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In this hand written letter Linda Grace Hoyer updates her son John Updike about the last day of their travels in New England before they return home to Plowville, Pennsylvania. Linda updates John about the restaurants they ate at, television, football and church. Linda questions how she will carry on with John now at college, but she knows this is something he must do.

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Greenwich, Connecticut


Clam Box, Howard Johnson restaurant, Plowville, Jack Carter, New Yorker magazine, church, Linda Grace Hoyer, John Updike, Wesley Russell Updike, Don Updike, Mary Updike, Jean Updike, Christoper Lasch, Greenwich, Stamford, The Commander Hotel




Linda Grace Hoyer


John Updike


American Literature | Social History | United States History


While this letter is undated, we can presume it was written on September 23, 1950 based on the previous two letters in the series - all written on hotel stationery from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Saturday night (7:30)

Dear John:

We have just returned from the Clam Box, a food fair that you may have noticed close to the Howard Johnson place in Greenwich. Mary and I had a combination of shrimp, lobster, and crab meat swimming in a silver dish and butter! Daddy had rye in soda and filet of sole. Don and Jean took their lobster with cheese. And you would have liked the decorations. White wire lace around the windows and wire fish on plain green walls.


Now your father and Mary are returning a stale box of candy to the drug store while Don, Jean and I watch the Jack Carter show.

Tomorrow morning we start for Plowville where we will shoulder all of our burdens again. I can’t imagine how we will manage without you. But we will have lots to do and know you will too. We’ll have the New Yorker sent to you and you should be getting it in about three weeks. The blanket should be coming much sooner. One of the Greenwich stores had (or have) exactly what I wanted you to have, a scarlet new wool blanket with a black stripe. But we will have to follow through on Daddy’s bargain and hope you won’t freeze to death before you get it. In case her [unknown] fails us you’ll have to send twenty five dollars to Mary and ask her to mail the [unknown] from here. I’m awfully sorry we have shown so much incompetence in this matter. But the whole thing didn’t seem very real to me and even now has a fine frothy quality that I deeply mistrust. And I don’t mean the blanket.


Jean went up to Stamford and saw a football game between Stamford and some prep school that was beat by a score of 0 to 69. She showed considerable sympathy and went to bed early either because of her sympathy or the fact that she plans to sing in the choir tomorrow. Mary, by the way, plans to go to hear her. So, even here, church going has become the fashion. (That is a broad hint for all those budding atheists we know.) No, Johnny, you have usually done the right thing and you will take Christopher to church.

Good night - Mother

Letter from Linda Grace Hoyer to John Updike, September 23, 1950



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