Sunday, April 15

Dear Jim,

There’s sure been a lot of wind lately. I’ve been inside all day. At least it’s nice not to wear shoes.

Last night my neighbor and I went to dinner. We hadn’t been in at least two weeks.

Instead of going to the Chinese place like we used to, we went to a Mexican place over where I lived for eleven years. It was the first time in the thirty-eight years that I’ve lived here that I went. I used to pass it all the time no matter where I lived.

I liked the food and I enjoyed the company of my friend, but I did not like being in my old neighborhood. Living there was the most unhappy period of my life. It aged me.

My friend was telling me how much he loves the houses in that neighborhood. They are beautiful – built in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s with a ton of trees on the street. He hopes he wins the lottery so he can buy one. I hope so too. I wonder if I’d see him again.

Remember your house? I didn’t like it or your neighborhood. I know you didn’t like your neighborhood. Did you like the house? I loved my house but didn’t like the neighborhood. Too suburban.

The important thing for me isn’t whether I live in a house or an apartment, but whether or not there is a lot of light, a lot of windows, especially on the south. I’m becoming more and more light deprived. Part of it is fluorescent lights, but an increasing part is that aging eyes receive 40% less light than the eyes of a young person.

I’m going to get a new tablet before winter. It will not have bad lighting built in like the one I have now. I’m also going to get a tall lamp with healthy bulbs.

One of the things I read is that you need healthy light coming down on you like the sun, not up to you like a desk lamp. And I don’t know if you can do this in an apartment, but there are tubes that can be hooked up to a device outside that will bring natural light over your work area.

I’m supposed to go to the eye doctor this month, but I’m thinking of changing doctors. I love the office though. It feels great to be in.

You know how the media talks about how depressed old people are in rest homes? One of the reasons is the fluorescent lights. Another is the bad light from all the TV’s and the third is the inability of old eyes to absorb natural light like they used to.

A long time ago I looked up lighting in rest homes. There was a guy who designed rest homes so that the rooms receive a lot of natural light and, I assume, use light bulbs that make rooms feel good to be in.

I will not be able to afford to live in such a place. I won’t be able to afford to live in even a gloomy rest home. If I did live in one of those lousy places with fluorescent lights and TV’s on all day, I would lose my mind. Remember the movie about the insane asylum where at the end the Indian breaks the window to escape from the place? That’s what I think I would do in a rest home.

I remember one time that you said ”Television is the killer of the soul.” I say television is a weapon parents and the staff in rest homes use to kill the souls of children and old people.

If I won the lottery like my neighbor hopes he does, I wouldn’t buy a house. I would make arrangements to move into one of those well-lit rest homes as soon as I turned sixty-five or seventy, whatever age I thought I would begin to need assistance. It would be great to be an old man in a place that feels good to be in, basking in the peaceful glow of natural light, listening to birds instead of television.

What we do to old people is horrible. What we’ve done to dad is terrible. Dad is defeated.

I feel defeated too. I have to force myself to pray. That’s scary.

I’ve heard on religious radio stations that faith is something you sometimes have to work at. Sometimes you have to ask God to keep you in faith. You have to keep praying even when you’ve lost your faith because eventually you will regain it.

I think dad has lost a lot of his faith. He hardly prays. What means the world to him I think is when we hang up he says, ”Be careful. I love you. God bless you.” He may have lost hope for himself, but he hopes everything works out for me.

Sometimes when I don’t feel like saying a prayer for dad, I’ll ask God to let him right into heaven when he dies. He just can’t believe what’s happened to himself.

There’s that priest from Miami I think I told you about. He has a radio show for two hours every night. At the end of the show, after he’s done listening to the troubles of some people and bantering with others, it’s prayer time.

A listener will call. The priest says, ”Por su doloroso pasión.” The caller says, ”Ten misericordia de nosotros y el mundo entero.”

They say it ten times. What reverence and humbleness. Do you think it’s beautiful? It reminds me of dad.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko