Letters to Jan & Tim Arensmeier

From Bob (& Eleanor) Leach


Bob and Eleanor are related, because Eleanor is Uncle George’s (married to Aunt Dollye) daughter.


These letters (all hand written and snail-mailed) should have been posted regularly, and only recently did the thought solidify in our minds. 

With each letter come a variety of coupons, which Jan is able to use.



Oct 26, 2005

Dear Tim and Jan,

            I have a routine physical exam scheduled for Friday morning, and I had to go to our GP’s office yesterday to have blood drawn for lab work.  Just as we were ready to leave, a call came in from what sounded like a frantic woman who wanted to bring a friend in that afternoon.  The receptionist told her that Dr. Parsons wouldn’t be there in the afternoon, and how about 11:15 that morning?  The woman on the line said the friend was having trouble breathing, but they couldn’t get there in two hours.  Cindy suggested an emergency room, but the caller was horrified by that idea.  All of Cindy’s suggestions were rejected, so she finally said, “Well, if she’s still alive, bring her in at 11:00 Thursday morning.”  To me it sounded as thought the caller were mentally deficient or just totally disinterested in her friend’s welfare.  (Probably the former.)

            Speaking of mentally deficient, our cat Trixie is a prime example.  I started to call her Oyster, as in “Drunk as an --” but I decided that her IQ level didn’t measure up to the requirements for an oyster.  Since a lot of people refer to stupid people as yo-yo’s, I considered that, but obviously Trixie can’t meet that standard either.  I decided that the best name for her is “Oy-Oy”, in other words, a backward yo-yo.  She has yet to accept it, but she doesn’t answer to anything except the tap of a spoon on a Fancy Feast can.

            Since I got to bed a bit late Monday, I went to bed last night at the end of the 13th inning in the World Series game.  That means I missed the end of the first 14-inning game of the World Series since the Red Sox defeated Brooklyn in 1916.  In case you haven’t been informed, one pitcher pitched all 14 innings of that 1916 game.  His name was Babe Ruth.  He was one of the top pitchers in baseball until it was decided that his bat was needed in the lineup every day, not just every fourth day.

Thurs Oct 27

            There is a letter in today’s LA Daily News from a woman who says that never in a million years could she have a relationship with a Republican.  She could never respect anyone as “mean-spirited, bigoted, selfish closed-minded and hypocritical” as a Republican.  Doesn’t that poor woman realize that, in her letter, she has exhibited exactly those evil attributes which she lays at the feet of the Republicans?  I imagine that to her open-mindedness and lack of bigotry would mean that we would have a black woman (both the oppressed minorities) as Secretary of State?  Uh, we do?  Well, what do you know!  Nah, she’d never believe that!

            I believe that all of her vituperative name-calling boils down to one factor – an aversion to abortion on the part of many Republicans.  This appears to be the new God of the liberal faction.  The First Commandment has been scrapped in favor of “pro-choice.”

            In my experience, it is the Democrats who are so closed-minded.  Once I noticed on the application form of a young woman (who wanted to work in my office) that she was a member of The Young Democrats.  I didn’t care, but wanted to at test her.  I led up to the subject through another young woman who worked there part time.  When the applicant learned I was a Republican, she snatched up her purse, snapped, “I could never work here!” and stormed out.  I was asked by the wife of one of the top table-tennis players, “My God, Bob!  Are you a Republican?” with a loathing in that last word that was hard to believe.  That isn’t exactly tolerance, is it?

            Eleanor was just out back and came in with rosy (if I may use that word) predictions about the camellia bushes.  The leaves are luch and green, and there are scads of buds.  Unless there is a drastic change of weather, we should have some beauties.

            When the White Sox won last night to complete their sweep of Houston, it was said several times on TV that the Sox are no longer the second team in the second city.  Chicago hasn’t been the second city for some years now; L.A. has roughly a million more people.  Old habits die hard, though.  (I just made that up.)  I remember the 1959 Series, when the White Sox played the Dodgers.  Chicago won the fist game 11-0, but the Dodgers won the Series, four games to two.  Sandy Koufax was just starting out, not yet the Sandy Koufax of a few years down the road, and he was the losing pitcher in the second White Sox win.  The L.A. games were played in the Coliseum, which of course is a football field, and so the left field “wall” was a 40-foot-high screen 250 feet from the plate.  Dodger Stadium was built very shortly thereafter, thanks be!

            Eleanor just discovered a loose molar on the upper left side. It is very loose, and may come out at any time.  It is now 1:30 PM, and the dentist and his staff won’t be back until 2:00.  We’ll call right then and see if they can get her in today.  (He’s not there on Fridays.)  If so, we’ll mail this on the way.

            More later.


                                Bob and Eleanor


Oct 7, 2005


Dear Tim and Jan,

            With the enervation which accompanies her 88 hears, my sister Eleanor has stopped cutting out coupons for me.  Now she sends the whole inserts by parcel post.  A couple of days ago I received a batch, and I’ve been going through them to cull the ones with short expiration dates.  A few of those are in here, but I’ll mail them this afternoon; you should have them in time.

            The baseball play offs are going (mostly) in the direction I would choose.  I do have fears that Atlanta will defeat Houston; I would root against Atlanta if Beelzebub were the leader of the other team.

