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Brother Chris in a 10/31/91 letter recalls a sad memory:
Dad gave me a radio kit one Christmas. He and I spent many hours sitting at his workbench reading instructions, figuring out schematics, distinguishing between resistors and building this radio. He was not much older than I am right now. When we were done with it, Dad made a wooden box in which the radio we had worked on fit. My guess is that he thought it was a nice thing that he could do for me. He may also have thought that I was just like all other modern kids: I didn't have any standards or any a sense of when a job was complete. So he'd just do it. I like to think that he did it as a gift to me. But I also think that he could have been surprised to know how I responded when I came down into the basement and saw our radio in its varnished, pine box I was sad. What he had done had separated us. Often a gift creates a debt and forces distance between two people. This gift changed something we had done together. The frame part of this radio he had done by himself. I felt sad because he had gone off by himself and worked on something that was until then a joint project. That he did it without consulting me and by himself reminded me then of how alone he was at the time. It hurt.
RJL compares Beatlemania to what he remembers with Sinatra, February 12, 1964:
[The Beatles touch down in America for the first time. Hysteria follows.] The Beatles are rousing the adolescent shrieks on “The Ed Sullivan Show” -- and I am reminded of something I witnessed in Philadelphia some thirty years ago. I was walking up Market Street and saw on billboard that a young phenomenon who was sending the girls into ecstasies, was singing. So out of curiosity I paid my 35¢ and walked in. At the proper moment, a young man came on stage and began to 'sing' and I witnessed the hysteria and amazing outpouring of screams and shouts and wails -- utterly incomprehensible. That cuss swept the country, married a few blondes, starred in movies, made several million and remains today -- I suppose -- a star of first magnitude. It's totally inexplicable. [Mom said he was talking, of course, about Frank Sinatra.]
Brother Jeff in a 10/28/91 letter:
I was the one who tried as often as I could to take Dad's side in an argument. I was looking for the approval he gave Kip, even though those two fought bitterly. Frequently, on a Saturday or Sunday, I remember Dad going from person to person asking for someone to go for a ride, a walk, or a photo trip. And I felt sorry for him because he was so often turned down. Even though it was often somber, I usually accompanied him.
RJL gets ready to leave his beloved lakeside home, March 30, 1964:
Packing and greasing [my] G'pa's tools and putting them in the second trunk -- which will be stored with Dorothy for the “bean time.” Thus I fondle his planes and chisels and bits and all for the last time. Felt sort of solemn about it. Your mother may say that is foolish! And of course it is! Thursday morning, May 1, we leave here, I'll twist his vise and say “Goodbye, Grandpa.” He made it himself, up there in Onondaga Valley. Alas, again, I say, for cussed finitude. . . . Six boxes of books are packed for arrival at the 'Stone, where, I trust, they will reside for many a year -- at least to the return of Halley. From Monnie's letters: This is our 6th move and the most difficult one.
RJL, on trouble up in Minnesota, April 16, 1964:
We have had a long talk with you by phone and you know what it was about and so shall keep Blue Book from such matters. Under separate cover your mother is writing to you. • My guess is that my father made another scene about Mom going to visit her parents and that the proposed trip to Lake Winnemissett was cancelled. In a letter written October 16, 1966, Grandpa implied that he first became aware of Dad's alcoholism in what he remembered as "May of '64," and this may have been The Incident, where the crack in the wall at The Millstone opened long enough for Grandpa to see in. Whether or not Grandpa knew about the booze at this point is debatable, but a letter a few days later makes it clear, that this incident was, in a way, about money. Grandpa writes: "In a letter posted to you this a.m., your mother has said forget all about the $ if it increases your harassment. If out of bonus you can sequestrate $500, well and good. But now that Lake Winnemissett is sold, no occasion whatever for the $50 by the month."
