A Love Born From Steel

Some correspondence between Ennis, Alma, Junior, and Jenny


a postcard

May 23, 1976

Dear Junior,

I have found a place to live in Quanah, Texas. It's a farm called the Lazy L. I came here because they had an empty stable for Twister and Sioux, and stayed to do some work on the farm. The big job is painting the house.

I think of you when I go riding. I miss you.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

May 23, 1976

Dear Jenny,

I am living in a town called Quanah in Texas. It is named after a Comanche Indian chief. That's his picture on the front of this postcard. They also have a museum about him here in town. If you come to visit, I'll take you there.

I miss you.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a letter

May 23, 1976

Lazy L Farm
County Road, RFD 2
Quanah, Texas 79252

Dear Alma,

I am writing to let you know where I am living and what I am doing. I am in Quanah, Texas and will be here all summer. I wrote the address above and the phone number is 940-QU6-3412.

This is a nice set up I have here. I am living on the farm and fixing it up. Painting the house is the big job. The owner is in a nursing home and his nephew is in Austin. They are paying me good money so I will be sending you the child support on time.

I sent Junior and Jenny some postcards and will write some more. I'd appreciate it if you'd make sure they see them. I miss the girls but I am happy right now.

If there is something you need to tell me, you can write me a letter. If it's an emergency, you can call.

Yours truly,

Ennis


a letter

May 27, 1976

Dear Ennis,

Thank you for your letter, and thank you for your postcards to the girls. They all arrived on the same day.

I am glad you have found a good situation in Texas. However, don't you think it is a little far away? How do you plan to visit Junior and Jenny? Let me know if I need to go to the judge and change the visitation arrangements.

Sincerely yours,

Alma


a letter

May 27, 1976

Dear Daddy,

Jenny and I got your postcards yesterday. Mama got all upset and starting saying bad things about you and I'm confused. I am writing this letter in secret. If you can write back, send it to Junior at General Delivery, I'll be checking the post office every day.

Mama said you were living with a man and it was disgusting. I don't understand, Daddy, I just know I miss you. Are you coming home to Riverton? Texas is so far away.

I miss you Daddy. I miss going riding with you. Please write.

Love,

Junior
xoxoxox


a letter

May 30, 1976

Junior (Alma) Del Mar
General Delivery
Riverton, Wyoming 82501

Dear Junior,

I don't like writing secret letters, but I will this one time to explain what's going on.

Yes, I am living in Texas and I am with my friend, Jack. You met him back in April (just for a second) but we have been friends for a long time. Jack is a special person to me.

Jack is part of the reason your mama and I got divorced. There are other reasons which I may be able to explain to you someday. The point is that right now I am happy. Your mama and I don't see eye to eye on this which is why she must have gotten mad. I am sorry that happened.

Junior—what happened between your mama and me is not your problem. I love you, little girl, and that's what's important right now.

I miss you too. I hope we can get together for a visit sometime soon. I am trying to figure out if there is a weekend when I can drive to Riverton to see you and Jenny. Too bad the horses are here in Texas, we won't be able to go riding. Maybe I can borrow some from the ranch.

I'll keep sending you postcards and if you have the time to write back, that would be nice. I think of you and Jenny every day.

I love you and miss you.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a letter

May 30, 1976

Lazy L Farm
County Road, RFD 2
Quanah, Texas 79252

Dear Alma,

I know that Quanah is far away from Riverton. I won't be able to see the girls on my regular weekends. But, I don't think you need to go to the judge to change things. I would like to try to work something out. Besides, we are only here for the summer. Come September, I may be back in Wyoming. So, if you can be patient, I would appreciate it.

Yours truly,

Ennis


a postcard

June 1, 1976

Dear Daddy,

This postcard is a picture of Riverton. HA! HA! You know what it looks like. There are no Indian chiefs here, so I had to send you this picture of the park.

Tell me more about Quanah. Was the Indian Chief a hero or a bad guy?

I miss you Daddy. My friend Amber is going to camp in Montana for 2 weeks this summer. I'm jealous.

Hugs and Kisses XOXOXOX

Jenny


a postcard

June 1, 1976

Dear Junior and Jenny,

Yesterday was Memorial Day. They had a parade in town and I watched that. Afterwards, I had a cook-out with my friend Jack here at the farm. He made hamburgers on a little grill he bought which is called a hibachi. It is from Japan. If you come to visit I may need to buy a bigger grill.

