Letters Home

After leaving for college, I lived just one month one summer back home.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t keep in touch. I recently found a stash of letters written to my folks over a period of about five years.

After high school graduation, or maybe before, I don’t remember, I signed up to attend Kansas State University. I’m not even sure you can say I was accepted, but maybe I was. Anyway, that summer I worked at the Abilene Co-op. Then I attended K-state. During that year I wrote no letters to my family, none that survived anyway, none to my knowledge.

The next summer my dad and I drove to Arizona. There I worked for a past youth group leader who was no longer in the youth group game, but was painting, mostly new construction. I painted with D., and lived with D. and his wife and young son that summer. That’s where the first letter comes from, Sierra Vista, Arizona, a booming military town at the time, about halfway between Tucson and Mexico.

I thought about just scanning these hand written letters, but decided to type them. This lets me make some edits, and will make them easier to read. I’m attempting to put these in chronological order, but mistakes may be made as some are dated and some are not.  I may not be able to resist making comments in the letters. [If I do, I’ll put them in brackets like this.]

June 11 – Wed

Dearest Family,

How are things on the ranch? They’re OK here. I got burnt today. N’s sister and brother-in-law are here–have been since Sat evening–and today we went hiking in the mountains.  We reached the peak, elevation – 9200 ft. above sea level.  Monday we went to Mexico.  I didn’t get anything for anybody, not even me.  I didn’t see anything that I needed or even wanted.  Sunday night we all went to Tuscon for an outdoor concert–classical stuff mostly.  D, and therefore me too, is taking some time off while they’re here, but we worked a little this week.  I got 40-some hours in last week.  How much would it cost to send me my running shoes? If not very much then send them.  And I would like to ask Mike to, in return for all the years of borrowing my Bill Cosby records, compile all of his (Bill’s) stuff about his kids, and having kids, and maybe when he was a kid–but mostly parent stuff, for me–N really, and send it to me on a tape. Just about anything that I’ve done and haven’t told you about is work, or playing with M, or reading , or watching videos on the neighbor’s machine.  Amadeus & Zelig (Woody Allen) thumbs up; The Meaning of Life (Monty Python) thumbs down. [Really past self? Weird, yes.  But there are parts of that movie that I love.] I was going to meet some kids someday at church, but didn’t because I left early to watch the game.  Next week.

Got here with dad Sunday night.  It rained every day till about Friday.  Now it’s hot and dry.  I’m shot form the mountain.  We hiked about 3 1/2 hours up and about 1 1/2 hours down.  Saw some deer and some lizards.  N turned her ankle pretty bad on the way down, but she’s walking on it now.

We’re going to start work at 5:30 tomorrow so I’m going to crash soon after supper.  Oh yeah. Mike–BOSTON! BOSTON! BOSTON! I’ll get my first check Friday.  Anyway, Mike, What did R. Samson say, on purpose, to the camera, about him being thrown out of the game? What kind of call was it Ralph? A bull what call? Gotta go eat.  I’m back.

I’ve been sleeping in the Arizona room–sort of a screened in porch–while the in-laws are here. It’s been really nice. So nice in fact, I think I’ll go to bed right now.  If I forget to tell you anything I’ll tell you next time I write.  Write me.  I miss you.




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