Sometime in the spring of 1974, two more foster kids arrived. One was named George; I think the other was either Ivan or Robert, but I’m not sure. (Ivan and Robert both arrived sometime in 1974, I’m just not sure when or in which order.)
George was Black; I think that all of the other foster kids were white. (I know that most of them were, but there are a couple of them who I barely remember at all, so I’m not certain they were white.)
It never occurred to me until just now that foster-kid George had the same name as Grandpa George. I never thought of Grandpa as George when I was a kid, so it didn’t seem confusing to me. For that matter, Grandpa George’s name rarely comes up in these letters, so I suspect that won’t be especially confusing to y’all readers, either. But figured it was worth noting in passing.
Below are two hand-printed letters from me, written in block capitals on 11" x 8½" paper. (Which is to say, US letter-sized paper, but turned sideways.) Both are undated, but internal evidence strongly suggests that I wrote them both sometime around April of 1974. I don’t know which of them came first, but I have vague reasons for thinking they may have been in the order given below.
DEAR GRANDMA I HAVE SOME (A PAIR OF
XXXOES TENNIS SHOES.) I HAVE TWO X
NEW FOSTER BROTHERS AND ONE
XTHEM WITH.ME LIKES TO WATCH
A TV SHOW CALLED STAR TREK THE
FOSTER BROTHER’S.NAME IS GEOR
At the bottom of that page, an addendum in Marcy’s handwriting:
P.S. The leathercraft set was a big hit! Jed wears the purse on his belt every day
(The leathercraft set was one of the birthday presents that they sent me that year, as indicated in the previous post.)
A couple of notable things about this letter:
- It’s the first time that a letter that I myself wrote to them was not (at least in part) a thank-you letter. (It’s not the first-ever letter that I wrote to them; that was a few months earlier.)
- It’s the first time that I used parentheses in a letter to them. (I have been using parentheses more or less constantly ever since.) Also my first use of an apostrophe in a letter to them. …The other interesting punctuation here is the extraneous periods—I think that when I had accidentally written two words too close together, I generally added a dot between them.
- It’s the first indication of my being a media fan as such. (Marcy had previously indicated that I liked the Space Cat books, so this was not the first indication of my being a science fiction fan.) …Huh—this means that I’ve been watching Star Trek for nearly 50 years now.
(Star Trek: TOS had ended in 1969, so we must’ve been watching rebroadcasts.)
Here’s the other letter:
DEAR GRANDPA THANK
YOU FOR THE TAPE
THAT YOU SENT US
I HAVE FOUR FOSTER
BROTHERS AND ONE PLAIN BROTHE-
R AND ONE MOTHER AND
FATHER AND ALL.TOGETHER
WITH ME IT’S EIGHT.
(The four foster brothers were Mark, Larry, George, and probably either Ivan or Robert.)
On the back of that letter, in smaller and steadier letters:
I HAVE A NEW CHESS
SET AND A MAGNETIC
CHESS SET. I‘M NOT
BRAGGING ABOUT IT
Under that, presumably at some later date, Helen wrote “Joaquin?” But I’m pretty sure it must have been me; Jay was two years younger than me, and my own writing was none too steady yet, so I don’t think Jay was writing this clearly yet at that point.