The Letters: Mom's Complete Letters

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

1.  Mom

May 2, 1972

Dear John,

Well here I am--an hour after your call--writing to "my son, the soldier." It is always strange, writing to some one for the first time but especially mothers to sons. We are full of family gossip, not too up on sonly interests. Of course, this way, you may get to know more about your family's going on now.

As I told you, we enjoyed your letter, all of us and I do hope you feel the urge to write often. I copied your address and Mike took it right down to John Perk. With the message for Cindy and Blackwell. Mrs. Neff called and I also gave it to her so you may even get a note from her.

She told me that Rob is refueling many ships in "Nam" harbor which makes her a little bit nervous. He probably won't make it home for Pam's wedding. We got Roxanne's invitation this week and Sherry Harrison is being married next month. Kind of clearing the eligible girls from the neighborhood.

Mary Lou is sitting here beside me doing her report on "pearls." I hope she sends you a letter or two. Some of those she wrote to Jim were gems. He still has one of them, I think.

Must go now. I'll talk to you again soon.

Love and prayers,

[5 comic strips enclosed, from Beetle Bailey]

2.  Mom

A large greeting card with a dog in a flowered hat on the front

[postmarked May 4, 1972]

"Missing You When you're not around"


A silly cover but the sentiments o.k. Besides, it is the last card of the box I bought from Keith Becker 100 years ago.

Any way, here are some stamps and maybe a chuckle or two--

Love, Mom

[enclosed Sunday comics from Peanuts, and Beetle Bailey]

10.  Mom

Tues, Aft.

May 9

Dear John,

By now the mail must be coming pretty steady. It has been almost a week since your letter of May 4. Hope your "so-oo-o sore muscles" are getting conditioned very fast. Bet you've discovered some you didn't even know you had! That screaming before meals must let off a lot of steam and perhaps untangle some knots of frustration in more than one soldier's tummy. Don't you think that kind of conditioned reflexes make for fast reactions--a life saving technique sometimes?

I know that Lynn and Greg have written to you so that you know about her trip to Buffalo and her birthday. Everyone reads your letters so she did get your birthday greetings. Greg gave Sally your address yesterday since he sees her every day.

John Neph came looking for the platter the cake was on for your party. He evidently lost it somewhere.

Roxanne's invitation to her wedding on the 19th of May came so I went out to Hudson's and bought them a white blanket. Didn't get a wedding invitation from Nephs yet. One of Roxie's friends came over and tore up their front yard with his car last weekend. What a mess. Mrs. C. was so mad she reported it to the police. You can imagine how she felt--she is out there now still trying to repair the damage. When ever this fellow gets mad at some one he uses his car to get even. I guess this wasn't the 1st time.

Your dad told you about our going down to Monroe last Saturday for sister's 25th party? It was a gorgeous, 89 degree day--the last one we had, too.

We would love to get down for the weekend of the 27th but it is still uncertain. I certainly would like to see and hear everything. Your Uncle Bill Dillon was down at the Monastery, Gesthemeni, and said that they could hear the firing noises from your camp during their retreat.

What was the reaction around the camp after Nixon's speech last night? Anyone getting nervous?

Please keep all your cards and letters coming. We do enjoy them. Keep cool and well and safe.

Love, Mother

Couldn't close without telling you—

Haven't heard much about Philip but Tara finally told Chuck and left him standing in the middle of the lilac bushes with his mouth open.

[Beetle Bailey and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

15.  Mom

May 15, '72

Hi John,

It was good to hear you more chipper last night than you were in your last letter. I guess, though, that your letters will reflect the mood of a particular day.

Sorry about your distasteful details but if Army life was pleasant we would be at war all the time—come to think of it, we seem to have been at war forever, as it is.

Strange to hear you complain about the heat there. Our pretty days are so few and far between. Mary Lou and I have sore throats and rotten colds. We would love to bake in 80 degree heat.

John Reifle came over to see Lynn last night. He must have been feeling no pain when he left. He left his jacket in our living room. His family took Mrs. R for dinner at Marino’s and he came here afterwards. I have no gory details, if any, from Lynn yet but I will!

Seven of us went to the "Clock" restaurant after Mass yesterday—a mother's day treat for lunch. Received an exotic orchid arrangement (flowers) from Lynn and the twins, Bill gave me a dozen carnations and Mary Lou made me a daisy card. So I was surrounded by lovely flowers. Just after we hung up John Neph came over. He wanted to put $10.00 down on your car. I guess his dad is going to co-sign for him so it sounds promising. I told him this was one used car he really knew about and how well it was taken care of. He agreed. Now if his loan is o.k.ed you will have your car sold. We are going to miss that wedding when we come down to see you but I don't care.

Hope you have thought of something you want or need for your birthday. I know—you mentioned the radio.

And for now—Love and prayers,


17.  Mom

Birthday Card postmarked May 17, 19972

"For you, Son. . . with yesterday memories. . .today wishes. . .and always love. Happy Birthday!"

Mother and Dad

John, these "fancy" stamps are air-mail. These are the closest things to a Birthday gift I could get right now. Love, Mom

26.  Mom

Mon. 22nd

Hi John,

Man, this will be necessarily shorter than usual 'cause I am bushed! You know the feeling, I am sure. I said a prayer to St. Christopher to help you carry that heavy pack on your six mile hike. Did it work?

We just called and made reservations for 2 rooms in a Quality Motel about 20 miles away in Elizabethtown. So next Friday we will be pulling in, sometime between 3 and 6 p.m. All depending upon your good behavior, of course. It will be good to see you. I have the feeling that you are a little more relaxed about life now that the fear of the unknown is over. At least, this is my hope for you. Having this business of the car settled should also be added relief.

John Neph got the car none too soon. I am certainly glad that car wasn't parked out in front when those guys stole Lynn' wheels. They didn't touch Harrison's nor Hayes' "Triumph" but they might have stripped Bill's if it hadn't been parked in the back yard. Your dad bought one of those little alarms but doesn't know where to put it yet. With all that new equipment Bill has, he should have some part of protection on his car.

I guess Lynn' friend Julie is coming in next week end and that is one reason she won't be with us.

Well, I have to close now and fall into a hot tub--then into bed.

My love and prayers--especially for the cure of your "really big itch!"

[Beetle Bailey comics enclosed]

32.  Mom


May 30 [May 30 was a Tuesday, Wednesday was May 31. Postmarked May 31, 1972]

Hi John,

Look at that—the end of another month! How fast they go, unless, of course, if you are trying to push them by.

Our trip home was tiring for everyone. I figured with that extra trip to the Mammoth cave we had about 10 hours of driving. I saw an Army bus stopped by the side of the road in Kentucky and a bunch of civilian-dressed 20 year olds sitting on their luggage. It must have broken down.

Your dad and I were both so pleased with our visit. Hope it did you as much good as it did me. You know—that kind of grumpy look was gone and you seemed more like your own self. Not that I expected "Mary Sun-shine" but a more relaxed attitude about your life will make things easier for you. As a little guy, we always thought you were the best adjusted. Hope that you didn't lose that flexibility. Of course there will be rotten days when you wish you hadn't gotten out of bed. I just pray each morning for a good day for you.

After all that gorgeous hot weather down there it is back down into the 40's and 50's and rain here. Ugh!

Went to Hudson's this morning to buy Sherry Harrison's wedding gift. The last for a while I hope. Mary Lou bought a goldfish at Kresge's yesterday—named him/her "Sparkle." She was quite brave about the death of the other one. She buried it out in the back yard beside the baby bird that fell off our window. We have quite a ceremony out there.

Well I am going to run over to the Post Office with this so that You'll have it by Friday. Be good—Be careful and Be assured of our love and prayers.


[Enclosed 2 comics of Peanuts, Rerun is named, and 2 of Beetle Bailey]

36.  Mom

Tues. June 6

Dear John,

Just a short note so that you won't miss mail call on Thursday.

I deposited your $100 in the Credit Union yesterday--Brings you balance up to $1,471.43. Also, in packing your winter shirts away I found the small box with razor, etc. in it. Was that yours? Did you want it put away to use on your leave?

I got a call from Bill yesterday about 3:45 p.m. He just arrived in Daytona, Florida. Had a good trip. He drove 13 hours on his first day. The car ran perfectly, thank God, and he only spent $20.00 for gas which rather surprised him. If everything goes well, he will be back Sunday Night--probably at the very last minute. He works on Monday.

We didn't win any of the prizes at our Festival but that did not surprise me. The Parish made enough money to keep the school open at least one more year.

