The Letters: The Complete Chronology, page 3 of 12

41.  Sally Truss


Dear John,

Well, to answer all your questions, let me see. First, the girl that Neph is going out is his fourth cousin. I guess they have justed going out lately. She is very weird high or not.

Doesn't it feel weird to take a drive in your own car. When you used to keep it cleaner, I guess.

The other night, me, Macko, Perk, Nels, Neph were riding around in your old car. Oh I forgot Gary. Well anyways. Neph was telling us how good the car ran. Then Perk said "Funny, when Schneider had it you thought it was a dog." I laughed so hard I almost started crying. Every one was barking.

Good old "stone face." She told me that you told he that I called her stone face.

We finished, our last exam was the 7th and we went to pick them up the 9th.

Well don't work too hard.


P.S. W/B

42.  Dad

Friday Evening [postmarked June 19,1972]

Dear John,

You may have heard by now that the union called a strike on Edison and at 10:30 or so Wednesday nite I got a call from Joe Geisinger that they were walking out at Midnight and I had to report for at my assigned location which was PennSalt Plant. This is at the Penn Walt Corp in Wyandotte, and this is where I am right now. However, when you read this I hope I will not be here. You see, we are "locked in" and cannot leave. (We would in an emergency or if we were not too concerned about our jobs). This is because of the picketing. The plants must be run and so they can't afford to have any trouble getting personnel in. I have a pretty good job, as jobs go. I am on maintenance as a helper and work days. We started out on 8 hours yesterday but they upped it to 10 today since most the others are on 10 or 12 hour shifts. Yesterday I helped install a Washer & Dryer, and an Air Conditioner, and I hooked up the Recreation Trailer. They have rented 50' or so trailers, panelled walls, etc. 2 for sleeping, barracks style, (I am on the upper bunk over my new boss) and for Recreation (with TV, card tables, and a Refrigerator they stocked today with beer (not for working hours)). And 1 more for dining where I am now. It is empty except for one of the "cooks" who is still cleaning up. We are lucky here. Our chief cook assigned with us at PennSalt is the Company's Commercial Cooking Representative and he has been giving us some nice meals. But this feels almost like the army except we can't get any weekend passes. That is, not unless the Negotiations are successful in settling the Strike. They talked this afternoon but we have no news of any results of these talks. My job today was helping another guy, an electrical Foreman regularly, to fix part of the Precipitators Equipment which cleans the exhaust from the stacks. We were way up on top of the building most of the day. It was a nice day, sunny & cool and you could see for miles including the Detroit River and the surrounding city and countryside. We are just opposite the North end of Grosse Isle so not much river traffic passes on this side of the island.

I suppose you will be writing home telling what exciting things you did this weekend. Isn't this the one which you were to get off Friday?

I guess it won't be long now until you know what your next assignment will be. If it is further training it could be a good opportunity. 1--to learn something at the government expense, 2--to keep busy at something other than combat type activity. Whatever your road is to be occasionally say a little prayer that God will guide your destiny for the best for you.

One of the fellows here said that today's meeting resulted in some kind of agreement that would be voted on by the union next Wednesday. I can't figure why they would wait so long to vote on it and I don't trust the union to really want to go back to work. I'll just pray that it will be over by then. The pay is good but I don't like being here 24 hours a day without even being home for the weekend. I was told we would get 8 hours @ regular time and 1-1/2 time for 6 hours which means 17 hours pay per day for about 10 hours work, but they still have us here 24 hours /day.

And then they say we get 1-1/2 for 14 hours on Saturday & Sunday which is 21 hours pay. I hope this is so because it will help make up for this keeping us inside.

It really has one other advantage by staying in. That is that the other guys who are filling in at other jobs at Warren Service Center, offices and warehouses, have to pass picket lines coming & going, and that can get quite hairy.

Well, I guess I'll close for this evening, so good nite.

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 your 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.]

