by Charlie Leck
My wife was out and about today, doing a bunch of errands. Here in the quiet house, I was struggling with a title and a theme for this particular post on my blog, when she slid through the door to our house that leads in from the garage. "I'm back," she called out!
Voila! There you have it! "I'm back!" And, with my return, you get a bucket-load of exclamation marks!
I've been away and busy fulfilling a Christmas promise made to our little girl. If you've been stopping in, you've seen that the last six postings were a series of memoirs from my experience in Mississippi in 1964. If you read them, thank you! If you are one of the dozen or so people who sent such nice reactions to them, thank you also.
Now, however, it's time to return to blogging about current events and activities. It was quite a tiring and emotional trip returning to the sixties and I'm happy that I've come back to the current moment.
One good, old friend from New Jersey posed an interesting question last week in response to my series of memories. "Why do you write?" He asked it sincerely. He wondered about the huge effort it must require to post a few essays each week. "Certainly you are not driven by readership," he stated bluntly.
I guess that comment brought me back to reality. I'm read regularly by somewhere between a few dozen and a few hundred people. I've been impressed by those numbers, though I clearly shouldn't be.
Why then do I do it? Why do I write?
I'm not sure how many people will understand this; however, I'll try to explain it. Or, as Lucy's husband used to say on that TV show we all liked so much: "Let me splain myself."
I write for those little ones up there – the ones in that photo. They are my grandchildren. I hope, someday, long after I am gone, they may have some urge to figure out just who their old grandfather really was.
I've often wondered that about my grandparents. I barely knew them. Oh, I can remember times in their homes and sitting around the great, long Thanksgiving Day table with them, listening to them chatter away; yet, I really didn't get to know them. For that matter, I didn't even get to know my parents very well. What was inside them? What made them tick? What did they like about life? What enraged them? What drove them? What were their hopes? Their fears? Their weaknesses? How deeply did they love? Were they people of real faith?
My grandchildren don't live nearby. I don't get to see them all that often. We don't have much opportunity to get to know each other.
One day, if they wonder about me, as I wonder so constantly about my grandparents, they will be able to pull this massive pile of papers from the boxes on a shelf, and read to their hearts content about dear, old Grandpa Charlie. Or, they'll shove a disk or chip or some other wondrous device of the future into a computer and up will pop the strange writings of their odd, old grandfather.
Am I being vain to think they will even care? Perhaps! I don't know. I can only tell you how I've yearned to know more about my grandparents, and their grandparents, and I always feel sad that I can't learn anything about them.
I am so envious of my dear wife and the fact that she had a great grandfather who was a writer. There are hundreds of pages of his thoughts that I have read through. He wrote about everything, including his parents and their parents and his children and their children. Through him we've been able to learn so much about her family, about their pioneer adventures and their arrival in Minnesota. Because of his essays and commentaries, I know this fellow nearly intimately. He died nearly a hundred years ago; yet over here, in this stack of boxes in the corner, he's as alive as if he were sitting here chatting with me. Good, old great grandpa Wakefield, I'm so happy I got to know you.
And, if some day my grandchildren's grandchildren happen upon these papers, I'd like to say hello and let you know that I hope you are well and happy. I hope, too, that you are kind and caring people; for there is nothing in all of life more important than that. My daughter, Jennifer, has a computerized signature on all her email messages that quotes Kurt Vonnegut, one of the great authors of my time, saying this same thing: "Damn it, children, you've got to be kind!"
So that's why I write. It is because I don't want to leave this world all together and completely. I want some little part of me to hang around and hang on just as long as possible. Is that ego driven? Does it reveal some base insecurity of mind? Have I an inflated sense of my own importance? Duh-know!
I just want to write it for them. The blog is a perfect discipline for me. It's hanging out there in the wonderful, spectacular Internet, and three times each week I post something on it and the stack of papers and materials left behind for my grandchildren keeps growing. Go figure!
NEXT: The Enigma that is Barack Obama