Friday, July 24, 2009

Ernest concern for an older brother, 1930

This is a letter of concern from a younger brother, Ernest, to his beloved older brother, Jim (my grandfather). They are shown at center and right in the photo below, with a brother I'm sorry I know nothing about.

My mother loved her uncle Ernest and actually had more of a father-daughter relationship with him than she did with her father.......for reasons that can be detected in this letter. My grandfather was an ambitious dreamer and doer, providing beautifully for his family who rarely had him at home. He died in 1936, six years after receiving these words of loving advice from his brother, advice that went unheeded.

Ernest, as described by my mother, was mellow, fun-loving, and sentimental. He took time to build relationships and to keep them. He wrote such a fine letter so long ago that I think his words still ring true today....... Maybe now more than ever.

It is his final line that I find simply spellbinding and heartbreaking. Do we think thoughts like this anymore? If we think them do we write them to those we want to touch with our thoughts and words? If we received such a message would our minds be still to understand its depth; would our hearts open wide to such sweetness?


Dear Jim -

Be a phylosopher now!

This is one time a man has to go thru almost a Gesthemena -- Sometimes he is lost, or thinks he is lost - and that God has forgotten him. A healthful sober reflection tomorrow justifies again his faith in God and man.

He goes just so far - working - working - worrying - worrying - trying things by his own desires - and sure of his good intentions always - but -- this is the truth -- unwise in his treatment of this wonderful mechanism called the body - untill the old machine just has gone further without rest than nature intended it to go - then - yes then a tender & merciful God steps in and says "Rest" and by heck it's rest you will. So just take this that from me -- it is quite likely -- (and I've feared - lovingly feared for you) you would sooner or later rest of your own volition - or rest anyway -- So just stretch out - and rest -- Gee it's good to rest - & get plenty of it - and don't let your (to you unconscious) old enemy "Over Ambition" crawl in bed with you either -- Kick him out -- Tell him you've been a fool slave to him to long already -- Then soon a sweeter view of life will be yours - for now you can learn something you've overlooked - i.e. Sometimes we must receive love -- We are selfish to always want to give it. Others do want to give it -- Learn that and be humble in learning it. --

I wish I could sit with you a long time -- in silence - just loving -

Brothers: Will, Ernest, and James



bookmanie said...

Very nice letter of 1930. I want to comment, but it would be too long. You also I'd like to meet to exchange a few words ... millions of words. I love your intelligence, and especially your technical know-how ... I will say no more. You amazes me on many points. A bientôt, especially do not lose contact with me.Bookmanie.

La Belette Rouge said...

I love old letters. I love the handwriting and how different the style of writing was. I once found a box of letters a man wrote during WW2. Reading those letters was better than many books I have read.

I am so touched by Ernest's final words in the letter and your final words in this post. I do think your heart would be open to such sweetness or you wouldn't be posting this treasure of a letter.

Looking to the Stars said...

Lydia, what a beautiful post. I loved every word of it. For the past few months I have had a wish to sit on the Broadmoor grounds with my half sister, just holding her hand in silence and remembering my father. Your post touched me deeply, thank you:)

Nancy said...

Wow, what a letter. And they say people didn't show affection in his day. It almost sounds prophetic for this day and age, doesn't it?

YogaforCynics said...

That last line is incredible....

My father had a collection of old, old family letters, including one written by Thomas Jefferson to an ancestor of ours, most of which he donated or loaned to historical museums (my paternal grandmother's side of the family were southern aristocracy...yup, they took part in the "peculiar institution). The Jefferson one was definitely donated, but, now that he's gone, we're not sure where some of the loaned ones are, so, for all intents and purposes they might be donated at this point, too...which may be just as well...

Erin Davis said...

What a treasure of a man he was! I love the last line. There are people I would like to say that to, and I would like to have that said to me.

Lydia said...

@bookmanie- Your appreciation of the letter and what you find here at my blog is very meaningful for me. Of course I will not lose touch, and, yes, there are people we meet in the blogosphere that we hope to meet personally one day! Happy thoughts. :)

@La Belette Rouge- Thank you for your dear comments about those final lines. I could say the same of you...that you wouldn't enjoy this treasure of a letter if your heart wasn't open.

@Looking to the Stars- I'm so pleased you were touched by the post and now I wonder if it might be possible for you and your sister to do just as your heart wishes someday. I hope so.

@Nancy- It does sound prophetic, I agree. The way my grandfather drove himself may not have been the norm back then, but the letter describes many people these days. It would be great if his words are a reminder to even a few of them that these are the "lazy days of summer."

@YogaforCynics- Southern aristocratic roots blessing my little ol' blog? Why fiddle-dee-dee, I'm blushing...

Seriously, that is really something that your family had a letter written by Thomas Jefferson! It's wonderful that your dad donated it and you can only hope that those other letters that were on loan found their way into important archives also. Don't look too hard for them - you might find that you are related to Dick Cheney, so distressing.....but then that would mean that you are also related to Barack Obama, a cool thing.

@Erin- A treasure of a my mother would love reading your words. She did instill in me a love for Ernest.
Your last line is food for deep thought. Those aren't words you would say, or expect to hear, lightly...

Darlene said...

You are so fortunate to have these artifacts from the past.

A beautiful letter written with such loving care it touches the heart.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Erika C. said...

I also love this letter and your comments and relate to the message. I have been sick with some sort of flu for the past week or so and I think that part of the reason I got it was that I was pushing myself too hard to do too much.