44.  Pat Bratcher

June 25--72

Dear John,

Hi! How's life? I just thought I'd write you while I still have the right address. So how'd you like the party? Pretty good, eh? I had a real nice time. Well, I don't really know what to say to you, cause I don't really know you well enough to just talk just about anything. Do you think you'll have to go to Vietnam? I hope ya don't. What are you trained to do or are you trained to do any specific thing? Did anything happen between you and George-Ann? Just wondered. I gathered from last nite you don't like beer--eh!? How come? I also gathered you really dig weed. Well that's ok. Do you do any kind of chemicals, aside from T.H.C.? I'm only asking you all these questions for something to talk about or I should say to write about. Well, really must go! See ya around. Be good & be careful


Always smile!

45.  Mary Beth White

June 26th, 1972

Hi, how ya been? Sorry I haven't written sooner. You're probably moved by now. I really haven't had time. I'm in summer college & there's so much studying to do.

Greg & Mike told me that they went to see you & your beautiful hair is about 1/4 inch long. Oh well, it will grow back. Eventually?

I've been seeing your friends around a lot. John & John & Gary etc. It seems strange that you're not with them.

It feels great to be graduated & the partying was a riot. The only thing is I have 4 more years of college to go. I'm going to be an R.N.

I hope you remember me but, how could you forget? I'm the one at the dances, the crazy one!

Gotta go now. I hope you'll write if you have time.

Mary Beth

P.S. Take care!

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.]

47.  Georgeann Vigil

July 1

Dear John, Hi

Wow! That was a long letter you wrote me. Surprised to hear from you. Well like you said it was awful hard to write much because we only seen each other once & only talked a little bit & it wasn't too much of anything. But I'll try to write something good alright? When do you come home on leave? Every weekend or whenever you have 3 or 4 days off? How long does it take to get home? When are you going to Oklahoma? After your two years I wouldn't go back in and reenlist, but it really is up to you, you know. Thick As A Brick was just on the radio, wow, I swear that's all I been hearing now is songs from that album.

I work in a convalescent home, I been working there for one year now. What did you do when you was home Sat. thru Tues.? Just curious. My friends either call me George, Georgeann, but most of them call me Georgy.

I really don't know why I was quiet Saturday. But I know I shouldn't of mixed drinks & grass. It must have been good grass because I got a buzz off it the first joint we passed around. Remember we had 2.

You know one paragraph you wrote I didn't understand what you meant so I just read it the way I thought it was supposed to be. How many brothers & sisters do you have? You wrote me a super long letter, I was shocked because for 2 reasons why I didn't think you would write so soon, & because I didn't think you had a lot to say. Felt good to hear from you.

I hope my letter makes sense. I'm just writing what comes from my head & trying to answer your letter as much as I can. I hope you didn't get mad at me for asking you all them questions. How long have you been in now? I'm sorry but I don't have a Senior picture. And I don't have a recent one, so how about one that's a year ago or so. Seriously, I don't have a recent one. Would that be alright? I'll send you it next time I write, alright?

How long have you been living in Inkster? We used to live there back ten years ago. We used to live near Parkwood school. You know where that is. Now we live in Romulus. When's your birthday? How old are you?

Well, I'll close for now, because I have to get up for work & its pretty late now!! Talk to you later.


Write Back

48.  Georgeann Vigil

July 3

Dear John,

How you doing?

Wow, there isn't really much to say or write about, but just to write a few lines to let you know how I'm doing. I'm off from work today and tomorrow. Don't know what I'm gonna be doing tomorrow through. I'm supposed to go down for my car sometime this week to get it for a oil change, and have a few other things done to it. There really isn't much happening with me, beside work, and just more work to do when I come home from work. Having a car is just a pain (to me it is anyway) because I have to make sure its running well always, keep it in good condition, finish paying all the payments, & pay for insurance. And after paying for all that I have to start saving for next year's insurance. I always have to be working in order to keep it filled with gas. But I guess I'm not the only one that feels that way. And besides I wanted the car so I guess it's my full responsibility, right!

Today is really beautiful out, the sun is out & it's not too hot.

So how you doing over there?

Sorry if I sounded bossy & demanding in that last letter I wrote you. I really didn't mean it that way, after I wrote it I read the whole thing and it sounded that way to me. I'll send you a picture in the next letter I write, okay? Well, I'm gonna close for now, & I'll write you later. Write back when you can.

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