Friday, December 29

Dear Jim,

It was a great Christmas. I was surprised I stayed three nights at Sis II´s. They really are happy. I wish I was.

There was a lot of great food – lasagna, croissants, pork. I did not overeat and I did not get a headache. Usually when I go down, the intense Bay Area sun gives me a headache, but this time, even though it was sunny a lot, there were also clouds to give me a reprieve.

We took a great walk along the main drag – a mile in each direction. We started at 4:00 and stayed out until after sunset. You should see all the expensive yuppie restaurants. It made me ill and envious at the same time.

What do you do when you are rich? Go to a fancy place every night?

Sis and I went through a lot of family photos. What we don´t keep we´ll dump. I kept two. One of mom and gramps coming out of their flat. It wasn´t a pose. Somebody caught them as they were hurrying fretfully away.

The other was of our uncle with our Ecuadorean aunt. I never thought of him or her as handsome or pretty, but they were in that picture. Their cigarettes made them look glamorous. The grain in the photo was incredible, like something Ansel Adams did.

There were a lot of good photos of you. You were the most photogenic of us. The one I want Sis to make a copy of is of you sitting at your desk at work smiling, with the entire empty corridor behind you. You look confident and happy. I thought you hated the place?

For Christmas, Sis received a book about walks you can take in San Francisco. There are old and new photos to go along with each walk, as well as historical blurbs.

The blurb which caught my attention said that prior to the earthquake, San Francisco was the palm tree capitol of California. The earthquake destroyed most of them,
then L. A. became the palm tree capitol.

I love palm trees. They are a great thing about living in Sacramento. They also make the Embarcadero a lot prettier than it was when the incompleted freeway was there. They tore the freeway down after the ´89 earthquake, but I don´t think they could have gotten the palm trees planted before you died.

Anyway, the Embarcadero looks great. After I got off Cal Trains from Sis´, I took one of the 1948 tourist streetcars up to Harrison, then stood for almost an hour looking at the bay towards Oakland. All the huge multi-colored freight ship containers looked neat sitting on the docks there.

Remember when we went to see the Christmas Revels at the old theater in Oakland near Lake Merritt – ¨Dance, dance, wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the Dance said he…¨?

It was resounding. It made us tremble. The chorus went on and on.

Have you looked down to see how the 49ers are doing? They were 0-8, now they are 5-10. Last week they upset a division champion. Sunday they play the Rams in L. A. The Rams have won the division. If the Niners win, it will be five in a row. Their new quarterback is good.

That´s if for now.

Happy New Year.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, December 22

Dear Jim,

The days are getting longer.

I am trying to get in the Christmas spirit. On Wednesday I finally took out the battery-operated Christmas tree that mom gave me. I love it. She received it from two swingers at church who bought it at Gumps.

I remember you bought somebody a present at Gumps, but I can´t remember what it was. The old lady across the street from us when I graduated from high school had a friend twenty years younger than her who had a great position there. I still know his name but never met him.

It´s a struggle this year. I took out the tree, but left the Silent Night chimes in the closet. I definitely do not feel the peace of Christmas.

On Sunday I´m going to Sis II´s. I don´t think there will be a lot of people. I want to relax, so I hope not. I really want and need to talk with Sis II. Dad´s mind is shot, so she is all I have in the family.

Speaking of family, I was reading the New York Times the other day and thought of you. Two years ago a 25 year old New York City cop was murdered on duty. The other day after the trial but before the verdict:

¨the officer´s mother addressed the courtroom in an emotional plea for the maximum
sentence for her son´s killer, whom she refused to look at. She spoke of Mr. ____´s
lovable personality and living with the knowledge that she would never dance with
him at his wedding or see him become a father. ´This is my life sentence, without
parole,´ she said.¨

A totally different perspective than what mom and dad had toward your murderer. Mom and dad forgave him and prayed for him. If you had read the article you would have said the family of the murderer suffered too.

When the guy who killed you hung himself in jail, I wonder if his kids were happy for us because either he evened the score, or because we were spared the trial and all the questions people would have asked us, ¨Do you hope he gets the death penalty man?¨ I wonder if they were relieved for themselves for not having to go through the stress of the trial or having to visit their father in San Quentin.

I was glad he hung himself. I didn´t give the slightest shit about his kids.

One time when dad was driving you, mom, and I somewhere, you were talking about something that happened in the Bay Area in the 1950´s. A guy was sent to prison for arson. He claimed that he did not do it. He told the prosecutor something like, ¨You´ll pay for this.¨ When the guy got out of prison, he looked up the prosecutor then killed him.

My reaction was ¨Good!¨ ¨What balls!¨ ¨Serves the career-building attorney right!¨ Your comment was that the guy in jail could have tried to make peace with himself in jail, to learn forgiveness, to not waste all those years cultivating vengeance.

I wonder what the two families thought. Did the prosecutor´s family say, ¨Yes. Well even though that was 15 years ago, our dad/brother did ruin someone´s life. We don´t like what happened, but we cannot complain.¨? Did the family of the murderer say, ¨If he had broken out of jail the first week and killed him, that would have been OK, but now we lose our father/brother a second time. We wanted him back.¨?

Well Jim, Merry Christmas.

Thanks for praying for me.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko