*Jackís Journal is a follow-up story to the aired episode, May The Road Rise Up.
March 28, 1954
†††† In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that this is how the end would come for me.†
†††† My beginnings were humble.† I was one of seven children, the middle child. †I came to adulthood at the start of World War Two.† Like most young men my age, I answered the call of duty, joining the Army the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941.
†††† My childhood was happy, my family a close one.† There was never a lot of money.† I realize now how Dad must have struggled to feed and clothe all of us, especially during the Depression.† The first six of us were born within nine years of one another, making things even harder on Mom and Dad financially speaking.† By the time Ray came along, things were a bit better.† Ironically enough, they could have afforded to send him to college, though he chose not to even finish high school.† While I, on the other hand, would have loved the opportunity for higher education.† I never even mentioned it to Mom and Dad.† They could never have afforded it, so what would have been the point in making them feel bad?†
†††† I look back now and wonder how I ended up volunteering to be a member of the O.S.S. division, now known as the C.I.A., during my years in the armed forces.† I guess even as a child I was an adventurer.† I was forever seeking a level of excitement most people would turn and run from, much to the dismay of my parents.† I see this same spirit in my Rick, and quite frankly, it scares the hell out of me.† Even young Andy, only four years old, seems to have a yearning for adventures.† Please, boys, don't let those adventures lead you into danger.† Your mother will need you both in the years to come.
†††† My desire for living on the edge, and my old friend Matt Haskell, led me to the job I took after the war, head of security at Nemesis.† Once again I found myself working for the government.† It was a good job.† It satisfied my ever-present need for a challenge, much to the upset of Cecilia at those times when my work became all-consuming.
†††† The job enabled me to support my wife and sons well beyond any means I could have ever dreamed possible.† I have peace knowing that Cece and the boys will be well provided for thanks to my years of hard work and dedicated service.† Matt has shown me the paperwork from the government regarding the benefits Cecilia will receive.† My body may be crippled, but my mind's still intact.† I made sure my wife and sons will benefit for my heartache and suffering, and for my absence from their lives.† I have seen to it that Cece will never have to work outside the home, that the mortgage on our house will be paid off, and that there will be trust funds set up for my sons' college educations.† Cecilia will surely wonder why she's party to such a large sum of money, especially money I've never discussed with her before.† But Matt has assured me he will handle it with her in such a way so as not to arouse her suspicions.†
†††† I'm growing weary so will lay my pen down for today.† What a sad state for a man who once exercised vigorously each morning at six a.m., worked a ten hour day, then went home to play with two active boys.† How I miss my life that once was.
April 3, 1954
†††† My beautiful Cecilia.† As each day becomes more of a struggle I find my thoughts focusing on you.†
†††† Without realizing it, I must have seen past those saddle shoes, bobby socks, and that engaging smile, so many years ago, and been privy to the strength inside the soul of that tiny girl I was smitten with.
†††† I know there will be days in the coming years, Cecilia, when you'll have to search deeply to find that strength.† I know it's there, sweetheart.† You can do it.† I have the utmost confidence in you.† And I promise you that I will always be there with you, obviously not in body, but my soul will always be one with yours.† Never forget that.† Carry me in your heart as I will carry you forever in mine.
†††† I know you, Cece.† And I know right now your biggest concern is whether or not you can be both mother and father to our sons.† You can.† You're a wonderful mother.† I pray that someday our boys realize how fortunate they are, all because they have you in their lives. They couldn't be in better hands.† You will help them grow to become men I would be proud of.†
†††† I want you to be happy again, Cecilia.† If a man comes along who captures your heart, please don't prevent yourself from acting upon your feelings by carrying a torch for me.† My legacy will continue in our Richard and Andrew.† That is sufficient.† All I ask is that the new man in your life loves and cares for our boys as if they were his own.
†††† †I know that if you do remarry someday, it will not be an easy transition for any of you.† Especially Rick.† It will not be easy for Rick to call another man Dad, nor to give his love to a new father.† Be patient with him, Cece.† Rick needs the love and warmth only his familiar family circle can provide, far more than he will ever be able to admit to.
†††† Andy's so young yet. It will be easier for him to accept a new daddy.† Please don't let him forget me, Cece.† I hope the new man in your life takes as much pleasure from the unabashed love our A.J. will shower on him as I always have.†† Our little one has an innocence, and goodness about him, that I pray is never completely lost.† This ugly world needs more people like him.† If there is another man in your life someday, make sure he's good to my Andy.
