Economics 101, a Novel, ch_04 -- Going by Four (Letters Home)

[JMR20170225: The second draft of this part is here:
(The framing story starts is here: If you haven't read that, you might want to. Otherwise, the rest of this may not make much sense.

These letters home belong at the end of the last chapter:

Dear Mom,

(Dad, too, of course.)

I'm getting settled in, got my schedule arranged, getting started with classes.
The part time job at the hospital is going to work out okay, at least for this semester. I've told them I can't let it interfere with studies, and they seem to understand, as much as management can. The bank is set up okay, there's a decent store within walking distance, and I've got room in my budget for a little socializing.

I told you about my roommate Kristie already. She's going to be a good friend, just as I thought she would be. She's in my education topics class.

The rest of my roommates are okay, too. I can understand them, and they seem to understand me okay, so far.

The guy I met eight months ago in the department office is in a couple of my classes, including the education topics class. His name is Karel Pratt. Do you remember, Mom, reading about him in a newspaper article you showed me?

He's a bit of a klutz, but not as much a klutz as he seems. And he's sweet. It looks like knows how to take care of his responsibilities.

He has a friend, Dan Claymount, who is also a really nice guy. A bit more socially forward. They were teammates on the football squad here about five years ago. Good-looking, too. And he's in the education topics class, too. Fun stuff, huh?

And Dan is in my education topics class, too.

Kristie, Dan, Karel, and I have signed up for a ballroom dance class together. Can you believe it?

The four of us will be studying together. A lot.

Dad, don't read what follows. Only Mom. It's girl stuff. (I know you'll read it anyway, but I take no responsibility for anything you misunderstand about it.)

I'm a little bit confused. I like both Dan and Karel. A lot. Kristie does, too. I'm just going to have to trust God on this one, I guess.

Love to both of you, and Rick and Gary, too.


Mother, Father,

I'm really excited about classes. It is all coming together quite nicely.

I know you wanted me to do the Master's degree closer to home, and I know you're worried about me finding good companionship among these Mormons. I don't think there's anything to worry about. I've made three special friends who don't care at all about my social standing, and we will be studying together.

Roberta is my roommate. She's a bit older, but she's steady. She's a nurse, and a student of dance, who is doing PhD work in anthropology. She's also been what the Church calls a service missionary -- She spent three years in an island country, teaching about health, hygiene, and Jesus, and being a nurse where they needed more nurses. She's teaching me a lot.

Daniel is a football player. He's just a little older than I. He was on the team here five years ago, and he played professionally after college. But he's a good Mormon boy, no drinking, no womanizing, responsible about his money. And he cares about people.

I will admit, he didn't particularly hide his appreciation of my looks when we met, but he no longer makes an issue of it. He really knows how to behave himself like a gentleman. He is as much of a gentleman as any of the men you have arranged for me to meet in the past, far more than some.

Karel is a bit of a riddle. He's about five years older than I am, about the same age as Roberta. He is also a former football player, Daniel and he were teammates, and they have remained friends.

I met Karel once, a long time ago. Maybe you remember me mentioning him, Mother? He stepped in when a group of boys were misbehaving towards me.

He's a little socially backwards, but he is no less a gentleman than Daniel, and no less solid, even more responsible than Daniel. 

I have met my professors and arranged to meet with them regularly to discuss my academic progress. The department head has agreed to report to you, should I fall behind in my classes, per your requests.

I have full confidence you will be pleased with my work here.

Your faithful daughter,


Hey, guys, it's me!

I'm here safely. Karel is on campus, for some reason, but we are hanging out together. And some. Blame it on Karel, but we've met the two most wonderful women in the world. Besides Mom and Shel and Debs, of course. We're studying together and taking a ballroom dance class together and, just maybe, Karel has met someone as cool as you, Sheliah. Maybe me, too. I'll let you know.

love you guys,


PS -- They're names are Bobbie and Kristie. And they are beautiful, as well as cool, but more important, they understand the Gospel.


Just letting you know that the semester has had a good start.

Not much to report, except that Dan and I have made friends with two of the nicest women I've ever met. Bobbie, Roberta, that is, is in the pre-PhD track in anthropology with me, working in island culture. The professors are encouraging us to work together. Kristine, who goes by Kristie, is her roommate, and working on a Master's in education, like Dan.

They are both returned missionaries, and we can talk about the doctrines of the Gospel with them.

We have classes together, and we have arranged to study together.

The car is running fine, Dad. I don't yet have any place to tear it down, but the way it's running, I won't need to.

The dorm laundry and cafeteria are just fine, too, Mom.

The dorm phone number is (elided).

Dad, the next time I see you, I want a father's blessing. I'm foreseeing some wonderful choices that I'll want God to help me with.

Love you all,


The link to the next of the characterization chapters will be here when it's ready is here:

(The chapter index is here:

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