Dec ?? 1954
Post # 56
Wow! At last…a breathing space. I have been driving myself very, very hard these last few weeks. I want to be as free from responsibility as possible during the time you are at home. This can be the pleasantest holiday season of all and I am going to do what I can to make it so for you and Dottie. But…my mind gets very naggy unless I am well over my schedule so I want to insure a great deal of space. What pushy things minds are. Would we be better off without them?
I have been feeling very friendly toward you lately. You have learned to write a very generous and colorful letter, a source of joy to us both. It seems to me that you have made the fateful catapult into adulthood and that it shows in your writing. It is no longer just narrative, but contains a running editorial, or opinion, that is identifiable always as you. This after all is style and to attain even a measure of style, personality-wise or journalistically is very unusual at your age. So many teenagers prefer to be part of the wallpaper, to fall into the prevailing pattern (witness the sheep-like rush to the short hair-cut) because in this anonymity is security. Most people, I think, are desperately afraid to stick their heads out of the phalanx…it might just get cut off. This applies not only to teenagers of course, there is far greater caution among older people but it is particularly discouraging when seen at the age when daring should be in freshet.
It is better to risk dying on your feet than to live on your knees. I am sure that whoever had that idea will not mind my paraphrasing him.
I hope more than I can tell you that you will decide and be able to go to college in California, particularly Southern California. Without any attempt or desire to restrict your freedom of movement or thought I would like to share part of these college years with you. I would like to know you as you know more and more of yourself and the world about you. I would greatly enjoy just talking with you as we did returning from Asilomar, now that I am older and more able to understand you and less liable to be either solemn or hesitant in discussing any subject with you. In truth, I am lonely for you, and I know that it would take very little to make this loneliness acceptable, if I knew you were within fair calling distance, if mail were delivered the next day, if I felt reasonably certain of seeing you every few weeks. I think the financial folly—for me—of sending you to [this school] has been many times recompensed by what it has brought you and will bring you all of your life. I have not one regret, but I would be less a human being than I am if I did not desire very much to share in part with one I love so much.
Well..what the Hell, I have to sound like a parent once in a while.