Love Letters: Russ Hates Rock and Roll
One in a series of old Love Letters that I bought at the flea market and am now transcribing for my nosey friends.
See the archive for every Love Letter to Karen published thus far.
Letter 2 of 5 after Homecoming…
It is a very long letter written on a typewriter and riddled with misspellings. I tried to keep his misspellings in but it got confusing because I couldn't figure out what were my misspellings and what were his, and I do not currently have an intern for this project. LET US PROCEED:
October 13, 1960
I'm trying out someone else’s typewriter, and I thought that it would be most fitting that I should type something important, therefore I am writing you this letter. I hope that you don’t mind that fact that it is typed and not written by hand. Some people have an aversion for this kind of letter and feel insulted. I am also making more than my share of mistakes.
Imagine feeling insulted by a typed communique? Adorable! Also, anybody else hoping it's Bev's typewriter? I'm very into this side plot about Russ and Bev that I made up.
I should also be honest. [I’m typing this on Bev’s typewriter. — Kidding!] My typing is not so good as this letter may indicate. This is an electric typewriter and the keys naturally all strike the paper with the same pressure, something I have not been able to master on a standard typewriter (I have a legitimate excuse for this line however. The lever that controls the spacing between lines is located exactly where the carriage release is located on my typewriter and I hit that during the previous line.)
I kinda, sorta, like this typewriter even though it is a Smith-Corona.
He’s very fussy about brands. I am going to start a list of Things Russ Doesn’t Like. So far it includes everything and everyone except Karen and college football.
However, I think that I would like any electric model. They’re great for speed and a better looking job. I’ll have to save my pennies and buy an IBM machine someday.
The weather has been great. I know that talking about the weather is rather trite, but it has been worth remarking upon. It has almost been hot, but in being hot, it has attained the perfect temperature. It’s great, really great. However, this kind of weather is not exactly conducive to studying. I hope it holds out until Oct. 29, but that is probably to much to hope for. WPGU is also playing all my favorites and today I feel like I’m on top of the world. Obviously last weekend has not worn off yet and I hope it never does.
What Happened at Homecoming!? PLEASE TELL US.
I’m afraid that for some reason this letter is beginning to sound rather formal in an informal way. (A contradiction? But that’s the best that I can do to express the ridiculous impression my letter would make on anyone. You’ll just have to put up with it because there is nothing I can do about it.)
You make me jealous. Your letters are always so much better than mine. How do you do it. I have not learned the skill. Probably I lack the intelligence. Maybe I can read books on the subject.
Would it be weird to call Russ today and ask him if he kept Karen's letters? I would give him $20 for the box, no haggling, just like I did at the flea market to get these!
I put the introduction and the first entry into my “diary”last night. You will be the first one to read it, I hope. Then I will hope for the best regarding your reaction to the fantastic things it expounds upon. The first entry is probably typical. The writings of a madman! Better not let my enemies get the bloody thing. Enough about my “diary.”
Did Karen give him a diary? It sounds like it. Why else would he be writing in it with her in mind? Wish I had a copy of that, too.
My roommate likes the idea of going to Chicago the 29th. He will probably stay at my house Saturday night and with some of his friends Friday night. We won't be coming together because he wants to take the later train. This should result in some rather interesting complications when it comes to meeting each other. Either we can meet each other or I could give him directions on how to get to my house and let him shift for himself. But that wouldn't be fair. I live too far out in the back woods to let him try to find his way out there alone. He’s liable to be captured by the natives and offered as a sacrifice to the gods. Or the alligators might get him.
I wonder just how the alligators are doing since they filled in all the swamps with gravel and tar and provided drainage. They’ve probably invaded the sewerage system. We have very hardy alligators. They can live anywhere. The swamps of Evergreen Park are gone! There are still some untamed parts of the village left though. For example, in front of the high school. That is how the old alma mater keeps its enrollment from getting too large. Freshman are required to negotiate the Great Swamp everyday of their first semester.
Fortunately, when I was a luckless Freshman, I was not required to do this. Otherwise I might not be here today and the world be a poorer place for the lack of my esteemed self. (i.e. Everyone would be happier.) I’m really very humble. I just don’t let it show too often.
I just feel good - - - good - - - good! Actually, I have all kinds of studying to do and I should do some of it this afternoon, but on the other hand, I know that if I were to start it wouldn’t do any good because I’d get nothing done. Therefore I will continue writing this letter. (the above mess was caused by the fact that I put in the page number and while rolling the paper back to the top of the page I managed to mess up the alignment. Typical.)
As someone who has worked in publishing since the 1990s and grew up using an electric typewriter? I have no idea what he’s talking about at all.
What else shall I write about? That is a fatal question. This is because when I ask it I am required to really come up with something to write about and that is impossible as you know from my past letters and the bulk of this one. Can’t help it though. My Rhet. Instructor the first two semesters down here had the same complaint. Say what you mean and mean what you say. (Patents pending for Sigma Phi Gamma on that expression.) “More or less”is also to be patented by the one and only “club” SIGMA PHI GAMMA forever.
Google tells me Sigma Phi Gamma is a sorority.
(One may pay occasional, if not more frequent, homage to that organizations of which I am the one and only officer (Secretary-Treasurer).)
There must something important to say in a letter. Something of great and grandiose proportions.
And if I don’t have that, I’ll just use grandiose verbiage!
Something which will strike awe into the hearts of men. I intend to write the “Letter of the Century.” (I have a great deal of unfounded faith in myself. Nobody else has any faith in me however, and probably with good reason.)
The other guy in the room with me here thinks I’m writing a love letter. He should know what this group of inane words is. I don’t think I could write a love letter that would make sense. It takes a great deal of skill to write a good love letter and I have no skill at letter-writing.
