1973, May 10: Letter from Marcy and Peter to G&H

Three-page typewritten letter from Marcy, followed by a one-page handwritten PS/letter from Peter on the back of the third page.

Content warnings:

  • Reference to a “human zoo,” probably referring to George’s workplace, the Cascadia Juvenile Diagnostic and Detention Center.
  • Someone planning to commit suicide.

May 10

end of a long day

Wull, hi.

What a pleasure it's been reading yourx letters, Grandpa.. Seems terrible not to reply right awayx to such gems, but I guess they had to sink in for a while so we'd fully appreciate them...... One thing, you can no longer accuse me of writing all kinds of lovely letters and (back to single space, hurray) how impressive they are and all that without me saying "Same to you, Grandpa." or, as the kids insist on having it: "I'm glue and you're rubber; anything you sayx bounces off you and sticks to me!"

While on that lovely subject, here are th latest what-I-wanna-be-when..."s.... Jed is determinged to be the string quartet and play Peter in the music of Peter and the Wolf... We finally communicated that that's four people ; so now he's willing to be the viola. He sure has stuck with this idea of playing in an orchestra for a long time; I guess it's about time to start thinking about a ripe piano or some such thing..Before that he was going to be a Fire-fighting Forest Ranger; that lasted till Paul came with the story (which xxx I'd heard but censored as I knew it would break Jed's heart) of the new forest service scheme of controlled burning, which he's doubtless explained to you. Jed was very interested but switched to orchestral aspirations around that time.......Joaquin will be in the orchestra too, after he's finished being a refrigerator truck. ("No, No, Joaquin, you mean frigerator truck driver!"..."Oh"..) Then he'll be in the or-sess-ter.. "What are you going to play in the or-sess-ter, Joaquin?" "We all live in a yellow submarine."

They had a marvelous time with Paul; played all afternoon and all enjouyed each other immensely. Quin is still not at all clear that he has more than one uncle...whom he used to referx to as Johndavid; now it's even more so, as he really xmmeans Paul, as in "When is Uncle David going to come see us again?" We had a lovely time together too; ended up watching the Chinese Acrobatic troupe as a fitting finale to a lovely day.

As usual, we're up to our ears.....for instace, this typewriter, rented for a month to send out resumes, of which Peter generally gets from a few xxx to several off each night. So far, he's had one two places interested enough to send an application and invite him to be interviewed, several say that they've enjoyed his approach but have no openings; a few have been nkce enough to return his resume. Which is very considerate, as they cost a bit. No reply from most others, though. Well, it's their loss.

Handwritten by Peter between paragraphs: I very much enjoyed the human-zoo tour you took us on, Dad....

The job proceeds a-dragging-pace. In your wonderful letter about Cascadia, Grandpa, x you said that it was working and being with the kids that saved the job for you--- well, it would for Peter, too, if there were any....but the only ones that come in almost at all are only wanting tox play cards or pingpong, don't even come to groups or hardly any sort of counseling....there are s some rewards, though.......Such as one hot afternoon when everyone was sitting out xxx on the porch, and along comes this man who had evidently been connected with the Sun as some sort of interested member of the community about a year ago. He was very down and out; in fact, so far that it appeared to Peter that he was about to be xxx considering threatening suicide. No one else (of the whole staff) was interested in even talking to the xxx guy, but Peter just couldn't let him go x off after asking for help so clearly....So they went for a walk...Charlie told about his life, which for the past year has been spent holxed-up in a tiny apartment, going out at 2 a.m.. to the local all night liquoxr store for books and obviously limited foodstuffs. He had been an alcololic, had gone xxx through A..A.'s.program and given up alcoholxxx successfully abut two years' ago (forgive my excessive punctuation; this machine has a will of its own) but there was nothing to fill the blank in his life that alcohol had formerly covered up.....He's a former railroad man; ex-wife and two sons living in a nearby town, really alone in the world. Peter channelled Johrei to him for about fifteen minutes, and at the end of that time Charlie was a changed man; reborn and renewed and ready to come back into the world. It was beautiful and miraculous, and a lasting change, too. Peter went to his house next day, cleared away a years worth of xxx old newspapers, whisked enough laundry off to fill twelve (12) (!!!!!!) washers at the laundromat; the next day went back for a load of magazines and old books.... By this time (about two weeks later) Charlie has recieved Johrei several times, has cleared out his apartment, completely cleaning and renewing it, given away all of his extraneous possessions (quite a lot) visited his sons in Manteca (whom he hadn't seen for overx a year; the are 9 and 11, I believe) and is ready to pop on a bus for New York to care for his aged mother who was just about to sell her home and go into a nursing home. (he leaves tomorrow.) What a pleasure it is to be around him...Such a conscious person; politically and socially more aware than most people twenty years his junior, completely lovely with the kids, and in all ways a fine and exciting and stimulating persom..... Incidentally, Grandma, I passed on to him that lovely prayer of St. Francis that you sent me. xxx It is one of my favorite meditations, and it virtually leaped off the desk and grabbed me inx the eye when I xxx was thinking about Charlie one morning, so I knew it was time for it to go to him. He thanks you, too.

