GHD-1977

GROUND HOG DAY 1977

Dear friends-and-relations,

—There is a scene in California which I like to visit and re-visit. An old redwood tree has fallen across a small creek, and three straight young redwoods are growing up out of the old trunk.—

—I first saw the Steichen “The Family of Man” exhibit in Berlin in the 1950s. My favorite picture—it’s on page 94 of the book—shows a group of young children dancing in a graveyard.—

—Do you know Eckert’s “Wild Season”? An intimate look at the wild life around a small pond, with all of its predatory inter-relationships.—

—The last two lines of “The Riddle Song” are frequently given incorrectly. They should be “The story of creation, it has no end. A baby ’fore it’s born, has no cryin’.”—

This year I am very aware of the paradox that life is agonizingly finite but life is infinite. On May 6, 1976 my father died—and in March 1977 I’m due to become a grandfather.

My father died as he had lived—with a sense of humor and loved by all around him. He had his faculties until the end, and when people inanely asked him how he was he’d reply “Compared to what?” He died at his home in the arms of my mother and my daughter. During his last month most of his children and his grandchildren had come to Rockville, their home, for a few days or a week, giving freely of their time and their money. It was, of course, a sad time, and yet it was a wonderful time—a beautiful time. We savoured each moment with him and with each other. We were as strong as we could be—and so understanding of each other’s weaknesses. We—myself, my brother, my sister, our eleven children, and our additions my marriage—have always been close together. This year has welded us into a unit whose whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

And as one generation dwindles, another grows. My Mother, her sister, and a cousin of my father are left at one end. My niece has two children and, as I said, my daughter Sue (and husband David) are soon to become parents. Be prepared for grandfatherly excesses when next I write!

This has been a busy year for Sue and David in other ways. On September 27 and 28, respectively, they became Dr. David Greenberg and Dr. Susan Hodge. They have post-doctoral appointments at Washington Univ. in St. Louis.

Our son, Philip is still in Schererville, Indiana, but he now works for a different engineering company—his plans for starting his own fell through when his prospective partner chickened out. He expects to take his PE exam soon.

Lisa still works for Control Data in Sunnyvale, CA. She sort of quit her job in May, they hired her back to a better one in June, and she’s had a raise and a promotion since then.

Thea is still Assistant Director of the U of Minn Computer center. She also received a whopping raise. Among other things she’s been nominated for office in the local chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery.

If you looked carefully at the heading of this letter, you’d deduce that my 5-year term as JAM editor is over. I miss it, but I’m reveling in the free time I now have—even doing a wee bit of research.

We had a wonderful quarter in Berkeley. Lived in a tiny motel apartment and had no responsibilities at either home or office. Truly a contrast to our usual life.

And how is life (and life) for all of you?

Original letter was hand-written on ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics stationery