†††† I know the well being of our sons will always be your first priority.† This thought brings me great comfort.
†††† If the circumstances surrounding my death should ever come to light, I hope you'll understand why I couldn't bear to share the end with you.† I know you, my little spitfire, you'll be angry.† Oh, will you be angry!† But when the anger dissipates, please recall the man I was. A man filled with too much pride, I know.† It's that awful pride that won't allow me to share this ugly and bitter end with the woman I love.
†††† I love you, Cecilia.† You are my wife, the mother of my precious sons, my entire life.† I have never, nor could I ever, love another woman as much as I have loved you.†† I love you, my darling Cece.
May 10, 1954
†††† Ray, how often I find myself thinking of you in recent days.† I look back and marvel at the closeness that we've shared.† A closeness that years, nor miles, could diminish.
†††† I was twelve years old when you were born, and to this day cannot explain the bond that formed between us.† The same bond my own sons share.
†††† Maybe our closeness had to do with the fact that I was a boy sandwiched between an older sister and two younger sisters.† Will and George, as the two eldest, were only thirteen months apart and the best of friends.† That often left me playing with our sisters, or playing by myself.† I was thrilled when there came to be a new little brother in the house.
††††† You were born on Mom and Dad's bed in the big house on Second Street near the end of the Great Depression.† I remember being in the living room and hearing your first cry, then Dad rushing down the stairs to announce to us kids with a big grin, "It's a boy!"† After years of being plagued by Joan, Marion, and Patty, I was only too happy to hear I'd have some reinforcements in the form of a new male family member.
†††† Do you remember when you were five, sitting on the old wooden bleachers at the high school watching me play baseball?† You went everywhere with me that I'd allow.† When I shipped out for Europe you were nine.† You told me to "kill a buncha' Jerrys," then in the next breath hugged my waist and begged me not to go.† You'll never know how special you made me feel that day.† I cried as I stood at the ship's railing waving goodbye to you and the rest of the family.
†††† By the time I came home five years later, you were an uncle to my young Rick.† I watched as my two-year-old son followed you around Mom and Dad's house the same way you used to follow me.† Even then, you were already talking about traveling the globe.† At seventeen you dropped out of high school and did just that.† You have yet to return home for good.
†††† I know you are far from ready to settle down and accept the responsibility of a family, Ray.† But if I can ask anything of you, brother, it's to request that you please be there for my boys when you can.† You already know that Rick worships the ground you walk on.† Andy's little yet, and because of your travels doesn't really know you, but if you spend some time with him I know he'll grow to love you as much as Rick does.†
†††† I won't be here anymore, Ray, to bail you out every time you need a couple of bucks.† I have a feeling Cecilia will be a lot tighter with the household wallet than I ever was where you're concerned.† So take my advice and plan ahead before youíre down to your last dime.††
†††† Take care of yourself, Raymond.† Take care of my boys.† Thank you for being my brother.††††
June 6, 1954
†††† As my days on this earth grow shorter, and the pain more intense, I think of you, my sons, on an hourly basis.† I wonder what you're doing, and worry as to the future you both face in growing up without your dad.
†††† My heart aches from missing you both.† When the pain gets so bad it prevents me from reading, or from writing in this journal, I imagine that you're here with me.†† It brings me solace.
†††† I hear the click of your cowboy boots, Rick, on the tile floor, and hear your infectious giggles, Andy.† Sometimes I imagine that you are both here playing at the foot of my bed.† The bed I no longer have the strength to leave. I see you on the floor, toy soldiers divided up between you, engaged in battle.† Or you're bent over a big piece of paper, color crayons and markers in hand, working together to create a masterpiece for your mother.† Don't ever lose that willingness to work together, boys.† Carry that gift with you for the rest of your lives.† A brother who is also a friend, is a precious commodity not given to all.
†††† Forgive me for the things of yours that I had taken from the house.† During the first lonely nights I needed a part of each of you with me.†
†††† I hold your swim medal, Rick, remembering how pleased you were when you won it.† I was so proud of you. I am so proud of you.† I hope that even when you're a grown man, you'll recall the hours we spent swimming together so you could win that medal at camp.† I hold the medal in my hand now, son, wishing it could magically take us both back to a time when we were together.†
†††† I know how much you must be missing your teddy bear, Andy.† There had not been a night you hadn't slept without Farley since I brought him home for you two years ago from Washington D.C.† I suppose Mom and Rick have torn the house apart looking for him.† I hope you can understand what comfort Farley brings me now, as he lies here next to me.† It's almost like having you cuddled up against my side, as you were so fond of doing on Sunday mornings when you'd crawl into bed with me while Mom made breakfast.† I can smell your scent on him, my little one, and it makes me cry.† How I miss you and Rick.
