My friend Cindy (now Cynthia) knew I liked Rupert Bear and when she was travelling in England the year she and her folks lived in Spain she sent me a Rupert Bear puzzle and orange chocolate bar (possibly with Rupert on it) for my high school graduation. Cynthia graduated from high school a year early so she could go to Spain when her father took a year-long sabbatical from teaching. She wrote a colorful, slightly silly, slightly inspirational note on the back of the puzzle box.
June 29, 1975
Happy Happy Graduation!!
This isn’t much, but the thought behind it is!! I hope you have a super summer. And a good Fall & winter too! (why did I write that?? I’ll be talking with you before then!) Anyway, I’ll be thinking about you, struggling away on this 800 piece puzzle with sticky, orange chocolaty fingers.
Just keep a stiff upper lip & you’ll make all life’s ups and downs pass like porridge!
I’m not sure I have ever put the puzzle together, but I kept it nearly 40(!) years.
We lost touch for a while, but have reconnected on Facebook. She lives only a few hours from me and one of these days I hope to jump in the car and visit her. Maybe I will bring the puzzle and we can put it together. Together.
In the box that probably belonged to my Uncle Don and Aunt Leila were some letters Dad wrote to his parents and to my aunt and uncle. Here is the oldest one to his parents. He was twenty and a half years old.
Well, how is everybody? I’m feeling pretty good except for a slight cold which is getting better. Well our chow is a little better this week because a different company is feeding us. The company that is feeding us now has made an agreement with our C.O. that they feed us good and we feed them good when we get in chow hall. Our weekend is just about over, it’s Mon. night now and we have just finished swabbing the decks with sand, washed all the windows inside and out with Bon-ami and scrubbed every piece of wood in the building. I got all my clothes washed yesterday and left them out all day to bleach.
How is everybody at home? Is dad feeling pretty good, I hope so. I hope everybody else is pretty good too.
Say when you send my camera will you send back my toiletry kit and a good map of Illinois, Indiana or any other state you have. Send on of Chicago too if you can find one.
I’ll have to quit now because they are going to turn out the light.
One of the attic kneewall finds was a box that probably came from my Aunt Leila and Uncle Don’s house. In that box, in an envelope marked Portrait Reorder Division was, among other things, a piece of paper with “To Elvin” written on one side and the following poem written in nearly completely faded purple ink on the other side. At first I thought it was simply an old mimeographed copy of something and nearly threw it away, but when I took a closer look I saw that it was a handwritten poem, signed by Elvin — my dad.
Elvin, age 7
I always want more than I can tell
And other folks just want a smell.
I always want things for my bike
But I don’t always get what I like.
When I ever go into the store
I want those things more and more.
I want something that’ll make a noise
But of course you know I’m like most boys.
I like to make airplanes you know
I rather do that than play in the snow.
But if that would make me real happy
I don’t think I’d have time to help my pappy.
Here is the actual poem with the contrast turned up a bit so some of the writing is legible.