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This letter is marked 4 of 5.

October 14, 1960

Bon Sori Mon Chéri,

Pretty sure he means Soirée but he’s a terrible speller in everything but English, as usual.   

Finally back onto a stationery of reasonable size. God, what a horrible feeling it is to discover you’ve come to the end of the letter before you’ve come to the end of the words. Very annoying.

Russ hates everything.

Did you know that a short letter is supposed to be harder to write than a long one? Undoubtedly it takes more thought per word and this is something I’m incapable of.

Actual gif of Russ in college.

Today has seemed like a long day. Must be that I’m getting old. Actually, I haven’t done a blasted thing, which isn’t good, in light of the fact that I’ve got a Physics quiz. (I seem to have fallen into having words out tonight so if anything comes out sounding ridiculous you know why. I don’t reread my letters. [maybe you should start?] If I did I’d never mail them. [Fair point.] I don’t like to read everything I’ve written. I always find too much fault with it. [I also find fault with many things you’ve written, Russ.] I’m my own very best critic, I guess. More likely is that what I’ve written is just lousy.

Eh, just boring lately for being so on fire.

Tomorrow and Saturday I’m absolutely going to have to get some work done. If I don’t, I’m in trouble.

He seemingly has no compulsion to talk about what’s going on in his life or even just share mild gossip about his roommate or what he’s studying. It’s really weird to me, but I’m an over-sharer from way back.

Old man physics is going to run away from me completely if I don’t and then I won’t even make a passing grade on the hourly next Thursday. That would be disastrous.

This week has gone by very quickly — looking back on it, that is. When looking forward to it, it seemed years long. The next two weeks seem awfully long, too. Oct. 29 will never get here. (Oct. 28 will be when I see you and that reduces the time by one year.) Oh, well, that’s life.

If you would see the position I’m sitting in while writing this letter you would be quite confident in the knowledge that my mind has finally given its last “twang” — and snapped. I’m perched on the arm of my chair and am writing on the desk. This position is getting uncomfortable so I’ll have think up a better one. Just a minute.

This one is better. I’m sitting on the arm of one chair with one foot on the other arm and the other foot on the other chair while leaning on the desk, writing. This won’t work out. Crouching on one chair isn’t so bad, though. Hmmmmm.

The reason for all these positions is simple — more or less. That important part of my anatomy functioning as my sitting gear is “abundantly” dissatisfied with the hard seats of the chairs in this room. Consequently, certain peculiar adjustments are necessitated in order to relieve the strain of my excessive build from my posterior cushion. i.e., My tail is tired.

And now you know. Don’t you feel profoundly informed. Maybe I could keep you informed on other goings on. This way you would learn nothing in many, many words. Blast it, I wish I didn’t have a Saturday class. It’s a real pain in the neck. I can’t stay up too late tonight because I’ve got to get up for the bloody class. There is no justice in this cruel world.

My roommate left for Peoria (Bradley University) this afternoon to visit some friends. Some people are just lucky, that’s all. (I’m sitting down again. Crouching resulted in my feet feeling the strain. This could not go on forever. Maybe I ought to finish this in bed. It’s hard to write in bed, though. I wouldn’t fall asleep though, of that I am positive. The only time I fall asleep is in class. That is par normal for me.)

Filled my pen. Looked as though it was going to “run out on me.” (Hah, hah, I made a pun. Laugh, it’s only polite.)

Think I’ll start a “we-hate-the-Red-Chinese” campaign on campus. There hasn’t been one of those for quite a while and they deserve their share just as well as the Russians. This would also have a profound effect on the Presidential race. A couple of good TV spectaculars on the atrocities committed by the Red Chinese would really put the Democratic Party in an uncomfortable position.

FINALLY, let’s talk about something other than your damn writing position! I’m guessing Russ voted for Nixon? However, I bet he now thinks he voted for Kennedy. That’s just a guess. Do people admit to voting for Nixon these days? Remind me to add that to the list of questions I ask him when we finally meet. Spoiler alert: We’re never going to meet.

But aside from the political angle, a campaign like that would liven things up a little. Put some spark and zest into the students. We could even have effigy burnings and everything. Make a big production out of it.

Photo from an actual anti-communist rally at the Hollywood Bowl in 1961!

Maybe a student revolt would be better yet. We could revolt against the Dean of Women’s Office. Run the Dean of Women out of town on a rail. We could even throw in the trustees for good measure. Enough amnesties delivered toward the administration. It might go to their heads as praise “for a job well done.”

Anybody else looking forward to Russ’s hot take on the civil rights movement?

I must get radical or something late at night.

Yes, real radical to be against both communism and feminism in 1960. Edgy!

You guys, what if Karen gets all feminist and radical when JFK dies and that’s why the letters stop? I mean, I think they end in 1962, but let us just write a little piece of fanfiction wherein JFK’s assassination leads to a bra-burning Karen and that’s why they break up? Side note: If I were finished with college in the early 1960s and missed free love and hippies and birth control pills, I’d be soooo pissed.

Always suggesting nasty things. This is the hour when the witches and the goblins are supposed to be having their little parties (it’s 2:30 a.m.). Maybe I’m just a witch or a goblin in disguise. Disguise? Baloney. Here I am in full color and CinemaScope.

I’d much rather be a goblin instead of a witch.

Because witches are feminist?

Goblins are cuter.

Say! Halloween is Oct. 30, isn’t it?


Let’s go out trick-or-treating. Force people to pay protection. I can see the Chicago Tribune’s headlines now. “City-Wide Racket Discovered” “Juvenile Crime on the Rampage”

If you read all the following in an old-timey announcer’s voice it makes it much more enjoyable:

“Our fair city’s children have organized a malicious racket patterned after the gangsterism of Al Capone. In a city (until now) free from organized crime, our Tribune roving reporter has uncovered an insidious attack upon our citizenry. The children are forcing the adults to pay protection. This is probably a direct result of juvenile delinquency, “The Untouchables,” and other television crime series. We must, in order to preserve liberty, justice and Mayor Daley’s income, stamp out this terrible development.

Co-operate with your local law enforcement agencies. Co-operation with these children will only encourage them. Our police are paid to protect you — the people. Pay protection to your local officer. We cannot afford to encourage juvenile delinquency. We cannot afford to pay off the juvenile crime syndicate. Paying them off as is customary on Halloween leaves nothing to support your family. You cannot afford two syndicates. Preserve the peace. We are for Chicago, the people of Chicago, and City Hall.”

And the City Council will commend the Tribune because they helped stamp out crime. Rah! Bah! Rot!

This is ridiculous. I will continue this letter tomorrow. Time waits for no man and I’m getting sleepy. Good night, Sweetheart. Dream about me because tonight I will dream about you again and morning will come too soon, ending my dreams. Don’t work too hard and “Stay as sweet as you are.”

Devotedly, with love, kisses and a happy heart,


Just when Russ is about to lose me, he reels me back in. I mean, a couple of pages on what position he’s in while writing is absurd. But I love the contemporaneous political and pop culture details and he sprinkles in just enough to keep me coming back. When he goes on about football for too long, he’ll shift gears and send the schmoop in Karen’s direction. Speaking of, the next one has a lot of football and romantic poetry! 

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