My Darling Daughter…

When my father wrote me these letters, I was living in Princeton, New Jersey, commuting to my job in Manhattan, and working part-time at the local airport in exchange for flying lessons.

February 10th, 1972

Dear Shelly,

American has been built throu’ the use of highways and public roads. Where vast distance is so much a consideration in our domestic politics and trade…The iron which combines with the railroad is a magician’s road, and has the power to create the sleeping energies of land and water. And even on the coast, prudent men everywhere have begun to see that every American should be educated with a view to the values of land.

My darling daughter. It must be difficult for you to follow in your livelihood by traveling from Princeton to N.Y.C. every day. But still it must be a refreshing experience to be doing so creative a work. It is a long time since I wrote to you, altho, I look forward to getting news from you every day.

Write a letter to your brother in Tucson, Arizona, and to your sister in the city of Angeles.

We must have kings and we must have nobles. Nature provides such in every society. Let us have our leading and inspiration from the best. In every society some men are born to rule and some to advise. In every age of the world there has been a leading nation, one of a more generous sentiment, whose eminent citizens were willing to stand for the interests of general justice and humanity, at the risk of being called the men of the moment, chimerical and fantastic. Man alone, can perform the impossible.

Chucky has just called to be picked up in school ~ He missed the bus. Anyway, we send you our love and good wishes.


Monday, March 27, 1972

My dear Shelly,

We miss you so much. It’s a long time since I wrote you – at least mother has written – As you know, Linda has left us to go to Blueberry Creek – we wish her the best of luck and happiness. Michael came in with us for the Passover holidays. He has been busy with his old friends. He surprised us with his playing on the piano, yes the piano – he played us a couple of artistic selections.

In your study of literature and sciences, I can give you one piece of advice and that is in Italian. When doing or reading any subject or book remember: “Tanto Che Basti.” “As Much as is Sufficient.” With regard to the contemplation of ancient statues: “Nonmai a Bastanza.” “There can Never be Enough.”

Lots of love,

Dad & Mom, Michael & Chucky

July 23, 1972

Dear Shelly,

You must be moved over by this time, anyway I hope you didn’t have any difficulties with the job. Poetry to fit the occasion follows:

“O Captain! My captain, our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weathered every rock,

The prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear,

The people all exulting.”

And so it goes onto how Horatio kept the bridge, which, of course, is another story:

“Then out spake brave Horatius,

The Captain of the Gate:

To every man upon this earth

Death commeth soon or late

And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds.

For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his gods.”

Michael is painting his motorcycle and since repairing it he has done a wonderful job.

With regard to the pleasure of travel, a person is a part of all that he has seen. We are told that in these days of railroads and airlines that people rush throu’ countries and see nothing. It may be so, but that is not the fault of the carriers. They confer upon us the inestimable advantage of being able, so rapidly and with so little fatigue to visit countries which were much less accessible to our ancestors.

The world belongs to him who has seen it. “But he that would make his travels delightful must first make himself delightful. The fool wanders, the wise man travels.”

We are driving out to California with Michael; we would love to take you along during this part of your vacation… assuming that you can get away during that time …

From your mother and Dad

Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit

Copyright © 2009, Shelly Reuben

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