This letter was handwritten on two sheets of onionskin-ish paper.
A later annotation at the top of this letter, in what I think is Helen’s handwriting, says that the Kristi who this is addressed to was:
Daughter of Helen’s father’s sister Karen who lived in Canada (no. of Montana; so we visited the family there. Helen remembers them serving us coffee + sweets in the a.m. in bed!
I’m not sure why Kristi sent a gift to us. (The next letter indicates that the gift consisted of a Canadian $5 bill.)
This thank-you note’s envelope was addressed to “Miss Kristi Uglene,” in Barnaby, BC, Canada. I’m not sure how it ended up in Helen’s possession.
2 August, 1970
Dear Cousin Kristi
We were delighted to hear from you & thank you so much for your gift. (We both think that Canadian money is a much more suitable gift than U.S., as it’s prettier – a present of itself, aside from what it will buy.) Enclosed is a picture of Joaquin – haven’t any recent ones of him or Jed at the moment, but they both grow more beautiful each day. Joaquin can crawl now (sideways, anyway – his grandparents missed that, alas) and Jed grows more and more independent & sophisticated every moment.
We met Hans & Joyce Later annotation in margin, from Helen: “Kristi + Hans were siblings” when we were in Seattle-Tacoma about two years ago, for Peter’s brother Paul – & Linda’s – wedding, & were sorry not to have time to know them better.
Of course we give thanks too for the great abundance we share and for the magnificent privilege of being able to raise two children to revere & respect the great Creative Principle we call God…… A very wise man, Khalil Gilbran, tells us in The Prophet that “Your children are not your children. They are the product of Life’s longing for itself…” and that a most useful way to think of them growing, in relationship with their parents, is “as arrows shot from a bow”……
A most interesting book we have been reading tells of the original Gospel of John, that has been lost and/or suppressed in various ways for many centuries, in which he tells of the natural healing (in accord with Nature, as well as miraculous) done by the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth, of his doctrine of reverence for Nature & love of animals (possibly this aspect of the Teaching was suppressed by the Emperor Constantine & the Council of Nicea in the 3rd century, as Constantine was agreeable to becoming a Christian, only if he did not have to give up meat-eating & debauchery, & every kind of mistreatment of his body)
We found, thus, that Jesus was fully aware of our human bodies, how to cleanse them & keep them pure – that he was more at one with Nature of the world around him than available literature might indicate…
… Alas for good intentions – this letter was started on the 2nd! of August, and it’s now the 17th – a sore thumb intervened to keep from even doing dishes, let alone writing or typing. So again, belatedly, we thank you, & look forward to meeting you some time.
Peter, Marcy, Jedediah & Joaquin
…I don’t know why Marcy felt the need to proselytize to Kristi about the whole Gospel-of-John thing. It’s possible that this was in response to something religious that Kristi had said when she sent the gift, or it’s possible that it was just something that was on Marcy’s mind and so she added it to the letter. Dunno.
For much more about these (unfounded) theories about the history of Christianity, see Peter’s letter from December 29, 1969 in which he wrote about reading From Christ To Chrishna, by Raymond Bernard.
…Marcy misspelled Khalil Gibran’s name in this letter. One might think, given the quote here, that we had The Prophet around the house when I was a kid, but in fact I never heard of Gibran or the book until probably the late ’80s, when I first heard a friend’s college-a-cappella-group rendition of the Sweet Honey in the Rock song “On Children,” based on that Gibran passage. Which is why that song has been running through my head for the past few days as I prepared this letter for posting.
The “sore thumb” was apparently a lot worse than this letter makes it sound; for details, see next letter.
…There’s one more annotation on this from Helen: on the envelope, probably at some point in the ’90s or early 2000s, she wrote: “This should be duplicated for Jed[,] thinks Helen.” I’m guessing that that was because of the “Jed grows more and more independent & sophisticated every moment” line. I hope that I have continued to grow more sophisticated every moment; by now, that presumably makes me extremely sophisticated. Unless I started out as extremely unsophisticated. Which I guess I did, given that I was a baby originally. Hmm.