[Based on an audio letter (reel-to-reel) from a young American military wife to her in-laws. Music is added: simple vibraphone loops. There is an occasional image: found 8mm film, from various sources, but the screen is mostly black apart from coloured dots that correspong to the individual vibraphone notes.]



This tape is probably past due several times, but believe it or not, I started this tape once before, and it was last Thursday. I taped about three-quarters of this side, and in the process I was rambling around. No, I didn’t play somebody’s trick and not have this thing working right. It really taped. But I was putting my hair up and cooking and chopping things up. There was so much noise in the background, and by now — Monday — most of things were out of date. Of course, old news is better than no news, but I decided I start taping it over and not have so much background noise so maybe you could hear something I have to say.

If I can remember some of the things I said before. I really don’t know what I’m going to ramble on about. But Jim has not been overly active lately; in fact he’s been getting up and going to work. Oh well, I guess it’s his job. It’s just that he has so many extra duties right now. This evening he said that he had to go in tomorrow morning at 7:30, and then tomorrow night at 7 to run a mission. But, as I say, he hasn’t been overly active and I got out some vitamins, which we both had slacked off and hadn’t been taking and made him start taking One-a-Day vitamins again. And I told him if that didn’t help, I was going to get some Geritol or something to pep him up, because he’s asleep right now, and it’s a little after 9. And I think dinner was over somewhere around 7, and he lay down and went to sleep and he’ll probably wake up in time for the news and watch part of Johnny Carson, or read some until he gets sleepy and sit in the bathtub and go to bed. So, I’m not overly pleased, but there isn’t much that can be done about his activity around here. I said this evening to him, “How long has it been since you taped a tape to your parents?” And he said, “Oh well, maybe two weeks.” And I said, “Don’t you think it’s a little overdue,” and he said yes, and he went to sleep. But I’m sure he’s thinking of you.

Well, I hope you had a nice mother’s day. I haven’t reached that stage yet, so nothing exciting happened around here. I didn’t even talk to Mother. I figured she’d probably figured I’d call — I sent a card and put a petite note in it. Just a couple lines. I told her we probably couldn’t really afford to call, but she probably didn’t that until today — the day after mother’s day — so maybe she won’t feel so bad when she gets that today.

We have been going to the library a good bit lately and reading books. Jim’s got the book — oh, what is it — 1968 President, or something like that. I don’t know the title exactly. And he read that and he said that it was a pretty good book and I that should read it. It had a lot of good views on Nixon and — oh — politics and publicity. So I think I might get around to reading that.

Oh, I didn’t mean to get away from the flowerbeds so soon. I did mean to tell you about these lilac bushes. They started coming out to soon and the frost got in most of them except for about three bushes where they were protected by the gauze more than others. And they’re starting to come out, now. And, so — I just wanted to tell you that.

But I’ll be going back to the library. We had been going and reading various different books. And I’ve been getting out a lot of books on — oh, I don’t know — modern home decorating and all kinds of books like this. I get tired of looking at the same thing all the time. I’m trying to think of ways to make it different and more becoming. But I’m not learning very much. Most of the things I see I don’t like, or aren’t feasible for our budget. So I guess I’ll put up with what I have for a while.

I’ve been doing some sewing, but not very much for the very fact that we haven’t been able to allow for any extra spending on material and clothes and such. You see something you like and you don’t exactly know what you’re going to make with it at the time, so you think, oh three yards should be enough for anything. Then you get the three yards and you need a little bit more. Or, or you get something on sale, then you can’t match it up later. And there’s some good friends of ours here, and both of them sew. In fact, they have two sewing machines. And they go in their little sewing room and both of them work away. But he is as good — maybe not better — as she is. Of course, both of them have things that they do better than the other. But he makes his own slacks and jackets and things, and I’ve been talking to him about sewing and he said that if I wanted to undertake making Jim a pair of slacks that he would be more than willing to help me.

I don’t know whether you can follow me or not. I find myself — talking about something and all of a sudden I think of something else, and then I’m popping up about. That’s one of the reasons I don’t write a lot of letters, because I write a paragraph about something and then I go on talking about something else, and the first thing you know, here I am talking about something I talked about earlier and — I find it confusing to read my own letters. And, I mean if my train of thought can’t repeat my train of thought, I’d better give up. So I usually don’t even attempt. Unless it’s necessary, and then I usually sit down and think about the thing for a good while before I think about writing it.
I still haven’t found any material to make kitchen curtains out of yet. I still have my bath towels hanging up in there, and they’re doing quite fine, but — I just haven’t been able to find anything I like, since our appliances are aqua, or turquoise — whichever. But its very hard to find something that blends, and when you find something I in a drape is perhaps already made up and you start looking at it, and you think, gee for that money, you know its not worth it. They just throw them together and half the seams aren’t straight. And you’re not really wild about them in the first place, and — I think after you sew some — I mean you don’t have to be good at sewing, you just have to sew some — you get more particular about things you buy. You expect to get something for your money, and nowadays it’s really hard to do. Like I was looking through some catalogues the other day, Montgomery Wards and Sears, I was looking at — oh, just a little bit of everything. I was really just browsing through. I noticed this dress and it looked rather attractive and heavens it was only thirteen dollars. Well, I says, I wonder how that dress is out together. For thirteen dollars, nowadays you just can’t find a dress that looks halfway decent. So, it makes you wonder. Of course, I think that sewing is a good thing; I just wish I was better at it and I had more time and patience. I run out of patience pretty easy. But — I don’t know. I guess if I’m determined enough, and — and, I will have to be. But anyway, I’m looking for material to make kitchen curtains out of. But the spring formal is coming up — the fifth of June. And I don’t know what I’m going to wear yet.

Before I forget, I’m going to tell you this. Now, make sure you’re sitting down ’cause you won’t believe this. And Jim didn’t believe this when I came in and showed him. We have this irrigation ditch which runs behind our trailer. Oh well, it’s a good distance behind, but it runs behind. And there’s two gentlemen which farm down the way and they use this ditch and they came along and burned out all the weeds and started running water in it. Then the first thing I knew, there weren’t weeds coming out over there, but there was asparagus. Yes, I said asparagus. And I kept telling Jim, see that looks like asparagus. He kept telling me, Oh, get lost, you know. And so I asked one of my neighbours what that was. I says it looks like asparagus. She says, well it is asparagus. She says, we go out and pick it and eat it. Well this evening we had some of our backyard asparagus. And I guess, from what I gather from the neighbours, it starts coming about the first of May, and will last through the whole month.

And I have been out meeting some of my neighbours, civilian neighbours, that is. Not that I’m partial or anything. On our right, or left, side there’s a couple who moved in just about a week after we did. They moved the trailer in. It was a new trailer then — they just bought it. And he manages the bowling alley here in town, and, I don’t know, they must be about yours’-all age. Something like that. She’s always out, working in her flowers or yard or something and — she paints. That didn’t sound very good going into that, but, yeah, she paints. And she’s not bad for not — you know, just picking it up and blending colours. But she paints with oils and acrylics. She gave me a little painting. I’m not sure how big it is. Maybe it’s three by five — inches, something like that. It’s of a little winter scene and Jim had gone over — we took her rake back one evening — we decided we go out for a walk, get some exercise — and she insisted we come in, just couldn’t get away. She kept showing us paintings and more paintings and this was one that she had just done that evening. She was still working on it. And Jim had remarked about how he liked it and I said yes I liked it and today she gave it to me. So I was rather pleased. I told Jim he’d have to make a frame for it. I’m not sure it’s a standard size that you can buy a frame for it. She just paints on anything. She paints on wallboard and wood and, of course, she paints on — things that regular pictures are painted on, such as art paper and things like that, but she’s just not particular. She says that she’s just learning and when she gets to be a good artist and can afford it she’ll paint on things that go along with it — being good.



[To hear the soundtrack from this video, click here.]