Letter from Uncle John

January 3, 1991

Dear Asha,

How goes the girl on the lonesome road? Any lunches these days? I haven’t been out there for quite some time but I’ll bet the traffic’s about the same as usual. Sometimes I think of the days around Seattle where we used to live, and of your mom and dad and your brother and sister and the fun we used to have in doing things. Maybe someday we’ll remember all of it and I’ll send you a copy. How would that be? Nevertheless, one time I bought a very good soup called Minestrone in an Italian place and also a delicious hamburger after hours.

In place of these wishes I could go to school and start an entirely new life. I’m still thinking about the Minn. Vets Home with its facilities and All. I should check on that with the social worker, and put on my prosthesis shoes and overcome this predicament. I could arrive there in time for the cold weather and receive all the benefits from the new year. Jesus. It would be lovely. I just pray I will.

I would go right to the U. of M. and enroll in an English Composition and a Philosophy course right away. This would give me something to hope for. At least a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in some related field – like French or Creative Writing – say Poetry would do. I could go 3 years without any questions, calling up my 15 sophomore units from Seattle U. as good. I think they would give me about 9 semester units for that work. St. John’s would be 30 and 12 Seattle U 12= 42 altogether out of 120 necessary to graduate. Anyhow, I should be glad to go back to Minnesota and stay there at the Veteran’s Home for a mere $175.00 a month if it would give me a new start on everything. I could have a cubicle and purchase new shaving gear and deodorants, bath soaps and colognes and after shaves, plus new socks and underwear plus a shirt or two and a couple pair of new slacks; say gray flannel plus dark brown tweed – HARRIS – SPORT – COAT. THE GOLDEN & BRN – TAN TIES AND REAL MONOGRAMMED LINED HANDKERCHIEFS – PLUS A LOUNGING COAT – ALSO BROWN SHOES AND SLIPPERS. AND A NEW PAIR OR FLORSHEIM BROWN WING – TIP DRESS SHOES. Real style for real money. But, I’d like to go back to my own home. Some girls have guessed at my whereabouts – with statements like – “power of attorney” – etc. That’s what I have over myself that I can give someone in case of change.

I’ll ask the I Ching again. I think the Social Worker would send me there when she found out the cost of staying there would sort of put them in a relatively different position. I’d be responsible to myself once I left, but she would have taken care of all the arrangements ahead of time. I could still have Nick take my things to Greyhound and check them to Mpls. then buy the ticket and leave a few days later. I shall tell Jean again and the doctor about Minneapolis.

I found my cap. It was on the floor next to the bed. I’ll be sure to exchange that hoop decoration for something more conventional tomorrow. The psychiatrist here doesn’t apparently care to know me at all. His comments on my wheelchair are something I should do without and I know is a trap for myself to fall into.

That place back in Minneapolis was located on Minnetonka Blvd. right on the Mississippi River. It was pretty cold there in the winter and when I went downtown on the bus it was very cold too. I don’t go many places when it’s that cold. Still, we had to go outside to the dining hall and to other things. I was just reminded of that cold when I went outdoors a while ago for a smoke. I’m watching the Michigan State U.S.C. Game. I wish I knew where I am going after I leave here. ---KAN – DANGER .63 AFTER COMPLETION


Uncle John

Elegy for a Poet
John Chance, June 9, 1934 - February 1, 1992




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