This letter is from my Uncle Cal to my mother in the fall of 1959. Apparently, my grandfather had just returned home to Michigan after visiting us all in New Mexico. I read this during Lent and it touched my heart because he mentioned that he wanted to visit Rome someday, and he never did. My Uncle died in his mid 50s unexpectedly from a dissecting aortic aneurysm. Some of you might remember that this was the same condition that killed actor John Ritter a few years ago. Because that has been on my mind lately, I am getting that Lifescreening exam on Friday to check out the shape of my aorta!
This letter also touched me because I was only 4 months old when it was written and he writes about meeting me. Uncle, (which is what I always called him, just "Uncle") was a sort of big brother person for me growing up. He was one of the "grown ups" and yet he was sort of like a kid too. I have fond memories of milking cows with him and playing catch every night behind the barn .
As I travel down the road towards my mid 50s this letter filled me with grief for my Uncle and for the fact that he never did make that trip to Rome.
November 1959 JMJ
Well, Dad made it home all in one piece, and he's right back at it again. His old boss had a new job all lined up for him.
The way he talks about our little girl, I can hardly wait till January to see her. She sure sounds like a little doll. He had a big time. He's still talking about it. As I said before, I can hardly wait till I get there. I won't be able to hunt deer or anything like that then will I? As long as you've got lots of rabbits, ok!
Man, have we had the rain this fall since the first of August. Just rain, rain all the time. The fields would just get dry enough then it would rain again. I'll just have to wait until the ground freezes till I finish picking corn now. I just get stuck all the time. All the cattle stay in the barn now and is that little barn full. The weather man says it's going down to about 20 degrees tonight and it's going to stay there, so maybe I can start picking again tomorrow. We even had tornado warnings last Wednesday, but thank goodness nothing happened.
I am going up to Grandma's to see if I can pull down a nice big buck this weekend. Wouldn't it be something if I could get one the first year I go with a brand new rifle? Thanks for the one you gave us Pete. I'll bet that has a few years behind it. I'm going to have it refinished. We have a good gun shop that does that.
Man I got 7 big rooster pheasants this fall. That's better than I ever did before. I would like to get a deer now. Mom's going up with me and get some pictures of Grandma with the movie camera and some other things too. I hope she can get a picture of me dressing out my first deer.
I received a very nice letter from cousin Janet yesterday. A year from this June she and her husband plan to enter the BVS, something to do with the Brethren missionary service. Their headquarters are in West Germany and from their she says they don't know just where they'll go as yet. Boy, if it was me I'd find out. Some of those places are plenty hot. Anyway, they'll go to Kassel Hause in West Germany first as that's where the Brethren Headquarters are and they plan to stay on there for two years. Doesn't it seem like there's plenty to do at home? Well the church is paying for it, and I guess they'll get to see some things they wouldn't otherwise. I plan to go to Europe too, but not through the Church of the Brethren BVS. I want very much to make a tour of Europe, namely Rome.
Well, in two weeks it will be Thanksgiving again. Where does the time go? Would it be okay if I came out right after Christmas and spent New Years with you? My idea was to spend a holiday with you. We'd stay up New Years Eve and watch the old year go out. Let me know if that would be okay with you. Maybe we could invite Elena's Godmother over that night too. Oh boy, I plan to get down to Springfield sometime this winter too. It's been about 7years since I've been there. I may fly again. Although if I drove I could stop off at Uncle Elmer's for a night and see his nice new home.
Are you keeping up with the football this year sis? The MSU Spartans have a good chance for the Rose Bowel now. They re in second place in the bit ten standing. Northwester and Wisconsin are tied for first. So I hope MSU can keep on winning.
You know my favorite baseball player, Charlie Maxwell? they'll get the pennant next year. They'll have a new announcer for radio next year too Van Patrick retired.
Well I don't have much more to say now. Give our girl a bit smack for her Uncle and tell her I'll be there pretty soon.
Write soon and God love you Cal