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So this is the last letter before he enlists.  I’ve written my mother for information to fill in as much of the blank left between this letter and the next, which is written in February, five months later.

Just so you know, the original title of this post was to be “Hey! There’s a fire across the street.” but I felt this one had a little more meaning.

Postmark September 8, 1967.  Denver, Colorado.

5:00 Fri

Back again –

I’m home for supper now.  Didn’t even get in a demonstration this afternoon.  Spent all day going over a new financial form.  Wasn’t all that difficult but they made a big deal of it.

Heard from that IBM school yet?  Probably not or you would have told me.  Should be hearing from them pretty quick though shouldn’t you?

I’m home for supper like I said, but I’m not hungry.  I’ve been eating like a horse since we got back.  Three bytes from three different hamburgers and half a malt.  Not bad for four days.  I’m getting fat.

You remember those two pictures I brought back?  I’d forgotten how short your hair was on your birthday.  And that was only two months ago.  Seems like years.

Bob and I talk about going back home all the time now.  Hey!  There’s a fire across the street now — anyway, Bob just may tell them to shove it one of these days… and if he does, zoom – here we come!  The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

Hey, I never got my cigar from your brother.  Gonna have to get that one of these days before it gets stale.

One thing though.  I don’t really want to be there when Dale is.  I’d have to stay away for that weekend and it would be a lot worse being so close and not being able to see you.  Of course I could go out on the town.  Haven’t done that for a long time.  But I’d rather be with you.

That’s dangerous to say.  You could come to expect too much from me.  I hope that never happens though, because when people expect too much for me I have a bad habit of letting them down.  I hope I never let you down or hurt you in any way — I love you too much.  Maybe someday you’ll wish we had never met, but I hope not.  I want you to be mine R., for good.  Don’t ever forget that I love you.

Practically between every word I write I stop and think about you.  I keep that poem on my dresser and read it all the time.  “I will have all the things I want some day.”  R., you are everything I want.  You and your love.  No one could ask for more.  I love you honey.

Time to go to work — damn.  I’ll actually send this now.  Love you!

Take it easy —

J.

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I’m thinking this font is going to have to change soon.  I’m wanting to say more about these letters but this format doesn’t lend it self to long and detailed writing.

Couple of things: 1) An IBM sales guy came around to moms house offering to train her on the new IBM computers.  She can’t remember if he was trying to sell one to their family or just offering her a job, but her folks put the kibosh on that.  Considering the size of IBM equipment circa 1967, I doubt it was for personal use.

2) D.S. is a service/gas station situated right next to the Dairy Queen mom worked at. He worked there before heading to Denver, but not at the same time as mom.

3) The “Bob” referred to (in regards to the D.S.) is not dad’s best friend, the Bob we’ve come to know and love in these letters.  He’s a different Bob who hires at the D.S.

4) Remember a couple of letters ago when dad was talking about how no one would believe what he was selling in his new job?  well, turns out he was selling Rainbow “cleaning systems,” a special type of vacuum that used water to deep clean as it sucked up dirt.  I guess he took one home to show his mom over Labor Day. No news on whether she bought one or not.

5)  I haven’t found the letter he references at the beginning here.  I believe he’s talking about the stream of consciousness letter he wrote some weeks ago.

Postmark September 5, 1967.  Denver, Colorado

Tues P.M.

9-5-67

Hi Honey –

I’m sending you that letter I wrote just before we came back.  I really should tear it up but maybe you’ll get a laugh out of it.

We didn’t get back until 3:30 this morning.  Stopped for an hour at my grandparents, and all our gas stops took twice as long.  We had just about had it when we pulled in.  I was ready to turn around and go right back home though.

I still feel like going back.  I hate Denver now!  If I didn’t feel I had to stick around because of Bob I’d be on my way.  He just may quit before too long and we’ll at least get closer to home.  I’m actually trying to talk him into it.  If not, I’ll stick around long enough so he can make it, then take off alone.

I didn’t go to work today.  I called and told them I just couldn’t make it, too damn tired.  So I’m going out at 6:00 instead of noon like I was supposed to.  Then I discovered I forgot my shoes at home, so I had to buy another pair this afternoon.  Ouch!

I just about quit my job today before I ever really started.  I didn’t want to chance not making it and losing money, or, if I made it, I’m not taking off and moving closer to home and to you.  Bob tried to talk me out of it but I’m still not sure.  Tonight when I go to work I may just walk in there and quit.  I don’t give a damn about anything anymore except being closer to you.  The way I feel now I the even work at the D.S. again.  This last weekend really made me love [my hometown].  I have a feeling I won’t be in Denver too much longer.

You know, I never had a job that I enjoyed as much as working at the D.S.  When I do come back I think I’ll try to get it back, if Bob will let me.  So often I wish I’d never left.  Let me know how schools going and how do you like the new building.  And tell me about that IBM deal as soon as you find out.  I hope it all works out the way you want it to.

