AUTHOR NOTE: I don’t know how I happened to get a hold of this next letter, but I’m grateful that it landed up among those I got from my father, even though it was written to my mother on the occasion of my nephew Joshua Holo’s birth. The two daughters referred to are Selma and I. The grandbabies are my sister’s children: Josh and Robbie. Sandy is their father.
July 23, 1971
Dearest Ghita -
You are a happy mortal to have your time thus employed between our two beautiful daughters and two handsome grandbabies. I hope you do the honour of your family as the curtain goes up for the conventionalities. We are all in good health ~ Michael has finished with the painting early today, and we had a nice Sabbath dinner. Except that we missed having you here. Later Linda went over to Libby for some conversation. Chucky is busy with television.
I got some complicated matters to take care of at the South Side building which cannot be laid off. Altho’ I would consider it an honour and privilege to be at the “birth,” it will be most unhealthy to leave the three young children and buzz off for New York City. I am sure that you will be able to represent me and do me and them the honours.
Lord Chesterfield has once remarked and recommended to a patient ~ to have no doctor but a horse, and no apothecary but an ass ~ as for your pains and weaknesses, let your limbs move in freedom for themselves. Use your legs as much as you can, and you should do so too, for disuse makes them worse.
Mayor Daley is continuing to put one foot after another into his mouth, and is becoming ambidextrous.
I am looking forward with much pleasure to getting the latest copies of the New York Times so I can see if you are being taken care of properly.
Give Shelly a good squeeze for me, and also Selma. God bless you and congratulations again to Sandy!
Love, Dad, Linda, Mike, Chucky
September 29, 1971
My dear Shelly -
I am happy to learn that you enjoy the bicycle trips down to work every day, and that you are an ace in the History of Flying. Lately, however, there have been several accidents with small planes in which the occupants have had some trouble getting out alive. But we shall rectify that unforeseen oversight by more careful training of and between teacher and pupil, and more “gnaddying” experience.
I must say however that your letters carry more of a cosmopolitan flavor, and less of a “post-nasal drip,” which remark I had to get in even if it is not true.
Remember, I am standing back of you to prevent starvation …
The letters are getting shorter these days because Lord Chesterfield wrote two books of letters to his son and nothing to his daughter …
Well, it’s enough for now.
Good breeding, and good nature do incline us rather to help and raise people up to ourself, than to mortify and depress them; and in truth our own private interest concurs in it, as it is making ourselves so many friends instead of so many enemies.
In short to have a friend one must be a friend.
Soon I hope we will be able to be together again; and maybe I can send you and mother to the Hot Springs baths down in Arkansas, and make you both new again in health and outlook on life.
Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit shellyreuben.com.
Copyright © 2009, Shelly Reuben