As age and infirmities and bullets have intervened, we've come to rely on Big Cuter's presence for heavy arranging. This afternoon, in between bouts of Guillotine, he was on the ladder in the garage, bringing down boxes labeled Psych Books and Cornell Papers and Law School Stuff. I can promise you that none of the treasures contained within that cardboard has been seen in this century.... or the latter half of the previous century, if I think about it. We've had children and careers and a dozen or so homes and we've carted this stuff around to each of them.
Spain, Holland, Israel
But do my heirs really need my assessment of the juvenile justice system circa 1974? Will anyone be grateful that I saved the program from the conference at which I presented a short program in 1977? As I went through Daddooooo's desk when we sold our ancestral manse, I held his fourth grade report card and wondered.... would anyone else ever care? Today I laughed with Big Cuter as I predicted the same fate for him and his sister..... unless he schlepped the boxes and I made some decisions this week.
I'm so very very very glad I did. On the top of the Cornell box was this letter to me, from my father, at the end of my freshman year. Universities were blowing up all over the country, and Cornell was no exception. We were ending the semester early, closing the campus in protest. The shootings at Kent State were eleven days old. I was involved in the outskirts of the protest movement, but I'd traveled to Washington, D.C. the month before to join the Mobilization to End the War. I'd gone with tear gas protection and a promise to stay safe. Reading this as an adult, as a parent, is a different experience than being 18.
And because I was one of the few people who could read his handwriting, I'll retype it for you here:
The Ides of May are upon us and we yet survive.
Hope you are very fine and well and I look forward to seeing you soon and having you around.
Lots of platitudes floating around in my head but don't want to annoy you with them but this is not a platitude LOVE! Daddy.
Some things are worth saving. Perhaps, thirty or forty years from now, The Cuters will have a similar moment. I'm donating the books and saving the letters. They can decide.