1979, December-ish?: Letter from Marcy to G&H

Four half-pages, written on an unlined sheet of letter-sized paper folded in half.

Undated. I originally guessed late 1978 or early 1979, but evidence from a January 1980 letter from Peter makes clear that this was written not long before that, so I’ve moved this to late 1979.

Dear Folks

It’s 12:30 - I’m drowning in stuff — feeling very sad that we haven’t got thank-you’s off yet - nor even finished the presents - I have kids’ stories, poems & photos for you, and photos for rest of family - and I haven’t made the stuffed kittys yet nor Jay’s present. And now trying to work as well. Got lost in carlessness, bad cold, flu (everybody) and billions of errands - and renting the 2 rooms which I’m still working on - sealer, paint, baseboards, window glass replacement, glazer’s points, fabric to cover plastic ceiling - washing machine parts (it’s Fixed - hallelujah!) and on and on - an infinitude of errands — boys belts & shirts, doctors, food, bread somewhere else — oh, dear, on & on. Working for Ken (the space peace-keeping project) at $6 an hour, but he wants me to type and it’s sending me up the walls - even on his lovely selectric I’m no typist.

The point is, I’m seeing a chiropractor/nutritionist, who has liberated so much energy thru his treatments and lots of food supplements, that I’m actually managing to do all this and not collapse.

But by the time I get to stop I’m so lost in the whirl or the dreams that I don’t write letters. Please know that I love you a lot and wish we could see you - and will get the pix, etc, off before too long. Peter is working 11am-8pm and it’s making things rilly wird..... at least one car is running — and we haven’t drownded yet.

Much love,



Refers to my cousin Jason, who was about three years old by this point.
“space peace-keeping project”
Ken (who had been subletting rooms in our house with his wife and daughter) was the founder of an organization that he called the World Security Council, which was dedicated to creating a space-based laser system for shooting down nuclear weapons. Yes, he came up with something similar to the Star Wars/SDI program, but five years earlier.
The main difference between the WSC’s project and the SDI was that the WSC plan involved the US and the USSR working together to build and deploy the space lasers. For more details, see the text of a 1984 Noe Valley Voice article about Ken and the WSC.
The most interesting paragraph of that article to me is this:

A major accomplishment of the World Security Council is a 2,730-page analysis of the threats, vulnerabilities, and safeguards of space weaponry entitled "New Military Technologies and the Prevention of Nuclear War." Eventually Largman sees the document, now in its first draft, as expanding into an encyclopedia.

That paragraph interests me because that document (or a predecessor of it) was my first programming job, probably around 1980. IIrc, Ken had a numbered list of safeguards, and a long list of threats/vulnerabilities. For each threat there was a set of numbers indicating which of the safeguards applied to it. I think my job was to write a program that replaced each number with the full text of the corresponding safeguard, so that for each threat, there were several paragraphs of text instead of several numbers.
IIrc, I wrote the code on a Logical Business Machines (a.k.a. Logical Machines Corporation) computer, in Logical’s programming language (called “English”); Peter was working at Logical at the time. (But again, that was a couple years later than this letter.)
“I’m no typist”
This line puzzles me. Marcy had been writing letters on typewriters since 1964 or earlier; she was a perfectly good typist, and made few errors. Maybe she just meant she wasn’t a very fast typist?

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