Jerry Garcia by Dean Russo
A two-part love letter written by Jerry Garcia in 1982 to an (unnamed) former Vogue cover model—who Garcia had met at a party in New York in 1980 while the Grateful Dead were playing Radio City Music Hall—will be offered up for auction next month. The first part was written between late May to early June 1982, but is not dated. Neither is the second part, but since it refers to the royal birth of Prince William on June 21, 1982 and was postmarked on the following day, that would seem to narrow it down a bit.
The letter also includes a sketch of a Dead show at the Greek Theatre. From a detailed description at RR Auction.com:
“Thank you really for sending that postcard, I feel like it’s sort of our first ‘official’ communication somehow. I’ve been hoping we could get together ever since we first met at Al’s that winter nite so long ago (sigh)…However it seems as tho…(Hey! My pen stopped writing) I’ve been ninety degrees off or out of phase or something whenever it might have been possible to get to know you a little better. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’ve been avoiding you, although I admit I’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity (that is, the ‘right’ opportunity) for us to meet in some kind of neutral context that would be comfortable and relaxed and free of any pressure. Of course it could be years before any such opportunity arises, so…this is just a long winded way of saying thank you for writing. Oh! also in spite of never having been alone with you, I somehow feel close to you and I’ve looked forward to and enjoyed those times, however brief, that we have been in the same general vicinity and spoken slightly (New York, Germany, Calif etc.) you know—so…
The Grateful Dead just played our first outdoor show of the year at a place called the Greek Theatre (a nice amphitheatre in back of The University of Calif. in Berekley [sic] kind of like this).”
Here, Garcia draws a sketch of their performance at the Greek Theatre:
He continues, writing:
“A really nice site, we played for three days and the weather was really delicious although the last day (Sunday) was the beginning of a short hot spell and was a trifle uncomfortable but it was nice to play outdoors. I’m going to be playing in and around New York in June (while you’re in London naturally) and I’m sorry I’ll be missing you again: write me more, if you like that is, and thank you again for the card.”
Garcia adds “P.S., Pardon my handwriting, this is the first letter I’ve written in years.”
Then there is a second part, written on Hotel Parker Meridien letterhead. In full:
“Now, weeks later I’m in N.Y.C. Received your 2nd postcard (gasp) and I’m just getting (that is) around to mailing my first letter. Partly, it’s a sort of mail fright, like stage fright and partly editorial misgivings (Let’s see, is it legible? Spelled correctly? Am I constructing these sentences properly? God I hope she doesn’t think I’m an idiot for running off at the pen like this) Oh well—I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland. Hope you enjoyed it & I hope this letter finds you well. The whole Falkland thing here became really creepy (for me) when Begin explained & excused Israel’s invasion of Lebanon by comparing the situation to the British position in Falklands. The whole business scared the hell out of me. Latest news from England is of course the Royal birth. I’ll bet the locals are enjoying it immensly [sic].
I’m on the road again. This time with my own band & also doing some more of those two piece shows (me and John Kahn) (bass). I’ve done a few more of them since I last saw you and am starting to adjust to and become aware of the musical possibillitys [sic] of that acoustical format. It’s exciting tho still scary. I wish you were here now that I’ve got a little time here (for once) but… bye for now.”
There’s something quite endearing about Garcia sheepishly admitting to a form of stage fright with letter writing. He even waited so long to send it that he added a second part. Cute. The auction house claims that there is no other known letter by Garcia to be found in the marketplace, let alone one demonstrating his charming seduction technique.