Trumbull, Conn., July 8, 1945
Dear “future hopes”:
In a recent letter Dave mentioned that he was looking forward to the day when he could see me off on a round-the-world cruise. This gives me an excuse to let down my hair and do a little day-dreaming out loud. I suppose everyone indulges in daydreams from time to time. I can recall many occasions when you kiddies were all snuggled safe in your beds and your mother and I sat comfortably before the gleaming fire with the days cares forgotten and she would mention, when we hoped we could afford to send all of you youngsters to college, how she looked forward to the time when you would come back to the old home during holiday time and vacations, perhaps bringing some of your young friends with you. As I may have mentioned, one of my hopes was someday, when the Pan American highway was completed, to adventure with some or all of you down to Mexico and Central America in our own cars, camping along the way in true pioneer style. In later years I have often thought how nice it would be to be able to pack up when the spirit moves me and say to myself I am off to visit Marian and Lad, or Dick and Jean, or (more likely) Dan and Paulette, are drop in on Ced, wherever he might be, and stay with them as long as I could be helpful there, always leaving before they wanted me to go. (I have a horror of being a nuisance to my children, and while sometimes their hearts would say “stay”, at the same time, circumstances beyond their control might make it inconvenient or interfere with some previously laid plans. I would never want to feel dependent but always have the background thought that my visit would be beneficial to them and welcomed, not through any sense of filial loyalty or family affection, but because of the real help or comfort or convenience I could bring in person at the present. That would be a great satisfaction and if the future careers of my children should take them far afield, that I could combine my travel urge, which Dave has spotlighted, and my visiting complex in a happy double-header. So much for the thought your suggestion, Dave, has set in motion.
However, there is another side to the question. Disregarding for the moment the financial aspect of the matter, let us consider some of the other faces. Leaving home for an extended trip presents some thought-provoking problems. For instance, with the apartment rented, there is the responsibility of the landlord to be considered. Someone has to see that the water heater is functioning properly and oil supplied and that the furnace stoker is properly cared for in winter. Phone, electricity and water service has to be maintained. That brings up the matter of occupancy of the main portion of the house. If, after the war (and plans of course are predicated on post-war developments), you come back to take over the letter shop, Dave, there will be a period of six months or a year while you are learning to stand on your own feet in the running of the business, with the old man standing by to lend a helping hand until you can stand entirely alone. During this period, where will the others be? Will Ced be in Alaska or South America or Trumbull? Will the married ones be living in Trumbull or in some other part of the U.S. where a job may be offered, or perhaps in some foreign country? In the latter event who would be “keeping house”? If none of the others except Dave are home and I am away visiting my kith and kin, it certainly would not be possible to leave Aunt Betty alone in the big house and with you out nights, she would be alone nights as well – – an impossible situation, to say nothing of the care of the house. What to do under such circumstances? That brings up another question. Do you children desire to keep the house even though most of you may be maintaining your own homes elsewhere? Would you want to sell the house or rent it? In either of these events, other living accommodations would have to be found for those remaining in this vicinity. These and other related questions do not, of course, have to be answered now and many of them may be solved quite naturally in the course of time, but it does no harm to think about the problem a bit and have some settled convictions when and if the question does call definitely for settlement. As the orator would put it: “I will leave these thoughts with you.”
Dan writes (June 11th): I have mailed you two dilatory likenesses of an old acquaintance. Perhaps you will still recognize me after all these (two) years. Nothing new on either the peace or matrimonial fronts. It seems that chronic status quo has set in. I’m still’s deepest in un-love for Holland and yearning for the day when this job is over. I have poked a tentative iron in the fire in connection with a French course in Paris. My camera has finally been repaired. I shall try to make up for any opportunities that might knock twice. I received another package but it was not in very good condition, containing a bottle of Krem1 hair tonic. Have you been able to find a stereo-tach for my camera? Will you try to send me my tripod and pan head (it might be too big for regulations). I am starting to study German, just in case. I suppose Ike would frown long and darkly if he knew. Most military phrase books (English-German) were removed from circulation last year to prevent fraternization temptations. The only trouble is that there are certain temptations more potent than phrase books which are still in circulation – – at $65 per, if you’re caught! That’s all for now. I have to dash over to Battice, Belgium, tonight to (occupy) a church steeple – – no kidding.”
We have all been wondering Dan what you wanted that $100 for. Any connection with the $65 item above-mentioned? As to the stereo-tach, Seniors sent it back to the factory and they replied that because of the construction, it would be impossible to repair it but they had a more modern model costing about $15 which they would send, allowing 50% on the old, netting you $7.50. I told Senior to go ahead and order it. Perhaps in a couple of weeks it will be delivered here and sent on to you. Well, Dan, old bachelor, this is the month. We’ll be waiting for news.
No other quotes this week and no news of any amount to record. Weather has improved and is now about normal for this season. Jean is busily preparing for her South American adventure. Marian is still helicoptering. Carl is home for the weekend and says the course is pretty stiff. Mrs. Ives has lost two more of her dogs by disappearance. Smoky is fast getting to be public enemy #1. July 4th slipped by with hardly a ripple, although I did hear distinctly about three firecrackers. Some different from my boyhood days. And that about winds us up for this evening. Will be visiting you again by letter next week. Meantime keep up the old spirit.
On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll post more from Ced’s Coming of Age Adventure.
Next week, we’ll have letters from 1941. There are rumblings around the world, Lad has returned from Venezuela and has finally found a job. Ced, Dan and Dick are all still in Alaska, wondering about their status in the draft. At this point, this is a major concern for four out of five of Grandpa’s sons. Dave is still in school but if we get into the war and it lasts for years, Dave will come of age also.