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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Letter 06 Dan-To-John; Christmas Cattle







Dear John                           December 19th, 1970

I feel bad that I knocked football after reading your letter. I had no idea that you are a football player. I think my problem with football on Thanksgiving is watching it on T.V. I've been at a high school game once, and that was fun. I've played in the yard before, and that was fun.

I think you're right about the teamwork part. Being a goalie, I can't score any points. I can only stop the other team from scoring. It is literally impossible for me to win a game.

So cool the Goliath guy couldn't move you! That's almost as good as getting a Christmas present!

Speaking of Christmas, I have to tell you something. I figured out that Santa Claus isn't real.

[Drawing of Santa claus smoking corn-cobb pipe]

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Mom had a bunch of presents in her closet marked "From Santa" to us kids hidden in her closet. I spilled the beans to my little sister and brother. We all still love Christmas though. It's sweet of Mom to go to all that trouble to make it fun for us. I didn't open the presents or anyything.

Last week, my brother was running in the basement and broke the handle on my Mom's iron by knocking it off the ironing board.  My Stepdad was really mad when he found out. When he asked who did it, my little brother lied and said it wasn't him. My Stepdad made all three of us pull our pants down and get our butts in the air on the couch. He asked each of us who did it. If we said "not me," or "I don't know," we got a whack on the butt with the dreaded paddle.

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It was super unfair! My little sister wasn't even there when it happened. We must've been spanked ten times each before my little brother admitted to breaking the iron.

After my little brother confessed, my Stepdad sent my sister and I to our rooms. He gave my little brother one heck of a spanking for lying. I wish he would have just admitted it right away. He probably would've gotten way lerss spanks. He is the most stubborn kid I know.

Mom made a couple of new friends here in town. Arlene has four kids, and Jennifer has six. I think Jennifer's oldest - her daughter Suzy is really pretty. She's our babysitter now. She's fourteen. I haven't said anything to her, but I can't help watching her when we're watching T.V.

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The other night, Suzy let me watch Dracula with her after my little brother and sister went to bed. That old vampire sure was scary! I was really glad when Van Helsing opened the curtains and turned him into ash. I didn't let Suzy know I was scared, though. I don't want her to think I'm just a baby.

I found out that the field down at the end of our block has cattle in it. The other kids say there is a mean old bull in there who will gore you with his horns if he catches you. The field belongs to Doc Cruise, who is the local vet. There's an old chimney out in the field. One of the neighborhood boys ran out to the chimney and back on a dare. The bull must not have seen him. I never saw anything in the field but regular cows.

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The whole field is fenced in with barbed wire. The kid had to climb over it coming and going. The bull may not have spotted the kid sneaking into the field, but the cows definitely got their revenge a couple of days later!

At the other end of our block, our street becomes Main Street. Right where it changes, there is a Catolic church on the Northeast corner of the intersection. There is a State highway that runs along Main Street, and it curves North at that intersection. That curve is marked at fifteen miles per hour. Mom says the ramp curve is tilted the wrong way there. At least three semi-trucks have tipped over at that curve this past year by going just a little too fast.

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Well, a couple of days after that kid ran into the bull's field, a cattle-hauler tipped over at the church curve!

[Drawing of tipped-over 1970-period semi-truck tipped over at limestone church with cattle roaming loose]

I heard that one of the cows was loose in the I.G.A. grocery store, but I didn't get to see it. There were cows running loose all over town! I heard it took the town all day to round them up. They made all of us kids beat it for home, though. Good thing! I don't want to meet up with a scared cow in the meat aisle!

I'd better go. Mom is saying lights out. I hope you have a great Christmas!

Your friend,

Dan

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

We Have A New Domain For This Blog

http://www.PenPalsOnPaper.com will now go directly to this blog - it's a bit easier to remember, don't you think?

Regards, and thank you for reading and contributing.

Dan

Friday, November 3, 2017

Letter 04 Reply: Football & Siren Song - John to Dan





Dear Dan,

Being the most sought after goalie for soccer makes you a genuine athlete. But the best part is all the fun you have doing your team proud. There isn’t anything more rewarding than being an essential part of a team. Most great accomplishments are not done individually but as part of a group effort. And you are learning what teamwork is all about. That lesson will serve you well as you get older.