Monnie describes a day in the life at the retirement home, May 19, 1964:
Here is an average day: Up about 6, knit until Poppa is awake about 7:30 and 'Today' is on TV. Then I dress, make beds (except on Wednesdays when maid changes beds) tidy-up the apartment -- then sew or knit until 10:45. We then go over to the library. I did not expect to spend so much time there but it has been fun to work there with Poppa. Dinner at 12. Service has been slow but we enjoy chatting with folks and becoming better acquainted. It is the only time we visit with them. Then back to our home where I spend some time re-arranging our things. (Poppa is editing a bird book.) Then a nap and it is time for me to change my clothes -- back to library at 4, supper at 5, then back home and into loose clothes to knit or sew while we view TV or listen to good music. Last night it was bed at 11 but usually it is 10. So the days fly by and it hardly seems possible that we have entered our fourth week.
Myra describes a weekend on the run from Dad, checking into a motel in Austin, Minnesota, June 19, 1964:
[Mom wrote from a hotel where she'd gone to escape Dad during one of his many drunken rages. She told me that sometimes she'd leave the city altogether in search of a hotel where we could check into without being seen by neighbor's or Dad's Clinic friends.] 9:30 a.m. Austin, Minn. The four little boys & I have taken a vacation. We left at noon yesterday, drove through very threatening weather the 40 miles to Austin, found a motel with a small heated swimming pool. And here we are back at poolside again. It is terribly windy, but the water is warm so the boys are having a good time. They played in the water for several hours yesterday afternoon, back in again two hours after supper (till nearly 9:15) and here we are once again -- beautiful sun but very windy. The pool once more is all ours. Colly is enjoying the water as never before because he has a pair of goggles that fit down over his nose. He is deep under water, kicking like a little frog, for as long as he can hold his breath.
RJL, June 25, 1964:
The racial tension in St. Augustine and Mississippi continues to be the disgrace of us all. And the war in Viet Nam will be escalated into a general war if the super-patriots have their way. Surely we are nuts.
From brother Chris's 1990 diary, entry on July 2:
Funny, just now, the one salient memory I have of Dad -- first to return anyway -- is of the shame he laid on me about a hair cut I had gotten. He had paid good money for a hair cut -- as much as $2.25 if memory serves and he wanted to see scalp. Presumably the less hair that remained attached to my body when the barber was done, the better a deal Dad had gotten. The place -- I remember -- getting painted with this shame was in the back seat of the MG on the way into Central on the frontage road beneath Sunny Slopes. In a 1990 letter to Mom Chris again remembers this incident: I am driving to work on the freeway and a car drives by with a convertible top. Back will spring a memory of going to school in the morning with my father in his cream-colored MG in 1964. Often my older brother Jeff was in the car with us, which meant I had to sit in the back. The back seat, seat is used loosely here, is usually where a driver puts a coat and maybe a fat envelope. Sitting there wedged me up closer to my Dad than I usually got in those sad days. I could see his closely cropped dark hair, brushed straight back. I could smell his cologne: Old Spice. He kept it in that Fatherly domain, the medicine cabinet with its bumpy glass shelves, in the master bedroom. He drove fast then and seemed so eager to get to work. I think he also knew that this was a special time for him; he had so little closeness with us. He seemed . . . focused then, not on me but focused. In the midst of this memory comes back a bitter recollection. He chided me for getting a worthless haircut. The Beatles had just arrived and I felt stupid with short hair. He had given me the $2.75 the day before to get it cut. I had instructed the barber to not take off too much. He didn't. For all his money, I think Dad felt ripped off, by me as much as by the barber, for not having more taken off. I guess the more hair removed per penny, the better deal he got. Well, he struck another deal on that morning in the MG as he drove past Sunny Slopes. In exchange for the additional week or two he might have gotten out of my next couple hair cuts -- that is how the worth of boy's haircuts are measured, how long they last before you have to get another -- he purchased remoteness between himself and one of the most important people in his lousy life. And he planted a moment that would return, more than once, into the heart of his son, a moment of loss, a moment of sadness: a little death.
RJL openly discusses with Myra the horrible things going at in Minnesota, August 28, 1964:
Talking about the tragedy which has overtaken our daughter (last night). I expressed a feeling that your parents were almost deserting you -- here we sit in comfort and do nothing for you -- just what we could do, I know not, but I [can’t read two words] by the sentiment that we should be doing something. Have you a suggestion? Could we accomplish anything by coming up to Rochester? A “secret mission” unknown to the other party? Could I help in my way in a conference with an attorney or the psych? I believe that I shall discontinue Blue Books and return to the typed sheet, where I need not restrain self carefully in what is writ and which can be destroyed as read. With the hope that before too long matters may improve and the traditional BB can be resumed. Have you any comment on this?
