Monday, November 13, 2023

Milliron Monday: Letters Home Apr 24 1960


Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:  June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - May 9, 2021
Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Milliron Farm and Clinic, Dr. Pete and Jody Smith. 

"I'm actually awfully lucky to have picked such a wonderful man - particularly considering what an amateur I was at the business of falling in love..."
― Jody Smith

Jody's letter home to Mansfield, Ohio. Backstory: At 21, Jody is pregnant, anticipating graduation and the new baby. Pete, in Vet school, works part-time at the greyhound track (Boiling Bones). Mike is Pete and Jody's Irish Setter staying with Jody's parents. Gary is Jody's brother; Aggie is Gary's wife. 

917 Remington
Fort Collins, Colorado
Sunday, April 24, 1960

Dear Mom,
    I was glad to get your long letter yesterday but sorry to hear about your problems, although I rather imagined all along that so many different and determined personalities all in one house might produce lots of trying situations. I surely hope that you'll all be able to work things out.
    I certainly hope that you'll be able to find a nice home for Mike. I still have hopes of being able to have him with us sometime but for the next two years, it seems almost impossible. I'm afraid he'd be pretty miserable here in the midst of the city and I doubt if he'd get enough to eat with just table scraps as Pooh does. I'm sure he'll be able to adjust to a new home better than a dog like Lobo ever could have, so please, for heaven's sake, don't have him put to sleep or anything like that. I hope you can find a nice big farm home for him for at least a couple of more years. I really can't blame you folks for not wanting to put up with him; I'm grateful you kept him as long as you have, but I did hope Gary would be able to have him, since I can imagine that Mike must be pretty well attached to him.
    Starboy just got a very bad wire cut today or last evening. Dr. Pierson (one of Pete's best friends here, an excellent doctor in the Vet. clinic) came right out this afternoon, doctored it, bandaged it, and gave him a tetanus shot. We have to treat it every other day until it's better - Dr. Pierson said it'd be at least three weeks before he'd be able to use his foot normally. The medicine costs $4.50 for just a little tube so I sure hope he gets well soon!
    Last week was really a busy one. I finally got through with my long paper for poetry class - it turned out to be forty pages! I have two more tests this week and another the following week so I guess there won't be any let up for a little while.
    Can't remember if I mentioned to you that Shirley Yancey is marrying a pre-med student from Oklahoma in June; just got a nice little note from her last week or so.
     Concerning this summer's plans, it would be wonderful to have you here when the "big event" occurs if you would be able to come. It would be a big help to me, I'm sure, and as Pete says, a load off his mind, too, since he will be in Denver every evening at the dog track from around 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and he's already been worrying about leaving me alone, how I'd get to the hospital, etc. I rather hesitated to ask you since I didn't know how the finances for such trips are doing, but I certainly hope you'll consider yourself needed, wanted, and invited. We have, of course, been completely on our own for these several months now with no one to consider but ourselves (except, of course, Pooh, who is very dominating) but I'm sure we'll be able to work things out without upsetting your ways or our routine. It'll certainly be nice to see you again; it's really been a long time since we've had a chance to talk except via the typewriter.
    I wore the turquoise two piece dress for the first time last night to the Vet. dance which we attended briefly. It certainly is a pretty outfit and Pete seemed to like it real well.
    I'm not sure when Pete's folks are planning on coming out since they haven't said anything definite but Pete doesn't seem to think it will be until the middle or late summer. Janet is going to be working with someone or others horses at a summer place in Aspen.
    I wondered about the books for the baby but I certainly appreciated them. All these things make me look forward to it a little more. It's certainly an amazing responsibility when I stop to think about it. I only hope we can provide our children with the kind of love and opportunities I had.
    This is none of my business, actually, particularly since I'm so far removed from the situation, but I really don't think it a good plan to encourage Gary to go to the Presbyterian church. It doesn't sound as though Aggie would ever consider changing her beliefs and I really believe that it's much more important for them to worship together. Pete and I have certainly found a stabilizing influence in praying and worshiping together, both in and out of church. If Gary can accept the Lutheran faith it might be better for them both and particularly for their children.
    According to these books you've been sending me, the thoughts of the mother have absolutely no prenatal influence on a baby so I wouldn't worry about Aggie's temper influencing the baby she's carrying except as it influences her own health. Might be nice if it did though - then our baby could be born with life history of James Stephens, his poetry, prose, and philosophy, ingrained in its little mind.
    I'm not quite sure I understand what you said about graduation in your letter - does it mean that you are not planning on coming? If so, I'll let the graduation committee know that I won't be taking part in the exercises. But, if you or Dad or Jess would be too disappointed, don't hesitate to say so as I'm sure it would not bother me that much to go ahead and take part in the ceremonies. You know me and my viewpoint toward such things, I can take them or leave them; that diploma is going to mean a lot to me though, no matter how I receive it. I'll certainly never be able to thank the three of you enough for making it possible. It seems as though it should be just the beginning of my education though, now that I've spent four years finding out how little I know. Fortunately I'll still be able to use the library and other facilities for the next two years so perhaps I can pick up a bit more even if I won't be in school. I'm sure I'll have time for more general reading than ever before, no matter how much time the young'un takes.
    Guess I'd best end this and start doing a bit more of this studying I'm so eager about! Thank you again for the letter - glad you did write and "let off steam." It'll be wonderful to get together this summer and actually talk with each other. Letters are a pretty poor medium for expression sometimes. Hope everything works out alright there - it's certainly wonderful here. I'm still continually amazed at how happy I am; I'm actually awfully lucky to have picked such a wonderful man - particularly considering what an amateur I was at the business of falling in love... don't think a professional could have done better though!
Bye for now,
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Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.


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