Sunday night your dad and Greg and myself went downtown to the Irish festival. I was a little disappointed--not enough Irish food on display but I did have some Irish coffee and Dad had some "Hard Lager." Must go now--Love,


40.  Mom

Tues. [June 13, 1972, postmarked June 14, 1972]

Dear John,

Wait until you see our new family member! Sunday night your Dad and I went out to the Shea’s house and when we left we had a white kitten with calico markings—very small and very active. The only reason I took it was because it is going to be an outside cat. She (or he, as the case may be) will stay in the garage. It likes to hide behind the flower pot and box of skates on the black table.

Mary Lou was delighted but she may be allergic to it and that would be a shame.

Greg started his job this morning. Mr. Apple picked him up about 8:15. Short vacation for Greg but he is anxious to start making some money.

Well, your dad and I are living with the sword of a strike hanging over our heads. The union called a strike but they are working while negotiating. I really hope and pray that your father doesn't have to work that dirty job at Penn Salt.

Well—must go now.


PS "Fathers Day"-June 18

[Enclosed: Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.

43.  Mom

Monday - 19th [postmarked June 19, 1972]

Dear John,

Just got back from E. Dearborn's Western Union office. Wow, it is expensive to send money that way. It cost $5.67 to send your fifty dollars. There has to be a cheaper way to do it the next time. You know, I suppose, that you have to check with the Fort's P.O. if you are in an especial hurry to receive it.

Today is you dad's and my anniversary. First time in 24 years we have not been able to celebrate it together. He left for Penn Walt at 6 a.m. this morning. He took the station wagon this time and is planning to sleep in it instead of the trailer. Did he tell you about having to sleep in the top bunk--over a fellow who snores? That is why he is going to take his trailer bedding out to the car. He would think that he had been gone for weeks--he was so glad to get home for one day after being gone for three days.

Makes us understand your wanting to come home a bit more.

We miss your letters lately but if you are so tired we do understand. Hope you aren't as whacked out as you sounded last night.

Mark had a good time last night sleeping in your bag. The only trouble they had was--the tent kept falling down. The Army could teach them a thing about camping out. Right?

Greg & Mike are working over at Apple's house today so it is very quiet around here--just Mary Lou and me.

Bye for now--Love,

[Peanuts & Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

46.  Mom

Tues. a.m. [postmarked June 27, 1972]

Dear John,

I am sitting here at the desk in the basement writing this letter. After hours of cleaning and changing, this end of the "wreck" room looks 100% better. Got the file out of the kitchen and put it down here. But you'll see for yourself next week end.

Your dad ordered 5 tons of black dirt yesterday, so he and Mike & Mark have been working hard in the back yard. The walk is in and they are filling in the low places where it usually floods during a heavy rain.

I had a humorous conversation with an Army recruiter this morning. It seems that he just received the word that you had an Army physical last September. He was so surprised to hear that you have been in service since April. Some guy down town is going to get torn in half, he said. Any way he wants Bill to come in and see the wonderful films on the "New Army" and hear about all the really great options the enlisted men have now. I laughed and told him no way would I come down for that and not to hold his breath waiting for Bill either. It really gave me a chuckle.

Nothing else new except that maybe the cat ran away. We haven't seen him since last night. I have mixed feelings about him--Mary Lou is so allergic to him that it is pathetic to see.

Bye--see you soon? Love,

[Peanuts & Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

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

Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas

3rd Enlisted Student Battery

49.  Mom

July 5

Dear John,

Just dash off a note so that you won't be without mail this week. Hope it reaches you before you leave.

Congratulations on your graduation. You do have reason to be proud of yourself and your company. It was a long, hard grind but it put you in great physical shape and I know that you will be just as proud and confident of yourself after your stint at Fort Bliss as 'lil Abner would say, "Ah salutes you!"

Your dad left me off yesterday and I ran all the way back to Delta's waiting room only to see the back of you boarding the plane. Some how, I do like to see the plane take off when I say "good bye and God bless" to my service men. Anyway . . . I went to the waiting room around the corner and had a full view of the plane. (Caught a glimpse of red at a window as the plane turned--you?)

We then went to Greenfield Village where we took Mary Lou on the Petticoat Junction-like train. It runs about a mile down the track--then, because all the tracks are not finished, it backs up again to the old station.

Also took her on a pony wagon ride. About a ten minute ride but nothing like your horse back ride, I am sure.

When we got home it was too cold to eat out doors so we had our picnic lunch in the dining room. Not very traditional but a heck of a lot more comfortable.

And so you are up to date on family.

Remember we can't write to you without a new address.

Good luck on this next phase of your Army life.

My love and prayers are always with you.


52.  Mom

Tues. p.m. [postmarked July 11, 1972]

Hi John,

Just a scribble--I want to get over to the P.O. quickly. Talked to Dr. Rogers at Wilhelm Allergy Clinic. He told me that the clinic will air mail your serum down there to you but it can't be left unrefrigerated very long. Someone should be waiting to pick it up. I can think of two options:

  1. You send your address to the clinic including the base hospital name and address or
    Give me the hospital's name & I'll have the clinic send it down there or:
  2. Send the serum directly to you and you bring it to the base hospital (which is taking a chance on the serum verses the hot weather!

Anyway, the clinic's address is:

Wilhelm Allergy Clinic
751 S. Military
Dearborn, Michigan 48124
C/o Dr. Rogers

Mark your request urgent and Judy will get right on it. O.K.?

I'll write a letter tomorrow.

Much Love,

Include your whole address to the clinic and let them decide how to address it so that the serum arrives as quickly as possible. Explain to Dr. R. that I talked to him today and how your allergy has been lately.

53.  Mom

July 12

Dear John

That was such a hurried note yesterday. Hope air mail got it to you in a hurry.

It was good to hear that your situation is looking up. School can't be all that hard for you when the motivation is great enough and I guess the alternative of the Infantry would be great.

Remember Wally? The fellow that drove the ice cream truck—Mark was talking to him yesterday. He said you should have no trouble with the classes—anybody can pass those tests. I don't know how he knows—he is still driving an ice cream truck!

Bill got his notice to report for his physical on August 4. That seems so soon. His 19th birthday won't be until Aug. 17th. He will then be on all the services mailing lists for enlistments, I haven't heard him say lately whether he would even consider enlisting but somehow I can't imagine him wanting to.

All I know is—I hate those envelopes arriving so often. Thank God Mike is only 16. he's got a few more years. Adios for now—


[Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

55.  Mom

Monday Aft.

July 17

Dear John,

1st—before I forget—what is that picture you put on so many of your letters? Looks like a grasshopper.

Yesterday we (the 4 youngest kids, dad & me) went to Canada. Eve Ann invited Sue's family, grampa and Sister and Bud too for a swim and steak. The kids cooked their tube steaks out doors and Bill grilled our rib steaks. The meal was good, the water was quite clean and cool and every one had a noisy but good time. We left at 9:15 and it took us an eternity to get home 1 1/2 hours to get over the bridge-bumper to bumper. Cars were over heating and stalling for miles! I have never seen such traffic and I'll never go to Canada on a Sunday again.

Your dad found a four inch spike in the rear tire of the wagon when we got down to Dearborn so we had to put the snow tire on. Mobil didn't have a new tire to fit us. So that started our day off with aggravation and expense! Mary Lou went home with Sue & Al for a vacation at their house. Sue promised to take her swimming and I don't know what all to keep her daughter, Suzy, company while Alicia is in Spain.

Your Uncle Bill bought a boat and Eve Ann and Kathy were water skiing when we got there. You would have loved that! So would Lynn, but she elected to stay here with Julie K. He didn't leave 'til 5 p.m.

Your brother Bill tells us that he is seriously considering moving to Florida. He thinks that he would have no trouble finding a job and he loves Florida and the people.

By the way—your letter took 4 days—regular mail. My air mail to you took two.

Keep up the good work with the studies. It will pay off, I'm sure. Love, Mom

[Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics enclosed.]

62.  Mom

[Post card from The Leelanau Homestead]

Monday, 24

Thought of you yesterday while eating lunch at Sugar Loaf Mt. Maybe you can try it in December?

Take care and Love,

64.  Mom

Thurs. July 27

Dear John,

While Mark is cleaning up the basement shelves I will get this off to you. Did your dad tell you about Mark's birthday gift last week? After much thinking I came up with the idea of giving him a plane ride. We took him out to that small flying field on Lilly road in Plymouth and gave him 15 minutes in a 2 seater Cessna. He thought that it was fantastic, particularly since the pilot let him handle the controls for a good part of the ride.

My vacation is over and it was nice while it lasted. Those three days just flew by. I took Mike's Minolta camera and if I did everything right I got some lovely shots from Sleeping Bear Mountain dunes.

