The Letters: The Complete Chronology, page 2 of 12

Basic Training: April 23--July 4, 1972

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Company C, 17th Bn, 5th Bde

20.  Grampa Schneider

Thursday P.M. [May 18; postmarked May 19, 1972]

Dear John:

I wish to say a Holy and happy birthday to you, and the same would be said regardless of where you are. The experience you are now receiving is, of course, something that will serve you well, and though you may not think so at the present, still it is true, for the simple reason that any activity, providing it is good and worth while, always proves at some time in the future to be for the best. Of course, there are times when one can't quite see this, but none the less, it is, in my opinion, quite true; though no matter how difficult things might be, nevertheless, the making the best of the matter, will always prove quite helpful, and very worth while, all of which about brings me to the point of my letter, and of which I am going to speak about now, and that is your FAITH.

You have probably heard it said, that one's faith is a great help to one, in ever so many circumstances; and this, too is true; and the thing about the Faith that should appeal to you is simply because of the truth contained therein; and we do not realize how marvelous it is to have the one true Faith, and to belong to the one true Church; which is altogether too often taken for granted; but believe you me, there are ever so many people who can tell you this is the truth; and the opinion is expressed from experience, and again, because they have found out they are dealing with the truth; and this is something that one should appreciate; and realize how wonderful to have our Faith and all that means. I know it is difficult to understand this, and especially, when one is still young, but believe you me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like one's Faith, and when it happens to be the one True Faith, this is truly the pearl of great price; and it is simply not possible to tell you just what it can and will mean to a person, providing one makes himself available to the inspirations thereof.

I am going to send you the Novena leaflet to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and I don't know whether you know how much devotion I have to her, but it is, suffice to say, something, and I place Her on the top of the list, next to the Heavenly Trinity; and it should not take too much wondering why this should be so; because when you get right down to cases, if the Mother of God is not the most powerful when it comes to intercession, I don't know my marbles; but the truth again is that as a matter of history, there has never yet been a case where one sought Her aid, and went unanswered. It is just not in the books not to be heard; and I am sure that if you would resolve to make the Novena to Her, and make one right after the other, you will understand what I mean; and I am sure there are ever so many things that you would like her help in, so make up your mind to do this; and first of all, She will probably make you strong, very strong in the practice of your faith. This is about it for now, So with the best wishes for everything,

As Ever,
The Old Maestro

[Included was a Holy Card, Official Novena Prayers In Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help]

22.  Uncle Bud

Birthday Card

[postmarked May 20, 1972]

"A Lion's Share of birthday Joy!
Hope these birthday wishes
Will have all come true for you
For then you'll have
enough glad days
For all the whole year through!


Uncle Bud

P.S. I didn't forget your birthday--just forgot to send this card earlier--so you'd get it on time.

Uncle Bud

P.P.S. Hope things aren't too bad--they'll get better as time goes on--also hope you don't have too much trouble cashing this check-B

23.  Lynn

Sunday [May 21; postmarked May 22, 1972]

Dear John,

Hi again! Tonite was the first time I heard your voice since you've left, which seems like a long time ago. Mom really enjoys those phone calls (course, Dad too)--she's in such a good mood anticipating them and she's all smiles when you finally call!

Neph took his family to church in your car today. The Peter's family came (in theirs) & had the 1st pew reserved for them both. Father Bowers announced to the people before Mass how every one can share in Pam & Peter's [Jim, Peters is the last name] participation in the sacrament of matrimony through this Mass.(?) Anyway, all Pam & Peter's did was stand up & face the congregation & wave (not really wave) when Father introduced them, & they took the offertory gifts up.

It was a beautiful weekend--today I sat in the sun & tried hard to get some kind of a tan or a burn or anything--but I only turned slightly pink. My legs are ridiculous--they look like a plucked chicken's legs. I wish the beach would open up because the temp's been in the 80's. I washed my car today, being really hard up for something to do--& it looks so beautiful now! This is the first time I hand-washed it since I got it--it almost looks like someone else's car, now!

