A few days ago while searching an old file for the previous post I came across a letter written in January of 1974. The handwriting on the small envelope was that of my Dad, shaky and uneven. The address was to the small town of Oak Harbor, a beautiful place on the Puget Sound of Washington State where I lived for a few years.
As I took the yellowed paper out of the envelope and reread the simple yet poignant words I suddenly realized that out of the three daughters who loved him so much I probably have the only two letters that he wrote. Neither of my sisters ever lived outside of his telephone area code. In the six years that I was away I received two and still treasure each one. But I had forgotten about this one and have no idea why it was in this particular file.
It was obvious that Dad rarely (if ever) wrote letters and, in fact, after reading it a few times and thinking back to the circumstances it clearly was a painful letter for him to write. The date was shortly after I had been home with Athena for a Christmas visit. At that time she was his only grandchild. Back in 1974 I didn't understand just how hard it could be for a grandparent to kiss that beloved little baby goodbye and watch her being driven away. Mom has told me that Dad would sometimes get in his own car and disappear for a few hours right after we left. My guess is that he wanted to privately deal with his grief at our leaving.
The letter is simple, written on one sheet of folded typing paper. Thirty six years later those three half-pages of words still speak volumes. He's been gone for 13 years.
I think I'll go for a drive.