I love you and miss you. Tell your mama hello for me.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

June 4, 1976

Dear Junior,

I told you that one of my big jobs is painting the house. I am hard at work. Right now it is white, but we are going to paint it a pretty color called "prairie rose." The man who built this house built it for his wife as a wedding present. Her name was Rose and he painted it the color to match her name. They had to paint it white during World War II. No colored paint in those days.

I think of you every day.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

June 4, 1976

Dear Jenny,

Here is another picture of Quanah. This is the state park, which is just up the road from the farm. The river that is at the edge of the farm goes to the state park—people go fishing there, and swimming. They also have trail rides for horses.

Maybe we can go there for a picnic.

I love you,

your Daddy, Ennis


a letter

June 6, 1976

Dear Ennis,

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about you, trying to figure out how you can love another man. Personally, I think it is unnatural. If it was just you and me, I would cross you out of my life. However, we do have Junior and Jenny to think about, and that makes things different.

You wrote something about coming to Riverton to see them. Where would you stay? Let me know what you are thinking. I know they miss you. They get real excited each time one of your postcards arrives.

Sincerely,

Alma


a postcard

June 9, 1976

Dear Daddy,

School just finished for the year today. I had a very good report card—all As, except for a B+ in science. Now I am officially a 7th grader. Junior high! I'll go to a new school in the fall. I don't have any plans for the summer. I think I will be spending a lot of time with my cousins.

I miss you Daddy.

Love,

Junior
xoxoxo


a postcard

June 9, 1976

Dear Daddy,

I know Junior told you her grades. She is bragging because of all the As she got. I didn't do as well, mostly Bs and one C. Oh well, I still got moved up to 5th grade.

Are you coming to Riverton? I think this will be a boring summer. I miss you.

Hugs and kisses, XOXOXOXO

Jenny


a letter

June 15, 1976

Lazy L Farm
County Road, RFD 2
Quanah, Texas 79252

Dear Alma,

With this letter is a $250 check for my July child support payment. I am mailing this two weeks early so you won't be able to say anything about it being late. I opened a bank account and there is money in the bank so you'll be able to cash the check.

If you're so inclined, maybe you could use some of the money to buy Junior and Jenny ice cream cones and say they are from me. Junior likes strawberry and Jenny likes chocolate with sprinkles, but you must know that. Also, what size shirts do they wear? I am thinking of buying them something to send as a little present.

You still getting married on July 24?

Yours truly,

Ennis


a postcard

June 15, 1976

Dear Junior,

My friend Jack has a little boy named Bobby and guess what? He says he's afraid of horses. Looks like I've got the same job I had in Riverton—helping him get over that and teaching him to ride. You know I always liked doing that.

He's catching on but it will be a long time before he's as good a rider as you.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

June 15, 1976

Dear Jenny,

Just like Riverton, this town has a Rexall store with a soda fountain. I bought myself an ice cream cone the other day and thought of you. I checked—they do have chocolate cones with sprinkles. Just so you know if you ever come visit.

I miss you and think of you every day.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a letter

June 19, 1976

Dear Ennis,

Thank you for your check, which arrived yesterday. I have to say, it was something to see a check with your name printed on it by the bank. That's the first time in your life, isn't it? Maybe being in Texas is a good thing for you.

Yes, the wedding is still scheduled for July 24th, at the Methodist Church. Junior will be my maid of honor and Jenny is the flower girl. We are having a little party afterwards at the VFW hall.

My new name (after the wedding) will be Alma Dunlap. Just so you know for the August child support check.

To answer your other question, Junior wears a size 14 and Jenny wears a 12.

Sincerely,

Alma


a postcard

June 19, 1976

Dear Daddy,

Because there's nothing to do in Riverton, I've been reading a lot of books. I just finished one called Harriet the Spy which was really good except I didn't understand parts of it. The main character (her name is Harriet, obviously) lives in New York City. I can't picture what that must look like. Have you ever been in a really big city?

Next time I see you, we can talk about the book.

Love,

Junior
xoxoxoxo


a postcard

June 19, 1976

Dear Daddy,

Junior let me read her postcard. How old is Bobby? Is he cute? Can I ride better than him?