This weekend is going to be a real drag because I'm looking forward to next weekend so much! Julie is coming in and I haven't seen him in (it will be) 3 weeks! I'm glad It's an extra long weekend. We'll probably go to the beach & play tennis--both of which I'm out of shape for! I put my bikini on today but had to wear a blouse because Dad would have had a coronary. Last week I was super depressed all week long, & ate hardly anything, but I lost 3 pounds! I wish I could lose 10 more before this weekend, though.

There isn't a lot of news to write you about. My weeks are so dull & depressing with Julie gone. It's hard to write to him because all I have to say are the same things--mostly I miss you! And I hate being repetitious--it's no fun getting a letter that you can read without opening! 2 bikes just went by--that's something I really miss, too--bike riding. We used to spend every weekend on his Yamaha!

Well, I'll write again soon, but now I've got to do my laundry.

Oh--I've gone to the Grogshop--a bar at the Northland Inn near my office--anyway, I went twice last week with girlfriends just to hear this terrific band. I wish you could hear them play! They're called The Visit & they're from Columbus, Ohio. The lead guitarist is so super--nice, too! I spent a lot of time talking to him in between sets. They aren't freaky at all. If I didn't have Julie & he wasn't married--well, It's funny but I know we would have been more than good friends! He was really really nice. I'm not going back there, tho, because it wouldn't be good for either of us to even see each other. When I think about him It's really strange--I really wish I'd never gone in the Grogshop last week at all. You would have liked him personally, I know! Well, such is life. I just wanted to tell you about him tho. I know that years from now, when I'm married, I'll still remember him, & the 2 special evenings we spent talking together.

Off to do my laundry! Have a good week, ok?


24.  Dad

Sun. [May 21; postmarked May 22, 1972]

Dear John,

It is a hot & sunny day so far. It has been a full one. I was awake and sitting in the living room when Jim came home @ 5:45 AM. He came in and announced to Lynn who was sleeping that 2 wheels had been stolen off her car out front. I got dressed and sure enough the two on the park side were gone and the hubs resting on rocks. After hunting around later on for wheel nuts I put on her snow tires which had wheels of their own.

Fortunately your former car, the Cyclone was not here, having been sold to John Neph, or really his Mother (it's in her name), Friday night. So now you don't have that debt anymore. In fact after the last month's interest was added you get another $52 which we put in your account. Also you got a refund from the City of Detroit for overpayment of taxes. All in all you now have $943.83 in your account.

The Cloutier wedding was in the Church with no Mass. It was like a homemade ceremony. It lacked a lot, I thought. The party was nice but the band too loud. The egotist leader had to sing most all the songs so it was extra loud, especially during eating. We will be missing the Neph wedding @ St. Norbert Church and Social Hall. They are serving Cold Duck's.

We must remember to toast the happy couple this Saturday. Remind me won't you? We are looking forward to our visit. It seems that Ralph & Mrs. Reyes were there just a week or 2 ago visiting their son, I forget his name, on open house. Do you know him? Ralph works at the Credit Union in St. Norberts. That's not his regular job. It rained the whole weekend he said. They stayed at the Holiday Inn South @ Elizabethtown.

We got a lot of form letters and pamphlets from Ft. Knox and one said if the guest house is full they would help make reservations at a really nice place. I might make reservations myself at someplace like Elizabethtown. Or might take a chance on getting something after looking around. On the other hand, if you can make arrangements through the Visitor's Center to reserve say 2 rooms for a total of 6 people at some nice place right close by, and can let us know by Thursday night, well, go right ahead. Lynn won't be coming since Julie is coming Friday. I guess it will be just Mark, Mary Lou, and the twins accompanying us.

My writing is bad today because my control is off, after exerting my muscles switching tires around today.

I am enclosing the meal reservation in case you didn't make the one for us. Perhaps you can turn it in at the proper place. (6 + yourself)

Still don't know if we will be there longer than Saturday night. We will play it by ear I guess. Just hope it is dry down there.

Not much else now. Probably you get some repeat info anyway from others that write.

