“Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes;
And, to begin, wench — so God help me, la! —
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.”
~ Berowne, Act V, Scene II, Love’s Labour’s Lost
So, a little over a year or so ago I was working for a crappy little magazine that focused on the transportation industry. It was an infinitely dull job…not helped by the fact that the most of the people that worked there were myopic twats. I’ll even go a bit further to say that a couple of them were, I’m quite sure, certifiably insane.
One of the much-needed respites I would take from this place was during my lunch hour when I would visit a used record store that was nearby. It was a cool store, with an equally cool vibe, that awoke many memories of my late 70’s, early 80’s childhood, sitting in front of a “Hi-Fi” stereo listening to classic records from the likes of KISS, Queen, Rush, Aerosmith, Styx and AC/DC with various friends and family members.
On one of my last trips there, I came across some buried treasure of sorts. While a was checking out a near mint copy of the Rolling Stones self-titled inaugural record, an envelope fell out of the sleeve and landed at my feet. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I quickly snatched it up.
|Mick and Keith should write a song about this letter and call it "Carol" then set it to the tune of "Angie"|
It was a letter, and a rather old one by the looks of it. It was address to a “Miss Carol Makers” who lived in Northeast Philadelphia (the store where I found it is in South Jersey). It had a 5 cent, George Washington stamp on it which was made/used in 1962-63. But there was no return address and no postmark, so it obviously was never mailed.
For a fleeting moment, I thought about taking the letter to the counter and turning it in. But, my journalistic instincts got the better of me: I needed to know what was inside this envelope. So I quickly pocketed my find and made a hasty exit, as if I was a sketchy, teenage shoplifter boosting a couple Beastie Boys cassettes.
|Never mailed...why, I wonder?|
When I got back to my office at work, I opened the envelope to find a love letter of sorts. It was nothing Shakespearean in stature or rhyme, but it was endearing in its own ham-fisted way. And it even had a bit of wonky sexual innuendo tacked on at the end as far as I can tell.
The letter is printed in brown ink, maybe with a felt-tip pen or marker of some sort, and it’s in ALL CAPS. It reads as follows:
“The boy you should hate is on the other end of this pen. I’ve had a lousy Christmas this week. I thought I was having a good time. Thursday night I finally realized I was being selfish, practically ignoring you. There’s NO reason at all for not seeing you, I’m just not good to you, like, I just realized having such a girl as you I should do everything I can to talk to you & be with you.
“You’ve put up with me for almost a year now, I’ll never forget this past year you’ve been better to me than you should have. I wasn’t half as good to you as you were to me. You never did anything wrong to hurt me. But no I was to (sic) foolish, first ‘Mary’ then I didnt see you, or call you for a long time (you’ll never guess whats on the radio) There’s an arrow drawn here from the end of “radio” back up to the name “Mary.”
“But you are so great to me, that those things didn’t matter. (I guess to you they’re both like scars.) All that I can say is if I lost you now Id fall apart. I told you before Ill never hurt you again I’ve tried not to & Im gonna try harder not to. I’m not going to hurt you. Lets forget all our hard times Sunday and start (his “S” looks much like a “B” here…not sure why) new.
“Well Im gonna stop cause I (this “I” looks much like an arrow here…again, not sure why. My best guess is that his hand was getting tired because after the first two paragraphs he started skipping many apostrophes in his contractions as well) got to call you in about 20 min.
|Click on either page for the full-size version|
There are two rather odd postscripts to this letter. Off to the left hand side and in a bubble of sorts is: “I got 10 finger-nails again.” This seems to be a point of pride for ol’ Bobby, I mean, why else would you mention something that fucking weird in a love letter? Was Carol appalled at his lack of 10 fingernails? Did she say something along the lines of “Call me when you have 10 fingernails again, you freak!?” The mind boggles at the possibilities…
Under that is something ever weirder, and this is where the sexual innuendo part kicks in. Taking up the last third of the yellowish stationary is a crude drawing of a gnome (I guess?) with long cap pulled down over his eyes. Over the gnome, written in rainbow fashion are the words: “BURT CAN’T SEE ANYTHING.” The name, “BURT,” is written along the brim of the gnome’s cap. To the right of Burt is written: “lets get lost on a country road with Burt.”
Now I could be entirely incorrect, but I’m guessing Bob named his penis “Burt” (why some men do this still confounds me to this day), and he’s implying that he and Miss Carol should forget their troubles and just go bang on a country road somewhere. The “let’s get lost” line is a pretty strong indicator to me that this is what he wanted, but it’s the gnome’s hat that seals the deal in my mind because it looks like the tip, or reservoir, of a condom. Take a look at it below and make up your own mind:
Since I came across this letter I’ve been rather curious as to how things turned out for Bob and Carol, and most of all why did Bob never bother to send it? I would think it has to do with the very last line in the letter when Bob writes that he will be calling Carol in “about 20 minutes.” My guess is that call either went really wrong or really right and there was no need to send the letter after that either way.
I’m a romantic at heart and I’d like to believe that the call went well then these two Northeast Philly kids (where I was born and raised, hence my heightened curiosity) went on to have a wonderful life together…regardless of Burt, Mary or the dire fingernail situation.
But who the hell knows, right??
The main reason I’m finally writing this post is to use the power of the internet and/or social media to find out what really happened with Bob and Carol. So, if you are reading this and would like to know more yourself, please share this anywhere and everywhere…especially if you live in the Philadelphia area. Let’s see if we can use this 21st century tech to track down these two, 60s love birds.
Here’s what’s known from the letter itself:
- It was written in the early to mid-60’s (the stamp seems to be from 1962-63 and the first Stones album was released in the U.S. May of 1964).
- It was written to Miss Carol Makers who lived at 2828 Sandyford Rd. Philadelphia, PA 19152.
- It appears that Bob’s last name is Martini and that he lived at 11606 Depue St. Philadelphia, PA 19116. If you look closely at the stationary in the pictures above, it has a name and address on it (Mrs. David Martini 11606 Depue St. Philadelphia, PA 19116) that is crossed out for some reason, so it may not be legit, but I’m guessing that ol’ Bob used his Mom’s stationary and didn’t want Carol to know.