I’ve never been very good in the training department on ordering up gifts for others to give to me on certain occasions, too much pressure for everyone. I’m tickled with any random thought, dark dove bites, other and I’ve received some nice ones. In going through my scrapbooks where (my mother or I?) stashed every memory jogging thing, I came across a very beautiful keepsake that is history, time, place, and art.
I had to give you a taste first. It is a letter from Pete Stack to Paula Graves after her return from cheerleading camp while he was at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. “I want you to know that I normally don’t write on shirts for letters!! But I thought it would be a little different. Do you like the little bull? I found the shirt in the little boy’s section.” I had just passed through Cimarron a few weeks ago and came home to find this work of art and the bull brought it home.
This was probably summer ’77. There are a few excerpts for history’s sake below, but he asks, “so how does your dating life go these days?” so it was well into a later friendship stage. Here are a few noteworthy repeats:
- I talked to Dave (Nixon) last night for about an hour but it was worth it. It was great to talk to him! He said he had a great time in the Carribean” (I’m sure with Liz hosted by Jack Frost at Petit St. Vincent rubbing elbows with Princess Margaret and George Plimpton, good gig).
- “He was going to send a bottle to make me sane.” (Guess they didn’t allow liquor at camp, even for the counselors?)
- “Hope sometime you call!” (very lonely and ready to go home)
- “I made a belt the other day! It was macrame and leather. (see macrame) …..I made a pot holder! Neat huh!”
- (I’m not putting in all these exclamation points).
- a weird thing from his neighborhood that I won’t mention.
- side two: he’s wearing down, telling my parents and dog, Dooley hello….”I’m messing up this shirt. You know I got it small so you can’t wear it.” Not then, but after nursing two children, it’s perfect, see below. I think he’s realizing how much time he’s invested and how cool it is, regrets buying the boys S (10-12), maybe wants to keep it.
- “I (‘m) running out of things to say but I can bore you somehow. You like my artistry? What a joke!”
- Strong finish “the mail just came” and then these incredibly detailed drawings. And, “P.S. Tell Marthe hello for me! Also happy cheering!”
So, I tried on shirt and it fits great. I was taking a break and dancing when John came home after 5 days in Turkey, Texas where he was hunting. The man works all the time, so this was uncommon and I was very proud of him. We danced a little, then I took advantage of his 5 days away with me alone in country (loved it) and wanted closure so enlisted his help in capturing the right pose but needed the mirror to get my body right.
This took 5 minutes so quite a bit of effort and diversion from unpacking his bags which I totally relate to when returning home. And here’s the best part.
- “That’s really a cute shirt,”said John, concentrating on the task: getting this great picture for me, of me, my ex-boyfriend, and my husband. That’s it. So Pete, I just took full artistic credit for your creativity and cleverness. So anyone?, don’t say anything when I wear it to the next reunion if John comes. Too fun.
- And Pete, it really was a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Thank you.