Speaking of cameras. Would you like me to send you my camera? It has a flash attachment if you want to use it and takes good pictures. Since photography never was a burning interest for you perhaps you wouldn't want to put 50 or $60.00 in his Yashica right now. Let me know and I'll pack whichever one you think you'll want.

Your allergy extract is another problem. I can't send it just to you when a doctor or nurse has to administer it. I wish that you could find out quickly. You must be way over due for a shot by now. Can't your C.O. help?

Your letters have been coming regularly and I am pleased that your studies aren't causing you trouble. Do you study much after classes? I remember a high school student who used to fall asleep in class. I'll bet that you don't do that any more! It would be great to be sent to the site near Pontiac, I'm sure but that sounds too good to be true. Still . . . you never know.

By the way--is that the Army's sign for peace?

Well, let me j know about the base hospital address and the camera.

Also--please be careful in Mexico. It sounds unsavory and weird!


[Enclosed are a few Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

69.  Mom

Wed., Aug 3 [should be the 2nd which was Wednesday; postmarked August 2, 1972.]

A gloomy, rainy day here. Greg is washing the kitchen wall for me and grumping about it. Mark says that I would make a good drill sergeant—the way I give orders. He did the stairwell. Mike painted the downstairs bath so every one is getting a turn at something. Lynn is away so many Saturdays but one of these weeks she is going to be drafted for her room. So you see—we all have complaints once in a while.

We haven't heard from you in 10 days or so. Maybe today? I hope classes and studies are going well for you.

Jim came over Sunday and stayed for dinner. It was his birthday & luckily I baked a cake just in case he showed up. It was a small, what you might call intimate, dinner with you and Lynn not home. Grampa and Bud didn't come because we didn't know if Jim would show up. Each one of you leaves a big space when You're not here for family celebrations.

Yesterday a man from Sonatone Corp. came over to test my hearing. Someone called their office last May and told them that I had a hearing problem. No one around here will admit it. The test didn't tell me anything I didn't know already but it was interesting for Greg & Mary Lou to watch. Greg asked about teenagers getting deaf from loud music and he verified my position. Not only are they going deaf from loud music but also from much snow mobiling and motorcycle riding. He said most rock musicians now put their amplifiers out in front of them on stage and also wear ear plugs. Did you know that 3 of the 4 Beatles have hearing aids now.

Wish I could convince Mark about the loudness he tolerates with his earphones.

Well, we are going to the zoo tomorrow—weather permitting. Mike wants to get some animal pictures for Mary Lou's birthday (on the 23). By the way . . .Bill's is the 17th of Aug.


[Enclosed are Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

70.  Mom

Thurs. Aug 3.

Dear John,

Just got back from Wilhelm's Clinic with your extract! Tomorrow A.M. I will send it out Air Mail, SPECIAL DELIVERY to the dispensary at Fort Bliss. Please be on the look out for it. Inside the package will be the sheet of instructions with your dosage listed. Remember to tell the attending doctor or nurse that you missed a dose (or more, if that is the case).

I called the Red Cross here about where to send it & he (however "he" is) didn't advise me to send it at all until you had contacted the Red Cross at Ft. Bliss. I do hope that my way does save you about a week and that there is no "snafu" down at your end. Your name & serial number will be on the letter and I wish you luck. Please let me know right away, will you, when you receive this note & your arrangements with the dispensary? You will tell them right away that the extract is coming, won't you?

More about your guitar in a few days. I told your dad to look into it.

Wow! What a day!

Much love & easy breathing.

79.  Mom

Tues. Nite

Aug. 15

Dear John,

Just got in from evening Mass. Hope you made it to Church on this holy day of obligation.

Wow—has this been a busy two weeks for me! That is why I haven't written in the last few days.

First of all, though, let me set the record straight and "make it perfectly clear"—I do not want you to buy me any silverware (e.g. knives, forks, spoons). The silver I meant was jewelry silver—you know—silver bracelets, aquamarine (turquoise) and silver earrings, etc. I can remember my brother, Paul, buying me a solid silver pin from Texas. Anyway—I was just thinking that perhaps you might find something pretty for Mary Lou's birthday. She will be 10 and that is so much more grown up that 9! She was so pleased to receive a letter from you.

I am sorry about the medicine. What a waste! Was the letter that came with it ant help to the Army to make you up some more or shall I call Wilhelm's back again? Let me know, o.k.?

I have been busy painting for the past week. Greg gave up on the dining room job—shelves, wall and cupboards—so I had to take over. Gave them two coats of pale blue to blend with our new blue shag rug. I still have the insides of the cupboards to do. Maybe tomorrow.

I have also started my hex sign for the garage. Remember the Pennsylvania dutch "distelfink" bird over the kitchen table? Well, I am doing it as a 3’, 10" good luck symbol for our garage. Enamel on enamel, a slick combo to work with but so far it looks o.k. (at a distance).

Mike is here in the basement building a box for his camera equipment. Just like Bill made a box for his tapes. Hinges & locks and all done with Allen Lumber. Very nice—but heavy.

full image 62kb

Bill passed his physical. The Army didn't think his bad skin on his back was bad enough to disqualify him. So he decided to grow a beard, etc. before he has to be shaved like you. He expects a call from Uncle Sam in April but I hope not.

Until later—Much love, Mom

P.S. Got your request for your records after we sent the guitar. Pretty music to you!

[Enclosed are Peanuts and Beetle Bailey comics.]

83.  Mom


Aug 21

Dear John,

Sorry I missed your call last night but here is your $ order. Hope the car doesn't cost a great deal in repairs while you have it. I know that it will make your time off a great deal more enjoyable. Se all that you can. The chance may not come again for that part of the country.

Well, knowing that your dad wrote to you yesterday and talked to last night there probably isn't much for me to add today.

You still haven't told me whether or not the serum was any good. Did a doctor check it out for you? I have waited to hear from you before I called Dr. Wilhelm's again.

We are checking that list of 4 records for you. I'll get it out as soon as possible. If you decide to reject the teaching job, won't you have a lot of stuff to move to your next assignment? We were pleased, by the way, with that high 90’s score. Keep up the good work and don't fall asleep in class.

I'm off now to your friendly credit union-- Bye, bye, Mom

Your balance is $1276.25

86.  Mom

Monday p.m.

Aug 28

Hi John,

Hoped to hear from you by today—don't know whether or not you received the money order I sent to you last week.

Everything o.k.? Things are moving along so fast here—only a few weeks before school begins. Winter clothes are in all the stores—Pre season sales an skis and equipment. Back to school signs in Kresge’s windows. I wonder where the summer went?

The so-called lazy days of summer are a figment of someone's imagination. I haven't seen any.

Your dad & I hung our hex sign on our garage yesterday—no champagne but I really am quite proud of it. Have had some nice comments on it. Now, your dad is going to paint the garage door.

Lynn and her friend Bob W. took the twins and a couple of friends out to Pine Knob last night. Just dropped them off to see Cream (no—"Bread") and picked them up after the show. The boys paid $4.00 to sit on the grass for a 2 hour show. I guess that they enjoyed it. After much rain the evening turned out nice. Greg now wants to see Black Sabbath at Cobo H. next Sunday but he is out of "bread" (That's a pun, son).

Speaking of school—did Lynn tell you that she is going back to school to get her degree? Needless to say I am tickled pink. She is going to do it at both Mercy and Marygrove. She figures on graduating next April. Hallalooia!!

If this letter seems a bit disjointed and silly, it is because I have had a long, hard day and my brain is tired.

But I saved you my love and prayers and hope to hear from you tomorrow.

P.S. What about your allergy serum????

88.  Mom

Wed. Aft.

Sept. 6

Dear John,

It is hard to believe but the kids have started back to school today. The summer is gone-flown by so fast that I feel it was just a couple weeks ago that we were all down in Ft. Knox. Time is probably standing still for you except that you were wrong when you said you had two more years in the Army—Say 1-1/2 Psychologically, it sounds better.

By the way—where was that snap shot taken? Whose house? Thought that you would have a batch of snaps sent home by now. I considered putting them in an album for you to laugh at and groan over when you get out.

Not much new here. Lynn also started her night classes last night. It makes a long day on Tuesdays and Thursdays but it will be worth it to her next April when she receives her diploma and degree. Jim dropped out of day school to drive a Pepsi truck. Says that he is going to night school but I don't know for sure. An expensive apartment (if he ever gets in it) and lots of new furniture may keep him tied to a pay check instead of text books!

Mark joined a little league hockey team a month ago. Got him new skates and he is spending his paper profits on equipment plus $2.00 to practice every week. A new, huge indoor rink opened up on John Daly an Wick road so your dad and I take turns with Cartwrights driving the boys to and from practice.