RJL looking at photos of our family houseboat, September 25, 1964:
I have before me on desk the three large photos of the houseboat. Subjected them to intense examination. 1st -- the view of the boat as a whole, grounded, as coal barge goes by. I note the ladder to the upper deck, top curved rail alone showing. I see you at bow, but what in Sam Hill is on your back? A life preserver? I see the running lights, but puzzled by the neck-like thing between them. I am unable to [can’t read] the wheel-house. I turn next to pick of you supine on bunk. Boat interior becomes clearer. Note ancient oil lantern! Many an oil lantern have I filled and lit! Using my glass, I suspect that I can read name on box by side of you -- Lark? Never heard of such. I cannot make out what two objects on bunk below may be. At take to right, I see what looks much like our little transistor radio. And 3rd, is the best of the three. A very good photo of Sister. Your Mother guesses the tubular object to right of your head is a pump. Note section of ladder seen through port-hole. I can make out title of but one of the books: Volcano Trap. Oh yes, Jokes For Children. Am much impressed with your craft and hope it eases the situation.
Myra, October 1, 1964:
Problems with Jeff and Luke are fulminating -- the other “cold war” demands much thought.
Article in Rochester Pot-Bulletin, October 17, 1964:
Pagans Teen Band Named After Dog. The new “sound of music” is defined simply -- play as loud, long and hard as you can. The Pagans, to put it mildly, follow this recipe -- as does any other teen band. None of them apologize for it -- in fact there is sort of a contest to see which group can play the loudest. The Trashmen of Minneapolis currently lay claim to the title, but such local groups as the Pagans are giving them a run for their money. The five-member Rochester group, together only six months, has risen rapidly in popularity, currently being swamped with requests to play at area homecoming dances. The band is one of two Rochester groups (the other is the Mustangs). While the Mustangs are better known over-all, the Pagans have enjoyed about equal popularity with the teen set. Actually, there is a rivalry between the two groups, and both look forward to some future day when there is a “Battle of the Bands” to prove once and for all which band is best. Kip Sullivan, leader of the Pagans, remarked recently that he thought the rivalry was a healthy one, although “when we started it might have been more personal.” Rounding out the band are Kip's younger brother Jeff [who played bass guitar], Jim Rushton, Steve Rossi and Jerry Huiting. Steve plays drums, the others are on guitars, with Kip and Jerry sharing lead. Kip also takes care of most of the singing, sticking mainly to recent hits on the teen market. The unusual name of the band might bother some persons, but Kip explained that there is a logical reason behind it. The group was named after Kip's dog: “It is so short, simple and easy to remember, we thought it was the best,” Kip said. The band practices almost every night of the week, for up to two hours a night. Everything is going smooth for them now, but there are troubles in the future -- which they are well aware of. The main problem is that Kip and Jim, both seniors at John Marshall High School, will be going to college next fall. They had considered going to Rochester Junior College so that the band could stay together, but both lean to out-of-state schools. There is a possibility of the band breaking up next fall. Jerry and Steve are juniors at JM, and Jeff is a sophomore there. The boys think, however, that they might simply get two other youths for the group, to take the place of Kip and Jim. This problem is somewhat in the future, so the boys are currently quite engrossed in learning new songs and winning new fans. They currently know some 50 songs, ranging from “Memphis” to “House of the Rising Sun.” Work is their main interest – “It's the only way we'll get known. And the best way we can think of to pay for our instruments.” Their parents [all parents names and addresses then are listed] haven't pushed the boys one way or the other. Instead they have mainly let them do what they want as far as the band is concerned. Thus the boys are now concerned with keeping up good grades in school -- and probably just a little bit with earning their group the title of best band in Rochester.