Heard that Robbie Neph hates it. Works down below as a Machinist Mate, fixing things that go wrong all the time. It is dirty and hot and this ruined his contact lens and he can't see. Either the glasses they gave him are no good or he can't get any. They are refueling ships off North Vietnam except when they go back to the Philippines for more fuel.

So long. See you soon

[Enclosed are various clippings from the Detroit Free Press, international news and Bob Talbert's column.]

Mary Lou

25.  Mary Lou

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

May 22

Dear  John,

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

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

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

Mary Lou

Mary Lou's colorful letter

26.  Mom

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's 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's 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]

28.  John Perkovich

[Birthday card. Postmark lost. Not dated.]

"Hey . . . Soldier Boy!! My Uncle came back from the service with a Purple Heart on . . .

Which really shocked the hell out of my Aunt!!"

Say Trick

What the heck's happening. I'm writing this up at Grandview were I got this card. The same place where I get my ice cream sandwiches.

What did they do to your hair? Or shouldn't I laugh, whoops, I mean ask. Kiester took out Karen a couple of times. I thought I'd let you know.

Oh well, we're going down to the Drake. See you later.
"Lake Perk"

29.  Mike

[Birthday card, can't read postmark, 1972]

"Hi! Happy Birthday . . . and all that jazz! Many Happy Returns."

Happy birthday John! Sorry I haven't written but I couldn't find anything to say.

See you on the 27th.

30.  Dad

Tues. [May 30, postmarked May 31, 1972]

Dear John,

I am writing this on this slightly used paper to show you the place we stayed at (over). It was nice, really, and I think the kids got a kick out of their first stay in a motel. We arrived home at 12:30 your time, 11:30 our time. We were going to drive right into Louisville but the traffic was getting heavy and 31W had lots of lights close to town, so we took the 204 arch bypass to get over to 71 and Cincinnati bound. Had an uneventful trip home and ate at Sharonville, Northern suburb of Cinci. I am really glad we went down there. It means so much to see the surroundings you are living in and it is a relief, too, to see you looking so well and fit. So although it is probably a tough life it doesn't seem to be doing you any harm, physically or psychologically, and as they say, you will undoubtedly be better off for your experience. So, I am proud of you, that you can take what they dish out, and also that you are doing what so many before you have, preparing to defend your country and your people from the savages that run some of the countries in the world.

This might sound corny but it is as true now as it was for our ancestors who started up this country, and especially the ones who fought W. Wars 1 & 2 where there was no doubt we were doing the right thing. It's hard to believe that I was in your shoes 29 long years ago. Time flies when you look back on it, especially when you get older.

But I was in for 33 months and I know the time dragged on then, or seemed to. The point though, is that a couple years out of one's life is really short, in comparison, and we should really try and make the most of life as it comes along. I for one really know that it is difficult, because I continually find myself thinking ahead and not really enjoying or concentrating on the immediate moment. I try to correct this bad habit but habits are difficult to change, but recognizing the need for change is half the battle. I admit to the same trouble with my temper which too often causes me to yell or say something I wish I hadn't, or didn't mean. Well, at least we can try to correct our faults, (if we see and recognize them).

On the way home we stopped in Findlay Ohio to mail our films. That's where the Kodak processing is. So maybe we will get them back sooner. I still have a few feet on the last roll. I would like to make some titles with it. This is a busy week. St. Norbert's Festival is Fri. Sat, Sunday and I have a dozen people I have to get ticket collections from, after they have each collected from about a dozen people they are responsible for.

We are sure of school again next year but I'm afraid of after that. More people keep moving away from Inkster School District section of the Parish and financial support of the school is not up to par. The parish owes so much and expenses are so high I don't know if we will be able to afford a school after next year. The Loftus family moved to Dearborn two weeks ago and Sonnenborns and Weltis are ready to go, too, I guess.

I'll see if there is any newspaper clipping you might like. There isn't much news since we saw you. Hope you enjoyed the weekend 1/2 as much as we did. Reminds me of when my Mother came down to Gulfport, Miss. To see me, and my Dad came all the way out to Seattle on the train to be with me one Christmas.

