As each year winds down, I look back over the journal that I have kept to remind myself of the myriad things that have occurred during the year, many of which I’d never expected and most of which I’ve already begun to forget. One of the most surprising things that turned up in 2012 was a letter written from my brother Steve to Mom in August of 1967, just a few months before his death. Though we now know what Steve did not about his future – something that imbues the letter with an even richer meaning – I think it is a really appropriate letter for reflection on a day given to thoughts about renewal and new beginnings. On a more personal level, I think it gives Steve a chance to let him tell those in our family who never really knew him a little something about himself in his own words. I wonder how many 19 year-olds today in comparable situations would show the same kind of independence, work ethic and character that this letter hints at. (I’ve kept all the original spelling.)
August 25, 1967
Just thought I would write a couple of lines to let you know what I have been doing. Right now George and I are in San Fransico, it was so hot at the river that we decided to come up here and see what was going on. Both of use are okay but we have had a little trouble with the car, we think that it has a burnt valve but we are really not sure. We went to a garage the other day and they said that it would cost between 65.00 and 80.00 dollars to have it fixed. Neither of use have any money and we are going to work up here until we can get up enough money to get the car fixed and return home. I got a job yesterday working at a place called World Carpets Inc, but it is only for three days. George is still looking for a job but hasn’t had much luck. After this job is finished we are going to go to this place and get a job picking peaches. We figure we will have enough money to get the car fixed by Thursday or Friday so we will probably be returning home late Friday nite or early Saturday morning. I am really looking forward to getting home, because it is frezzing up here and we have been sleeping in the car and it’s pretty cramped and I’m starving. Well at least I think that I have learned one thing out of this trip, and that is that I don’t want to go on being a bum the rest of my life, after seeing all the bums and panhandlers down here it really makes you stop and think. I sure would hate to think of me being like that in 10 years or so. So I have decided when I get back home I am going to get a job and save money, then go back to school the second semester, because I doubt if I could get in this semester I think it’s too late. When I get back in school I am really going to try. This may sound like a lot of hogwash to you, but I really mean it this time. This place has really made me see how important it is to get an education and make something of yourself. Well enough that subject for a while.
Well like I said I will probable be home Friday or Saturday depending on how soon we get the car fixed. How is everything down there OK. I hope. Well I have to get going now I am at work on my lunch hour and I have to get back. I just wanted to let you know I am ok. Say hi to Pat & Mary and everybody down there and I will see you on Saturday (I hope).