RJL on the bad stuff in Rochester, November 6, 1964:
Of course we have now talked to you over phone and this seems hardly the time for literary notes, attempts to be funny, or to indulge in trivia. There is but one overlying fact before us. And how can it be discussed with pen and paper when over phone we learned again that, apparently, we can do nothing about it. This seems to be your judgement and certainly we cannot advise 1,500 miles distant. You know what must be done, and if sticking it out on that line till June, '65 is the only tack, then, well what? I guess we just lie down and take it. This seems to be the advice of your most reliable friends up there -- and perhaps the opinion of all with whom you take counsel. I am too far away to comment further. . . . [Later] Because this morning we talked with you and feel somewhat relieved. We also talked with Jim last night, and are somewhat aided by his sober judgement. Jim reminds us that you know more about what needs be done. Yours are the decisions. Anyhow, you somewhat reassured us in our phone call of a few hours ago -- especially about the alcohol and the money! And we do want you to know that we do not want you to refrain from “spilling over” to us. As Jim said last night, such is an outlet which you need. Indeed, as you yourself said in about as many words. Too much repression is not good for the blood pressure! So, we feel better." From Monnie’s letters: . . . And while I work I constantly think of you and pray for you. Oh! if we could only do more than offer our shoulders for you on which to unload some of your troubles. At least we want you to open the safety valve often, that may help a little and we will not feel entirely worthless. We love you so and sorry we are so far away. Write as often as you can. Love, Mother.
RJL recounts a meeting with a southern Republican, October 22, 1964:
I saw a car parked before store with Goldwasser bumper sticker. I saw also the man at the wheel was one whom I would call a “red-neck.” I said “I see you are for Goldwater.” And that opened such a flood of profanity and vituperation as never have I heard! That was almost mad. And I fear that he represents many southern rurals. “Nigger-meat” was one of his phrases. That is what the Kennedys and Johnsons have thrust upon us. The outpouring was almost startling!
Myra on #3, November 12, 1964:
Our Christy is developing into a very interesting little person. I wish you could see his room! The bulletin board (one whole wall) is worth studying. Choice matchbooks from his giant collection -- newspaper picture of his mother -- summer school astronomy certificate -- No Smoking sign -- chart about different alcohols -- list of merit badges -- picture of Beatles -- plastic skeleton -- picture of mobile device for use on moon -- Morse code -- First Day of Issue envelope with Mayo brothers stamp -- used airline tickets of his San Francisco & New York City trips -- Big Ten standings -- last month's barometer readings (as he charted them at 7:00 a.m. & 7:00 p.m.) He has the radio he built last December rigged with speaker on opposite side of room. Aerial runs out of his window over to crab apple tree where it is weighted by water-filled Clorox bottle hanging several feet above ground (a source of wonder to every visitor). Wires crisscross his ceiling where he has created his own antenna for using TV in his room. There are files with typed book reports -- homemade racks for playing cards and BSA uniform -- pencil boxes made of salt boxes with stamps glued on and shellacked -- a bookshelf full of the most interesting models -- a list of the money owed him prominently displayed on door. He is a self-propelled boy. Always the first one up and dressed every morning, never forgets which day to take clarinet to school, arranges his own rides home from school if he misses bus. Never spends his money foolishly and always has more on hand than anyone else in house.
Mayo Clinic records on Roger, November 17, 1964:
[According to old Clinic records, this was the first time Dad went to see Dr. Hal R. Martin the psychiatrist. The brief summary I got from the records department of The Clinic goes on to read:] "The patient consulted me on this date regarding marital problems which have become associated with psychoneurotic type of depression and the excessive use of alcohol. It would appear that he never drinks during the day [Note from Mom: "HA!"] but in the evenings when tension rises, his drinking complicated the total situation. I will begin seeing him on a regular basis for psychotherapy. Doctor Steinhilber is already seeing Mrs. Sullivan.
Myra describing the dark month of December, 1964:
The weekend faces me again, like a nightmare ogre. Only the thought of Monday morning -- like a carrot dangling ahead of the poor donkey -- sustains me through Saturday and Sunday. . . Every year the pretense of gay holiday festivities is harder to assume. My poor poor helpless children . . . • And that is where it cuts off.
