December 31, 1964

This document is remarkable for several reasons. It contians a description of our meeting at Avonmouth just six months earlier, and of the period since then. In that description, I call Penny both a “witch” and a “bitch.” Remember, this is just 30 days before I married her! I appear to realize I’m getting in over my head, that she has me hypnotized, but I don’t care. Fifty years later, and I still think I made the right decision.

Dear Pen,

Another Christmas has gone and another New Year is staggering in the door. A time to remember the past and the things done and not done in a busy year.

For me, the biggest thing to start off the year was leaving you in Vancouver. A mad, blind thing to do that I realized was wrong hours after the deed. I remember minutes after pulling out of the bus station, seeing that old water tower on the skyline and how it was Vancouver and Vancouver was you and so was I and I was leaving.

So quickly I proposed, but I did not turn round. It became an issue. I had to prove something. I do not know yet what.

And the waiting; time seemed to pass like a dream. Nothing happened. Nothing was done. I ceased to act. Except to write letters. I remember thinking on some days I had written a letter to you and thus I had done something, and that in itself stood out.

Then you came. The fantastic scene with me tired beyond belief by a night’s loss of sleep and excitement from months of waiting and you jaded, peaked on mixed-up emotions, feeling that perhaps this man who had done nothing for so long was the man to marry–but not yet, not now and not that way.

You got your way. You thought. You must have done a lot of very hard, very searching thinking at times. I acted like a limp moron and you responded like the witch you can be, the bitch.

I have never met anyone with as much potential, any woman, as you have for good and bad. You are a remarkable woman. You are the most remarkable woman I have ever met in circumstances that favored a build-up.

I mean one cannot marry one’s mother.

You have always hypnotized me and you always will. Other women I could boss, alter, mold, deny and defeat. Not you. So I did the best I could. I mucked through. After all one cannot do enough for the woman you love. Love of anyone is a form of self-love. To not fulfil this is to not fulfil yourself. Someone who cannot love is so shattered by life, he cannot stand himself. I am pretty shattered sometimes, but by golly, I think I’m a great guy when it comes down to it.

I deserve a good woman with beauty, brains and guts. And you have them and now I have you. Yes, I would have married you with a child coming and you knew it. And it was then you said, “he may not be the man I molded in my mind, but I want him.”

That was this year, and that was the biggest thing that has happened to me since I was born. Being born was the biggest thing.

Some times when I am with you in tenderness or in heat, it is like being reborn. You are my third eye, my alter ego, my depository of warmth and love and affection and womanliness.

So much woman.

On New Year’s Eve, 1964, from me to you,



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