Talk about thanks, did I ever thank you properly for the huge pot you sent at Christmas? Sure is a fine xxx fine pot......Easier to clean than cast Iron, x but holds as much as my big kettles. So thank you, arready.

Applied this morning for substitute work; should have a day or so thereof before school closes, and plenty all next year if we're sxtill in the area and nothing fuxll time has turned up.

We had a lovely Easter, featuring about ten Easter Egg hunts--your package did come in time (have a feeling I've said this before.), and the eggs and some real hard boiled ones were hiddem over and over and over..found a couple (the real ones, unfortunately) as much as a week later........needless to say, the eggs and their contents were a big hit....

Here's another thank you--it's for that funny apron with the picture of California--I never have x used an apron much, but this one is real handy with the towel included. Thinking about making some,.even. Parenthetical added in Peter’s handwriting: (Marcy bought a Brother sewing machine!) I remember to put it on when I find myself wiping my hands on my dress.

Not much is happening in the garden; it's a battle xevery day with the snails andx the cutworms, and I've been devoting all my xxx garden energy to such things as putting ashes all around every plant after every watering (keeps the snails off) and planning to do all the rest of my planting (and some re-planting) in bottomless cans to hopefully eliminate the cutworm problem. Yrs, I know about onions under the roses, but, though there are xxx four huge rose trees on the property I have to admit that I am not overly fond of roses and aside from a dutiful pruning and irregular xxx hosings to knoxck off the aphids I dont dox a whole heck of a lot for them. x I really dislike having to care for a lawn x (if its ever up to me I'd plant chamomile and various other creepers and cover crops that need only be x mowexd once a month or so, and strike deep roots so they don't need to be watered, and love to be sat and walked on--chamomile even gives a bouquet of most enchanting aroma when trodden....for the rest, I'd use flagstones and wood and pebbles and tree rounds---- and NO grass except some ornamental grasses in nooks and crannies to save and dry for permanent bouquets. And lots of rock garden, trees, & flowers in beds rather than rows, and, and, and.....

The Mayday--no, May Day--letter was lovely, and especially for the kids who haven't been exposed to that tradition at all. We tried to do it in Albany last year, but were unable to find many flowers. One neighbor did find some, though, and we all got tiny boquets from her.

I guess Ix 'll close in time to watch the 11pm news.....good to hear about Ellsberg and the house refusal to pay for Nixons further war crimes. Added in margin in Peter’s handwriting: YAY! (I’m not sure which part of this paragraph that applied to.) Daniel Berrigan spoke here in stockton last night; I spoke today to some people who heard him (I was planning to go but it didn't happen that way; may go to hear him on Sunday at a folk mass, which I've never been to one of and don't know what to expect. ) They say he was especially down on people who come up to him and say, "What can I do?" He said, the only way to work is on the community level--like go on down to the Farmworkers office and do some filing for them...or go out and help them on a food collection drive, or whatever.

