An Uncle, a Nephew, and a Letter

An Uncle, a Nephew, and a Letter

Charles congratulates Zach at his college graduation

Serious illness this fall has kept me at home and given me the opportunity to sift through files of old correspondence. Much of it is related to my late husband Charles and his memoir and is sentimental in nature. . . old love letters, ticket stubs, postcards. . . Although I’ve gone through and thrown away a lot, there are some things I want to keep like this poignant letter my nephew Zach wrote me by hand after his uncle Charles’ death.

Dear Aunt Sandy,

Looking back on the relationship that I had with Charles over the past twelve years, I can’t help but notice the profound evolution of our mutual understanding. As an adolescent, my opinion of Charles was less than stellar. I wouldn’t say I disliked him, for he was always willing to ham it up with joke after joke. But, blessed by the boundless soft love from the likes of my grandparents, my young mind lacked the perspective to understand his Old World attitude towards children.

As I grew older and learned of the immense struggle that Charles faced throughout his life, my opinions began to change. In my childhood experience, a job well done was rewarded with fun activities and material treasures. I had been unable to comprehend an experience in which a job well done meant that you were rewarded the prize of living to see the next sunrise. During my undergraduate career, Charles’ dedication to learning was a source of inspiration to me. Being privileged enough to know a man who lived such a vast and varied life experience gave me an upper hand to understanding the importance of perspective, not only in my study of history.

With his help, I was able to incorporate those lessons into my daily life, a reward that far outweighs those of a mature nature. I feel blessed that Charles lived long enough to have such a profound influence on the person that I am today.

It was an honor to know a man who was able to create so much beauty out of an experience filled with great pain and hardship. Thank you for making him part of my life, I will never forget the experience I had with Charles.



August 26, 2007  

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