or something 1973]
I thought you would want to know what's happening with Pepper. I'm going to watch the Waltons in about 10 minutes. Pepper got spayed last Tues. Its hard to concentrate with Bill playing his guitar. Well anyway we picked her up yesterday. She got to sleep with me. It's hard for her to lye down because her stitches hurt I guess.
Even though Lynn's wedding was a couple of weeks ago I'll have to tell you, I was sick when Father was giving his sermon. I wasn't sick from his sermon I was sick because it was so hot and all the excitement. Well that's at least part of it. Boy the thing that bothers me about Mr. Shea is that he always says everything is "cool!" Mrs. Shea was kind of high like. I guess she got a little too much to drink.
I watched the Waltons last night and it went till about 10:00 so I couldn't finish this letter.
I was wondering. Does Germany have a fuel shortage, too? If not you're lucky you're in Germany during the winter.
Our class made our first paper today. It had a news page, a sports page, an entertainment page, and a story page. We sell it for 3 cents. Bye for now.Yours Truly (and all that jazz)
Sunday Evening [November 18; postmarked November 19, 1973]
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,
Thanksgiving Day [November 22, 1973]
Our turkey is turning golden brown in the oven. The pumpkin pie is baked. The biscuits are ready to be popped into the oven at the last minute and the Schneiders are almost ready to devour untold caloric delights once more.
We miss you and Lynn this year. We are just family this year. Grampa and Uncle Bud and Sister Ann Louis are eating at Eve Ann's this year. Last year Bob was here and he and Lynn took Mary Lou down to the parade. My, the changes that have occurred this year!
Did your father mention his "new" car to you? It is pretty-an elegant brown with darker brown vinyl roof. I haven't driven it yet. So now we have an exceedingly used (94,000 miles) L.T.D. to get rid of.
Pepper has had her stitches removed and is back to her old frisky self, again. Now Mary Lou can get the cut rate on her license because she has been spayed. Did anyone mention the new glasses in the family? Mary Lou got hers-at her own request for an eye exam. She has very bad vision and is reluctant to wear the glasses even though she sees much better. She picked out gold rimmed hexagon shaped-not too bad looking.
Bill also found out that he needed them so he started wearing his new ones this week. Which makes me wonder about your eyes. Have they been tested recently? Bill said his army eye exam didn't mention his need for any. Mark is worried about the possibility of his wearing them and perhaps keeping him out of the "Blue Angels."
Can you believe that the Army has been sending recruiting literature to the twins lately? They file them in the circular file immediately! Graduation and register for the draft will be upon them before I know it. Hey, you'll be home for their graduation, won't you? Wonderful!
Lynn couldn't make it home today but they are promising to come back for Christmas. She has been (both of them, in fact) working so hard on their apartment and seems a bit discouraged at the results. She hasn't had time to look for a job to ease the financial strain they seem to be having.
Our snaps should be back early next week and I'll send them to you right away. Lynn was quite happy with them, thank goodness.
Loved your last letter. Try it again soon.Much love from all of us.
Wed. Nov. 28
Well, here they are--10 views of our wedding! I just picked them up yesterday. We have more, of course, for you to see when you get home but these will give you some of the highlights. Mike ran out of film so we asked Bud to take some of the cake cutting. I haven't seen those yet, and I think that your dad has some in his camera yet.
Yesterday I sent out a Christmas box to you. I sent it Air Mail so let me know how long it took to reach you, will you please? Don't get all excited when you see the size of it. More a remembrance from home than anything gift wise. If I knew your needs over there I could have done more but you never answered my questions as to what you wanted. Come to think of it, you are long overdue to write us. We know so little of what you are doing or seeing over there. Saw a glimpse of Frankfort the other day on the noon news show when they were discussing the gasoline crisis. Gas at $1.49 a gal.!
Our is up to .42--.48 per gallon for regular-premium. If no one is allowed to drive on Sunday over there it would hamper your weekend passes, wouldn't it? You do get them though, don't you? If your Free Press is arriving you know that we can't buy gas from 9pm on Sat. till 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.
Lynn said that she was planning on coming home for Christmas. I do hope this new crisis won't hamper her chances.
Talked to Mr. Perkovich yesterday (as he put in $30.00 worth of new tubes in our set) and he tells me that Danny will be home on leave on the 29th of December so they are going to wait for him before they celebrate the holidays.
Wish you could be here. Of course, the only consolation is in knowing that when you do come home, it will be for keeps. That thought must warm you, right?
Must close now. I want to get a note out to Lynn today too. Write soon and tell me how you like the snaps-come to think . . . . write and tell me anything!!Much love,
Sunday Evening [December 2; postmarked December 3, 1973]
I sit here to write you with a throbbing jaw. I apparently have a tooth problem which I went to see Dr. Becker about twice in the last month. Then it wasn't too bad and he couldn't find anything wrong. Well, there is something wrong and now somebody better find out what it is. I will attempt to see him again in the morning.
In the meantime we had a nice sunny day and tomorrow is supposed to get into the 50's while today was 40 degrees. No snow yet and probably there will be none this week, which is fine with me.
I have had the new car almost two weeks and it looks real good. I did clean the plugs yesterday and changed the points & condenser. Perhaps I can improve the 13.6 miles per gallon I got on the 1st half tank. The former owner said he got 12 in the city and 16 on the highway.
I painted a white 4" boarder along the edge of the driveway to cut down on the driving off the lawn while backing the cars down. It has been difficult to see the edge in the dark, especially when it has been wet. We shall see how it works.
Jim gave mother a couple tickets to see a benefit at Ford Auditorium Friday night. We both went and saw Robert Goulet and Joe Garagila. M.C. was J. P. McCarthy. It was a very good (and loud) show. Garagiola is very funny and you know how well Bobby Gullet sings. Afterward we went across the street to the Gas Co. Bldg. And went up to the Top of the Flame for a couple drinks. We sat in the cocktail lounge, the area on the West or opposite side of the place from where we had lunch. It was very pretty sitting by the window looking out over the cities, the river, and the millions of lights.
They are cutting down on the Christmas decorative lighting due to the energy shortage but street lights and most store signs are still being lighted, although some stores and commercial places are reducing the number of lights and the length of time they leave them turned on. This was the first Sunday which the gas stations are asked to voluntarily close for the day. I didn't see any open in a ride to wonderland on Plymouth Road. The price went up at least at some stations yesterday and regular is now around 46 cents a gallon although Maverick at Inkster & Avondale closed Saturday at 42.9 cents.
I do wish I knew what you are and have been doing in your spare time. We haven't, as I write this, heard from you for over 3 weeks, I guess, and we can't help wondering why not. I am sure your mother gets worried when we don't hear for so long a time. You did say you would write once a week. We would appreciate if you would at least drop a line more frequently so we can be assured you are all right, that is, if you are all right. I was mentioning to your mother just the other day that even with the 2 or 3 letters you have written so far from Germany we don't have very much of a picture of what it is like where you are or around that part of the country, if you have seen much. So you see, there are some things to write about; even if they seem trivial to you they would be of interest to us.
I hope you get your Christmas box in time. I really suspect you will get it way ahead of time. Then you could wait to open it until Christmas if you like. There isn't much we can get under the circumstances so we can wait until you get out in the Spring before we really celebrate.
The twins this past week sent in their applications to Wayne U. and Michigan. Mike wants to go to U of M @ Dearborn. Greg still wants to be a lawyer and he wants his first 4 years @ Wayne. At least that is what he wants now.
Bill is planning his 2nd semester at Eastern to start in January. He's figuring on continuing his music specialization.Will close for now. So long
In case the mail is especially slow, Merry Christmas, son.
Where are you and how are you?? Another week has gone by and still no word--4 weeks is a long time to go without writing--Trouble, perhaps? I keep wondering--did you receive the pictures and what are your thoughts about them. Did you receive your box and did it make you smile? I know that this is a bad season coming up for you. You'll miss not being here and we will miss not having you but this will be the last time. I hope that you'll keep your balance--all things considered.
I remember your plans for sending stereo equipment home. Also building up your credit union balance from your paycheck. What happened to those plans? See? So many questions.
Jim has taken on another job--working at Hughes-Hatchers part time--to help pay for his new car, I guess. Although he won't get it for about a week. His Cougar has no brakes so it is parked in the yard and he has borrowed our old L.T.D. rather than put money in a brake job.
Your dad just came in from the dentist--a root canal job so I guess he'll be sipping dinner through a straw while his tooth drains.
It looks like Spring here. Our grass wasn't this green last August. Which reminds me of another question! I keep sending your Ski magazine out to you every few weeks or so. Do you get them?
Come on now . . . sit down and erase my concern about you by sending us a letter. Pretty please?Much love,
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.Love
Christmas Card [postmarked December 12, 1973]
200. Uncle Bud
Christmas Card [no date or postmark]
201. Mary Lou
We are having a snow storm. The snow is about 4 or 5 inches deep. It took dad 1 hour and 1/2 to get from Southfield and Michigan to Brady. Boy a big limb fell off our tree into the Harrison's driveway. The boys had to cut it off. Then we had drag the smaller branches across the street.
I'm in a Christmas pageant at school. I'm an angel. Its tomorrow and I never had any practice. It is Fri and Sat. I can't wait.
We got a Christmas tree last Sunday. Mom and Dad and Mark cut it down. It is really pretty.
Mike took some pictures and I'll enclose a picture of Pepper. I thought you would want one.
It's almost time for the Waltons and the dishes aren't even done we have to do it in 10 minutes if mom would start.
How come you aren't writing us? Maybe you're too busy to write like me.Love,
Hadn't a buzz in a while, but I haven't quit. Bill Dillon is representing me in court Jan 7. He told me I might get off on probation for a year, then go back (if I keep clean) and my record is erased. He also thinks they searched me illegally, but a law just passed yesterday dammit, giving all the stinking cops the "right" to search any person for anything even if the offense was so minor a traffic ticket would be sufficient. But I'm not worried, since I have no previous record, but the judge is a bastard, crew-cut type holy roller. Yes, mother/dad know. Mom was very upset when I first told her, but she's over it. She now just worries a bit.
Goes to show what a screwy government this is. One of the worst a man can think of. But, the only good thing about it is it is 20 times better than any other contrived today. Enough speeches.
Now for the bright side of me life. Moody Blues were beyond outstanding. They put on one hell of a show, did 4 cuts from my favorite, "Children's etc., etc.", and a couple from every other album. Lead guitarist Justin Hayward is the genius of the group, behind him Pinder, the mellotron artiste', in my opinion. After my excitement died down, I went to see ELP. (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) They were also beyond description, playing all of their new album "Brain Salad Surgery" (which I bought along with "Quadrophenia"). They also did "Take A Pebble", y'know, the one with amazing piano solos. Emerson is one hell of a pianist/organist composer.
No, I didn't see Who, but a friend of mine, damn him, was 3 rows back from the stage, in the middle. He said they were one of the best groups he's seen this decade. I saw all the groups I wanted to see this year (Tull, ELP, Moody Blues, Wishbone Ash) except for Zeppelin.
Sky is overcast now, sleeting, snowing, raining at the moment. I'm out of school, except for a piano exam I have to take Friday, tomorrow. My guitar class has been over for 2 weeks now; I finally got my major official-Music of course. I have my classes all set for next semester (Jan-April). Since I am now majoring in music instead of minoring, I have guitar once a week for an hour, instead of once every 2 weeks for 1/2 hour. I'm learning quite a bit, a lot of new techniques. There was so much I was doing wrong before I started, so I think I'm really benefiting from it. Piano is handy to know, too. I'll be getting a B+, probably and A if I get an A on my exam. I have a "B" in guitar class, "B" in speech, and either a "C" or "D" in lit class. Man, I hated that class. One hour and fifteen minutes of nothing but taking notes on books we have to read. The books are good, but I hate note-taking. It's the only class I had to do it.. The reason I've done poorly is due to the fact I failed badly on one exam. Shoot, I didn't even read the book the exam was about. Oh, well; my average at least will be raised a bit.
I'm reading a good book "Stranger in a Strange Land." Science Fiction at it's best. Mom is worried that you didn't write for a while. She thought you were busted, but Dad and I tried to convince her otherwise, but it didn't help much. Now I got your letter couple days ago and it eased her mind. Sorry I didn't send you a present. If I found the shirt before Mom mailed the packages, you would be wearing a lime-colored long sleeve shirt with a portrait of the dude on Tull's "Aqualung" album with the title "Aqualung" on the front. Looks nice on me, though. Sorry.
Well, signing off now. I'm gonna see if I can score on some dope tonight. Write.See you in April,
Christmas Card [postmarked December 14, 1973]
We all miss you so much, & even more on this holiday. Hope you will be able to keep some Christmas spirit while you're so far away. Please write me, ok?Love,
Tues. 18th [December 18, 1973]
Your letter arrived today, and we all were slightly amazed at all the detail you had in it. Usually, you don't seem to feel like expressing yourself too much in detail, so I imagine your spirits are pretty high, considering where you are spending the holiday this year.
Let me tell you some of the things that have been happening around here lately. For me, it's college-hunting time, and I've set my sights on the University of Michigan, either Dearborn campus or Ann Arbor. Because of costs and fuel shortage, it'll probably be Dearborn. I sent my application in a couple weeks ago and I know I'll be accepted at Dearborn. I'll probably be put on a waiting list at Ann Arbor, however. My field of study will be Business Administration. My interests lie there probably because of my background at Allen Lumber.
Speaking of Allen, Bill just quit there and got a job at Forest City, just north of Westland Shopping Center. I hope he settles down just a bit. He's having a difficulty selling his car, and Dad is eager to sell the old LTD.
Speaking of cars, I can hardly wait until I graduate, so I can buy a car. Having been through it all, you know how exciting looking for a car can be! I'll be looking for one in the $1200-1990 range.
Changing the subject slightly, I imagine you're missing the chicks here in the States a bit. Right here, I'm trying to "land" someone I can start a relationship with and have a good time with. As you probably know, I'm not the "quickie" type; you know what I mean. I feel I'm missing something if I don't get a girlfriend. There is this one girl I really like; with good looks and a helluva personality. I really enjoy being around her. Too bad she's going with someone else, who is a friend of mine, too. She told me tonight at the Christmas Concert at school, that she probably'll have to move to Pittsburgh after graduation next June. That's kind of a shocker, especially to her and her boyfriend!
I've been having some fun times lately with my friends at school. I really hope they don't stop after next June. I hope to see a lot of my old friends during the college years, but we don't always get what we want, do we? I don't know about you, but I value friendship higher than anything else in the whole world. Last Friday and Saturday night, a bunch of us went tobogganing at Garbage Hill in Edward Hines. What a blast!
Being class president has it's good points and it's bad points. The good points are the glory that goes with the position, and the bad points are the responsibilities. I'm expected to go around chasing down seniors who haven't put down any deposit on their announcement orders. That's a bunch of baloney. No way am I going to do that! If they want announcements, they'll see to it themselves that they get their money in on time!
Our senior trip is planned for 4 days and 3 nights, starting June 3rd, at a dude ranch in Gaylord Mich. Horseback riding, water-skiing, hayrides, card games, swimming, dances, 3 full sit down meals; it really sounds like fun doesn't it!? Even though I'll be 18, we still won't be allowed to drink while up there. A hitch, in otherwise beautiful plans!
I am on the yearbook staff at Cherry Hill, and I think this year's yearbook will be the best ever, for years to come. Color for the first time, and other new techniques used never before in the past. You'd be most interested in the foxes of our class, and there are some great ones!
Everyone around here is doing well. Mary Lou is flying to New Jersey on the Thursday before Christmas. She'll come back with Lynn and Bob on Saturday. Only 7 more days 'till X-mas! Although, you will probably read this letter after the 25th. So this is where I'll close for now. Hope you have a blessed and fun holiday season. R-day (release day) won't be too long!Sincerely,
Christmas Morning [December 25, 1973]
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 less you,Love,
206. Mary Lou
[For Christmas of 1973 Mary Lou copied the 1973 Mad Magazine Christmas Poem. No date or postmark.]
Here is Mad's 1973 Christmas Poem
As Christmas roll around again
And New Year's Eve is nigh,
We offer up this roundelay
To those we glorify;
Because we've got a Vietnam peace,
Bob Hope's announced his trips will cease;
In hopes he'll entertain some more.
We're giving him a brand new war;
We've picked a gift to show we're fond
Of Roger Moore, the new James Bond--
The next 12 months he's getting free
Instructions from Sean Connery;
And lets remember Johnny Cash
Whose every record is a smash--
We're sending him this holiday
A year supply of nasal spray;
A book for Paar sits in our stack,
Called "How to Quit--And Not Come Back."
We've left out many folks we fear,
Like Ringo Starr, and Germaine Greer,
Kareem Jabbar and Al Pacino,
Billy Graham and Lee Travino,
Spiro Agnew, Robert Young,
The Prince of Whales and Moa-tse-tung,
John Chancellor and Monty Hall,
The Boston Pops and Lucille Ball,
John Wayne, Bill Cosby, Howard Hughes,
And countless others in the news;
To those we skipped, be of good cheer--
We'll get to you another year.
Pretty Good, wasn't it? I left out a couple verses though.
207. Uncle Bud
Christmas Card [No postmark or date.]
Dec. 29, 1973
Here we are right in the middle of our holiday. I can't believe it was a whole week ago that we were putting up our tree and waiting for Lynn, Bob, and Mary Lou to come in from Morristown. Mary Lou flew in the previous Thursday, spent a day shopping and making cookies (the same kind she made for you). It was a rough flight for her--she was deathly sick on the plane and at Lynn's place that night. She said, "Never again!" will she fly alone.
Anyway, it was a nice Christmas. Poor Bob--he had to spend an evening watching slides of Hawaii and old movies of you kids. They haven't received your gift as yet--I asked--didn't tell them what it was. [It was a German coo-coo clock. Same as I gave Bo & Paula for their wedding present.]
Jim drops in every day for lunch. He has been making plans for a week's vacation. Maybe the Bahamas. Boy, would I like that right now. Certainly hope that we don't get 11 more inches. Mark loves it, of course, because he has been using Lynn's skis on our front hill. You'll have company when you come home and want to go skiing.
The dog jumps around it like a jack rabbit and chases the kids and the sleds down the hill across the street. They are both out in it now, making tracks in the fresh cover.
I have been delighted with your recent letters. Glad that you are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! These last few months will go by before you know it. Happy days! This coming year has much brighter promise, doesn't it?
Hope Bill has the same bright promise. I'll know after Jan. 7. That's his next court date and I know you can imagine how he feels. I guess, though, that you knew about his trouble before I did. He is looking forward to his second semester. Got good marks--A in piano, B in guitar. Say a prayer for him, o.k.?
Well, my blessings on you for this New Year, as always.Love and prayers
Sunday - Jan 6
I am at this moment waiting for the time to leave for St. Norbert School at which I am to resume teaching the 6th grade C.C.D. class. We had 2 weeks off for the holidays and now we start in again for that long stretch into Spring. It seems long because January & February in Detroit area are the gloomiest months of the year. You might not agree if you like all the snow we have had on the ground (and in the air) since the end of November.
Bill sold his mustang to a young friend of Jim & Lucy Hayes. He is going back to school in St. Louis with it. (if he makes it). So Bill decided to buy the '66 LTD. He hopes to get a later model in the Spring, so old faithful will be around for a while yet.
I saw an article in the Sports Pages this A.M. about Ski Games in Garmiesch-Parten Kirchen and wondered if you got down to see them. I wonder if you have done any good skiing, too.
We went out with your aunts & uncles Dillon & Ambrose last night. Started with cocktails at Dillons and then dinner at Danny's Gin Mill in Farmington. Was real nice all around. We hope to do it again so that maybe each in turn will have it in their end of town say once a year. I think it is very important for families & relatives to be close. There is so much loneliness in the world due to people having nobody to really care for or be cared for. I hope our family can stay close. Not necessarily geographically although that would be preferable, but at least in thought & spirit.
It is now late in the afternoon as I finish this letter. They had the Red Wings game on TV today, NBC Network show, even though it was a home game. They won a high scoring, exciting game 9 to 7 as I remember. It's been a quiet day at home except for that dog across the street where Cartwrights used to live. Barks when anyone comes within view. Then the owners came home and that seems to quiet him. But they are away most of the time. The twins worked today as usual at Allen Lumber. Bill works at Forest City in the lumber dept. He works part time about 3 part days a week incl. Sat & Sun.
Saw the Nephs after Mass and they said their son John got a letter from you. Said he has been working 7 - 10 hour days a week lately. Lots of money but lots of time, too. Things are beginning to pile up at my office now so I may put in some overtime for a while at least, starting this week although I would want to limit it to 5 to 8 hours per week. They are having meetings tomorrow & Tuesday at Vivian Farms to try & settle what additional changes they want to make in our Dept. Michigan went on daylight Savings Time today along with most of the other states in an effort to conserve energy. Since Construction people are going to start @ 8:30 for 4 weeks, then 8:00 for 2 then back to 7:30, with the stopping times pushed back proportionately. At least our Estimating section will remain on the 7:15 AM starting time, which suits me ok.
Well, dinner is about ready so I'll close for now.Love,
Do you want us to send you your Income Tax Forms?
Jan, 11, 1974
Happy New Year! Did you ring out the old with much jubilation? Your dad and I spent our usual quiet evening. Greg and Mike went out to a friend's house but Bill stayed home. Believe it or not.
I asked him to write to you and tell of the outcome of the trial. Don't know whether he did but anyway . . . Because of his age and this being a first offence, Judge Hammer put on a year's probation, under what he called "home rule" and told him to pay the court $100.00 in $10.00 installments. He is not to "smoke," of course, no drinking and stay away from people (friends, I guess) who do. If he keeps his record clean for a year, this offense will be wiped off. If he gets in trouble it means jail. He said that he is warning all his friends about Garden City but I really hope that this is the end of his problem. That weed has been nothing but trouble around here for the past year and I hope 1974 sees the end of it. As with yours, I was quite nervous and so was he, and as with your results, I am extremely grateful that he has this second chance, too. Hope neither of you men blow it!
Jim is supposed to leave for Nassau tonight for eight days in the sun and surf. Not being a snow lover, I kind of envy him. We have had 25 or more inches of the stuff so far and I feel as if I have shoveled every inch of it personally. We have a pile 4 feet high in front of the garage painting and that is only one scattered around.
Lynn said that she hasn't heard from you in a while and keeps hoping (like me) for a letter. She writes often to us but her brothers and sister are lax in writing to her and she says that she is lonesome. Not as happy as I would like to see her, either.
I sent for what I thought would be a pretty ski poster for your room over there. It tuned out to be too commercial to make a good wall hanging but they offered some other free stuff-tanning lotions and other things. I can't remember. Maybe by the time you get home in April they will have arrived. Then you can use them for water skiing.
It would be nice if you could get some pictures while you are over there. Don't you know anyone with a camera to borrow? I was thinking of your snap shot album.
I waited to close this until after the mail but all that came was your Ski Magazine. I'll get that out to you next trip to Post Office.
In the meantime "hang loose."Love,
212. Mary Lou
Wed 16. [postmarked Jan. 17, 1974]
Yesterday the 6th grade went to see the Free-Press building. They told us that when the F.P. first came out it only came on Thurs. It was first started in 1831. It is the 3rd largest morning paper by having a lot of subscribers. We drove to it on a Baptist bus, too. They gave us a folder and in it was "an utterly useless compilation of truly astounding data."
Did you know that:The Free Press publishes an average of 350 pages per week, excluding special supplements and the comic sections.
I just came in from walking Pepper. Everything around here is slushy. That's why I decided not to take her in the park.
When mom came from the store she said that soon the shelves would be empty. That's because of the truck drivers strike. You're lucky to be in Germany but that might be bad, too.
There's a lot of good movies out that I want to see like Robin Hood and His Merry Menagerie, Superdad, Day of the Dolphin, and The Sound of Music. Well, that's all for now.As Always,
Wed. [Feb 6, 1974]
It has been a while hasn't it. Time does fly although while we had that terribly cold and sloppy weather I thought it would never end. But it did for a while and it has been fairly nice lately although there was so much snow around that it took a long time to melt and there are still some bits left from the piles that had accumulated. But tonight it will get into the teens again and maybe snow a little again.
Lynn called a couple nights ago and was very pleased to tell us of her new clock which they just received. It works beautifully she says and she loves it. I am sure she will be filling you in on the goings on in Morristown so I will continue with the latest in Metro Detroit. There isn't much you don't know about I am sure because I know a couple others in the family have written within the week. Mike has completed his plans to go to Florida during the Easter holiday. He really is excited. Going with Mike Said, if he doesn't back out on our Mike. He called and made reservations at the Holiday Inn at Daytona.
Bill is still at school and working about 3 evenings a week at Forest City. He has a little trouble with the old LTD. I think it is a bad connection on the battery cable. It won't start now. Outside of that it runs fairly well.
You can hardly tell there is a gas shortage any more. Not too much is said and there are stations open any day although they do get a bit scarce at night. The only bad thing about it now is the price, 45.9 cents at Maverick and very few others on up to 49.9 cents a gallon at many of the stations. That is for regular.
I enclose your tax blank. I believe you need one and if you do your mailing address for refunds or reference is here at 1387 according to what I read in the instructions. I presume you will get a refund. Right? You are supposed to add any interest or dividends, too. So mark this down, you got a receipt from J.N.K. Christian Credit Union for $31.08 for either interest on your savings or refund on a loan. I guess you had no loans in 1973. Anyway this is income and they have sent a copy of the dividend to the government so you should report it with your pay.
St. Norbert is starting the fund drive for redecorating the church on Sunday. The memorials all sold out before the drive actually started so it looks like it will be a success. They hope to begin right after the drive is over, probably by March. Should be about complete when you get home. I'll try and send you a brochure on it. Our family is pledging a memorial, one of the stained glass windows. The cost is $500. All the kids are going to contribute something toward it over the next 2 years so it will be truly a family memorial. You will be welcome to participate in this family venture when you rejoin us. I don't expect a lot from the kids, like maybe 5 cents a week from Mary Lou, but just enough to make them feel a part of it.
Well bewitching hour just rang so I better toddle off now but I won't let the writing go so long again. You too.Love,
Jan. 20, 1974
Jim just left here. His lovely vacation is over now. It must be somewhat depressing to leave Nassau at 80 degrees sunshine and come back to, as he put it, "this garbage." He has a nice tan. Got it lazing around the beach. Did some scuba diving in those beautiful waters and some para-________, where you are pulled into the air from a boat. Maybe it's para sailing. Anyway, those were two firsts for him and, of course, the week flew by much too fast. He went alone which I wouldn't enjoy as well as being with a friend. I asked him to bring me back a conch shell and some French perfume I liked. Thought I might have to give him $3.00 or $4.00 for the shell but it was only 50 cents-they run $15.00 down in Florida!
Mike has the traveling bug now and has made plans to fly down to Florida-Orlando for Disney World and Daytona Beach for whatever he can find. Kids still go down there on their Easter vacation. Greg won't go. Said that it is too expensive.
Lynn is good about writing to us and calls every once in a while. She has a job now working in a bank in "beautiful downtown" Morristown. Low pay but she can walk to work and come home for lunch-saving gas & lunch money. She doesn't want to work next summer but wants to build up a personal bank balance. She still hasn't heard anything from you.
Hope the days are going fast and well for you-only three more months now. You will let us know when you hit the States, won't you?Love as always,
Jan. 27, 1974 [Postmarked 28, 1974]
Enjoyed your letter very much and as you say, a little bit more of you peeked through.
By now you probably have received Lynn's thank-you letter. She called us the day they got it and, of course, she loves it. I knew that she would! I haven't seen Bo since their wedding but then the don't live around here anymore so I wouldn't know if they received their clock.
Jim is home from his Bahamas vacation-nice tan. Brought back a pretty, big, conch shell.
If you ever hear from Bill it would be a letter of complaints, mostly car trouble. I wonder if he is sorry he took on the debt of our old LTD because he has been having trouble with it. He thinks it is the battery but your dad thinks the alternator. At any rate, it will have to be repaired to get him to work and school. He is working too many hours at Forest City-takes away time from his studies and piano. He says that he enjoys piano, now, more than the guitar lessons.
Today was the "kick-off" day for our "church renovation and beautification" drive. The parish is going to raise $50,000.00 for the job. Every family is being asked to donate $100.00 over the next ten months. It really is going to look good with stained glass windows and covering up the cement blocks and paneling and carpeting, etc., etc. It should be finished by the time you get home. The Schneiders are going to donate one of the new stained glass windows. Too bad that it wasn't done for the wedding.
Your letter mentions how cramped you will be when you get home with all the stereo equipment. I know that Bill would love to have more room, also, so perhaps the two of you could work something out to your satisfaction. Of course, I realize that all your plans call for money, perhaps more than you can raise immediately so don't be in too great a hurry. You do have some bonds, remember? At any rate, that long awaited future will soon be here and we'll all be glad.Love,
Monday, 27 [Postmarked January 28, 1974; but Monday was the 28th.]
John, dear, what in the name of God has happened to you? I just received your letter full of anger and despair but no facts!
I had your dad send a night letter which by now I hope and pray that you have answered. I can't stand being so far away from you, knowing that something is wrong and not being able to help.
I hope and pray that you have regained some composure and have sat down and explained what happened to you and what may happen to you in the future.
Please, please, don't do anything to hurt yourself. We know that as a young man of almost 22, you are pretty much on your own but we still feel such deep, deep concern for you and your welfare.
Gather your strength and know that, whatever it is, we'll fight it together-ALL OF US!Much love and Many prayers,
Monday [January 28, 1974; no postmark]
I sent the night letter today from the office after Mother called and told me about your letter of the 23rd. What can I say now. I don't know at this moment what has happened, what effect it will have, or when we will see you. If you have done something that will delay your release from the service is there something we can do to help. If there is anything you can do to prevent things from getting worse won't you please do it. For our sakes yes but for your sake especially. You can have a long and good life. You mustn't let a few people spoil it. Believe me there are mostly good people in this world. Many are victims of a mean minority but no one is perfect and while I myself get discouraged from time to time with the behavior of many of my fellow men, I can usually look around and see people who are friendly, who will help out the troubled, and who might only need a smile at themselves to turn on. So please don't do anything to spoil the days ahead when you can get back doing what you want to do.
Your 2 part letter we received a week ago seemed so nice, you seemed rather happy. You asked for a new Pogo book. You had laughed. What a shock 1 week brought. I pray, deeply, that things are not as bad as you intimated. I remember some of Jim's letters. He hated the service and the letters were very disturbing. But he came back and he seems better than ever. Really enjoying life. I looked at Hudson's today for a new Pogo. They don't carry it. I will try the "Little Professor" book store in Dearborn where I got the first one. I hope I can remember which one you have.
I worked till 7 tonight because a big snow storm came up and I didn't want to chance driving home at 4 o'clock. I tried to clean the car off but the windows got snowed over before I could get around the car once. It was about 32 degrees and the snow soft & big flakes. By 7 it was stopped and the salted roads were pretty clear of traffic. But til about 6 I could watch from the office window & see the traffic just creep along, on the freeway and Grand River.
It is supposed to warm up tomorrow.
Your local U.S. Congressman is William Ford. The U.S. Senators are Robert Griffin and Phillip Hart.
Gosh, we wish you were here safe at home. Please pray for help and guidance. God is no myth. He can and will help, if only you ask. If you try to go it alone you are bound to fail. Try it our way, please, at least until you are out. Anxiously awaiting word,Love,
218. Mom & Dad
Telegram, sent January 28, 1974, 2:00 PM, delivered 29th, to the Deutsche Bundespost, Hanau, GermanyVERY WORRIED OVER YOUR TROUBLED LETTER. DON'T DESPAIR. PRAY. FOR OUR SAKES. PLEASE PHONE OR WRITE THE PROBLEM. APRIL SO CLOSE. CAN WE HELP?
Sat. Feb [February 1, 1974]
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.Love,
Feb. 11, '74
Another day--another mail come and go and still no word from you. You can't imagine how patient your dad and I are trying to be in waiting for you to write and tell us what happened over there.
All I can think is--if he is in some kind of trouble, why won't he let me know instead of my spending so much time wondering and worrying?
If there is nothing the matter--a short note even would certainly alleviate the knot in the pit of my stomach.
I have even considered writing to your C.O. and I still may have to do that of one of us doesn't hear from you soon.
I am trying to keep calm by remembering that you only have about two and a half months to go.
Please, won't you sit down and write to us now and explain any difficulties you may be having or have already had?
Life goes on here much as before but somehow the trivial happenings of family life don't seem to be too important until we know how you are.
Everyone sends their love and concern, especiallyMe--
Tuesday Feb. 12
I write this about noon, on my lunch hour, in my office. I can look out the window and see snow and also sunshine, which is a rarity. It is supposed to climb into the 30's so maybe the sun will melt the snow again. We haven't seen much green this winter. It does plod on though and I hope it is passing for you well enough. I, or we, wonder what you are doing and where you are, or even if you are getting our letters. At this writing we haven't heard for a long time.
Tonight, even though it is Tuesday, we plan on going to the Calvin to see a nature type film. Mary Lou likes animal-type movies (as well as books, etc.) and I find them usually very interesting. There are so many rotten-sick-movies out that we don't go too often. We did see another Disney one lately, "Robin Hood." That was good. I would rather see a good, funny, even dumb movie, rather than these serious, violent, sex muddled films that they put out. Why people go see the "Exorcist" which shows such sickening stuff I will never know. People actually become sick while watching it, yet they flock to it. I just can't figure some people's idea of entertainment.
Mom & I had a nice dinner the other night at the Hilton Inn by the airport, just down the road from the Sheraton we took you to once. Reminds me of our lunch we had up on top of the Gas Co. Building. Seems like not too long ago, especially when [abrupt stop before turning to page 2!]
I look forward to the day (soon I hope) you will be heading our way. I find out from friends that time in the hoosegow doesn't count so I hope you are not confined like that so as to delay your return. Of course we can't know but we can imagine all sorts of things. That is why, if you are able, it would be a good idea to write frequently, even if you don't say much. We had you for 18 years and we want you back as good as when you left.
Bill still goes to Eastern, except for the time he skips. He doesn't seem to take it seriously enough. He dropped that nature course, I can't think of the name-you have a lab course & dissect insects, etc. But he enjoys the music courses and plays the piano and the guitar pretty good. He has seen a few long hair-type concerts lately, I guess, and he, (or his class) met with the members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last week when they were at Eastern for 3 days.
Lynn says gas is hard to get in New Jersey but we have no trouble except that it costs a lot now. Although Maverick at Avondale & Inkster Rd. has it for 48.9 for regular, most stations have it for 51.9 and up. Of course both the twins want to get cars when they graduate. As you know, their insurance, especially Mike's with his one accident, will be high, even with this new kind Michigan requires now. Small cars are the thing now and large cars are hard to sell. We still don't know if gas rationing might come although now at the end of winter they will start making more gasoline and less fuel oil.Well, I guess I better get back to work, so God be with you-
Feb. 24, '74
After talking to you last week I got the impression that you were going to send me the name of the person and how much money should be sent to you in the form of a check. Did you change your mind? You have about $250.00 in your account, perhaps a little more because of end of year dividends.
You do understand how dangerous it would be to send unsigned traveler's checks through the mail? Of course, all this is academic if I receive your request this week
I called Paula's mother as you asked. Perhaps by now you have Paula's and Bo's thank you note. The clock arrived about three weeks ago. Perhaps, also, they didn't tell you that Mrs. Leyten had to pay $7.00 to get it out of the post office. She gave me a tip on how her relatives send packages to her avoiding the high cost of mailing.
On the gift to be sent you should label the customs declaration as "GIFT." For your insurance payment, she suggested estimating the gift as 1/3 its worth. (e.g. if the item was worth $30.00, you put down ten, thus paying lower insurance rates.)
Mrs. Leyten said that they loved the clock, (incidentally, what happened to the one I asked you to send us? I offered to pay for it. Remember?)
Well, let me know your decision about the check. Time is running out. March will soon be here.Love,
Monday- [February 25; postmarked February 26, 1974]
Only 10 months from today is Christmas. May I be the first . . . .
Anyway, in 2 days Lent starts and in 6 1/2 weeks will be Easter. I wonder if you will be here by then. It should be warmer anyway. Our cold weather persists. Nobody got my message, "Enough." I hope I appreciate the summer.
I also hope we don't have as bad a gasoline situation as Lynn says they have in New Jersey, or my co-worker Harold Powers says they have in Florida. Last week he got disgusted waiting in line for gas down there and sometimes getting only $2 worth. Here it still is easy to get but more stations seem to be closing down and most of them close in the evenings and on Sunday. And toward the end of the month many run out of gas entirely.
Now the good news. Last Friday the mortgage co. sent a letter notifying us our house is paid for in full. We now own it, completely, all by ourselves. Such a wonderful feeling. Of course, about 60% of the monthly payments have been going for taxes and insurance so this expense shall go on. But it sure is cheap rent in these days when apartments go for $150-$200 a month (and up).I renewed your Free Press for 1 final month, March, maybe into the first week into April.
225. Mary Lou
Tues [the 26th; postmarked February 26, 1974]
Today we got out at 2:00 instead of 2:30 because of 2 funerals. We only had 1/2 hour for lunch though. Tomorrow we won't have any school in the morning.
Tomorrow I'll probably have to go to mass and after the mass you'll get ashes.
You're probably wondering why I'm printing. Well I write better that way. Besides its easier. [All her letters were printed.]
I'm only feeding Pepper once a day now but I'm giving her a little more to eat. That way she will eat her food.
I have about 16 fish now. I have six in a separate bowl (hopefully) so that they will reproduce. I was going to buy some more but I decided not to.
I changed my room around again. Now the bed's under the window by Harrison's drive and I am writing on the desk that mom and me took up from the basement!
I sent away for some stickers (100). Then I find out that this girl's sent away for the same thing and she told me that you have to lick them to get them to stick. The ad said that they were free but you would have to send 50 cents for p. and h! Included you get their catalog so that you might want to send a way for something.
Well I hope you're doing fine and hang in there because your time is almost up.Love,
Saint Patrick's Day card [postmarked March 11, 1974]
Tuesday Evening [March 12; postmarked March 13, 1974]
Dear Lynn and Bob and John,
I am trying an experiment tonight. I am writing the same letter to each of you with the use of a carbon. The one who gets the original wouldn't know it if I didn't mention it but the one who gets the carbon might wonder. Most of what I write could be the latest news so why should either of you suffer by not hearing from me just because I wrote the other. Now you can both hear my cheerful words twice as often, maybe.
As you probably are experiencing your selves the weather is shaping up nicely into a prelude of Spring. The grass here is getting greener little by little and your dear father has gotten the bikes oiled up and takes a few evening cruises about the neighborhood. I even got the LTD oiled up today, changed various filters in it yesterday and really am ready to plunge into the Spring renaissance. Got my dining room captain's chair cleaned and re-varnished and it looks so good I think I will do all the chairs back there as well as the Danish chair in the living room that has looked so bad the last few years. We did get nice new cushions for it but the wood looked bad. As we may have mentioned we got our new bedroom set except for the chest of drawers (mine) which will take longer and it looks real nice. It is not too bad waiting for things. So many start out by thinking they have to have everything all at once but it is kind of nice to add things as you go along and have something to look forward to. And speaking of looking forward that should be approaching which we have all looked forward to for so long, eh John, and that is your return to civilian life. Right now you have been away for over 10% of your life but when you get my age it will be only 4%. I really honestly can say that each phase of my life has been interesting and enjoyable but I wouldn't want to return to any part of it but look forward in anticipation to an even more enjoyable future.
The gasoline situation has eased considerably after a few trying days at the end of February. I didn't really have trouble getting gas but saw a lot of lines and didn't do much traveling anyway. I hope it gets easier so we can drive to Morristown maybe in May for your birthday Lynn. Maybe we can work it into a little vacation with a swing down to Williamsburg or even up into Vermont. Nothing is being planned now but we love to think about things like that. I suppose you will have had enough of traveling John and will be ready to settle down among your friends for a while. Mom doesn't want to leave Mary Lou for very long, much more than a weekend, but school time would probably be a good time to go unless we took others. John, do you suppose you will have any time or way to stop in and see Lynn and Bob while you are in N.J. Perhaps they would discharge you right from there although I wouldn't be surprised if you might have to go to some base first.
Bill will be out of school within a month and then he wants to get a different full time job and get another car. The old LTD uses too much gas and is sluggish and not too stylish for the youthful generation. But it does run and it is overall better than the Mustang he got rid of. Too bad he didn't have the luck of your Mustang, Lynn. His was only a '67.
I saw that this carbon paper I used isn't so hot. Don't know why. Looked almost brand new. To not play favorites I'll send each of you one original. Now how original can you get. This is almost like a 3 way conversation.
Our church decorating is coming along nicely with the walls all plastered and the fabric or vinyl covering selected last Saturday. Your complaint about the light fixtures, Lynn, must have been heard. The drive for funds for this project was so successful that Father Petit wants to get some good fixtures now. Even the regular Sunday collections have gone up to near where they belong since this started so maybe this project was a good catalyst to weld our parish into a solid community more than ever before. I hope so.
Got the weather report which says temps in the low teens tonight and tomorrow night although the daytime temps will be in the 30s & 40s.Well as I took off time to see Banacek on the TV it is now a bit past my usual weekday bed time so I better close for now, so with lots of love to you all, until the next time,
March 14, 1974
Had a dream about you this morning about six a.m. which reminded me that your army career is fast drawing to a close. Forgive the sarcasm! You did say that somewhere around the 14th of April you would arrive at the east coast base, didn't you? I presume that those plans are still in effect.
By this time your discipline should be pretty much over with. Since we haven't heard anything from you since "the phone call," (I should have put it in Capital letters. It was so expensive!) I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything is working out for your departure in a month.
And around here, life goes on, pretty much the same. I know that your dad just wrote to you the other day so there isn't much news. But I just wanted to remind you of our interest. Our days are more blue and gold now that spring is just around next week. One of these days you will be here to enjoy them with us.Much love,
229. Mary Lou
Thurs. 21 [postmarked March 22, 1974]
Today is supposed to be the first day of Spring but I don't believe it. It is snowing and kind a' cold. There isn't much snow on the ground.
While I am writing this Pepper is licking my knee! She comes up to you and licks you. It drives me crazy.
Today was hamburger day instead of Hot Dog day at school. The hamburgers were from Mac's and they were 1/2 of 1/2 an inch thick. They cost 30 cents over here now. It seems the higher the price the smaller the merchandise.
Mom found an American Wildlife book upstairs in that little cupboard in the wall in your bedroom. She was wondering who's it is. It might be yours.
My teacher is getting crabbier and crabbier every day. She calls on you when you don't have your hand up and she makes a fool of you! I can't stand her.
Lynn sent me 2 little rabbits (china). They are really small and cute. She is also making me a scarf. (if she ever finishes it).
Have a happy Easter!Love,
P.S. Our class is going on a field trip to Henry Ford Museum March 29. But I wish we weren't because I've been there so many times.
March 22, 1974
Here is the check that you asked for in the letter we received yesterday. Your credit union account is down to about $63.00 now. I had to take the $200.00 from the C.U. over to Manufactures Nat'l. Bank where they made out this New York draft.
Have you considered the differences in the money exchange? Will your $200.00 American be the same as the German Mark? Perhaps you will have to adjust the payment in some way. You might even get some money back.
This just may be my "bon voyage" letter. Hope the next few weeks fly by smoothly for you. I am also hoping that the change in you that I read in your letters will not be permanent. It would be extremely uncomfortable to live with such anger and cynicism for very long. Three years is long enough-because this harsh outlook on life started a year before you even left for Fort Knox.
At any rate, we will be waiting for your arrival.Much love,
P.S. I sent your 1973 Michigan Tax form under separate cover.
Here it is-from two years to two weeks and before long it will be two minutes. I suppose that you are all packed and ready.
By the way and before I forget-if the Army sends you home with your winter jacket-keep it-keep it. Mark loves the one Jim brought home but Greg claimed it and wears it every cold day we have. You know the one-with the hood and zipper?
Anyway, even if it is very warm when you get to the east coast, take it home with you, o.k.?
Saw Jim's new apartment yesterday. He just moved in on Saturday. The complex is big with lots of facilities but is unfurnished and quite raw looking yet. [The Huron Towers in Ann Arbor, MI.] He is on the top floor and likes the quiet of the place. No one can hear his stereo going full blast, I guess.
Bill only has two more weeks of school left. That year passed so quickly, I thought but had its dragging moments for him.
Mike wants me to go to the paint store with him now so I'll close and drop this at the post office.See you soon,