I kept telling myself I needed to rest but now I really have to if I am going to get better.

My aunt recently sent me copies of photos of my grandmother and grandfather and these also are wonderful resources and beautiful too. My sisters and I are so thrilled to see photos that we had never seen of our grandparents when they were young!

A question: do you know where I would go to find out about making a new badge? I wrote on my blog about the dodo club, a "club" that I want to form on-line and I would love to make a badge for it, but I don't know where to begin.

You have such a wonderful blog! Thank you.

Lydia said...

@Darlene- I do know I'm lucky to be the guardian of this family memorabilia. I just need to get better organized in preserving/storing it. So glad Ernest's letter touched your heart.

@Erika- You Get Well! If Ernest's letter was a reminder to rest, then I'm glad you read it.
I have responded to your badge query over at your blog...just a few ideas for your Dodo Club badge.
Thanks for your compliment, and, again, feel better soon.

Erika C. said...

Thank you! Thank you! Lydia. You are so kind and you did this so quickly. I will look into it and it will take me forever but I will do it!


Rhiannon said...

What loving sage advice to someone written out of love...for his brother. As I read the hand written letter I could actually read most of it quite well. It gave me a sense of another time and how even then there was so much "addicted to busy" and putting so much pressure on ourselves. It's really nice that you find and have these lovely old treasures of many years gone by...a timeless piece of "cherished" love from one brother to the other.

When I think of how everyone nowadays thinks that it's a "must" to always be so busy busy sad. Do we ever just sit with ourselves in "silence"? Would it scare us? Do we ever think of how out of control our lives just might be? Will that feeling wake us up? Lord, I hope so.

I used to spend years defending my "life" my need for "quiet time" by myself in silence when needed..and to rest. I got lectured, chastised, made fun of and comments of how strange I was to have this "need". Now I know better and have nothing to defend. I realized a lot of those remarks made to me through the years had more to do with "others" being uncomfortable with themselves than with me. Overachievers get a lot of stimulation, but not a very long life. I often wonder is it worth it?

Makes me think of Bill Gates making headlines today saying he had to get out of facebook because he had to many "friends" and couldn't handle the stress! He also stated he rarely text messages, and doesn't even do it well when he does! I've also heard that his kids were not allowed to be on the computer(or watch much tv)while growing up. It's served them quite well in their adult years, Bill says. I heard him state these things on Charlie Rose. Spoken from the "king" of computers..well said Bill.

Time for a lot of us to "feel absolutely no guilt" in taking time for ourselves to "Breath in and breath out" and to reconnect with "ourselves" and go within.

Thank you for such a great post lydia and a reminder to us all to "Slow down" in the "moment"'s more than okay. Amen...;o)

Love and Blessings to all..



Rhiannon said...

P.S. Lydia, thank you for your thoughtful comment on the 4th year of my blog anniversary. I very much appreciated it.

Love, Rhi

Lydia said...

@Erika- I'm sure your badge will be great (and the rules for receiving it ought to really be something to see, too!).

@Rhi- Your thoughts were eloquent this early morn. I so appreciate that, not only do you "get" this, you "got" it ages ago and were scorned for it. I'm glad you stood your ground and didn't cave into the common thought at the time, or any time for that matter.
I hadn't heard that news about Bill Gates. I sure understand it, though. Facebook is great for reconnecting with people who have been lost to you during the years. But as a daily thing...not for me.

Namaste' to you.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Lydia--This old letter is so touching.
And gee, it seems we've lost the art(and it was certainly an art, in Ernest's case!) of letter-writing.
Lovely, and as another commenter posted, very "prophetic"!

Robin said...

Oh what a lovely letter....a dear and loving brother was Ernest.
I send most days scolding my self, "Let it be, take time for yourself"....I try hard to listen but often push those thoughts out with task at hand. At night I scold myself, "Sleep....there will be plenty of time to think, ponder and worry tomorrow. Maybe one day I will get it right and not have to remind myself.....just do it. :-)

Lydia said...

@Lisa- Lately I discovered a genre of blogs that fit right in with this topic: letter writing blogs. Interesting stuff.
Wouldn't Ernest be amazed to know that, in 2009, a group of people read his words, contemplated and discussed them in this way?!

@Robin- You sound as if you've gotten into a bit of a trap with your routine (I'm one to talk!). I hope you listen to yourself and give the gift of time to you. It's why it's called "practice" because it isn't automatic...

Ande said...

Hi Lydia

I really liked your relative’s letters. They show affection and, for me, it is always fascinating seeing how people felt and thought long before I was born. Quite funny, I have old relatives myself named James, Will(…iam) and Eren(e)st! It is humbling, knowing that there have been so many before us who had ideas, feelings and created long lasting artefacts.

Owen said...

Thank you so much Lydia for sharing this stunningly touching letter... I wish someone would write me a letter like that !

And now, am off to take a well earned rest for about the next 8 hours... under a quilt in my bed...

Hope you are well as July slides toward August...

Lydia said...

@Ande- Your comments about the letter are great, and I find it astonishing that we each have relatives with such similar names! Perhaps you know personally these relatives of yours? Mine, of course, all lived and died long before my life began.

@Owen- In a sense the letter was written to you because your next act was to realize how you had earned and needed those eight hours to rest and repair.
I'm well except sad when you point out that July is indeed sliding away now. You be well, too.



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