Cheer up, son

My grandparents with my uncles. The little boy in overalls is my dad.

I was recently going through a box of paperwork at my parent’s house. In the process, I found a letter from my grandfather to my dad dated Christmas Day, 1941; dad would have been nine-years-old. The letter said:

Dear Eddie,

Remember how you cried around because you had to wear wool trousers that itch. Cheer up son, life is just full of things that are unpleasant.

Love,

Your Daddy

I framed the letter and put it in my kitchen. I think it is remarkable the note survived over seventy years. It was tucked in a folder with dozens of performance reviews from my father’s long career at Bellarmine Prep. It obviously meant a lot to my dad. It also made me think of the small stack of letters I have that my father wrote to me, all banded together and tucked away. I spoke about these letters in my father’s eulogy. Did he write to me because his father wrote to him?

Every year, on my childrens’ birthdays, I write each a letter. I started this because of the notes I received from my dad. I like to think that this will continue on, that the letters will stretch out over centuries, urging us all to cheer up.

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