Friday, May 25, 2012

words: Advice From a Father to his Son

Have you guys heard of the website Letters of Note? It's full of old letters, postcards, memos, and telegrams that have been saved over the years and are now being shared with the world. It's so incredibly fascinating. You'll find gems like the letters written to Diane Keaton from her friend, Woody Allen. Words by Keith Richards written to his aunt just three months before the Rolling Stones played their first gig. The subject of plagiarism - written by Mark Twain to Helen Keller when she was accused of that very same thing. And author Kurt Vonnegut writes to his family in 1945 about his capture and survival as a prisoner of war.

It's a window into the past - what life was like, what was important, the issues that people faced - some of which are the same issues we face today. But undoubtedly, the letters that can be found here will move and inspire you.

To date there are over 750 letters being shared, much like this one I'm about to share with you. In June of 1971, just days before Ronald Reagan's son, Michael, got married, the future U.S. President sent him a touching letter of advice...

Dear Mike:

Enclosed is the item I mentioned (with which goes a torn up IOU). I could stop here but I won't.

You've heard all the jokes that have been rousted around by all the "unhappy marrieds" and cynics. Now, in case no one has suggested it, there is another viewpoint. You have entered into the most meaningful relationship there is in all human life. It can be whatever you decide to make it.

Some men feel their masculinity can only be proven if they play out in their own life all the locker-room stories, smugly confident that what a wife doesn't know won't hurt her. The truth is, somehow, way down inside, without her ever finding lipstick on the collar or catching a man in the flimsy excuse of where he was till three A.M., a wife does know, and with that knowing, some of the magic of this relationship disappears. There are more men griping about marriage who kicked the whole thing away themselves than there can ever be wives deserving of blame. There is an old law of physics that you can only get out of a thing as much as you put in it. The man who puts into the marriage only half of what he owns will get that out. Sure, there will be moments when you will see someone or think back to an earlier time and you will be challenged to see if you can still make the grade, but let me tell you how really great is the challenge of proving your masculinity and charm with one woman for the rest of your life. Any man can find a twerp here and there who will go along with cheating, and it doesn't take all that much manhood. It does take quite a man to remain attractive and to be loved by a woman who has heard him snore, seen him unshaven, tended him while he was sick and washed his dirty underwear. Do that and keep her still feeling a warm glow and you will know some very beautiful music. If you truly love a girl, you shouldn't ever want her to feel, when she sees you greet a secretary or a girl you both know, that humiliation of wondering if she was someone who caused you to be late coming home, nor should you want any other woman to be able to meet your wife and know she was smiling behind her eyes as she looked at her, the woman you love, remembering this was the woman you rejected even momentarily for her favors.

Mike, you know better than many what an unhappy home is and what it can do to others. Now you have a chance to make it come out the way it should. There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps.



P.S. You'll never get in trouble if you say "I love you" at least once a day.

I don't know about you, but it makes me want to pick up a pen and paper and send my own letters, the old-fashioned way. Seems much more authentic, don't you think?

(Photo; Le Love)


  1. I miss letters. I can't remember the last time (other than wedding invitations, etc.) that I truly got a real letter in the mail.
    makes me kind of sad.

  2. Well, damn, Ronnie!! I have to say, I didn't know he had all this in him. I'm trying to re-start letter/postcard sending in my world... I joined the "Lovely Letters" blog thing and I've got my "Postaway" on my blog. Really I'm just trying to make it a new habit/hobby!! Yet another inspiring find by Allie!

  3. I am thinking of writing a letter to my great aunt! I really miss writing letters and getting mail. Why did email have to suck the fun out of that? Now I dread reading emails., haha

    & I am doing a Stella & Dot necklace ($198 value) giveaway on my blog and would love you to check it out !

  4. Handwritten mail is a lost art form. I'm fairly good about sending mail, but I hate to say that it's usually in the form of a card. Granted, I write LENGTHY card messages, but still. Letters on stationary are so much more meaningful, don't you think?

    I'll definitely need to check out that website!