1974, February 13: Letter from Marcy to G&H, plus kidmail

The envelope for this letter contained two things: another piece of kid art, with description; and a letter from Marcy about possible travel plans for G&H to come visit us.

I don’t know whether the art was by me or Jay. It’s the usual set of squiggly lines, with a description written by Marcy (presumably from a description by the artist). See below for transcription of the text.

Art about a cave and a plane and a bus and such.
Art about a cave and a plane and a bus and such.

One interesting thing about this piece of art is that it’s on the back of a computer printout, about some kind of businessy thing. I have no idea where Marcy and Peter would have encountered this kind of printout. It talks about things like job cards and file retention; without context, I would have guessed that it was from several years later. But the dates mentioned in the printout are from 1968 through 1970, so it may have been from several years earlier than this letter. Below is a scan of the printout, but I’m not transcribing it.

Computer printout from a business context.
Computer printout from a business context.

And now the story that goes with the art:

It’s about somebody who got trapped in a cave. A airplane came along and the bus came along. Bus got in a wreck with the airplane. Becus the airplane was flying a lng long ways away. So finally the airplane got to the place but the same bus came aluong but the people got out and they got killed. And somebody was coming along in a sattellite right key and the Noon Balloon was coming after it. Okay that’s all.

Here’s Marcy’s letter. It’s four pages long, handwritten, on lined 8 1/2" x 11" paper torn from a spiral notebook.

Just called a travel agent, and here is what I found:



leaves Seattle 11 20 am

arrives Oakland 745 am

(evidently doesn’t stop in Santa Rosa, must be a route thru Center of State)

cost: $132 coach

$25960 bedroom

round trip for both of you

you must do all traveling monday thru thursday for these rates



United to Oakland, schedules vary x

one other airline to S.F., (S.F. airport is preferable for us)

cost: $237 round trip for both of you

must travel Monday thru Thursday, or Saturday (Fridayxxx & Sunday excluded) for this rate


so if you wanted to be sleeping in comfort on the train, you may as well fly - we’d have lots more time to spend together, and you could eat a lot better than on the train (I expect meals cost extra) & there’s lots of tips.

Note in margin: did you know that you pay for a travel agent whether you use one or not—!?! Cos they get commissions from the airlines (etc.) which raises the price of all tickets./ They seem to be quite helpful.

on the other hand, it might be cheaper by far to drive—

(Bus is $64.70 each (round trip), but not sure of the schedules - probably it also takes about 24 hours and is not very comfortable. the food at bus stops is usually terrible, too.)

driving takes longer, & then there’s a motel bill, and the gas station problem- who knows how it’ll be by then — but you’re on your own schedules and such — Probably and don’t have to rent a car when you get here —

ours is not roomy, and we’ll have Mark’s 13-year old sister and Larry’s 10-year-old brother, and {possibly} {I hope} another kid of our own, so we’d have to do some pretty careful maneuvering before we went anywhere.

(There will be plenty of room for you to stay here no matter how many kids we we have, as they all love to sleep on the floor, especially when they have friends visiting. They think it’s a great adventure. and we have lots of extra mattresses. Probably we’ll arrange it like this:

Larry & his brother in Larry’s room, Mark and possible new kid in now-empty room (which will be for the new kid), Annette in Mark’s room, the two of you in our room, and Peter & Me in the living room. We have a couch that makes itself into a double bed, and an extra double mattress. Our bed, by the way, is not on the floor, and we think you’ll find it quite comfortable.)

(Besides, I don’t know of any motels reasonably nearby, and if there were any they’d be expensive for sure.)

(Besides #2, you’d have a TV right in your own bedroom — and a private bath w/ shower!!) (And plenty of closet space and such, as well!)

Now that I’ve gotten on to a new page, I find I’m out of things to say. I never did get to listen to the whole tape - I heard up to the part about covered wagons and haven’t had a chance since. Till today, but Peter confiscated the tape recorder last night ’cos the big boys were misusing it, and right now he’s napping and I don’t know where he hid it. (ugh!)

But what I did hear of the tape was really nice, and I enjoyed it a lot, Grandpa.

Oh yes! The thing I was going to suggest is that you make reservations now and then decide at your leisure how to use them. But you may not get space if you wait too much longer. The gas situation may loosen up, and driving may be the optimum after all.

So. We look forward with great delight to Eastertime. It seems a terribly long way off - well into April., but things have a way of going very quickly lately. It’s really wonderful that you’re coming, and the kids are already after me to get the Easter eggs ready. Jed’s going to get a baby rabbit or two for his birthday. They clearly remember dying Easter Eggs with you two years ago (was it two?) and everyone is excited at the idea of real grandparents coming. Mark has some, but they’re almost mythical as regards their appearance in reality, and I don’t believe Larry has any, but he sure was glad J & J had some when tasted the pear butter.

time to stop. Love, Marcy


“Noon Balloon”
! I don’t know whether this referred to something in particular or whether we just made it up.
…After all that, I don’t think that George and Helen ended up coming to visit us for Easter after all. I don’t know for sure, but there’s a later letter to G&H that was mailed two days before Easter and that said nothing about their visiting us.
travel prices
I’m surprised to see that plane fare, round trip for two people from Seattle to San Francisco, cost the equivalent of about $1400 in today’s dollars (according to a couple of online inflation calculators). Traveling at today’s airfare rates, that trip only costs about $500 (roundtrip for two people), or even less if you fly at certain days/times/airlines/etc.
“lots of tips”
Not sure what she meant by that. I may be misreading it.
“another kid of our own”
I was momentarily startled by this; I thought at first that Marcy meant they were thinking of having another baby. But no, she had had her tubes tied previously; presumably she meant another foster kid of our own, as opposed to a foster kid’s sibling.
“baby rabbit or two”
I have no memory of ever having a baby rabbit, for my birthday or otherwise. I wonder whether that ended up happening and I’ve just forgotten it.
“pear butter”
See January 15 letter.

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