journalwritingNibling #1 just started college. I recollect the time I started my U of Michigan days. I was bedazzled with many emotions about being away from home for the first time.  The arrival of the post was much anticipated with hopes of packages and letters from home. Soon after I started school, to my amazement, my Uncle Ed started writing me letters. He had never written so far as I could remember, so I was surprised and puzzled. This started a year long of intermittently composed letters from Uncle full of advice and the occasional five dollar bill.

Oh how I wished I had saved those letters! I don’t recall their contents so much as their gist. He gave out advice and tips how to lead a virtuous life and be a gentleman and a scholar.  On the other hand I could never quite determine whether or not he was actually serious. This is the same man from whom I derive the expression “I lead a dull life”, which he said followed by a report of life anything but dull.

I don’t recall I actually followed any of the advice, other than abjuring loose women at East Quad.  His counsel not to drink anything to make me weak or silly lasted until Junior Year when my microbiology partner turned out to be a beer maker (lovely British stout that was).  Saturday nights were NOT spent reading Proust (which I think he made up having never been seen reading a book).

I was always appreciative of the fiver.  This letters always ended with:

“I enclose a fiver dollar bill. Go (fill in the blank). “

What I was supposed to do with the money always varied. I was once asked to put on some weight. Another time I was told to buy a new pair of running shoes (for $5?). He advised I purchase new pencils for mine must be quite stumpy by now. Once he suggested I take out a nice girl from Alpha Gamma Pi to a three course meal at “The Gandy Dancer”; five dollars would not even pay for parking.

I usually used the money to buy sweets at the now defunct Drakes Sandwich Shop off State Street.  Oh!


The Nephew goes to MSU not UM, so I can’t be too specific in my recommendations to buy his suits at Van Hoven or abstain from drinking  with Sigma Pi Epsilon types (miscreants all).

MSU I hear is full of slubberdegullions, so I have my ponderous task ahead of me.

I suppose I should enclose a twenty, for rates have gone up since the early 80s.

My dear Nephew,

I think you should always rise at 7AM and eat oatmeal. It is especially good with raisins. Say no to scotch unless it is quality and eat no rats at Tewkesbury.  I enclose a twenty dollar bill. Go get a small chocolate cone.