Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Those of you who might have been wondering where I got my sense of humor are about to be enlightened. Those of you who just plain wonder about my sense of humor, and never mind where I got it, will learn nothing. First, though, I need to say a word or two of explanation concerning a component of this post.
A couple of weeks ago, Jazz did a handwritten post. It was a cute idea and somewhat interesting as a change of pace. In her comments section, I said that I’d do something with that idea sooner or later.
Then, a week or so back, Cricket published a letter that his grandfather had written. Good piece, and revealing of some bit of his grandfather’s personality. That post reminded me about a letter I possessed, written by my own grandfather, and I told Cricket that I’d publish it soon.
Voila! This kills two birds with one stone (which is pretty good aim if they're hummingbirds, or a pretty big stone if they're ostriches.) I’m publishing the letter and it’s handwritten. I realize this won’t give any phrenologists in the crowd any particular insight into my psyche via a sample of MY handwriting, but that's because phrenologists read the bumps on people's heads. It won't help the graphologists, either, though. Of course, anybody who feels he needs a handwriting sample to delve into my psyche just hasn’t spent enough time delving into my archives. I’ve given up enough personal info to supply any psych major with a complete thesis and the goods to prove it.
The letter was written in 1961, from my maternal grandfather to my father. Why he decided to write to my father is something I can’t quite figure out. I mean, they liked each other, so it wasn’t totally out of character, but why just to my father? Why not to my mother (who was his daughter, after all) or to both of them? Perhaps he had used the little jokes and linguistic devices on her already and just decided that a new audience would be more appreciative. In any case, it remains one of my life’s small mysteries.
You might notice a few interesting things from the envelope. Here it is.
The postmark is Clearwater, Florida. My grandparents lived in Weymouth, Massachusetts. That wouldn’t normally be too unusual, as lots of folks from the northeast take vacations in Florida. However, notice the date. It’s July 1st. Not too many people choose to take their vacation in Florida in July. The average July temperature in Florida hovers around 90 and the average humidity is try breathing through a wet sponge. Apparently, my grandparents liked it hot and steamy.
You’ll also want to notice the cancellation – "Support Your Mental Health Association." As you read more of the letter, you’ll begin to suspect that the post office had some sort of premonition concerning the contents.
(The discoloration is probably spilled ink from some time when it was tucked away in a closet during the intervening years. Luckily, it obscures only a very small part of the writing.)
My grandfather, Fran Drown, was a very interesting guy. I’ll have to write more about him some other day. He was a lawyer, a very intelligent man, but he had a number of small quirks about him that match my own. For instance, he liked to watch children’s television shows as a way of relaxing. He would come home from his job as lead claims attorney for the MBTA (the major public transit agency – subways, buses, commuter railways - in Boston and surroundings) and sit in his bedroom smoking a pipe while watching The Electric Company. He rarely took a drink, so that functioned in the same way, for him, as Mister Roger’s Neighborhood has for me – a video martini.
Well, as I said, more about him at a later time. Let’s get to the point. Here’s the letter.
(It has become faint over the years, so I’ll type it out following this reproduction.)
What’s The Date?
I tell you, this epistle ranks with the Sumerian cuneiform tablets as a rara avis veritas. Once in six years I take pen in hand and find to my surprise that it is a pencil. However, enough of this fol-de-rol. Leave us get down to the serious business of trying to record trivia.
Saw a sign in No. Carolina for some motel, an expensive and beautiful sign by The Acme Sign Co., "Turn left just be on the bridge." And down in South San Petrograd [That would be Saint Petersburg – Jim] is another one advertising someone’s "Resterunt."
It’s a trifle warm around noontime, up to 89 – 90, but who minds when it’s only 50 paces to the pool, walk in and get cool, or The Gulf is a short trip, let’s have a dip. It cools down to mid 70’s by evening, usually a breeze.
There is a family from Texas across the street. A young woman and 3 kids, oldest is six. He’s a thin serious kid with glasses, name of Jodie, but I call him Tex and he smiles & lights up like a Christmas tree. He was fishing the other day beside our place & got the hook deep in his right hand on the fleshy part near the thumb. He looked at it and said, "It’s a good thing I’m left-handed!" Maybelle took him to the Dr. who finally got it out and took 7 stitches. Not a sound out of the kid the whole time. If it had been me, you would have heard it up there.
Porpoises come up in the bay daily, rolling & puffing. I don’t know whether they are looking for food or mormoises.
We took a boat ride yesterday across Tampa Bay & up The Manatee River, an all day trip. A nice trip, nothing spectacular, spoiled somewhat by the usual accordion player – would be comedian – entertainer wandering the deck, with the usual pitiful plea of how his ill health forced him to seek out door work and the owners let him come on board but with no salary, his living dependent upon our generosity. Give him a dime and ask him to play "Far, Far Away." Incidentally, he was a big husky Swede name of Olsen, looked like he could handle himself, and when not entertaining (?) sat below decks splicing rope and smoking cigars, or perhaps vice-versa from the smell, but the trip was nice.
Love to you-all.
Now, if that sense of humor doesn’t prove genetics, I don’t know what possibly could.
Soon, with more better stuff.