Someone is “oinking” on the radio to the tune of some rock and roll piece. You’ve probably heard the song. It comes very close, if it does not actually satisfy the conditions of being the epitome of “Rock and Roll”played on the radio. Anyone’s immediate reaction is disgust, which is good. Someday, however, by process of repetition, this type of “musical” masterpiece will become the norm and everybody will have a “fine appreciation” of “Rock and Roll.” When that day comes I want to be one of the non-conformists. Enough complaining about people. Where would the world be without them?
FUN FACT: The Twist by Chubby Checker debuted in 1960 and was a monster hit that fall. I’m gonna guess Russ wasn’t a fan.
No space will allow for an answer as the answer is obvious in a way. That question is just like the group of question represented by: “What color is red in the dark.” Think about that one for awhile if you haven’t already done so in the past.
The Pirates beat the Yankees, 10-9. Good news. Tremendous. The Yankees should never win another World Series. I do not like the Yankees in any form, shape, or manner. They beat the Sox. That alone is enough to make a “good Chicagoan” hate them. Maybe someone will start spending money on the Cubs again and they’ll recover from the indefinite slump (?) they are in now and and have been in longer than I can remember. Maybe they’ll even get out of the cellar.
I’m terrible at sports trivia and even I know the future has some good news and some bad news for Russ.
Of course, cellars are genuinely cooler and they don’t like the summer heat. Next step “Winter Baseball” in Chicago. A new first for Mayor Daley. How is the old crook? Is the Daley Party still in power — I mean absolute power. The citizenry of Chicago will have to start an uprising. There’s something you can do in your spare time. Organize a revolt. Another Joan of Arc. Then I could come to Chicago and help and also protect my family and my favorite person — one Karen K.
And now, after wasting four pages, I’ll get to something which really is important. Your letter wasn’t bad at all. What was wrong with it? It was great! And what was wrong with your hair? You are going to have to stop raining these insults upon my favorite person. I cannot allow it. There is no excuse for it. How would you like to be sued for liable [sic]? Ok, then, I have your word that I will have no more of this.
I thank Bean [Karen’s dog] for her concern. I don’t know if I will be able to withstand her welcoming me back. I’ll definitely need your moral support, your physical support, a get-away route, and a towel. Already I’m thinking ahead to the time (Oct. 29) when I see my second home again.
Also give my love to your mother. This and my thanks is all I have to give for her for the food she sent me. Naturally, I am still working on what I got from everybody. I am indeed lucky to have people who think of me, at least once in awhile.
I can't really decide if his self-deprecating is low self-esteem or cheeky knowledge that he's an arrogant smarty pants. Maybe a combo of both. Seems like Karen isn’t faking it: She’s got low self-esteem.
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Now Pappa must have a very good sense of humor. All you have to do is find it. Maybe he just wants attention. This is always a good procedure to follow. Everybody likes attention. Makes them feel loved, and that is a feeling everybody, without exception, enjoys. Send him a real “mushy” card for Father’s Day or for his birthday or something and see what happens. Patience and understanding. At least you can be friends. I love you anyway, so don't feel unloved and unwanted. I don’t mind saying so and showing it either.
Aww, Karen's dad sucks (this explains so much). And this is Russ trying to help. By trying Karen to try harder. If this was a successful blog, now would be the time to plus Better Help or something.
And your letters are NOT a waste of time. Nothing you write is a waste of time. Only my letters waste people’s time and force them to read something that they would never read under any other circumstances.
Incidentally, you are going to be subjected to a very, very long letter which you will have to wade through with large boots.
Let me explain. It bothers me that Ellen should have received a letter that could possibly have been longer than any I have sent to you. Consequently, you are going to receive a longer one. Her letter was 16 pages long, typewritten, and single spaced between the lines. Therefore you have some idea of the length you are going to receive. The only drawback is that I will have to find two things:
Free time to do it. This shouldn’t be too hard since a great deal of my work should be over soon.
Subject matter to write about. This maybe a little more difficult, but not impossible. I may just continue in my present procedure and write about nothing. However, you can expect several essays which are more or less out of character in a personal letter, but then again so is the length slightly out of character.
Blathering at length is certainly not out of character for Russ. When I transcribed this letter initially I was pretty annoyed with the section above and felt it was self-indulgent grandstanding, but, rereading it, I think he's trying to cheer her up and make her feel like she's worthy of attention. Her dad must be a real turd.
But you can expect it for sure. Probably sometime between Oct. 29 and Thanksgiving. Either that or between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most likely sooner than later in this case. This is something I will not put off. (there are times when I don’t procrastinate, but these times are so few and far between that I have to devote those times that do come to something important, — like for example, your letters.)
One of these days I’ll have to write to the other members of Sigma Phi Gamma and let them know that I’m still alive. I am you know, even if I don’t sound that way.
He must have gone to a sorority party of hers to bring them up so much?
Why don’t you bind all my letters together in one of these paper binders and submit it to the psychology department at St. Xavier’s as a study on the ramblings of a madman. They would probably find the whole thing rather interesting, but let me know when you do it because I want to get to a safe place where they won’t be able to find me unless they’re in the same shape that I’m in, in which case we’ll all make just one great big happy family.
And now we're back to our regularly scheduled navel-gazing.
Well now, I’d better imbibe some food so that I’ll be full of vim and vigor(?). The afternoon is gone. Good evening, Sweetheart, and auf wiederschauen for a little while. I’ll see you later. Somewhere around my room is the beginning of a letter I started writing to you. I’ll try to find it tonight. Take care of yourself and don’t study too hard. Love you.
Love as always,
"Don't study TOO hard" must be a running joke between them?
Now you, dear reader, I hope you take care of yourself and don’t study TOO hard!