†††† The picture of the two of you I had Matt bring from my office sits on the fireplace mantle right next to a picture of your mother.† I spend hours at a time now, gazing upon the faces of the three most important people in my life.† How I love that picture of my boys!† My six-year-old Rick is smiling for the camera, with his arms tightly wrapped around the waist of his laughing one-year-old brother.† If this is the last thing I see before I die, I will go to the Lord a happy man.
†††† There may come a day, my sons, a day many, many years from now, when you discover the truth as to how I came to leave you.† Forgive me for not saying one final goodbye.† I hope that, as grown men, you can understand my decision not to include you and your mother in on my lingering death.† I can't bear to allow any of you to see me this way.†† I'm now completely bedridden, and have no control over my bodily functions.† My face and hands are badly scarred from the radiation poisoning.† This is not how I want you to remember me.† I couldn't bear for my sons to see me like this, to be afraid of their dad who now looks like a monster from a bad science fiction film.†
†††† I love you, my precious sons, more than I love life itself.† As my life comes to an end, yours will go forward.† I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.† It is a fitting tribute to all I've stood for.
†††† The only thing I will ask of either of you, is to grow up to be good and decent men.† Help those who are less fortunate than yourselves.† Take care of your mother.† Take care of each other.† Please, stay close.† Keep my little family intact.†
†††† I love you, boys.† Oh, how I love you.†††††††††
May 14, 1987
My dearest Jack,
I can think of no better way to heal the pain the past week has brought our sons and me, than by filling the remaining blank pages in your journal with thoughts from us.
†††† I feel as though I've lived a hundred years in these past seven days.† I've been up and down an emotional roller coaster.† My first thoughts when the boys brought me the news of having seen your Buick, was that they were playing some type of a sick joke on me.† That was unfair of me, I know.† Neither one of them would ever do such a thing.† I was just so shocked.† Then I thought they had to be mistaken.† But as time passed, evidence proved that theory to be wrong as well.† Even so, I never dreamt it possible that the grave they had opened, without my permission, would be empty.† From that point on I didn't know what to think.† I was hurt, angry, scared, confused, - a bundle of reeling emotions.† Every possibility ran through my mind, ranging from a love affair, to you being forced to disappear because of the nature of your job.† None of those thoughts made things any easier.† They only made them worse.† Our poor sons took the brunt of my confusion and anger.†
†††† Then out of the blue last Friday, Matt called.† Goodness, I hadn't seen or talked to him in at least twenty years.† I knew then, that something was up.† When he told me that it was urgent that I come out to his estate, I rushed there, butterflies beating their wings in my stomach.† I tried not to allow myself to hope that you were going to be there waiting for me, and would somehow explain this entire mess in way that would make sense.† In a way that would allow me to forgive you for thirty-three lonely years.† In a way that would allow me to welcome you back into my life as my husband, and allow our sons to welcome you back into their lives as their father.†
†††† But that was not to be.† Rick and A.J. were already there, having bypassed Matt's security system to obtain entrance into his house.† How like their father!† According to Matt, they were mad as hell and demanding answers, threatening to tear his home apart to look for you if that's what it took.† They are each, in their own way, a chip off the old block, Jack.
†††† The words were hard for Matt to come by, but slowly and surely the true story of your death was revealed at long last to your family.† I can't say I was particularly surprised at the details.† It was something you would do, sacrificing yourself and your future for the safety of others.† I was more hurt than anything.† Hurt over the fact that you wouldn't allow me to share in your last months.† At first I couldn't understand why.† Why you had chosen to die a slow, painful death alone, without the support of the wife who loved you, and the sons who adored you.† I still don't fully understand, but at least through the entries in your journal, I am able to comprehend somewhat, what a complex individual you really were.† So like our Rick.
†††† It's A.J. that worries me now, Jack.† This entire incident has been difficult for him.† It wasn't lost on me that he hesitated a few moments before joining Rick and me on the walk to your cottage.† He was just a little boy when you left us.† I believe he had his hopes up in regards to finding you alive.† Maybe he even feels a sense of failure that he didn't.† If I know our A.J., he is unjustly blaming himself for the fact that all the detective skills he possesses still didn't enable him to find you alive.† But maybe the healing has begun for A.J. with your journal as well.† Tears ran down A.J.'s face as Rick read your words of him.† I think it helped him to realize that, though you only had four short years with him, you loved him very much, and already had great insight into the man he was to become.