Keep up the good progress, John, and be strong in mind and body. This old world needs all the good people it can get.


[Enclosed are Bob Talbert's column and the International news from the Free Press]

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]

33.  Debbie Franklin

May 31, 1972

Dear John,

I don't know how far I will get on this letter but it's time I write so I better get busy, right? I hope you are well and taking the army as easy as possible. I am doing just fine but I'll be doing better when I am out of school. This week I have exams and that will be rough but after that I will be able to enjoy three months of nothing but relaxation, you seem to get a lot of time to relax from the length of your letters. I couldn't believe it when I got that letter that took up two envelopes. They didn't come in the same day and so I read the first one and I knew it was from you but you didn't sign it and you ended in the middle of a paragraph which I thought was kind of weird, don't you? And then when I saw the "1" on the outside of the envelope I thought you were numbering all the letters that you are sending me or have sent me already but if you were doing that then you would have been wrong because I got one letter from you before this big one! Also, I have some questions: Can I abbreviate your address like you do, which is like this: C:17:5, or do I have to write it all out like I have been? Oh, well. . . .

Now to comment on all the things you wrote in your letter! Yessssssssss-I remember when you used to call me "SWEETHEART" and I called you "ANGEL" because that is what I thought you were and you still are in my opinion!!! So there. . . . You said you left your locker unlocked and the company commander saw it and you had to be on detail; was it just because you left it unlocked or was there something in there that wasn't supposed to be in there like booze? Sally Truss said you got in trouble for that or is she talking about another time that you didn't tell me about? Guess what (pause) as I went to the next paragraph I started reading about you getting caught with booze in your locker-I guess you did mention it but I must have forgot. (Sorry!)

As soon as I get some pictures of just me and not me and my dog or somebody I'll send some to you. The only ones of me I have now are of the prom and I'm sure that you don't want any of those so when I can find someone to take my picture I'll use up the ten pictures that are left in the camera.

Yesterday I went to bake you some cookies but then I figured that they wouldn't get to the base till Saturday and then they would sit and get stale by the time you had mail call on Monday so I'm going to try and remember to bake some next week and if not them because of exams then definitely the next week because I'll be all done with school!

Didn't it hurt you when you went through the gas chamber permanently or is the suffering just temporary? That would be icky. It reminds me of what we did in Chemistry today. WE produced esters (smells) that were supposed to smell like fruits and flowers but this one group did something wrong and it smelled really rank. Well they told me to smell it and so I did and now I think that I burned some of the tissues in my nose.

What is this about one of your buddy's girlfriend being pregnant his wife is expecting? He must be really dumb or so sexy that the girls just can't resist but I would bet it's the first one, anyone who would get themselves in that sort of a fix has got to have a problem of some kind! What is he going to do now or doesn't he know? That is really dumb; I can't get over it. What kind of guys do you hang around with anyways?

Page 2 (Only the beginning)

John you will never know how ashamed I am because I forgot your birthday--I felt so bad when I realized it that it was on my mind for a long time and I still haven't gotten over it but I hope that I can make it up to you in some other way. I really feel like an --- (censored). Will you promise not to be too mad and accept my best wishes now not only on your birthday but for the rest of your life/ I am really sorry and I don't think I'll ever forgive myself . . . .

Those pictures you had taken and sent to me were just great, in fact I couldn't believe that that guy was really you. Where is your hair. Your head looked like a balloon, no--, I'm only kidding but they did skin you pretty bad. If you haven't sent your mom any pictures yet and you would like her to see those just let me know and I will take them over to your house for her to see. Were those two guys with you buddies of yours? You said that one of the rules was that you had to wear your helmet whenever you were outside but in those pictures you didn't have yours on, how come?

Those rules about lining up your buttons with your fly is ridiculous but I suppose they figure that if they can't get you guys to do simple things like that then how will they ever get you to fight in a war!!

So you don't have any good music. I know how bogue that can be because right now I am driving the Capri without a radio and I really have a hard time without it. You would think that a radio would take my mind off my driving but it does just the opposite by keeping me alert to the things going on in the road ahead of me so I can see how you would miss it. It makes time go faster if you have something other than your breathing to listen to. When I was going through Kentucky on my way to Florida we listened to WKLO, I think. . . .I love "Oh, Girl" also, but I don't know the words very well and I have asked some of my friends if they could help me with the words but they don't know them either so if these aren't right then don't say I didn't try:

Oh girl, I'd be in trouble if you left me now
'Cause I don't know where to look for love, I just don't know how.
All of my friends call me a fool;
They say let the woman take care of you.
So I try to be hip and think like the crowd,
But even the crowd can't help me now.
Oh, girl, tell me what am I gonna do
_____________________________(I can't understand this line.)
Girl, I've gotta get away from here.
O, girl, pain will double if you leave me now
'Cause I don't know where to look for love and I
I don't, I don't know how . . . .

Well, it goes something like that but not exactly. If you want me to buy it for you so that you can have it to listen to in the rec hall, I'll get it for you.

I have just finished commenting on what was contained in the first part so wish me luck, here goes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's a little treat: swear words in code--

[this line was filled with multiple strikeovers--very funny!]

And this is the truth, BLAH!!!!!!!

Our weather in Michigan was or has been in the 80's lately but right after the Memorial weekend it turned cold and now the temp's are about 40 or 50 degrees. In fact I have to type this by the heater or else my typing fingers will freeze. Please excuse all the mistakes but when you are as uncoordinated as me it's a thrill to even eat with a spoon

Congratulations all of you guys in John's platoon for receiving the "honor award" plaque two weeks in a row. That is really proud to be a member of such a fine unit. YEAH YEAH DO IT AGAIN, DO IT AGAIN, WE LIKE IT, WE LIKE IT

If you don't mind spending your hard earned money on me then by all means call if you'd like but I can't guarantee I'll be home so if you think that you might be calling then why don't you write and let me know just when so I'll be sure to be here or close by. Okay? Okay! My number in case you have forgotten is (ta-ta-ta-da (Those are supposed to be trumpets.)) 55555 666666 22 333 1 999999999 999999999 or in other words 562-3199.

Aren't you glad I am typing you a letter instead of writing it so that I can put in all these little extras?

Yep--you're an old man now that you are twenty. Gosh, that's really weird to think that I liked a twenty year old once but then you weren't really twenty when we liked each other so that is different. In case you have lost track of time, you've been in there about 5 weeks. So how many does that mean you have left?

Did your parents come down to see you on Battalion Day? Did your platoon win anything?

We all feel really bad about our brother (Peppi). Your mom must have been upset about Dusty just as my mom is about Peppi. She cries all the time and he is getting weak and not as playful as he used to be.

Yes--I still have that note you wrote me on the huge sheet of paper. You know that I keep all of our souvenirs and that includes our notes. And I remember our first kiss. It was on my couch. And even better I remember my first hickey; it was on your couch! Boy, do I ever remember that scene in your dining room at Easter with your mom and relatives; ever since then I get nervous when I am in front of a guy's parents.

Three mile marches--how many months do they allow you for each mile? I bet a lot of muscles will ache after that little journey.

That is really a good idea for you to spend your spare time reading--I hate to read but it comes in handy and you can never read too much. In American Culture we've just finished reading the "Jungle." It wasn't a bad book but parts of it were so realistic that the end which was dull was a real disappointment.

I hope you are only a spectator to those boxing matches and not a participant because they sound really rough and I don't want you come away from there in bad shape but perfect shape so that we can go out when you come home, okay? I know Steve won't mind sharing me with you!! (And so what if he does?)

I have one more letter of yours to comment on but I'll save that until my next letter which I hope will be coming your way soon after this one so be on the lookout for it. Be good and try to stay out of trouble for me . . . .

Thinking of you often
And loving you all the time,
Deborah Gay Franklin, Girlfriend!

34.  Mrs. Neph

[Birthday card, postmarked June 4, 1972]

"It's just so neat . . . You being in the Service . . . I'd like to learn all about it!! Would you mind filling me in on a few things?

