Tag Archives: Arizona

That’s How We Do A House

This is the last letter from Arizona.  At the end of the summer, little brother few to Arizona, and the two of us drove home via San Diego, Los Angles, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, family in Colorado, and the long drive through Western Kansas. We were 19 & 17.  Dont’ ask me if I’d let my kids do that at that age. At any rate, we arrived home alive and unharmed, despite our shady lodgings in the city of angles–no phone in our room–had to walk to the corner to use the pay phone to order pizza–one of us made the call while the other kept an eye on the young men hanging out down the street. Based on this letter, it appears that I have done at least one good day’s hard work in my life.  The Kentucky Fried Chicken mentioned below is the one I fell off of when my ladder came out from under me, dumping me and a half-gallon of yellow paint into the drive through.  As a result, I went to the emergency room just in case. That story didn’t seem to make it into a letter.  I’ve done a little research, it appears that “antsy” is the preferred spelling.



Typical long 13 hr day yesterday–well, let’s start on Wednesday.  We started a house Wednesday. That is D, K, and myself. First D & K sprayed the whole outside of the house with the first coat.  Meanwhile I cut in around the windows with a roller and held the shield for them where necessary.  Then they put on the second coat and helped me wash the windows where they over-sprayed or I “over-rolled.” That all took about 5-6 hours and was the end of Wed. (Wed. morning we wall papered a Kentucky Fried Chicken place.) Then yesterday K & I started about 6 AM (D had a meeting with a guy til 7:30). He wiped off the fascia–the trim around the top of the house–and started brushing on its first coat.  Meanwhile I taped off the windows on the inside.  Then I helped him finish the fascia while D did some spraying on the inside–the ceiling.  Then I caulked the shelves (I caulked the windows yesterday). THEN K finished spraying the inside of the house and D & I stained all of the doors and trim (Most houses just have painted doors & trim.) (Bout 12-13 hours) Finally this morning we sealed the doors & trim and cut in the walls & ceiling (2 hrs).  Alls that’s left is to sand the doors & trim & touch up.  So I guess that’s pretty much how we do a house.


Right now the S’s are getting ready to go to Tuscon. They are going to spend the night.  Then tomorrow morning at 6:00 K & L are going to come get me and we’re going to the Chericowas (spelling prob. not even close) to hike.  D said he was going to pay me what I needed for school next semester which I told him was $2500.  He said fine.  Last Sunday we and the C’s went to Tuscon to pick up D C at the airport.  We ate at El Torito–goooood. All you could eat Mexican food – yum.  Strolling musicians too.  I really don’t have anything exciting to tell you.  I didn’t do anything this week much except work.


Sunday evening July 6

Yesterday in the mountains was really nice. (If wrong spelling doesn’t help you to locate them–they run N & S and are located just west of New Mexico & just north of Old Mexico.) They were lush green–like Colorado Mts.  the first ones we climbed (weeks ago) were pretty dry and rocky–but not these.  We ended up going about 12 that’s T-W-E-L-V-E miles.  It was good and I didn’t hurt at all this morning. As a matter of fact, D & I just finished a 3 or 4 mile run.  Best I’ve run in a long time.  We ran from C’s house to here.  they (the C’s) had lunch here after church, then we played some cards–Nerts–then we watched a video at their house (Turk182–not bad, pretty good, ok) and then ran home.  Yesterday I got a letter from the Colorado Slocombe’s informing me of their move and telling me what was going on in general–that was nice. Tomorrow work starts at 5:30 AM (98.6 on your FM dial) so I had better hit the sack.  Thanks a lot for your call Friday, although it made me a little ancey, ancy, ancie, ? to come home.  Tell everyone out there in Abilene land “Hay!” Be sure to try to find out when I need to be back to Manhattan cuz I want to spend a least a week at home before that.  Tell C thanks for the good letter and Mike–you should bring her to Icthus with ya’ll.  Cuz I say so.  See ya soon. I love you all.  Night night.



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.