[Ads-l] dear John letter

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 18 05:03:28 UTC 2014


Below is an instance of "'Dear John' letter" that was linked to the
military draft. However, the meaning differed from the one suggested
by Herb's note. An individual wished to join the military and was glad
when he received a letter from the draft board. After a physical exam
he received another letter notifying him of his failure. This second
missive was labeled a "Dear John" letter. Hence, the traditional
meaning of a letter sent to a rejected beau was generalized to refer
to another type of rejection.

Title: Mousie Garner: Autobiography of a Vaudeville Stooge
Authors: Paul Garner, Sharon F. Mrotek Kissane
Publisher: McFarland
Chapter: 7
Quote Page: 99
Year: 1999
Database: Google Books Preview

http://books.google.com/books?id=Vy41mDPFqYQC&pg=PA99&#v=onepage&q=%22Dear%20John%22&f=false

[Begin excerpt]
Shortly afterwards, I was sent to Virginia to be tested. When they
said, "Pick up your right foot," I did. When they said, "Pick up your
left foot," I did. So I figured I had passed with flying colors.
Then I got my "Dear John" letter. I had flunked my physical.
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 1:07 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: dear John letter
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>> anecdotal
>
> A *feature*, not a bug. ;-)
>
>> elderly
>
> Anecdotally speaking, I've seen _elderly_ defined as, "the age of the
> speaker plus ten years."
>
> On Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 9:18 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: dear John letter
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> And then there were those scary letters you got from your girlfriend =
>> that began "Greetings!"
>>
>> LH
>> =20
>>
>> On Nov 15, 2014, at 8:10 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>
>> > Not familiar to me either.
>> >=20
>> > Was his name "John"?
>> >=20
>> > JL
>> >=20
>> > On Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 12:47 AM, Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com> =
>> wrote:
>> >=20
>> >> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> >> -----------------------
>> >> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> >> Poster:       Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM>
>> >> Subject:      dear John letter
>> >>=20
>> >> =
>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------=
>> -----
>> >>=20
>> >> This will have to be anecdotal since I didn't save the issue of the
>> >> newspaper I read it in.  Sometime last week, our local eight-page rag =
>> had
>> >> an article on an elderly--older than me--local resident and his =
>> military
>> >> service in WWII.  The article noted that he was going to enlist =
>> before
>> >> Pearl Harbor, but then he got his "Dear John" letter directing him to
>> >> report for military service.  I haven't seen it used in this sense.  =
>> I did
>> >> a Google search and didn't find any instances there either.
>> >>=20
>> >> Herb
>> >>=20
>> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> >>=20
>> >=20
>> >=20
>> >=20
>> > --=20
>> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the =
>> truth."
>> >=20
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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