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Dear Slade,

Real spring is here, and it makes me think of your beautiful country and of you in it.

I believe it has been too long since I wrote you. And what news you had! ——two important items!

First of all, the publication of your work on happiness. You can imagine how I feel about that, for I was one of the book's first fans and I was very eager for someone to take it. Of course the editor found little to correct; it was a good manuscript when I saw it. Do tell me who is bringing it out. It doesn't really matter except that I'm curious. The important matter is for it to be out where people can see it, and I know it will do much good.

And your activity with the Tax Commission! Here, my friend Florence Boring, who is serving as my volunteer secretary, wonders that you should be an expert on taxes and at the same time should write a book like that on happiness. I told her that you are really the poetic type of man, and that the other is accidental.

My autobiography has developed in a most satisfactory way. I have finished the Boyhood section and am half determined to let it be published alone. It is certainly complete as it stands, and I judge from its effect on those who have read it——a half dozen or more——that it will interest people.

I still do a good deal of reciting in public, and I no longer use a book at all. I find that I can recite for two hours, if necessary, without a slip. Just a week ago I gave a program for fifteen hundred high school students in Columbia. They actually gave me six standing ovations. In addition to these ovations, it was common talk among the boys

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of the audience that I am "cool, neat, and groovy." I am told that this is tops!

I am going with the Youngs to Skyrim on the 13th of May to take part in the wedding ceremony for Erica Thompson, the younger daughter of Alice. I am living in a time of great change, the greatest, I think, I ever experienced. Old family patterns are falling to pieces, although the old affection persists. Even I am living away from home. Hilda has sold her hundred acres on the highway, all but ten acres with the house; and she has bought a beautiful home in town. Robin, her boy, has gone to the Army. Gail, whom you know, lives in town and works for a doctor. Incidentally, she won a Phi Beta Kappa key last year. I still have my wonderful little friend, the poodle Jacquet. He goes every place with the Youngs and me. He was even allowed to come into a dining hall where a lot of people were eating the other day. He takes care of me night and day.

Your article in Plantations will be used by the committee that is about to develop a Prayer Garden in Lincoln's Pioneer Park. Isn't that bully? I wish you could attend the doings at Bancroft on the first Sunday in August. That is Neihardt Day by the Governor's proclamation, as you probably know.

Did I tell you that the Nebraska Legislature passed a resolution on my eighty-eighth birthday, congratulating me on having stood it for so long! No, I don't mean that the way it sounds. It was nice of them to think of me at that time.

Please give Nita my affectionate regards. I wish I were with the two of you tonight. I'd even take a nightcap if I were strongly urged.

With the old love,

John Neihardt