The news that the U.S. Postal Service is ending Saturday deliveries of regular mail brought to mind an old letter from my grandfather I discovered while packing up my mother’s house in Florida over the Christmas break.
Datelined April 30, 1980, the letter was intended to console me for not getting into my college of first choice. It is a remarkable document. In two single-spaced pages, my grandfather offered up a meditation on Ecclesiastes — “time and chance happeneth to them all” — a review of his own career, and a closing coda name checking McGeorge Bundy, a contemporary of my grandfather’s who had succeeded wildly at every level before becoming (justly) saddled with a significant part of the blame for the Vietnam War. Hey, your life could be worse, he was saying, you could be McGeorge Bundy!
I can’t remember whether the letter succeeded in consoling me. I’m guessing probably not, and in fact, I’m pretty sure I never looked at it again. My bad. But while I’m always glad to be reminded of my grandfather, I found that holding that letter in my hands provoked a powerful sense of guilt.
Originally posted here: