Royce Wetherbee could write. Influenced by his technical writing duties for the Air Force as well as his favorite writers such as Patrick McManus, Royce could string words together and inspire, entertain, or just plain inform. He loved writing.
Royce had several brothers scattered around the western United States, and they corresponded by letter frequently - none of this email stuff; they wrote pen and ink, even when their writing became too shaky with age to make out some of the words. I am impressed by old-fashioned letter writing, and Royce was a profuse correspondent. I got my share of letters in his lifetime, and I loved to open them and savor the contents. Royce was my dad, and I have kept nearly every letter he ever wrote to me.
We lost Dad this past October, just a few days after his 83rd birthday. I haven’t received a handwritten letter since. I wonder, has letter writing faded away and given in to email and cell phones? I hope not. I love old fashioned snail-mail letters that are written by the hand of someone important to me. I’m almost to the point where I would even love to get a handwritten letter from a perfect stranger. I guess people don’t have much to say with an ink pen anymore.
Dad had a lot to write about. For ten years he lived with and nearly beat the devastating effects of a stroke, “the monster” as he called it. His letter writing slowed for awhile, but he worked until he regained the ability to write, and write he did. This photo is of Dad in October of 2004 when we all gathered in Tucson to celebrate his 82nd birthday. He was declining by then, moving much slower and barely getting around. But during that visit, I watched him write letters to his brothers.
Today is Memorial Day, and I remember my dad with love. He was a WWII veteran, was married to my mom for 56 years, raised six children, and spoiled a “whole slew” of grandchildren. I miss his life, his laugh, his stories, his love. And I very much miss his letters.