Me, I’m on the football team. However, I’m a third string. I get to go to games out of town. And that is great fun. As third string players we scrimmage after the real game is over. But I don’t feel at all bad. Just learning the ins and outs of football is a blast.

And then coach gave me a magnificent confidence builder the other day. He marked a spot on the field and told me to stand there. He instructed me not to budge an inch while a player much bigger than me crashed into me. We were wearing pads of course. So this huge behemoth hit me with all he had. I gave as good as I got. And I didn’t budge and inch from the mark coach made in the turf for me. This went on for several minutes. It just goes to show that will power can overcome even size when getting bashed by Goliath. When the hitting was over I felt like a million bucks.

On the bus home from a game one of the cheerleaders got all sweet with me. But I made it clear I wasn’t ready for that sort of thing. Though another player said she could teach me about the birds and bees. My resistance was strong as those ancient Greek sailors who tied themselves to the mast of the boat with the sirens singing.

Glad you learned about your state and corn husking. I love learning things like that way more than math. But I’ll need to know math when I get older for whatever I do. That’s what my teacher said. Enjoy your fall my friend.

Your friend,
 
John 

Letter John is replying to:

Letter 04 - Dan-To-John; Soccer And Such


Letter 01: Ice Age Territory - John to Dan Reply





Dear Dan,

Well I finally made it out of Natchez for a trip. My grandparents took me all the way to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. So we were near your neck of the woods. This was the furthest west I’ve ever been. And when we crossed into Kansas from Missouri there was a sunflower forest! There was a sign saying this area was covered by glaciers in the ice age. And at one time bison roamed those parts.

It would have been great to see you out there in the windblown plains. Something about the Great Plains with their wide open skies makes me want to sing cowboy songs under the stars. But I’ll make it out there. You and me will ride bikes in the big sky country. When I think of those men hunting Wooly Mammoths in the Arctic frost my heart is filled with wonder.

I hope you get that bike of your spiffied up like you want. I know you will. God those sand burrs sure would make me keep my shoes on. Here in the south we have black stinging caterpillars. They fall from the trees and crawl all over the yard. Stepping on them barefoot is asking for some big hurt.

Those pioneer books are a great find. Living in your little bitty town sounds good for the soul. Hey I wrote a poem about going to Kansas. Here it is:

My First Trip West

Saffron sunflower forests rose
Under turquoise vault of heaven
Welcomed me to pelagic plains
On the edge of an ice age land
Where bison once roamed free

Your Friend,
 
John  

Letter John is replying to:

Letter One - Moving To Genoa

Monday, October 30, 2017

Letter 05: Dan To John - Thanksgiving 1970






Dear John,      November 26th, 1970 - Thanksgiving

I just got your two letters. (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!) Mom got them both a couple of days ago, but waited until today to give them to me so that I would get my homework done. You're not the only one who needs to get back to his arithmetic! Haha! Mine isn't because of a girl, though.

It's a good thing your friend Jeff was there at the bayou! Otherwise I might've had to find another way to practice cursive writing - like doing homework! Haha! Just kidding. I'm glad the snake didn't bite you.

I'm writing on Thanksgiving Day because everyone else is stuffed with turkey and napping in front of a football game. B!O!R!I!N!G!

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I would way rather watch cartoons like Spider Man or Space Ghost, or ride my bike, or read a book about Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie than that stupid game.

The part about Tracy wrapping you up like a mummy for Halloween sounded really fun. I would love to have seen a picture of that. My costume was Frankenstein this year. My little sister had the really neat costume this year, though. My Mom sewed her up this amazing green dinosaur costume. It had a long tail, and she looked like a cross between the Sinclaire gas station dinosaur and a tyranosaurus rex.
[Drawing of dinosaur trick-or-treating]

I don't know what you are talking about with tracy being "bossy for a girl." I've never met a girl that wasn't bossy! Haha! Not that I listen...

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Wow, it sounds like you have a bad crush on tracy. I had a sort-of girlfriend last year when we lived in Madison, Wisconsin. Her name was Sandy Lee Bailey. She didn't ask me all kinds of questions, though. We snuck into the bushes under the railroad tracks one day. I think we were both shy. I kissed her, and held her hand. It was the first and only time I ever kissed a girl. So far...

Most of the time Sandy Lee and I would ride her pedal Mustang around on the sidewalk at the apartment complex we both lived in. She lived two buildings down from us. She and her family moved to another State this Summer too. I miss her a little. I'll probably never see her again. You know with moving...