Off to the news..........


Peter Marcy

Jed & Joaquin

The rest of this is handwritten in Peter’s writing on the back of the last page of Marcy’s letter.

P.S. Now I’m thinking of finding work near Martinez, and enroll in the Graduate Psych course at JFK University: leading to an MA in Psych with Specialization in Family, Marriage & Child Counseling.... It’s fully accredited, it’s fairly cheap (about $600 for the two-year program), there’s a strong emphasis on field work, and it’s all night classes....

Wish me luck—


P.P.S. Did you know I already have 28 graduate credits?

16 Social psychology JFK
9 Small group education Cal State Hayward
3 Social Seminar: Education, Drugs & Society UC Davis
28 yay!

Along with the above letters, in the same envelope, were two flyers.

One was a folded-up pamphlet titled “The Stockton Scene this week! What to see & where to go!”, which I’m not transcribing, but below are scans of the pages of it. It’s a single tall sheet of paper, turned sideways folded in such a way that each side of the page is divided into five columns; I scanned one to two columns at a time to keep it legible.

Stockton Scene flyer cover
Stockton Scene flyer cover
Stockton Scene flyer columns 1-2
Stockton Scene flyer columns 1-2
Stockton Scene flyer columns 3-4
Stockton Scene flyer columns 3-4
Stockton Scene flyer column 5
Stockton Scene flyer column 5
Stockton Scene flyer columns 6-7
Stockton Scene flyer columns 6-7
Stockton Scene flyer map
Stockton Scene flyer map

The other enclosed document was a one-page flyer from Another Mother for Peace. It says across the top, “We who have given life must be dedicated to preserving it,” and has a photo of a baby, and adds: “On this World Mother’s Day, 1970, We join with our sisters in every land in a Pax Materna, a Declaration of Peace to transcend our ideological differences and to prevail throughout any acts of violence between our governments. Was is obsolete. We can no longer sustain it by our silence or with the lives of our sons.” (There’s a bit more that I’m leaving out, but that gives the general idea.)


“I'm glue and you're rubber”
I’m assuming that when we said that, we were making a joke on the phrase “I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
what I wanted to be
I have no memory of wanting to be a forest ranger or a viola player. (I did play violin in school about eight years later, but that choice of instrument wasn’t for any longstanding reasons.)
“ripe piano”
I don’t know what that phrase means.
controlled burning
I read this as Marcy indicating that controlled burning was a new-ish thing to the US forest service in 1973, but Wikipedia and other sources suggest that that wasn’t the case. But I may be misinterpreting various things in various directions.
“substitute work”
There are various references to Marcy considering substitute-teaching in various of these letters, but it’s unclear to me whether or how much she really did that.
“Brother sewing machine”
I was mildly surprised by this because I don’t recall encountering the brand name Brother until probably sometime in the 1990s, when I thought/assumed they were a newish company. But nope, the company that’s now Brother Industries has been around since 1908.
Daniel Ellsberg was at the time on trial for having released the Pentagon Papers to the press. Marcy wrote this letter the night before the end of the trial, when the judge agreed to dismiss all charges because of misbehavior by the US government around the trial. (Such as Liddy and Hunt burglarizing Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office.) That next day, May 11, Nixon said to Haldeman: “The sonofabitching thief is made a national hero[…] The New York Times gets a Pulitzer Prize for stealing documents[…] What in the name of God have we come to?
Daniel Berrigan
Daniel Berrigan “(May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016) was an American Jesuit priest, anti-war activist, Christian pacifist, playwright, poet, and author.” He had been active and visible in the movement against the Vietnam war, and had served prison time for that.

2 Responses to “1973, May 10: Letter from Marcy and Peter to G&H”

  1. 1974, November 26: Letter from Peter to G&H – Peter, Marcy, Jed, and Jay

    […] another plan that’s never mentioned again. (Peter had previously mentioned a related plan, a year and a half earlier, but as far as I know he never followed up on any of these ideas to get a graduate degree in a […]


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