Excerpts from Pat’s Letters to Maria

The following excerpts are from letters Pat wrote to Maria between July 1985 and March 1986 (actually, these stop in August; more will follow). Passages that concern his relationship with Maria have been deleted.

July 11, 1985
The letter you sent me came at a good time, for I received some bad news last night.  My best friend who “had a cold nose” was killed by a car last night in San Jose.  My mom called me on the phone here to tell me.  Bo was his name and is the one who was the grandson of a female lab I had when I was a kid.  I raised him from a puppy and he was my best friend for almost 7 years.  I tried to get it out of my mind today, so I went canoeing at Natoma lake.  That was a bad idea.  All I could think about was my dog who loved canoeing and swimming.  To make things worst, in the far end of the lake I came across a yellow tennis ball floating in the water.  My dog loved tennis balls and I kept plenty on hand for he could destroy one in 5 minutes— enjoying every second of it.  I picked the ball up and that is all I could think about— and it broke me.  There I was by my self in a canoe crying my eyes out.  What a sight it must have been.  If anyone saw me they must have thought I was a candidate for the rubber room.

August 13, 1985
[On how he discovered classical music]
There I was, a junior in high school, and full of trouble, drugs, and rock n’ roll. I had a room that looked out on the backyard of the San Jose house. Every morn I’d get up and turn on my stereo to a local rock station called KOME 98.5 FM (heard of it?). It was not loud enough to wake the rest of the pack, and I could get in my usual radical mood listening to it. One morning I awoke before dawn. I was not sleepy, I just woke up early. In my usual manner (a programmed ritual), I turned on the old stereo, but the music was strange. My brother, or someone else, had changed “my” station. It was classical music, yuk! For some reason, I did not change it immediately. It had some violin music that I cannot remember too well. I found it interesting though. Well the sun was just breaking over the hills that border S.J. and it really put me in a spiritual mood (as it always does!). It was then that I heard it! That music! That piece of music that I will never forget. It began with delicate tones that swayed back and forth. My mind was entranced in this music, and the imagination ran free. I could picture in my mind a scene that those tones expressed. The scene was early morning, before the sunrise. The sky was blue and the air cool and calm. I was sitting outside a stone building, like a Greek temple, nested in the hills with oak trees and green grass all around. The music began to build ever so slowly—something was coming. Something wonderful and I waited for it to come. As I listen[ed] to the music build, I knew what was coming. The sunrise! The bright yellow light suddenly filled the valley and hills with a cool radiance only found in the morning light. I could feel exactly what the composer had in his (or her?) heart when that piece was composed. The sunrise. It took me a week to find out who write that music and what it was called. It was composed by Eduard Grieg (1843-1907) and was called “Dawn.” Dawn! I couldn’t believe it! This man sat down and put a bunch of hash-marks on a piece of paper. A piece of paper that would be read by some people banging on wood and metal, and what comes out is a human experience and emotion. The whole time, not a word is spoken, or picture placed before your eyes and you could actually feel what was in his soul. That was a real trip (as I would say back then). I was hooked for life. Whenever the opportunity strikes, I go to the San Jose Symphony.

Well with a little luck I will be out of Davis forever. I found a buyer, and I’m selling the trailer for $3000—which is a steal! I plan to study for the GREs [on] October 12th. I will live in my parents’ [Barbara and Clarence’s] house  until I find out which school I’m going to. As soon as I know, I will move to that area, find a place, and get settled in. I will get a “job” until school starts. I’m really looking forward to continuing my education.
A question on the GRE application form through [sic] me.  It asked what state I considered “home.”  I don’t have one!  I was born and raised in California, but I don’t consider it home.  In fact, I never had a house that I considered home.  It was just a place I lived in for a moment.  Home is a special place that brings back good memories, and a feeling of security.  The places I’ve lived at were more like sharing a foxhole at the front.  It was a place to stop, but it was never secure and had few good memories.  I really long for a home.  It must be a nice thing.

I’ve been working on my “gymnastics” lately. I can actually press into a handstand by bending at the waist and putting my hands on the ground. It only took me a year to do it. I even have stomach muscle again. I thought I washed thoughs [sic] off when I took a bath that was too hot. Sometimes I over do it on my exercises. I got “in the mood” and ran, nonstop, from my house to road 96. I always loved running on the country roads around David. I walk back though. God! was I ever sore the next day.

August 27, 1985
Well it’s done, I’m no longer a Davisite. I now live out of boxes in my old room. What a pain—I can’t find anything. It all made it here, I’m sure; I just can’t find it yet!
I took some of the money I received for my trailer and bought my very first stereo system ($600.00 worth). It is a JVC rack system with turntable, cassette deck, graphic equalizer, tuner, and amplifier. It has 80 watt speakers. It sounds superb. I’ve longed for a stereo system for many years, I just never had the money.

I’m studying for GRE’s still: eight hundred pages of books to study. I try to spend at least 5 hours a day at it.

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