Leaving one year and entering another is not unlike leaving the familiarity of one's home and stepping into the chill, impenetrable fog of the future. Going from year to year is quite different from going from day to day, in that we are far more aware of the fact that one part of our lives is ending, and another beginning.
So just as one bundles up with a familiar coat or sweater when stepping into a chilly fog, when I step from year to year, I like to wrap myself in something of the past to remind me of who I am and was.
As I leave today, I'm taking with me a letter written to my parents 55 years ago today. Like most of the days of my life, it's nothing special, but it is a part of me and I never want to lose it.
31 December 1955
No mail in almost a week—what’s wrong? Every day I look for it, thinking it’ll be sure to catch up, but it doesn’t. Oddly enough, I keep thinking “Grandpa Fearn’s dead and they’re waiting till after the funeral.” Don’t mean to be morbid and God forbid anything happening to Grandpa for at least fifty years. But you should write more often and let me know what’s going on.
Tonite is New Year’s Eve and, like Christmas, is just another day. There was a time—I especially remember 1944 when each year going out seemed like a major tragedy—I waited up (you’d gone to the Moose Club) and watched the year going, and wished and wished it would stay; 1945 sounded alien and unbelievable, where 1944 was old and familiar. And here it is 1955-56—the changing of a number—a new set of calendars, and a year older—nothing more. I may not even stay up to see the New Year in.
Please tell me all about Christmas, and what everybody got, and what you did Christmas Eve. And if Dad didn’t stay home all day Christmas day, I’ll be mighty displeased with him. Of course, neither of you will say, but I’ll find out when I get home (225 days!)
Have you made that picture appointment yet? I’d like both of you in it, if it can be arranged--and don’t be satisfied with the first shot they hand you if you don’t like it, have them take several so you’ll have a choice.
If it’s halfway decent tomorrow, Nick and I and a couple of the other guys are going to Pompeii—by cab. It’ll be cheaper in the long run and we can spend more time there. I like Pompeii, dead as it is, a thousand times better than Naples, Genoa, or Cannes. I’ll hold judgment on Gibraltar, and won’t include Paris, since there is only one Paris.
I’m feeling fine—my cold is still hanging on by its fingernails. Someone stole my flat-hat (my little blue bonnet) and I’ll have to wait till Wed. to buy another.
I’ve been given my own little calculator (borrowed from Disbursing) for the duration of inventory; all my very own—to love and to play with and to keep forever and ever. And I just played with it for a while. Oh, what fun! To press the little buttons and hear it hum and sing to itself as it thinks out the answer. Oh, joy! …. EH!
Someone once said a man with an abacus could beat a calculator. I’d like to try, but you would be amazed at how few abacuses (?) we have on board!
Well, tempus fugit, though I wouldn’t know it, not having a watch. By the way, that is not a hint. I’ll get one when I have the money, not until. Anyone who is ass enough to have a watch stolen right off his arm while he’s stone sober deserves to go without for awhile.
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