Serving the High Plains

Moncus: Letter takes writer on sentimental journey

While Janie Stith and her relatives were going through items left to them by Mrs. Sue Tucek, they found a letter I had written to Mrs. Tucek in 1952. As a graduating senior, I was applying for a Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship. The letter was most definitely from a teenager who was dreaming of the future.

At that time, neither of us even imagined I would be teaching Business Writing at New Mexico State University a few years later. As I look at this letter, I see one which would not have received a very high grade in that class. Although the content is fair for a teenager, the form and presentation leave much to be desired. In other words, the content is worth about a C-plus because it is a bit too stilted and "I" centered.

The form is worth about a C-minus. At least, there are no typographical errors and no erasures. (That far back, we didn't know about word processors!) I'm fairly sure I typed the letter on Mother's Smith Corona portable typewriter. That portable had been pounded throughout most of my high school years as I prepared various papers for classes and always did extra typing for typing classes because I tended to be a bit mischievous, thus causing Mrs. Inez Wedel to lose her good disposition and ask me to do much extra work. Actually, that was probably one of the major favors she did for me because I certainly had plenty of practice to keep up my speed and correctness.

The presentation would have received a failing grade in my university class because personal stationery was used. Only plain, white paper was acceptable for a letter of application in that class. Also, that teenager neglected to sign her letter! That was a "criminal" offense in those later classes.

Although I did not receive the Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship that year, I received the State Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship some years later. It allowed me to combine it with a graduate assistantship so I could take a year's leave from teaching in order to earn another degree.

Just imagine looking at one of your formal letters 60 years after you wrote it. Thanks to Mrs. Tucek for saving it and to Janie Stith for giving it to me. They provided a great "sentimental journey."

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 461-1952.

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