Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 17, 2015

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

Again looking through some of mom’s old keepsakes, I came across a small, typed four-page note actually addressed to me and dated May 28, 1957. I had been in the world 11 days. At the top was: Memo from the Desk of… C.M. Reves, with a black and orange sticker of the Hendrix College Warriors banner. 

Dr. Reves was a Methodist pastor, the vice president of Hendrix, and, I believe, the college Chaplin. He bought a lot on Hunter Street, on the north side of the Hendrix campus, and built a home there where he and his wife lived until 1966. The address was 1215. My grandparents, after moving from the campus president’s home, settled across the street from the Reves at 1208 Hunter in 1958. My grandfather died there in March of 1995. My grandmother would live there three more years before being reunited with him in 1998.

So, as a boy, I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Reves, truly one of the kindest gentlemen you could ever hope to be around. Here is his letter to me:

Dear John Ellis,

“I’d like to know more about you but your grandmother Ellis has been gone somewhere for days and your grandfather Ellis won’t talk about ‘little things.’ I think he is just trying to make the impression that he is your grandfather, still PhD – when we would like to see him grandfather, gone haywire. But he may yet come to it and play the part in perfect form and out in the open.

And how do you like your relatives? It seems that you have chosen very wisely, particularly in choosing half your grandparents women. But the men in your family will do to tie to – although you may have to tie to your grandfather Ellis on the run. But be patient with him. He may at any time come to himself and give you as much as ten minutes – for good jokes. 

When can you come to see us on the campus? We want to know so that Rosie can have the flag flying and Dr. Coffman can have the band out and Mrs. Grady can have a good dinner for you – and all of us.

And what about your reading? Miss Millar is helping me in the preparation of a suggested list that will include juvenile (my choice) and post (about 75 years) juvenile (her favorite) books. Knowing your background she feels you would like some philosophical reading, perhaps lightened now and then with some of the Greek tragedies. She says her mother wit and maiden judgment do not approve of Mother Goose for children, whose outlook has been conditioned by the propensities and potentialities of one or more male progenitors.

Getting away from questions, let me give you a bit of advice, or share a great secret with you. I know you are enjoying the love that is being lavished upon you, and you may be wondering if it will always last. I am so glad to tell you, after my three score and ten years, that love abounds always, that you will know more of it at 72 than you will know now – you may even be a grandfather yourself some day. 

I don’t know how you feel about letting others read your mail, but it might be well if you did not let too many peruse these pages – not more than a mother or grandmother or two. I make myself understood to those of your age and mine, but I am frequently misunderstood and misquoted by some who are not so, understanding as we are.

I shall appreciate hearing from you, preferably in your own handwriting, but if you are too busy to write, I shall gladly accept a dictated message.

Please give my regards to your parents, and if your modesty will permit you to do so, tell them for me how fortunate they are to be your parents. And if your grandparents call before Christmas, remember them to me. 

I give below some of my best drawings. You can see what a wonderful grandfather I would be – if my son’s 17 dogs were just grandchildren

Grandfatherly yours,

C. M. Reves”

His “drawings” are three penciled stick figures. The first is “Boy on way to Hendrix (clothes not shown in picture).” 

Then, “A girl - (beware or begone).”

And a pretty good rendition of a cow  - “A milk factory (carnation cow).”

 So here at last, nearly 58 years later, I am writing back to Dr. Reves (no dictation) to tell him he was right (not that he needs confirmation).

Love truly does abound always.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.