Talked to your uncle Jim by ‘phone last week. He asked for you and sends his greetings. Your dad wants to get to Chicago for a weekend this fall.

When he saw the new Ford campers at the State Fair he got the idea of owning one. One that sleeps 6 and costs about $6,000.00! Looking at those things does bring out the gypsy in him.

Well, down to the P.O. with this and your magazine. Keep up the studies, John, and God bless.


Also glad about your new stripe! Any change in your address?

90.  Mom

Sept. 12


Hi! I had the machine out to do a little typing for your father and decided to write your weekly newsletter.

Yesterday Jim and I spent most of the day in the emergency ward of two hospitals. He called here at 6:00 yesterday morning to tell us that he hadn't slept all night because of an injured knee. He puled some ligaments in the right knee playing "touch football" Sunday afternoon. Someone "touched" him too hard. Anyway, I took him into Wayne County General emergency at about 7:00 and stayed until almost 10:30. They wanted him to come back at 2:00 so that a professor from U. of M. could examine him and decide whether or not surgery was necessary.

(I just called him at his apartment and he decided to make an appointment with the doctor at the Vet’s hospital for Friday.)

We spent three hours at the Vet’s hospital in the afternoon trying to get some service. I thought that as long as he was a veteran he might as well get some of the benefits. Well, we shall see.

Grampa had his 75th birthday on the eighth and his sons and his daughters went over to celebrate with him. Well really, Sue and Al could not make it so it was only a partial party.

It seems like November is here today. It is gray and rainy and the driveway is full of fallen leaves. I can't believe that Fall is here already! The "last rose of summer" has been here and gone.

We are quite proud of you and your high score on your last test. Do keep up the good work. Who knows? This experience may lead you on to bigger and better things in the Edison Company on your return next April of ’74.

Bill told me that he is in the process of buying a whole new wardrobe. Perhaps he is counting on the volunteer draft after the first of the year. I forgot to ask him that. But he gave away a pajama top and several of his old shirts and has been buying new pants and sportshirts lately.

Mark has gym class this year and I think that the gym shorts I resurrected are the ones that you and Bill and the twins wore for their gym classes. Doesn't that give you a nostalgic kick?

This past Sunday your dad and I took a tour of the 100 year old houses in Marshall, Michigan. I thought that it might be something to look into as a possible future move until we discovered that these old homes cost around $65,000; and then you have to put in a great deal of money to renovate them. Wow!

Let's see, what else is new?

Well, Bill, of course, wants to move out on his own and thought that maybe he could take over Jim's apartment expenses while Jim is out of work. The place is nice. Brand new with living room, bedroom, bath and fully equipped kitchen (including dish washer). It is carpeted in avocado green. Do you know the district around Goddard and Allen Road?

Well, here comes your dad home for his dinner so I will have to close this chapter.

Bye the bye, I bought that album I mentioned in my last letter and have two pages with pictures of your camp life. Would you care to add to the collection?

Much love,

93.  Mom

Tues. Sept [September 19; postmarked September 19,1972]

Dear John,

Here I am—on the corner of Plymouth road and "the Hair Shop for Men" waiting for Mike to get his hair styled. Your dad isn't quite ready for the twins to take the car by themselves so I had to come along for the ride. It will be worth the wait just to see his face again (Mike’s, that is). He has been looking like Hairless Joe in the ‘Lil Abner comics for weeks now.

I was delighted to see those report cards. Looking at those marks, I thought back a few years . . . .

Your side trips around that part of the country must certainly help make life a little pleasant for you fellows. It isn't skiing weather but mountain climbing sounds healthy.

Speaking of skiing—Lynn keeps waiting to hear what you want for your old skis—and would the boots be included? These are for Julie, of course.

Jim is back to work today, I guess. Boy, that knee is really something. He is limping and the orthopedic surgeon won't check it until next Monday but he fibbed to the Pepsi boss about it not bothering him. He was really afraid of losing the job.

Mark started a letter to you a few says ago. Don't know whether he finished it. (He didn't think that you would be interested in hearing from him.) Anyway, he wanted to tell you about Bo McCahill coaching their team in hockey.

Every once in a while Bo will pass me in his car and hang out the window, waving wildly and making silly faces while he yells, "Hi, Mrs. Schneider!" Still seems to be kind of nutty.

Saw John Neph with a cute little gal the other day. How he get ‘em?

Still am waiting to meet your brother Bill's girl, Gail.

Have to start another page now. It does take some time to get a fellow’s hair styled. Some money, too—about $10.00. Doesn't that make the Army’s sound better.

We thought that you might be interested in seeing my art work on the garage so we are having a reprint made to send you. It will be ready in about a week. I am anxious to see yours, too.


Oh wow! Mike has a Shag. Need I say more?

I'll say so long for now. I want to get this out today. Also am sending your magazine out..

Love, and prayers

96.  Mom

Monday Nite

Sept 25

Dear John

How are you? Everything is going well for you, I hope. I am waiting for the last load of washing before I can call it a day (it is 7:45). The basement corner is not bad now, to sit and write letters or study. Mike dusted and swept up a bit today because he and Greg are expecting a bunch from the float committee tomorrow night. They will be making up paper flowers for a couple of hours down here. Greg told me not to pull my Erma Bombeck act and I was instructed not to come down stairs in my pajamas or underwear. Imagine!! Mike doesn't want to have to introduce me to all those kids.

The floats this year are to have a song title theme and the Juniors song has something to do with jelly or jam, I forget.

Mark and Mary Lou went out to the orchard with us yesterday and we picked up 2 bushels of Jonathon apples. We had to pick in between the rain showers. It rained today, too. This has been the rainiest summer in many, many moons.

You will see another change in the place when you get home.. Your dad and I ordered new carpeting for the living room & hall—not wall to wall but room size rugs. It is a bright and pretty shag . . . shades of green, gold and melon. I also have picked out a wall paper for the upstairs—stair well. Now, if I could only get someone to finish yours and Bill's bedroom!

Dad and I took Saturday night off and dined out and dances ‘til the wee hours (at least ‘till 11:30) at the annual 300 Club bash. Didn't win any prizes but had a good time and a good chicken dinner. Saw young Fran Redouty there with his new bride.

Mrs. Neph said that Gary K. and, Who's the gig guy, Nels?, have been called for their physicals. Have you heard from any of that crowd lately?

Danny Perk is on a medical ship somewhere near Greece and will be there for three years or so. That is really a long way from home.

We got some bad news about our color T.V. It needs a new picture tube--$140.00 so we are watching on good old black and white again. Black & white may cure me from my soap operas, though,

Can't think of anything else right now except a hot bath and bed.

Hope we hear from you 2 morrow and your latest travelogues.

Love and prayers,

98.  Mom


Oct. [October 4; postmarked October 4, 1972]

Dear John

Happy to get your letter and snaps. Say, if that is the little camera we sent to you that took those pictures, it is doing a pretty good job! Those mountains and hills are quite different from the ones you saw in Pennsylvania, aren't they? It is impressive looking country and I hope that you get to see more of it.

Bad news about the theft of your $200. Does every locker have the same lock? Of course, that doesn't make sense, does it? Perhaps someone had a master key.

Thank you for the kind words about my painting. Right now we are in the middle of another paint job—the stairs and upstairs hall. We are putting wall paper on part of it. Hope every one likes it but whether they do or not, it is going to be there for a while!

After this, comes the living room floor plus the hall. I have an idea that they will require refinishing to make the new rug look o.k.

As much redecorating as I have been planning this past summer and fall, it is nothing compared to your Aunt Eve Ann. She took me out to Farmington to see the model of the home they are planning on building and like "Wow!" It is going to be gorgeous. The house is huge and the area is beautiful . . . but so much for our rich relations.

I don't know what coverage these past two Tiger games were given in the press that you have seen but this town is going berserk with pennant fever again. Mike & Greg were lucky enough to get to both games and didn't get home until 1:15 this morning from last night’s chaos. They were really thrilled with all the excitement of the post game madness. Almost 52,000 fans and I guess most of them tore around and up the field after the game. But more about that later, I'm sure!

Keep those snaps and letters coming.


[Enclosed is Joe Falls column on the final win by the Tigers clinching the pennant in the American League East.]

101.  Mom

Wed., Oct 11

Dear John,

If I don't stop everything I am doing and sit right down this letter will never get written. It is hard to believe that a week has passed since I last wrote.

While I remember—we are in the process of looking for a box or something to send that camera in. One of these days we will get it down to you. My friend at the post office was killed last week by a robber. He gave the guy the money from the cash register drawer but I guess he refused to come out from behind the counter so the maniac shot him. I feel badly about it because he was so nice to me when I had mailing problems for you and Jim. Police know who did but haven't caught him yet.