Myra working out the details of leaving Roger, December 7, 1964:
I have made up my mind about what I believe I must do. Dick Steinhilber is out of town until the 17th so I do not have his counsel if I take any steps before that time. But I believe that he will agree with my decision. First, I must go to Winona and question the Dean of Admissions about my chances of being admitted (at age 41) to that college. Despite your admonition, I believe, given a choice, I would rather teach 5th or 6th grade than do any other thing. If there are any spring classes or summer classes to take, I hope to begin at that earlier date. Given any hope of admission, my next decision must be whether or not to move to Winona late this summer. Kip, I hope, will be gone by that time. My problem is Jeff. He needs the feeling of accomplishment and belonging that this band gives him. He needs the security of his companions and would fight any effort to move him from Rochester. Yet to leave him -- in an already precarious situation -- in the noxious atmosphere his father would provide him might be to endanger him even more. Should I be advised to leave him in such surroundings (which would seem to be the best advice) I will then have to commute to Winona (which is only 45 miles away). The next decision to make is whether anything is to be gained by waiting to move out of this house. The prognosis is poor -- even under the best of treatment, should he succeed in overcoming it, there are years of psychiatric care to go through -- and my children haven't that much time -- nor have I. My love for him is dead -- and probably irretrievable. So what does it profit any of us to remain in our present situation. Nothing that I can see -- and only daily more damage done to the boys. My decision therefore is to leave this house as soon as possible -- enroll at Winona State College -- and when I am qualified to teach move to another part of the country. That requires that I have the courage to give up this house (which despite all I do dearly love), give up the life of ease I have come to enjoy, face the necessity of going to work, and hope that I have made the best decision for the future well-being of my boys. Dear God, I hope I've got what it takes. My love to you both. Myra.
RJL worrying about Myra at the ‘Stone:
December 11, Friday: I do not know that I can write a letter with the index finger of my left hand, but here goes for a trial . . . what weighs on our minds this evening is you and the boys all cooped up in a new dwelling. There were so many many things to do in this day that I do not see how you could possibly have done them -- unless you had much help from neighbors. This biz has been on my mind all day and 1,000 questions protrude. If you can find time, do tell us about such things as furniture, books, and the many things which come into possession after 20 years of family life. Did you engage Allied van lines to come and do the work? What, in general, did you leave in the 'Stone? I suspect that you plan this change in the light of a temporary arrangement, with the understanding that modifications may occur later. I am most perturbed that at the very time when perhaps MORE LETTERS FROM HOME would be of some little support to you, I am incapacitated to write them. Better no letter than such a useless one as this. Perhaps your mother will finish this poor BB. From Monnie’s letters: Oh! if we could only be near you and be of some help. We feel so useless in this tragic period when we want to do things to make your load lighter. Because you carry too heavy a load on your dear shoulders, I was not going to add any uneasiness by telling you of my fears for Dad. But, yesterday, our Dr. Bailey (whom we like very much) had us to see Dr. Matthews. We thought that Poppa had had a slight stroke. His right leg was so weak he fell here in our apartment and he cannot hold things well or control the direction of his right hand. For instance, we wanted to rub his forhead and his hand touched his head back of his ear. If you put a book in his hand, there is a peculiar sensation because he cannot only not feel the book, but also the book has no weight. We love you dearly. May you and your dear boys find peace and quiet to repay you for the crowded quarters. Lovingly, Mother.
Myra writes from our new home at 2551 13th Ave. N.W., December 14, 1964:
Dear Momma and Poppa: So it's done. We moved out Friday [December 11th] -- from the house where Colly was born, where Luke has lived since he was a month old; in truth, the only home any of them but Kip and Jeff remember. But even since our first few months there, it has not been a happy home. Perhaps my most serious mistake was in having stayed there so long. I wish I could say that the boys are happy here -- but they are not. They have only their clothes and one or two possessions with them, so there is a feeling of being adrift. Then, most important, the move itself is traumatic. They have been fretful and argumentative for two days -- it is hard to keep them even content for a few moments at a time. But my hope is that this will pass. My dearest wish is that he will eventually agree to letting us have the house and to moving into an apartment for himself. But I've never changed any view he ever entertained, so perhaps this is a vain wish. Tony, who never ventures into anyone's else's business, tried to reason with him last week, but he refused to answer Tony. Another of the younger orthopedists was so outraged when he heard of my move that he went to Mark Coventry, head of his section, who in turn went to Bill Bickel, head of Roger's section, who in his turn went looking for Roger. But R. had taken vacation time Friday and Saturday, so Bill never saw him. All this information, I have secondhand through Tony. So I've no way of knowing how accurate it is, nor what Bill intended . . . But let me back up a few days: this decision was made a week ago yesterday. While his manner and attitude toward me was not markedly different, his treatment of Kip and Jeff was degenerating rapidly. Every morning they left home in a fury -- and arrived back to find him lying in wait for them in the evening. He did not wait for an excuse -- but launched out at them with insults the moment they walked in. Monday night I told him that one of us had to move out of that house. He refused to do it -- in the face of every argument I could offer. So Tuesday I looked for a place, found it, & asked him again before money changed hands if he would consider the extra cost of our moving, the effect of the move on the boys, and the simplicity of his moving to an apartment. But of course there was nothing gained. Wednesday I rented the house and began the necessary payments for utilities -- bought a stove (no gas connection here). Thursday I arranged with Allied to move Friday morning and spent that day organizing the things necessary to be moved by van. By 1:00 Friday our furniture was being carried into 2551 and we spent the week-end trying to fit the few things brought with us into the limited space available here.
