Letters from Nell Smart to family members in Jonestown

EE-4-AY – 4-AZ


Hi T ‘J’ [Tinetra Fain],

It sure was good talking to you the other night. I know I was suppose to write you the next day but I’ve been working such long hours and days, that all I want to do when I get home at night is to go to bed.

You sounded so happy, it really makes me feel good. You should be happy cause you have had so much unhappiness.

There’s not much to tell about things here. Al’s graduating in June and so is Scottie.

Marvaline had a boy, named it Marlin. They have the house up for sale since Al, Scott & Teri [Smart] won’t be living with them anymore.

Elvis moved right down the street from me. He’s really been very good to me. He said you look so happy on the picture. Told me to tell you hi and that he misses you.

He still wants to get married. So maybe we will. Anyway he thinks I should come over there in Oct. I told him that I might like it so much that I wouldn’t come back. He felt that that was all the more reason I should go.

Maybe I’ll wait until you have a baby. I’d like to be there when you have it.

Well anyway the kids should be over sometime in July. They get out of school on June the 25th so it’ll be a good couple of weeks before they’ll be ready to leave.

At first when I heard you had gotten married I was sort of hurt because Pappa  found out before I did and told the kids and the kids told me. Guess I wanted to be the first to know. Anyway I am happy for you.

Gonna close now so I can write your Grandma [Kay Nelson]. Glad you are in school. Tell everybody Hi.

Love you, Mom [Juanell Smart]


Hi, Poncho [Garry Dartez Johnson]

I’m still trying to get used to the idea that my little girl has her own man. Well anyway I’m sure she couldn’t have made a better choice. I know that you got the best when you got her. Anyway I know you too will be happy together. You couldn’t be in a better place to be happy.

Looking forward to seeing and hearing the group sing. If all goes well I’ll be there before the year is up.

Just wanted to write you a short note. Take care of each other.

See ya soon.




Hi, Mom [Kay Nelson],

I felt so alone when you left. But I really was glad because if anybody needed to go it was you. The kids and I went to see Pappa couple of weeks ago. He had just gotten back from Vegas with Clarence, Tina, Gloria & Brother.

He suppose  to have surgery on his eye on the 6th  of June. Other than that I guess he’s fine. In fact I certainly wouldn’t think of rushing back here if I were you. Better yet you should stay there as long as there’s a Jonestown. Like forever.

Nothing much happening here. I’ve been off from work for a couple of days. The doctor has me on semi-bedrest. [Several ones on medical condition deleted by transcriber] I’ll keep you informed. Because are really looking forward to coming. So am I.

Bet you look good since you lost weight, not that you didn’t look good fat [:-)].

Elvis asks about you all the time. He really likes you. I think he’s hoping are as smart as you. Poor thing hope you will be too disappointed with me. He lives right down the street from me. She sought to him $400, $250 for her and $150 for his little girl. His son is 18. She is entitled to 1/2 his retirement for life. Oh well, what can I say.

As I said before not much going on here. Working 11 hours a day and 6 to 7 days a week. Don’t know if I’m coming or going. The drive to Burbank at home is a bitch. Going to stop as soon as I can get the kids away from here. Anyway, Mom, write. I still didn’t get any more letters from you. Wish I could get Elvis to come over there. I really don’t want to leave him. He’s really been one of the nicest things that has come into my life. Since I’ve been sick he’s been over here and cooked, cleaned, taken me to the doctor. Before I got sick we had planned to go to Big Bear for the weekend. We were going to stay home but I’ve been insistent so he’s making a bed in the backseat of his car. I told him that we couldn’t have sex but that didn’t bother him, he said he just wanted to be around me, take care of me and see me happy. He’s sat here for the last two nights until I went to sleep. He missed school just to watch after me. It’s something different for me, so you can understand that I don’t want to leave him. He wants me to come over there. In fact, he insists on it. I told him I might just stay and he said then that is why I should go. He’s different, I different I mean he’s kind, that’s unusual for men. So much for that. I’m sending you an article out of the Times. Of course it’s got to be something about me. Leona [Collier] thought I should send it.

Hey, Mom, write please. Tell me about  some of the people there. You don’t have to try and convince me how great it is there. Course I know that. Just trying to say that you don’t have to try and sell me. Even [illegible name] and Poncho sounded like used car salesmen. There are other tactics to use when trying to win someone over to your way of life. Please just be your same old self with me. It works much better. I know you love me and want me to enjoy the life you have, but please don’t write as if you were advertising for some vacation spot. I’m still Nell, I do believe that what our friend has done exceeds all the wonders of the world and more. Oh by the way, I did know what FIY meant and still means. Enjoy your new life.

Mother I love you