A piece of news about Bill. He is planning on moving out this weekend. He seems so excited and I think that several of his brothers & sisters are turning a bit green with envy. I haven't seen his place yet. He tells me that he will share living room, bath and kitchen with two others, (fellow) of course. It will be something for him to do his own cooking, cleaning and laundry!

Tonight we are having a tile man come over to estimate a job on the upstairs bath room. I tell you, you won't know this place come next December! I had to send the wallpaper back because the eagles didn't match on the edges so that job is still to be finished.

Well, by this time your tip to the Grand Canyon may be over. I am sure that you must have loved every minute of it. I could get excited about a weekend to Chicago, myself.

Greg is excited because he is going to the "homecoming" dance this weekend. (Did I tell you this?) His date is SENIOR Ann Vivian. She is darling—I met her to talk to a couple of times. I'll tell you more about it when the week end is over. Or perhaps he will tell you, himself.

Anyway—bye for now—Love,

103.  Mom

Wednesday [October 18; postmarked October 19, 1972]

Dear John,

Like you, I guess I could say "nothing much happening." As you know, we have been involved with home work. The upstairs bath is now completed and the stair well finally got its eagles papered on. Your father and I worked 5 hours on it the other night and I got the distinct impression that it would NEVER, EVER be done again. Oh well, it does look good.

Bill has been in the process of moving since last Friday. Last night he came here with a trash bag full of dirty laundry. I gave him lesson I in "How To Master the Art of Sorting and Washing Clothes."

You wouldn't believe how neat and tidy your room looks now with both beds made and no clothes draping over everything.

Do you know what I wish you could send me? About 60 degrees of your heat and sunshine. Would you believe that we have had snow flurries forecasted for the past two days? The nights are down into the 20's. Wow, I can't remember a colder October. Hope you appreciate your weather down there, if nothing else.

How does it go? You haven't mentioned the rumor about the other school, since that 1st time. Anything new? Any more trips? Do you think that you will be home this month?

Now, with all those questions in front of you--how about sitting down and writing some answers. In the meantime, take care.

Love and prayers,

106.  Mom

Oct 29

Sunday Aft.

Dear John,

Back in the routine again after a happy, stimulating weekend home. Right? I sincerely hope so.

By now you probably have received your ballot. The city clerk told me to warn you about sending it back before the 7th. Anytime after that and they file it in the waste basket. And quite a few ballots are lost that way, which surprised me.

I went over a sample ballot this morning and read about the candidates then marked the sample to take with me into the booth.

We had quite a noisy discussion Friday night when Dillons and Ambroses were here. It is really true about politics making the temperature rise.

I gave Scotty’s dog house away to Rufus Dillon but I couldn't watch Bill D. & Mike load it into their station wagon. Even with the change in the back yard I can still see those two mutts sitting in that doghouse door. I'll bet that I haven't taken more than two walks in the park since the dog is gone.

Your dad is having trouble with the LTD again. It wouldn't start for him after Mass this a.m. Bill was here at the time and drove over with the boosters but they couldn't start it. This is the second time in the last few weeks. Once I had to have a professional boost. Anyway, that is the way we are spending Sunday afternoon.

The twins will be sorry to see Lynn come home tonight. She let them use her car for the weekend. They had to supply their own gas and come to amicable agreement on use. She is very generous, I think.

She is visiting the sights (?) around Morristown, N.J. with Bob Wis. (I just can't spell his name) and staying at his sister's home. Isn't that a lovely relationship? She has a real "boy" friend in Bob.

Must start dinner now and whoops! Your father wants me to check out a ’70 L.T.D. from a paper ad.

More about that later, perhaps.

109.  Mom


Nov. 8, ’72

Hi John,

All the hoopla is over now concerning the election. Your dad and I went over to the Twin Towers early and only had a 40 minute wait but Lynn had an hour to wait when the polls opened at 7 a.m.

This was all your 1st presidential election, wasn't it? Jim stopped in for dinner before he voted, then later told me that he had seen Bill in the lines. I don't know whether you would get the same feeling filling out an absentee ballot as you do pulling the levers in the booth. Wonder what the next four years will bring for all of us. By then Mark will be almost 18—draft age—a thought I keep pushing aside.

Well, what have you been up to recently? Are you keeping the orderly room orderly? We keep wondering, from mail to mail, how you are and what you are doing, and where You're doing it.

Just talked to Bill on the phone. Called for Dr. Becker’s number. Sore tooth. I guess that he is going to be moving around the 18th of this month. His landlord has another place that sounds better to him.

The enclosed clipping from the daily eagle explains what has been keeping Greg & Mike busy the last few weeks. [The Junior Class play, "Mr. Roberts."] That should be a fun evening for all of us!

I see a FOR SALE sign up on the Minor’s lawn this morning. Wonder why. Wonder if their new neighbors have anything to do with their wanting to move.

No more tidbits of information except that Mary Lou's papa fish died yesterday and we don't know why.

Oh yes, your dad and I watched one of Mark’s hockey games the other night. I was quite impressed with them. Of course they won but what surprised me was how big they looked on the rink. And Bo’s "little brother" is quite tall, isn't he? Bo doesn't do any more coaching, I guess.

Bye for now, love, and please write to us soon.


111.  Mom


Nov. 14, ’72

Dear John,

Her I am sitting in the dining room and watching the rain and snow turn the back yard into a winter scene. Can imagine how you loved California. Hard for you to understand surfing in November? Hard for me to understand this blizzard in November!

Spent the day yesterday driving your brothers and sister around for various and sundry reasons. Mary Lou told you about Jim's second knee accident. Same knee—just threw it out in running at "touch football." Took him in to Wayne County General where they put another cast on. In three weeks it will come off and the doctor will tell him whether or not surgery will be necessary. So he is off work—again—

Yes, it would be wise to get your Christmas leave settled and your plane reservations made now. Lynn is going east to New Jersey to visit Bob W. again on December 26 and she made her reservations last Saturday. The airline told her that she should not wait to book even her return flight now.

Speaking of Bob W. (I can't spell his name), Lynn invited him here for Thanksgiving dinner. Don't know how Julie feels about it.

We certainly will miss your smiling face around our Thanksgiving feast next week. You know, you didn't say where, in Oklahoma you were going last week end. Oklahoma City, by any chance?

My your brother would certainly like to move back to California! Of course, he was in a depressed mood yesterday and this rotten weather did not help at all.

No more family news but your remark about your voting made me wonder. If "what I don't know doesn't hurt you" should I be concerned about other church relations? My prayers are very fervent these days for all my children.

Much love,

113.  Mom

[Thanksgiving Card; postmarked November 20, 1972]

Have a good day wherever you are.
Love, Mom

115.  Mom

Sunday aft. [November 26; postmarked November 27, 1972]

Dear John,

This was a really busy week around here--getting ready for Thanksgiving, then the day itself, having a houseguest and now tonight your grandfather and Sister Ann Louis are coming for dinner. Starting tomorrow I have to get myself ready for Christmas.

Lynn' friend Bob left this afternoon at 2:30 and Julie pulls in at 3:00. I really have to laugh at that triangle. Bob was no trouble at all. He brought us a bottle of French Champagne which I served with our turkey dinner. Then Saturday he brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers. Now, Lynn has made reservations for Christmas Eve for a flight to N.J.

Hope your $50.00 arrived in time. Your bank balance is now just $991.00. I have saved receipts for you in case you want to audit your account. I am really curious about your next assignment. When will they let you know, I wonder? If your friend was sent to Okinawa, what are your chances for that place?

Time out for dinner.

----------------------- 30 ----------------------


I want to finish this up now and get it down to the P.O. Hope the address is okay! Course you'll never know if you don't get it, will you?

We had a nice dinner last night. Grampa conned Lynn into driving Sister home--she is stationed down at Redeemer now. She is going to have to spend X-mas in Providence Hospital--gall stone operation. Not a fun way to spend a vacation.

Have to get to the store. This is our 1st day for left-over turkey and I'm not quite sure how to disguise it yet. I enclosed part of it in this letter for you and a friend. May you both get your wishes!


[Enclosed in the letter envelope was the wishbone from the turkey. It is no longer extant.]

130.  Mom

January 18 [1973]

Dear John,

This has been a long time coming, I know, but as I told you on the phone last month it has been hard to write. Actually, hard is not the word. Impossible is more like it but I think that you can understand why.

So this will not be a letter in the usual sense . . . no tidbits of family goings on or gossip. Suffice it to say that all are well as far as I know.

This will not be a lecture, either. As a young man almost 21 you would not appreciate it nor listen to it. Just a few thoughts that have been running through my mind along with some mental snap shots.

Your brothers, and I imagine you too, have accused me of being "too emotional" about this misfortune (and this is your word) you find yourself in. Perhaps this is true. Even my mother's love and concern for my children when they find themselves in trouble is no excuse for my "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." However, this is something that I have been working on very hard lately. So do not be afraid that I am going to jump through the phone at you. What ever comes up feel no hesitation in telling me. I know that your father is quite cool in situations and I am trying.

You haven't been far from my thoughts in the last few weeks and in between thoughts of wondering—about your future mainly—these pictures flutter through. A three year old in a brown suit holding a large yellow cat . . . The back of a 17 year old in the front window of the high school . . . A very proud fellow in light blue ruffled shirt . . . the working man with a great deal of hair and moustache with a tiny navy hat perched on top . . . a young man in a hospital bed talking a blue streak before surgery . . . your rocking a path in front of the picture window . . . a first glimpse of a good looking soldier minus all that hair and moustache . . . and finally the last one—watching you leave on that last big jet.

I told you that this wasn't going to be a regular letter. Be assured of my love and support in all you do!


134.  Mom


Feb. 22

Dear John,

While awaiting for Mary Lou's cookies to come out of the oven, I thought I could get this "hello" down on paper to you. How are things working out for you now? Slowly, I suppose. Every day I keep hoping to hear from you saying that you have been reassigned into some fantastic new job.

In the week since you left here we have had 3 new snow storms and I have shoveled six more inches of the white stuff. Did your dad tell you that we stopped at Alpine last Sunday and just how packed it was?

Last night, we had your father's birthday dinner. Two missing this year. Lynn came late--9:30--because she had to attend a class at Marygrove. It was a short but enjoyable evening--a few laughs. You know how your brothers can get!

Lynn is going to New Jersey tonight to spend the weekend with Bob W. at his parents home. She told him that she really couldn't afford his invitation so he is paying half her fare. He certainly is persistent.

We are (Dad & I) going to a play at Meadowbrook tomorrow night. Sue & Al are giving us their tickets. Hope that it will be worth that long trip to Rochester.

Well, the cookies are finished and so am I. They smell wonderful and now I have to shop for dinner.

Hope to hear from you this week. Good news, I hope.

Say hello to your sergeant for me--a nice person!


135.  Mom

Feb. 26 [1973]

Dear John,

Your letter arrived this afternoon and I must say that it made me happy to hear such a positive attitude shining through it. You will be o.k. and work things out, I am sure, for your ultimate happiness and satisfaction!

Your father's "camping fever" is wondrous to watch develop. Of course, his idea of a camper right now is one of those 20 footers with the canvas extensions.

I, however, lean to the 28 footer with the tile shower and luxury appointments. You know--air conditioning for the desert and electric heat for the upper Michigan. We have dozens of pamphlets and we walked through about 4000 models at the show. One thing surprised me, though.

I told the family when Bill was here for dinner, that I would trade my Hawaii trip for an extended camping trip out West. Would you believe that Mark & Mary Lou were the only ones who would even consider it? Everyone else, like you, would like to borrow it for themselves--even the twins. Well, we'll have to wait and see what develops.

You heard about Greg falling on the ice rink and spraining his shoulder, didn't you? Well, 4 days later Mark's hockey coach called and told me that Mark had been hit with a hockey stick and would need some stitches. So, I again trotted to Annapolis hospital emergency room. Mark had 5 stitches taken in his chin. Maybe he'll have two dimples there now. Dr. Procailo (remember him?) will have to remove them tomorrow.

And so life and injuries at the Schneiders goes on. Tune in again next week for more excitement!


140.  Mom

March 8 [1973]


Dear John,

You must have received your sister's announcement letter by now. I can imagine that you were as surprised as the rest of us. We held off writing to you because she wanted to tell you herself. Now we can understand the trips to both Buffalo and New Jersey. It just was not in the cards for Julie and thank goodness her decision was made now and not 2 years from now.

She is very happy and I am happy for her. Bob treats her as is she were a princess, she tells me. Anyway, we are knee deep in wedding preparations and I am really enjoying every minute of it. Remember, I told you to save up your leave days for a really big celebration in June! I didn't think that it would be for a wedding but you certainly will be able to get home for this, won't you?

This will really be a Schneider spectacular. Everyone will have a special part (if I can change Mark’s mind about serving the Mass). Mark is being confirmed next Monday evening. Lynn is giving her seminar paper on the 29th. Then her graduation, Mark’s graduation from 8th grade, your father’s and my 25th anniversary. Wow—plus all the birthdays coming up—this will really be an exciting Spring around here.

Now tell us about yourself. I wanted to call but I knew that if I did I would talk too long and the phone bill would rival the national debt again. We have been wondering about you, of course, hoping things were shaping up tolerably well. It is a good thing that you wrapped up your skis. I think that perhaps winter’s back has been broken. We have been having 60 degree + weather for the past week. Did Lynn tell you that the skis she bought from you came apart on Julie? Poor guy—one more thing breaking up on him. Those are the breaks. Lynn asked him to come to her wedding! Can you imagine? He refused, tho.


142.  Mom

[St. Patrick’s Day Card; postmarked March 14, 1973]

John Joseph Francis—

Also a kiss on the top of the head from

Quartermaster School: April 1--September, 1973

Fort Lee, Virginia

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

145.  Mom

April 11, '73

Dear John,

Seems like a long time since I have written a letter to you with your phone calls and your visit home. I rather expected to see you home this past weekend.

That's what you planned when you left here with Bill. Saving your money for Easter leave?

Bill really loved his ride back over the mountains skyline drive. I think that he is hoping to go back this summer some time after he quits work.

Speaking of work--I suppose your dad told you how the work in the basement is coming along. He and Greg worked most of Saturday and Mike helped him after dinner last night. The paneling really looks pretty but the basement itself looks like a disaster area. Slowly but surely we'll have it completed for the festivities in June.

Lynn spent the weekend in N.J. with Bob and said they made a mistake in naming the date in June. It should be next month or sooner! So she is more sure than ever that her decision was the right one.

Mary Lou and I are going downtown this noon. Eating lunch at Edison with your dad then hopefully buying my Mother-of-the-Bride's dress. It is kind of fun to go shopping for something you really have to buy even though it is going to put a dent in the budget.

Well, I have to get Mark's peanut butter sandwich made now and get ready to pick up Mary Lou.

Haven't asked you about your schooling because you seem to be so bored with it a few weeks ago. Hope things have improved for you.

Take care--Love,

146.  Mom

[Postmarked April 25, 1973]

Dear John,

full image 62kbfull image 62kb

Hope to see you this weekend--not that the weather is supposed to be hot. Your checks are deposited in your acct. Not much new since last we talked but my thoughts and love are with you.


[This letter is a puzzle from Kellogg's, a card 3" by 10" with a writing side and a picture on the other of a toaster sailing in a boat on a lake. Milton's Puzzling Notes. Write the letter and break up the pieces for the receiver to put them together to read.]

148.  Mom

Wed. Morning [May 2; postmarked May 2, 1973]

Dear John,

Here it is—just in time, I hope. Only thing new since we talked last night is Bill's ball playing. His first game is tonight at 9:30 under lights at Garden City East. He will be disappointed if it rains because he is getting a big kick out of playing. He discovered some new muscles in his practicing every night. Dad and I are going to watch.

I am off now to the Credit Union—then to the post office. Your C.U. balance is now $429.64

Luck in your tests!


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

150.  Mom


May 14

You hoo—John!

Where are you hiding yourself these days? We thought that we might have heard from you yesterday. Maybe all the lines were busy?

I do get concerned when I don't hear—Did you get your money order o.k.? Did you pass your final tests? We presume that your new assignment has not come through yet.

I don't suppose Lynn wrote to you yet. She has been putting off some important phone calls although the lines from N.J. and N.Y. have been hot and heavy recently!

She has postponed the wedding and as of now she has no definite plans as to when, where or to whom it will be. Details are confusing but I do know that she isn't too happy right now. Bob is coming in by Greyhound Saturday and she is moving out there to stay with his folks until she finds a place to stay and a job. He is driving her back in her car on Sunday. She said that she wanted to move to N.J. anyway, because she loves it out there and perhaps she can make her decision between Bob & Julie this summer.

I know this reads like a soap opera but I could not see her marrying Bob next month still being so unsure of her feelings for him.

Anyway, that is the latest in the saga of Lynn versus Bob, versus Julie.

Now, will you please sit down and tell us about yourself? Please?

My love and prayers be with you!

