December 15, 1941
Dear Lela-- 1
I've wanted to write to you and Dan several times, but it always seems I can't say anything because of thinking about Lee. There's just nothing to say in the face of such a loss. And to speak of it brings back that dull pain that one feels on waking.
I had a letter from Avery the same day I got yours, and I sent him a wire for the company. Keith's reaction to the war is pretty general, I guess--and what one would hope for. If those fools on the other side insist on fighting us our boys have to take up the challenge. We don't pretend to like the business, though. It's an evil game, which we play because it's forced on us, but we have to play well enough to win or we all lose together. I think if I were young enough I'd go into the service now. My pacifist days are over. --Alan and Nancy are living in New York City now. He's been transferred to Governor's Island, Fort Jay, and can come home every night. So they've been very fortunate. We haven't heard from Terry since the war started. No doubt a rash of enlistments will break out at Amherst.
I hope you won't think I forgot you because I didn't write. I can't see a uniform without remembering Lee. When my own boys come home I hold on to them as long as I can, and you can imagine why. We all go sooner or later, but these wars take the boys first. I'd go quite happily myself instead. I'm 53 today. At that age I can be pretty sure I'll never do better than I've done, and so I could leave any time.
Love to you and Dan-- Max