Pages

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I HAVE AT LAST PARACHUTED BACK TO EARTH (14)

November 26, 1954
North Terminal Machine Co., Inc.                                         

Dearest Ernestine,
     As Barbara has probably told you, we have finally sold the island property after getting the price  I always thought it was worth.  Barbara is sending Dick and his wife a thousand dollars, and also Janeth and Walter five hundred.  I am enclosing with this letter five hundred which we feel very strongly you should keep and use for yourself -- not give to anyone else.
     Barbara and I are leaving for a short vacation in Havana on Friday, December 3 and returning in time for Christmas.  Although Barbara, the kids and I shall miss you during the holidays, we can’t blame you for migrating southward.
       Last weekend I finished reading Barbara's "story," with all its tumultuous emotional scenes.  For the immediate family characters portrayed therein, the riot of nostalgia is particularly strong. For me, the reading was gripping, not only because these things really happened to me but also because I wish I had been more understanding of the terrible problems and unhappiness I was creating for the Beyer family--especially you. 
     There is not much point in saying I wish I had been different ‑‑ I couldn't have been.  I am well aware that I was stubborn, unreasonable, unremitting, and very, very selfish.  I suppose that under similar circumstances I would still be the same.  I can, however, tell you how sorry I am for all the agonies I put you through and beg you from the bottom of my heart to forgive me.
     It is obvious from all of Barbara's diaries, notes, and letters that you were absolutely wonderful ‑‑ patient and gracefully long suffering.  Twenty years have passed and we've all been through a lot of both trying and wonderful times together.
      Inasmuch as I can’t see you to tell you in person, I hope that Ernestine, the world’s loveliest mother-in-law and practically my second mother, has a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.  We are all looking forward to having you with us again in the spring.  Until then, I can truly say
I love you.       Ed
Nov. 30, 1954
Winter Park, Fla.                                                                                
Dear Ed –
      I have at last parachuted back to earth.  It took twenty-four hours for me to float down -- it really did.  I couldn’t even attempt to write you although I wanted to at once.  I was afraid I’d embarrass you by speaking too much of my heart to you who cover up your sentiments with gaiety or playful brusquerie.  I know you well for David did the same thing.  I wear my heart as a lapel ornament too often, and so consequently I lose it or it gets brushed a bit hard by some innocent passer-by.  I am now trying my best to control the flood of adjectives and impetuous phrases which are natural to me.
     Therefore, speaking with the calmest judgment that I can summon to my garrulous typewriter I want to make an understatement to end all understatements: You, Ed, are a source of pride and joy to me constantly.  I delight in your success, I share your every pleasure, I applaud with true appreciation your growth in all good things of the mind and soul.  I feel that Barbara is the luckiest of girls to have sensed in you long before I did the qualities which are stable and growing.
     Living with you in the summer, I sometimes marvel at your handling of complex situations.  You and Barbara are both more adult than I despite the disparity of age.  I feel that I fail to be wise many times.  So your letter is reassuring; it makes me feel that you are a good forgiver!  That you can care for me not for my all-too-few virtues but in spite of my many faults.  Your letter made the check for five hundred feel like two cents.  I so much more valued the former than the latter.
     In accepting it I make an Indian-giver of myself, for the land was your wedding gift.  Barbara writes me that she had quite a time to get Janeth to accept the check she sent her.  I can understand, and I honor her attempt to pay you back the loan you made her.  However, I am very, very happy indeed that she yielded to Barbara’s persuasion, for she needs a washing machine and ironer, I think, and now she will surely get them.  
     Janeth writes to me happily of Linda, and she is having the fun of trying to write stories.  She wrote a 17-page letter outlining ideas, ending with: “I’d write now for no other reason than to entertain myself!  Isn’t it fun!”  She, like Barbara, is finding out how jolly it is to ride like a Halloween witch on a pencil.  Nothing would  thrill me more.  Having started so young, both have a chance to go farther by far than I have or ever will.  The desire to write is, I think, my best legacy to them.  If they have love (as they do) and the joy of a creative interest (as they do), they will never be bored, and that is good since life is, as someone said, “so daily”!
    Have fun on your trip, dear.  I’m glad you are able to have a well-earned vacation and rest.
                            Lovingly, 
                                        Ernestine
[I am never able to read these two letters without breaking down in tears.  bbm 11-16-11]

No comments:

Post a Comment