Wednesday, June 20, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - June 20, 1978

On June 20, 1978, my father wrote a letter to Art Struempler, detailing his plans to apply for teaching positions at local colleges and universities. Without going into too much personal detail, there were a few things that I enjoyed reading about.

First, was the brief history my father gave about what happened to him after his time at Chadron State College. To summarize, he worked at Pt. Mugu in California, served in the Army during the Vietnam War, then returned to Pt. Mugu. He also describes some of the college courses he took as well as his work at Patuxent (Pax) River in Maryland, where he was working when he wrote the letter. Most interesting was all of the early computers and networks he was involved with.

Second, is of course the short paragraph where he talks about my mother and myself.

"Well I hoped this will help you Art and if you have xxx [strike-through] any questions please write or call. Gayle is doing OK andso [sic] is Neil. Really like to watch him grow. I am really getting to dislike xxx [strike-through] people who are mean to children. Seems like there is a lot of that around here. But any way he is doing fine after we got into the house. He can run and play outside without the fear of someone xx [strike-through] coming down the street in a car. We were getting ready to xx [strike-through] quit Gov't work and move to the midwest before xx [strike-through] this job came thru. We still will like to live in the midwest somewhere. But first we must see the East part of the country."

Finally, when he closes the letter, he says "Guess it is time to quit, my typing and spelling are going to pot." And it was. There were several strike-throughs and spelling errors leading up to that last sentence.

Attached to the letter was a recommendation form for one of the jobs he was applying for.

What is missing from the letter is more information about Art Struempler. He was a man I only remember meeting once. During that meeting I remember he had a lapidary (rock polishing) hobby and also collected meteorites. Turns out he would find a giant one a few years after getting this letter. When I visited, Art's wife, Jo, was also there but I can't remember much about her. I do recall how much my father revered Art and this letter further proves that. Now that I'm much more familiar with history, I wish I had asked him more questions about his service aboard B-17s during WWII.