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I've never been on roller skates. It looks like fun, but I'd probably fall on my butt! There was a girl in our apartments in Madison that had the steel roller skates that you strap on your shoes and skate in the street with. I never got to try those. She told me that you really have to watch out for pebbles.

I wonder why tracy is worried about kidnappers? Do you think she is reading too much Nancy Drew?

I am so looking forward to Christmas. I'm hoping to get some new hotwheels and track. My Stepdad took a piece of track to use as a paddle! I wish I could burn that thing! I have to go. The apple pie is ready. Write soon!

Your friend,

Dan

[Drawing / diagram of hotwheel-track paddle in left margin]

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Letter 03 - John's Reply To Dan




Dear Dan,

That Powwow sounded better than any TV show. We have one here in Natchez every year in March. They let the spectators dance with the Indians. The event is held at a historic Native American site by some Indian mounds. It may sound strange but though it’s in March it ushers in the year for me. The drumming and songs are like church but in a different way. Once I stood atop a mound and looked down on the circle of dancers. I imagined it was hundreds of years ago when the tribe lived there. But hey sometimes I let my imagination run wild. The kids don't call me space cadet for nothing. Ha ha!

But that was back in spring. This past weekend my grandparents took me to our house by the bayou in Louisiana. We took my friend Jeff along. He is part Choctaw but for some reason doesn’t talk about it. He doesn't speak the language. But Jeff and I paddled the boat across the bayou. Boy did I nearly get in trouble. I didn’t notice that I was about to step on a cottonmouth. That snake was sunning on some tree roots. Jeff yelled at me to stand still. Then he went back to the boat for a paddle. Jeff hacked that ole snake to pieces. He probably saved my life. We weren’t anywhere near a hospital. No telling what would have become of me if he'd gotten his fangs in me. I hear them cottonmouths got some powerful venom.

That evening Jeff and I camped out in the tent by the bayou. A fierce thunderstorm passed over but we weren’t afraid. We just talked while those thunderbolts crashed down. It was a great way to end the summer.

Glad you made it to the pool. That is a real chuckle about what the Indians called your little brother he sure was brave but foolhardy to take on a high school kid at his young age. Well grandma is calling me for dinner. Keep in touch.

Your friend,

John

Letter 03 that John is replying to Link

Letter 02 - John's Reply To Dan





Dear Dan,

Wow! You saw the moon landing live! I saw it on playback. But that is great that your classmates didn’t cut up. I think I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. Those guys jumping around on the moon look like they had barrels of fun. But right now I’m enjoying life on earth. You know I think this girl is serious about me. I got me a girlfriend. I never thought that would happen. I must be crazy at my age to go steady. Being with a girl feels stranger than walking on the moon. But boy it beats watching TV. And for the first time I feel romantic. What a weird notion for a freshman. But here it is and real as can be.

Her name is Tracy and for Halloween she wrapped me in sheet strips as a mummy. I got butterflies in my stomach as I’d never been that close to a girl before. But she is so cute that I really enjoyed it. If I ever get married it would be to her. So I thought she just liked me as her guy pal. Boy was I mistaken.

Here’s how it all started. She was climbing out of the pool when she asked if I liked her. I said as a friend. She smiled and said “I think more than that.” So she told me to meet her at the skating rink on Saturday night. She seems kind of bossy for a girl. But I kind of liked it. Pretty soon we were going steady.

At the rink my best friend Keith had me and Tracy wrap our arms around each other so close that I could smell her perfume. She was kind of nervous and said she’d never been like this with a boy. So my heart did flip flops. But Tracy seemed to enjoy it as she held me there long enough for me to catch my breath.

Tracy had some mighty funny questions for me. She asked me “John if Brigitte Bardot were to want you for her own would you leave me?” Tracy is such a kidder. But this time she wasn’t joking. So I told her, “You’re prettier without makeup than Brigitte all dolled up.” Tracy had a smile like she’d won a jackpot in Las Vegas. So then she pulled an even bigger one out of her hat. She said, “If a kidnapper were to say, ‘It’s either you or the girl’ what would you say?” So I told her “What any gentleman would do.” Tracy hopped like a girl in a game show.

God that girl is sweet on me. It feels like true love. I got a crush on that girl. Now if only I could get back to my arithmetic. Mom thinks I’m girl crazy.
 
Your friend,
John