The Letters: Mary Lou's Complete Letters

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

12.  Mary Lou

May 11, 1972, Thursday

Dear John:

Please send me some patches to sew on jackets. If you can't That's o.k.

Today coming home from school, Mom was locked outside. She was going to the store. When she found out she left the keys in the house. She had to wait from 1:30 to about 3:05. I had to go get Greg for his key.

I sent for some info on Apollo 13 and never got it. I sent for it 2 Mondays ago. That was May 1. I hope it comes soon.

Nothin' to do around here as usual. It's 28 after 8. I've got to go to bed.

Mary Lou

16.  Mary Lou

May 17

Dear John,

I just want to wish you a happy birthday because I don't have any money for a card.

We had a spelling bee today. I lost. You know what I went down on? Hibernate. I spelled it H-y-bee-r-n-a-t-e. We're having a spelling contest against another room. We're going to win though. We're having it Wednesday May 31. There are words like hypotenuse, coordinate, and congruent.

Today I was biting my sandwich and my tooth fell out! I had a cheese sandwich. It fell out because people don't close the cheese package tight enough. It was my baby tooth. I put it under my pillow so I can get some money.

I hope this letter arrives on your birthday. If it doesn't happy late birthday. Well gotta go now. Bye.

Mary Lou

25.  Mary Lou

[This letter was written with a variety of marker colors. The "Dear" was red crayon, and the rest was in felt tip pen, every word colored different from the next as appears below. Some of the family are coming down to Kentucky to visit me at the end of Basic Training.]

May 22

Dear  John,

Hope   you   had   a   wonderful   birthday !   You will   probably   get   this  letter   the  day  before  we  see  you .   That  is  why  I   am  sending  it  today .   I  hope  we  have  a   good  time  there .   It  will  be  good  to  see  you   again .

How  is  your  poison  ivy  doing ?   My  teacher  had   it  once .

Mom  is  going  to  give  me  a  spelling   quiz  .   She  finished  before  dinner .   We  just  finished  dinner . We  had  stew ,   and  cake  for  dessert .   I  can't  think  of   anything  more  to  say .  Goodbye

Mary Lou

Mary Lou's colorful letter

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

Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas

3rd Enlisted Student Battery

72.  Mary Lou

Sun 6 [August 6, 1972]

Dear John,

Today is a rainy day. A miserable day. Yesterday I got a flat tire on Helen. I had to walk it home. Today I got a new tire and inner tube. Which took pretty long. We went to Ace, Kmart and the Ace on Ford finally got it.

Know how much money I have? 11 dollars and 94 cents. By my birthday I will have enough money to buy an aquarium. Which will cost around 17 dollars. I'm gonna start out with 2 guppies. A male and female. I'll get them from the pet shop in Detroit. When I get a population explosion I'll let them eat the babies because I wouldn't be able to afford to take care of all those babies! Don't you think That's a pretty good reason?

In the St. Norbert's Messenger it said that Lawrence Suchyta is getting married to Patty Sleek. Isn't that a surprise?

If you still want Jim's camera It's going to cost a lot of money! 50 dollars! I doubt if You'll buy it.

Since Mike and Greg began to drive, I think It's getting to dad. Now when I'm driving with dad he's getting me a little nervous. You know, the way he pulls out in front of cars.

There's nothing else to say. Goodbye for now.

Mary Lou's drawing of me coming home Mary Lou

P.S. I hope you like my picture. [She made a drawing of me coming home from the Army; "Mom I'm home!" "I'm glad You're home!"]

83.  Mary Lou

Tuesday [Postmarked August 23, 1972]

Dear John,

Got my guppies today. Male and Female. I think the female was already mated. She's got the pouch which means going to have babies pretty soon.. I don't know when. It looks like they're getting along pretty good. Do you know how much money I spent on them? 10.45!

It's hard to believe We're surviving this weather! It's so hot! I guess it would be hotter down there [El Paso, Texas]. How you doing there? [The following sentence is crossed out in the letter: Do you have a list of birth dates in the family? If you don't, mine's tomorrow.]

When you get home you going to bring the Chevy with you?

Entered the love is . . . contest. They are going to announce the winners next Sunday. they're going to be 5 grand prize winners and 15 runners up for each age group.

When are you going to be able to come home on leave? Soon I hope.

Bye for now.

Mary Lou

P.S. I'm sending you a reminder of You're good times in Kentucky.

[Enclosed is a post card of a "Blue Grass Horse Farm in Kentucky."]

100.  Mary Lou

Sat [October 7; postmarked October 10, 1972]

Dear John

Hope you had a good time in the Grand Canyon. [I never went.] I wish I could go to Colorado but I'd rather go to Oklahoma.

How is your classes coming? mine's coming along fine. In Phys Ed. (gym) we played about 7 games of kickball. My team won about 4 games.

If I didn't tell you before, my guppies had babies right after I bought them (on my birthday). That was 6 weeks 4 days ago. They are 45 days old. She should of have another bunch. they're supposed to have it every 4 weeks. She's late!

I just came back from the store. This boy made a mess in the store. I guess he was sick.

Last week Greg drove Mark and me up to Jim's place. [Ann Arbor?] He got lost and we had a hard time finding his apartment. We were running around for about 2 hours. Mom and Dad were sure mad! He wasn't supposed to take the car out. Well Goodbye for now.

Mary Lou

110.  Mary Lou

Nov. 13

Dear John,

Wanna buy some Christmas seals? We have to sell 5 books. they're a penny each. 100 in a book. If you buy a whole book it'll cost you $1.00. I sold one already. The money goes to the Holy Childhood. It had on it Merry Christmas.

Last Tues. my male fish died. Now I only have the Mother and her 4 babies. A couple of days before that I found a little spider in there.

Sunday Jim got a cast on his knee again. He hurt it playing football.

In school we play a new game called quizzmo. It's just like bingo, but you use math. You play it like this: someone calls out the card. Like 5 x 8. You look on your card for 40 (the answer). If you get 4 corners, 4 in a row, or 5 in a row you call QUIZZZMO! The person who has it says the answers. Like if he has 4 in a row, he might call out 36, 14, free space, 64, and 81. If the caller can't find the number then the game continues. I've won about 7 times!

Next Friday we get our report cards. I sure can wait. We had a test in Math Friday. I got 3 wrong. In art We're making collages on different subjects. Mine is on people. What we do is we cut out pictures and paste them on some matting board. mine's coming along great. We've been working on it for 1 week.

We got your letter today. When you were in California you must have had great eyes to see the Atlantic Ocean! You were facing the Pacific.

Last Thursday we got our pictures taken at school. We had to dress up.

Well see you next Christmas!

Mary Lou

125.  Mary Lou

Wed, 3 [January 3, 1973]

Dear John,

This paper I am writing on was a Christmas present. There are 5 colors. White, green, blue, yellow and pink.

We just started school today. We had 13 days off.

I had a real fun Christmas. I'm sorry you couldn't come home. Hope everything turns out great for you.

Did you get my present? I hope you like it. It should keep you pretty busy.

Our school has 2 newspapers. One is from the 5th grade and the other's from the 6th grade. The one from our class is called the Phantom. It only cost 2 cents. I put one in the envelope. 4 boys in our class writes it. We also have a popcorn sale. They sell the popcorn for 5 cents. We have about $90 in the missions now. Well, bye for now.

Mary Lou

P.S. Happy New Year!

[References in the above letter: The stationary has the name at the bottom of "Mary Lou Schneider" and next to the name Woodstock stands in front of Snoopy's dog house while Snoopy is on top of it standing on his head. I couldn't come home for Christmas as I was confined to the barracks for my Court-Martial. I don't remember what the present was. The newspaper is not now enclosed.]

137.  Mary Lou

Mar. 2 [1973]

Dear John,

How are you? Dad just sent me this and envelopes to match. We played kickball 3 time this week. My team won 2 times out of 4. The first time the score was 6 to 3. The second time was 4 to 3. I scored twice.

At Lynn and Bob's wedding (I suppose you know) I'm going to be a bridesmaid. I don't know what I'm going to get her because I do not know what to get that I can afford.

Today it seemed like spring. It was really warm out.

The fish are getting bigger now. Big enough to mate. I hope they do so soon.

Well, goodbye for now.


Mary Lou

[The new stationary is pink with her name and address printed fancy at the top as Miss MaryLou Schneider in Park Avenue BT script.]

Quartermaster School: April 1--September, 1973

Fort Lee, Virginia

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

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

161.  Mary Lou

May 27 [1973]

Dear John,

mary lou's newspaper

[The Newspaper called called The Editor was 3 sheets of her pink, 5.5 x 7 inch stationary with 3 side staples. The first page had 3 columns of news; page 2 had 2 comics glued (Peanuts and Marmaduke), and a continuation of a column of sports, and 2 advertisements: one for Beautiful Betty's Beauty Salon, and one for Hudsons (the word Hudsons above a pencil drawn girl in a long dress). The 3rd page had 4 more comics pasted. The news is as below.]

