I opened it as Kerry started driving and pulled out a letter. It was written by my father when he was eighteen years old. It was note to his mother to thank her for his birthday gift. It says:
I thought I would write a few lines to let you know I got my birthday present. I was proud to get it. But I bet you wouldn't guess in a year what I did with it. I bought Daddy some medicine to keep him from drinking. I paid $5.50 for it. You have to put it in his whisky for it to do any good. We tried some and it made him so sick it put him to bed for a while. He didn't drink any for about a week and then he started back again and we haven't been able to get any more in him......Leon Jones has quit drinking and Daddy has been running around with him and hadn't drank any in over a week now. We hope he will quit. He hasn't got a job yet but he has been trying hard to get one.
There is more to the letter, but these were the lines which hit me the hardest. I started crying in the car and poor Kerry didn't have a clue what was wrong. He must have thought I was getting some devastating news from home. I couldn't talk and he was trying to pat me with one hand and drive with the other.
I finally managed to choke out that it was a letter Daddy had written as a teen. He died three years ago and reading a letter he had written was like getting a little piece of him back again.
Also, just knowing that a teenage boy took his birthday money and used it to try to help his father quit drinking just breaks my heart. As far as I know, his father never did stop drinking. He died when I was a child and I don't remember him at all. But I've heard stories.
It's wonderful to see something he wrote, and it makes me miss him, too. I wish I had more of his letters and pictures of him when he was young. There is so much of his life that I never knew.