How deep is the Motor Pool?
How long is a Parade Rest?
Is the Orderly Room ever disorderly?
Is the Ammo Dump really a dump?
How many foxes per Fox Hole?
What is a Full Colonel full of?
How drab is Olive Drab?
Does M.P. stand for Mother Pig?
Is shingle really a gourmet dish?"

Here is the card I promised you--See I did write, Hope you are adjusting to the service. I know it is a different life but you are a big person and people like you are sure to make it. It was good to see you last weekend.

Had a tape from Jim & Pam. They seem quite happy. I miss her very much.

Heard from Rob. He is quite upset. One of his shipmates jumped overboard. Another 2 had nervous breakdowns. If you get a chance why don't you write and exchange gripes.

FN Robt. Neph B689337
USS Chipola (A.O63)
M Division
F.P.O. San Francisco, Cal 96601

Thinking of you,
The Nephs

35.  Lynn

Sun. nite [postmarked June 5, 1972]

Dear John,

Hi! I went away for the weekend & didn't get back until about 5:45 tonite. When I found out you had been in, I was really disappointed that I missed you. Of all weekends (I'm always home!), this one you had to come up! When I see you I'll tell you about this weekend--it was fantastic! But I never could have found out you came in until I got home.

I really love your portrait! You look great in it--I'll bet you're really happy about the shot. It's better than the black and white one of Jim's a hundred times over because the colors are so natural looking you could almost climb out of the frame! (It seems!)

We just finished watching dad's movies from Ft. Knox. The last couple minutes were completely black cause he thought he'd take movies of Mammoth cave. Well, they really showed what caves are like once you get inside!

I wish I could write you about this weekend because I had such a great time! I took a "top secret" trip to London, Canada. It's a 2-1/2 hour drive from home. The town is really nice--especially when you're sharing it with someone special! (Guess who? And it wasn't my friend Mary!) Well, enough for now. (Mom & dad don't know & better never!)

For the Next 10 days it will be the same old grind--work, & then a dull next weekend--but next Wednesday night I'm flying to Rochester to see Julie again. It will be great cause I'll have a 4-day weekend (I have 17 vacation days to use up this year. Since Julie's away, I'd rather take them a couple of days at a time & go see him.) Although he'll work all day Thursday while I'm there, I'll have the car & plan on driving to the Lake (Ontario) which is only 20 minutes away, & pick up a tan while he works! He'll leave work at noon on Friday--he can get away with it! So That's what I'm going to be looking forward to this week & next.

Well, I'm going to go to bed now; I've got a small headache. Hope to see you soon--somehow. Be good!


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,

37.  Dad

Friday [postmarked June 10, 1972]

Dear John,

Evening now and it's getting quite chilly out. Only 4 of us left here this evening. The twins are out, as is Lynn. Bill is still down South. We haven't heard from him since he called from Daytona. Time seems to go fast. School is out now and summer vacation and all that entails starts for the kids. At Edison the union's contract expires Monday night and there is strong chance of a strike. The membership votes on it Sunday. If there is a strike I have been assigned to go and work at the PennSalt Power Plant down at Jefferson near Pennsylvania Rd. We would be locked in, that is, we would have to stay inside rather than crossing the picket lines twice a day. We would work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week until the strike is over. I don't relish the idea of going there and I hope they don't strike. However it turns out, I expect we will be getting additional benefits and pay, eventually. Besides pay there are better insurance benefits they are discussing or offering, as well as an extra holiday, the day after Thanksgiving, and another week vacation a few years sooner than now; for instance 5 weeks after 25 years instead of 28 years like now. I will be there 25 years Nov. next year.

Well, what's new in your camp? Did your friend get the family car back in shape or maybe just sell it right there? If you can get out on a short pass now I suppose you will see some of the sights in your area. You should try and get to Louisville and see the city while you are there. Even a trip to Mammoth Cave would be interesting, I should think, if you can get the transportation. That probably is the problem, since none of your friends can have a car in Basic Training. I wonder if Greyhound goes down to the Park.

