This is the second installment of a very long letter Grandpa writes to his sons, Dan and Ced in Alaska and Lad in Venezuela, following his birthday. Yesterday’s post covered all of the happenings involving Grandpa’s birthday – September 11 – when he turned 56. He has followed the strange custom of sending presents to his sons on HIS birthday, maybe his way of giving back. The letter continues in this post with local politics and what he plans to do with his birthday money.
Locally, things are beginning to boil politically. The new town committee, now under Ellwood Stanley’s leadership since Mr. Woods declined to accept reelection, is composed of people not now holding any political office in the town. One of the first things they did was to put Mr. Sexton, of all people, on the Committee, thinking, I suppose, that they could thus keep close tabs on him, and being only one among many others, could render him innocuous. But the way it is working out, as far as I can learn, is not so good. The rumor is that when it came to recommendations from the Town Committee to be submitted as recommendations to the caucus, which in previous years has been practically an assurance of nomination, none of the conservative members could find any decent people who would accept the nomination of First Selectman, and as one name after another was suggested and refused, Sexton came through with suggestions of names here and there who would accept, and that resulted in the final draft of names being largely Sexton man. There is a man named Northam in Long Hill who was named, both Les Whitney and myself were not included as Second Selectman, and for this job, Dave Wakely of Chestnut Hill was Sexton’s suggestion. Mr. Hughes, who has been suggested as a possibility for the Board of Finance by Mr. Plumb, to replace himself, was ignored, and in consequence, many of the old time loyal Republicans who always voted for the town committee’s recommendations are considerably dissatisfied and at the caucus tomorrow night there is liable to be considerably less harmony then has hither to characterized the Republican caucus meetings. Mr. Woods told me himself he was personally far from satisfied with the way things were going. So we will probably see some fireworks tomorrow. It is ridiculous and disgusting the way this fellow Sexton seems to be edging in. As far as I am concerned, and I seldom feel this way about anyone, he is the towns combined Hitler, Stalin and fifth columnist all rolled into one. As you probably know, Mr. Plumb has been retired on a nice pension by the bank and is dropping his various town activities. I don’t blame him, the way things have been going lately. The Democrats have again put up Davis as First Selectman and Burr Beach as second. As the town has passed the 5000 mark in population, we are now entitled to two representatives in the state legislature and both Bradley and Nothnagle are after the job. I hear that the Democrats are thinking of putting up Danny Wheeler, and I believe if they do so, he will have a very good chance of winning.
I suppose you donors would like to know how I am going to spend all my birthday money. Well, I need a new pair of house slippers, a new electric stove for my bathroom that won’t blacken the walls, a new pair of shoes and a raincoat. (I think I can get along without a new suit although this will be the second year I haven’t bought a suit – last September I bought a new overcoat as Lad’s gift) and I would like to get some clothes suitable for taking walks in the woods that will keep me warm and dry during fall and winter. I am certainly grateful to you boys, that with all your young plans and hopes and ambitions, still have a thought for the old man’s comfort. The spirit is all the more appreciated because I have not done half the things for you youngsters I would like to have done, if things had been different.
And you, Lad, I don’t really feel right about using any of the funds you sent home for myself. The several hundreds of dollars you gave last year for my use and the house and the $50 you send every month is, in all fairness, enough. It is really your contribution that has been keeping us going this last year. That, and Ced’s payments, were the only things that made it possible for me to make the grade. I hope business will pick up next year so things will be better — enough at least to make up for the $10 a month I will forfeit with the loss of the Second Selectman’s job. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll take the will for the deed and not take advantage of your generous offer. My
conscience would be clearer. And, Ced, that’s much the way I feel about you. I certainly would feel mighty cheap if you had sent any of last month’s check home under the circumstances. You did just the right thing in keeping it for flying club expenses. You, Dan, haven’t told me what your future plans, if you have yet formulated any, are; but if you were going to the University of Alaska you’ll need to save for that, which makes your generous remittance doubly unselfish. All in all, I’ve got a pretty fine bunch of boys and I’m just a wee bit proud of them.
Tomorrow, the third and final portion of the letter Grandpa wrote to his sons following his 56th birthday. It includes local news, information about his office move and a letter from the Town Clerk, urging the boys to vote in the Presidential Election and the cover of an absentee ballot sent to Lad in Venezuela. Did he vote? I don’t know.
Please share your comments on this letter. I love to read your stories and memories.