Louis Armstrong, signing off
Last week I sent you a list of salutations found atop Simone de Beauvoir’s correspondence with Nelson Algren. Today, we head in the other direction. Here, to amuse and inspire, is a list of sign-offs from the pen of Louis Armstrong, a jazz genius whose many letters—a stream of consciousness-style of correspondence strewn with erratic lashings of apostrophes, dashes, and underlining—were as distinctive as his music, and rarely ending without flair. It seems he was determined to wave goodbye, on the page, with a wink. Forget “Kind regards” and “Yours sincerely”—”Satchmo” had other ideas, and they deserve to be listed.
Swiss Krissly Yours,
—From a letter dated Nov 1940. ‘Swiss Kriss’ was his favourite laxative; ‘Satchmo’ was his nickname, short for ‘Satchel mouth.’
Am Ricely & Chickenly Yours,
—From a letter dated Sept 17th 1949.
I am Trumpetly Yours,
—From a letter dated Nov 1949. Genuinely not sure if he's referring to the instrument or the beans.
Am Ulceratedly Yours,
—From a letter dated June 14th 1950. Satchmo thought he had stomach ulcers. As you can see from this clipping, it was thanks to all the beans.
Yours Soul Foodly,
—From an undated letter, circa 1941.
Am Pluto Waterly Yours,
—From a letter dated May 7th 1944. ‘Pluto Water’ was another laxative Louis used. He was a connoisseur.
Am Red beans and ricely yours,
—From a letter dated Feb 9th 1952.
Am Musically Yours,
—From a letter dated 1941.
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With thanks to The Mitchell Collection, Heritage Auctions, The Historic New Orleans Collection. Many of these sign-offs can be found closing letters in Louis Armstrong, in His Own Words: Selected Writings, which is highly recommended.