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From Harry Wachdorf to his sister


Written on a piece of paper about 14 inches wide and 25 inches long

Mentions his son, daughter, wife Justy

brief reference to brother Bunky/Frank & wife Jinny

mentions Scotty Reid, fellow musician


Feb 23, 1968


Dear You:

    I only have time for one page so it will have to suffice for the time being. You're pretty sneaky, aren't you--first you send a letter so that I'm on the hook (which I don't mind at all Dearie) and then you sneak in a note saying the book arrived and now I owe 2. Oh well worse fates have befallen me.

    As for instance this past week and the fact that it is now 1:30 P.M. and I'm home writing this letter to you and I don't have an authorized holiday either.

    It all started last week end. I played jobs Saturday + Sunday. Saturday night we played for the Village of Hickory Hills and the job went so well we played an hour and a half overtime. In fact, I've already booked 4 more jobs thru that one. Sunday night + for the last 6 or 7 Sundays I have been playing an Irish Tavern [crossed out] Inn [crossed out] Saloon on 63rd + California called Hoban's. The band is known as Hoban's Heroes. We play a broadcast over station WOPA (Oak Park) from 8:30 to 9:00 and then play for the assorted characters, dancers , guzzlers, and elite who frequent the joint until midnight, at which time we quit but they don't. 

    The station is one of those way up on the dial--a big powerful 7 or 8 watt station that does nothing all day but broadcast ethnic music. They do a lot of Irish broadcasts, some Polish, some German, etc. I don't want any of my business associates or musician friends to know that I play with this crummy band so I just call myself Henry Francis + that's the way they announce me when I take a solo or when they introduce the band members.

    I work with this fellow Scotty Reid on accordion + he just never plays the right chord--only the closest one. He plays most of the Irish stuff allright but anything else is pure brutality. I can play pure melody + it will sound like I don't know what I'm doing what with the chords he plays. And at times on American tunes, he'll start it out + when he finds himself stuck he'll just quit + let me finish up with the drummer as accompaniment. Anyway, I'm aiming for California this summer + for money I'll do it whether I like or not.

    Getting back to what I started to tell you... by the time I got out of Hoban's Sunday, I could feel that I had a cold coming on--my chest was tight, I had a slight cough + felt lousy. Monday + Tuesday didn't help + by Tuesday night I knew I was losing my voice. I took all the stuff I could like aspirin, cold medicine, etc, + hit the sack by 8:30 Tuesday night but it didn't help at all. By Wednesday morning I could hardly talk. I stayed home of course + on Thursday too--at which time the doctor was in so I went to see what was to be done. He cancelled me out for the week both at work and on dance jobs--one each on Saturday + Sunday--gave me a big shot of penicillin, a prescription whereby I use an anti-biotic tablet like snuff--hold it between my teeth + outer skin until it completely dissolves. Takes darn near an hour too. This is Friday + I'm just getting my voice back. He threatens me (the Dr) with a serious voice loss if I don't shut up + let it completely return, which I am doing.

    My son was home from school yesterday (Mom's birthday--a national holiday you know) and Justy + my daughter saw him safely back last night. He sure enjoys school--is now about like your oldest son I would imagine--just about as tall as I--he put on 9 lbs since Christmas + weighs about 155. He is going to major in psychology + really enjoys the subject. He is also getting involved at school He is a member of a team of boys who go to various hospitals + homes for aged to help out with people who have no one to visit them. He goes to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and really enjoys it. The hospital people give them a liberal education in what hospitals are all about + of course they visit with patients. Just go in, introduce themselves, + start talking. They go in pairs. He said he really enjoys it + has met some  wonderful people.

    My daughter was in the play at Maria--they did "Sweethearts" + she was one of the daughters--had a speaking, singing, dancing, acting part + was thrilled to pieces. She, of course, is a real extrovert + has no trouble getting involved, in meeting people, in doing anything. She's a candy striper at Holy Cross + must be a good one--the nurses aides all look forward to the day on which she serves because she's not a slacker.

    And as for my dear wife in whom I am well pleased, she has recovered from her fall at Christmas + is her very active self again (phew). She's recording secretary for the Maria Mother's Club, chairlady of Project renewal at church, taking sewing lessons at Carsons + part time wife + home maker.

    Really , everything is going along pretty good except the neighborhood and that is our biggest worry. Where do we go from here + at what cost.

    Well Dearie, I told you I'd only write one page + I made it. If you get any dope on Bunk + Ginny pass it on to us + I'll write them. This should put me even + I hope it does but until next time then--

Luv 'n' kisses from me + my Mrs + God love you -- we sure do,



To go to next letter, click here: 1968 March 3 Irene