1968 letter to daughters

51 Years Ago, or Yesterday?

I lost my Dad 7 ½ years ago, and my Mom 3 ½ months ago.  As you do, we have all sorted through papers and folders and pictures . . .

My oldest sister found this letter that my Dad wrote to his younger children 51 years ago – the day after Bobby Kennedy was shot.

I am amazed, but not completely surprised, at how relevant his words are still today.

My Father always saw the good in people.  Each and every day he and Mom lived the words he shared with us in this letter.

I am proud and honored to be able to share his words with others, with the question “Was this really written 51 years ago or just yesterday?”

Stacy Cook

June 7, 1968



Dearest Leslie, Stacy and Jess:

God is the only One or thing that is perfect and altogether good.  On the other hand, there are very few if any people or things that are altogether bad.  Nations being composed of people, have some bad in them but the good far outweigh these.

You have probably heard in the past few days that people of the United States are guilty for the chain of events that have been happening.  This is not true!  All of the people of any nation are not and can never be responsible for every action or act of every individual within a nation.

We in the United States must realize that our form of government has many shortcomings.  The things wrong with our government are probably far too numerous to be listed on this paper.  On the other hand, our form of government is vastly superior to any other on earth.  Within our nation, I am also certain we have many evil people.  I must also add that I know none of them.

In your short life times, you have already been exposed to much violence and sadness.  You have read, heard and seen much in the way of news reports of war and death.  You are aware of the assassinations in your life times of one President, a number of civil rights workers, a United States Senator, who was the brother of the late President.  You have been aware that the pages of our newspapers are filled with stories of murder, rape, intimidations and other crimes.  I’m sure you must wonder just what kind of world your Mother and I have brought you in to.

Let me assure you, all the world is not mad—not even all Americans.  Perhaps its because I’m a salesman that have such great faith in nations such as ours and the people who live here.  Even if my faith is in overabundance, it is not entirely misplaced.

Have you ever heard of anyone more kind and wonderful than your mother?  How about the folks who have worked with you on your swimming lessons?  The men and women who work with the summer baseball programs with no payment other than the rewards they reap by helping and doing for others.  Your teachers, though probably underpaid, do their best to help you and others.

Leslie, perhaps you wont remember but on our plan trip to Michigan about ten years ago, a lady who was a complete stranger gave you a toy at the airport terminal, just because she was being kind.  The day you, Stacy, fell and injure yourself so seriously, there must have been fifty people who rushed in to help or offer help to all of us.  I’m certain Jess, you cant remember the day you were born but on that day, I was out of the city and a friend stepped in to tak your Mother to the hospital and nervously paced the floor for me until I arrive to take over the chore.  One day your Mother had a bad fall and I didn’t hear the first complaint from the doctor who came rushing to our home in the middle of the night.  Just the other day, I ran out of gas and a gentleman stopped, took me to a gas station, waited and then returned me to my car.  These are just a few acts of kindness, I could go on and on.

Certainly children, there are those among us who are sick of mind, those with hate in their hearts, those who seek revenge for imagined or real wrongs.  You will hear and read much about people of this sort as they are the ones who make the headlines.  But when you hear of these, just look around you and you will see many many more people who are kind, decent, helpful, law abiding citizens.

You will often hear our government downgraded and criticized but when you do, look around and compare it with others of this world and you will see its not so bad.  I’m not asking you to accept our government and everything it does as being perfect, as its not.  I am asking you to think things through and make constructive criticisms.  To do everything you can, large or small, to make this a better place to live.  To be kind and generous to others and not make hasty decisions concerning a whole people due to the actions of one.

Be thankful and proud of your heritage, yourself and the fact that you were born a free person with a mind capable of thinking for yourself.  Use that mind and be fair and certain you honor others for these same reasons.  With this in mind, you and others like you have it in your power to make this an even greater nation.

Its true, you can easily say things could be better!  But you must also remember things could be worse!  Its up to you to make them better!


All my love,




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