            If my cardiologist learns that I imbibed two large chocolate malts in Omaha, he’ll have his own coronary.  After our usual binge at Goodrich’s Dairy, I couldn’t resist going back for at least one the day before we left.  Those are so darned good!  I have been to see him since we returned, and my blood pressure, at 110/60, is quite acceptable.  [Jan and I thought that we’d like to have such low BP!]  He wants a battery of blood tests, since I haven’t had those for a couple of years, at least.  His opinion is that I am doing “just fine”.

            Every time I see the Yankees play (and I have rooted for them since the early 1930’s) I recall the myth that Babe Ruth “called his shot” in the 1932 World Series against the Cubs.  Many batters point their bats at the outfield in the course of their readiness preparations, but you can bet that, if Ruth had indicated that he would hit the next pitch out of the park, Charlie Rout, a though cookie if any ever existed, would have buried the ball in the Babe’s right ear.  I just never happened.  Of course, Ruth was an idol to a great many; his never was to me.

            More later,


                              Bob and Eleanor


Oct 31, 2004


Dear Tim and Jan,

            It is just after 5 PM, and we are waiting for the first wave of invaders – oops!  Trick-or-treaters, so I’ll get these coupons ready to mail early tomorrow.  Some of them expire in a week, so pay attention.

            Perhaps I told you about the nasty growth on my right forearm.  I went to the dermatologist Thursday; he took one look at the ugly thing and gave a preliminary diagnosis of a sebaceous cancer.  He didn’t mention the word ‘melanoma” but I didn’t think it was that anyway.  He cut off a fair-sized chuck to be biopsied, and if that confirms his diagnosis, he will have to cut away some more of what little flesh and muscle still exist in that area.  I’m not in the least worried about the cosmetic part; I’m too old for that.  If I have a scar there, so be it.

            We’ll try to make up a short list of the salient parts of our lives, particularly over the last 50-odd years.  We’ll toss in a few items from the dim days before that, but I know you won’t expect detailed histories.  What is more important is what your experiences with these two old fogies has been.

                        [The above paragraph deals with my request for some details to be clarified as I have “been selected from a cast of thousands” to do the funeral services for one or both of these neat people, when the time comes.]

            If the NFL streak holds, Kerry will be elected Tuesday.  Since 1936, if the Washington Redskins won their last home game before the election, the incumbent has been re-elected.  If the Redskins lost, the incumbent was ousted.  Today Green Bay beat the Redskins.  Oh, woe is me!  It’s a good thing I’m not really superstitious, or I would spend a terrible two days.  Of course, we may spend a terrible four years – or eight – if  that streak holds.

            Here’s to dry martinis.


                 Bob and Eleanor


June 6, 2003


Dear Tim and Jan,

            Today is the anniversary of D-Day, an occasion hardly noted in today’s world.  We are supposed to honor Cesar Chavez, but not those guys who walked off the landing craft to face death on the beaches of Normandie.  I wasn’t there; I didn’t arrive until later, but my brother-in-law, Alex Miller landed with the combat engineers on June 7.  He survived, which is why I have a niece and a nephew in that line of the family.  (There was another son, but he died suddenly in his early 30’s..)

            Charles Schulz remembered D-Day.  Although he has been dead for several years, his strip in today’s Times is about the landings.  But then, Schulz was American to the core.

            My sister Eleanor and I were discussing our mother, who sometimes lived in a world other than ours.  I recall the time she and I got into a discussion during the time between my return from Germany in April 1948 and my coming to California in July.  I had been so thrilled to see the Statue of Liberty when the SS United States came into New York harbor, and was so happy to be back home, that I was unprepared to be accused of a lack of patriotism.  I had criticized – mildly – one of the government agencies for being too soft on some malefactor.  Mom was vehement in her defense of the agency, and became rather heated about it.  Finally, she snapped, “If you don’t like this country, why don’t you go back where you came from?”  I was stopped cold.

            More later.


                Bob and Eleanor


March 13, 2008

Dear Tim and Jan,

            Friday the 13th comes on Thursday this month.  So we just have to deal with it.

            Last evening I was re-reading Mark Twain’sThe Awful German Language.’  I was sitting here chuckling at times, snorting a times, and guffawing at times.  As I said to you at the time of Jan’s superb presentation, to anyone with no knowledge of German it must be quite amusing.  To anyone with a good working knowledge of the language, it’s hilarious.  I enjoy it every time I read it.

About ten days ago, I was waiting at a CVS pharmacy for a prescription, and struck up a conversation with a young woman there for the same purpose.  She had been born in the U.S. but spent about 15 years in Zurich, Switzerland, where German is the predominant language.  I told her the story (I know you have heard it) about the time we were on the Romantic Road in Germany trying to get to Rothenburg.  I stopped and asked a pedestrian for help.  Of course, I addressed him in German, and his answer sounded like a machine gun.  I had to ask him to slow down, and informed him that I was an American who hadn’t spoken German for years.  He stared at me and said, “I though you were German!”  I repeated all this to the young woman at CVS, complete with the German conversation.  She told me, “But your accent is perfect!”  I thought, “Hot darn!!”

            There was a time, midway through the first half, when Cal was only two points behind UCLA.  At the end of the game, they were twenty-two behind.  That’s a heck of a srpread; Cal is not chopped liver!  UCLA simply caught fire; when you have your 7-foot center making 3-point shots, as Keven Love did, you r team is tough to defend against.

            I’ll be following this with coupons for early April.  Prepare for the onslaught.

            “Although it was tough to see through the boughs, he coughed to let us know he was there.”  There are five pronunciations for “ough” in that sentence.

            More later


                        Bob and Eleanor



Web posted:  October 30, 2004

Updated:  May 29, 2008

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