1976, February 14: Letter from Marcy to G&H

Three-page handwritten letter on unlined paper, in red ink.

Content warning for a bit of self-fat-shaming.

14 February

Dear Grandfolks

Certainly has been a busy Valentines Day, but I’ve been promising to write to you - you’ll have to do with scribbles, as I’m too sleepy to listen to the typewriter. We got a lovely letter from Linda this week - what’s this about Paul’s trip to the local southlands?

Hope you are all well. it finally is beginning to rain here, after a long winter’s drought, but I’m annoyed because I was going to go to a party tonight but it was too far over winding roads to drive in a downpour - other than that, we’re fine. Peter is having a hard time getting used to his new schedule, and gets pretty annoyed at me because I’m not sympathetic enough, - he’s worked a few days this week, too, for a friend who’s building a house over in the xxx wine country. They stopped in to visit an old wine maker our friend knows, who is supposed to be (said to be) the best vintner in Sonoma County. You would have loved it, I’m sure.

Added in pencil by Peter: name of JOE HEITZ: “Sonoma Vineyards” book said “best in the world”!

Here I sit by the local excuse for a fireplace, a gas heater with a Thermostat. We gather ’round it evenings for togetherness.

Seems I never did thank you for the Christmas things you sent. I want you to know clothes are always welcome - whatever doesn’t fit finds good homes elsewhere, but when

Added in margin: So here goes: THANK YOU!!!

Added in margin: I especially liked the salmon!

you hit a winner, Grandma, it’s a real winner. Ivan just loved the long johns, and wears ’em a lot. What we need (or want) is:

Joaquin: size 5’s + 6’s pants & shirts

partial to costume-y things like that Jr Astronaut jump suit, which he still wears, and green things.

looking for a fancy jacket (sport jacket? xxx blazer? whatever.)

Jed: size 8 shirts, esp. pullovers

likes flannel shirts

size 7 pants, I think - particular to wear ones with back pockets, for his wallet, I want you to know, in which he keeps his library card and a silver dollar

Peter; needs sweatshirts or velour shirt-types

he’s pretty well stocked on everything else

Marcy always ready for Navy blue & maroon

looking for pocketless pants (slendererline) w/ wide legs (bell bottom-ish) and long skirts & dresses.

also tunic-length shirts for fat days - which are increasing lately, darn it. I guess it means I’m heathy. when I was so tired last summer my figure looked great.

Ivan, alas, is no longer with us. This has been a traumatic couple of weeks, finally realized it was bad for him to be with us when both of us were working. Kind of foolish to give him up (@$400/month) instead of my job, which brings in about $240/month, but my sanity is involved, too, in that if I stay home all day I get totally crazy. Even going to school xxx isn’t enough. So we all had to admit it was the wrong situation, and after a tearful farewell there was some relief on both sides.

Now we have to rent out a room or move - fast!

Lovely to hear about your beach house & gardening - wish we could see it all. (but I sure am glad not to have to leave Sonoma county.... I really love it here, and hope to stay for a good while, yet.)

Do let us know how the movie was - we didn’t get to see it before we sent it to you.

Working, I get to listen to the news a lot - sure is scary. I look at the teenagers Ivan knows and am really sad & disgusted with the society that produced them & maintains ’em on a diet of TV and violence and drugs and expediency....

That’s where I fell asleep in the chair last night - what a note to fall asleep upon!

Have to get this place together. Take good c/o yourselfs -

much love

P&M&J&J&our dog’s name

Amusing Google Docs OCR errors:

  • Dear Grandfolks: Der Grundfolkes
  • downpour: drumpeer


Peter and Marcy may both have been working at Merit Book Center at this point? I’m not sure.
Joe Heitz
For more, see Wikipedia.
“back pockets, for his wallet”
I kept my wallet in my back pocket for years. Sometime in the early 1980s, though, my wallet disappeared from my back pocket while I was at a comic book store; seemed likely that it was stolen, and ever since then I’ve kept my wallet in my front pocket.
Interesting to see that I kept a silver dollar in my wallet at this point. (I was about to turn eight.) For decades, I kept a heavy coin there (though the type of coin varied), partly because I liked the idea of having a coin at hand that would be good for flipping. (Even though I rarely flipped a coin.) But I hadn’t remembered that that habit started this early.
And thus ends the foster home. It lasted only about a year and a half, and went through a lot of ups and downs during that time. But I think it was nonetheless the longest sustained project that Peter and Marcy did, out of all the various jobs and plans that they had up to that point. (Well, I suppose Peter’s time at UC Berkeley was also about a year and a half.)
“rent out a room”
I don’t recall our having a sublettor in the Cotati house. I wonder whether that happened.
Not sure what this is referring to. I know that various relatives at various times made home movies, probably with something like a Super 8 camera, but I don’t know if that’s something that Peter and Marcy ever did.
It’s disconcerting to me to see Marcy talking dismissively about teenagers. She was 32 years old, and had been heavily involved in counterculture for much of the previous ten years; I find it even more offputting to see her doing the kids-these-days thing here than to see people my age saying stuff like that now. I’m glad that she blames society rather than the kids themselves; but even so, it bugs me.

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