Myra, thinking through whether she can leave the boys in Rochester to go see her stricken father in Florida, December 16, 1964:
Wednesday noon. Jimmie called last night. Having talked to him only two nights before, I was bewildered by hearing his voice again. But he explained that he was calling about Dad and that even his first call had been from Florida. I appreciate the concern (by not telling me about Dad earlier) for me that made him refrain from adding to my worries, but developments such as Papa's illness must be shared by all of us. Furthermore, I was already concerned because of the symptoms described in the BB I received Monday, so I was not greatly surprised to have Jimmie's call. I wish I could be of some help to you. Had I only delayed this move by two short days I could have found a housekeeper and gone to Florida. But to leave the boys at this time is out of question. They are already so very upset by this move that I cannot leave them even for a few days. I hope you will not think me callous -- it is a hard choice to make -- but I hope that you can accept my judgement that I must stay here.
Myra, worrying and alone in Minnesota, December 17, 1964:
11:30 a.m. Still I have had no word on Poppa's condition. I have just sent a wire hoping it will find you at the hospital. I am so deeply concerned for both of you and feel so very far out of contact with you. This morning the temperature was 14˚ below zero -- naturally our cars, sitting unprotected on the street, would not start. It was 9:00 before the truck arrived to put us in motion. So the boys were all late to school. You should have seen us in this little house -- all in our boots, mittens, caps, coats, ready to run when our cars were started: Kip standing before the stove clock delivering his citizenship speech, Danny & Jeff practicing guitars, Christy showing Colly magic tricks, Trinket & the cat caught up in the excitement and chasing one another around the Christmas tree. And I clomping about in my big boots trying to get some of my housework done. Kip shouted out over the hub-bub (referring to a book we once read about a house full of mad people) “We've always lived in this castle!” People continue to call -- to offer their help and sympathy -- but truly there is nothing anyone can do. Two have invited us for Christmas Day dinner, but of course that is a day I would not go anywhere.
Article from the John Marshall High School “Rocket,” December 18, 1964:
The Pagans, a JM rock and roll group, is named after a dog but any other resemblance is purely coincidental. Senior Kip Sullivan first organized the group for a JM talent assembly held last year. Since then musicians have come and gone, but the present group has been successful. . . . Like many other groups around the area, the Pagans first began playing just for fun, but soon found themselves making appearances around town. Since then they've played at such places as the Rochester Armory, small towns around the area, radio promotions, dances and private parties. Everyone in the group has been playing for about three years, except for Jeff who has played only nine months. 'I'm surprised the Pagans and groups like us have done as well as we have, being such young groups,' said Kip. Not all things, however, have gone well for the Pagans, and being non-union musicians was one of them. 'Because we weren't union musicians we were cancelled out of a number of appearances,' said Rossi. Because of their membership they now charge an average of $100 for a performance. Practices take place almost every night at either Rushton's, Rossi's, or Sullivan's house. They usually play from two to three hours learning new songs and running over old ones. When asked about parental help Jeff commented, “They encourage us but never got involved.” Added Kip, “Since they don't have any contacts, we find our own jobs.” Their name, the Pagans, comes from one of two gigantic Irish Wolfhounds belonging to the Sullivan brothers. They decided on the name because of Pagan's constant presence at their practices. The Pagans know about 60 songs, half of which are vocal. They pick up a number of their songs off records and, although they don't try to copy any other groups, their favorites are the Beatles, the Trashmen, and the Astronauts. About $3,000 has been invested in their instruments which most taught themselves to play and must pay for themselves. The Pagans wear a number of outfits for their performances and chose among different colored shirts, sweaters, dark slacks, and burgundy blazers with black lapels. When they have written two good songs the Pagans may put out a record. They have had many requests to record “Pagan,” written by Huiting, and may use it if they do record. Plans now, however, include sending tape recordings to radio stations and waiting for audience response before putting out any record. If the Pagans continue to show promise the two seniors, Rushton and Sullivan, plan to go to JC, so they can continue to play with the group. Otherwise, they will attend college elsewhere.
Myra, back in Minnesota, remembers her sad trip to Florida and back, December 29, 1964:
Dearest Momma & Poppa: The heading is written, but I do not know how to begin the letter. The events between Dec. 17 (was that the day I left Roch.?) and Dec. 25 are almost too painful to speak of yet -- and the unhappiness of my four little boys during my absence I do not wish to burden you with. Perhaps I better stick to the simple relating of my return trip: . . . [Mom goes on here to talk about the train ride up, the pleasant man she met and spent time with along the way talking of their families, pulling into Winona on the train, and taking a cab ride into Rochester from there.] I unpacked, took a bath, cleaned up the house, and even took a nap. I could not go get my little boys because the big boys had the car still loaded from the engagement the night before. It was nearly noon when they woke and my little ones had been calling every 15 minutes to know when they could “come home.” When Kip and Jeff left, it was -10˚. They loaded up to the roof with mattress and blankets and Christmas gifts and dirty clothes and poodles and cat and 6 boys. A mile from here they had a flat tire! Jeff walked to the nearest phone to call me and I called my ever-obliging Virg. (Jeff walked on home.) [Virg is the owner of gas and service station across from St. Mary's on Second Street. It's still there as of '92, called "Virg's" and operated by his sons.] When Virg arrived and unloaded everything onto the side of the road, it was discovered that our spare was flat -- so back he had to go for another tire. Christy gave up next and walked home. Before everything was back in order, Luke launched out on foot. Kip arrived, a harassed boy, sometime later with the rest. “One thing comes after another,” says Colly. You know with what joy I greeted them all again. We had a peculiar supper, being without an ice box, but we were all so happy no one noticed. Monday morning I bought second-hand ice-box (for $125) and a new couch (for $300); he had even had the couch hauled back across town for those few days! So we are slowly getting ourselves back to that state of being nearly settled in our new quarters.
Myra, December 30, 1964:
Christy and I made an excursion to The Millstone today to retrieve things which disappeared last week. The big boys were back once again to get two more of the beds. We are nearly back in our position of two weeks ago. Yesterday we had four inches of snow. I find that a snowfall in town is not nearly so lovely as in the country. There is not a tree for miles around us here on 13th Avenue. And hardly a bush bigger than a pansy plant. So the snow just lies there waiting to be shoveled -- no more of the beautiful spruce and pines to display snow at its loveliest. But, I am feeling sorry for myself. . . Tomorrow's New Year's Eve. The Pagan's are playing, so I will see the last of 1964 with my four little ones. And glad I am to see the last of 1964 -- the most miserable year of my life. But 'things are looking up' -- so I am welcoming '65! Tonight Danny has a friend to spend the night with him. And Kip brought Linda home about 8:30. We all watched the Danny Kaye Show and then sat in the living room eating candy and talking -- in the middle of which Colly got out of bed (hearing Linda whom he loves), Christy gave Trinket a bath, Danny & Jimmie McBean were playing guitars, the dishwasher spurted water all over the kitchen floor (which Christy had scrubbed and washed last night while I was at a movie with D, L & Co), and the bathroom door mysteriously locked itself (the punch-in-the-middle variety), requiring the concerted and individual efforts of all of us with a tiny screwdriver to open it again. (“We've always lived in this castle!”) But dear heaven, it was fun and relaxed and fearless and happy!