Blog 2108 – 07.03.2021
A Man Of Letters
Time was when the above phrase was used to denote an educated person. Many a man and woman has spent four our more extra years in school to have a few letters attached to their name i.e. B.A. of B.S. and even longer for M.A., B.A, M.S., B.S., or P.H.D.
I never completed a degree program in fact. Well, there was that bogus one I completed where I was told that the eighty-three actual semester hours of college credits that I had completed, along with fifteen hours of correspondence courses through their distance learning program and a seventy-five page thesis would translated in to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Quality Assurance through a certain diploma mill that dodged genuine accreditation till the government finally closed them down. I paid thousands of dollars in tuition, matched by the company I worked for, completed the distance-learning courses, passed the exams on the courses, wrote the paper, turned it in, and made all the corrections my adviser/professor recommended. I received a large impressive looking diploma with my name on it. I even sprung for a gold class ring to wear to show off my proud achievement. But it was all a lie which I only discover a few years later.
Still I am nevertheless a man of letters and have been since I was about ten years old and wrote my first letter to an aunt, my dad’s sister Sybil, who made a deal with me when she, her career Marine husband, Charles, and their two children, Karen and Michael, stopped by our house in Chattanooga on their way to Uncle Charle’s new duty assignment In Honolulu, Hawaii in 1960, just a year after Hawaii got it’s star, the fiftieth one one, on the United States flag. Aunt Sybil had said she would write me from Hawaii with their new address as soon as they got settled there and that if I would write her back she would write back each time I did. So Aunt Sybil became my first pen-pal and I became a man of letters. We wrote back and forth till their assignment in Hawaii ended and Uncle Charles flew to South Vietnam for his first of three tours there and his wife and children returned to the States.
Ten years later I flew to South Vietnam as a U.S. Army Security Agency teletype repairman Specialist Fourth Class. Our plane stopped to refuel in Honolulu, Hawaii, the one and only time that I have yet to be there except through my aunt’s letters and pictures, books that I have read, and movies that I have seen about Hawaii. During the eleven months I spent in South Vietnam I wrote at least two letters a day, one to my wife Barbara and one to my mother. They wrote me back almost as often. Well, Mom did anyway. Barbara’s letters stopped abruptly about four months before I got back. Still I wrote her every day, one sided correspondences are not that much fun.
The first month I was in ‘Nam, I wrote everyone, all my family and friends that I could find addresses for, offering them the same deal that my aunt had made with me. My dad wrote me and my brother a time or two and one cousin and one friend wrote me once, but there was not another man of letters in the whole group. I don’t blame them. Their lives were busy and I was just a lonely soldier boy away from home, all on my own, as Bobby Vinton’s song said so well.
Letter writing has for many become a lost art. Mail call in the military was always an important part of the day as the mail delivery person yelled out the name of the lucky ones who had gotten mail. I was one of those lucky guys, thanks to a loving mom, that got mail often, but she did too. Mom was a worrier and I wanted to remind her everyday in a tangible way that her baby was safe and sound even on the other side of the world and in a combat zone.
Want to give someone you love a treasure that costs only the price of a stamp and a bit of paper? Write them a letter. Time was when people saved every letter they got as if was a treasure. Letters still are a treasure to receive. Did you know that if you write the President of the United States that you will get a letter back from the White House. That is so old school, but I think it is classy for the President to be a man of letters.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Man of Letters
P.S. I went to the post office to give them a copy of the picture of the returned letter my wife got back marked Vacant-Return To Sender last Monday. I finally got a piece of mail addressed to me in my mailbox yesterday. Drop me a line at:
3702 S. 12 St. #105
Norfolk, NE 68701
I expect to be here till around my birthday which is November 22. When is yours? Write me with your name, address and your birthday and I will write you a birthday poem and send it in a letter for your birthday. The President is too busy, all you’ll get from him is a form letter, but a letter nonetheless.