†††† How have I survived all these years, you may wonder?† It hasn't been easy sometimes, Jack Simon, let me tell you.† There has been many a time when I've rushed a sick or injured son to the emergency room, and cussed you out silently because you weren't there with me as you should have been.† Many a time during the conflicts their teen years brought I wished for your strong male presence as I had to lay down the law to Rick about school work, or the unsavory company he was keeping, or argue with A.J. over curfew, or the fact that he was, at seventeen, becoming too serious with his girlfriend, Anita.† I smiled the smile of a tried and true parent as I read your words of confidence regarding my ability to be both mother and father to our sons.† It wasn't always easy, but I did the best I could.† And I've got two grown sons I'm extremely proud of that prove that point for me.††††
†††† The only thing that can still make me cry to this day in regards to your passing, Jack, is the fact that you didn't get the opportunity to see our boys grow up.† You would be so proud of them!† Yes, Rick still has his own cadence, his own inner rhythm that most of us can't find the beat to, and yes, his common sense is still often lacking.† Yet he's a good man, Jack.† He reminds me so much of you.† Tough as nails on the outside, but gentle and caring on the inside.† He is protective of me, he has been since the day you left of us.† He has tried so hard to take your place in my life throughout the years, as well as take your place in A.J.'s life.† As you wrote, Rick's familiar family circle is much more important to him than he ever lets on.†††
†††† Willing to hurt if it will spare another pain.† What a wonderful and accurate thought in regards to our Andrew.† A more compassionate man I have yet to meet.† Everything A.J. does he gives his all to, whether it's his work, or his personal life.† When the day comes that he finds the right woman and marries, I have no doubt he'll make an outstanding father.† His children will be lucky to call him Dad, just as I know how very lucky I am to call him son, and Rick knows how lucky he is to call him brother.
†††† Our boys have remained close, just as your journal entries indicate you had hoped they would.†† That's my gift to you, Jack.† That somehow, through it all, I managed to raise two sons who, to this day, are still one another's best friend.†
†††† I will end this here, darling.† It is my desire that, in time, both Rick and A.J. can find it in themselves to say goodbye to you in this journal, too.† Then this book will be complete, and the thoughts of my family will rest beside me each night on my bedside table.† I will no longer have to go to bed lonely.
†††† Until we meet again, dear Jack, I love you.† You always have been, and always will be, in my heart.† May the good Lord hold us both in his hand.†
†††† All My Love,
May 27, 1987
†††† I will attempt, as best I can, to put something meaningful to both of us on this page.† I'm no better at writing my thoughts on paper now, than I was as a kid.† I'm sure you recall the countless hours you spent standing over me whenever I had a writing assignment for school.† "It's easy, Rick," you used to say.† "Just translate your feelings and thoughts into words."†† Well, it never was easy for me.† I don't seem to have inherited the knack for writing you had.† I hope you'll forgive me if this is less than perfect.
†††† Geez, where to begin?† I guess I'll start with the day A.J. spotted your old '51 Buick.† At first I thought he was nuts, making me chase an old car like that, but when we got out of my truck, and I saw that dent in the bumper, I knew without a doubt I was looking at something that couldn't possibly exist.† After all, that car had been reduced to a melted scrap of metal thirty-three years earlier.† Yet that dent was all the proof I needed to know that something was very, very wrong.† I remember the day you brought that car home brand new.† Like Mom said, you flew out of the house when you heard me hit that bumper with the hammer.† I remember getting three good whacks on my rear end, which I'll readily admit I deserved.
†††† Digging into the circumstances surrounding your death was not a pleasant experience for either A.J. or me.† A.J. had been too young when you died to remember much about the details, so dealing with things like old coroners' reports - even if they had been falsified - and old police reports, again, for the most part false, wasn't easy for him.† Though he didn't let on that fact to me, I know A.J. well enough to read his emotions like a favorite old book.