155.  Mom

[Birthday Card; postmarked May 17, 1973]

John, your dad and I will send you your birthday gift when we hear from you—where You'll be stationed. It would be great to be able to hand it to you personally!

In the meantime think happy thoughts today—Love, Mom

159.  Mom

May 21, ’73

Happy Birthday, John,

Hate not able to bake you a birthday cake today. Especially a rather momentous one. It has been such a swift 21 years. Little kids always seem to live in the future but I'll bet you are doing some of that too, these days. Well, only 11 more months—maybe less. Hope your cards arrived by now and you got my message. What would you like us to send you for your birthday gift?

Lynn left home on Saturday. 24 years of accumulations stuffed in the little Mustang. Julie flew in from his parents home in Buffalo so that he could drive her to Wilmington, Delaware where she hopes to find a place to live and a job.

Just like a couple of gypsies. Taking off for an unknown city with no place to live—(Julie doesn't have an apt. either.) Lynn has your new address and told me that she would write to you and tell you all about her latest escapade.

So today I washed walls, ceiling, curtains, windows, etc. and gave the room over to Mary Lou who will most likely turn it into a jungle. She has two huge posters of dogs to go up on the walls and along with Snoopy and a 3 x 5 memo board filled with pictures of animals it will look more like the Humane Society than a little girl’s room.

Greg and Mike have to get down off cloud 9 again and get back to school work. Greg took his girl, Cindy Jones, out for dinner Saturday night—to the "Top of the Ponch." He didn't go to the prom.

Mike’s tux looked very much like the one you wore—blue suit, light blue ruffled shirt and black velvet bow tie. Ellen looked pretty in her pink gown. I hope the pictures turn out—they both looked very nice.

I feel badly about your idea of not being able to get home, especially next month. I did so want my whole family with me that day. Lynn is coming home that weekend. She has a fitting for her wedding gown that Saturday. Maybe by then she will have her head together. I don't want her to rush into anything again.

Well, back to work. The washer and dryer are calling my name.

Let us know What's going on with you. Ok?


161.  Mom and Dad

[Western Union Mailgram dated May 24, 1973]


162.  Mom

[no date; no postmark]

Hi Love,

Enjoy your visit with Bill! This enclosure is for your birthday. I really ache for your happiness but hope that your inner strength will carry you over these dark days. I have every confidence in you to shake these blues. ("Blues" have inspired some beautiful music in the past. Perhaps you can come up with another "Stormy Weather."

At any rate, take this with our love, prayers, and hopes for better days.

164.  Mom

Wednesday p.m. [May 30; postmarked May 31, 1973]

Dear John,

Put down your guitar and hear the latest bulletin from the Schneider news.

Jim brought Linda Barrazini over last night and announced their brand new engagement Can you make an October wedding? Honestly, I am getting wedding fever now—with all the talk and plans and cancellations from Lynn—now, to hear from the "swinging bachelor" that he is going to go double instead of single—wow! Do you know Linda? Ever met her? She seems like a very nice, down to earth type of girl—pretty, too. She will be 21 in August and Jim will be 23 in July—Both Leo’s—a healthy combination. Jim called tonight asking advice on buying a diamond. He called and told Lynn last night. She was quite shocked but I hope it doesn't pressure her into any ill advised decision.

Bill got home at 3:30 this afternoon. He spent a few hours sleeping (?) in a rest stop near Breezewood last night and started for home about 5 a.m. No problem with the car but he only had $1.00 in his pocket and hadn't eaten all day. His ball game was cancelled but he is out now. It is great to be so young and resilient—like you young people.

Hope you enjoyed your leave. I am glad you weren't alone on a holiday. Now that you have your friend guitar with you perhaps you won't hit the panic-depression button. Anyway, you can run up to Wilmington and your sister will be glad to share a pad with you. I sent her money that was borrowed for the car so she won't be caught short before she gets a pay day.

Perhaps we will be able to see you one of these weeks. You know that I'll be thinking of you often so please write and tell us how things are going with you. O.K.?

Much Love,

PS. Loved those pictures from Ocean City!

166.  Mom


June 22

Dear John,

Sitting in Dr. Dodrill’s office just waiting for him to give Greg his annual check-up and to O.K. Michael after his little episode a few month’s ago. My writing is being done on my lap thus explaining how it looks like hen tracks.

Your dad and I are back to normal after our long and wondrous three day celebration. We missed those of you who could not share our special Mass celebration on Tuesday. You probably would have thought that it was "far out" to see your Mom and Dad clasping right hands and repeating those famous lines, "I, Audrey, take you Lou. . . ." etc. My voice, and your dad’s too, was a bit unsteady. I was very conscious of five of my children witnessing these vows.

After Mass we took Fathers Petit and Cusmono, Grampa, Sister Ann Louis and Eve Ann to Dearborn Inn for breakfast. Jim had to pick up his truck at 8 so he missed the Mass but he did meet us for breakfast—Pepsi uniform, chunky shoes and all. The 13 of us had a great time!

That evening your dad and I went to Fox and Hounds for a great roast beef dinner.

Now the streamers and balloons are gone but I will be a long time remembering the joys of having my family and good friends around me to help me celebrate!

Guess it is too soon to hear from you but don't forget your promise to write more often, even if it is just to say "there is nothing new." You looked so grim and unhappy last weekend. I wish that there was something I could do to lighten your burden—like push the clock faster for you.

Love and kind thoughts for our "minstrel of the dawn." [A reference to Gordon Lightfoot's song of that title, a favorite of mine.]

168.  Mom


July 3

Dear John,

What a beautiful, sunny, hot day here. The days are slipping away and before I know it the summer will be gone. I'd like to grab and hold on to each one and you would like to push them away faster and faster. Right?

We have been busy around here lately. Last Friday morning four of us helped Grampa move some of his things from Longacre to Kundig Center. He has taken a room down there to be near Sr. Ann Louis for the summer. It is like a motel complex for senior citizens. He likes it but it is so tiny in comparison to his house.

Michael and Jim Dillon are removing all the wallpaper and paint. All grampa’s things are stored in the basement. Wow, what a mess!

Then, your brother James has been helping to fix up his and Linda’s prospective house. They bought Grampa’s old stove and kitchen set. Your dad helped him move it Saturday.

But the biggest news of all is about our newest star border. Her name is Pepper. Mary Lou picked her out at the Humane Society Friday afternoon. She is about 6-8 weeks, is black with brown boots and brown eyebrows and Mary Lou is taking complete charge of her starting with paying $15.00 towards her purchase. Maybe she will write to you about her new "baby."

Bill started a new job this morning. You know how he hated working at Allen Lumber. Well, your dad and I were talking to Mrs. Polak Saturday. She told us that her husband needed a fellow to help load cargo planes at Willow Run airport. 12 hours a day, six days a week, (about 66 hours a week) at $3.25 an hour. At time and 1/2 after 40 hours he will be making a nice little bundle a week.

It will be hard work, perhaps, but it may eliminate part time work while he is in school. This job only lasts for about 2 months. Most of the men working on this job are college men, working their way through school. Isn't it nice that I have friends in high places?

Think that I have brought you up to date on happenings around here. Now, what about you? I keep watching for the mail from Va.


170.  Mom


July [July 10; postmarked July 10, 1973]

Dear John,

Here the east has been having a heat wave and I can just see you and your friends swinging on some vine and landing in a river! Sounds like something out of Tom Sawyer.

Your letter was gratefully received but did leave me with some questions. It was the first time you have mentioned "chicks" in any letter and you were very vague about this particular "chick." Just a first name. Would you like to tell us how you met her? Is she a local girl?

I pictured the camp as being out in the middle of nowhere. Is there a movie house or a soda bar or a bowling alley or someplace to dance around your camp?

Not much new here at home. We haven't heard from Lynn since we called her on Memorial Day.

Jim's wedding plans seem to be finally getting organized. They have, at last, been able to get the hall for the reception and the church settled for the same date. It is now set for November 9—Friday evening at 5 o’clock.

Your dad and Mark helped Jim move into the house last Sunday. A good way to protect the place. His knee is bothering him again. It seems that he jumped into a pool from someone's garage last Saturday night. Must have been a wild party! Anyway he has to stay off it for a week and have X-rays again—just like last time.

You were luckier than he was. That fork lift race could have hurt you. Is this the way you guys spend your lunch hour? [A friend and I were goofing off while high on the job inside a food storage warehouse and backed up our forklifts to a closed warehouse door in order to "race" a short distance. I forgot to shift out of reverse into drive, and when the race started I backed into the door--lots of damage! I was ordered not to drive a forklift again!]

We got a new glider for our patio and this is where I am writing to you from. It is very nice, I think.

By the way these cartoons are by Mark. I noticed that he has every page in my writing pad drawn on.

Bye, bye.


173.  Mom

July 24

Thursday p.m.

Dear John,

Mark has "The Orphanage" on (in the dining room) and the All Star game is on in the living room so if this letter is a little bit incoherent You'll know the reason why.

We have had another birthday this past week, Mark is 14 now & a real Kung Fu devotee. He prances around here just like these cartoons on the bottom of the page. Can you believe he enters high school in September? Greg and Mike find it hard to believe but then I find it hard to believe that they will be seniors in Cherry Hill in September. So you see, time does pass and come nextApril, You'll be home, too!

Speaking of Mark’s birthday. . . .we did miss you and Lynn at our dinner. Jim brought Linda, and grampa and Uncle Bud were here. Jim's 23rd birthday is the 30th and he told me that Linda wants to make Lasagna for us all. Hope she makes enough—everyone here loves it.

Lynn has called us a couple of times in the last few weeks. Nothing has been decided as far as her future goes.

How about you? What have you been doing with your days, evenings, and weekends? When is the end of this temporary duty?

Your father is deep into maps and tour books trying to plan two trips. One to Hawaii, of course, and one to the East, trying to cover Toronto, Niagara falls, Morristown and New York City. That trip is supposed to be within the next 3 weeks or so. Lynn wants Mary Lou to fly in to visit so that angle also has to be worked out if possible. I am just sitting back waiting for the word before I get too excited. So many plans have been made in this family this past spring and summer and then been cancelled that I hesitate to count on anything as positive. It is good to remain flexible. If things don't work out as you hope then you can bounce back quicker and with less unhappiness.

And that is my Polly Anna thought for today. Please write and let us know your thoughts?


175.  Mom


Aug. 4

Dear John,

It is unusual for me to take time out for letter writing on a Saturday morning but the next few days will be so busy that I may not have another free hour.

We are into another month and if I remember correctly, you said that your temporary duty down there would be up by September. Right? Any rumors concerning your next assignment? You realize, I'm sure, that you have a little over 8 more months to go. It wouldn't surprise me if you know the number of days and hours!

Bill says that today will be his last at the airport job. I thought that another two weeks of pay would tempt him but he says that he wants to rest before school starts in these three weeks. He did take a long weekend last week to go up to Higgins Lake with a bunch. While they were there, they ran up to Macinack Island (that doesn't look like the right spelling but no one here knows how). Only spent 2 hours there—can't imagine any one spending that short of time, especially when it is his 1st trip.

Lynn is coming in on Wednesday to pick Mary Lou up and they are going to fly back to N.J. on Thursday. Lynn promised M.L. a long time ago to treat her to a ‘plane ride and is now going through with it. M.L. is quietly excited about it.

Your Dad, Mike and Mark and I are going to drive over and pick her up next Sunday and show them N.Y. City and Niagara Falls. Hope the weather is nice. I do wish we had the time and money to drive down to see you.

Greg doesn't want to take time off from work. He is salting his money away with visions of a car dancing in his head. He won't be allowed to buy one before he is out of high school but their graduation will be here before I know it. Powell’s did a nice job on Greg’s picture. I'm waiting to see Mike’s proofs now.

And now, on to the Post Office and Great Scott. [A grocery store.]

Much love,

PS Mark gave Jim 10 free car washes for his birthday last week so Jim brought the "Ray" over for his 1st wash today. Mark’s home made card was cleverly done.

That was one of Jim's best gifts, I think.

Linda made a Lasagna dinner for us all the next day and we al enjoyed it.

Their wedding was postponed, too, but I guess I told you that, didn't I?

176.  Mom

Aug. 15, 1973

Dear John,

The five of us are zipping along route 81 at 65-70 miles per hour with Mike driving. Mark & Mary Lou and Dad & I and Mike left Swiftwater Inn about 11:30 this a.m. We only spent the night there, coming from N.Y. City where we spent part of Monday and Tuesday showing the kids the sights and sounds of "sin city." Remember I told you that we were going to pick up Mary Lou?

We side tracked a bit today and stopped at my grand parents old home in Wilkes Barre. Saw some of the results of that big flood from hurricane Agnes.

We may reach Niagara Falls tonight. I would like them to see the Falls lighted up at night as well as in the daylight. Then we leave for home sometime tomorrow.

It has been a whirlwind of a trip since 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Michael certainly has been getting some different driving experiences. He drove through one of the heaviest rain & wind storms that I have ever seen. Many cars pulled over and stopped along the Penn. Pike but your dad had him keep going—sometimes 30 miles an hour. I was really nervous and he was too, I'm sure. It was a long, long, two hours.

We thought that Bill would come with us but he changed his mind at the last minute. He didn't want to miss playing ball in the tournament game.

Mary Lou is probably quite anxious to see if her brothers took good care of her pet fish and dog and also her seedling fir trees.

I hope that when we get home there will be a letter from you waiting for us. I am beginning to worry about you again.

Enclosed is a glamorous picture of our motel in N.Y.C. It is located in the Puerto Rican district—Did you see the film "West Side Story"? Well, that was the neighborhood they shot the picture. Remember the song, "Slaughter on 10th Ave."? Dirty place! I would hate to live there.

I'll mail this at our next stop. Take care of yourself!


[The postcard of the Skyline Motor Inn, Mom wrote: Everyone but Momma swam in their 9th floor pool. Crazy place to put a pool!.

The letter was written on the Inn’s letterhead.]

178.  Mom

Sept. 10, ’73

Dear John,

Just received your letter and it did relieve my mind concerning that discipline action. I am glad that you are, outwardly at least, a bit cooler. These two years do test the mettle of a man, don't they? I'd like to think that the next several months will be easier for you.

As for that man you hitched a ride from—It is always a shock when you find yourself in a bad situation. Now you know why I worry about my boys almost as much as my girls. This crazy world has so many minds that begin and end with that three letter word. So many subtle ways to brain wash adults as well as youngsters into believing wrong things—books, (most of them best sellers) movies, gay libbers, etc. ad nauseum. You really have to develop quite an inner strength, don't you/

We had a nice brunch at Eve Ann’s yesterday. Their new home is quite big and very lonely. Still not finished in spots but one always has something to work on when he buys a home. After 23 years we are still working on this one.

Your dad told you that Lynn was coming home to help out next week? That pleased me a great deal and left Bill with an easier time at school—he won't be tied down to be here at 3:00 for Mary Lou's protection. Old worrisome Mom again.

We will have our address in San Francisco and Hawaii listed here on the board if you have any reason to reach us. I hope your new assignment comes through soon so we can send you cards on our trip.

Gary Kiester (Watch the ie)
285335 Hazelwood 48141

We'll be talking to you soon.

Much love and crossed fingers on a new assignment!

European Tour: October, 1973--April, 1974

Hanau, Germany

Company A, 503 Supply & Transport Battalion

183.  Mom


Oct. 25

Dear John,

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 al 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,

Lynn's Wedding Invitation

186.  Mom

Wedding invitation for Lynn Schneider and Bob Wisnweski, November 3, 1973

[Postmarked October 30, 1973]

188.  Mom

Nov. 4, 1973

Dear John,

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.

Bill--hanging wall ornament
Greg--crystal candle holder +$20
Mike--her wedding photos & album
Mark--electric can opener-sharpener
Mary Lou--whistling tea kettle
Mom & Dad--cash and a savings bond

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,

190.  Mom

[Postmarked November 15, 1973]

Thanksgiving Day Card

193.  Mom

Thanksgiving Day [November 22, 1973]

Dear John,

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 Schnieders 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.

194.  Mom

Wed. Nov. 28

Dear John,

Well, there are now—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. Tat 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,

196.  Mom


Dec. 4

Dear John,

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,

199.  Mom

Christmas Card [postmarked December 12, 1973]

208.  Mom

Dec. 29, 1973

Dear John,

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' 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.

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' 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

211.  Mom

Jan, 11, 1974

Dear John,

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."


214.  Mom

Jan. 20, 1974

Dear John,

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,

215.  Mom

Jan. 27, 1974 [Postmarked 28, 1974]

Dear John,

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.


216.  Mom

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,

218.  Mom & Dad

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



221.  Mom

Monday Aft.

Feb. 11, '74

Dear John,

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, especially Me--

223.  Mom


Feb. 24, ’74

Dear John,

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.


226.  Mom

Saint Patrick’s Day card [postmarked March 11, 1974]

228.  Mom

Thursday a.m.

March 14, 1974

Dear John,

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,

230.  Mom

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.

231.  Mom


April 1

Dear John,

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,