Amber leaves for Montana next week. I am soooooooo jealous. Plus, I won't have anybody to play with. It is boring here. I wish I liked to read as much as Junior.

Hugs and kisses XOXOXOXOX

Jenny


a postcard

June 22, 1976

Dear Junior,

Your postcard about big cities made me laugh—I saw Denver (in the distance) on the drive here. That's about it for me and cities. I doubt I will ever see New York but maybe someday you will have the opportunity. That would be exciting.

Yesterday was the first day of summer. It is HOT here in Texas. Some days I wish for the Wyoming mountains.

I am thinking of you.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

June 22, 1976

Dear Jenny,

Bobby is a year younger than you. He is 9 and going into 4th grade. As for cute, I can't really judge that. Besides, aren't you a little young to be thinking about boys?

Maybe Junior could go to the library with you and help you pick out some books you might want to read—since your friend Amber is going to be away and you're so bored.

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a letter

June 22, 1976

Dear Alma,

Are you and Monroe planning a honeymoon? I was thinking, if you are going to take a trip, maybe the girls could come and stay with me while you are away. The house has a guest room with two twin beds. I'd find lots to keep them busy for the week. We can go riding and there is swimming in the river. Plus, I saw a notice that there is going to be a rodeo on July 28 in a nearby town. I know they would like that.

Let me know what you think of this idea. I'd drive to Riverton to pick them up and would bring them back, too.

Yours truly,

Ennis


a letter

June 28, 1976

Dear Ennis,

Your letter caught me by surprise. I hadn't really thought about the girls going to visit you in Texas.

As a matter of fact, Monroe and I are planning a honeymoon. He is going to take me to Denver for a week. I had planned to have Junior and Jenny stay with my sister and her family. However, they really miss you. Maybe a trip to Texas could work out.

I do have one request in order for me to even think about agreeing to this. While they are there, I don't want you to sleep in the same room with your friend. As you know, I don't approve and I don't think you need to shove your lifestyle into the faces of our pre-teen daughters. If you say yes to this, then maybe we can talk a little more seriously about making plans.

Sincerely,

Alma


a letter

July 1, 1976

Dear Alma,

Regarding sleeping: I had thought you would bring this up and already talked to Jack about it. The house has a couch and an extra bedroom, so I can go along with your request. I hope that is enough for you on this matter.

Are you going to Denver right after the wedding? If I could meet you there with the girls, that would save me about 6 hours of driving.

I'll call you in a few days. It is probably easier to talk to make plans.

Yours truly,

Ennis

PS—Thank you for considering this. I really miss seeing Junior and Jenny.


a postcard

Dear Daddy,

Happy July 4th! Happy Bicentennial!

Like we always do, we watched the parade in Riverton. This evening there will be fireworks. Mama is packing a picnic for dinner and Monroe is coming with us. Even though it is the 200th birthday of the country, it seems to be the same as every year here in Riverton.

I miss you,

Love,

Junior
xoxoxo

PS—Jenny says hi, too. She is out of postcards and the store is closed for July 4th.


a postcard

July 7, 1976

Dear Junior and Jenny,

I just got off the phone with your mother—it looks like the plans are all set for you to come visit me in Texas in a few weeks. I'll be picking you up in Denver on July 25.

The weather here is hot so make sure you pack shorts and bathing suits. You'll need jeans for riding.

We'll have lots of fun. I can't wait to see you!

Love,

your Daddy, Ennis


a postcard

July 7, 1976

Dear Daddy,

Mama just told me the news---we are coming to Texas to visit you after the wedding. I am soooooo excited! You don't know how much I miss you. I can't wait to go riding with you.

July 25th is less than 3 weeks away. I am already counting the days.

Love and kisses and hugs,

Junior
xoxoxoxo


a postcard

July 7, 1976

Dear Daddy,

I can't believe I can visit you in Texas! I kept track of the things you said we'd do: visit the Indian museum, go riding, go swimming, have a picnic at the state park, eat ice cream cones, and have a cook-out. Anything else? Mama said something about a rodeo—that sounds like fun.

I am so excited Daddy. This is making my boring summer less boring.

Love and Kisses XOXOXOXO

Jenny