The Letters: from Mom p.2

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

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