Well, I’ve got to go if I’m going to get to work, which I’m not sure I’m going to.  Maybe I’ll head back tonight, I don’t know.  All I know is that I love you and I hate to be so far away.  Already it seems like months since I’ve seen you, and it’s only been since yesterday.  I love you honey, and think about you all the time.  So long for now, R.  Take it easy.

Love forever,

J.

Postmark August 23, 1967.  Denver, Colorado.

1:30pm Wed.

Hi Honey,

I found one more piece of paper so I can send you another short note.  Haven’t got around to getting anymore yet.

Went up to IBM this morning.  Had the interview and took a couple of tests.  Now it’ll be a week or so before I find out if I have a job or not.  They sure go through a lot of crap before they’ll hire you.  They don’t have computer training and such there, but I might get on in production.  This damn waiting is driving me nuts — I haven’t been sure of anything for weeks now.

If IBM falls through I’m going to look around a little more for a real good job, and if nothing comes up real quick like — to hell with it.  If I have to take a grub job I may as well get one back home where at least I’ll get to see you.  Maybe even go back to school next semester.  I wish to hell I knew.

You know, I kind of miss school already.  Not school itself but things connected with it, especially the choir.  Wish I could go to that stuff without going to class.  That would be great.

I was going to stay in Boulder this P.M. and go swimming, but I thought I might get a letter from you so I came home.  No letter.  I got one from Dex though, a real long one… almost ¾ of a page.  That’s pretty good for him.  I’ll write him one of these days if I get around to it.  Say, that something you could do for me if you would.  I don’t remember D.A.’s address — its 16th Ave. but that’s all I know.  It’s in the phone book so send it to me some time, okay?  I’d like to write him.

I tried to see Pastor Madsen yesterday but they’re out of town on vacation.  I think I’ll go to his church this Sunday though.  He’ll be back by Thursday.  Mom’s been yelling at me to go to church anyway.

I’m going to change sheets on the beds now.  I’ve also got to pay the rent.  Ouch!  I’ve paid it for the last couple weeks now.  Next week Bob’s going to have to start supporting us because by then I’ll be broke.  Pretty close anyway.  I’ll write more later, and I even found another piece of paper.  So long for now —


3:30 — hi, I’m back.  I’m pissed off too.  Don’t know why — just everything in general I guess.  It’s hotter than blue blazes in here and almost no breeze.  Hope it’s this warm over labor day.  I’ve got a swimming date then, don’t I?  Sure hope so.

Now I’m feeling better.  Just thinking of you helps more than you know.  The calendar even moved since yesterday.  Just hope I can afford to make it back.  I’m coming whether or not I can afford it, but it would be nice not to be broke when I got there.  Then we couldn’t even get to the all-night show.  Hope it doesn’t come to that!

Sure wish you could come out here some time.  We could go into the mountains and get lost for a couple of days.  That would be great, just you and me.  I think I’d like that.  There are so many things I want to do with you when I can.  Mostly I’d just like to be near you more often.

Do you remember when I said I felt that if I didn’t take off like I wanted to that I’d probably be sorry someday?  Well, I’m glad I did.  But now I’m starting to feel that I’m missing an awful lot by doing it.  You said some things that made me realize it was to my advantage to leave, but I hope things don’t change again the longer I’m away.  That’s what I’m afraid of now.  The more I think about that the more I’m tempted to come back before I lose you.  I just love you too much, that’s my problem.

You know something?  With any other girl I’ve ever known I could say “to hell with her” anytime I wanted and just forget it.  I just couldn’t do that with you.  Sometimes I think I’d be a lot better off if I could, but I can’t and I don’t want to.  Boy, you’ve really got something to make me change all my ideas on this.  I’m glad too.

I love you, R.  I can’t think of anything else to say except that because that’s all I can think of, I love you.  I’m going crazy not being able to talk to you like I used to and do things with you.  A month of labor days wouldn’t be enough now for me to tell you how I feel.  I love you!

Gotta cut the crap.  It must be getting old by now.  I’m going to the park and pick up my big check.  If I’m lucky I’ll get enough to pay a weeks rent.  Then gotta pick up Bob.  Take it easy, honey —

Love you,

J

Dad crossed out that last part pretty good, but it can still be read it through the scribbles.  Probably best not to go around comparing who feels more lonely.  The picture is one that was included in the letter.  And no, I haven’t a clue what kind of name Cheathan is, but I swear that’s exactly what it looks like he wrote.

Postmark August 10th, 1967. Denver, Colorado.

Tues eve.

Hi Fuzz,

Well, I got a job, but I decided not to take it… yet anyway. If I did I wouldn’t have been able to make it back for Labor Day. When I found that out it didn’t sound nearly as attractive. A guy I talked to said there were nearly always positions open so if I decided to take it later I could – after L.D. weekend. It was as a salesman at a Phillips 66 Store and Station. No grub work. Guaranteed salary plus commission. Not too bad a deal except for working holidays. Maybe later.