†††† † Most of the details I knew were simply what a nosey nine-year-old was able to overhear as he sat on the stairway late at night when there were visiting relatives in the house.† Mom explained things to me when we got word of the accident, of course, but naturally she protected me as much as she could from some of the more gruesome details, and only told me what she thought I was capable of handling and understanding.† As the years passed, you would have thought I would have asked her more questions, but for some reason I never did.† I think A.J. probably did, as he grew older and realized that he was somewhat of an enigma among his friends - a young boy whose father was deceased.† But even so, I'm sure Mom related only the facts to him of that night, and steered clear of revealing the emotional devastation your death, or disappearance, or whatever you want to call it, caused her.
†††† As we dug farther into the case, I seesawed between two theories.† One, that you had been made to disappear by the government because of the nature of your work, whatever that might have been.† Or two, that whatever had occurred, you were long since dead and we should just let you rest in peace.† I finally settled on that last theory, which upset my brother to no end.† We haven't engaged in an honest to goodness fistfight in many long years now, but we sure came awful close a few weeks back.† A.J. didnít like the fact that I was more than ready to drop the investigation, and didn't hesitate to tell me so quite loudly.† I firmly believe that from the moment we viewed that empty coffin, A.J. thought we'd find you alive.† That seemed to convince him that you were out there somewhere, and he was going to search to the ends of the earth until he found you.† I wish for his sake that's how it could have turned out, but as we all know now, it wasn't to be.
†††† I hope you can forgive me for wanting to give up the search.† It's just that after my time in 'Nam, I've seen a side of the government most others never do.† I figured that even if you weren't dead, there was no way the C.I.A., or F.B.I., or whomever, was ever gonna allow us to find you.† If they knew we were getting close, I figured they'd just move you.† But, try tellin' A.J. that.† You can't get anything through his thick skull when he has his mind set on something.† As you said, a brother who is also a friend is a precious commodity, but sometimes he's also a commodity who is a stubborn pain-in-the-butt.†
†††† Your journal entries have helped me see things more clearly about the stormy relationship you and I sometimes shared.† I never doubted that you loved me, but I guess until I read your journal, I never realized the depth of that love.† I never knew that for you looking at me was like, Ďlooking into a perfect mirror,í nor would I have ever imagined that you had concerns for my future simply because I might grow up to be like you.† "God save you from a life like mine, Rick," you said.† I hope you can understand that I've been proud when friends and relatives have compared me to you.† I don't think there was anything wrong with the life you led, Dad.† I, probably much more so than A.J. or Mom, can understand why you weren't able to share your last months on this earth with your family.† I understand pride.† Pride that sometimes rules out good old-fashioned common sense.† Which I still don't possess a hell of a lot of, by the way.
†††† Matt told us that when you took your last breath you were holding my swim medal in one hand, and A.J.'s teddy bear in the other.† Now that that medal is back in my possession, I've held it many a night in the past few weeks in an attempt to feel what you felt.† In an attempt to somehow be close to you.† Though for so long I thought the medal had been lost, I didn't need it to remember the summers we spent swimming together, Dad.† I want you to know I've never forgotten those summers, or the camping trips, the bike rides, or the baseball games.†
†††† The picture of A.J. and me you spent so many hours gazing upon now hangs in our office.† A client did a caricature drawing of A.J., me, and the Condor - I'm sure you remember quite well my infatuation with that comic book super hero - that hangs on the wall of our office.† The sketch artist down at the police station did a similar type drawing a few years ago of A.J., me and a police lieutenant friend of ours, that hangs on our office wall, as well.† So that picture of us as children has been added to our collection.† I suppose some people will wonder if we've suddenly become sentimental in our old age, what with displaying an old picture like that, but it has a special meaning to both of us, so to hell with what anyone thinks or says about it.
†††† I think you'd be proud of the man I've grown to become.† I guess I'm good and decent - at least most of the time...well okay, some of the time.† A.J. and I have helped a lot of people in our line of work.† There have been times when we've taken on jobs for free if someone was really in need of help, but couldn't afford to pay us.† And there have been times when payment has come in the form of all the groceries we can bag in ten minutes at Skip's Super Market Emporium, or a year's worth of free meals at Luigi's.† Suffice to say, A.J. isn't too crazy about Italian food anymore.† But I think we both learned by the example you set for us, when it comes to offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than we are.†
†††† Our little family is important to me, too, Dad.† I had to remove myself from it for a number of years in order to find out just how much it meant to me.† In the subsequent years I've worked hard at keeping your little family intact.† We all have.† It's my gift to you, Dad.† Your legacy lives on within your wife and sons.†
†††† I hope I've done right by you.
