Miss one? Check the chronological list here.

I found these adorable little blank notecards that belonged to Karen tucked in between two of Russ’s letters. Maybe this is why he’s so consumed with stationery?

This letter is marked 5 of 5! The rain of letters ceases here. 

October 15, 1960

Dearest “K”

Well, on the basis of your last card, I’m either exotic or rather unappetizing or both.

Dying to see what that is about! I imagine she sent him a card with a buffalo on it. I don’t know why but that’s the first thing that popped into my head. 

The explanation for the sounds coming from this end of the line Fri. morn. is in letter 4 of 5. Should have mentioned it when I talked to you, but I didn’t. How could I possibly be displeased! Hearing your voice is a darn sight better than having to read what you say, and being able to talk to you beats writing by a long shot. The only drawback is the cost of long-distance phone calls. Otherwise my conversations would go on for hours.

I feel you, Russ! Long-distance calls used to be expen$$$$$ive! In college, my rent was $300 and my phone bill was very often just as much if not more. Serious scratch in 1995. Also, Karen has low self-esteem, and I’m gonna blame her mean dad that we learned about in a previous letter.

I hope you appreciate contemporary stationery as much as I appreciate it and contemporary cards.

What in the hell is he talking about? I’m guessing anything that is not onion paper is “contemporary” for Russ.

I’m going to have to send out some contemporary cards to you. That’s the only way I can obtain my “revenge” (?) (Question marks are evasive little forms of punctuation. I either leave them out or mess them up. Can’t have everything.)

I adore that he thinks question marks are evasive forms of punctuation.

The score in the Illinois-Minnesota game is 7-7 right now. Wisconsin beat Purdue last Saturday 7-0. If Purdue beats Ohio State today, that will even up the Big Ten rather nice. Jerry Wood just kicked a 33-yard field goal putting Illinois in the lead 10-7. Keep your fingers crossed for the Illini. By the time you get this letter, the game will be over, but we haven’t finished the season yet. So far so good.

Anyway, I slept through my class this morning. Great performance. This has got to stop.

Looks like a pretty good game for the Illini.

You’ll have to excuse my constant subject-changing. I’m listening to the game while I write this letter. Very shortly, I’ll to go out and mail these letters. You’ll have to promise to open them in order.

I tried, Russ.

Fine. This is the last of the series. Great, you’ll find out about opening them in order after you’ve opened them all. That isn’t exactly rational thinking, now is it?

Purdue leads Ohio 24-21 in the third quarter, Michigan leads Notre Dame 14-0 at the half. Half-time score for the Illini: 10-7. Go-go-Ilini! We’re playing Minnesota for the their homecoming. We beat Minnesota last year for our Homecoming also.


Let’s keep up the good work. The Illini really can’t afford to lose this game. Everything should work out pretty well.

I ran out of Illinois stickers to put on my envelopes. Therefore, my trademark is gone for awhile. I can’t even buy more. All the bookstores are sold out. They must be in great demand. I’ll have to try again this afternoon. No, the bookstores aren’t open this afternoon. Oh, well, maybe the drugstores will do the trick.

Based on the envelopes? They didn’t.

The Illini are still ahead 10-7 near the end of the third quarter. Three points really isn’t too much of a lead in this game. We can do it though.

God! I have Physics to study today. Keep punchin’ for that hourly. It’s a good thing Physics is not my roughest subject. Keep worrying about it, though. Have to study math one of these days.

This is a dull weekend. Especially when contrasted with the past and future weekends, — especially last weekend. To be philosophical about the situation. One must have bad in order to appreciate the good. Very nice and practical. Rot! Dream a little. I’m dreaming about Oct. 28-30. It’s gonna be great!

Actually, there isn’t anything I can really tell you about, as is obvious in the above part of this letter.

Looks bad for the Illini. Minnesota has a first and goal to go (eight-yard line). We have go to win this miserable game. This looks real bad. They’ve made it to the two-yard line. The announcer goofed. They had a first down with two yards to go. Curses! Minnesota just put the ball over the goal line. The kick is good. Minnesota leads 14-10 with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Now, we really need a touchdown. Everything is black now. We’ll see what happens eventually.

The Illlini lost that touchdown to Minnesota because of a bad kick and three penalties which put Minnesota in a real good position. The point: Illinois still has a pretty good chance. The teams are more or less evenly matched. We might make it after all. Forty-one yard line with 8 min. 45 sec. to go. Loss 37½ yard line, 2nd down. Big run. First down on Minnesota’s 44-yard line. Another loss. Good grief! 44-yard line of Illinois with a penalty on the play. We couldn’t afford that.

And you thought you didn’t like it when Ross got political! Hope there’s at least one more Kennedy-Nixon debate. 

Second down with 22 yards to go. 6 mins. 42 sec to go. Another loss. The Illinois line is falling apart. Third down and 33 yards to go. Looks real black. Even the referees are against us. They called our pass receiver out of bounds. Fourth and 32. The punt of out-of-bounds on the 26-yard-line. Minnesota has the ball in their own territory. Looks real bad. 5 min. 5 sec left in the game.

Minnesota moved it up to the 31-yard line of Illinois. We have lost. Too many lousy penalties. This is no good. Only a miracle can save us. Another first down for Minnesota. Might as well quit listening. Minnesota just made another touchdown. Great! Put the flags at half-mast. Losing this game is worse than losing to Ohio State.

As anyone from Michigan can tell you, nothing is worse than losing anything to Ohio.

Disappointing is hardly the word. Minnesota leading 21-10. We have really had it. We’ve lost the old ball game. We can, by no stretch of the imagination, win the game. 2 min. 50 sec. to go. Not even a miracle will help. Maybe we can close up the gap in the score but even that’s doubtful. A black day for the Illini.

Well, you’ve probably not that interested in the progress of a football game told in a letter so I will close and go out and mail these letters. The others are more interesting.

However, first more poetry.

MORE? Where is the earlier poetry?

So, seriously, you guys, Russ proceeds to transcribe by hand three pages of poems. Which: Awww. That’s so sweet. I simply copied and pasted them from poetry websites because it’s 2018. You’re welcome: 

Oh, Hesperus! thou bringest all good things—
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
To the young bird the parent’s brooding wings,
The welcome stall to the o’erlabour’d steer;
Whate’er of peace about our hearthstone clings,
Whate’er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gather’d round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring’st the child, too, to the mother’s breast.

Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart
Of those who sail the seas, on the first day
When they from their sweet friends are torn apart;
Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way
As the far bell of vesper makes him start,
Seeming to weep the dying day’s decay;
Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?
Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns!
George Gordon, Lord Byron

If you think about it, Russ isn’t even taking an English class. So he just chose to include poems that she might like or that might flatter her in some way. 

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
George Gordon, Lord Byron

I wouldn’t be as annoyed about all that football if I were Karen. Being in a good relationship means you have to listen to the other person talk about shit you don’t care about at all and pretend at least vaguely that you’re excited for them. 

I wish I could write poetry.

I am SO GLAD you didn’t try. This is way better.

Au revoir, mon Cherie. Until my next letter. Take real good care of yourself and dream about me once in awhile.

Love and kisses,

Ad infinitum,


Ooh, this is a new layer of commitment with the infinity promises!

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