As we move past midsummer in June 2012, our pen pal relationship was solidified and this allowed us both to go into greater detail about current events in our lives as well as me reflecting on Neal’s book, “First Third”.

From: Peebler, David
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 2:38 PM
To:’Carolyn Cassady’
Subject: Reading…


I am almost finished with FIRST THIRD and once again find myself mesmerized, this time by Neal’s flow of words, which combine in the headwinds of fluidity and fill my head with evocations of images and emotions. While obviously not the best writer of his era, Neal had an obvious way with words and passages such as this begin to fill in the blanks:

“Father had led me to the new horizons of a diversified wonderland which, I remember, was the first‐allowed rambling, i.e., a first instance of enjoying recreation for its own sake – a walk made purposely to seek play, rather than, as before, play the by‐product of trips toward a definite destination.”

It seems like it’s been weeks of continuous shivers evoked by my choice of books to read, including yours. What an incredible experience for me. I pinch myself yet again and it seems – on the surface at least – I am awake.

Yesterday, Elysse, my 11 year old girl, graduated from 5th grade and hence, Elementary School. It was an amazing moment for Dyan and me, seeing our first born growing up so quickly and being so very proud of her, while at the same intimately tapping into the pain that the swift passage of time elicits at such seminal milestones as this. I was doing a suitable job of holding myself together until the class sang, “For Just A Little While”…

For just a little while, we were here together.
For just a little while, we were side by side.
And I know some day that we will reflect on this and see,
What a special time it was.
For just a little while.

For just a little while, we have joined our voices.
For just a little while, we made a difference here.
And I know that through it all,
there are days we will recall,
What a special time it was.
For just a little while.

Maybe someday, when we’re all alone,
Maybe someday, out there on our own,
We’ll remember this time, and we’ll smile.
For just a little while.

For just a little while, we have shared the music.
For just a little while, we have shared a dream.
But, I know that in my heart we will never be apart.
What a special time it was.

For just a little while.

…it was then that my considerable willpower, which was already wavering, instantly dissolved as the most bitter, yet the absolute sweetest tears imaginable streamed from my knowing eyes, down my flushed face, around the rivulets of my proud smile and then unrelentingly onwards to oblivion. It was one of those moments, Carolyn, one of those true‐to life‐moments that as far as I’m concerned is as real IT gets.

At this moment I feel as if I could write forever, for there is so much to say, yet that is why I’m going to sign this note off.

No more words are needed.

With love and respect,

From: Carolyn Cassady
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 4:34 PM
To: Peebler, David
Subject: Reading

Hi, David–

I am so glad you recognize Neal’s ability with words. He was self-educated, but he had a photographic memory, and, as I probably told you, he had read far more than either Kerouac or Ginsberg—long hours in jails. He tells of his dismay at losing the library book when he was just a kid. And then, the genius IQ. Of course, all the guys he later knew who had gone to universities, just put him down, ignored him, because he hadn’t had a proper education. Who’s the dummy?

Oh, gosh—those stages in our children’s lives! Watching them sprout up so fast. I didn’t become that moved with mine, except when John graduated from high school. It was pretty funny—in a way…. All the kids had to wear those black caps and gowns that college kids wear there. It was a time when a lot of the boys were growing their hair long. The principal had told them all to get haircuts before graduation. They’d been bringing notes home for a long time before. I would cut about a quarter of an inch off John’s and his friends’ hair, put it in an envelope to prove to the dean they had done it. Um, well, you can guess how that went over. But come graduation, all the other parents got the boys’ hair cut properly. John told me he had permission for his as was (not true). So I stood watching the parade across the stage. Oh yes, among that class was the daughter of my boss at the Xray office, so he was there.

As they all parade across the stage, out from under his black hat, John’s platinum blonde hair flowed out in the wind. I could have dropped thru the ground!

Oh dear—I began this reply—then somehow it got lost—I will just try to send it now and go on later…..sorry…

So hoping you are well now! What was it? I am so sorry and miss you. I have been determined never to get sick! I hate that! So I say a mantra every morning: “I am healthy, wealthy and wise.” Well, I dunno, but it seems to work—or something does.

Anyway, I eagerly await your recovery and the continuation of our correspondence. God bless,

Little did I know that within a month’s time we’d never exchange another word…