What I want now is something for a couple of weeks until I hear from IBM and Neodata. That kind of job is harder to find than permanent work. If nothing turns up tomorrow morn. I’m going to do some bailing for a farmer north of Denver to earn a few bucks. Oh yeah, I got paid from Collins today so I got a few bucks in my pocket again. Spent a lot today, too. Gas, food, etc. Then Bob and I went up to Boulder to a show. It’s really idiotic to go running up there when the same show is on at a theater about 10 min. drive from here. It’s good to get out of the city though. We went to “Up the Down Staircase.” Pretty good.

We haven’t been able to find the manager all day, so we don’t know if we got any mail yet. If I have a letter from you sitting there and I can’t get it I just might clobber someone. She’s probably out drunk in some bar or something.

Well, it’s late. More tomorrow. Love you very much. Good night – smack – more tomorrow.

J.


Wed. morn.

Hi beautiful – I’m back.

Guess what – we had an earthquake this morning. It was a good one too. Nearly rolled me out of bed. Not quite that bad, but the glasses and lights were bouncing all over the place. On the radio they said it was felt over 100 miles away. Some property damage but no one hurt as far as I’ve heard.

I got a letter from the folks today complaining that I haven’t written enough (a postcard and a letter to them and a letter to Brenda) so I wrote a quick one to them this morning so they’d get it before they went on vacation. Now is when I ought to come back – then you and I could move into our house for a week. I think I’d kind of like that, yeah!

I found out why we couldn’t find a manager yesterday. She and her husband skipped town. You meet the nicest people in Denver!


Wed. eve.

Just got back from picking Bob up. He’s in a very quiet philosophical mood so he’s writing a book to Ruth. I think he’s found out that taking off this way isn’t the big lark he expected it to be. I’ll bet if I suggested we head back home tonite he’d be ready to go in two minutes flat. So would I for that matter, but at least I’ve got some good opportunities open to me that he won’t have for 2 months yet. I really doubt that he’ll stick it out that long.

I called the folks this evening, collect. Must have talked for 10 minutes. Good to talk to them. Mom’s having back trouble though. My cousin is getting married on the 19th and wanted Dex and I to be ushers. Wish I could make it back for a few days but I told the folks I couldn’t. So she’ll have to find someone else, I guess. That’s one of my cousins from Irene, by the way, not the one who will be here this weekend.

I was just talking to Bob. He’s not at all sure he’s going to be back Labor Day, back to Denver that is. We’re going to talk this thing over tonite. The way it sounds I may be coming back here alone after Labor Day. If I got a good job, of course. Bob is so hung up on Ruth he just can’t stay away. If he only knew how I felt! Maybe I’m just too stubborn to give up so easy. I just feel that if I’m not going to go to school like my folks want me to then I’ve got to make it on my own. I’m going to make it, too, if it kills me.

You said something in your letter about not being able to tell me all these little things like you used to. Sure you can! I miss all the little things too and hope you’ll write anything you want. Of course it won’t be the same as if we were together but I’d like it anyway. Besides – you still have to tell me how Cheathan’s going away party went – and that pint of vodka. Things like that and your “skinny dippin” are what I like to hear, plus those three beautiful words “I love you.” Especially those three words. Hope you can always say that like I’ll always be able to. I love you.

Hey, you still have to send me that picture of you I took in your old beast. Send it! Now! Immediately! OK? I still don’t have my 25 pictures. You’re falling behind. And if you want to make it 50 that will still be fine with me. I love you, and if I can’t be with you I want all the pictures I can get. Sometimes I just sit and stare at your pictures for hours on end, and they’re getting wore out from use.

Well – Bob’s in a hurry to mail these letters so best I sign off – I love you and miss you very much – and you think you’re lonely?

Love,

J.

This letter was written on the back of a supplemental sheet of an application for IBM.  Have to admit I was pretty surprised he left this job so quickly but it makes more sense this way.  The man I remember wasn’t a salesman type guy and I was pretty shocked when I read he was ever in sales in the first place.  Also, at the end of the actual letter he starts cramming in words and writes the PS up the side margin to fit it in.

Postmark August 5th, 1967.  Denver, Colorado.

Hi Honey,

Sorry about the writing material but Bob has this bad habit of using up all our writing paper. Sorry it’s been so long since writing last.

Say, that last letter I wrote… I was in a pretty bad way during most of it. First time in a long time I’ve been like that! Had a blast with the guys though.

It won’t happen again. I’m quitting Collins. It’s too damn much like being another damn door-to-door salesman. There’s a lot of money to be made real quick but it’s just not for me. Soooo…

I’m sending in an application at IBM and another place and try to get in on the job training set up in data processing. If nothing comes of that we’ll probably blow this town. Know for sure in about two weeks. Hope to get on with one of them because they’re both in Boulder. I’d give anything for a decent job up there.

I miss you an awful lot, honey. I’m just counting the days until Labor Day. If something comes up so I can’t get back then I think I just say to hell with the whole mess and go back anyway. I will say that Collins hasn’t given me much time to think about you lately, but when I do it’s just that much worse. Why else would I be writing you at 2:00 in the morning like this? And I’ve got to get up at 8:00. Therefore, I should sign off. Besides, I’m out of paper.

I love you,

J.

P.S. They’re playing “Silence Is Golden” now. Wish you were here to hear it with me. Love ya.

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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