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Cousin Rufus Gets a Letter

Dear Great-Grandpa Rufus,

You’re probably surprised to get a letter from your great-granddaughter. I have a few extra minutes in study hall and thought you might like to hear what we’re learning in school.

Did you ever study literature, Grandpa? It’s my favorite class. Right now, we’re studying Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I get puzzled, though, when people try to read deep meaning into it. I think the poet just wanted to show people what it was like in the old days, driving a horse on a winter night.

My baby brother likes The Cat in the Hat and Hop on Pop. It’s like romping through the English language. Did you know Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) wrote it on a bet? Yep, a friend of his bet him he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. He did it!

Now people are saying we shouldn’t read Dr. Seuss books because some of the illustrations in them are racist and insensitive. If you were here, you probably would say, “Put on your big boy pants and get over it.”

Some of our teachers are telling us the founders of our country were racist because they owned slaves. Daddy says what they don’t tell us is, some of those men struggled with the issue, and eventually released their slaves.

George Washington had slaves, but he didn’t have authority to release them while he lived, because they were his wife’s inherited property. He made provisions in his will for them to be set free after he died. So, yes, I still believe they were good men. They struggled with issues, just like people do today. Don’t you think so, Grandpa?

I liked it a lot when we studied William Shakespeare last year in literature class. He’s the one who said, “All that glitters is not gold” and “All’s well that ends well.” Wasn’t he smart? But he had a side he probably regretted, like marrying a 26-year-old woman when he was 18—and she had his baby six months later. People would have frowned on that in his day. And then he trotted off to London to hang around the theater crowd and left his wife and children at home. He made some stupid mistakes in his life, like a lot of people.

Anyway, I think Shakespeare had a lot of insight into human nature, and we can learn from him. Daddy says we can learn something from everybody, even if it’s what not to do. Sometimes Mama looks at Daddy and says, “Harley, you’re smart, just like your grandpa.”

Well, it’s about time for the bell to ring so I’d better wrap this up. We love it when you come visit us, so please come again when you are able. Bring your old hound, Bozo with you next time.

Your great-granddaughter,


What about you? Any thoughts on learning from those of the past? Feel free to comment below.


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