Page 1

Weather Cold and Rainy

5 Cents

Vacation Time.  The kids of St. Norbert School is having Memorial day off. The next week is a full week. Then they have only the next week and 3 days the next. In total there is 12 days left.

Family Going Away.  Everyone seems to be leaving! Lynn's in Delaware. Jim is going to Toronto, Bill is visiting brother John in the Army. Only 4 out of the 8 children are at home!

Weather.  As you can see from the top of the paper it is cold and rainy. It was supposed to get up to 70 degrees but I doubt if it did!

Canceled Because of Rain.  The Tigers were scheduled to play the Oakland A’s today at 1:30. But because of the weather it was canceled. Hundreds of disappointed fans had to go home.

Tigers Win Again.  Tigers beat the Oakland A’s the second time this series. The score was 8 – 5. The first game it was 1 – 0. (continued on p.2)

Freehan made 2 hits, Northrup had 3 hits. Rodregez and Brinkman scored once. And a couple more scored once. The Tigers continue to hold their First place lead over the Yankees.

I hope you like my newspaper. It's one way to tell the news!

Your Sister,
Mary Lou

171.  Mary Lou

Thurs. Morn. [July 12; post marked July 13, 1973]

Dear John,

It is early in the morning now. I just got finished feeding Pepper. (Pepper’s my dog.) I feed her puppy food but today dad came down. He couldn't find her puppy food so he gave her Rice Krispies! I can hear her chewing them. Now I will tell you what Pepper looks like: she has brown feet and brown eyebrows. She is black on top and a black head. Part of her cheeks are brown and there is a little brown on her stomach.

Nothing much else to say except that Lynn wanted me to come and visit her. Mom said that some Friday I could come out on a plane all by myself and they would drive up to talk to her about something.

I just saw the sports page that he Tigers beat the T. Rangers 14 – 2! How's that for a game.

Well, That's all for now.

As always,
Mary Lou

European Tour: October, 1973--April, 1974

Hanau, Germany

Company A, 503 Supply & Transport Battalion

191.  Mary Lou

Thurs. [postmarked November 17 or something 1973]

Dear John,

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)

Mary Lou

201.  Mary Lou


Dear John

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.

Mary Lou

206.  Mary Lou

[For Christmas of 1973 Mary Lou copied the 1973 Mad Magazine Christmas Poem. No date or postmark.]

Dear John,

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;

Despite the fact that Santa Claus
Prepares a lengthy list,
Herwith are gift suggestions
For folks he may have missed.

For Richard Nixon and his mate
A weekend at the Watergate.
And should they weary of the scene,
We'll toss in Mitchell, Hunt, and Dean.
We're stripping Mickey Rooney down
To pose for Helen Gurley Brown-
He'll be the perfect choice in case
Her magazine is tight on space;
Let's send a vocal coach or two
To Gifford and Dandyroo, And then Let's buy and giftwrap well
A Midas Muffler for Cosell.

We'll rip off someone's souped up Honda,
As a present for Jane Fonda,
Hoping that it won't be lacking
Noise to drown her endless yakking.
Next upon our Yuletide list
Is Steinem, big-shot feminist;
We think We've found a gift that fits-
A set of towels marked "Her's" and "Its"
To swimmer Spitz we next bequeath
A set of drills for pulling teeth,
He can't do worse in dentistry
Than what he's doing on TV.

We'll send Charles Schultz an armored car
Or maybe one huge cookie jar
To hold the cash he's pulling down
From merchandising Charlie Brown;
We've found a gift That's really keen
For Linda Lovelace, porno queen--
She'll be surprised come Christmas day
When she gets 20 guys--all gay;
For Liz and Dick, that split-up pair,
We've got a gift that both can share--
We're taping them a serenade
Of records Eddie Fischer made.

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.

Mary Lou

212.  Mary Lou

Wed 16. [postmarked Jan. 17, 1974]

Dear John,

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.

The free press consumes more than 1,000 gallons—or 4 tons—of ink per day. On a yearly basis this would be equal to 23,446,240 bottles of ink such as you could buy from the corner drugstore.

They also tell you how to make a pressman’s hat

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,
Mary Lou

225.  Mary Lou

Tues [the 26th; postmarked February 26, 1974]

Dear John,

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.

Mary Lou

229.  Mary Lou

Thurs. 21 [postmarked March 22, 1974]

Dear John,

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!

Mary Lou 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.