Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

# 11 Post: (Part One)

Thursday, Oct. 2, 1952

My very very dearest Linda;

This leap-frogging letter routine makes it a little diffi-cult to answer any current problems.  We received your two letters yesterday—one here at the studio, one at home—but in the meantime I had written at least three and possibly four to you.  You will have read and maybe answered some of these by the time you receive this, and so it goes, ad in-finitum.  Which reminds me of a poem that has no bearing on the subject at all:

Dogs have fleas, and fleas have fleas
Upon their back to bite ‘em.
Those fleas have fleas and they have fleas
So in-fin-i-tum.

Doesn’t scan too well, but it is a lovely thought, isn’t it? 

Now back to the subject:  As I told you in the letter I wrote on Tuesday, there are serious and very real difficul-ties to adjusting to a new environment: in simple terms, it’s tough leaving home. 

I miss you more than I can say and I’m in the same old sur-rounds, everything is the same, except you are missing and it is damned painful and requires some powerful philoso-phizing to make it bearable. 

You, on the other hand, are the only familiar thing in com-pletely alien surroundings.  You are being subjected to a severe, a very severe to you, routine.  Your life at home has been an almost completely relaxed one.  You have come and gone pretty much as you pleased.  You have done almost no chores beyond the simple ones of keeping yourself rela-tively clean.  This has been the pattern of your life and it has been pleasant and fruitful.  Within that pattern you have grown to a fine, relaxed and intelligent girl. 

Eventually, however, you would have had to come up against what you are now encountering.  Sooner or later every per-son who hopes to become a mature adult must subject himself (herself) to discipline.  Not because it is good, particu-larly, but because that is the kind of a life one must live in our society.  For you it is coming early.  Perhaps, if we had known that it was going to be anything like this, we would not have sent you there and you would not have wanted to go.  Then we would have postponed for a while the neces-sity of coming to grips with this thing. 

But if we had, it would simply have been a matter of post-poning the inevitable.  Someday, somehow you would have had to face this situation if you wanted to grow up. 

And let me say now there are many, many people who do not want to grow up.  Among women, particularly, there are too many who simply solve their problems by remaining children. Among your friends here you can probably name several who will undoubtedly do so. 

This is an easy out for a woman because she can generally marry and continue as a kind of housekeeper-daughter to the man she marries.  The man is, as a rule, forced to face the trials and exigencies of life, often in a brutal and terri-fying way if he has been babied by a child type mother.  He is, for instance, often inducted into the Army when he is not much older than you are now and his adoring mother is replaced by a meaty not-so-adoring-sergeant and a pimply bullying corporal, neither very versed in child-psychology.

He is pushed, punched, gouged, driven and snarled at, sneered at and snooped about.  He goes to the toilet in an open john with a long line of toilets side by side with nary a partition.  He almost decides to give up going to the toilet, but finds that nature won’t cooperate.  I do not believe in the military life for most people, but in some cases it has been helpful.  The truth of the matter though, is that this is what a young man must expect in our society, not whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.

All right, my dearest darling, my dearest daughter, I love you, I love you, I love you, indeed I love you more than kisses can express or words convey.  When you are unhappy or disillusioned or when things fail to meet your expecta-tions I want to rise up immediately, to buckle on my rusty armour, to fly forth and destroy whatever is bothering you, to set things in apple pie order, to hold you in my arms, to comfort and warm you and indeed these are the things that my heart is doing to you right now.  There are no ‘buts’ connected with this.  This is how I feel, this is how I shall always feel about you.

[…to be continued next time]

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