There isn't much new that has happened since you flew back Sunday so I'll close now and hunt up a few clippings you might enjoy.

With Love,

[Enclosed are 2 Bob Talbert's pages and article about Sydney E. Smith Jr. sinking in the St. Clair River]

38.  Cindy Callison



Say there. I got your letter today. I was really glad to hear from ya.

It sounds like you really love the army, it sounds like a lot of fun. I don't think I could take it.

I'm just sitting here all by myself, Debs out with Phil. There's not much happening lately, it's really kind of dead.

So how did you like the party Saturday night? I really got blasted. Then I got sick and then I crashed. (fun)

In your letter you asked about Spic, I thought you knew we broke up. The night of your party (7 weeks and 2 days ago). Oh well, enough of that subject.

I'm finally out of school for the summer, getting high every night (almost).

So do you miss everyone? I suppose you do. Every time there's a party it always feels like there's something missing cause you're not there. Remember the time at Mike's house the first time you smoked? I almost died laughing, it's far-out to see people really high. You looked pretty high out at Deb's house but then again I was a little bit high too.

So did you guys pass your inspection Monday? I hope so. When are you gonna make it home again, soon I hope, I'm always ready to party. I know you are too. Are you gonna make it home for Nels' party? That's pretty far away though. My brother enlisted in the Army too. He's leaving the same day Nels is, Sept 14. I hope it will do him some good. If that doesn't, nothing will. Right!! Perk just gave me your address the other day, but I think it's at home, and I don't go there much. But still write there O.K.?

I hope to hear from ya soon. Well there's not much more to say. Take it easy & be good (if ya can).

Write soon!!!


[The envelope was letterhead from Corden's Candy Carrousel.]

39.  Dad

Tues [June 13; postmarked June 13, 1972]

Dear John,

I am on lunch break at the office. We are working from day to day now, not knowing if or when a strike may be called. The union & the company agreed to extend the contract day by day while negotiations go on, daily we hope, until agreement is reached. Last time they did this and I believe it took about ten days, but they did not go out on strike. I hope they don't. I guess I told you I would go to PennSalt if the strike goes on. Locked in @ 12 hours of work per day.

It was nice to have you home last weekend. Considering you will be in service for up to 104 weeks, the number of weekends home will probably be quite few. I suppose the location of your future assignments will determine the number of visits in the future. I see by the Army ads in the paper they give a month off per year. I think, though, that if a person is busy the time goes fast and life is interesting whether at work or play. Even living at home with nothing to do gets very boring quite quickly.

This has been a cloudy and occasionally rainy 2 days since you left; cool too. They say it may stay this way the rest of the week. We got caught with our grass high. I need a little dry spell in order to cut it.

You undoubtedly will hear about the new family addition we got Sunday. A little white kitten we picked up while visiting the Shea family Sunday evening. Your mother brought it home for Mary Lou who loves it, because she lost her 2 gold fish. She is going to raise it as an outdoor cat, therefore it will be rarely let into the house. Ralph Shea says any cat can be so trained that it won't want to be indoors even in sub zero weather.

Well, when you get this you will have less than 3 weeks to go to graduation. Do you expect that the treatment will change considerably after that, or is AIT [Advanced Individual Training] also considered a rookie status. Well, hold out and do as well as possible. As I said, I am proud of you for doing so well. You are a good reflection of your family as well as an asset to your country.

There is one point I feel I should touch on. Since we didn't see you at Communion the last 2 Sundays I pray you will value spiritual strength such as the Sacraments will give when received in the right spirit as well as the physical build up you are obviously receiving. Nothing in this whole world means anything if a person is not at peace with God. So please don't loose touch. It means as much and is as necessary for young people as it is for older ones.

Next Monday your Mother and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. If I am not on strike duty we probably will go out for the evening, at least to a nice dinner. I have the week reserved for a vacation week although I doubt if I will take it, at least all of it. I could use a couple days just to work around the house. I don't get as much done after work anymore as I used to. I don't know how I ever got the back room built. Just kept after it until it was done, I guess.

Well, I'll close now. God bless you.

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.]

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