As promised, this week’s book recommendation is “Glorious Adventure”, by renowned nursing home reformer Carter Catlett Williams, (c. 2008, Pioneer Network, Rochester, NY, wwwDOTpioneernetworkDOTnet). Here are some of the opening lines:
“My father, Landon Carter Catlett, Jr., a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Service, was killed in a plane crash in Hawaii in 1925 at age 27 when I, his only child, was barely 23 months old….
“I have no memory of my father. For me he was only the man in the pictures on my mother’s bureau, a distant icon, not a flesh and blood person…I was aware that my mother had a box of his letters, and once, in my early forties, I looked at a few of them. They made me sad, so I put them back in the box and gave no thought of returning to them again….
“But then came old age, and with it unguarded moments of reflection on earlier parts of my life and, at intervals, surprising moments of awareness.”
At age 63, after her mother’s funeral, Carter returned to the box and found over 200 letters and postcards her father had written to his family, many concerning the joy of his infant daughter. Carter read, re-read and distilled his rediscovered life into this moving account.
We not only get a close look at an engaging and memorable personality of the early 20th century, but we get a glimpse of the times and a compelling story of life between the wars. The book is also filled with Carter’s personal reflections, painted with the palette of over 80 years of wisdom and experience. A wonderful read!
There is also a moving Afterword, written by Wendy Lustbader, that laments the death of letter writing in our society. How much will be lost to future generations when one’s expressions of joy are distilled to “LOL” on a text message?