A Letter Written to a Friend at the End of the 1970s.
What a beautiful night! There’s a deep purple sky rouged with violet and a new moon setting. The moon’s darkside is a phantom of a shadow. The stars are rocks, bravely bright against strangely dim street lights. Two small, illuminated clouds ghost across the sky.
Mystic but cold.
She’s Like a Rainbow
Meet my new roommate: Rainbow, the Bifrost Cat, Scat Ambassador Extraordinaire to Chicago. Yes, Rainbow stayed here, but I’m not sure the relationship is permanent. It’s been fun so far, but she may be pregnant. (I guess I lost my head.)*
I’ve revived the barbaric custom of wargaming, and G____ has taken an interest. We’ve been playing Panzerblitz; however, I have just purchased two new games. One you may like to play: Stellar Conquest. It does not necessarily involve warfare; there is an economic dimension. But you must expand one way or the other– it will be interesting to see which is more profitable, war or peace. Up to four can play.
Tasting the Big Apple
M____ is thinking of moving to New York. She talked to some people in the crew of Man of La Manche which was playing at the Aire Crown. They told her the market for theatre people is much better in New York (and LA) than it is in Chicago. She [is] going to try to get into the Stagehands Union first, though. (Initiation fee: $700)
Among the Dangs
How are you doing?
8 Miles High
It was fun watching the city snow removal crews at work: huge articulated earth moving machines that stood two stories high on monstrous tractor wheels. But the men who ran them ran them like extensions of their bodies. Rapid, fluid motions and precise: No uncertainty of movement or wasted motion, and they came within a foot of snowed-in cars. It should have been to music.
The neighbors were amusing also. The crews were clearing every portion of unoccupied street, but several people stopped them to make sure their personal spots were shovelled. I’m sure you can guess who at least one of them was — the Don Himself. There were several futile attempts to move snowed-under cars. N____ A____’s wife floundered about and C____ the Dealer was unable to even open his doors. The last I saw he was desperately shovelling.
Old Lang’s Sign
Te___ is very sad now that B____ and Th___ are gone. I left her an extra dollar in sympathy.
There are still people pushing grass on the street corner in Old Town.
Happy Lunar New Year
* A notably lame attempt at a joke… For those of you in the 21st Century, Rainbow was a cat and the father was most likely Dapper Dan. Rainbow was not quite Grand Champion material, so the cat-breeder hadn’t planned on showing her (again) or breeding her and that is why she ended up with me. He kept the males caged as they were apt to fight and spray. I suspect this pregnancy was Rainbow’s idea but how she and Dapper Dan managed it… Rainbow gave birth to four kittens: BawanaCat, Ferocious, Punk, and Bellybird. Rainbow and Bellybird remained with me. We found homes for the others.
At the time the letter was written, I was living in the Armour Square neighborhood in Chicago. I discovered the letter while cleaning out the hall closet in preparation for moving. I keep copies of most of my correspondence but I may end up shredding them; I can’t bring to mind just who some of these people are / were. And of course, it’s been years since I’ve received (or sent) an actual physical personal letter.
PS Photo/Graphic by Roman.