Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Franklin Institute Coworker -- Correspondence

During the period June 1975 to June 1979 I was employed at The Franklin Institute Research Laboratories in Philadelphia.  The following is a letter a coworker and friend wrote me in Spokane, Washington, where I had entered law school in August 1979.  And, by the way, I did not live in the dorms in law school.  I had my own apartment. 


Dear Gary,

Hello! Thanks so much for the birthday card. It really was a pleasant surprise. I guess I have to take back everything I said about being a good letter writer. I guess I am out of practice! I have been meaning to write for quite some time, but you know that I usually do some of my best letter writing at work and I have been sooooooo busy here that I haven't had time to _______________ (fill in whatever you think is appropriate here).  PHS is just one mess after another; a minute does not go by without some kind of emergency. It is really interfering this month with getting BENER together. As you see I've enclosed the issue of BENER for you—notice the Errata sheet in the back. How nice to make a major mistake of that magnitude on your first issue.  I don't think I ever made a mistake of that magnitude on Gastro, not in 4.5 years: Well, at least the sponsors were very nice about it. I was the only one to lose sleep over it (and believe me, I did!).

Gary, we miss you around here (even your silence). You wouldn't recognize this place. There are so many new faces. There are all sorts of little foreigners running around. They are working on the MESH indexing for ICRDB. We've also started work on the Army editing contract. Dena S[her] had written that proposal, but Marsha Hall is directing (?) it. Believe it or not, we also got both aging proposals. Gwen [Lysaught] will be working on one (headed by Helis Miido); hopefully, she'll finish Nancy's stuff before she starts on the Aging work.

I think that's enough about work. You couldn't possibly be interested in any more. How are classes? Is it everything you anticipated or is it easier? How's Washington? I heard on the Today show yesterday that it was 73 F there. Not too bad—we had snow yesterday morning. I seem to remember that we had a long winter last year, with no spring, only 1 day of summer, and now—no fall! What's happening here? How's living in the dorms? Please answer all these questions in your letter; also answer all questions that I didn't ask but should have.

I hope you noticed the quality of this stationery. This is imported Italian stationery (my aunt brought it back to me) and I broke it open in honor of this occasion.

Let's see--I discussed work and school, I guess I'm up to “friends” now. This is usually the juicy stuff. I know how you like gossip. I'll start with Betty. She can usually provide hours of entertainment, but fortunately I have not seen too much of her since she has been living with Jerry during the week. She started to go out with this other guy, John, who worked with Ed Rendell as his public relations rep, but last week Jerry was moved into a new apartment. Guess where? The station rented him one in the very same building as John and on the very same floor! That should make for an interesting story sometime.

Even though Sharon and Michelle have left work, we have been managing to stay in touch. Michelle is doing freelance work (editing BENER, CA, and doing indexes for Cancer Research and Rockefeller at $6.50 and $7.00/hr) and is actually making out better doing it at home. She seems really healthy and looks pregnant and not fat! Last week we had a scare though. She had these tremendous pains so I took her to the doctor. Everything is fine now—it turned out to be gastrointestinal. Her and Charlie bought a charming row house in Upper Darby right near 69th St. It looks exactly like the ones on Midvale Ave. in East Falls with a cathedral window in front.

Sharon and Kenny also bought a house. They bought a biggie! I only saw a picture, but it still looks real nice. I wonder who is going to cut all that grass? Their birds had babies and Michelle and Charlie are going to take two. It will be a new cult—to be “in” one must have a pair of Australian Zebra finches; Sharon loves her new job, and imagine this, they even asked her if she wanted a raise yet!

Ken and I are seeing each other again and neither of us are dating any one else now. He seriously wants to get married and I (seriously) have no idea what I want to do. Such a commitment . . . and it's for the rest of your life! Ken has given me a year to decide so don't hold your breath.

The only other new thing is my hair cut. I got it permed and it is as curly as it will ever be. In fact, someone I met for the first time asked me how long it took for my perm to grow out! (They thought that I had got it done a long time ago and now it was growing out. What really happened though is that I got it done last week and it is just straightening out). I was not meant for curly hair. I'm glad you're not here to see it. I have forbidden pictures of it, even though I got a camera from Ken for my birthday. He bought me a Minolta 35 mm with automatic something or other. All I have to do is focus it for distance. A little red light goes on if there is not enough light. It has a built in flash. I'm having a good time playing with it. I guess I should have some of the pictures I've taken developed so I can see how I'm doing!

Well, I guess I should get back to work now. I don't think I did too badly with this letter for being out of practice! Take care of yourself and stay in touch. Can I hope to see you in December?



P.S. I've enclosed some pictures taken at Sharon's wedding – do you still recognize us?


Gary Freedman said...


In this letter there are two "Kenneths." Ken who was Sheryl's boyfriend. There is also Kenny who is married to Sharon.

In Tolstoy's Anna Karenina there were two men named Alexei. Alexei Karenin, Anna's husband -- and Alexei Vronsky, Anna's illicit lover.


Gary Freedman said...

Psychotherapists are concerned with all that "But how did it feel?" crappola.

Psychoanalysts are concerned with the analysis of deep structures:


Gary Freedman said...

Ed Rendell was Mayor of Philadelphia at that time. He later became Governor of Pennsylvania and held the post of Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (like Bob Strauss).

I sent a letter to Governor Rendell's wife, Marjorie Rendell, who is a federal judge:


Judge Rendell did not respond. Do you think she showed the letter to her husband, the Governor?