With each passing year it's harder to remember what life was like when I was young, and what I myself was like. Why would you want to, you might ask, and you have a point; some things are better forgotten. Still, sometimes I wished I'd kept a diary.
Then a few weeks ago it occurred to me that I sort of had. Starting from when I went off to Penn State in June 1962, I wrote letters to my parents every few days until they died in 1991—and my mother saved them all. After unearthing the box from the garage I began to read.
Here are excerpts from those letters, which I'll add to as time allows. Of course they aren't as intimate as a diary; there were plenty of things I didn't tell my parents, and it was constraining to know that my father was reading as well as my mother.
A soupçon of background: I grew up in a small northeastern Pennsylvania town in a family whose main social outlet was the Methodist church. I wasn't very attractive or personable; in high school I was a band member, not a cheerleader. I wasn't a good student and mostly slid through school.