Dear Lucile:

That was a corking good letter, and it makes me happy to know that my comment on the dissertation made you happy. I know the feeling. But your gratitude is more than I deserve, since I was only trying to express my appreciation of a big job finely done.

This "elderly gentleman" appreciates Bower's comment. The lady was thinking of the outside of me, and that is as she saw. Bower was thinking of the other, and that does not grow older; it only becomes more and more aware. I feel this so often. Whatever "power" one may have does seem to increase as the body body begins "remembering the ground".

In this connection I am reminded how fortunate Mona is, in that she was not compelled to rot her way slowly out of the physical body, as most people must do. I know this process is, in reality, no more to be deplored than the rotten of a ripe apple; but the apple, presumably, is not self-conscious and cannot compare the time of disintegration with the time of blossom and fruiting in the green. _____

Dear Lucile:

You see I wasn't able to finish my letter. Things got to happening, and I was doing some extra talking here and there, along with some extra conferences — and some weariness. Anyway, hello, dear Lady, how are you?

First, your question about my mother's letters. During the period you mention, there would be letters to her sister, Lora, in Grinnel; but these would be lost. I have no notion that the surviving sons would attach any value to the letters. Also, she would have written to Mrs. James Carey of Bancroft. They were bosom friends. The Careys were a wealthy family, owning a big implement business. Mrs. Carey has been dead years and years; but her son, Rex, an old friend of mine, is living at Dalton, Nebraska. He would be sympathetic & would really care. Try him.

I had a lovely experience with a small group of picked people at the Episcopalian church the other night. They asked me to illustrate my religious concepts with readings from my poetry. I did not in the least intend to make this more than chattily casual. Spoke in a low voice, naturally, the group being small & intimate. But, by golly, it happened! It was one of those things. The group looked hypnotized and didn't seem to bat an eye-lasheyelash. I'm telling you because of your importance in my scheme of things; and you know I'm not boasting. I don't know clearly why that sort of thing happens. It can't be intentional on my part, and I don't feel I'm that "good". The feeling is like being a little while in heaven, and I feel of no importance at all during, and, especially, after the event. It's the miracle of perfect communication for a little while.

This seems to happen to some who watch my television program. I get this through verbal reports, largely. Dr. Scherr's sister, for instance, is reported as saying she felt "hypnotized". (This sounds funny to me, in a way. Is it the sound that does it, I wonder. A woman told me her little girl in primary school watches every time and forgets to play with her hula hoop. I asked what she could be getting; and the woman said she thought it was the flow of the verse. If so, that's important for it tends to justify my poetic form. There's a lot of comment, all of the same general sort. Only a small fraction gets into letters but those you shall see later. I'm deeply interested in your review of the Wars & how I'd love to be hiding under a chair during your presentation!

Will you use any of the tape?

I've had a brilliant idea! Sometimes I'm almost smart! It's this! I'll buy a tape-recorder, and I'll be able to swamp you with material, as well as give full answers to your questions. It's the only way.

With abiding affection for you and yours,

John N.
John Neihardt Route 7 Columbia, Mo.
[?] NOV [?] 5-PM 1958




Air Mail
Mrs. Bower-Aly, 1086 East 21st., Eugene, Oregon.