Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

# 21 Post:

Friday, October 17, 1952

Dear Linda;

Your report from [your counselor] arrived yesterday, a very good one, too.  She seemed quite impressed with you.  I noticed an odd thing about your grades, though:  first period A, second period B+, third period B-, fourth period C+, a sort of slow deterioration seems to set in through the day.  I suppose if there was a fifth period it would be C then C-, then D+, D, D- and so on into the horrors of failure, expulsion, petty theft, murder and the penitentiary.  Probably just as well there are only four periods.  I think you’re doing a grand job with them.  Seriously, though, are you getting enough rest?  I know that on that schedule it is a little difficult and I’m not sure that I can tell you what to do if you are not, but please don’t get all run down (Brother, I sound just like a parent.)

We went to a round dance class last night, advanced, no less.  A night of very hard work, indeed, but fun.  My big problem in couple dances is to overcome a ferocious mental handicap.  You see, when I was in my teens, I was not taught to dance.  For some reason I missed learning when I should have, that is at fourteen or thereabouts.  And then everyone was dancing and I could not bring myself to the humiliation of asking for help, so I pretended that I didn’t like dancing, which by now I didn’t.  And eventually I came to believe that I couldn’t: a truly terrifying thing to happen to a young person in as much as it shuts the door on so much teenage enjoyment and activity.  I would go to parties in complete misery, yet unable to stay away from them because staying home was a worse choice.  I would meet a sweet, pretty girl and sometimes charm her with a choice of words that was beginning then to have a certain glibness, only to lose her immediately the music started, either to some other boy, or in glum mute inability to tell her that I could not dance.  So the wells of my verbosity would dry up and she would look at this hapless dolt and soon find an excuse to leave my company. 

My sisters tried sporadically to teach me, but by then my belief in my own awkwardness had solidified into a certainty that I was a hopeless case, doomed forever to the status of wall-flowery and perhaps to a wifeless and childless manhood.  Thus when square dancing came into my life, I was captivated, enthralled to find that I could do it.  I!!  What a magnificent thing!  And then the stinker appeared.  I discovered when we left our beginner’s class that I was expected to dance a round dance between each set of two squares.  How I ever got courage enough to even try the Varsouvianna I’ll never know.  It took months for me to learn the first verse, but try it I did and learn it I did and from that day I knew that I could dance any dance any other layman could.  I knew it in my mind, but my heart and my subconscious mind would and still do take over occasionally.  One of them will jump up in the middle of a dance and scream in panic:  Here!  Here!  You can’t dance…you’ll be humiliated in front of all these people!!  Run for the hills!!!  And so my mind goes blank and only with the most intense exercise of will can I drag it back from the brink of what seems then to be disaster.  This usually happens when we are learning a new and complicated round.

How do you like the role of mother confessor?

That’s all for now…..

Your greedy old beast of a father

P.S.  Love.

P.P.S.  Kisses

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