June 20, 1987
†††† Rick passed this journal on to me almost a month ago now.† I put it in my desk drawer here at the office, and haven't looked at it since.† It would probably still be hidden away in that drawer if Mom hadn't asked me the other day if I was finished with it yet.† When I told her no, and that I hadn't even started writing in it, she gave me a gentle smile of understanding, and told me that if it was just too difficult for me right now, I didn't need to feel obligated to put an entry in it.† I assured her that there wasn't anything difficult about it, but rather that I had simply been busy.† Of course, she knew I was lying, just like she's always known whenever I've lied to her about something.† But this time she let it pass without saying anything further.† I promised her then, that I'd get to it as soon as I could so the journal could be returned to her.
†††† Rick took a day of vacation today to go fishing with some friends of his.† So, with him gone, and no pressing business to speak of right at the moment, I decided it was well past time that I join my family members in putting an entry in this little book.
†††† For the longest time this afternoon I just sat staring at its cover, then rereading the words you wrote of us so long ago now.† It's funny, but I just realized how long thirty-three years really is.† If we had found you alive, you wouldn't have even recognized Rick or me, nor we you.† There's so much of our lives you've missed out on, Dad.† So much I wish you could have been a part of.
†††† As I read your journal entries over and over, I've become so aware of your concern for the well being of the family you were leaving behind.† You made sure Mom was well taken care of financially so she would be able to devote her time and energy to raising Rick and me, while not having the worries and stress a job outside the home would have brought her.† You also looked ahead to the day when your sons would go off to college, and made sure there would be money available for that expenditure.† Though Rick chose not to go on to school, I did.† In part, I believe, because somehow, for as young as I was when you died, I knew that a college education for your sons was important to you.† If I think back I suppose Mom mentioned that to me more than once during my growing up years, and I recall when I was in high school Uncle Will telling me how disappointed you had been that you had never had the opportunity to go.† He told me then how much you had hoped that someday Rick and I would make college a choice for ourselves.† Those thoughts came through quite clearly in your journal.†† It made me all the more glad that I went to college, graduated with honors, and even passed the bar exam, though I've chosen not to practice law.
†††† Over the course of the last month, I've tried to reconcile within myself the anger I've felt toward you at times for not sharing the last months of your life with your family.† Rick seems to understand perfectly, but I don't.† You know that Mom would have willingly cared for you, and neither Rick nor I would have ever thought of you as a monster, no matter what you looked like at the end.† I just wish you would have allowed us those final months to be together, to prepare together as a family, for your death.† I would have liked one last day to snuggle up against you while Mom made breakfast.† Yes, for as young as I was, I remember those mornings well.† They were our special time.† A time that didn't include Mom or Rick.† God, I missed those times for so long after you died.† I remember going to Mom's bedroom on Sunday mornings right after you left us, and standing in the doorway staring at the empty bed.† Sometimes I'd climb up on it and wrap my small body around your pillow, and pretend it was you.† How ironic that while you were finding comfort with my teddy bear, I was finding comfort with your pillow.† Even long after Mom washed all the pillow cases, I could still detect the faint smell of Old Spice.†
†††† At other times, the anger I feel toward the decision you made to exclude us from your death melts away into nothing but devastating sadness.† Your journal entries cry out your longing for your family, and the pain it caused you to leave us.† It's a special gift to find out after all these years how much each of us meant to you.† Not that we didn't know, I suppose, but to read it, to have the concrete evidence of your love and sacrifice left behind, is truly a treasure I never expected to receive in this lifetime.†
†††† Farley sits on my dresser at home now, right next to a pair of cuff links of yours Mom gave me years ago, as well as your O.S.S. tie clip.† I suppose some of the ladies I date will find it strange that a teddy bear has taken up residence in my bedroom recently, but when I explain why, I'm sure they'll find my sensitivity appealing.† Women of the 80's want their men strong and masculine, yet sensitive.† Donít try to figure it out.† I still havenít.
†††† It makes me glad to know that so many of the things you hoped for have come to pass.† Rick and I have remained close throughout all these many years, though I'll freely admit that at times I've been tempted to put him up for adoption and live the rest of my existence as an only child.† We've always taken care of Mom, and always will.† That's a given.† Though Mom hardly needs much taken care of.† She's still a spitfire.† Even though Rick and I were so young when you died, I believe your passing instilled in both of us the importance of a close family.† As Mom has always said, even when the three of us aren't together, we're in each otherís thoughts.† Each otherís well-being is our first priority.
†††† I've never forgotten you, Dad.† I never will.† Thank you for this special gift of your journal.† I love you.